Backlund Is Not a Langkow Replacement

Kent Wilson
May 31 2010 12:40PM

 

Calgary Flames v Los Angeles Kings

 

If you take a tour around the water coolers, comment sections and messageboards these days, you'll notice that Daymond Langkow is frequently discussed as a contract the Flames have to try to "get rid of" this summer in order to increase their budgetary flexibility. The claim is superficially defensible: at 33 years old and coming off a season that saw him score just 14 goals and 37 points, many folks are looking at his $4.5M as money that could be better spent elsewhere. In addition, with both Backlund and Stajan set to make the team as "offense first" centers, Langkow seems somehow redundant.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Langkow remains the Flames best centerman as things stand. His counting stats are misleading: mostly an expression of bad circumstances. His underlying numbers remain solid and speak to his utility - which is not replaced by any other pivot on the club currently - and therefore his improtance to the Flames.

First, I'll attack the notion that Mikael Backlund will be able to replace Langkow's contributions next year. This springs from simple extrapolation/addition and subtraction without regards to context of ice time. Last season, Backlund scored 10 points in 23 games for Calgary. Pro-rate that over a full year and you get 35 points in 82 games. Langkow, on the other hand, managed 37 in 72. It doesn't take a huge leap of faith to add a few minutes onto Backlund's nightly ice time, maybe a pinch of improvement or two and then assume that the Flames can overcome the loss of Langkow by simply shifting Backlund upwards in the line-up.

Except that the two didn't play in remotely similar circumstances. Backlund faced mostly nobodies as a Flame - third and fourth liners. He also had the a relatively easy zonestart at ratio of 52.5% (offensive zone to defensive zone). Langkow, on the other hand, spent the season playing against first and second line opposition. What's more, he did so with lesser line mates for a chunk of the season - before getting injured in PHX MIN, Sutter had Langkow skating in a shut-down role with two healthy scratches from the New York Rangers. What's more, the trio often led the team in terms of possession over that period. In addition, Langkow's zonestart was one of the toughest amongst regular skaters at 49.9%.

To put it another way, there's a good chance that if Backlund played in Langkow's skates for a season, he'd get eaten alive. He's nowhere near good enough to take on top 6 NHLers (yet). Judging from his results from both the minor and major leagues last year, Backlund is going to have to be actively sheltered in order to remain effective next season. On a club with Matt Stajan as the other center option, that's not good. Meaning, unless you're trading Langkow's cap dollars for an upgrade over any of the players mentioned here thus far, moving him is a bad idea.

With his poor counting stats in mind, consider that Langkow led regular Flames centermen in terms of corsi with one of the best rates amongst skaters on the team (+7.65/60). He spent more time on the penalty kill (184 minutes) than on the power-play (168 minutes) and when he did skate on the man advantage, it was often on the "second unit". If you want an explanation for his thoroughly lackluster stats, look no further than tough circumstances, nominal PP time and a spine injury at the end of the year (as well as playing on a club that was generally inept at scoring overall).

The simple truth is this: the Flames outshot, outscored and outchanced the opposition with Langkow on the ice this year and he wasn't facing weaklings. He remains a quality player and his $4.5M salary, while relatively expensive on the Flames roster, isn't overly prohibitive. What's more, his contributions are difficult to replace at that price when one considers who he plays against, with and in what capacity. It'd be nice if he could learn to win a faceoff in awhile, but, that aside, Langkow is still the Flames best option at center ice.

39d8109299a9795cb3b41a4e9b49d501
Former Nations Overlord. Current Fn contributor and curmudgeon For questions, complaints, criticisms, etc contact Kent @ kent.wilson@gmail. Follow him on Twitter here.
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#1 Spud
May 31 2010, 01:10PM
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Injured in MIN, not PHX bro.

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#3 Jean Lefebvre
May 31 2010, 02:07PM
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Very nicely articulated, Kent. Some anti-Langkow sentiment among Flames fans is natural but the existing magnitude and near-unanimity of it is stunning. Then again, he's always been an under-appreciated player, even in his 30-goal seasons.

