FN Weekend Open Thread - Grade the Flames Offseason

Kent Wilson
August 05 2012 07:49AM

 

I'm finally back from my Eastern sojourn and with me returns the FN Weekend open thread.

With Leland Irving finally back in the fold, it looks like the Flames are done for the summer of 2012. They may yet try to trade a Babchuk or Stajan contract (good luck with that), but otherwise the training camp rosters are in place.

Feaster was fairly busy this offseason, although probably not enough for some. The aging and expensive guys remain - Iginla, Kiprusoff and Bouwmeester - so the overall character of the team is more or less intact. The club lost a few support players, albeit relatively important ones (Moss, Jokinen), signed some guys to replace them (Hudler and Cervenka) and paid a pretty penny to add some offense to the blueline. 

At the draft, Calgary added a second rounder and reached for Mark Jankowski, a move that will either be considered a coup or a flop down the road. The club mostly focused on defenders with their other picks, so Jankowski is Calgary's only shot in 2012 to add high end offense to the cupboard.

KW's Summer Report Card
 

Here's how I would grade the Flames efforts this summer:

- Dennis Wideman deal: C -

Giving term, dollars and a full NMC clause to a moderately capable top-4 defender, with a bulk of the money coming in his 30+ years, strikes me as an overly risky move. Wideman has certainly put up some points with good teams in the Eastern Conference over the last few years, but has consistently been mediocre at the other end of the ice. He's an upgrade over Hannan, no doubt, but with five years and more than $5M per year as the bet on the table, there's a lot more ways the Flames can lose this one rather than win.

- Jiri Hudler deal: C

The erstwhile Red Wing adds some much needed depth on the right side and he put up decent numbers in Detroit last year. At $4M/year for four years he's also only a moderate risk relative to, say, Wideman. On the bad side of things, Hudler has been one of the most sheltered guys on Detroit over the last few years and even in those circumstances he's never cracked 60-points in the NHL.

The Flames are a sizeable step down from Detroit at this point, so even if he sees more ice time as a Flame, there's a chance his output will dip owing to the fresh difficulty of those minutes (not to mention the lack of Datsyuk or Zetterberg). Hudler hasn't been able to drive possession at any point in his NHL career either, which has become the Flames biggest weakness at even strength.

- Blake Comeau deal: A

Nothing not to like about how Calgary handled Blake Comeau - by eschewing his qualifying offer and then re-upping for pennies on the dollar, Calgary gets a capable support winger who should be in line for a bounce back season.

- Mikael Backlund deal: A

There were rumors the Flames were shopping Backlund heading into the draft, but luckily the club instead chose to re-sign him to a $725k contract for one year. It's contract the Flames can't lose on: even if Mikael never develops the sort of offense expected of him, his contributions as a guy who can play anyone and move the puck forward should pay for his sub-$1M deal. On the other hand, if the pucks start going in for him at even a middling rate, Calgary has a steal on their hands.

- Roman Cervenka deal: B

Snagging the high scoring KHL center/winger added some more skill to a generally uncreative line-up and another body in the peak 23-27 year old range. Of course, as of now it's totally unknown whether Cervenka will be able to translate his game on North American ice so there's a certain amount of risk and opportunity cost associated with grabbing Roman and penciling him in to the team's top-6. Adding him still strikes me as a worthwhile gamble, however.

- Draft: NA

It's a fools errand to grade this portion of the summer at this point. The Big Jankowski can really go either way while the rest of the draft contained a few moderately good gambles (Seiloff, Kulak, Gordon) who may or may not turn out to be worthwhile depth guys in 4 or 5 years. My initial take still stands - that Jankowski was a long reach in the first round when some other names were still on the board - but I'm more than willing to give this one the ol' wait and see.

Overall Grade: C+

Calgary got some nice deals on their pending RFA's and the Cervenka contract shows they are looking a little beyond the well worn paths for new talent. Their draft maneuvers were ballsy, but the "big additions" to the parent roster indicate the club is still committed to furiously spinning its wheels amongst the West's middle class for at least another season. 

Calgary enters next year with more offensive firepower than last year, but they also face seem to be banking on a lot of question marks: post-35 Iginla and Kipper, an untested Roman Cervenka, Jiri Hudler matching his Detroit output, etc. They also didn't address the team's lackluster puck possession abilities - in fact, the Flames lost one of their top players by this metric in David Moss.

As such, in my estimation the Flames didn't have a bad summer, but Feaster et al didn't meaningfully take a step forward either. As things stand, Calgary will once again be battling for a playoff spot next season (whenever that may be) and will need a number of things to fall in their favor in order to make it to the dance.

