Flames re-sign Paul Byron and Akim Aliu

Kent Wilson
July 04 2012 03:21PM

 

 

The Flames added two more names from the to-do list today, re-inking minor league forwards Paul Byron and Akim Aliu. Both contracts are two-way, one year deals. Byron's NHL salary is worth $585,000 while Aliu (somehow) clocks in at $695,000.

That leaves just a couple of notable RFA's hanging: Mikael Backlund and Leland Irving. Backlund is obviously the most interesting Flame still without a contract. His poor season last year in terms of health and counting numbers may be contributing to a hesistance on the team's part to commit more dollars and time to the player. He's a 23-year, skilled forward with an undetermined ceiling in line for a rebound, but he's also been rumored as trade bait. The longer this drags on, the less likely it seems he'll be sticking around the Flames organization.

Leland Irving is the favorite to back-up Miikka Kiprusoff this year, despite a rough end to his season in the AHL. With 6 years between him and his draft year, Irving is at the point in his career where he has to start proving to be more than a steady AHL starter if he's going to take the next step.

This upcoming should be his big chance to show he can manage at the NHL level. No doubt the Flames are interested in a cheap, single season contract so they can judge where Irving is at while the new dad with be looking for a bit more security.

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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 Vintage Flame
July 04 2012, 03:29PM
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Apparently Backlund and Irving are close to signing.

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#3 Ryan Holmer
July 04 2012, 03:32PM
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Great signing. Also, Irving should be high on Feasters' list of players to sign.

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#4 Eric
July 04 2012, 03:34PM
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Any comments on Aliu or Byron? This article is 85% Backlund and Irving.

I was also shocked that Aliu got more than Byron. Seems to me like they'll both be injury call ups next year, the two-way deals make that easier.

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#5 Vowswithin
July 04 2012, 03:45PM
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Vintage Flame wrote:

Apparently Backlund and Irving are close to signing.

Yeah spill friend!

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#7 Ryan Holmer
July 04 2012, 04:12PM
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The Flames', and JP Barry (Backs' agent) just began talks today. I'd imagine he'll be resigned later this week/early next week.

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#8 Michael
July 04 2012, 04:29PM
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Backlund is also looking at some increased competition at center, Backlund and Cervenka could well be fighting for that 2/3rd spot. If Backlund can't prove he is a #2, he isn't going to paid like one....

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#9 Baalzamon
July 04 2012, 04:37PM
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in a move that surprised literally no one anywhere.........

in other news, Montoya to the Jets, apparently.

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#10 JF
July 04 2012, 04:39PM
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I kind of see Aliu as a Jackman replacement. Say next year is going poorly at the deadline they can easily ship Jackman out (for whatever marginal return) and insert Aliu.

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#11 RKD
July 04 2012, 04:49PM
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I'm pretty indifferent on these signings, seems routine to me. These guys are good for call ups, not sure how good they are in a regular role.

I would say Bryon has a lot more upside than Aliu.

Backlund could get a one year deal or he could be traded as part of a package deal.

If Backlund can stay healthy and play more consistency he should be able to have a good season.

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#12 Colin.S
July 04 2012, 05:00PM
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No problems with the signings, both are good at the AHL and are decent enough call-ups. Aliu looked good in a really small sample last year, and maybe with more conditioning and coaching from Ward maybe he can be better than replacement level at the NHL level, which would be good for him.

Byron has kinda shown to me he was a throw in to the Regehr deal, he's not really "close" to the NHL and will probably spend at least the next year or two at the AHL level. He looked good again in limited time last year, but again was not ready for that level of competition.

As for Backlund talks not even starting, **** off Feaster, sign him for at least a year, let him fight for that second line center spot.

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#13 beloch
July 04 2012, 05:07PM
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Michael wrote:

Backlund is also looking at some increased competition at center, Backlund and Cervenka could well be fighting for that 2/3rd spot. If Backlund can't prove he is a #2, he isn't going to paid like one....

Who's going to be the #1C? Cammalleri? He was serviceable as a temporary C when the injuries were piling up, but has there been any indication he's training to stay at center?

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#14 RexLibris
July 04 2012, 05:11PM
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According to the Great Ouija Board, Kent. Come on, have some faith!

Just kidding, VF.

If Backlund doesn't sign, is he used to try and up the ante in a Bouwmeester trade for a greater return?

Part of me would like to see Feaster trade Backlund if only to read Kent's vehement defense of the young man and his exasperation at the decision.

Call it schadenfreude, voyeurism, a streak of sadism, summer enuit,...whatever.

