From the Calgary Herald article reporting defenseman Mark Cundari being re-signed by our Calgary Flames to a one-year, two-way contract:
It’s not lost on Mark Cundari, of course.
He knows full well that a handful of defenders have vacated the premises.
However, even without those relatively seasoned presences — Shane O’Brien, Chris Butler, Derek Smith, Chad Billins, Chris Breen — Cundari isn’t expecting a paved path to the Calgary Flames’ opening-day lineup.
Then again, the situation is quite tantalizing.
Cundari went undrafted in the 2008 draft. The most popular reason I found for him failing to be drafted is the fact he only stands 5’9″. Yip, you guessed it, he is the shortest Calgary Flame defenseman listed on the roster, including their “in the system” roster. Cundari came to the Calgary Flames in the Jay Bouwmeester trade to St. Louis.
I look at the Flames defense and I already see seven NHL defensemen. Which one of these defensemen does Cundari un-seed to play for our Calgary Flames this season?
- TJ Brodie, the discussion is already on about extending the contract of the soon to be unrestricted free agent.
- Mark Giordano, the Flames captain who collected a Norris Trophy vote last season
- Derek Engelland, truculence exemplified
- Kris Russell, only an inch taller than Cundari but at age 27 has experience on his side
- Laddy Smid, sort of the opposite of Cundari in the sense that while you are sure of Smid in the defensive zone, you are also sure he will not score any end to end goals
- Dennis Wideman, in the midst of a five year contract with the Flames, this could be the man Cundari un-seeds but not this season
- Tyler Wotherspoon, the argument is already floating around whether or not it’s best for Wotherspoon to play 10-12 minutes a night at the NHL level or 20-22 minutes a night at the AHL level. Cundari, if he impresses in camp, would fit into that same argument
The Hockey News touts Mark Cundari as follows:
Assests: A mobile defender, he moves the puck with aplomb and is usually reliable in his own end. Can put up very good numbers at lower levels.
Flaws: At 5-9, 195 pounds, he is quite undersized for the National Hockey League game and must prove he can handle bigger forwards all over the ice.
Definitely sounds like the making of quite the interesting training camp battle for defensive spots on the roster. Here’s hoping Mark Cundari can make decisions extremely difficult for Calgary Flames brass.