June 19 News and Notes

Robert Cleave
June 19 2011 11:06AM

              

 

And, we're done. The on-ice portion of the NHL season has ended after 8 1/2 months with a new champion. For the rest of the league, that means business off-ice is about to pick up, and as a non-fan of the two finalists, not a minute too soon. In this collection of newsworthy bits from around the league, the Flames continue to bolster their staff, the champs are feted, and recriminations from the aftermath of Wednesday's events on the West Coast begin.

 

Flames :

 

Calgary added a couple of members to the operations staff this week, with Chris Snow taking over the video coordinator role from Rob Cookson, and Clint Malarchuk assuming goaltending coach duties. I don't envy the latter's job, frankly. Miikka Kiprusoff has been openly poor three out of the last four seasons, has three more years on a very hefty contract, and his NMC runs through this season. If Kipper is mediocre or worse again, Malarchuk might have to hope that the scales finally drop from the eyes of Flames' management, or he'll just be the latest collateral damage in the wake of the team's inability to see their number one goalie for what he is.

Snow's ascension is interesting in that it gives the impression that the team is trying to modernize its pro scouting. Snow is also going to be in charge of statistical analysis, and from the sounds of his interview with Rob Kerr, his influence might only be limited by the team's own imagination. He also noted that teams that are already using advanced analysis likely aren't talking about it, although it's reasonably common knowledge that Gabe Desjardins has done work for the Sharks. If nothing else, having the Flames embrace this stuff should allow the bigfoot media types the chance to openly discuss statistical analysis without feeling like they'll be mocked in polite society. Baby steps, people.

 

 

Given how close he came to re-entering the draft, Erixon was delighted by the happy coincidence of being traded to his father’s former NHL team. Despite the family connection to the Blueshirts, Erixon said he never had any idea that the Flames might trade his rights to New York.

 

 

Are you friggin' kidding me? Look, I'm not a particular fan of how players are allotted to NHL clubs, since the draft doesn't really permit the free movement of labour, but I hope Tim Erixon's just saying that BS for media consumption and to keep the Rags from facing a tampering charge. Happy coincidence, my ass. 

In other prospect news, Max Reinhart was left on the outside looking in as Canada's WJHC tryout roster was announced this week. I'm glad that Patrick Holland has been selected, but Reinhart's absence is pretty puzzling. Of course, it's Kevin Prendergast doing the picking, so there's every chance that it was just an act of blatant incompetence to leave the Flames' best junior prospect at home rather than any particular shortcomings as a player on Reinhart's part. 

 

               

 

Victors and the vanquished:

 

The Bruins had their parade yesterday, and although I'm certainly happy that Vancouver didn't win, I'll confess some unease at the willingness of people to overlook the obvious fact that the Bruins were permitted a different standard of enforcement than they would have seen at any point since the lockout. I'm in general agreement with Tom Benjamin, in that Zdeno Chara is a terrific player, but he was allowed to hack at players without consequence for an entire series, which made him nearly impossible to beat, and he wasn't alone in that approach.

I'm not all that interested in hearing how it was "equal" for both teams, either. The league has spent the last six years developing an officiating standard of sorts, and as a result, certain players have been allowed to flourish in a fashion that might not have been quite so before the fall of 2005. If the goal is a return to the 2004 rulebook, fine. No team would benefit more than the Flames from that move, since it would mean Cory Sarich would return to being a viable top 4 defenceman and Robyn Regher would return to being a feared presence in front of the net. That doesn't mean that what we witnessed over the last two weeks is laudable, though.

Honesty compels me to note that by Wednesday night, I was rooting for both teams to lose, and then perish in an inferno. Had they headed to Granville Street in the game's aftermath, I might well have gotten most of my wish. Really, though, Mayor Robertson? Anarchists? I think you meant to say "garden-variety loogans, a few of whom were wealthy scions". Anyone watching the proceedings with half a brain cell could have advised you that the closest most of the perpetrators on Wednesday have ever been to anarchism was when they sang along to Rise Against that one time.