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#4 Domebeers.com
May 31 2010, 02:54PM
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I dont know. Ill give you all the points you stated above. He is a good player, he isn't that overpayed (we looked at that on Domebeers), he can play 2 way, and he isn't Stajan.

But he is old, paid, and getting injured at an increasing rate. He is signed til 11/12 season.

As a fan, Im sitting here going 'What is this team doing?' If the team is trying to compete in the 10/11 year, I don't see how you do it if our top centres are Stajan and Backlund. Who is killing penalties and playing defence if we trade Langkow?

But reality is reality. Sutter has taken us into Salary Cap Hell for a 10th place finish. There are a tonne of bad contracts on this team, so they wont be traded. The one contract you could maybe move is Langkows, maybe.

Lets be honest. Langkow, regardless of his stats, cares. This is a guy who has played for us when he had two broken hands. This is a guy that winning teams have on the roster. But that is the thing. We are not a winning team. He is a luxary on this team, that thanks to Sutters terrible cap management, we might not be able to afford.

Backlund is no Langkow...but he might be a Stajan. It wouldn't suck to keep Langkow and trade Stajan.

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#5 Jonesin
May 31 2010, 03:07PM
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It's tough finding a spot for Backlund, we have two "second line centers" in Langkow and Stajan. So, does he then take Conroys spot on the third line? I'd hate to have him buried on the fourth line next year, playing 5 minutes a night. He would do better to play another year in Abbottsford. I guess only time will tell.

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#6 martyinrocky
May 31 2010, 03:09PM
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I am a big fan of langkow. I think there are options available so we can keep him and be better. The salary is a lil hard to eat for 2 more years unless he is healthy and bounce back which i think he is capable of. Backlund I think can be that player as early as this year. Lanks he is not but has the potential to be a better offensive player. Lanks wasn't really a dependable 2nd liner even before he got here. Some decent seasons in Phoenix it was here he made his name and he is a warrior and there is no questioning that. I think stajan is the wild card and we can place judgement after this season. good article tho.

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#7 Graham
May 31 2010, 04:11PM
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The Flames play a much better team game when Langkow is in the lineup. He is a solid two way forward who adds a little grit, but to be honest the price tag at $4.5 million is high. I think trading Langkow would leave a big defensive hole down the middle, which neither Stajan or Backlund could fill. But then again, one of Langkow, Regehr or Sarich need to be moved to provide much needed cap space. I would try and move one of the two d men before Langkow, but it probably comes back to who is antoher team willing to pick up. The Caps might look at Regehr etc I might be willing to move Langkow if we could add a true #1 center, but with our cap issues I don't know if we could swing it.

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#8 R O
May 31 2010, 05:52PM
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Nice piece Kent. Even with the noise in the comments about the "second line centre" nonsense.

I'm pretty sure we can discriminate between Flames fans who actually have some pertinent knowledge about the game, and those who have no clue whatsoever, by what they think of Daymond Langkow.

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#9 dustin642
May 31 2010, 06:08PM
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As much of a help Daymond Langkow has been and his under-appreciated under-rated play has truly helped, he is, in fact over paid. He is not the only one on the team but I do believe he is a replaceable part on this team for a lot less money I would see a scenario where the flames re-sign Jamal Mayers, and trade the likes of Langkow/Moss/Pardy to either Buffalo for Derek Roy/Patrick Kaleta or to Florida for Nathan Horton/Kendall McArdle.

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#10 Jonesin
May 31 2010, 06:33PM
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"Nice piece Kent. Even with the noise in the comments about the "second line centre" nonsense. I'm pretty sure we can discriminate between Flames fans who actually have some pertinent knowledge about the game, and those who have no clue whatsoever, by what they think of Daymond Langkow"

I wasn't knocking Daymond Langkow in any way shape or form with the "second line center" comment. That was more of a knock on Matt Stajan if anyone. I'm pretty sure Brent Sutter agrees with me, as he played there most of this season.

