Assigning Blame

Pat Steinberg
June 02 2011 01:33AM

Most of Wednesday's reaction to Calgary's trade of Tim Erixon to New York was emotional and, well, negative.  Understandably at that.  The Flames lost their best prospect and a guy that could have given them some important roster flexibility heading into the coming season, which sucks, plain and simple.  I come away from the day frustrated at the situation, but unable to paint the organization with a fail coloured brush...which may be the most annoying thing of all.

In the days leading up to Wednesday's deadline, the thought process seemed to be "if the Flames don't get this done, it's another failure of the organization."  That sentiment only intensified when the trade was finalized around 2 pm; why did the Flames let it get this far?  Why didn't they have contingency plans in place?  Why didn't they do all they possibly could to keep this player around?  All fair questions, yes.  But also questions I answered with "I believe they did" at the time; then we heard from Jay Feaster, and it became even more clear.

After hearing from Jay, where he lays it all out in black and white, how can we be pointing fingers or assigning blame to the Calgary Flames?  Well, let's go back and answer those three questions above.  Why did the Flames let it get this far?  Well, it's not like they weren't going to sign the kid.  Erixon was their top prospect, seemingly NHL ready, and a player fans were excited about.  For Calgary not to do their due dilligence in this respect would be foolish and a disservice to the team; and they did.

But at some point the team had to realize there wasn't as much interest on the other side, and they did.  Feaster pointed to a number of reasons why Erixon's camp was hesitant about signing the entry level deal; they weren't convinced he'd be playing NHL minutes; he didn't want to play in the American Hockey League; the Flames recent track record of giving time to young players isn't great.  While all were true, they were things out of Calgary's control...so question two: why didn't they have contingency plans in place?  Once again, they did.  A week out, the team realized this might not be a realistic possibility, and they started fleshing out their other options and deciding which would be best.  The prevailing though was the Rangers deal came out of the blue on Wednesday afternoon, when in reality, it had been discussed for at least 24 hours prior.  So the sentiment the Flames didn't have a backup just isn't factual.

And the final question: why didn't they do everything they possibly could do sign Erixon?  Yep...they did.  Feaster revealed the team came forward with two seperate offers, both pushing right to the limit of what they could offer the player.  Remember, Calgary's hands were tied, the same way every other team has their hands tied with the NHL rookie max.  The Flames offered him the standard three year entry level deal at the max rookie salary, with lucrative bonus packages involved.  Because there's only so much they can do, does that not qualify as doing everything they possibly could have done?

The bottom line is, the player didn't want to play with Calgary.  It's very hard to combat that when Erixon held all the cards, which he did in this scenario.  A highly touted prospect who had no qualms about re-entering the draft has the ability to control his own destiny; the Rangers were identified and the trade was made.  It's a damn shame because the player is a very good one and he will be a huge boost to the New York blueline, but I just can't sit here and condemn the Flames for how they handled this situation.

I've been plenty critical of the Flames and how they've gone about their business over the past 18 months, so the "you're just protecting the team because you're the rightsholder" argument is BS.  However, I'm also not going to just look for reasons to criticize the organization, and in this instance, they don't deserve any.  Feaster and the Flames maximized their return on a difficult, less-than-ideal situation.  They weren't signing the player despite their best efforts...what else could they have done?

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Pat Steinberg can be heard daily on the Fan960 in Calgary at can be read at the FAN 960. Born and raised in Calgary, Steinberg considers himself a huge fan of all sports including the CFL, MMA and 13 round bare knuckle boxing matches. Follow Steinberg on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Fan960Steinberg.
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#1 Kent Wilson
June 02 2011, 10:45AM
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Having an opportunity to play in the NHL is a privelage, regardless of your bloodlines.

I'm sorry, but no it isn't. Erixon is in the position he's in now because he's one of the most gifted athletes in the world. That is true because he's put in untold hours of training and sacrifice to get here.

Besides, the issue isn't him playing in the NHL per se - it's playing for an organization he didn't see as a good fit for various reasons. We as Flames fans can all demand that he suck up his reservations and come play for the team that drafted him, but that's because we all want him to play here and stand to benefit from that decision. Related: I can guess if Erixon had thumbed his nose at the Edmonton Oilers, most Flames fans would either shrug, laugh or nod in agreement.

Erixon and his agent used the leverage that was available to improve the situation from Erixon's perspective. He'll likely be playing in the NHL next year, for a team he prefers in a town he feels more comfortable in. He earned that leverage by being one of the best prospects in the world. He doesn't owe us - or the Flames - anything, unfortunately.

