The Quarter-Pole FN Roundtable

Ryan Pike
November 19 2013 10:28AM

 

 

We've passed the 20-game mark of the 2013-14 Calgary Flames season, so roughly 25% of the games have been played. Thus, as per tradition, we've assembled the FN crew to discuss how the team is doing thus far. Join myself, Kent Wilson, Christian Roatis, Justin Azevedo and the Book of Loob as we attempt to make sense of the first quarter of the season. Then let us know what you think of the team's season thus far in the comments.

The Flames are in the first season of a self-admitted rebuild. Have the results in the standings and on the ice been what you expected them to be? Better? Worse?

Justin Azevedo: Pretty much exactly what I expected, actually. They're not a good team, but they're not a garbage one either. I think they'd be picking 5th overall as I write this so they're right where they should be. As league-wide PDO evens out, I think they move up one or two more spots.

Kent Wilson: Worse in terms of results (I figured them to be about an 80-point club), but better in terms of overall performance (less goaltending). When the Flames were healthy and skating an optimum line-up, they were competitive on most nights. Recent injuries plus a very tough schedule and some less than good luck has sunk their record, but I think they are some bright spots nonetheless.

Christian Roatis: They've been exactly what I expected. Starting strong and surprising some teams followed by a "coming back to Earth" of sorts. The work ethic and attention to the detail for the most part has been better than expected and the good ol' defensive zone breakdowns that lead to goals against are still alive and well.

Ryan Pike: They're about where I thought they would be. When fully healthy, the team has remarkable work ethic and just enough talent to grind out wins against most teams. When they're not, as we're seeing lately, they're taking it in the teeth a bit.

Book of Loob: I suppose I wouldn't have been surprised either way if they were doing better or worse than what they are, because I believe this team is both better and worse than how we would classify them. It`s odd to think that there have been stretched where the Flames are just dominating the other team and still ends up losing (usually due to goaltending) They are not a good team, nor are they a bad team, they`re just stuck somewhere just a little below the middle, so I guess I`m not shocked to see them where they are. But hey, this season is a free pass, so their spot in the standings is not really of any concern to me.

How would you grade the team's new faces since the summer?

JA: Galiardi and O'Brien have been pretty bad thus far. Like replacement level bad. Not very good for like 3 million dollars in salary. D. Jones is slower than advertised. He does have a good shot but he really struggles to get around the ice. C+. Monahan got the benefit of the bounces early on and his boxcars have fallen off. His underlying numbers have marginally improved, though, and he's 19. A-. Russell has been really good but he's getting the high ground with Wideman. He's been better than I expected and with this usage is a legit top-4 guy. The reason he's not getting an A is because I'm not sure Hartley can continue this type of usage indefinitely. B+. Colborne has been playing way over his head, so it's not totally his fault that he's looked so bad. He's a fourth liner right now, and there is no legit reason why he's getting top-6 minutes over Backlund. C. Smid gets an incomplete because I haven't seen much of him but he looks like your typical 4/5 guy.

KW: Monahan looks like an NHL center already, which is a huge predictor of future success when we're talking about a teenager. Kris Russell has also been a pleasant surprise. Although Hartley has put him in a position to succeed (high O-zone start and such), Russell has nevertheless managed to excel. I'm ambivalent at best about the rest except O'Brien. He's probably not an everyday NHLer.

CR: Monahan has been a great surprise, of course and already at 19 years of age he's selling tickets. A potential elite center in the making and an excellent choice at sixth overall. I've liked Jones a lot and Galiardi at times, while Russell has been a pleasant surprise. I've personally liked Joe Colborne (unlike everybody else) but I think he'd best suited as a third line player rather than the Top 6 or goon line assignments he seen so far this year. O'Brien has been okay, nothing good but nothing too bad, either.

RP: I've really enjoyed Kris Russell, who's criminally underrated, and Sean Monahan, who does a lot of little things really well. O'Brien's had a few rough patches in his own zone, and has really bad Corsi for somebody as shielded as he is on this team. Colborne, Galiardi and Jones have had their ups and downs. Smid's too early to tell.

BoL: Colborne is the meh-iest player in Flames history since Jeff Friesen. He seems like he should have the tools to be a success in this league and on this team, and I believe those tools exist, he just doesn't use them. It's frustrating to watch. Monahan, well, he's been good this whole time (mostly), and once he played ten games I was all on board for the Monarail. I still think it was a mistake to keep him up this season, but based on merit alone he deserves to be on the big club. I love watching Russell and Wideman together assuming they're in the offensive zone and not their own. Those two read each other very well offensively and I think it's paid some dividends for the team. Kris Russell may have finally found himself a home in this league. I've seen Smid play three games. I think it was a good trade, but it's too early to score his performance on this team. Shane O'Brien is bad, but I expected him to be worse. This doesn't say a lot. I can't tell the difference between Galiardi and Jones on most nights. I hate Reto Berra so hard.

What's your assessment of the team's goaltending this year? Do you feel there's a plan for the position going forward?

JA: Oh man, the goaltending. I thought that Calgary couldn't get less than they did last year - hell, last years was the worst there's been in like a decade. Berra and MacDonald have been brutal: both have an EVSV% that's sub-.890, which is about 25 points less than replacement-level. Rämö is still right around replacement level but the amount of opportunities he's gotten compared to the other two are miniscule. I feel as though Rämö will finish above .915, establishing himself as the only legit guy of the three. Going forward, the plan is "Jon Gillies". The other guys in the system don't have starter potential: all are backups at best.