I was meaning that if you look around the NHL at all the good first line centers that there are, I don't think Langkow, at his age, would currently fit in that category. I don't really think Stajan does either. I think that is the Flames biggest problem right now, is the lack of a Getzlaf or a Henrik, or a Plekanec, or a Thornton.....etc.

People are pretty touchy on this site, i'll be sure not to disagree with anyone and walk on my tippy toes in the future

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#11 R O
May 31 2010, 07:14PM
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He is not the only one on the team but I do believe he is a replaceable part on this team for a lot less money

Sorry, which centre on this team other than Conroy has shown himself capable of playing against good players?

I was meaning that if you look around the NHL at all the good first line centers that there are, I don't think Langkow, at his age, would currently fit in that category. I don't really think Stajan does either. I think that is the Flames biggest problem right now, is the lack of a Getzlaf or a Henrik, or a Plekanec, or a Thornton.....etc.

I bet you're one of those people who would include Lecavalier or Malkin on this list, right?

I'd like to know what your idea of a "first line centre" is. Try not to use points, because at this level of hockey there is really not enough separation between point-getters to be able to really overlook context of icetime.

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#12 Brent G.
May 31 2010, 08:11PM
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Quite frankly I am a little appalled over how so many people will turn their back on Langkow. Its easy to say hes over paid but realistically he is the best center the Flames currently have. In all honesty hes likely top 3 best forwards on the entire team. He plays a great two way game and his offense will likely come back a bit.

Trading Langkow is an option to to free up a "crowded roster" and free up cap space although it says in the very article Backlund isn't ready to be a top 6 guy, yet. I see no issues in keeping him in a 3rd line role with Glencross and Dawes. There are WAY BETTER options of players to remove from the roster to clear up some cap space.

I truly cannot understand how anyone can look past dumping Staios, Sarich, and Kotalik to free up ~$10 million. Its attrocious to think that is not the first option because those players are no doubt not going to live up to their salaries, absolutely not even close, no way. Sarich is likely tradeable for a 3rd rounder, he still has some value to some teams (I'm thinking the East), and Kotalik might get picked up on waivers. If not, SEND THEM TO THE MINORS. Why would you ever trade away a valuable asset like Langkow to free up cap space when those players will not be missed AT ALL. Dutter is trying to create a competitive AHL team, I'm sure these three players wont suck too much down there. What is going to inspire Kotalik to leave for the KHL more than riding the bus in the minors?

Sarich is easily replaced by Pelech/Pardy in a 5/6 role. Kotalik sucks and is addition by subtraction and steady Steve can go f*^& himself. They will likely need to sign another defender but a 6/7 defender isn't too hard to come by in the free agent market/trade. Off the top of my head options are Martin, Michalek, Foster, or Colaiacovo.

Resign Higgins, get Nystrom for $1 mill, sign White for $3 and sign Giordano for $3 mill on July 1 for the 2011/2012 season too.

Its annoying how ignorant people find solutions to problems over looking the obvious answer...

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#13 JF
May 31 2010, 09:40PM
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Yeah, I don't know why so many folk are down on Langkow (Well that's not true I know why they are but the intensity of the why confuses me). Backlund is in no way ready to step into his shoes this upcoming season. The kid will be in the NHL next season and he can enjoy the momentary pleasure of playing against the lower half of the the opposition lineup from Conroy's old spot on the third line.

Getting rid of Langkow would just be stupid unless the Flames go into fire sale mode and it was made pretty clear with Daz retention that we're not at that point (Yet).

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#14 jonesin
May 31 2010, 10:40PM
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"I bet you're one of those people who would include Lecavalier or Malkin on this list, right"

Lecavelier has one of the worst contracts in the entire league from a cap standpoint, yeah he had one or two good seasons, not great, but good.

