Calgary has new hopes with new coach Bob Hartley

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 18, 2013 at 4:19 pm •  Published: January 18, 2013

The club opens the season again hoping to find a center for Iginla on the right wing and will ride 36-year-old goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff as far and as much as they can. The 48-game schedule means the Finn will play fewer than 70 regular-season games for the first time in seven seasons.

The Flames need secondary scoring to take the heat off Iginla's line and for 2007 first-round draft pick Mikael Backlund to assert himself more. Defenseman Jay Bouwmeester has played in 588 consecutive games, but the Flames want more offense out of a player who counts $6.6 million against the salary cap.

Offseason acquisitions Jiri Hudler and Roman Cervenka and defenseman Dennis Wideman pump some new and expensive blood into the lineup. Hudler, a Stanley Cup winner with the Detroit Red Wings in 2008, signed as a free agent for four years and $16 million.

General manager Jay Feaster acquired the rights to 29-year-old Wideman from the Capitals before the defenseman entered free agency last summer. He signed a five-year contract with an average annual value of $5.25 million, with the Flames hoping he can generate offense from the back end.

The big question hanging over the club is the future of Iginla, the team's captain, franchise leader in most offensive categories and a Flame for all of his 15 years in the NHL. At 35, he is in the fifth and final year of a contract that pays him $7 million annually.

Iginla made it clear prior to the start of training camp he will not talk about his contract status or a possible trade every day of this truncated season, but he may not be able to avoid it if the Flames stagger at the start.

"Whoever becomes the best team the quickest is going to do well," said winger Mike Cammalleri. "Your odds are a lot better to be where you want to be should you have a strong start. However, there's always outliers and we'll take it as it comes. But right now we want to win Game 1."

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