New Calgary Flames general manager Craig Conroy spoke to the media on Tuesday afternoon to discuss his vision and some of the decisions he will have to make during his first summer on the job.
Conroy, who has served in the Flames’ front office since retiring as a player in 2011, officially assumed the role vacated by Brad Treliving in April.
Additionally, the Flames named former Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Dave Nonis senior vice president of hockey operations and assistant general manager. The club have also promoted current assistant general managers Brad Pascall and Chris Snow.
The Flames underperformed in Treliving’s final year on the job, missing the playoffs after posting a 38–27–17 regular season record. The team’s poor performance cost head coach Darryl Sutter his job and could have other effects on the roster.
“Well, I think we’re going to change the core a bit,” Conroy said during his press conference on Tuesday. « Not the showpieces, but I think we’re going to add some young people into the lineup.
“My big thing was the draft, observing the players, and what I observed and learned is that you need young players in the team. You need that excitement, you need what they bring day in and day out. And it’s nothing against older players, but when you look at the league, you see what these youngsters are doing at 15, 16, 17, I can’t even imagine doing that. You have to bring that into your team, you have to give them a chance.
Conroy also pointed to the financial benefits of adding more young players to the roster, especially given the constraints the Flames will face this summer when contract extensions for Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar kick in.
“We have a salary cap. Younger players are definitely helping the salary cap. We’re going to look at all of this. But I never want to say this team can’t win,” Conroy said. “I never want to count a team. But I really think there needs to be changes.
Conroy played over 500 games with the Flames during his 16-year NHL career. He had 97 goals and 308 points in 507 games over two stints with the Flames between 2001-04 and 2007-11.
The Montreal Canadiens originally selected Conroy in the sixth round (123rd overall) of the 1990 NHL Draft. The Potsdam, NY product played just 13 games over two seasons with the Canadiens before being traded to 1996 to the St. Louis Blues, with whom he became a Frank J. Selke Trophy contender.
Conroy continued his strong two-way game after being traded to the Flames in 2001, finishing second in Selke’s vote in 2002 after scoring a career-high 27 goals and 75 points in 81 games. He was the Flames’ best center when the club reached the Stanley Cup Finals in 2004.
After a brief stint with the Los Angeles Kings, Conroy returned to the Flames in 2007 and ended his career in a controller role with the team. In all, he had 182 goals and 542 points in 1,009 games over 16 seasons with the Canadiens, Blues, Flames and Kings; he added 10 goals and 30 points in 81 career playoff games.