Malkin seems like one of those offensively gifted players that you need to just let him play his game, he's gonna cost you some goals with his lack of defensive okay, but the guy has averaged over 95 points per season since he came into the league, and he's only 23. You can't tell me you wouldn't want him on your team.

"I'd like to know what your idea of a "first line centre" is" If I was able to pick a first line center i'd probably take Sidney Crosby, or Jonathan Toews. Both are strong two way centers that are good at faceoffs, can take the puck strongly into the zone, set up plays, can dominate defenceman because of their agility, always seem to find good positions on the ice. And they've both shown they can play well in the playoffs at a very young age.

Anyway, I feel like i'm having to defend the fact that I said Daymond Langkow is a second line center. I watched 80 of 82 Flames games this year, and that's where he played for most of the season.

Personally, I think we should keep Langkow. He is a very good second line center. I do like the idea that Brent G brought up of sending our dead weight to the minors. Either that or get them all working real hard on the ranch in Viking over the summer, and injure them somehow.

Cheers

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#15 44stampede
May 31 2010, 11:02PM
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Brent G. wrote:

Quite frankly I am a little appalled over how so many people will turn their back on Langkow. Its easy to say hes over paid but realistically he is the best center the Flames currently have. In all honesty hes likely top 3 best forwards on the entire team. He plays a great two way game and his offense will likely come back a bit.

Trading Langkow is an option to to free up a "crowded roster" and free up cap space although it says in the very article Backlund isn't ready to be a top 6 guy, yet. I see no issues in keeping him in a 3rd line role with Glencross and Dawes. There are WAY BETTER options of players to remove from the roster to clear up some cap space.

I truly cannot understand how anyone can look past dumping Staios, Sarich, and Kotalik to free up ~$10 million. Its attrocious to think that is not the first option because those players are no doubt not going to live up to their salaries, absolutely not even close, no way. Sarich is likely tradeable for a 3rd rounder, he still has some value to some teams (I'm thinking the East), and Kotalik might get picked up on waivers. If not, SEND THEM TO THE MINORS. Why would you ever trade away a valuable asset like Langkow to free up cap space when those players will not be missed AT ALL. Dutter is trying to create a competitive AHL team, I'm sure these three players wont suck too much down there. What is going to inspire Kotalik to leave for the KHL more than riding the bus in the minors?

Sarich is easily replaced by Pelech/Pardy in a 5/6 role. Kotalik sucks and is addition by subtraction and steady Steve can go f*^& himself. They will likely need to sign another defender but a 6/7 defender isn't too hard to come by in the free agent market/trade. Off the top of my head options are Martin, Michalek, Foster, or Colaiacovo.

Resign Higgins, get Nystrom for $1 mill, sign White for $3 and sign Giordano for $3 mill on July 1 for the 2011/2012 season too.

Its annoying how ignorant people find solutions to problems over looking the obvious answer...

Lanks has had a down season point wise but was still the best centre BY FAR on the team. He plays against the best and doesn't stink afterwards.

There is no way that Backlund is ready to step in. Not now and I don't believe ever. I see him at most as a 2nd line guy but more likely a 3rd unless his development takes a huge step next year.

No one knows why Sutter signed Kotalik or Staios but one has to assume he didn't take on those contracts just to buy them out. I think we may be stuck with them till at least midseason when Sutter catches up and realizes what the rest of us do.

Getting rid of Lanks would be very short sighted. I don't know how they are getting out of salary cap jail. Sarich and Regehr maybe the best options (aside from throwing Kotalik and Staios off a cliff).

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#16 44stampede
May 31 2010, 11:07PM
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jonesin wrote:

"I bet you're one of those people who would include Lecavalier or Malkin on this list, right"

Lecavelier has one of the worst contracts in the entire league from a cap standpoint, yeah he had one or two good seasons, not great, but good.

