Teardown time?

Robert Cleave
November 16 2010 02:09PM

 

EDMONTON, CANADA - OCTOBER 16: Calgary Flames right wing Jarome Iginla  concentrates against the Edmonton Oilers at the Scotiabank Saddledome on October 16, 2010 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The Flames beat the Oilers 5-3. (Photo by Dylan Lynch/Getty Images)

With the Flames struggling to begin the season, talk of blowing up the team and the management group has started again, with the potential move of the captain as the beginning of that move. I have to question if people really get what a teardown looks like, though, and if their understandable desire to see the Flames improve isn't blinding them to what has happened around the league as of late.

The last two Cup champs are routinely held up as exemplars of this approach. Chicago and Pittsburgh, as the tale now gets related, recognized their flaws as a team, then valiantly flung every old player in their midst off in an organized manner so that the race to the bottom could be achieved forthwith. Once at the bottom, it was a mere bagatelle to scoop up the young players at the core of their rebuild, and peace and happiness was achieved.

My answer to that can be summed up quite succinctly;

GIVE ME A GOD DAMNED BREAK

Chicago came out of the lockout signing Nikolai Khabibulin and Adrian Aucoin to big-money four year deals in order to add to their young core at the time, guys like Calder, Arnason, Tuomo Ruutu and Mark Bell. There was no master plan, unless you call misjudging the abilities of your young players and having those high profile UFA players be both hurt and not very good the mark of genius.

No team with an organized plan to rebuild signs a goalie to a 6.75M deal in a league with a 39M cap. DUI and Shinpad ate up more than a quarter of Chicago's cap space that year. That's planning? They did get a terrific player by trade that season, as they obtained Patrick Sharp from the Flyers, but he was traded for Eric Meloche and a third rounder, so it wasn't as if he was a highly thought of young player cast aside for a good return. The Hawks got him for the price of a cast-off.

 

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 03: Jonathan Toews  of the Chicago Blackhawks skates to the puck against the New Jersey Devils at the United Center on November 3, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Devils defeated the Blackhawks 5-3. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

After a season where players fell like tenpins due to injury, the Hawks drafted their captain in 2006, but again, fate played a significant role. What if the Penguins took Toews instead of Jordan Staal with the second pick of that draft? Would the Hawk rebuild still have been as successful?

I have a lot of time for Staal as a player, and I've routinely noted that he's done a lot of the heavy lifting in Pittsburgh over the last few seasons, allowing Crosby and Malkin easier circumstances. Is he as good as Toews, though? I'm not so sure about that.

Finally, the Hawks had a little drafting fortune come their way. Duncan Keith was the 16th defenseman drafted in 2002, going 54th overall. He might be selected a bit higher in a redraft, no? The same could be said for Hjalmarsson being selected as a 4th rounder or Byfuglien and Brouwer as late round picks in '03 and '04.

Other than the *cough* perfect *cough* Red Wings, no one actually knows if a late round pick has a hope in hell of ever playing in the NHL, and the Hawks sure didn't know that about those gents.

WHAT I'M DRIVING AT

Is that luck is a much larger part of a successful team's composition than we often choose to admit. Pittsburgh, the other team that gets this sort of treatment, obtained Sidney Crosby in 2005 via a weighted lottery that nine other teams had an equal chance of winning. If they get Bobby Ryan or even Anze Kopitar instead, do they win a Cup in 2009? I doubt it. If they draft Kopitar and Toews instead of Crosby and Staal, does that work? I don't know about that either, but maybe it does.

 

PITTSBURGH - APRIL 30: Jordan Staal #11 of the Pittsburgh Penguins leaves the ice favoring one leg after a collision against the Montreal Canadiens in Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 30, 2010 at Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

That noted, the Pens did openly blow up their club once Jaromir Jagr decided he was done with Pittsburgh, and then proceeded to be dreadful for years running, drove most of their fan base off along the way and needed that stroke of fortune after the lockout to return the club to the top.

It certainly wasn't pure planning, and as I noted, they might have slightly erred in the Staal choice and I'm not sure Marc-Andre Fleury would go in the top 20 of a 2003 redraft. Without lucking into Crosby, I doubt anyone is talking about the Penguins as a model.

Even if you draft highly year after year, you could be the Thrashers. Their four year run at the top of the draft netted them Stefan, Heatley, Kovalchuk and Lehtonen. One total bust, two very good forwards and one goalie that might be good if he can play a season or two with being hurt. None of them are in Atlanta, and they've started the rebuild again with one playoff berth to show for it, obtained in the worst division in the game.