KW: It has been below average as could be expected, although each guys has played so few games we can't really be sure of their true talent level. Demoting Joey MacDonald was the right move because there is no upside there. At some point, Hartley should start playing Ramo more because I consider him the better bet to at least be average in this league. It's entirely possible, though, that neither Ramo or Berra can hang at this level. If both sport .900 or worse save rates by the end of the year, the team should keep looking for an answer in the off-season.

CR: Awful. Yes, there have been some big saves here and there but outside of Berra's anomaly win in Chicago, it hasn't won them a game. Weak goals and juicy rebounds seem to be the group's trademark this year. Flames should have beat the Oilers but they didn't solely because of Berra. Jon Gillies and Jon(i) Ortio both look quite promising at this point with Ortio possibly seeing some NHL action this year. Those two are the only foreseeable hope the Flames have between the pipes at this point.

RP: The goaltending hasn't stolen any games - outside of the Chicago game that Berra won - and has actually given a few away. Keeping Berra and Ramo up is probably the best bet in terms of evaluation, but I can't help but feel that (a) we'll see Joni Ortio before the Olympic break and (b) the team's waiting for Jon Gillies to be ready for prime time.

BoL: Heinous. Flagrantly bad. Scandalous. Shocking. Kidd-esque. I knew goaltending was going to be a challenge going into the season, but I didn't think it could ever be as bad as it has been. This team could look like a decent squad out there if they could get a save or two along the way. I don't get why they're so scared to start Ramo, why they're so in love with Berra to keep starting him, and well at least they got Joey MacDonald right.

How would you grade head coach Bob Hartley so far this season?

JA: Depends where some of his ideas are coming from. There's three big issues: the treatment of Backlund and Baertschi, the treatment of Colborne and the love of Berra. I feel as though the first two are coming from the top, but that that last one is owned by him alone. Thus, C+.

KW: Average. His tough love routine with Backlund and Baertschi didn't much sense on the face of it and he has far too much interest in dressing an enforcer (or two) every night. That said, he's putting T.J. Brodie through the wringer (in a good way) and he's deploying guys like Wideman, Russell, Monahan and Hudler in a way that maximizes their chances of success.

CR: Average. Other than a few odd starting goaltending choices, he hasn't done anything wacky. The double benching of Baertschi was an odd choice for me but I'm sure he had his reasons.

RP: Bob's done a decent job. If I were given the 23 guys he's been given, I probably wouldn't do too many things differently. In terms of results, he got more juice out of the players in October than anyone expected and perhaps expectations for November were too high as a result. And I can't help but feel that the Baertschi and Backlund scratches were more about them working hard on off-days than their on-ice results.

BoL: I think most people know I'm not exactly a fan. I like the system he seems to have his place, but it's dependent on having the right players on the ice at the right time with the right teammates, and Hartley just doesn't know what any of that is. Burying Backlund with the Thug Squad, the tough love for Sven, the seemingly rosy circumstances for anyone else in a slump, well it's all pretty baffling. When I see that it's late in the third period, in a tie game, and Hartley has opted to throw the fourth line and Chris Butler's pairing on the ice to defend the tie, I want to be able to harness the power from all this delusion and use it to vanquish my enemies.

And how about general manager Jay Feaster?

JA: He hasn't really done much since the start of the season, but the team is competitive enough. B+.

KW: Nothing much to grade in terms of GM moves so far. Demoting MacDonald was good and the Colborne acquisition was a worthwhile gamble given the price. Smid was also a decent add, though I consider him a middling player at best. We'll see what he chooses to do once the trade deadline approaches and he has to make decisions on guys like Stajan, Cammalleri and Stempniak.

CR: Fantastic. We still have picks in the first three rounds of this draft and we haven't made any stupid trades. That's an A+ in my book.

RP: The Smid move was actually pretty crafty - giving up what are basically depth prospects in Calgary's system for a useful piece moving forward. None of the signings or off-season acquisitions are particularly bad for what they're being asked to do, and the Hudler signing has turned out to be pretty strong in retrospect.

BoL: Not a whole lot to go on so far this year. His moves in the offseason were middling at best, and I think the jury is still out on most of them. I understood the reasoning for the Colborne trade, so I don't hate it on principle, and I do think the Smid trade will end up looking like a steal, but it's too early to tell for any of this so far.

Biggest surprise of the first 20 games?

JA: Jiri Hudler's PPG pace is likely the biggest surprise, in my eyes. He's generating shots so he's gonna keep scoring. Probably not at the same pace, but he'll crest 50 points this year for sure. 

KW: Sean Monahan's offensive prowess. His output has a lot to do with the percentages, but he's been better than I expected in terms of execution in the offensive end so far. Also, TJ Galiardi's above average possession rate. The erstwhile Sharks forward has had a lot of trouble lighting the lamp and he struggled a lot versus the Stars, but otherwise the puck has been travelling in the right direction when he has been on the ice.

CR: Sean Monahan. He's been excellent through 20, better than I think anyone expected. Cammalleri gets an honourable mention for not sulking and playing his heart out and Hudler too for stacking up points.

RP: I didn't expect Jiri Hudler to be such an offensive threat, nor did I expect Kris Russell or Sean Monahan to be as good as they have been.

BoL: For me it's Kris Russell and Dennis Wideman. Kris Russell could prove to be a steal considering it cost what, a 5th rounder to get him. Just fun to watch when those guys have the puck at the attacking zone blueline. Also the performance of the Abbotsford Heat so far this season. That looks like a team that is poised to serve the Flames with solid depth in the coming years.

Biggest disappointment of the first 20 games?