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#2 MC Hockey
June 02 2011, 11:26AM
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Hi all, No point whining now, it's done. And getting two 2nd-rounders plus a very good centre/forward prospect signed cheaply is awesome if you think about it. Horak would probably go first or second round if now in draft due to his recent WHL stats and thus would cost WAY more than the $610K he is signed for now. And at that pay grade, he can PLAY in 2011-12 for the Flames as he fits under the cap nicely if he earns/warrants it. Does anybody think about that stuff besides me?

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#3 T&A4Flames
June 02 2011, 01:28PM
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With all that said, I am glad that Feaster was able to get something out of this situation. It sounds like Horak is happy to be coming here and it could be much worse than having Ryan Howse's set up man come with him. I wouldn't argue Calgary trading both 2nd's for another mid-range 1st, either. And hey, we got draft picks and a prospect instead of 'character vet".

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#4 thymebalm
June 03 2011, 06:14PM
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I need to object to the argument that things happening at the 11th hour shows disarray or failure on the part of the flames organization. Waiting actually probably made Erixon sweat. He would have to re-enter the draft as a top-10 pick. The Rangers might not be able to draft him before someone else scoops him up, then he's stuck with a bottom feeder again and wastes another year of his career (similar: Nabokov).

What if the Rangers think, well, he's only going to sign with us anyway, and they opt to wait until the second round to draft him, and he gets scooped back up by a club other than the Rangers in the late 1st round or early 2nd.

Both situations were possible and did not favor Erixon. Feaster offers him the best possible deal he can, and then lets time pressure Erixon. Does he just take the sweet contract, and avoid the draft, or not?

Meanwhile Feaster goes to the Rangers and says "look, if I let this kid go back to the draft, your 2nd round pick won't be good enough to punch his ticket, so that's where the negotiations start, now what else do you have to offer?"

He winds up with another pick and prospect on top of that, and leaves with one (arguably two) more assets than he started with.

Bravo, Feaster.

Blame the history of the franchise since Darryl decided he didn't want to witness any growing pains on his NHL roster. Blame the scouts who drafted a player they weren't able to sign. Blame their record since the lockout.

This whole ordeal is colored by the mediocre history of the Flames post-lockout, something which Feaster should really be absolved from, lest he become a part of it in 2011-12.

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#5 Justin Azevedo
June 02 2011, 01:53AM
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I thought about this a little more this afternoon-what happened in the six days between the realization of "This guy might not be signing" to yesterday? I see a few possibilities:

-Feaster's lying about when they realized Erixon didn't want to be here and the Rangers were the only ones who offered something when the panic button was pressed today. Not likely, based on some other scuttlebutt I've heard.

-There was an offer put out to the other 29 teams 6 days ago and only the Rangers responded/offered the best package, but the Flames waited until today to move him.

-The Rangers were so sure of what was going to happen, they were the only ones who put an offer forth.

So, that leaves me with some questions: when did the Flames make this guy available? The closer he got to the deadline, the more his value depreciated-but at the same time, if he's as good as we think he is, shouldn't there have been teams duking it out to get him early in the process? Was there an asking price? Was he even on the market? How did the Rangers complete a trade call and sign a guy to a contract in less then two hours? (I'm of the opinion that there's something fishy with that.)

In all likelihood, the second possibility is probably the most accurate, but I'd still be filing tampering charges at 9AM ET tomorrow if I'm Feaster.

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#6 FireOnIce
June 02 2011, 03:11AM
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I forget where I read it, or if it was in Feaster's press conference, but apparently teams were asking last season about Erixon, and the Flames told them to bugger off.

If they had been working their due diligence and realized Erixon didn't want to be here, or at least tried to sign him last season when that may have become quite apparent, we might have gotten more for him.

As is, at least we got more than an effing late second round pick. Or perhaps the burn Erixon put on the Flames in a more metaphysical sense, what with dissing the organization and exposing their faults, is way more damaging than a prospect + 2 picks could ever heal.

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#7 Colin
June 02 2011, 06:06AM
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"So the sentiment the Flames didn't have a backup just isn't factual."

Actually it is factual, the trade to the rangers wasn't a backup plan. A backup plan is devised weeks or months ahead of time, a deal made 24 hours before the deadline where he would re-enter is either blackmail or desperation. And if prevailing thought is true, may as well have been blackmail. If Feaster had a real backup plan for the kid I think he could have gotten more than an extra 2nd round pick(we would have gotten a 2nd anyways so only one counts and we essentially swapped 5th rounders). A real backup plan is made far in advance of deadlines and not the day before.