 

DETROIT - NOVEMBER 11: Sam Gagner  of the Edmonton Oilers carries the puck as Valtteri Filppula  and Ruslan Salei  both of the Detroit Red Wings backcheck during their NHL game at Joe Louis Arena on November 11, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan.(Photo By Dave Sandford/Getty Images)

If you want another example of what can go wrong when you blow things up, take a gander at the team up Highway 2. Again, they didn't plan a teardown out of principle. Lauren Pronger made that decision for them around Christmas time of 2005, and the Oilers have been suffering for it ever since.

Even if their three highly touted young guys make the leap to be good NHLers, that team stands every chance of being bad for 6 or 7 years running. The Oilers are no more guaranteed long term success from their accumulation of kids than Atlanta was or the Islanders are. The Thrashers likely drafted better players in Heatley and Kovalchuk than Edmonton has, and as I mentioned, that franchise is nowhere.

I get the desire for a large portion of the fan base to see the organization start over. The Flames aren't a team that appears to be close to elite at the moment, and they can't sell hope via a crop of kids. What I hope people are willing to accept is that the teams that everyone wants to emulate really didn't choose to suck out loud.

It just happened to them. Every last one of them was far worse off than the Flames currently are, and even if the Flames decide to unload every older player on the roster, there's no assurance that the club will even be as good as the current team at any point down the line, whether it's with Darryl Sutter in charge or someone else.

If the Flames go down the road of a teardown, just be prepared for the fact that it's as likely the team will spend a good number of years in the wilderness as any other scenario you might imagine.

1a1030a8151ca7a0d81aea58f0fb1dbc
Robert Cleave is a perpetually grumpy Winnipegger.
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#1 JF
November 16 2010, 03:45PM
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I dunno. Here's my idea of a "rebuild"... Fire Darryl Sutter. That's all, just fire Sutter and hire a new GM (not named Feaster/Sutter/Sather) who has a fresh approach and give him the same flexibility as Mr. Milksy has been granted and let nature take it's course.

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#2 icedawg_42
November 16 2010, 02:28PM
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I would point out on the flipside, that trading away all your early draft picks for middle of the road forwards is equally futile ;)

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#3 RossCreekNation
November 16 2010, 02:28PM
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"What I hope people are willing to accept is that the teams that everyone wants to emulate really didn't choose to suck out loud. It just happened to them."

Its happening.

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#4 RossCreekNation
November 16 2010, 02:45PM
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Sure, Lauren Pronger's decision hurt the Oilers, but so did their subsequent decision to try & forge ahead, signing the Moreau's, Staios', Pisani's, etc. to inflated long-term deals & then waiting til the last second to trade Ryan Smyth for Ryan O'Marra & Alex Plante, rather than moving him sooner for a better package when they had more leverage, or signing him to an extension for the extra 100 GRRR he wanted. The Oilers didn't realize how bad they were soon enough... let's not do the same here.

I'm just acknowledging that Iginla & Regehr are on the wrong side of the mountain... shouldn't we at least consider what we could get for them before their value plummets any further?

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#5 RossCreekNation
November 16 2010, 02:59PM
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@Gange

I see your Rico Fata, and raise you Daniel Tkaczuk & Jesper Mattson.

*shudders*

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#6 Kent Wilson
November 16 2010, 03:05PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

I see your Rico Fata, and raise you Daniel Tkaczuk & Jesper Mattson.

*shudders*

And Brent Krahn. And Eric Nystrom for that matter. And Kris Chucko. And...

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#7 Gange
November 16 2010, 03:08PM
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Daniel Ryder...

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#8 everton fc
November 16 2010, 03:33PM
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Good post, Robert. Blowing up the house is not the answer. And look at the Pens and Hawks now. Both struggling a bit.

The Wings are the organization to emulate. I'll leave it at that.

And the Caps built their current roster without blowing anything up. Then again, they had nothing to blow-up since their one and only trip to the Cup (beaten easily by... the Wings)

The Wings know what to do with castaways like Bertuzzi and Cleary (at the time of his arrival) whilst remaining as old as Charlton Heston. Look at their current roster - and you think the Flames are old?

Yet they win. Why? Like the winning post from last week - 5 or 6 top-flight players... and a system that consistently produces results.

As for the draft and the Flames results... The Wings seem to draft well... Look at the longevity of their top people... and their younger players... very few on their current roster played elsewhere...

My point - we need new leadership. A new direction.

Sooner, than later.

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#9 Greg
November 16 2010, 05:52PM
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"Iginla is 33 years old on a big contract. You keep a player like that around if you think that you have a legit shot at the cup."