JA: Other than Sean Monahan being kept up, the biggest disappointment for me is Mark Giordano being hurt for an extended amount of time.

KW: Aside from Glencross' first 10 games (yeesh), it has to be the goaltending. Although it's not wholly unexpected that Calgary's collection of unknown commodities would struggle, it's nevertheless still disappointing to see the team struggling with near-league worst puckstopping again.

CR: Karri Ramo. I thought he'd be waaaaaay better than he's been so far. He still has time to turn it around, albeit it's unlikely.

RP: I'll go with Curtis Glencross, but it's two parts: first, because he was so inconsistent to begin the year, and second, because he got hurt right when he had seemed to find his game.

BoL: I guess I would say the roles of Backlund, McGrattan, and Jackman, specifically when they're intertwined. I think it's dumb to have even one of the facepunchers in your lineup, let alone two, but when Backlund gets buried and has to carry those two with him, wasting his abilities as a possession centerman, that's when I really get mad. That should really be Joe Colborne's center spot, and it would look better if Lance Bouma and maybe, I don't know, David Jones when Curtis Glencross returns were manning the wings.

What does this team need to do to move along in their rebuild?

JA: Simple - keep giving prime ice time to UFAs, sell them at the deadline and wait till the draft. In the meantime, give minutes to the young players too. Lastly, for Christ's sake, stop scratching Sven and Mickis. 

KW: It needs to patiently develop their young assets and make as many good bets moving forward as possible. There's no magic bullet here - the Flames currently have zero elite talent at any position at the NHL level. It's really difficult to compete without one or two high level guys in the show. After that, they need to retain quality middle tier guys for when the kids start to get their legs and, eventually, they'll need to have goaltending when they are ready to climb out of the basement.

CR: A few more first round picks and patience. Flames need to try and cultivate a star or two in order to find success in a few years. Monahan looks to be tracking that way and drafting another stud or two to join Klimchuck, Gaudreau, Poirier, Granlund and company certainly won't hurt.

RP: Draft picks and patience. I figure as the Flames drift down in the standings, Feaster figures out which pending UFAs he can keep and jettisons the rest for future assets.

BoL: Stick to the script. You've identified you're rebuilding, you don't need to sell that to the fanbase, they're largely on board with the plan. Just give your young players the opportunity to learn the game at their own speed and hopefully this all rounds out into something competitive in a couple of years. I don't mean tanking, either. I hate tanking. I want to see this team put it's best foot forward every game, and to see the young kids be professionals about this, that they show some compassion and a desire to win, even if reality has other plans in mind. Part of growing a successful team is not surrounding them with a culture of losing. Tanking is one way this culture gets instilled.

What's your prediction for how the team fares in the remaining 62 games?

JA: Much like they've looked over the last 20, methinks. Hopefully a combo of Giordano coming back and Rämö playing more will make the games a little more bearable to watch. 

KW: Not much will change. The current losing streak will and at some point they'll go on a winning streak or two, but it will even out to a playoff-less 2013-14. I still think they are a 78-82 point club over 82 games.

CR: They'll win a game here and there, maybe even hit a streak, but in the end finish bottom five and win the draft lottery, drafting Aaron Ekblad 1st overall and playing him with TJ Brodie forming an unstoppable duo of unstoppablness on the backend.  Exciting times.

RP: I fear that the latest stretch is more an indication of where this team lies than the October one - in terms of talent-level, not work ethic. My guess is the reality is somewhere in the middle, but this is probably a bottom-five team in the league, even with a lot of hard work.

BoL: If Reto Berra keeps getting all these starts foisted upon him, the team may never win a game again.

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Now in his third full season covering the Calgary Flames and the NHL, Ryan Pike is a Calgary native and FlamesNation's managing editor. He's trying to keep his head up, his stick on the ice and is giving it 110% every shift. You can also find his work at The Hockey Writers, the Wrestling Observer and Tough Talk MMA.
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#1 Justin Azevedo
November 19 2013, 11:51AM
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@Fire It Up

bol's answers came before the game last night.

berra isn't that young. rämö is essentially a career eu kid too. kipper got better at shootouts as it went along, and it's a fallacy that he was worse than average.

point is, he's stopped a smaller percentage of shots at even strength than rämö has. that's not dumping on him, it's stating a fact.

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#2 McRib
November 19 2013, 01:30PM
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@Bikeit

"Gillies could take 5 years to become an NHL goalie."

Whhhhaaaaat at the maximum he has one more year left in College (if that). If it takes him four years to make the NHL from the AHL he is never going to be an NHL goalie.

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#3 McRib
November 19 2013, 01:54PM
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@MichaelD

Jon Gillies after this year will have already broken most if not all of his school records, likely taken Providence on his back well into the NCAA Championship conversation (as well as the US World Junior Team) and he is 6'5" - 220 Lbs.

To be honest, I understand Johnny Gaudreau going back for his Junior season more than I would Jon Gillies. Look at Jonathan Quick he did two years in the NCAA, a year in pro (including NHL time) and played 44 games for the Kings the following season. Jon Gillies is the best American prospect if not goaltending prospect period since then and it's not like anyone in the Flames system is challenging him, I would be suprised if he doesn't at least get in a handful of games by 2015. To be honest I would put money on it that he signs after this season and gets some time next year with the big club. The Flames never trade Laurent Brossoit IMO if they didn't know he was coming quickly. Also look at Frederik Andersen he was first drafted in 2010 and already has more wins than both of the Flames goalies combined. I think it’s a misconception that Goalies take longer to develop then forwards. High end ones do not they actually might take less time IMO.