The two teams now, like everyone else, get to turn to building a club for next year. Last time out, I made this point

 

I will say that no matter who wins the Cup, we likely won't hear loons fetishizing either team's construction as if it were some sort of holy grail. Vancouver has drafted one decent roster player since the lockout, and the Bruins traded the best player they'd had in half a generation for 50 cents on the dollar just five years ago, so ecomiums that glorify the Canuck way or the Boston way should be in short supply, and thank heavens for that.

 

In the interim, the route that the Bruins in particular took to assembling their club has been noted by others, and I do hope that people realize that the path to success isn't simply found by unloading every one of its older players, tanking for years, and then hoping it all works out. Steve Tambellini and Don Waddell aren't to emulated, in other words.

The Bruins are in good shape cap-wise, and should be able to replace Ryder and Kaberle easliy enough. If Marc Savard is done, they'll have another 4M a year to toss into the pot. The Bruins could likely use one more decent defender to shore up a group that needed a lot of help from Tim Thomas over the course of the season, and there are a few decent candidates likely to be available July 1st.

The Canucks could use at least one ot two more forwards that can play a bit. Malhotra was a shell of himself on his return and his eye may never allow him to be 100 percent again, and given his prediliction for the East Coast I'm not sure Chris Higgins will be back, so a top-six winger and one more useful third liner would likely be on order. I doubt Ehrhoff sticks around either, absent a desire to take a lot less money, although any team that signs him for much more than his current salary is asking for trouble.

 

               

 

Elsewhere :

 

With the draft and July 1st rapidly approaching, other teams are beginning to prepare for next season as well. The Devils and Preds filed for salary arbitration for Parise and Weber, respectively, in order to ward off any potential offer sheets. I don't doubt that both teams expect to sign their top players to lengthy deals, although Zach Parise's situation seems a touch more unsettled.

One interesting note is that because the teams have chosen arbitration, they can't walk from an award. As I said, I doubt either guy gets there, but the Devils are only about 10-11M under the likely cap figure, so a 5m+ arbitration award to Parise would put Loophole Lou in a bit of a tight spot. I'm tearing up at the thought of it.

Other RFAs of note include Drew Doughty and Steven Stamkos. With neither player eligible for arbitration, they could be targets for offer sheets, although Dean Lombardi seems unconcerned about that occurring to Doughty. That seems reasonable, since the defender is the only major unsigned piece of the Kings' roster give or take Wayne Simmonds, and they have roughly 15M in cap room. With Michal Handzus declining in effectiveness and unlikely to be back, they might consider adding one more center as their final move this summer.

It doesn't appear that Steve Yzerman expects any issues cropping up as he attempts to ink his young star to a deal, but Tampa might have to unload a body or two to make the numbers work. They have about 25M in cap space, but they only have 12 players under contract, and since I can't imagine they'll budget much past the mid-point, they might have more like 18M in available room. Stamkos will likely get about 40 percent of that on his own. Add in a new deal for Eric Brewer, and it's understandable that Simon Gagne, Sean Bergenheim and maybe Ryan Malone could be elsewhere by the end of the summer so that the Lightning can ice a full roster.

Down in Florida, the Panthers might be goalie shopping, if George Richards' surmise is accurate. The Panthers are in a very interesting place. They might need to spend almost 30M just to get to the salary floor, and I can't see many UFAs rushing to Sunrise unless Dale Tallon wildly overpays, so they could be a team that is willing to take a bad contract or two if they can get somethig else of value in the transaction. They could use a center or two as well. Hmmmm.