Agree with Casey on this. The flames had a window to take a shot, and Sutter rightly did so (even if it was the wrong horse) on the first Joker trade. I still believe that without all the injuries, that team gets past the first round and maybe more. He forced the issue a bit too much with the jaybo signing. Then completely lost his mind for about six months. Window closed.

I would not want to see a rebuild take place though. I'd prefer to do what Philly did and go with a "refresh". Identify what assets you can still succeed with over the next 4-5 years and hang on to them. Gio, Jaybo, Bourque, GlenX, Moss, Hagman, Stajan, Backlund. That's still a fairlygood collection of serviceable players. Ship out the ones you can likely get better value over the next 5 years by trading. Iginla, Regher, Kipper, and anyone coming up on free agency at the deadline that wouldn't be part of the plan (Morrison, Tanguay, White). Keep what you can't trade to stay competitive but use what you can trade to refresh the system and supplement the team going forward. I'm not expecting you get lucky with a Carter and Richards strike, but if you could turn Iginla into say, Quick and Schenn, get a mix of picks and prospects with the others, and a top 5 pick of your own being "forced" on you from a terrible season, I think that's the route you have to go.

If by mid December this team is still bottom five, then I think it's safe to say they won't be any worse off without the big three, and would be much more likely to improve in coming years with a "refresh".

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#10 PrairieStew
November 17 2010, 07:57AM
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@R O

The 90's were much different than what is occuring now. The dollar was as low as 62 cents and free agency was driving up the cost of players, leaving the Flames little choice but to trade their best players while they were still at their peak. Gilmour, Macinnis, Nieuwendyk, Suter and even Fleury were all traded before their 30th birthday. Vernon walked at 30, Macrimmon was traded at 31.

As I said all summer, the group that has been built around has had its chance, and as someone pointed out earlier, they were darn close 2 years ago but injuries hurt them against the Hawks. I would not be advocating trading any of them if the prospect stable was rated in the top 10. What I fear, and what I believe I am seeing is a steady and continual decline of this team, despite the tweaking that Sutter has tried. Choosing to hang on to the veterans, not getting anything for them for the future means that the valley will be both longer and deeper than if you move them now.

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#11 Kent Wilson
November 16 2010, 02:12PM
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Yup. Rebuilds are almost never chosen as a course of action. They "happen" to franchises, either because of ownership/money problems or because the management steered the ship into an iceberg and the club is simply terrible.

If the Flames blow things up, it'll be because they don't have another choice.

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#12 Domebeers.com
November 16 2010, 02:20PM
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RC, I'm glad you wrote it, because if I did there would be more of 'a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, stupid.'

As someone who was around for the 90's...yeah, rebuilds work like Stalins 5 year plans did.

Agree with you 100%, great read.

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#13 RossCreekNation
November 16 2010, 02:27PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Yup. Rebuilds are almost never chosen as a course of action. They "happen" to franchises, either because of ownership/money problems or because the management steered the ship into an iceberg and the club is simply terrible.

If the Flames blow things up, it'll be because they don't have another choice.

And if they wait for things to hit rock bottom, we'll be beginning the rebuild in 4 years, with nothing to show for it anyways.

Time to start a movement... T.F.R.

Tryin' For Ryan (Nugent-Hopkins)

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#14 Kent Wilson
November 16 2010, 02:47PM
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icedawg_42 wrote:

I would point out on the flipside, that trading away all your early draft picks for middle of the road forwards is equally futile ;)

Don't read this as an implicit validation of the way Sutter has done things (especially recently). What Bob's saying is rebuild is no panacea for what ails this club.

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#15 dickshilling
November 16 2010, 02:50PM
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Fact is the Oilers are a team who have committed to long-term rebuild mode. They are in 15th place in the conference.

The Flames are theoretically grizzled veterans who know how to win big games when they count. Ownership has enough faith in management that this team can still compete, for both a playoff spot and presumably a Stanley Cup. They are in 14th place in the conference.

Anyone see a problem here?

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#16 jess
November 16 2010, 02:50PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

"What I hope people are willing to accept is that the teams that everyone wants to emulate really didn't choose to suck out loud. It just happened to them."

Its happening.

this gave me the chills.

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#17 Kent Wilson
November 16 2010, 02:51PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

Sure, Lauren Pronger's decision hurt the Oilers, but so did their subsequent decision to try & forge ahead, signing the Moreau's, Staios', Pisani's, etc. to inflated long-term deals & then waiting til the last second to trade Ryan Smyth for Ryan O'Marra & Alex Plante, rather than moving him sooner for a better package when they had more leverage, or signing him to an extension for the extra 100 GRRR he wanted. The Oilers didn't realize how bad they were soon enough... let's not do the same here.