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#4 Parallex
November 19 2013, 12:34PM
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@MichaelD

He's had more then 7 games... I would presume that anything they work on at the NHL level they also work on at the AHL level.

I think I'd like to see what Ortio has to offer. His results in the AHL have thus far been better then Berra had at the onset of the season. http://theahl.com/stats/statdisplay.php?type=goalies

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#5 Kevin R
November 19 2013, 01:07PM
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I'm sorry, but this is a pretty bipolar group as I have ever seen. I really don't understand. Hate for Hartley for tough love(you give tough love to those you care about & have greater expectations)but you want to ramp up prime time for selling vets at the trade deadline. But then your upset with the tough love & how Hartley is utilizing the kids. Which is it?

Criticizing the decision of keeping Monahan but Monahan has been one of our biggest surprises of the year so far. What would he of been down in the O?

Lots of criticism on the goaltending. Once we got rid of the Macdonald mistake, what we have now is perfect. 2 young goalies ready for prime time with literally no NHL experience but experience against NHL calibre players. Seems to me, unforgiving judgements so soon from the panel is baffling. This year is a freeroll but lets not let these goalies get the same development curve as the screaming against the tough love for Backs & Sven.

The 1st quarter review on Calgary as a team & organization should be nothing less than a "B"

-The games have overall been with emotion & effort, a breath of fresh air from previous years

-The play of our vets has been decent, excellent role models for our young guys, building trade value on our UFA's & enabling the team to go into every game, regardless of who & be competitive

-some good performances from several of our young players, refinement & consistency will come

-goaltending has had real good moments the last 7-8 games & has set up a real interesting scenario how the Berra/Ramo will develop the rest of the year

-decent trades by management where I've liked the pieces coming in way more than what went out

-we are sitting well within a top 5 pick & within distance of another top 3 pick & another very valuable piece come June.

I don't think we could have asked for much of a better script than this.

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#6 Bean-counting cowboy
November 19 2013, 03:09PM
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I would like to see the Flames get more seasoned D prospects than trading all the vets for picks. I'm thinking like Cammy + to NYI for Griffin Reinhart. Then draft Max to complete the brother trio! Put all three of them out on the powerplay together and see what happens.

Basically a young D, not yet in the NHL with upside. Takes a lot less time for them to get to the show than next year's defense draft picks.

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#7 mattyc
November 19 2013, 11:47AM
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@Fire It Up

I thought Berra wasn't even good in Winterpeg last night. His rebound control is atrocious. I don't have any numbers to back it up, but I'd suggest (and it seems right based on the scoring chance graphic from last game), part of the reason we gave up so many shots last night was that Berra never covers up the initial shot.

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#8 Jeff Lebowski
November 19 2013, 05:00PM
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I respect the panel's answers to the Hartley question but I respectfully disagree with all of them.

Setting aside Hartley's championship pedigree AT MANY LEVELS, I think he is acting out of a conviction known to produce excellence. I'm not saying that it means success now or that any of those championships had anything to do with him (correlation, causation ? I don't know) he could have had overwhelming talent.

I see methods that are stating: on the NHL team you have to hustle in your role for your team. That is how ice time will be given.

The players people have issues with have had tons of opportunities in the overwhelming majority of games and have not produced. While others have all things equal.

Is Hartley to blame for this because of a couple of scratches and some games with reduced TOI? It's that devastating?

Man up.

This is, by far, the proudest Ive been of the Flames since 2004. That starts with Feaster. Feaster! On down.

Call me delusional fan boy. Please. I just see what they are doing and I dig it man!

It's going to happen for us. I can't wait.

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#9 drdoogie16
November 20 2013, 10:04AM
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Just a couple of comments here - there is a lot of discussion on this site about Baertschi and how he's been handled by Hartley. Honestly, Sven is a terrible defensive player and since he's one dimensional at this point, if he's not producing points, why would he be playing. Doesn't kill penalties, not tough on the puck, doesn't intimidate anyone. Am I missing something here? He should be in and out of the lineup until his overall game improves. As for Backlund, this kid looks like he lost his best friend - no confidence as the coach won't give him a break - feel bad for him as every mistake he makes resulted in him being stapled to the bench unlike other players. Finally, regarding the face-punchers in the lineup. The fans on this site better get used to this because I know Brian Burke wants to have at least 5 guys in the lineup that can throw em and I only see 3-4 right now with Grats, Jackman, Bouma and O'Brien. Jackman will be dispatched and O'Brien is not a regular so I would expect more face-punchers to be brought in, not less moving forward. Like it or not that is what is going to happen here.

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#10 Parallex
November 19 2013, 11:38AM
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My Answers...

#1: Right where I thought they would be. Not the worst team in the NHL but no where near good enough. I didn't think the team would have the work ethic they've displayed so far but that's countered by the goaltending being as bad as last year.

#2: Satisfied. New faces are Colborne, Galiardi, Smid, Jones, O'Brien, Monahan, Russell. The only pure stinker amoung them is O'Brien with Monahan and Russell exceeding expectations. Incomplete on Smid and just a "meh" on the others.

#3: Awful. I don't mind spreading out the games amoungst the goalies but Hartley has ridin' Mac and Berra longer then he should and Ramo not enough. I'd also like to see Ortio sometime this year. I thought it'd be a bit better.

#4: Blah, I think if you gave him a legit top line, legit top pairing, and legit #1 goalie he'd be a good coach in the NHL... but the Flames have none of those. I think Bob does good (or rather the best he can) during games, but it's the stuff in-between that get's in my craw. The treatment of Baertschi/Backs, the love of face-punchers, the riding of mediocre goalies. I give him a fail.