Finally this week, teams around the league are finishing the task of making coaching choices, with Minnesota and Dallas selecting two new faces to lead their clubs. That leaves two teams in the market, as the Winnipeg TBAs are still in the process of choosing their man, having completed a series of interviews this weekend, and New Jersey still needs to choose someone for Lou Lamoriello to fire next March. As a person living in the area, just having MacT around for his press conferences alone would be amusing, but I'm guessing True North might well be utilizing a different set of criteria as they pick their man.

That's all for this week. Flames Nation will be on the scene in force next weekend as the NHL draft plays out, and beyond the acquisition of kids, it's often a time where teams begin moving assets other than draft picks, so it should be an interesting couple of days.

 

 

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Robert Cleave is a perpetually grumpy Winnipegger.
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#1 Kent Wilson
June 19 2011, 11:16AM
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the Winnipeg TBAs

I'm hoping that ends up being their actual name now.

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#2 Colin
June 19 2011, 11:21AM
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LOL @ Erixon, pretty sure that was as scripted as possible from the Rags. Everyone and their dog gets the whole sitaution(there are a few delusion people who still don't get it) and well I'm over it at this point, we get two seconds instead of one and if he didn't want to play here what kind of effort was he gonna give us anywya.

Also you forgot a piece of information, Bill Arnold was also invited to the US Junior team evaluation camp.

Its nice two of our prospects got invites(Holland/Arnold) but the fact that Reinhart didn't still fills me with Rage, I don't know how much better he could have played in the 2011 WHL playoffs, shutting down the Cougars/Blades/Tigers/Winterhawks.

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#4 Colin
June 19 2011, 11:36AM
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Robert Cleave wrote:

Thanks, Colin. I edited the Arnold thing to add a hyperlink.

Yeah, Reinhart seems like he got the short end, but again, it's Kevin Prendergast picking, so he shouldn't be too offended. It's a shame, though. He had a very nice year.

Thanks for the hyperlink, love the site, but the commenting/forum section not what I'm used to thats for sure.

Arnold seems like a good propsect as well 20P in 38 games as a rookie at Boston College, may be another 3 years before we get a chance to see him in a Flames uniform, but if thats his start as a rookie I won't mind waiting for him to develop a bunch.

And yeah Short end of the stick is an understatement. I was following the team all year(like to follow flames prospects) and I figured they'd get second round easily but I didn't think he'd to do to Schenn/Vey/Johansen/Nino what he did. He was having a very solid season after being drafted but his play in the post season, there is probably a handful or less of players who had the post season he had.

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#6 joey joe joe jr shabadoo
June 19 2011, 12:07PM
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I wonder what it would take to convice the Panthers to take Stajan.....I suspect the flames would have to throw some parsley on the pig and toss in a pick, maybe a 2nd rounder, just to get talks going.

but what would you want coming back? would Matthias be of interest?

Stajan & 2nd for Matthias and a pick? sound resonable?

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#7 Colin
June 19 2011, 12:14PM
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joey joe joe jr shabadoo wrote:

I wonder what it would take to convice the Panthers to take Stajan.....I suspect the flames would have to throw some parsley on the pig and toss in a pick, maybe a 2nd rounder, just to get talks going.

but what would you want coming back? would Matthias be of interest?

Stajan & 2nd for Matthias and a pick? sound resonable?

Really, how do people convince themselves this is even a possibility.

Stajan isn't worth ANYTHING right now, he got hurt and played hurt last year, his numbers were terrible and he has a bad contract right now(length mostly).

Stajan and a 2nd would get you "Future Considerations" at BEST right now.

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#8 joey joe joe jr shabadoo
June 19 2011, 12:22PM
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@ Colin,

yep. you're probably right. just a little wishful thinking on my part.

although, as Bob points out the Panthers have nearly 30 million to spend to reach the floor. and I'm guessing they aren't going to be offering Brad Richards, Joni Pitkanen, Kevin Beiksa, and Michael Ryder contracts to get there. It isn't as though they are dealing from a position of strength. They need to add salary and I would imagine they'll take on a couple boat anchor's, along with a pick or two, just to get to the floor. I only suggest Matthias because I'm not sure who else on that roster is even worth while....