That's how I see things currently. Please add your own report cards in the comments. Feel free to comment on other aspects of the off-season I may have neglected here as well.

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 Franko J
August 05 2012, 08:31AM
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Kent you forgot to grade the new coaching staff. I think like the draft, signing RFA's and UFA's hiring a new coaching staff was a pivotal move by Feaster as well. I am just wondering what is your initial grade?

When the season does start I am more intrigued to see how the compact and tight schedule will have an effect on this team. In my opinion this is another factor that will determine where the Flames will place in the Western Conference.

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#3 Colin.S
August 05 2012, 09:01AM
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I give em a B-, with the big knock being the Wideman deal of course, I like the Huddler deal, maybe a bit to much dollars, but he's a good player with a respectable possession rate. The Wideman deal took it from an A to a B, however the Sarich deal knocks it almost to a C, he's older and more injured and we just didn't need him.

Other than that I don't really have a problem with what else happened this off season. I didn't mind the hires for coaching, I thought better could have been had, but Hartley is a fine coach as well. The draft was really good for us, a very big boom or bust draft, but at least we are trying to get skilled players unlike a D. Sutter draft.

No FN post about the Clay Wilson leaving the Flames? Apparently because he signed his Contract in Europe the Flames were able to just outright Terminate his contract, lowering out 50 contract number.

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#4 Franko J
August 05 2012, 09:01AM
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So true Kent. It is hard to speculate given the consequences. Funny how the Flames made the gutty pick in the draft, but when it came to Feaster hiring a coach he hired someone who he thinks will keep his job, rather than hiring a coach who maybe outside of the "old boys club".

I'm just wondering how Hartley is going to motivate the captain of this team? After all he is the proverbial straw that stirs the drink for this team. And after last season, we have seen how that went. I remember the day Calgary hired Bob Johnson and many fans at that time said---Bob who?

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#5 Glenn
August 05 2012, 09:03AM
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Pretty good assessment Kent. I would give the Hudler deal a B though. he's quite skilled and versatile IMO.

I am also hearing Clay Wilson is going to the KHL for 2012/13. Can you confirm that?

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#7 Flames2004
August 05 2012, 09:59AM
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The moves made this year by the Flames resemble quite closely moves made by the Oilers in a couple different eras.

Cervenka - in the lowest depths of the Oiler franchise (early 90's) they dug hard in obscure places in Russia to find "NHL talent". It did not work out well.

Hudler - in the early 2000's, Kevin Lowe looked at Detroit and decided the Oilers needed more "skill" to win. They started jettisoning players like Mike Grier and bringing in guys like Cogliano and Robert Nilsson. The problem was, the Robert Nilsson's of the world are skilled players, but not "high end" skill, ala Martin St.Louis, Zetterberg, Briere etc.

These "skill" players aren't skilled enough to drive the play forward and they end up giving up more than they create, whereas a Mike Grier, or a David Moss are hard to play against.

Our hallmark has been a tough, gritty team that is hard to play against. This year with guys like Wideman, Hudler, Cervenka, Backlund, and Stajan I fear we will be quite EASY to play against.

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#8 NHL93
August 05 2012, 10:01AM
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I'll give Feaster and the gang a C+. Hated the Wideman and Sarich deals, loved the draft (but we can't really grade that yet) and am somewhat ambivalent with the Cervenka/Hudler signings. I am happy to see that we've got Comeau and Jones all year this time.

I have one question that hasn't really been addressed: Is Sven assured a spot on this team? Is that wise? He looked unreal in his 3 games w/ the Flames and is obviously too good to stay in the WHL. Is it unreasonable that I'm thinking he should play some pro-hockey in the minors first? Perhaps giving Alieu or Bouma an early season stint in the 'show' first? If Sven can't crack the top six, does he make sense as a 4th line energy guy? I'm just having memories of Dawes who really should've played a more top-six role than what he was given (though Dawes and Sven are two totally different instances)

Great read as usual! Thanks!

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#10 ChinookArch
August 05 2012, 10:46AM
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Wiseman: C- (too much money, too long and NTC for a shaky defender) Sarrich: F (stupid deal for a bonified 7th defender) Hudler: C (I have hope he can be effective on the right side) Cervenka: A- (what's not to like, low risk and potentially high reward) Comeau: B+ (good value) Backlund: B+ (just grateful he is still in the fold, despite the teams view)

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#11 Ryan Pike
August 05 2012, 10:56AM
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The odd thing about the Clay Wilson move is how there's been very little specifics released. Did he sign first and then the Flames termed his contract, or did the Flames cut him? (Wouldn't they have to go through $152 waivers first?)