With all that said though, I'm less and less blaming Feaster and tipping my hat to him for at least getting something from nothing. The Rangers and the rest of the league seemingly knew he was only gonna go back to the Rangers(tampering by dad and Agent IMO) so the fact he got the extra second on top of the 42nd pick is pretty decent. I'm more and more really DISLICKING Erixon, it's one thing if a player comes right out and says "Your organization sucks and I don't want to play here, please trade me" It's another to partially lead a team on till 24 hours before and have the only option of the team he WANTS to play with, just reeks of tampering and mocks the way the draft works(especially if the max deal with big bonuses part is true).

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#8 icedawg_42
June 02 2011, 06:59AM
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From Feaster's story, it really sounds like Grossman and Erixon torpedoed the Flames hard. If the little sh!t wanted to be moved that bad he should have laid all his cards on the table instead of coming up with every excuse in the book, one at a time. I do agree that the Flames should have had a backup plan - but for all we know maybe they did - the closer the deadline, the more Erixon's trade value diminished, and the harder and harder the Flames were getting bent over. Listening to Dowbiggin on the Fan, sounds really gloom and doom as far as players not wanting to come here - not sure I believe that, but at least our neighbors to the North are selling "hope" to fans and players. Darryl Sutter is still hosing this team from beyond the proverbial grave. Thanks for the legacy Dutter - at least you brought us a cup...oh, wait.

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#9 Resolute
June 02 2011, 07:54AM
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lol. The safest thing you can do when it comes to Dowbiggin is to completely disregard any and everything he says about the Flames. He hated the team when he worked for the Herald, and now that he's in Toronto, his hatred is mixed with ignorance.

Anyway, the most disappointing thing about how Erixon and his agent handled it was they demand, the Flames accept, and they demand something else. Calgary offered everything Erixon asked for, and the punk still bailed because he wanted to go play for daddy's team. Complete lack of class on the part of the player. I don't believe in karma, but just this once, I'd like to see it kick Erixon in the ass.

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#10 Colin
June 02 2011, 08:21AM
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If what Feaster said on the Fan960 is true(first chance to listen to the interview this morning), offering the kid the max he could plus A+B bonuses and a garuantee that if it didn't work for whatever reason(apparently going so far as saying he was getting 2nd pairing minutes to start) that he would be sent back to europe than it seems he knew what he wanted to do since day 1 and thats not play for the flames.

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#11 Kent Wilson
June 02 2011, 08:22AM
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I'll discuss the implications for the Flames later. For now I'll note I'm having a hard time conjuring animus towards Erixon.

Yeah, he screwed the Flames over...but in terms of his own wants and needs for his career, it seemed like the right move. He had a lot of leverage in this situation and if he didn't like what he was hearing or seeing from the org, then it made sense for him to take advantage.

We take for granted that kids coming into the league will shut up and do as their told - and most of the time they do because they don't have much choice otherwise. But these guys aren't indentured servants and they don't necessarily owe anything to the team that happened to call their name on draft day.

Erixon has outperformed his draft position since he was picked two years ago. His stock has risen league-wide. The Flames, on the other hand, have missed the playoffs for two straight seasons, are notorious around the league for struggling with young players and went through a contentious firing and hiring of general managers. On top of all that, it seems the kid always had his sights set on New York. His agent rightly identified all these factors and worked to get his client to where he was the happiest.

It's a kick to the balls, but I can't say I wouldn't have done the same thing in his place.

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#12 Willi P
June 02 2011, 09:03AM
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Erixon was born in NY, his daddy wanted him to play there, Sather wanted him. Done deal. I think the rest is just posturing. He needed an excuse so that the NYR's didn't get nailed for tampering.

If this had happended the other way, Bettman woudl be all over it but because it is the NEW YORK Rangers, it will be swept under the rug.

I say move on, develop the other prospects (TJ et al) and draft more (with more due diligence BEFORE they are drafted)

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#13 Greg
June 02 2011, 09:22AM
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This feels like a break up that had to happen. It sucks, everyone's upset, but at the end of the day, you have to admit that it really wasn't going to end any other way and you just have to accept it and move on.

Or turn into a vengeful stalker. Either is good.

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#14 rod blogojevich
June 02 2011, 09:22AM
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@Azevedo

Completely agree with you on Feaster lying. No way he could have traded Erixon earlier in the week without a freak out from the fans, so he told Slats to wait til the final hour before a trade was finalized to make it appear he pulled off some last minute miracle.

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#15 Greg
June 02 2011, 09:27AM
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@Willi P

Uhm, I don't recall Bettman "being all over it" when we took Brent sutter from NJ, and I can't recall a more clear case of tampering.

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#16 rod blogojevich
June 02 2011, 09:32AM
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Steinberg said:

"However, I'm also not going to just look for reasons to criticize the organization, and in this instance, they don't deserve any. Feaster and the Flames maximized their return on a difficult, less-than-ideal situation."