#5: He hasn't done much since the offseason. Re-judge after deadline.

#6: Biggest surprise is Russell. He's been significantly better then I thought he'd be.

#7: Biggest disappointment is Giordano being hurt while in the midst of what was looking to be a career season for the new captain.

#8: Just be smart at the deadline and get as much as you can for departing assets. Also push to get the College guys to put pen to paper... and not just the seniors, try to entice Gaudreau and Gillies to start their pro-careers. And of course draft smart.

#9: 25th or 26th at the end of the year. Drafting one of 4, 5, or 6 overall depending on New Jersey.

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#11 Parallex
November 19 2013, 12:25PM
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@mattyc

"but I've been OK with his MO of setting guys up to succeed by giving them zone starts or sheltering as needed."

I think he's doing it to much... one thing to remember is that as much as he's setting guys up to succeed by giving them zone starts or sheltering he's simultaniously setting someone else up to fail with same (depending on your definition of fail).

That's my big issue with how he treats Backlund... he constantly put's him in positions where it's difficult to produce offense (tough zone starts, penalty killing) which is fine except that he then punishes him for not producing enough offense and responds by putting him in a even worse position to do the same.

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#12 McRib
November 19 2013, 01:39PM
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@John

"Edmonton who basically threw their draft picks (boys) against men."

Wait a minute they also had Ales Hemsky!!! Haha.

Obviously, I agree with keeping veterans around throughout the rebuild, but would replace Matt Stajan with Lee Stempniak on your list. Matt Stajan is playing decent hockey under Hartley and is tradable for the first time since putting on a Flames sweater. Michael Cammalleri is gonzo, but I personally would like to thank him for playing as well as he as lately!!!

Cammalleri's agent flew in from Toronto to watch him last night in Winterpeg. A trade should happen sooner rather than later. Thanks to a limited no trade clause we can trade him to all but seven teams so word is he is building that list as we speak. Flames are already shopping him. Hope we can get a first and a prospect.

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#13 Southern_Point
November 20 2013, 10:57AM
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@drdoogie16

Whenever someone on this site complains about Sven Being benched it's not because we think he is the perfect player. It's that if Hartley is running the team as a Meritocracy like he says he is. Baertschi merits a spot over the likes of Jones, Colborne, McGrattan, Jackman, he was also better than Glencross to start the season, and he has been better than Monahan for large portions of the season as well.

From he outside there is no consistentcy between what Hartley says and what he does with Baertschi and Backlund.

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#14 mattyc
November 19 2013, 11:53AM
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I've been very impressed with Russell, and also pleasantly surprised with Galiardi - who I think has played pretty well (not sure why JA is hating). Monahan has been better than advertised, and Hudler has also exceeded expectations.

I don't understand Hartley's method with Baertschi and Backlund, or how/why he makes the goalie choices he does, but I've been OK with his MO of setting guys up to succeed by giving them zone starts or sheltering as needed.

So far, the goaltending has been the biggest disappointment. I knew it would suck, but man... its abhorrent. I don't know why Ramo's been watching so much either. I would think given that Berra wasn't good enough to make the team a couple months ago, that they would give him a little shorter leash. They're playing him as if he's already the established starting goalie.

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#15 John
November 19 2013, 01:19PM
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I think going forward the Flames need to keep enough of their veteran players to keep competitive and build through the draft. Not like Edmonton who basically threw their draft picks (boys) against men. Keepers would be Wideman, Stajan, Hudler (great job with Monahan). Cams won't be staying but hes got a high end salary anyways.

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#16 MichaelD
November 19 2013, 01:42PM
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@McRib

Well this year is '1', next year is '2'. Goalies almost always need at least a year in the AHL '3', and probably one year more splitting time with someone or jumping between the AHL and NHL '4'. Plus if he decides he wants his education thats '5'.

I think 4 to 5 years is a fair assumption

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#17 wineeditor
November 19 2013, 06:02PM
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Why has Backlund been relegated to splitting time between the 3rd and 4th lines? He started off like a ball of fire. In the first 3 games he averaged over 16 even strength minutes per game. He was +2 with 4 “goals for” during that stretch. Over the next 7 games he played, with a one game exception, more even strength minutes than any Flame center. He averaged 14 even strength minutes per game He was not on the ice for any even strength goals for but was on the ice for 4 even strength goals against. The string came to an end when he was -2 in a game against Dallas. Colborne took his spot and over the next 6 games was on the ice for 5 even strength goals for and 5 even strength goals against. Over the next 3 games Colborne and Backlund essentially traded minutes with Colborne getting 36 minutes even strength time (+/- 0-3) with Backlund getting 33 minutes (+/- 2-2). During the last game of this 3 game stretch Colborne was -2 (again against Dallas) and Backlund took over. Neither stood out in Backlund’s first game back on Line 3 but after a couple of defensive miscues against Winnipeg Colborne took over. Next game who knows? I don’t believe Backlund being shuffled to line 4 has anything to do with offensive production. The first game against Dallas Backlund was 0-2. Colborne started in Backlunds place the next game and continued in that role until we played Dallas again where Colborne went 0-2 and was replaced by Backlund for Edmonton. Backlund retained his 3rd line role against Winnipeg despite not being on the ice for a positive goal against Edmonton. His place on the 3rd line was taken back by Colborne only after a series of missed defence assignments in our own end by Backlund. It is noteworthy that Colborne was +2 against Phoenix (the game preceding the Dallas game after which Backlund lost his third line role) but was not moved after that game despite Backlund being -1 in the Phoenix game. It was not until after the next game against Dallas where Backlund went -2 that Colborne was promoted. In a similar vein Hartley did not reward Backlund after his +2 game against Colorado but had to wait 1 more game to be promoted until after Colborne went -2. It seems fairly clear that Hartley is giving 3rd line minutes to the center ice man who seems to be getting results on the defensive side of the puck. When they miss their cues, forget assignments and go -2 they are moved off the 3rd line. Maybe people are right wrt “quality minutes” etc in the debate but IF Backlund is our best defensive center where is the responsibility placed when he misses cues and assignments in the D end? Everyone is accountable and if your forte is Defence you have to prove that game in and game out. If you don’t, someone will take your place.