I'm just acknowledging that Iginla & Regehr are on the wrong side of the mountain... shouldn't we at least consider what we could get for them before their value plummets any further?

I think that's a fair question. The issue is: could the team pursue a strategy that sees them continue to be competitive and/or improve without out going the scorched earth route?

I don't know, particularly with the current management. I think they'll continue to scratch and claw till there's no other avenues, but we'll see.

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#18 Gange
November 16 2010, 02:53PM
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Well I think a rebuild, of some description, is in order.

Yes, those teams struggled far worse than this team has. Anyone who has been a fan of this team in the last 20 years should be able to admit the draft has not guaranteed any success (Rico Fata anyone?).

There are some clear blue chip prospects that are being sorely missed though. There are some areas in this team that could be torn down and rebuilt.

Does the team need to sell off and completely rebuild? No. Drafting in the top ten would be a nice addition to players like Backlund, Glencross, and Bourque though.

Gabriel Landeskog would look really good in the flaming C and the way things have been going for the last couple years we're not likely to get a shot in the 15-20 pick slot.

Maybe I'm just pessimistic though.

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#19 RossCreekNation
November 16 2010, 02:57PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

I think that's a fair question. The issue is: could the team pursue a strategy that sees them continue to be competitive and/or improve without out going the scorched earth route?

I don't know, particularly with the current management. I think they'll continue to scratch and claw till there's no other avenues, but we'll see.

Right, that would obviously be plan A. But I also see management going the "scratch & claw" route.

I wouldn't mind seeing Jay Feaster reunite with Brad Richards (for the good guys this time).

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#20 Gange
November 16 2010, 03:11PM
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The point is that Gabriel Landeskog is not likely one of those prospects. He's a PF with great leadership good hands skates well.

Does that sound like a player they could use? You know...for the future...if anyone should slide...

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#21 dotfras
November 16 2010, 03:33PM
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Yeah Landeskog looks solid, if the season ended today we'd have a shot at drafting him.....Who knows if we'll be in a similar spot at the end of the year.

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#22 Bruins
November 16 2010, 03:49PM
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I think this team does have some talent and could make the playoffs but I think they need a couple of character players. Two guys I absolutely hate are kessler and burroughs but would love to see them wearing flames sweaters, sutter needs to shake up this line up.

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#23 JF
November 16 2010, 04:17PM
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Oh yuck, this articule is giving aide and comfort to the Cult of Sutterites on CP... gross.

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#24 Iggyforpicks
November 16 2010, 04:18PM
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What defines "Blowing it up"? We need to first realize that this team isn't very good even if there were no mental mistakes, injuries, etc. Look at the team as having a new core group and make adjustments accordingly. Assuming that Bourque, Backlund, Stajan, Gio, Brodie, and Kipper are the core moving forward why would we not look at improving by moving any of the rest. Instead of looking to blow it up why not look towards adding organizational depth. White, Sarich, Regehr, Iggy, Hagman, etc. would allow us to add depth through youth or picks. Even if there is no market for them, let the contracts expire...Tanguay, Staois, White, this year...Sarich, Joker, Hagman, Langkow, etc. the year after.

We are barely competitive today with a salary cap pushing roter...why not clear space to allow flexibility?

Ultimately I cant see why we are not still as competitive (or uncompetitive if you like) with Brodie vs. Sarich or Mikkelson vs. Staois or anybody vs Joker or Sutter/Nemisz/Wahl as 4th liners.

Don't look to blow up, just look for opportunities to refresh the system and stop using the "duct tape and binder twine" method of player acquisition.

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#25 Casey
November 16 2010, 04:25PM
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Yes. Great post. Intentionally sucking for YEARS in order to get good draft picks is not a recipe for future success.

Unless you have a top 5 pick in the draft, the odds of getting a franchise player are extremely slim.

*IF* the Oilers rookies become stars, and *IF* they can convince them to stay in Edmonton, there is still no guarantee that the other pieces will be there (ie defense, role forwards, goaltending, coaching, etc.) to make them an elite team.

The real key to becoming and staying elite is drafting well, and then developing well so that there is a constant stream of cheap, young talent being infused into the lineup. Detroit is clearly the template in this regard.

Would it kill us to trade a piece like Iginla or Regehr for some younger pieces? Probably not. Do we want to dump everyone making over $3M and take a run at 60 points in order to get a lottery pick? Uh... no.

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#26 everton fc
November 16 2010, 04:26PM
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@Bruins

Sutter shook up the team last year, didn't he? Moving Phanuef, I mean...