Yeah, hard to blame Feaster here. But, Perhaps if the Flames had a GM named more than two weeks ago, then this situation could have been avoided. The GM could have recognized this months ago and dealt with it accordingly. Ken King deserves the complete blame for taking so long to name a general manager.

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#17 Willi P
June 02 2011, 09:32AM
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@Greg,

I agree, the Sutter case was tampering as well, but as mommy says, "two wrongs don't make a right"

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#18 Resolute
June 02 2011, 10:01AM
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@rod blogojevich

Correct me if I am wrong, but I don't think the Flames were even able to negotiate with Erixon until after his SEL season ended. Even in the incredibly unlikely event that the Flames told Feaster not to negotiate because of the "interim" tag, I'm not certain he could have even begun until a couple weeks ago.

Not to mention that it is beyond silly to think the Flames hadn't already decided on Feaster long before announcement was made. Just because King didn't tell you does not mean he hadn't already told Feaster.

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#19 Graham
June 02 2011, 10:03AM
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i listened to the Feaster interview and thought they played softball with him.

Ultimately, you have to hold Executives accountable for 'results' not how well they 'spin' the situation. The 'result' was to loose your top prospect for an inadequate return.

Taking Feaster at his word, they started looking for a trade 24 hours before the signing deadline. Simply put, they left it to late.

Feaster misread the situation, waited to long to act, and failed to get fair value. Forget the spin, this mess falls on Feaster desk.

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#20 T&A4Flames
June 02 2011, 10:05AM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

I'll discuss the implications for the Flames later. For now I'll note I'm having a hard time conjuring animus towards Erixon.

Yeah, he screwed the Flames over...but in terms of his own wants and needs for his career, it seemed like the right move. He had a lot of leverage in this situation and if he didn't like what he was hearing or seeing from the org, then it made sense for him to take advantage.

We take for granted that kids coming into the league will shut up and do as their told - and most of the time they do because they don't have much choice otherwise. But these guys aren't indentured servants and they don't necessarily owe anything to the team that happened to call their name on draft day.

Erixon has outperformed his draft position since he was picked two years ago. His stock has risen league-wide. The Flames, on the other hand, have missed the playoffs for two straight seasons, are notorious around the league for struggling with young players and went through a contentious firing and hiring of general managers. On top of all that, it seems the kid always had his sights set on New York. His agent rightly identified all these factors and worked to get his client to where he was the happiest.

It's a kick to the balls, but I can't say I wouldn't have done the same thing in his place.

Sorry Kent, but I can't quite agree with you. Yes, I think a player should look out for his own interests but they also need to look out for their reputation as well. I think this reflects poorly on the entire Erixon family. They could have made it known a long time ago that there was no way they were going to let their son play anywhere other than NY and give CGY a proper opportunity to get a good return on him. Timmy looks like a spoiled brat and not a guy of good character. He could have signed 3 years in CGY and give it a chance and if he's not happy, then he can quietly ask for a trade. Having an opportunity to play in the NHL is a privelage, regardless of your bloodlines. Sorry daddy Erixon, your past successes in the league do not transfer to your son; he needs to make his own way and earn the right to call his own shots. Feaster and his group, it seems, went well out of there way to accomodate him and his concerns. I seriously hope he never plays a game in the NHL.

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#21 Calgary Sucks
June 02 2011, 10:11AM
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Calgary sucks left nut!

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#22 icedawg_42
June 02 2011, 10:12AM
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@T&A4Flames

I gotta agree with you here. Erixon could EASILY have said, right after the WHC "Look, this ain't happening - period. Make a move with the Rangers or im going back to the draft" instead of playing the games and countering every offer. At least it would have been earlier in the process, and instead of going to Sather with his tail between his legs, knowing he had no leverage, Feaster could have at least bluffed and said "Give me a good enough offer and he's yours". We might have gotten a higher end prospect that way.

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#23 icedawg_42
June 02 2011, 10:15AM
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Calgary Sucks wrote:

Calgary sucks left nut!

Couldnt get to the right nut cause YOU are too busy rolling it around in your mouth. Thanks for the input though...chump.

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#24 SuntanOil
June 02 2011, 10:24AM
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I would be interested to know what kind of relationship had been built up with the kid over the two years. Did the Flames offer him a contract last year and if so, why wasn't one signed then? If there was no contract offer last year, then why not? How much communication took place between the team and the player over the two years? Did a team representative drop in every now and then to see how he was doing / check if he had any concerns, or did they leave him incommunicado the entire time he was in Europe?