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#15 Justin Azevedo
July 04 2012, 05:33PM
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@beloch

honestly, cammi did a pretty solid job filling in at c last year. if they can make a soft minutes line out of 40-93-12 that's a pretty good scoring line.

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#16 Justin Azevedo
July 04 2012, 05:34PM
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@RexLibris

as opposed to my reaction, which would be decidedly more... intense.

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#17 Baalzamon
July 04 2012, 08:06PM
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@RexLibris

Oh, we hold nothing against you, Oilers Fan. This is expected.

I think most of us around here like you well enough anyway haha.

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#18 RexLibris
July 04 2012, 08:39PM
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lol, thanks guys. Nice to know that you can tolerate me over the stench of that Copper and Blue cologne I wear. ;-)

Anyway, yeah Justin, I'd actually like to see your reaction in person. But maybe at a safe distance, alright.

I'm happy for Aliu. I've been pulling for him since the Spitfires incident. I keep a close watch on Downie in the hopes that he never worms his way onto a Stanley Cup team, barring retraction and sincere apology.

Just as an aside, I haven't seen much commentary from fans about how they think Hudler, Cervenka and Wideman might do under Hartley. I know Kent is probably working on something for the summer, but what do fans think about the combination?

The reason I ask is there have been several interviews with players about their reaction to the Krueger hiring and the opinions and excitement about playing for him are quite enlightening.

I'm just surprised that in the light of so little UFA news in Calgary that some attention hasn't fallen on the new head coach. Or is it a case of "second verse, same as the first" with any new coach for the Flames?

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#19 RexLibris
July 04 2012, 08:41PM
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BTW, if the Flames sign Backlund and Irving, and assuming that Baertschi makes the team out of training camp, that leaves the Flames with 48 contracts. That may become an issue as summer progresses with training camp invites and potential trades.

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#20 Baalzamon
July 04 2012, 09:22PM
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@RexLibris

The way Aliu's been able to turn his fortunes around under the tutelage of Ward is certainly encouraging. And a feel good story.

I think Hartley will be a good coach for Wideman. For the most part, he knows how to use defensemen (I think) and it doesn't take a genius to figure out how to use Dennis Wideman. Cervenka's just about a complete wildcard. The way he plays reminds me of Mike Cammalleri, but that isn't to say that he's the same (or similar) caliber player. As for Hudler... well, that really depends on the makeup of the team when the games are actually played. I really don't know, although I feel better about Hudler under Hartley than I would under Sutter.

mostly, I don't think the coach is going to make a huge difference, though.

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#21 Baalzamon
July 04 2012, 09:23PM
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@RexLibris

I knew I forgot to put something in my last post........... gah!!! yes, well, being right up against the 50 contract limit is nothing new. I wonder if the new CBA will raise that limit...

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#22 Kevin R
July 04 2012, 11:32PM
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Wonder if everyone would be feeling way better if we had scored Carle for 5.5mill per for 6 years instead of the Wideman deal. By Jees man, Boumeester is looking like a steal right now. I can imagine what Phoenix will want for Yandle, not even sure why they want to trade Yandle, I dont get that. But I think JBO's price has gone up, but do you do the deal? I guess it all depends but Philly & Boston or St Louis could offer us some pretty friggin nice packages, I think Courtier could be at play, also heard Bruins were down on Lucic, I would pee myself to see him play on a line with Baerschte & Cerevenka.

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#23 everton fc
July 05 2012, 12:14AM
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I'd move JBo for Lucic. There'd probably be some other parts... But if that deal can happen, I'd do it.

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#24 FireOnIce
July 05 2012, 01:05AM
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@RexLibris

Not a problem if Feaster antes up and trades JBo, Backlund, and someone else for Bobby Ryan. Only way I can see that sort of thing happening.

As far as Backlund not having a contract yet, I am going to go ahead and assume that his agent deals with other NHL players as well. In that case, I'm sure he had a number of UFA players looking for new contracts. That probably took precedence over re-signing what some might consider a "sure thing", although these days, that's looking less likely.

I'd be on board with trading JBo, Backlund, and a cog for Bobby Ryan and a D-man.

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#25 FireOnIce
July 05 2012, 01:10AM
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I'm also still completely shocked by Parise AND Suter signing in Minnesota. They didn't seem to be the front runners for both of them at the same time, and this just gives them a huge boost.

NW Division

Oilers - Hall, RNH, Eberle, MPS, Yakupov, Schultz, Dubnyk, Omark, etc.