Malkin seems like one of those offensively gifted players that you need to just let him play his game, he's gonna cost you some goals with his lack of defensive okay, but the guy has averaged over 95 points per season since he came into the league, and he's only 23. You can't tell me you wouldn't want him on your team.

"I'd like to know what your idea of a "first line centre" is" If I was able to pick a first line center i'd probably take Sidney Crosby, or Jonathan Toews. Both are strong two way centers that are good at faceoffs, can take the puck strongly into the zone, set up plays, can dominate defenceman because of their agility, always seem to find good positions on the ice. And they've both shown they can play well in the playoffs at a very young age.

Anyway, I feel like i'm having to defend the fact that I said Daymond Langkow is a second line center. I watched 80 of 82 Flames games this year, and that's where he played for most of the season.

Personally, I think we should keep Langkow. He is a very good second line center. I do like the idea that Brent G brought up of sending our dead weight to the minors. Either that or get them all working real hard on the ranch in Viking over the summer, and injure them somehow.

Cheers

Don't worry Jonesin...it's not everyone on the site. The person you are defending yourself against likes to bash almost everything and everyone.

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#17 SmellOfVictory
June 01 2010, 01:55AM
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How many games did Langks play with Higgins/Kotalik?* The majority of the year had him playing with Bourque and Dawes, and it has been mentioned before that Bouque's possession stats are pretty astounding. Do you have numbers for Langks with/without RBQ? I'm not saying that Langks isn't still the best two-way center on the team, but there is potential that a grain of salt could be applied.

*as an aside, it's a bit disingenuous to use Higgins, one of NYR's "healthy scratches" in an argument about "lesser linemates" when you were pretty approving of his ability to drive possession through his short tenure as a Flame

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#18 SmellOfVictory
June 01 2010, 02:02AM
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Sorry, Kent. That reads as a tad rude on my part; poor word-choice.

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#19 Pat Steinberg
June 01 2010, 02:16AM
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Langkow is Calgary's best option currently to play against top players. I have no doubts about that, and I don't really have a huge issue with that contract. If you feel the contract is not in line with his production, fine...it runs out in two years.

But if you want a guy who you can trust to play smart from his blueline in, you've got it. If you want a guy who makes the players around him better? I think you've also got it.

Only two things I "worry" about. First, faceoffs...43.5% last year. But he's good enough to make it less of an issue, as it's always hovered around 45% in a Flames jersey.

The other is longevity...but again, it's barely a worry. 73 and 72 games the past two seasons, but he had six straight years of 80+ games before that.

Right now, with this team, I think Langkow needs to stay. Reliable and easy to use as a coach...plus he is a guy who makes an impact on a game.

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#20 Sincity1976
June 01 2010, 09:35PM
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I am late to the game, but so be it.

I disagree with your assessment. First, Langkow spent most of his season on the second line with the likes of Renee Bourque . He didn't produce offensively in that position.

Second, I am baffled by your logic concerning Backlund. Are you saying he scored more because he was on the third or fourth line? Well thats just wrong. Or are you saying he wouldn't play very well in a checking role? Oh well, he isn't a checker. And neither should Langkow be at 4.5 million a year.

Langkow is a great player. Don't get me wrong. But his age, salary, the Flames cap issues, and the Flames lack of trading assets not only makes him expendable, but makes him a must trade if the right opportunity comes up.

Combine that with Backlund's break out performance last season and Stajan on a long term contract and there isn't any room for him or his contract. Add the possibility of Nemisz joining the lineup in the next two seasons and the hope the Flames find a true number one centre and Langkow's space on the roster drops again.

The question in my mind is not whether they should trade Langkow, but rather can they trade Langkow. If they can get a decent return they really have no choice but to take it.

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#21 Pat Steinberg
June 02 2010, 12:43AM
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@Sincity1976

Langkow is a great player. Don't get me wrong. But his age, salary, the Flames cap issues, and the Flames lack of trading assets not only makes him expendable, but makes him a must trade if the right opportunity comes up.