To be frank, if the organization treated him "poorly" for the first 23 months and didn't show any give and take until the kid had only a month to wait to escape the situation, then the fault does lie to a with the entire Flames organization except perhaps Feaster.

I kind of liken it to having a two year cell phone plan with an uncaring company. For 23 months you have concerns but no one will listen to you. The battery on your phone doesn't hold a charge and everyone with company A looks at you like it's your fault. You want to modify your plan to suit yourself a bit, but are told that it's not possible (even though your friend with another cell carrier just changed his). You are unhappy for 23 months until finally you hear from the company - only because the company wants you to sign a new two year contract. Only now do they listen to your concerns and agree to give you what you want, but for you it is too late. You have already decided to switch to the company your Dad uses.

In any case, today should be a better day.

Go Bruins!

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#25 icedawg_42
June 02 2011, 10:26AM
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@SuntanOil

The story goes that they were in constant contact. However, Dutter was a hard ass about everyone having to pay their dues in the AHL. Feaster probably just didnt have enough time to give Erixons camp the warm-fuzzy feelings about his own opinions.

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#26 Aunt Agnes
June 02 2011, 10:31AM
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As for Erixon, I agree with Kent. He's not chattel. He can do whatever he wants within the rules as they're written.

What I wonder about is the due diligence prior to the draft. It's being said that his sights were always on NYR. Could this have been known before they called his name?

Maybe Erixon did play too much footsie with the Flames (I don't really know) but I think the team (after drafting them) did what they could. So, I wouldn’t put this on Feaster. I'm going to also assume that the timing of the trade was meant to maximize leverage - I think the only leverage the Flames had re NYR was to appear ready to just have him re-enter the draft, hence pushing the trade as close to 5PM Eastern as possible was to their advantage.

Going a bit further, I am getting more than a little concerned about the ability of the Flames to attract talent.

First, the news coming out of this – hot prospect rejects Flames – is not good for the team’s image.

Second, the team doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Well, maybe down. But almost certainly not up. I imagine that makes it tough to attract talent.

Third, Calgary is a fine place, but I'm not sure it's the first choice home for 20-something millionaires (thankfully Winnipeg's addition puts somewhere less desirable on the map) who are looking to "hang out" with models, hit nightclubs, do a bit of, erm, "skiing," etc.

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#27 Domebeers.com
June 02 2011, 10:44AM
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I can't for the life of me figure out why people are blaming Feaster for this when the guy to be mad at is Ken King.

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#28 icedawg_42
June 02 2011, 10:47AM
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@Kent Wilson

Yeah - but I just dont understand why he couldnt have gotten the same result by saying very early on "Trade me to New York or im going to the draft"...at least then they dont screw over the Flames quite as bad.

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#29 Stelar
June 02 2011, 10:57AM
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You seem to be saying that the Flames had no contol over the fact that they don't give ice time to young players. They do. They also have control over the image of their franchise as not real player friendly. Why would a young talented player want to come play in Calgary when they have no other young players in the lineup save for Backlund and we have seen how they have handled him.

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#30 joey joe joe jr shabadoo
June 02 2011, 11:16AM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

I'll discuss the implications for the Flames later. For now I'll note I'm having a hard time conjuring animus towards Erixon.

Yeah, he screwed the Flames over...but in terms of his own wants and needs for his career, it seemed like the right move. He had a lot of leverage in this situation and if he didn't like what he was hearing or seeing from the org, then it made sense for him to take advantage.

We take for granted that kids coming into the league will shut up and do as their told - and most of the time they do because they don't have much choice otherwise. But these guys aren't indentured servants and they don't necessarily owe anything to the team that happened to call their name on draft day.

Erixon has outperformed his draft position since he was picked two years ago. His stock has risen league-wide. The Flames, on the other hand, have missed the playoffs for two straight seasons, are notorious around the league for struggling with young players and went through a contentious firing and hiring of general managers. On top of all that, it seems the kid always had his sights set on New York. His agent rightly identified all these factors and worked to get his client to where he was the happiest.

It's a kick to the balls, but I can't say I wouldn't have done the same thing in his place.

I pretty much completely agree with you here Kent.

I can't believe some of the comments in here though. Feaster Lying? Erixon wanted to be in NY all along? wow. talk about reading between the lines. some of you guys should be writing conspiracy theory articles, you're making Canuck fans look intelligent.

Anyway, this should serve as the tipping point for the organization or at the very least a harsh wake up call. When you (arguably) best prospect will not sign with you because he niether has the faith or trust that he will be given the chance to advance his career, that is a pretty damming indictment.