I think the dressing room has tuned out the coaching staff. Only two solutions to that problem: Shake up the dressing room or find a coach (and perhaps staff) who can reach these players.

I believe a more inspirational personality would have this group in the top 8. Look at what Playfair's doing down on the farm, where multiple injury concerns have left him a bench full of rookies and nobodies. Look at the Heat's roster. No one stand out, really. Our farm is young, but outside of Brodie, is there anyone that just jumps off the page?

The Heat sit on top of their division. Not one guy Top 20 in scoring.

An inspired dressing room? It seems so. Perhaps an inspirational leader behind the bench could get this group of also-rans intot he top 8?

Perhaps Playfair could get this group into the top 8?

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#27 Casey
November 16 2010, 04:45PM
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Iginla is 33 years old on a big contract. You keep a player like that around if you think that you have a legit shot at the cup.

The Flames no longer have a legit shot at the cup.

As much as it pains me to say it, the decision to trade Iginla to a contender seems pretty obvious.

The days of using Iggy as a draw for free agents is over.

We have NO IDEA what he would fetch on the trade market, but Sutter should be actively listening to offers.

If you can get a future first liner AND relief from Iggy's $7M ticket then I think you need to do it. Big "IF" though.

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#28 bruins
November 16 2010, 04:53PM
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@everton fc

All I could think of. Nobody (king) wants to do anything about the sutters.

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#29 the-wolf
November 16 2010, 05:24PM
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First off, lets take luck out of the equation here. Good and bad things happen no matter what your plan is, so "luck" is not a valid argument.

Ditto for bad management (hello Atlanta and Minnesota - teams that got high picks because they were expansion franchises, but also tried to be immediately competitive). The best of companies have been driven into bankruptcy through pure mismanagement. I think we can all agree that there are no guarantees.

What we're really talking about here is timing.

In the world of sports, if you want to win it all, every so often you have to rebuild. Sports goes in cycles.

Even before a salary cap, the teams that tried to buy their way in failed. Even the NYR drafted Leetch and Richter.

In junior hockey, it's a 4 year cycle. In the NHL, it's more like 6-10 years. Once a decade, a rebuild is in order.

How much you have to rebuild is determined by the level of competency within the organization. Detroit, for example, rebuilt after the Yzerman, Shanahan years with Datsyuk and Zetterbeg. The fact that they didn't miss a beat is due to the clubs' philosophies regarding drafting, development, systems and organizational structuring.

Edmonton, for example, was run by Kevin Lowe. Therefore, they require a greater rebuild.

As stated in other threads, Calgary's team in '89 was built through the draft. Every winner is upon examination. 4 GMs since Fletcher have tried to remain competitive and "win now." The results: we have 1 Cinderella run and 20 years of not going past the first round.

Toronto and Boston tried this all through the 80's and 90's and it didn't work for them either. It's why Hawks fans left (long before the injuries). Unlike Leafs fans, the message finally sank in.

As far as the Young Guns era goes, people who use this as an argument must not have been around then. I distinctly remember being told that despite getting rid of all of the superstars who helped Calgary win the Cup, the Flames were NOT rebuilding. "Something for now and something for the future" and "build while remaining competitive" were the mantras Al Coates kept repeating.

The results were that we picked lower than we could've (yes, even lower than 6th). We gave up picks and prospects in favor of immediate help. The attention, time, care, effort and resources that should've gone into the drafts was lacking.

The results? Those players chose from '95 to 2000 should still be forming our core now. Instead, we're in 14th. One or two spots higher in the draft for a few seasons, a few extra picks, a couple of more prospects, keying on talent instead of geography and who knows what would've been?

So is the time right now for the Flames to rebuild?

Well, our only superstar forward is aged and disinterested, our cap room is maxed out, the team's core (however you choose to define it) has proven conclusively that they can't get the job done, the team as a whole is old and slow, we lack true leadership and are bereft of any true warriors, and we have no impact prospects on the way any time soon. We'll most likely be out of the playoffs by the end of November and will be fighting the Oilers for the 1st overall pick.

I'd say, without a doubt, yes.

Besides, say what you want, but Chicago WON the Cup. Pittsburgh has rebuilt from scratch twice (regardless of the circumstance)and WON the Cup 3 times.

An obvious choice, I'd say.

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#30 B
November 16 2010, 05:39PM
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...100% agree with the article. Rebuilds do just happen. The goal should always be to stay competitive. However, with that being said, you have to have some foresight and as Kent likes to always drive home "proper asset management". Meaning when the top salaried guys you are paying to score the goals and shut down the goals aren't doing either (and are ageing) you need to trade them for top tier potential.