Additionally, with Wilson likely going back to the AHL, it's likely that his status as an AHL veteran (with over 320 games played) may've factored into his decision to leave. The Heat can only dress 5 veteran skaters per game, and they seemingly already have them.

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#12 Alt
August 05 2012, 10:57AM
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C+ Sounds about right.They payed dearly for acquisitions,but shown that they are willing to take gambles in order to improve.Your statement about the team furiously spinning it,s wheels to stay in the middle class for another year is dead on ,accept for the term of one year.Imo this management team has a plan of three years of dropping old contract,s while adding youth.I think it,s more of a business plan than a Team plan.Keeping the value of the franchise high while trying to build a new arena.

Looking forward to Baertchi gettinga chance to play,and hope Reinhart will see some action before the end of season

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#13 Steve
August 05 2012, 11:15AM
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I'd go as high as a B. Mostly because I can't give poor grades on things I know little about. From the limited viewings I've had of Wideman, back when he was with Boston, I always liked him. Obviously there must be some reason his deal is so unpopular, but I can't say it's a bad deal. He seems to fill a need on this team, so I'm giving it a B. Cervenka - who knows? I think it's a good signing regardless of whether it works or not, so with no risk, no reason not to give it an A. Sarich. Everybody in the hockey world is scratching his/her head on this one. Maybe Feaster had a deal set up last year which required Sarich/Stajan/Irving for say, Kris Letang. Good deal. I'll give that one an A (attempt at humour). Can't really give anything but an F.

All the other free agent signings, honestly, A, but limited impact. I think the drafting, the hope that a new coaching staff can somehow light a fire under Jarome's butt, and the tweaking of the roster could have improved results. However, they may be playing in the toughest division next year as opposed to the weakest. That 15-6-3 record against the NW will not happen again.

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#14 Chris Breslin
August 05 2012, 11:27AM
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Way to stay positive everyone. Reading posts here would have me believe the '12-'13 season,(if there is a season at all), is a write-off. Let's wait and see before passing judgement. Legendary and hall of fame broadcaster, Peter Maher, suggests gauging a team on how they perform between games 20 through 40. I'll go with the pro whom has forgotten more about the game and business of hockey than any of us will ever know. P.S. If you're not in, you're in the way, Kent.

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#15 RexLibris
August 05 2012, 11:50AM
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@Flames2004

Those similarities haven't escaped the eyes of many here in Edmonton. Trust me.

Different names, different teams, different times. Who knows.

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#16 RexLibris
August 05 2012, 11:51AM
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@Kent Wilson

About that Sarich deal: did you accidentally forget Kent, or were you trying to forget?

Glad your back. Have you called Mike Gillis to let him know he can trade Luongo now?

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#17 CLyde
August 05 2012, 12:00PM
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I am not sure what is trying to be accomplished with this team. If competing for a playoff spot is our goal, then Feaster has done a good job as I think with some luck, this team could squeak into 8th. If the goal is to turn this team into a contender, then I feel the Flames have set themselves back and we will soon be basement dwellers. It is beyond time to move on from the Iggy/Kipper era. We have got beyond the 1st round once with this core. Really would love to see what kind of prospects we could get for those 2 coupled with 2-3 years of high draft picks and hopefully a few of our current drafts developing well. Since this is not realistic, I really cannot fathom how bad we are going to be and for how long.

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#18 Baalzamon
August 05 2012, 12:08PM
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lots of hate for Wideman... yeah, it's too much for too long, but FA deals always are. If the Flames hadn't given him that contract, someone else would have. And it's better than the deal Wisniewski got last year. If used properly Wideman is an upgrade over Hannan at even strength (given the same minutes and the same partner, he'd have done better last season). He also shoots from the right and is a bona fide powerplay defenseman. My only real problem (aside from the contract) is the penalty kill. Who replaces Hannan there? Sarich? shudder.

speaking of Sarich: stupid signing. 2 years? wtf?

I didn't like the Hudler deal. Too much for too long, like Wideman (though no clause, blessedly). Hudler is a good complementary scorer. Which means his effectiveness is predicated on his complementing someone. Who's he complementing on the Flames?

Nothing to dislike about the Backlund, Cervenka, Comeau, Irving, and Stempniak deals.

Draft was fine.

my only real issue is all the forwards. Waaay too many wingers. If Baertschi makes the team, that guarantees Comeau plays on the 4th line. What's the point? Shouldn't have signed Hudler. And what happens if Horak makes the team out of camp, or if Stajan isn't horrible?

they get a C+ from me.