I don't blame Erixon one bit. Look at how the Flames have dealt with Irving, Brodie, Pelech, Negrin, Aulie, even how Backlund has been treated. Whether or not these guys were ready or deserving is another argument all together, but the fact that they've all had such a rough ride trying to even get a taste of NHL action is a disturbing trend. Erixon's concern's are well waranted. Maybe he leveraged his situation to land himself in a more comfortable environment. the Rangers have certainly shown in recent years they're willing to give their young players a honest oppourtunity. Why wouldn't he want to go there? Why would he want to stay with the Flames? And the fact that his dad played for the organization, and NY is just that much closer to Sweden that's just icing on the cake. Think about it, Erixon was willing to go back to the draft. So in his mind, and his agents mind, there were at least 6-7 teams he would rather play for than the Flames, so I don't by this was a "trade me to NY only" situation.

This should be a tipping point for the Flames. They have got to change the culture and preception of the organization. And it starts with an analysis of the Hockey Operations department. Todd Button's drafting record has been abhorent, his only defense should be that Daryll was in fact calling the shots (which I don't doubt) at the draft table. If this organization can't change, they'll be damn lucky to just to make the playoffs in the next five years.

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#31 Monaertchi Gaudnett
June 02 2011, 11:18AM
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@ icedawg_42

Even if Erixon had told the Flames a month ago that it's either NYR or the draft, NYR would have known that. Why would Slats offer anything more than he did yesterday? The options seem to be to trade him to NYR or get the 53rd overall pick. The Flames don't have any more leverage, there are no other teams to play off of, they couldn't offer him a better contract. I don't see how having more time changes anything.

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#32 icedawg_42
June 02 2011, 11:20AM
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Why would NYR know that??

The Flames aren't under any obligation to report the goings-on in their negotiations to the Rangers.

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#33 Monaertchi Gaudnett
June 02 2011, 11:25AM
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They would know because his papa played there, he lives there, and he wants to sign with them. The agent or daddy would've had a conversation with Slats.

"Gee wouldn't it be nice if my boy could play here, just like I did?" (nudge nudge wink wink know what I mean)

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#34 icedawg_42
June 02 2011, 11:26AM
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That's tampering.

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#35 Monaertchi Gaudnett
June 02 2011, 11:27AM
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Probably. But who cares? *cough Brent in NJD now in CGY cough*

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#36 icedawg_42
June 02 2011, 11:30AM
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@Monaertchi Gaudnett

Yeah - but thats the exact point i'm making. The negotiations weren't handled in good faith. And I've never accused Darryl Sutter of being ethical/honest or a good GM.

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#37 matsthomassen
June 02 2011, 11:41AM
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wish they could have dealed the guy back at the deadline, but then we all would have yelled even harder.

if there is a positive, it is that was one hell of a complete explanation from Feaster. every step in the process was explained.

never would have got that from Sutter.

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#38 CitizenFlame
June 02 2011, 11:47AM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

I'll discuss the implications for the Flames later. For now I'll note I'm having a hard time conjuring animus towards Erixon.

Yeah, he screwed the Flames over...but in terms of his own wants and needs for his career, it seemed like the right move. He had a lot of leverage in this situation and if he didn't like what he was hearing or seeing from the org, then it made sense for him to take advantage.

We take for granted that kids coming into the league will shut up and do as their told - and most of the time they do because they don't have much choice otherwise. But these guys aren't indentured servants and they don't necessarily owe anything to the team that happened to call their name on draft day.

Erixon has outperformed his draft position since he was picked two years ago. His stock has risen league-wide. The Flames, on the other hand, have missed the playoffs for two straight seasons, are notorious around the league for struggling with young players and went through a contentious firing and hiring of general managers. On top of all that, it seems the kid always had his sights set on New York. His agent rightly identified all these factors and worked to get his client to where he was the happiest.

It's a kick to the balls, but I can't say I wouldn't have done the same thing in his place.

If the players that are being drafted can start dictating those kind of terms then you might as well do away with the draft and then have a free for all, free agency right out of junior.

I don't disagree with the assessment of the Flames organization, but he hasn't proven a thing at the NHL level, but wants guarantees of a roster spot and thinks that he should displace a veteran who is a legit NHL pro? It has to be a two-way street. Let's face it, Erixon was not negotiating in good faith.

I'm basing my opinion off of what Feaster said in the Fan960 interview; if that is all true.

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#39 oilers1974
June 02 2011, 12:33PM
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must be tough accepting the reality that calgary is not a desirable organization to play for at this time.

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#40 CitizenFlame
June 02 2011, 12:37PM
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@oilers1974

It is difficult but we take solace in knowing we're still more desirable than Edmonton.