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#18 Burnward
November 19 2013, 09:15PM
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Azevedo, you still on about that ELC thing with Monahan?

That ship has sailed my man, embrace the awesomeness.

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#19 Jeff Lebowski
November 19 2013, 11:24PM
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Who is better offensively, Stajan or Backlund?

To me, I see Backlund being begged to outplay Stajan. Mikael has to not be satisfied becoming Sami Paulsson 2.0

Why is he at risk? Brent Sutter.

Backlund has said, I don't want to make mistakes. Of course. That's a given. Instead he should think : I want to make things happen.

If he can take over Stajan's role. Stajan to his credit, plays against 1C 18-19 min/game. He creates some offense to justify TOI. If Backlund can do it. And it's all mental. Mental toughness. That brings consistency. We've all seen his flashes, stretches of confident play. If Backlund does that, Stajan gets traded and Knight comes up. For good.

That's why the pressure us on him I think. Hartley has to find 11's motivation. They might want Ward on the staff up top. He is good at that. Ftorek becomes head man. Anyways...

Does Backlund lose offensive confidence too quickly? He plays afraid to shoot the puck. Or if they block it he stops shooting. Being content with assists is not good enough. He has to get shooting. Keep shooting. Regardless.

The same deal is with a Baertschi and Cammy or Stempniak. Outwork those guys cause he has as much or more talent. Those two just out hustle Sven all over the ice. People look at Crosby and see skill. I see the hardest worker.

Cammy, Stajan, Stempniak all need to be pushed out in trades ideally. The return will not be NHL pieces. It has to come from within. Literally.

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#20 BJ
November 20 2013, 11:10AM
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And can we please move on from the Backlund thing... he played a couple games on the fourth line and colborne got a couple games with some better wingers... not that big of a deal...

As for Baertshi... Hartley does not dislike him. He sat him a couple games to focus him on video and workouts for a week. Not a big deal... way too much scrutiny this early in the year... this is an example of FN falling into the same trap as the mainstream media... inventing stories... The strength of FN is that it is an alternative to the mainstream media... please do not make a habit of this guys...

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#21 Burnward
November 20 2013, 11:37AM
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Re: Hartley vs. Sven/Mickis

As the season progresses, my thought process towards the handling of these two has changed. At first, I was confused...but now I think I get it. Maybe.

I'll start with Backlund because this one is easier for me to digest. He has shown us that he can be a solid possession driving center against comparable competition. However, I have found him to be inconsistent and at times...well, pretty soft. He thinks the game well but he needs a kick in the pants to take it to the next level or he will be expendable.

Anyone remember Seabrook's talk with Toews in the Finals last year? He basically said, "Great, you can play two-way hockey...but that's not the only reason why you're here. You need to get on the scoresheet."

To me, this is where Mickis is. If he's content with being a third-line center, so be it...but he's not quite there (to me) when it comes to matching up with the best in the West.

Moving forward, Monahan slots in as a top-six forward because he is that damn good. Mickis needs to find his place, because right now Stajan does that job better than him.

As for Sven, well, he has had to outplay some of the veterans on the wing. Cammi and Hudler are still ahead of him. And if healthy, so are GlenX and Ninja at this point.

I believe Sven will get his shot when we make a deal or two this season...but Mickis' future is still in flux.

He hasn't shown he is worthy of top-six minutes long term and if third/fourth line is his top end, then he just might be expendable. Don't get me wrong, I like his game. But if he tops out as a bottom-six guy...he is replaceable and I would be down for a package involving him and someone else to improve our top six moving forward.

That got long. Sorry bout that.

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#22 Fire It Up
November 19 2013, 11:13AM
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BoL,

You hate Reto so hard huh?

Your opinion is valued, but give the guy a season's break at least. He's had 2 excellent games, last night in the Peg and in the Hawk's barn. The rest have been mediocre, but cut the career EU kid some slack.

He's a young pup, showing great poise on breakaways and the dreaded shootouts, which is something us fans have been asking for for a decade.

Attributing to the lack of D zone coverage, let the kid find the rest of his game. I'm actually glad Hartley is sticking to one guy for now. It speaks volumes compared to the crapshoot he's put up for solidified line combinations...or lack there of.

If your beef is with Hartley, or Management, let it be so. Using Yogi as a mule to vent frustration doesn't bode well for confidence in him in the future (if he can establish himself as a bonafide #1).

Cheers.

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#23 seve927
November 19 2013, 12:04PM
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I don't know how long we can keep assuming that every goaltender that doesn't make 10 spectacular saves a game is all that is contributing to league-worst goaltending. We've seen about 70 games of Hartley hockey now, and the defensive zone coverage is absolutely horrible for the most part. I've liked the faster pace and more offense than the Sutter days, but something is seriously wrong in the defensive end. This isn't a young team, it's an average age team with lots of experience amongst the guys who play the most. I don't know how to fix it, but I don't want to see Gillies get thrown away as a garbage goaltender when everyone before him in Hartley's system has the worst stretch of games in his career. Coincidence? Not likely.