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#19 Kevin R
August 05 2012, 12:19PM
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I think everyone is grading the UFA signings a little harsh. Hudler & Wideman are definite upgrades to our top 4 D & top 6 forwards. Anyone argue this? We are about to add a pair of wingers in Baerschte & Cerevenka that are young & have the potential to be impact players. Thing is, yeah we debate once again if Hudler & Wideman are over paid like JBO was, but we gave up no assets to acquire these upgrades. What is the cost via trade to get a top6 forward or a top 4 dman. The price of something the Flames cant afford, but we do have the cash for overpayment & hell, Sutter had our ownership group used to overpaying players for quite some time now. I give this offseason a B-. Changes had to be made & Feaster has made the changes. The ghosts of Sutter Past are still here & Feaster still has some exorcism work to do this year coming. Should be interesting.

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#20 Emir
August 05 2012, 12:19PM
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I've said it before and i'll say it again. The goal here is to keep the team competitive so that we can continue to captalize on the revenue that exists here. If we can squek into the playoffs, fantastic, even more money.

Overall I view this as a silent rebuild. Trying to develop prospects in different ways, drafting different types of players than we normally do. Essentially we are revitalizaing everywhere else except what is on the ice today.

I don't think I mind that strategy a whole bunch either. I would rather see them rebuild slowly from the middle of the pack than to just tear it all down and hope we can capitalize on the one or two drafts it impacts. Thats a mighty big gamble if you think about it...

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#21 RexLibris
August 05 2012, 12:47PM
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@Emir

One could argue that it is less of a gamble to attempt to draft higher in the selection rankings than to try and eke out some solid picks in the middle of the first round.

I suspect that if the Flames were to tear down the roster and rebuild they would be looking at approximately four or five years of drafting in the top five. That length of stay would mitigate some risk, though I'm not convinced that having Weisbrod and Feaster making the decisions would be the best idea.

I'm not disagreeing with your take on what the team is doing, but there are no risk-free alternatives in sport.

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#22 Austin L
August 05 2012, 01:24PM
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I'd give them a solid B based on what they did do, factor in what they didn't do and that changes to a B-. I really thought that this off-season was the time to trade away somebody like Iginla, his points will likely take a dip next year, so he will have less trade value. The team is doing a good job restocking the prospect cupboards, but would it kill them to trade away one of their aging superstars? Well actually, yes it probably would, but I'm willing to take a couple bad seasons to see us actually be able to contend for a spot above 6th or 7th.

Wideman: C+ I think the cap hit is a bit high, for a top 4 defenseman, but I think if he plays with somebody like Giordano, that he'll live through it.

Hudler: C Basically I'm just worried he won't be playing beside Zetterberg, so his points probably will drop and we won't get what we payed for.

Cervenka: A Even if it doesn't pan out, it's a one year deal. Low risk high reward situation.

Comeau: A He'll likely see a bounce back season.

Backlund: A+ He'll likely see a bounce back season as well. Glad the flames didn't give up on him.

Stempniak: B- Thought the cap hit was a bit high for what he did last year, but I don't mind it.

Jones: A Great player to have on the team, maybe he'll turn into a solid 3rd line checking role player.

Sarich: D I just don't see why we would pay him 2M$.

Also of note, it seeems like Moss is slightly injury prone, I don't mind the fact that he is gone.

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#23 Craig
August 05 2012, 01:36PM
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I like the Jones deal a lot as well, not sure what his underlying numbers were , but i really liked what I saw from him. I give that an A. Backlund is a great signing A+, I really don't mind the Wideman signing, other than the money, C+. I don't think the Hudler signing is going to go well, hard to tell now, give that a C. we needed a player to drive possession on that line so that we can have a line to handle the big guns. I'm hopeful about Cervenka, we needed more skill and creativity and that was addressed, if he is able to make players around him better then we have some real potent offensive weapons, I give that an A.

Craig's Grade: C

Overall C because even if I like some of the individual signings, I don't think the major issue was addressed. Gonna be an interesting year!

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#24 Rockmorton65
August 05 2012, 02:02PM
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I, for one am optimistic about the upcoming season. The Flames have added some offence, which was missing next year, and made some positive changes to the makeup of this team. How many one goal games did the Flames lose last year? If the new additions can get us points in at least half of those (either getting us into overtime, or winning in ot or s/o), we make the playoffs.

I also hope people will take into consideration that this is the first time in a decade that we won't be playing "Sutter" hockey or have one is a position of power (coach, GM, etc). That alone gets me excited. Hartley is a coach that will ride his stars who float. He also runs a more offence-minded team than we've seen in the past. Lots of reasons to be excited.