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#41 European fan
June 02 2011, 12:42PM
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Tim Erixon will pay lower income taxes in NY. If anybody doesn`t know, in US mortgage interest rate is tax deductable too!!! He can have bigger house there. So aren`t Democrats better than Conservatives? Waiting CAlgary hospital for 8 hours for hockey player can cost his career. In NY they have high end private hospitals. That`s why Calgary is "no fly zone".

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#42 ashasx
June 02 2011, 12:47PM
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European fan wrote:

Tim Erixon will pay lower income taxes in NY. If anybody doesn`t know, in US mortgage interest rate is tax deductable too!!! He can have bigger house there. So aren`t Democrats better than Conservatives? Waiting CAlgary hospital for 8 hours for hockey player can cost his career. In NY they have high end private hospitals. That`s why Calgary is "no fly zone".

This may be the dumbest thing I have ever read.

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#43 oilers1974
June 02 2011, 12:48PM
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@CitizenFlame

whatever you have to tell yourself my friend.

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#44 Calgary Sucks
June 02 2011, 12:54PM
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@icedawg_42

You suck left nut actually but Calgary's ok. Hopefully they make the playoffs next year..... NOT!

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#45 the-wolf
June 02 2011, 01:01PM
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Here's what bugs me:

- It's another example of mismanagement. Which person to blame or all of them, is moot to me. They just lost their best prospect and received lesser value in return.

- Feaster is a lawyer. I deal with lawyers on a daily basis. They're professional liars and I refuse to drink the kool-aid on this. Just becuase Feaster states something, doesn't make it true. It's his spin.

- A guy who was their best prospect for the last 2 years. You need fly all the way to NY for this? Put it together already. To me the whole things smacks of desperation and disorganization. They should've had a better book on him.

- Why NYR? No one else was intereested? Why? How did 29 other teams know he was only interested in NYR? But the team that drafted him and owned his rights didn't? They should've been able to trade him elsewhere.

- Just like he threw Modin under the bus,Feaster did the same to Darryl yesterday. Not that Darry doesn't deserve it, but Feaster has the been the guy in charge since Christmas. Performance, not excuses.

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#46 the-wolf
June 02 2011, 01:06PM
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Here's what bugs me:

- It's another example of mismanagement. Which person to blame or all of them, is moot to me. They just lost their best prospect and received lesser value in return.

- Feaster is a lawyer. I deal with lawyers on a daily basis. They're professional liars and I refuse to drink the kool-aid on this. Just becuase Feaster states something, doesn't make it true. It's his spin.

- A guy who was their best prospect for the last 2 years. You need fly all the way to NY for this? Put it together already. To me the whole things smacks of desperation and disorganization. They should've had a better book on him.

- Why NYR? No one else was intereested? Why? How did 29 other teams know he was only interested in NYR? But the team that drafted him and owned his rights didn't? They should've been able to trade him elsewhere.

- Just like he threw Modin under the bus,Feaster did the same to Darryl yesterday. Not that Darry doesn't deserve it, but Feaster has the been the guy in charge since Christmas. Performance, not excuses.

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#47 T&A4Flames
June 02 2011, 01:08PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Having an opportunity to play in the NHL is a privelage, regardless of your bloodlines.

I'm sorry, but no it isn't. Erixon is in the position he's in now because he's one of the most gifted athletes in the world. That is true because he's put in untold hours of training and sacrifice to get here.

Besides, the issue isn't him playing in the NHL per se - it's playing for an organization he didn't see as a good fit for various reasons. We as Flames fans can all demand that he suck up his reservations and come play for the team that drafted him, but that's because we all want him to play here and stand to benefit from that decision. Related: I can guess if Erixon had thumbed his nose at the Edmonton Oilers, most Flames fans would either shrug, laugh or nod in agreement.

Erixon and his agent used the leverage that was available to improve the situation from Erixon's perspective. He'll likely be playing in the NHL next year, for a team he prefers in a town he feels more comfortable in. He earned that leverage by being one of the best prospects in the world. He doesn't owe us - or the Flames - anything, unfortunately.

I do agree on some points, Kent. Yes, he is a gifted individual and probably works hard on his game. But there are tons of young guys out there who may be equally gifted and work just as hard but don't have the resources to play and get noticed. And I do agree that he should get some sort of say in what he wants and what he feels may be best for his development. Now I realize I am basing my opinion, and that is all it is, on what Feaster spoke of and what other Flames fans are saying. It just doesn't sound like he negotiated in good faith. It's not just bias here either. I remember the Lindros situation and thinking then what a tool he was. How are organizations supposed to get ahead if they can't attract good UFA's and can't sign there drafted players. Teams will get nowhere by accepting the compensatory pick every time their drafted 1st rounder decides he would rather be elsewhere. Edmonton and Winnipeg fans listen up because this affects (potentially) all of us.