Two great posts:

"I'm just acknowledging that Iginla & Regehr are on the wrong side of the mountain... shouldn't we at least consider what we could get for them before their value plummets any further?"

"Iginla is 33 years old on a big contract. You keep a player like that around if you think that you have a legit shot at the cup."

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#31 wattree
November 16 2010, 08:01PM
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Well if you want to emulate Detroit, then you have to fill the pipeline. Look at the farm, it's only the last 3 draft classes that show any real promise. The scouting department might be finally rounding into shape to actually locate some talent throughout the draft, not just being able to pick a Crosby out of the pack. (and I'm not sure they would have gotten that right in the 90s)

I'm not trying to defend Sutter (I hate some of the moves he's made) but trading away mid rounds picks for players playing in the league is probably a much better strategy than trading players for draft picks when you have morons putting forth the talent list.

Who knows, maybe the plan is to give the crop of kids on the farm 2 years to develop while waiting for Iginla's contract to expire. Maybe they think that the can stay competitive enough to let that happen and then keep the Captain at a more reasonable price tag.

Tangent on the captain, nobody was complaining when he was producing 90+ points for "only" 7mill a year. I knew that when he signed this last deal the first years would look great but the end would be a struggle. Mind you I didn't see the drop-off being this quick, but shouldn't we be glad we're not Jersey? Or Vancouver with commitment to Luongo in 2022?

By the way does anyone know what the cap implications are if a player retires after age 36? I seem to remember their cap hit staying on the books to the end of their contract, but I could be wrong.

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#32 John Deere Green
November 16 2010, 08:34PM
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I agree with alot of the same comments from everyone here. I just don't see how it could be any worse with a couple young and up and comers than it is with Iginla now. It would be different if Iginla was producing a little (game tieing goal or game winning goal would help here and there) or even if he was playing really well defensively against other teams top lines. But he isn't! Get some young buc's in here that want to play for something (the team, a long term contract,perhaps?). Same goes with Regehr, and Kipper. Strike now well the iron is reasonably warm. As for Staois, Jokinen; I don't know how, but just get rid of them for a used skate lace or flip flops for the shower, whatever.

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#33 SmellOfVictory
November 16 2010, 08:38PM
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@wattree

Regarding retirement: when a player retires his cap hit comes off the books except in the cases where the first year of the contract takes effect when the player is 35+ years old.

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#34 dotfras
November 16 2010, 08:57PM
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I agree with everything other than trading Kipper.

I think we keep him, without him we aren't even decent.

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#35 CP is garbage
November 16 2010, 11:50PM
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@John Deere Green

I wish people would just drop the hopes of trading Steve Staios. Face it, Steve Staios isn't going anywhere untill the season is over and he retires.

just calling a spade a spade. nothing we can do about, no use in complaining.

I agree with the article. willingly entering a rebuild is potentially sending your fanchise into an abyss for an undetermined amount of time. This ownership group will never sign off on that.

if a 'rebuild' happens, it happens. but make make no mistake, this team, this organization won't be throwing the keys on the table anytime soon.

I don't know how you fix this mess, maybe Sutter can revert back to his days of fleecing other teams for players of the caliber of Langkow or Kipper......?

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#36 R O
November 17 2010, 12:33AM
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Freakin terrific post RCleave. One of those "so obvious it has to go without saying" concepts that must sadden you to have to explain, but there it is.

PIT is still freaking terrible without Crosby IMO. Staal is good but immediately after him is an elevator shaft. Now THERE is a team that would have benefited from trading with LA (Malkin).

Also noted is that the GMs behind some of these rebuilds are hiiideously bad. Shero went nuts with Dmen (Sutter syndrome) and left his F corps a clusterf. Meanwhile Tallon and McPhee are just the most awful contract negotiation decision makers.

Final note: I don't know how any long-term fan of the Flames could cheer for a rebuild. The 90s did happen. You've got to be either a bandwagoner or a masochist to want that.

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#37 PrairieStew
November 17 2010, 09:28AM
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@wattree

On the post 36 cap question, the way I understand it is this : If a player signs a contract after age 35, the cap hit remains even if a player retires. Iggy not in that situation; neither is Langkow - contracts previously signed, taking them to 35. If Langkow retires; his cap number comes off immediately.

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#38 R O
November 17 2010, 09:54AM
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Let me make sure I understand PStew:

15 years ago:

1.) We had a bunch of elite players.

2.) Traded them away in their peaks at their highest possible value

3.) Sucked for maaaany years with our best teams fielded eventually late the next decade (07/08 and 08/09).