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#25 RexLibris
August 05 2012, 02:31PM
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@Rockmorton65

joneS, hUdler, kosTopoulos, sTempniak, comEau, glencRoss...

SUTTER lives on!

;-)

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#26 Austin L
August 05 2012, 02:57PM
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@RexLibris

Thank goodness Kostopoulos is gone

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#27 Austin L
August 05 2012, 02:59PM
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@Rockmorton65

They were one goal games partly because of Sutter's style. If we concentrate more on offense then we're either going to get destroyed in our own end since we don't have tons of good puck-moving two way players. I'm going to be very interested to watch Hartley coach.

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#28 Rockmorton65
August 05 2012, 03:24PM
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@Austin L

They were one goal games partly because of Sutter's style.

To paraphrase Yoda, "...and that...is why they failed"

With Sutter it was always either/or. They were either great offensively and couldnt keep a beach ball out of the net, or on nights when Kipper pitched a no-no, they couldnt have scored with a golf ball.

There are many coaches who have figured out how to balance offence and defence. If Kipper can keep his GAA around 2 1/2 - 3, and the Flames can average about 3 - 4 a game, I think they'll win way more than they lose. Or at the very least come away with a point.

I think too that Sutter sucked at motivation. How many times in interviews did he say something like "we're not a good enough team to play anything other than a shutdown system". Nice speech. I couldnt imagine my boss telling me that everyone I played was better than me and still getting motivated to play. Once the Flames got down by a couple, it was usually over.

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#29 Franko J
August 05 2012, 03:28PM
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@ Austin L & Craig Not to be redundant . . . . Ditto.

IMO it seems to me by signing Wideman, Hudler, and returning the veteran core, the GM and the coach are listening to one another. After all by the sounds of it Hartley wants an uptempo team. Which means improving the PP and the PK. I firmly believe down the middle with the Flames is one of the most determining factor is where this team ends up next season.

Secondly I believe another wildcard in the mix is the compete versus complacency factor from the players. I really don't care how big or small a player is all I want to see them do is battle and make it very hard to play against. After too many games I heard the same comments from Sutter, Lowry and Hartsburg, hopefully I don't or won't hear the same comments from this coaching staff. Be ready to win from the first drop of the puck. No matter how skilled a team is, playing the game smart with a strong work ethic will garner more wins than loses. See Phoenix, Nashville and NYR.

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#30 The Last Big Bear
August 05 2012, 03:51PM
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How can you grade only the things the Flames 'did do', while ignoring the things they didn't do? The team loses their first line centre and second leading point scorer, and it doesn't even warrant a comment when evauating the club's actions?

I argue that you shouldn't grade each move, deciding if it's a good move in a vacuum. You need to evaluate how well the team has addressed their weaknesses.

In my opinion, the team's biggest weaknesses were (in order):

1) First line centre

2) First pairing defenceman

3) Physical/Shutdown defencemen

4) Size and strength in the top-6 forwards

5) Heir to Kipper

1) The Flames took a significant step back at the #1C position. Jokinen signed for a reasonable contract in the 'Peg, and Roy was traded for reasonable return to a team other than the Flames. I give them a "D" in this category, taking a step back in an area of crucial need.

2) It's debatable whether Wideman is a top-pairing guy, but he is an upgrade on Hannan and creates more flexibility in the top-4. I'd give them a "C+" in this category, a small step forward in a crucial area.

3) If anything, the Flames took a step back in regards to physical defensive defenders. Re-signing Sarich was a plus, but a 2-year deal is a minus. I give them a "C-" in this category, staying more or less static in an area of weakness.

4) The Flames got softer in the top-6, but it was by virtue of bumping the grittier players (like Stempniak and Comeau) to lower lines. That's not the worst solution to the problem. I'd give the team a "C" in this regard.

5) There's no concrete reason to expect Irving to be an NHL starter at this point. Ramo is a possibility, but long odds. Ortio is many years away from even being a long shot. I recognize that getting a Vezina-calibre goalie is not an easy task, and acquiring Ramo was a step in the right direction (although not an Offseason move, technically). I give the the team a "C+".

Altogether, the team did a pretty poor job of addressing their weaknesses. A "C" overall from me. Not worse, but not measurably better, roster-wise.

That's not where you want to be as a non-playoff team with a total of one blue-chip prospect.

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#31 TyFlames
August 05 2012, 03:56PM
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I give the summer moves an A- Rating. I can only say this rating is completley based of my thoughts and perception of the summer.

Thought 1- The management is doing it's job.

Stay competitive= city money for new areana. Build for the future---aquire assets.

