Calgary Flames

Are the Calgary Flames trying to get the band back together?

With the reported news announced on Sunday that the Calgary Flames are set to promote Craig Conroy to be their newest general manager, the next biggest question becomes what comes next? 

The team is clearly nowhere near finished in terms of completing their organization overhaul, but there could be an immense amount of clarifying information coming in the next day or so. This could be inclusive of a few new assistant general managers, additional management positions, and even potential coaching jobs.

What was extremely intriguing was what Elliotte Friedman announced during yesterday’s Stanley Cup Playoffs broadcast: 

Let’s break down the news and what it could mean for the Flames.

Calgary’s management group

First off, it appears that for a while Dave Nonis has been a leading candidate for some sort of position within the organization. He was a part of the second round interviews for GM, but now you wonder if he is going to be given one of the AGM positions vacated by Conroy. He has a long history with Don Maloney and Bob Murray—both would be strong voices wanting to bring him on. 

You can’t help but wonder if the team wanted to at very least bring in another voice who had GM experience to work under Conroy—regardless of how poor that experience may have been. 

Time will also tell how long Brad Pascall’s tenure with the organization will last. Although Conroy appeared to be the frontrunner among current AGMs, Pascall’s body of work may make him a prime candidate for other management positions across the league. Surely a Nonis hire would be another “safety” blanket should that happen. 

Finally, it’s extremely evident that Jarome Iginla will have whatever role he wants within the organization whenever that time comes. Surely, what makes most sense is he takes on a similar role that Conroy did when he first joined the organization. A special assistant to the general manager or similar role would give Iginla some experience on the management side, while also ensuring the fan base has reason to be even more excited about the franchise’s future. It wouldn’t be surprising if Conroy used that as part of his interview. 

Calgary’s coaching status

Most of Friedman’s key snippets of information came in regards to the head coaching position. Mitch Love was mentioned again, as was Ryan Huska, but also two key names that we haven’t heard before: Travis Green and Alex Tanguay. 

Green was the head coach with the Vancouver Canucks for five seasons from 2017–2022 when he was relieved of his duties midseason. Many have wondered when he would be given another opportunity in the NHL, and with the sheer number of former Canucks on the current Flames roster it doesn’t hurt to at least look into the possibility.

Tanguay is far more intriguing. Currently serving as an assistant coach on Derek Lalonde’s staff in Detroit, Tanguay has an extensive history with Conroy and the Flames. He played for the team from 2006–2008, and again from 2010–2013, overlapping with Conroy on both accounts in both a player and managerial role. His name is one that has been quiet in terms of head coaching positions, but seems like at least a candidate for a role here. With Kirk Muller’s name out there again for some head coaching positions, there may be as assistant role needing to be filled as well.

Can the Flames get the band back together?

Don Maloney is making a number of smart moves in his first few months as president of hockey operations. Hiring Conroy made the absolute most sense, he had the organizational experience and was the young viewpoint that he preached during his press conferences. He is also someone the fan base is already excited to see inherit the role—many of the other candidates would have left a sour taste in everyone’s mouth.

Adding Iginla and Tanguay would be leaning more and more towards fan service, but would at least give fans something new and exciting to lean into. A retread of the same few candidates whose names always come up would have been too rinse-and-repeat for a team that has been battling mediocrity for too long.

Getting the band back together does come with a warning sign though, as it’s not always the best to see some of your favourite hockey players start running your favourite franchise. Nothing lasts forever and having to separate fandom from business can be difficult. 

Let’s hope that Conroy and whoever ends up filling out his staff have enough success where their resumes can be looked back on with fond memories.

Photo by: Paul Sancya – AP / The Canadian Press

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