January 20 2011 11:07AM
It's another random thoughts post! Some stuff going on in Flamesland worth a few words, I think.
- On Kipper: Dude is going through a really rough patch and he isn't totally blameless, but there's no way he's actually .768 SV% goalie, which is his save rate over the last five games. I personally abandoned the cult of Kipprusoff several years ago, so this isn't merely a plea to excuse the struggles of a long beloved star. He's not the guy who won the Vezina back in 2005-06 anymore, but he certainly isn't the worst puck stopper in the league now either.
*Related* some interesting stuff from Elliote Friedman on the radio this morning. The topic was the possibility of trading Kiprusoff during the now inevtiable rebuild and Friedmann wondered aloud if this season is "a blip" rather than "the start of the decline". That's the wrong question to ask because the decline started five years ago. Kipper's SV% over the last four seasons has been: .906, .903, .920 and now .897. The "blip" isn't this year's nominal save rate, but rather last year's notable .920. As such, Kipper is a lot closer to being league average than elite these days and that's been true for awhile. He has numerous other qualities, of course: experience (if you value such a thing) and durability come to mind.
That noted, Friedman claimed there will likely be interest in Kipper should the Flames shop him for a couple of reasons: one, there's almost always a club willing to take a bet on a fading star because they think it's possible to "fix" him. Secondly, Kipper's cap hit remains high (5.83M for three more years), but his actual salary in dollars falls from $6M next season, to $5M in 2012-13 and finally down to $1.5M '13-14. According to Friedman, Kipper's NTC also disappears next season as well. The rapidly decling salary and the absence of a restrictive NTC no doubt make him a less risky gamble.
Of couse, Friedmann also said (quite sensibly) that the potential return would be rather limited. Chances are, the biggest "return" in dealing Kipper would be freeing up a bunch of cap space.
- Zach Bogosian has been fed to the wolves by the Atlanta thrashers this year. In my article on Dustin Byfuglien for the Score, I noted that Bogo was the guy eating pavement so Buff could play more often in the offensive zone. He had a ZS ratio of 36.8% at the time and was facing a lot of big guns besides. His ZS number has since increased to 42.0%, but that remains the second lowest ratio on the club (ahead of only Johnny Oduya). His possession numbers are garbage, but I don't know many players in the league who could overcome that mountian, especially on a bad corsi club like the Thrash. What's also sinking his stock is a PDO of 98.7, which will all know is a good bet to regress back to 100 at some point in the future.
As a result of bad luck and terrible circumstances, the Thrashers have been scratching the 20-year old, former 3rd overall draft pick recently. Keep in mind, Bogosian lead the Peterborough Petes in scoring as a 17 year-old with 61 points in 60 games. He has over 100 NHL games under his belt and isn't even 21 yet. He's a legit talent and there's a chance he could be available given their treatment of him recently. If ATL is looking to flip the kid for a more established blueliner, Feaster should be calling Dudley a couple of times a day.
- The loss last night sunk the Flames playoff hopes down to lottery ticket territory: 2.8% according to Sports Club Stats. I'm guessing Feaster started fielding calls from other GM's half way through the third period. I know Brent Sutter and the players have to continue to talk about staying competitive and pushing for a playoff spot, but that's just coachspeak. Let the remaking of the team commence.
*Related* I don think any player on this club is sacrosanct. Trades shouldn't be made just because and we're not talking fire sale here, but all reasonable offers should be considered. The days of "the core" being off-limits are gone. Give away the bad bets if you can (Jokinen, Stajan, Sarich, Staios), shop some pending free agents and fringe players, but also, don't hang up the phone if someone wants to discuss the big money guys. The days of building around Iginla have passed.