Canucks - Sedins, Garrison, Kesler, Burrows, Schneider, whatever they get for Luongo

Wild - Setoguchi, Heatley, Koivu, Parise, Granlund, Coyle, Suter, Backstrom

Flames - Iginla, Kipper, GlenX, JBo, Hudler, Wideman, Baertschi.

One, not like the others...

Though, I wonder if Shea Weber helped Suter somewhat. Who would Suter play with in Minnesota? Parise is pretty much set with Koivu and possibly Granlund, but Suter needs a partner too, and it won't be anything close to Shea Weber.

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#26 negrilcowboy
July 05 2012, 08:20AM
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ahl signings, not much hoopla here. running thin on contracts may hogtie the organizations leverage to pull a deal.

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#27 Baalzamon
July 05 2012, 09:11AM
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@Kevin R

I read somewhere that the Blackhawks were interested in Bouwmeester. Do you think, perhaps... Bolland? ha no. could still work though. Maybe Hjalmarsson +?

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#28 RexLibris
July 05 2012, 10:07AM
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@FireOnIce

You can scratch Omark's name from the Oilers. He plays RW and that side is a bit loaded right now. He's been qualified but will probably return to play either in the KHL barring a trade before the season starts.

I would say that the Flames have the largest gap in their roster of the NW teams, but most of that has to do with age.

As Kent has noted, there is a distinct lack of elite talent in the 23 to 27 age range on their roster.

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#29 RexLibris
July 05 2012, 10:09AM
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@Baalzamon

Yeah, I'd obviously like to see the limit raised to 52. With the expanded importance of the draft, teams are taking more interest in developing talent (most teams, anyway) and some decent prospects are beginning to slip through the cracks, their development stalled because no team has the space to keep them.

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#30 Kevin R
July 05 2012, 10:56AM
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@Baalzamon: Its interesting that the Hawks are in the market for a Dman, with Keith, Seabrook & Hjallmarson, Oduya, they seem to have their top4. I guess maybe they need a change, but they need a goalie. I would have thought they would push for Kipper instead of JBO. But Hjallmarson coming back & if we can extort a 2013 1st out of them gets Feaster a serviceable Dman at half the price & a very valuable 1st rounder in next years deeper draft. I would be on side with that deal.

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#31 Baalzamon
July 05 2012, 11:04AM
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@Kevin R

yeah, it surprised me a bit too. found the link:

http://www.csnchicago.com/hockey-chicago-blackhawks/blackhawks-talk/Hawks-miss-out-on-Parise-Suter-but-Bowma?blockID=735528&feedID=10334

it's most of the way down.

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#32 BurningSensation
July 05 2012, 01:02PM
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@Fire on Ice:"I'd be on board with trading JBo, Backlund, and a cog for Bobby Ryan and a D-man."

THIS!

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#33 everton fc
July 05 2012, 02:13PM
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I'm with Fire on Ice.

I'd take the same deal w/Boston for Lucic and a d-man.

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#34 Baalzamon
July 05 2012, 02:35PM
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@everton fc

thinking something like Bouwmeester + Backlund + Jackman(???)

for

Lucic + Seidenberg

??

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#35 RexLibris
July 05 2012, 02:39PM
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Bob Stauffer (radio host 630 CHED - Edmonton, and friend of the Bouwmeester family) was wondering if Detroit might not take a long look at Bouwmeester after having failed to sign Suter and with the retirement of Lidstrom.

That could be an interesting angle to examine.

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#36 Baalzamon
July 05 2012, 04:37PM
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@RexLibris

indeed so, but what does Detroit give up? Jurco? Tatar? Nyqvist (lol)? The Flames still need to get a defenseman back.

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#37 alex
July 05 2012, 10:40PM
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i would love too see that, this team needs a lucic! and more like lucic. but as always, wont happen,

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#38 RexLibris
July 06 2012, 07:39AM
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Baalzamon wrote:

indeed so, but what does Detroit give up? Jurco? Tatar? Nyqvist (lol)? The Flames still need to get a defenseman back.

Detroit would probably be pretty comfortable giving up a first and a third, but you are right in that Feaster would almost certainly want back a warm body.

Which is too bad, because if the Flames were to decide to tear it down and get draft picks, moving Bouwmeester, in this draft year, would be a very wise move in that direction.

In fact, one could argue that Bouwmeester might have more trade cache in the league right now than Iginla or Kiprusoff.

I'd love to get one of Tatar or Jurco from the Wings. When the rumours about Hemsky heading there were going around either of those two were the players I was hoping to hear about. Brendan Smith would be nice, but I think that's a pipe dream, like Nyqvist.

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