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#24 SeanCharles
November 19 2013, 12:58PM
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#1: On par - expected bottom 5.

#2: Russell-A, Monahan-A, Smid-B+, Galiardi-C+, Colborne-C, Jones-C-, O'Brien-D.

#3: Not good. I like Berra more than some however. Ortio will be given a shot and Gillies is the future #1.

#4: C+ - Frustrated in his treatment of Sven and Backs but he knows more than we do and I think Sven is responding positively so I'll give him a pass. Utilizing players to their strengths, which Brent never did.

#5: A - Trading 4/5ths for useful young NHLers, getting Smid for spare parts and demoting MacDonald are all positives.

#6: Hudler - I knew he'd lead the team in points but I didnt expect him to average a point per game.

#7: Backlund - I had hopes he'd be a 2nd line center for us but he is losing favor in the organization.

#8: Stay the course, continue making savvy trades if available, draft Ekblad - like Monahan last year he is exactly what we need: Big RH Dman with huge upside.

#9: Trend continues and we finish near bottom.

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#25 McRib
November 19 2013, 01:17PM
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"Also the performance of the Abbotsford Heat so far this season. That looks like a team that is poised to serve the Flames with solid depth in the coming years."

BOL is bang on in regards to the biggest first half surprise for me this season. Never expected the Abbotsford Heat to look so good!!! Speaks volumes of our franchises prospect depth as a whole. Look at Detroit when your AHL team becomes the envy of the league you start to steal trades consistently because you have appealing pieces to use and never overspend for Bottom. 6 types as they are replaceable within your own system.

We still need 2-3 more high end prospects, but picking Top. 5 the next two years should provide us with that (Pick one of Ekblad, Reinhart, Nylander, DalColle and one of McDavid, Barzal, Eichel, Hanifin). The fact though that so many of our middle round picks are panning out speaks volumes of our greatly improved drafting and gives me confidence in the Flames prospect development capabilities for the first time in my life!!

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#26 beloch
November 19 2013, 02:00PM
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1. The Flames schedule difficulty was higher than average for this portion of the season.
2. They lost some pretty crucial players who will be returning soon.
3. I would be amazed if the goal-tending doesn't improve and Feaster doesn't do something to change it, like calling up Ortio.
4. Some of the rookies are getting better every game, and Baertschi is bound to get hot at some point.
5. Sooner or later Backlund will get out of Hartley's dog house and Colborne will be demoted to the goon squad. That'll help possession out quite a bit.

For these reasons, I predict the Flames' record will improve, at least up until the trade deadline. Feaster will hold a clearance sale at the deadline and then do some seriously hardcore deliberate tanking (like he did late last season). That might just be enough to get the Flames picking in the top 6.

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#27 MichaelD
November 19 2013, 02:23PM
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Alright fair enough if he signs at the end of this year. That still puts it at 3-4 years. If he follows Quick, 2 years of college, a year in the AHL (in 07-08 Quick played the majority of his games in the ECHL, 3 in the NHL), and then a year splitting time in the NHL (in 08-09 44 games at NHL and 14 at AHL). A starter by 09-10. 4 years in total.

Thats pretty much what I described minus one year of college.

Bottom line is he won't be a savour for a few years, no need to put too much pressure on a young goalie. When we don't have to give up on Berra and Ramo yet.

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#28 seve927
November 19 2013, 02:45PM
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Gussey wrote:

I agree with this. It seems to me less about goaltending ability and more about the defensive system. Kipper had one of his best years under Sutter in 2011, then was one of the worst goalies in the league in 2012 under Hartley. I like watching back and forth, high energy hockey, but I think the lack of defensive discipline is what is costing the goalies for the flames. Neither Berra or Ramo are elite goalies by any means, but I don't believe they have been that horrible either. Defensive breakdowns are common place for the flames these days. Look at that Dustin Byfuglein goal last night. Untouched in the slot with three flames laying on the ground.

I think goalies at the NHL level tend to be all the same for the most part, outside the few elite (Roy, Brodeur). Their stats are generally attributed to the systems they play in. Bryzgalov is awesome in Phoenix (defense first system) and then is bad in Philly. Mike Smith is bad in Tampa and then awesome in Phoenix. Kipper was a third stringer in San Jose and then vezina candidate under Daryl Sutters defense first system.

Exactly. Ortio will be next. Hey, he looks great down in Abby, we should bring him up!

I just really don't want that to happen to Gillies.

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#29 Justin Azevedo
November 19 2013, 02:46PM
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@Fire It Up

i meant that in that he's like 6 months younger than rämö.

i said yesterday that the most important thing is to get the goalies 1000 ev shots each. i'm not saying they wash their hands, its just that rämö should be starting right now based on "merit"

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#30 kittensandcookies
November 19 2013, 03:19PM
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Gussey wrote:

I agree with this. It seems to me less about goaltending ability and more about the defensive system. Kipper had one of his best years under Sutter in 2011, then was one of the worst goalies in the league in 2012 under Hartley. I like watching back and forth, high energy hockey, but I think the lack of defensive discipline is what is costing the goalies for the flames. Neither Berra or Ramo are elite goalies by any means, but I don't believe they have been that horrible either. Defensive breakdowns are common place for the flames these days. Look at that Dustin Byfuglein goal last night. Untouched in the slot with three flames laying on the ground.