2. Talented,skilled,likeable players with potential=surrunding crew that will make it easier to make the tough moves. (trade deadline deals).

3.Good/great draft. Not going to sum it up, but the risk taken-to-possible reward + some great value picks. I think this draft definatly added value. just sayn.

4.Used up the most expendable asset. Capspace

5.Good Rfa contracts.

That is all.

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#32 RexLibris
August 05 2012, 04:47PM
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@Last Big Bear

I pretty much agree with your assessment, and certainly with your point on the moves the organization took in response to their roster attrition.

My grade for the team would optimistically be a C+ and I think that there is a very good chance that the season itself may turn into a solid D. We shall have to see how Cervenka and Baertschi adjust to the NHL as well as how Hartley handles a "difficult to coach" dressing room.

They don't look like a playoff team to me. Instead they look like a team that, despite some significant roster changes, will at best end up almost exactly in the same spot as the previous two years. In my opinion status quo would be the worst-case scenario as it would open the door for management to argue that they stay the course.

That being said, I think that much of the advantage of this forum is that Kent's take, while preliminary, allows all of us to contribute and create a more comprehensive perpsective by adding various views and details that can't all be added in one article.

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#33 Parallex
August 05 2012, 08:09PM
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Overall Grade: B

With the exception of Olli every guy they acquired this offseason is better then the guy he most logically replaces. Now none of the guys they acquired are big time impact guys (and given how much those guys ended up costing we never could have gotten them) so I think they did the best could with what they could... and that's all you can really ask for.

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#34 Q
August 05 2012, 10:17PM
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You know I'm a huge fan of the flaming c and at the same time I feel like I can call it as i seeit.The last 3 yrs have been very depressing to follow and I blame Darryl sutter! Jay feaster, on the other hand has done an admorable job considering g the mess (financial bind) Darryl put him in. I'm dissapointed that you, kent give him such low scores on acquisitions!!! If hudler or wideman had gone anywhere else they would have gotten similar contracts and we allll know it. These r solid signings and both younger! I am so thrilled olli wasn't signed and than moss hannan and kostopoulos weren't either. Sorry kent but that's the market! Jay has done nothing but move this team forward despite wearing handcuffs presented to him by Darryl and this is exciting for me as a fan who has been angry for at least four years with gm ineptitude. I am more dissapointed with the comeau and backlund signings even though they are cheap. I would like to see them ( especially backs) packaged for a tougher utility player. If not backlunds dunzo by the deadline. He's had waaaay too many chances. U add in Sven and Brodie and possibly reinhart and great leaders in gio jarome and cammi, this is the most excited I've been to be a fan in a long time. My only regret is that ramo isn't available!!!!!

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#35 Baalzamon
August 05 2012, 11:08PM
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@Q

"If not backlunds dunzo by the deadline. He's had waaaay too many chances."

in what way? And how? He's played 2 full seasons.

anyone who thinks Backlund's a bust needs to take a good hard look at the early part of Ryan Kesler's career. I think they'll be astonished how similar Backlund's is so far. So far, he's played fewer games and scored more points to the same age.

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#36 Q
August 05 2012, 11:25PM
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@Baalzamon

Point well taken with kesler but I feel the flames could use backlunds "potential" that many believe in to use as trade bait instead. I guess I'm not a believer in the backlund project. He wasn't a high first rounder and I've never valued him like others have. Now, that being said I do know he's been unlucky with the injuries. I'm willing to see what he can do his yr. id like to see him with stempniak and Glenn x I'd like to see some fire from baclund. I hope he proves me wrong. I just think his yr has to b his big yr. the contract is fair and he knows what he expectations r. I feel like my grading for the team is a b-. Let's hope that tough player we need to mix things up is there by October. I think we have a lot more positives in one yr with feaster than we had in sutters last 4. Time will tell!

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#37 Emir
August 06 2012, 12:22AM
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@RexLibris

I don't believe that several years of drafting lessens the risk. You have to be able to hold onto that talent, let alone identify it. Its a real high risk high reward way to do a rebuild.

I just think of teams like Florida, Coloumbus, Winnipeg, and the Islanders who are spinning their tires with multiple years of high drafting and little to show for it. What gets in the way? Not enough drafting success, organizational failures such as poor scouting/development, and the worst where you draft talent but can't hold onto it.

The other option is trade away Iggy & Kipper and get picks for this year or the next. Well you really have to hope you get it right. And based off of your rebuilding series, you can be like the blackhawks or capitals and have a lot of picks and get nearly nothing.

The reality I have come to realize is that there is no one right road map to a rebuild. There are varying degrees of success with any method and the reality is you have to hope that you have the right mix of luck and organizational talent to get it right.