And today:

1.) Have one elite player and a bunch of other pretty good ones.

2.) Trade the elite guy in his mid 30s and the other guys too, most at low value.

3.) ...

What goes in that last line? You seem to think the reasonable expectation is something other than "suck for many years".

Which is absurd on its face, sucking is pretty much guaranteed when you swap all your veterans for kids who don't have experience playing the man's game.

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#39 the-wolf
November 17 2010, 10:35AM
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Greg wrote:

"Iginla is 33 years old on a big contract. You keep a player like that around if you think that you have a legit shot at the cup."

Agree with Casey on this. The flames had a window to take a shot, and Sutter rightly did so (even if it was the wrong horse) on the first Joker trade. I still believe that without all the injuries, that team gets past the first round and maybe more. He forced the issue a bit too much with the jaybo signing. Then completely lost his mind for about six months. Window closed.

I would not want to see a rebuild take place though. I'd prefer to do what Philly did and go with a "refresh". Identify what assets you can still succeed with over the next 4-5 years and hang on to them. Gio, Jaybo, Bourque, GlenX, Moss, Hagman, Stajan, Backlund. That's still a fairlygood collection of serviceable players. Ship out the ones you can likely get better value over the next 5 years by trading. Iginla, Regher, Kipper, and anyone coming up on free agency at the deadline that wouldn't be part of the plan (Morrison, Tanguay, White). Keep what you can't trade to stay competitive but use what you can trade to refresh the system and supplement the team going forward. I'm not expecting you get lucky with a Carter and Richards strike, but if you could turn Iginla into say, Quick and Schenn, get a mix of picks and prospects with the others, and a top 5 pick of your own being "forced" on you from a terrible season, I think that's the route you have to go.

If by mid December this team is still bottom five, then I think it's safe to say they won't be any worse off without the big three, and would be much more likely to improve in coming years with a "refresh".

This is exactly what I'm trying to say. Philly DID do a rebuild. They just chose to be smart about it and do it on their own terms before hitting absolute rock bottom. It's all a matter of degrees. Calgary can rebuild on their own terms now or wait another 2 when they're a complete disaster.

Or just keep trading away first, second and third rounders to remain mediocre.

As a fan, I'd rather suffer a bit knowing that in the end we're actually trying to win it all, rather than "stay competitive" and never have a real chance.

Besides, what does that even mean, "staying competitive" - if you have no real shot at winning the Cup, are you really competitive?

And don'y give me 2004 - Cinderella teams only go the ball once and never win it anyways. Just ask Florida, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, etc.

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#40 T&A4Flames
November 17 2010, 10:42AM
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A lot of really good insight and thoughts on these posts. I hate to see Iginla and Regehr get traded but I think the org owes those guys the chance to win if they want it. The good thing is that we don't have to be in a rush to make a move. Both of these guys are signed for a few more years so Sutter can take his time, and hopefully he will, to find a great deal. It's not like these guys are in the last year of a contract and we can't sign them (Kovalchuk) and need to get whatever we can. If there is no deal that keeps us competitive now and better for the future, don't make a deal. As for Kipper, unless there is a deal that brings back a VERY promising young goalie that is already getting NHL playing time, we keep him. Goalies, I think, have longer shelf life and I don't really see Kip slowing down. Frustrated maybe, but not slow. If we can get Bernier/ Quick, Price, Neuvrith or Rask, sure, a deal can be looked at. Just my opinion.

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#41 LawrenceS
November 17 2010, 11:12AM
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@R O

Couldn't agree with this more.

Except... we have an Elite player?

We've got a very unElite forward who hasn't been elite for years, is relatively one-dimensional, but is a great face for the game.

We have a quite full-value stay at home defender, but he sure don't score.

We have a borderline elite goalie, who longer history convincingly says is top3 to top5, but recent history says flirts with that range more than he does occupy it.

What we do have are a number of players with Elite reputations, one of whom does what's expected, one who works his ass of to preserve that rep, and one whose reputation defies reality.

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#42 B
November 17 2010, 12:34PM
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@R O

...I have been against "rebuilding" since last summer when everyone was calling for King, Sutter, and Button to be fired and everyone to be traded for draft picks/prospects. One of the main reasons for me being against "rebuilding" is for the reason you mentioned "the 90's did happen".

...but with that being said, at some point if the older players you are paying top dollar to aren't helping you win games, you have to start somewhere. Goalies mature later and have greater longevity than the other players do so keeping Kipper may not be a bad idea.

...Iggy on the other hand has played physical game for 15 years and just like Nolan, Tkachuck, etc his career will be over in less than 5 years, and if we aren't winning there is nothing illogical about shopping him around for top tier prospects.

