Flames general manager, Brad Treliving has an opportunity to claim a NHL player with 130 games of experience who makes below the league minimum in salary. Of course, there’s no guarantee the Flames will be able to snag the 28-year-old defenseman off the waiver wire from the Canadiens. However, if they can, they’ll get some much-needed help moving the puck and clearing their defensive zone.
It’s a move the Flames may need to make after losing the services of right-handed defenseman Fionn Daly, a 9-year-old phenom from Ireland who was signed by the team to a one-day contract from the Calgary Sledge Hockey Association. At 4’5, 86 pounds, the Flames will miss the intimidating physical presence of the in-demand youngster who came to the team through Make-A-Wish Southern Alberta but at least the team could put together a stirring montage of photos to honor the youngster before he returned to play sledge hockey once again for the Calgary Venom.
Faced with a need for Plan B, here’s more about Zach Redmond.
A Dependable Puck-Moving Defenseman
Zach Redmond is a low-risk, affordable and experienced option that would bring depth and a right-handed shot to an under-performing Flames blue line. Throughout his career, the 6’2, 208-pound puck-moving defenseman has demonstrated some decent possession stats that are a bit surprising given his size and the fact that he has averaged between 10 and 15 minutes of ice time each game.
In 16 matches with Montreal this season, Redmond lead all defenders on the Canadiens (and on the Flames as well) with a 57 CF% (Corsi For Percentage) and a 5.3 CF% Rel (Corsi For Percentage Relative) which demonstrates he tends to help make good things happen on the ice. This could be good news for a Flames team desperate to improve play in their own zone, especially when it comes to making a good first pass
Redmond is not known for his point production or his physical play but he also doesn’t take bad penalties either accumulating just one minor penalty so far this season. What he could do is fill a serious defensive gap by being a steady stay-at-home defenseman at a lower cost than any other current Flames defender at just $612,500 for this season and next.
He also would inject some new blood into a stagnant Flames line-up that has been ineffectively juggling Dennis Wideman, Jyrki Jokipakka, Brett Kulak and Tyler Wotherspoon around on its bottom two defense pairings since the beginning of the season.
Defying the Odds
As a seventh-round draft pick the odds that Zach Redmond would play in the NHL were never high. Yet, even as a youngster, Redmond learned to fight the odds to accomplish his dreams. Much like current Flames defenseman Deryk Engelland, Redmond has stuck with his game through a lot of adversity to make the NHL. For example, when he was 15 he was told he had only a 50% chance of ever playing hockey again when he suffered a transient ischemic attack, a minor stroke that developed from a blood clot and briefly stopped blood supply to the brain.
If that weren’t enough Redmond suffered another life-threatening injury while playing for the Winnipeg Jets in February 2013. During practice before a game in Carolina, Redmond was accidentally stepped on by teammate Antti Miettinen when he fell on his back during a drill. The skate severed the femoral artery in Redmond’s right thigh which could’ve caused him to bleed to death if teammate Anthony Peluso hadn’t help to pinch the gash before assistant coach Perry Pearn could come and create a tourniquet around the wound to slow the bleeding. It took emergency surgery and a week in hospital but Redmond once again recovered to resume his NHL career.
Redmond Continues to Do The Right Thing
Through it all, Redmond has just tried to play his game and do the right things to be successful as he told the Montreal Gazette when he signed with the Canadiens.
“I try and play a good two-way game,” said Redmond “Especially coming here, what I’m going to be trying to do is make a good first pass out of the zone, get back to pucks quick and make sure that I can be trusted in the D zone. And then when the puck moves into the O zone, try and make plays towards the net. Just trying to play a solid, two-way game with maybe more emphasis on defence.”
A simple two-way game that isn’t flashy or overly complicated could be just what the Flames need. Obviously, Redmond won’t solve the Flames problems in goal or add the offensive punch that is needed on the right side of Johnny Gaudreau’s line but he could help stabilize the blue line if the Flames are fortunate enough to be able to claim him from the waiver wire.
Jon is a Calgary resident and life-long Flames fan who is a new contributor on TheHockeyWriters.com. You can follow Jon on Twitter @sportfanyyc where you’ll probably learn a bit more about sledge hockey as well.