I think any org essentially looks at their situation and says how can we get better without giving up being competitive today? I think the one regret that the ownership in Calgary has is they lost the balance between win now (which all orgs want) and develop tomorrow (which orgs will sacrifice in order to win now.) Calgary gave up too much during the win now days from 05 onwards and now we see the generational gap where we have produced only a couple of players (i'm reaching with that statement too.) Thus the expectations still exist on Iggy & Kipper to do so much. Therefore the lack of desire to trade them. Also considering what the return could be, it probably doesn't justify the trade. In order for us to let go of either Iggy or Kipper we have to be overpaid for their market value. That could only happen at the trade deadline I would think only then may we see that happen.

Today I believe we are seeing the win now mentality exist, but it cannot exist at the expense of develop tomorrow. It just been a very long time since we have seen any sort of focus on drafting and developing that we barely know what to make of it.

And in drafting and rebuilding, you don't really know what you have until your a few years in. No matter what way you do it.

Oh and since I haven't said it yet, the right way to rebuild a team is the way that works. Theres a lame statement if i've ever had one. Any way can work, just depends on what your organizational strengths are and how you maximize those strengths. Rebuild from the middle or scorched earth could both work and I bet the body of evidence would suggest that neither is superior to the other. It just depends on where you are when you engage in the rebuild.

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#38 Emir
August 06 2012, 12:28AM
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Oh and as for the offseason grade. Its a C+. Essentially the way we brought it talent was by over paying for it. For some reason we needed to resign garbage and Sarich has a contract that has a NTC simply due to its value. Seriously who wants to spend 2 mil per year on him? We signed a few other small contracts but for the most part they are not the game breakers.

Now I will say that there is nothing wrong with this grade. We had to get talent, and you have to over pay in free agency. So be it. I think the flames were at best going to get a C+. I don't see how we could have realistically made it an A grade off season. Trading Iggy and Kipper for picks and prospects doesn't get you a grade either. It gets you a a question mark like the draft. And since we would have lost talent by doing that I would have to decrease the grade for that.

I'm reluctantly beginning to trust the Feast & Weisbrod more and more because of this fact. So fact they really haven't screwed up and have done the best with what they could.

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#39 RKD
August 06 2012, 12:32AM
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They really could not have done any better, good luck trying to trade one of or both Stajan and/or Babchuk.

Feaster is not allowed to make any substantial trades without the green light from Murray Edwards and Ken King.

So far, Holmgren and Holland seemed content with their D. Maybe the appetite for Jay-Bo is not there.

Wideman and Hudler should improve the pp, but I'm more concerned with how this team can survive at ES.

Down the middle you have Cammalleri, Cervenka, Baertschi and Stajan. Cervenka and Baertschi have a grand total combined experience of 5 games. And that was just Sven alone!

Probably have to give a C.

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#40 Steve
August 06 2012, 07:27AM
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RKD wrote:

They really could not have done any better, good luck trying to trade one of or both Stajan and/or Babchuk.

Feaster is not allowed to make any substantial trades without the green light from Murray Edwards and Ken King.

So far, Holmgren and Holland seemed content with their D. Maybe the appetite for Jay-Bo is not there.

Wideman and Hudler should improve the pp, but I'm more concerned with how this team can survive at ES.

Down the middle you have Cammalleri, Cervenka, Baertschi and Stajan. Cervenka and Baertschi have a grand total combined experience of 5 games. And that was just Sven alone!

Probably have to give a C.

Baertschi is not a center. Cammalleri was only a center last year out of necessity, but might well stay there due to lack of a 1st line option. If Cervenka shows he can play, I think Cammalleri moves back to the wing. Add to that list Backlund, Jones, Horak. The position definitely is not a strength, but it's not terrible. Can pretty much say that for every position on this team.

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#41 MC Hockey
August 06 2012, 09:20AM
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My ratings as follows and hey I finally joined the 21st Century and joined Twitter so check out @Real_MC_Hockey please and if you want unique Jets analysis, see me at Jetsnation.ca too.

