CALGARY - Despite expressing his frustration with the Calgary Flames last week, Jay Feaster gave his team a vote of confidence on Monday.
The Flames general manager decided to stand pat at Monday's NHL trade deadline prior to Calgary's game against the St. Louis Blues at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
"We like this group," said Feaster when he met with the media an hour after the deadline had passed. "We believe the answers are still in that room. We feel that we've had a number of productive conversations with a number of our guys over the last two, three days and we're ready to get going here and chase this playoff spot."
Feaster explained that the team's entire hockey department met a day in advance of the deadline to discuss the viability of making any trades with the Flames in an intense battle for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
"We talked about the fact that despite our disappointment with the way last week went—and clearly we're disappointed with the results last week—that when the day started yesterday we were one point back of the eighth spot and we were four points out of seventh," said Feaster, whose squad fell three points back of eighth after the Dallas Stars won on Sunday night. "We made the decision that we weren't going to be sellers, that we weren't going to bust this thing up."
Despite not making any trades, Feaster said he worked the phone lines to discuss possible deals with other GMs around the league, but that the prices being asked were just too high.
"We had a lot of conversations over the past week to 10 days with my colleagues around the league," Feaster said. "We were in on a number of things today that if the price had been right, if it had been something that we were prepared to give up to get a player to add to the group, we would have.
"We had some teams inquire about some guys and make offers. There was nothing that was compelling to us in terms of no-one was offering a first-round pick or a second-round pick."
When asked what he has to say to fans after not making any moves on Monday, Feaster pointed to the fact that the Flames acquired forwards Blair Jones and Michael Cammalleri in January and that they claimed Blake Comeau off waivers from the New York Islanders in November.
"I'd like to think the fans were pretty happy on Jan. 6 when we picked up Blair Jones," Feaster said. "On Jan. 12, we picked up what I think is a glue guy here in terms of Mike Cammalleri. This day, it's so over-hyped that you lose track of the fact we acquired Comeau off waivers back in November. We have been doing things."
Another factor in Calgary's decision to stand pat is that forward David Moss is nearing a return to the lineup after being out with an ankle injury since early November.
"When we say we need a top-nine forward and we have the ability to get a guy like David Moss coming back off IR, that's as good of a top-nine forward as we can think we're going to get in the market today and we didn't have to give up an asset to do it," Feaster said.
Curtis Glencross and Derek Smith also recently returned to action with the Flames, who also expect Jones and defenceman Chris Butler back to help out the playoff drive in March.
"We're very fortunate we're getting some key guys back for us and they're coming back healthy," said Calgary captain Jarome Iginla. "Just to get them back and into the lineup is a big boost."
The Flames did make a pair of minor moves on Monday sending forward Krys Kolanos back to the Abbotsford Heat of the American Hockey League and signing forward Tim Jackman to a two-year contract worth an annual average value of US$612,500.
Feaster admitted that other teams asked about acquiring Jackman, but that the Flames believed that he was too valuable of a commodity to give up.
"Candidly, we didn't feel that anyone had offered us something that was of a greater value to us, whether it's now or in the future, compared to his value to us down the stretch," Feaster said. "Getting him signed, we're happy about that. We think it's a good deal for both of us. He's an important guy in that room. He's a very, very popular teammate."
Jackman was happy to hear that he would be staying with the Flames organization.
"It's a big relief," said Jackman. "It's good to know that they want me around and that I get to stay in Calgary for two more years. I love playing here so it's a great honour and I'm excited.
"I've bounced around for a few different teams along the way. To finally find kind of a home, it feels really good."