Per Sportnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the Calgary Flames are signing forward Kevin Rooney to a two-year contract worth $1.3MM per season. Rooney spent the last two seasons on the New York Rangers, operating as the team’s fourth-line center for most of his tenure there.
Rooney’s signing in Calgary likely signals last season’s fourth-line pivot, Trevor Lewis, could be returning to the wing, where he has spent most of his career. In New York, Rooney was an effective fourth-line center who provided defense-first play and not much in the way of offense. Rooney’s six goals and six assists certainly won’t excite any Flames fans still reeling from the loss of Johnny Gaudreau, but his 2:07 average time-on-ice short-handed should excite coach Darryl Sutter very much. As a penalty-killing defensive specialist, Rooney should help the Flames on that area of special teams as well as give them around 10-12 minutes of even-strength ice time they won’t need to worry about.
This will be a major offseason for the Flames, but not every move has to be one of extreme significance. Rooney will need to improve his work at the faceoff dot, as his career 46.3% win rate is underwhelming for a defensive center, but otherwise, he’s a reasonable, sensible acquisition for a GM facing a ton of pressure. He’ll likely become a favorite of Darryl Sutter and should be someone Flames fans come to admire for his work on their penalty kill.