1. Wideman - hard to find consitent, hard-shooting offensive D- men ( see Jaybo) and relative to the market is not a huge overpay, especially if he can play more solid defense which is questionable given past performance. Give it a B

2. Coaches - Hartley does have a winning past and cohesion among staff with the obvious Cloutier addition and adding another Francophone in Gelinas while keeping goalie coach Malarchuk makes sense to me. But can the hard-ass motivating techniques fly once the relationship with players is solid work and are the X's and O's oing to work? Give it a C+

3. Cervenka - low risk, high reward potential contract and if he did hit all his bonuses the team would be thrilled. I expect 0.65 to .0.75 PPG. Give it an A

4. Backlund - again low risk on good possession forward who could break out finally or at worst be decent trade bait. Give it an A

5. Comeau - low value contract given his speed, scoring potential, and ability to check and hit. Give it a B

6. Hudler - perhaps an overpay and term is long given his advanced stats numbers and his counting numbers being exaggerated in playing with top Red Wings in past. Give it a C

Overall - B

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#42 Baalzamon
August 06 2012, 09:30AM
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Steve wrote:

Baertschi is not a center. Cammalleri was only a center last year out of necessity, but might well stay there due to lack of a 1st line option. If Cervenka shows he can play, I think Cammalleri moves back to the wing. Add to that list Backlund, Jones, Horak. The position definitely is not a strength, but it's not terrible. Can pretty much say that for every position on this team.

you're underestimating how many wingers the team has. If Baertschi makes the team, Cammalleri CAN'T move to the wing. Not unless you want both Comeau and Glencross on the 4th line.

as I write this, though, that seems to give the Flames an interesting shut-down option on line 4.. Which means Backlund wouldn't have to be the shut-down center!!

Tanguay - Cammalleri - Iginla

Cervenka - Backlund - Hudler

Baertschi - Horak - Stempniak

Glencross - Jones - Comeau

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#43 Kevin R
August 06 2012, 10:20AM
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@ Baalzamon: I am pretty sure Cerevenka has been brought in as a Centre. We definitely have too many forwards, which has to make you wonder what return Feaster is actually looking for from JBO & he would have to package up some of these forwards if he did get some back. I see the line up as follows:

Tanguay Cammi Iggy (they will try this out of the gate)

GlenX Cerevenka Hudler (should be interesting, I would rather see Baerstche but)

Stempniak Backlund Baerstche

Comeau Jones Jackman

No idea what to do with Stajan, sure would love to see Bouma in the lineup & I would love to get Aliu in at some point as well. Injuries happen so I'm sure things will change.

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#44 Steve
August 06 2012, 11:41AM
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Kevin R wrote:

@ Baalzamon: I am pretty sure Cerevenka has been brought in as a Centre. We definitely have too many forwards, which has to make you wonder what return Feaster is actually looking for from JBO & he would have to package up some of these forwards if he did get some back. I see the line up as follows:

Tanguay Cammi Iggy (they will try this out of the gate)

GlenX Cerevenka Hudler (should be interesting, I would rather see Baerstche but)

Stempniak Backlund Baerstche

Comeau Jones Jackman

No idea what to do with Stajan, sure would love to see Bouma in the lineup & I would love to get Aliu in at some point as well. Injuries happen so I'm sure things will change.

Too many everything. Depth chart with one-ways and other guys I'd like to see get some time this year (just in order that they come to mind, not making line suggestions):

Tanguay Cervenka Iginla Glencross Backlund Hudler Comeau Horak Cammalleri Baertschi Stajan Stempniak Bouma Jones Jackman Ferland Reihhart Aliu Nemisz

Bouwmeester Wideman Giordano Sarich Butler Brodie Smith Carson Babchuk

Kipper Irving Karlsson

That's 15 forwards that really should be playing in the NHL, and several more who at least deserve a shot at a few games this year. D actually was helped by Wilson leaving, although he was a good depth guy.

We've got good depth, but not much top end.

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#45 MC Hockey
August 06 2012, 11:47AM
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Oh and a big welcome back to Kent! Hope you had fun buddy!

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#46 insvenwetrust
August 06 2012, 02:50PM
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Bouwmeester for phaneuf lol

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#47 MC Hockey
August 06 2012, 02:57PM
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insvenwetrust wrote:

Bouwmeester for phaneuf lol

Please no!!!

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#48 Rockmorton65
August 06 2012, 05:03PM
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insvenwetrust wrote:

Bouwmeester for phaneuf lol

What about Stajan/The Anton for Phaneuf? lol. If we catch Burke just as he's waking up?

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#49 MC Hockey
August 06 2012, 08:25PM
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Rockmorton65 wrote:

What about Stajan/The Anton for Phaneuf? lol. If we catch Burke just as he's waking up?

I am Bwrian Burkkkkeeee and I sound like Elma Fudd in the morning...suwwwwrrrrre...take Dion Phaneuf aways from me for 30 wabbits, Stajan and Bwabchuk.

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#50 everton fc
August 06 2012, 09:52PM
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Bottom line; off-season moves will not get us into the playoffs. And Moss will be a valuable asset in Phoenix.

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