I disagree. With the strength of the Western Conference, you need a guy who you feel comfortable with putting out against top players. Stajan and Backlund do not have that ability. That's why I feel he needs to stay, there are other contracts that can be moved if that's the route you need to go in.

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#22 R O
June 02 2010, 01:51AM
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I disagree with your assessment. First, Langkow spent most of his season on the second line with the likes of Renee Bourque . He didn't produce offensively in that position.

This so-called "second" line played as tough minutes (and maybe thougher) as Iginla's line.

Second, I am baffled by your logic concerning Backlund. Are you saying he scored more because he was on the third or fourth line? Well thats just wrong. Or are you saying he wouldn't play very well in a checking role? Oh well, he isn't a checker.

The "third" line was never a checking line in 09/10. Not in the way the term actually has relevance, in terms of playing in harder circumstances. In 08/09 the classification may have had more merit, as the trio of Glencross-Conroy-Moss started a ton in the defensive-zone IIRC.

In fact this whole first/second/third line obssession is really over the top. It's handy enough to classify your players into how much of a difference they make to your chances of winning, or what kind of opposition they play.

But the notion that your abilities are encapsulated by the position of your name on a certain spot on a lineup sheet made up by TSN or THN or God forbid, Sportsnet, based on criteria developed by people who were rejected when they tried to apply for some low-level hockey-ops job for an actual professional team... well that's just nauseating to have to deal with sometimes.

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#23 R O
June 02 2010, 01:54AM
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Anyway, I feel like i'm having to defend the fact that I said Daymond Langkow is a second line center. I watched 80 of 82 Flames games this year, and that's where he played for most of the season.

If you watched that many games then you should probably have an idea of the calibre of player that Langkow faced. It surely wasn't the kind of player most "second lines" faced.

And most people don't complain about defending what they say.

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#24 SmellOfVictory
June 02 2010, 11:41AM
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This argument is getting tired... so I'm going to join in and add to it!

The prototypical first line player (particularly the center, as it is the more important of the three fwd positions) is one who can play against top players and outscore them while putting up reasonably impressive counting stats. Langkow does half of this, which is why many/most people do not consider him to be a 'true' first line center.

Given that Langkow is outscoring good players but putting up a low number of points, it makes sense to classify him as a checker. Prototypical top line players are not simply checkers; they are either 'two-way scoring/playmaking' players (most obvious examples: Toews, Datsyuk), or they are simply incredibly good offensive players (most obvious example: Crosby). Langkow's old numbers would indicate something more than a checker, but his last two seasons make it look like he is more and more settling into a role that consists primarily of checking.

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#25 R O
June 02 2010, 03:22PM
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SoV:

I get what you're trying to say - "first-line" players can outchance and also finish at a higher rate. I like to think of it that way, anyway.

Still, it's still subject to luck and context of icetime, I think Kent did a piece earlier in the post-mortem period that showed Lanks was getting screwed over on PP time (the whole team was).

And if we know one thing, it's that a player's role and production on the powerplay has no bearing on what he does at even strength when the concept of "tough icetime" has more relevance. And yet, there is constant evaluation of players based on their point totals with PP production included.

In any case, Langkow's history points to a guy who can contribute a decent amount of offense at EV and the PP, even without playing cherry icetime. He might not be your protytpical "first-liner" but he sure makes a difference at that level.

Unless you think he's been affected by injury (specifically the hand - personallY I'd wait to pass judgmenet) then the reasonable expectation next year is a bounceback year in the points column.

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#26 R O
June 02 2010, 03:25PM
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Last thing SOV, and I don't mean to pick on you but I don't think the centre is the most important forward.

The wingers have a lot of responsibility too. Given how that position normally plays out on the ice (and of course it varies from player to player, for instance Crosby's game in the OFF zone is more invovled with the puck than practically any other winger), wingers contribute more in the offensive end of the rink IMO.

That's an expensive skill, and it's linked to defense too - with the puck in the good end of the ice, it's not in the bad end of the ice.