If we were to hear more of the Erixons side, I may alter my feelings. I most certainly do not let the Flames organization off the hook on this either. Any fight/disagreement usually requires 2 sides and both parties could have done things differently. It's all just an opinion. No offense to anyone who thinks otherwise.

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#48 Shutout
June 02 2011, 01:54PM
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Was the Erixon camp willing to go back in the draft to any other team, or were they bluffing. Any other team would have wanted to have a deal in place before a trade within 48 hours of the deadline, so it would be easy enough for the agent to tell other teams that he was not interested in going there. Leaving just the Rangers as the only option.

Either the Rangers deal was the best deal from a number of teams or the Rangers deal was the only deal because that is the only place where Erixon wanted to go. If he went back into the draft the other teams just have to be told he is not going there and he would have fallen to the Rangers.

Reality the trade is: Rangers – Erixon, 5th round pick, 1st round pick Flames – Horak, two 2nd round picks

Or else it would be: Rangers – Erixon Flames – 2nd round pick

Not sure which is better for Calgary, but I definitely see that the Rangers screwed us over. Did the Rangers get inside information from the player, family, or agent? That would be tampering.

Did Erixon decide to string the Flames along so that the Rangers would not have to give up the #15 pick? Possible and good strategy if you want to go to a team that has lots of good assets.

Somebody with the Flames needed to be looking at all the options, talking to any and all sources, and making some hard decisions.

As it stands, the Flames were either incompetent in finding out information, ignorant in ignoring the information, or the equivalent of the A&W Root Bear who is just out bouncing around looking for hugs and love and they were to naive to consider they were being screwed with. Either way it is brutal mismanagement of a top asset for the organization.

This is how Feaster manages a hockey team, through mistakes and apologies.

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#49 FireOnIce
June 02 2011, 02:10PM
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European fan wrote:

Tim Erixon will pay lower income taxes in NY. If anybody doesn`t know, in US mortgage interest rate is tax deductable too!!! He can have bigger house there. So aren`t Democrats better than Conservatives? Waiting CAlgary hospital for 8 hours for hockey player can cost his career. In NY they have high end private hospitals. That`s why Calgary is "no fly zone".

The hospital thing is completely irrelevant. Hockey players go right to the front of the line at private facilities. You would probably never see one with a hockey-related injury at the Peter Lougheed or Rockyview.

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#50 Tach
June 02 2011, 02:15PM
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Pat,

I am ok with giving Feaster a bit of a pass on this one, but this is not a good situation for the Flames and it seems to me it falls to Darryl Sutter and Ken King.

1) The concerns expressed by the Erixon camp are almost exclusively a situation created under Darryl Sutter's management. I don't think you can blame Feaster for any of the conditions that Erixon's agent cited as problematic.

2) Erixon should have been under contract last summer. All he did over the past year was increase his leverage by playing better. He knew it. Given Feaster's comments, in particular that it was Feaster who had to put in an European Assignment clause, I am under the impression that previous management did not agree to that clause. Given what we know about Sutter's style, I don't think it is an unreasonable conclusion that Erixon asked for such an assignment clause last year, got rebuffed, and then got to spend this year upping his value and potential draft position on going back into the draft.

3) Perhaps it was a gamble that Erixon was not as good as Erixon thought he was. In which case, once it became clear that Erixon was not going to sign last year, the Flames should have used his rights as a kind of carrot to either pick up more picks earlier or shed salary space. Waiting until this late in the game gives it away to the other teams that you are having problems signing him, reducing your negotiating position. Trying to kind of throw him in on a deal last summer or last season lets you extract more value on an asset that you know holds little value (because he won't sign with you).

4) Ken King let Darryl do this, refused to name a permanent GM until late into this process and generally set Feaster up for this failure. I imagine the concerns expressed by Erixon last summer were known to King and probably played some role in the turfing of Darryl last Christmas. That was too late. If anyone has to go out of this, it is him.

As for Erixon, I get the impression there was some stringing along on his side in that there was never a "No matter what you offer we won't take it" kind of statement. Nonetheless, his concerns were made clear rather early on from what Feaster explains. He knew where his leverage was and stuck to his guns. We don't like it but I can't blame him. He will only have leverage so many times in his career and he used one of his opportunities to his advantage.

The only part I will hang on Feaster is that rather than providing the agent with pleading explanations, Feaster should probably have realized earlier that the concerns the agent had were not going to be rectified by June 1, 2011 and turned to asset maximization at that point. I don't know that he could have improved the return in a terribly material amount nor do I know when he would have had the authority to fix it.

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