As for Stajan's NTC/NMC he might be willing to go to a place like FLA just so he can collect his paycheque and hide.

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#9 c
June 19 2011, 12:25PM
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@joey joe joe jr shabadoo

Panthers are gonna play Rookies(their bonuses count against the cap regardless if they meet the bonuses) and if need be they will find guys for 1 year deals to get the rest of the way. They are not gonna take on long contracts(IE Stajan) because the CBA expires at the end of the season and they want to see where the next year takes them.

If anything, Langkow/Jokinen/Sarich would be easier to trade to Florida than Stajan would, all only have 1 year left on their deals.

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#10 Palt
June 19 2011, 12:42PM
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c wrote:

Panthers are gonna play Rookies(their bonuses count against the cap regardless if they meet the bonuses) and if need be they will find guys for 1 year deals to get the rest of the way. They are not gonna take on long contracts(IE Stajan) because the CBA expires at the end of the season and they want to see where the next year takes them.

If anything, Langkow/Jokinen/Sarich would be easier to trade to Florida than Stajan would, all only have 1 year left on their deals.

Trading Langkow would leave the team without it's most reliable center, and would probably force Backlund to play 1st line minutes, something he's not ready for. I really don't want Stajan playing on the top line.

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#11 gussey
June 19 2011, 12:46PM
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I'm not a believer in the flames giving away assets to get rid of a bad contract. I think a 2nd rounder and stajan would actually be a bad move unless you got something decient in return. My thought was possible jokinen going back to florida where he had previously flourished. Maybe for a 2nd rounder. Hopefully stajan can get fit for next year and fill a 2nd or 3rd center role.

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#12 Colin
June 19 2011, 12:50PM
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Palt wrote:

Trading Langkow would leave the team without it's most reliable center, and would probably force Backlund to play 1st line minutes, something he's not ready for. I really don't want Stajan playing on the top line.

Backlund is our #1 to start the season if we sign Tanguay. He fit in REAL well there to finish the season and at times was there througout the season. It has to be the next stage of his developmental process. He played the majority of his time in 09-10 season with the Heat and played some with the Flames. Then he played a full season(10-11) with the Flames in Various roles finishing the year as the teams top center, now this season we let him continue going with the #1 center position and seeing if he can continue his development.

If he does take that next step and continue to prodcue on the top line well hats off to Sutter for actually drafting the kid ahead of some WHL kid that you know he wanted to draft instead.

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#13 Kypreos
June 19 2011, 10:32PM
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Hey Boys, Not sure if this has been talked about but what if the flames were to trade some of their bone head contracts to teams and included cash. For example if they were to trade Stajan to Florida for a draft pick and throw in 2 million dollars it would save the club money as opposed to demoting him to the minors and paying 4.5 million this and the next two years are a 2.5 each year. The selling feature to Florida is that they only pay 2.5 million out of their pocket for Stajan (Yr 1 4.5 minus 2 million from Calgary, Yr 2 2.5 - million, Yr 3 - 2.5 million) and another advantage for Florida is that they get to use Stajan average value of his contract(3.5 million) to bring them up to the league minimum to satisfy the salary cap rules. Utimately they spend 2.5 million and get to claim 3.5 million. Calgary gets to dump a bad contract and pick a draft pick, I assume late round. Might end up saving money in the long run and free up more cap room.

Just a thought!

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#14 Kent Wilson
June 19 2011, 10:44PM
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@Kypreos

This CBA prohibits the old style cash-sweetener. Has to be players or draft picks.

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#15 everton fc
June 20 2011, 08:56AM
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Would anybody take a punt at picking up Sean Bergenheim from the Bolts? I think he'd be a nice fit, but haven't taken the time to figure out who moves... et al... due to only having one cup of coffee thus far, this morning.

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