...we do have a core of players capable mid-aged forwards of scoring 20+ goals (Tanguay, Jokinen, Borque, Hagman, Glencross, Moss, Kotalik) and good mid aged d-men (Bouwmeester, Regher, Giordano, White) so we can remain a 500ish team even without Iggy. One step at a time, don't panic everyone.

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#43 the-wolf
November 17 2010, 04:08PM
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R O wrote:

Let me make sure I understand PStew:

15 years ago:

1.) We had a bunch of elite players.

2.) Traded them away in their peaks at their highest possible value

3.) Sucked for maaaany years with our best teams fielded eventually late the next decade (07/08 and 08/09).

And today:

1.) Have one elite player and a bunch of other pretty good ones.

2.) Trade the elite guy in his mid 30s and the other guys too, most at low value.

3.) ...

What goes in that last line? You seem to think the reasonable expectation is something other than "suck for many years".

Which is absurd on its face, sucking is pretty much guaranteed when you swap all your veterans for kids who don't have experience playing the man's game.

The problem with your argument is that one, you obviously haven't read mine about how things were handled back in the 90's (hint: there was no rebuild; and two is this: "2.) Traded them away in their peaks at their highest possible value"

No, no they didn't. They half-assed and mismanaged it (see above). But keep on dreaming that Iginla is some kind of superhero who flies around in a cape in his off days and rescues cats from trees.

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#44 Oilers4ever2010
November 18 2010, 02:06PM
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While I do agree that the Oilers are not a guarantee with the three young kids.. they have a lot of other prospects coming that look good like Marincin (ripping it up in the Dub), Pitlick, Lander, Oliver Roy and of course Mister 5 goals in a game... Nothing guaranteed. But at least they have potential coming up through the draft. If I was a Flames fan.. that's what I would be concerned with because they don't have that. And they are talent laden with veterans and have been for several years and have done nothing since the run prelock out. The Oil have never been laden with talented veterans like Calgary has. They continue to spend money on big name guys that do nothing for them or hire back guys that had supposed issues with coaches and mgmt and they aren't helping either. Flames fans have a right to be pissed with the team and what they are doing. I'd want it blown up too the way it's going... if Boston got a couple first rounders for Kessel just imagine what Calgary would get for Iggy.. 2 first rounders plus a roster player and a high end prospect I'd guess.. it's a good place to start and makes sense... you're currently 7 points out of 8th and have a 5 game road trip coming that could potentially have you in the 12-15 point range out by December. The way the top teams are playing, that will be next to impossible to catch up to. He's not on my team so it's easier to say, but trading Iggy for a good return makes sense to me if you want to start the rebuild. Just trade him to the Eastern Conference please. :)

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#45 Jerconjake
November 18 2010, 08:30PM
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Couldn't agree less.

If Pittsburgh drafted Kopitar, Staal and Malkin (playoff juggernaut who Mr. Cleave fails to mention), they would still have 3 excellent centres and the makings of a cup contender.

Last I checked, Calgary isn't even close to that calibre at center. Those players all went to their teams because of regular season futility.

First of all, in order to even be in the conversation about "Crosby or Kopitar," "Crosby or Ryan," or "Toews or Staal," you have to be in a rebuild mode. Those are the kinds of dilemmas any GM would want. Calgary hit uber-home-runs with Pelech and Irving.

Leading to the second point, which is that draft picks - even in the mid or late first round - become more of a gamble the lower they go. If you want to talk about luck, talk about maximizing your odds by getting into the top five. I would argue that without Datsyuk and Zetterberg it is Detroit that would not be the model. They are the ones who got lucky, not the Pittsburghs, Washingtons, Chicagos, Tampa Bays or LA Kings of the world.

the-wolf hit the nail on the head by saying that Chicago and Pittsburgh WON the cup. Washington is a perennial contender, and with good reason. And what, by your definition, has gone wrong with the Edmonton Oilers rebuild? The Oilers long suffered with mediocrity and the struggle to get to 8th place, while being overtaken by the Avalance (textbook rebuilders), and others. Now they are following that model, which requires that a team be horrible for a span in order to dominate for a long time. They'll have the chance to make the kind of choices we talked about before because of it.

The annual entry draft, as with any kind of gambling, works more in your favor if you maximize your odds of hitting the jackpot.

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#46 A
November 19 2010, 01:12PM
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Quote - The Oilers didn't realize how bad they were soon enough... let's not do the same here.

Is it just me or saying "oops it's too late for that" at this point is just defining irony??

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