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#27 SmellOfVictory
June 02 2010, 07:33PM
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Fair points on both counts. I'm definitely hoping Langks has a resurgence next season, because regardless of whether he's as first-liney a first-liner as guys like Getzlaf, Crosby, Backstrom, or whoever, he's definitely the Flames' best bet right now.

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#28 Sincity1976
June 02 2010, 10:33PM
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Pat Steinberg wrote:

Langkow is a great player. Don't get me wrong. But his age, salary, the Flames cap issues, and the Flames lack of trading assets not only makes him expendable, but makes him a must trade if the right opportunity comes up.

I disagree. With the strength of the Western Conference, you need a guy who you feel comfortable with putting out against top players. Stajan and Backlund do not have that ability. That's why I feel he needs to stay, there are other contracts that can be moved if that's the route you need to go in.

Agree to disagree.

Langkow is the second oldest player on the Flames. His points and goal totals have steadily decreased over the past 3-years. His goals from the previous two seasons are completely replaceable.

If you think you need a defense first centre then go out and get one. However, 4.5 million is way to much to pay for an aging 5'9" checking forward. Especially when the team needs scoring, needs to get younger, and you can't find space for him on the roster.

Give your youth a chance. They will probably surprise you.

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#29 Pat Steinberg
June 03 2010, 01:21AM
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@Sincity1976

If you think you need a defense first centre then go out and get one. However, 4.5 million is way to much to pay for an aging 5'9" checking forward. Especially when the team needs scoring, needs to get younger, and you can't find space for him on the roster.

I guess it comes down to how you view Langkow. I don't look at him as a "defence first" centre. I view him as a two way guy who makes an impact at both ends of the ice.

If he makes the same impact this coming season as he did this past one, I'm all for having him back at $4.5 mil a season.

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#30 Luc
June 03 2010, 02:44PM
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well if were going to consider him our best all around centermen, lets compare him to others. obviously hes not a crosby or backstrom. but if were looking in terms of contributing numbers AS WELL as solid defensive play, lets go apples to apples. the best players right now at two way are toews and datsyuk in my opinion. so lets maybe take a look at kesler. solid numbers in vancouver. leadership role and also is solid in his own end plus hes young. now he just signed a 30 mill / 6 yr deal.

now from my perpective, thats worth it for vancouver i thinkk he does a lot for them.

i think langkow USED to be comparable not to long ago. but diminishing numbers ( his fault or not) coupled with age, makes him an expendable contract. he is a good player. yes. but for a team with cap issues and needing offense desperately, he might be the guy to move.

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#31 Sincity1976
June 04 2010, 10:55AM
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@Pat Steinberg

Rumors are Spezza may be available. Can't sign him with Langkow in the roster. Can't sign Richards. Can't go after Marleu. No chance for Staal.

The Flames can't afford to pay 8-million for two number 2 centres. Not in their current position. Especially with Backlund making the jump to Flames.

I would rather risk giving Backlund a chance in the top 6 while giving the club the oppurtunity to bring on a true number one then overpay Langkow to do what he does (despite the fact he does it very well).

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#32 R O
June 05 2010, 09:59AM
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Oh, boy, Spezza now!

Might as well start listing every overpaid PP-ice-time-leaching, teammate-boosted, soft-on-the-puck player in this league. There are lots of them after all.

I forgot though, this is the segment of the Flames fanbase that was overjoyed with the Jokinen acquisition and made literally every goddamn excuse for his inability to help this team win games.

The same segment of the fanbase who can't see the value of a player like Daymond Langkow to winning games, even though it's staring them right in the goddamn face every time he takes a shift.

The same segment of the fanbase who would risk millions in real dollars on a guy like Backlund, who clearly cannot play at the NHL level yet.

The same segment of the fanbase who would complain about Cammalleri without even acknowledging that Tanguay was the much better player.

My mistake. Carry on.

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