I think goalies at the NHL level tend to be all the same for the most part, outside the few elite (Roy, Brodeur). Their stats are generally attributed to the systems they play in. Bryzgalov is awesome in Phoenix (defense first system) and then is bad in Philly. Mike Smith is bad in Tampa and then awesome in Phoenix. Kipper was a third stringer in San Jose and then vezina candidate under Daryl Sutters defense first system.

Nah. Once a goalie goes below .905 SV% it's on them.

All three goaltenders have let in terrible goals this year. You know, the "shoot it at the goalie and see what happens" stuff. No amount of defending is going to stop that from happening.

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#31 Kent Wilson
November 19 2013, 04:10PM
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Re: Berra

He's a dude that definitely has some tools, but even to my untrained eye he has obvious gaps in his play right now. He kicks out giant rebounds entirely too often. He frequently loses his net and gets caught swimming when the action becomes even slightly erratic. It's also clear he's not used to the degree and speed of NHL traffic just yet.

Much of that may come with experience of course, but I really don't see from his play why the coaching staff likes him that much better than Ramo so far (who has had similar struggles).

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#32 SeanCharles
November 19 2013, 05:09PM
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McRib wrote:

Jon Gillies after this year will have already broken most if not all of his school records, likely taken Providence on his back well into the NCAA Championship conversation (as well as the US World Junior Team) and he is 6'5" - 220 Lbs.

To be honest, I understand Johnny Gaudreau going back for his Junior season more than I would Jon Gillies. Look at Jonathan Quick he did two years in the NCAA, a year in pro (including NHL time) and played 44 games for the Kings the following season. Jon Gillies is the best American prospect if not goaltending prospect period since then and it's not like anyone in the Flames system is challenging him, I would be suprised if he doesn't at least get in a handful of games by 2015. To be honest I would put money on it that he signs after this season and gets some time next year with the big club. The Flames never trade Laurent Brossoit IMO if they didn't know he was coming quickly. Also look at Frederik Andersen he was first drafted in 2010 and already has more wins than both of the Flames goalies combined. I think it’s a misconception that Goalies take longer to develop then forwards. High end ones do not they actually might take less time IMO.

Andersen is 24 yrs old.

He was drafted in 2012, same year as Gillies, and was selected 12 spots after him. In theory we could have drafted Andersen instead of Gillies...

Point being Andersen is older so the thought that goalies take longer to develop rings true for him also...

Gillies is 19 years old and him making an impact in 4-5 years when he is 23-24 years old is not such a reach.

He will need development time in the AHL and as a backup in the NHL.

The kid is amazing so him doing it early wouldn't surprise me but expecting him to save us anytime sooner than two years is ridiculous.

I wouldn't be surprised if it only takes him 3 years to establish himself but 4-5 years is a fair assumption...

This goalie taking longer thing rings true for almost all goalies except exceptional ones ie. Price, and even he may have been brought too early...

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#33 MichaelD
November 19 2013, 06:24PM
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@wineeditor

Careful, they don't too kindly to +/- stats around here

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#34 prendrefeu
November 19 2013, 08:30PM
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@Jeff Lebowski

Word. Totally agree. I'm really proud of this team and where the leadership has taken it - particularly with really intelligent picks at the draft and the development of Pacific-Ocean level depth in farm talent. I haven't been proud to say I'm a Flames fan for quite some time, this year has been great win or lose.

The future looks bright, gotta wear shades to the games now.

(Plus I'm in Los Angeles. I'll actually need the shades.)

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#35 Burnward
November 19 2013, 11:40PM
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@Jeff Lebowski

Lebowski. On a roll tonight.

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#36 HongKongHockeyFan
November 19 2013, 11:57PM
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Sven Barschi- Is the glass have full or half empty when it comes to this draft pick? From what I can see it is still half full.

The bad is, his size and speed, will prevent him from becoming elite. Sven does not appear like he will be able to drive the net like Brendan Gallagher or whizzing by guys like Jordan Eberle, who are of similar stature.

The good is that he is a gifted player with good offensive hockey IQ and pretty decent play-making skills. And he has shown to be pretty strong on the boards despite his limited size.

When I glanced back at the 2011 draft, where most draft players should now have made their respective clubs and having some type of impact, I think Sven has proven to be still a pretty good pick and would likely (I think) be draft slightly higher if we were to redo the 2013 today with the benefit of hindsight.

Looking back at the 2013 draft, the first 3 picks (RNH, Landeskog and Huberdeau) have turned out as they should be, the best three players out of the draft. However, the next 10 following picks have all had varying degrees of success. Players like Mark Scheifele, Sean Couturier, Dougie Hamilton have all had growing pains and do look like they will turn into elite players. Ryan Strome is still stuck in the minors. Only Jonas Brodin looks like he was a big steal taken at number 10. Mika Zibanjad also looks to have decent potential.

So my point is Sven has turned out to be a pretty decent pick and is progressing fairly well against his peers. But unfortunately he will never meet the hype that was created over the past two seasons following his ill-advised but exciting taste of a cup of coffee in the 2011/12 season...

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#37 ?
November 20 2013, 12:12AM
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Skuehler wrote:

I think some of the best things this season has been the mentoring of younger players by Hudler (Monohan), Wideman (Russell) and Giordano (Brodie). Not only are they contributing but they are really having a stabilizing affect on their proteges. Wouldn't Sven benefit from a similar arrangement with Cammy or Stemps?

Can't for the life of me understand why Ramo and Berra weren't eased into the pressure and pace of the NHL right from the start of the year by splitting starts for at least a quarter of the season. MacDonald could've been called upon if something went terribly wrong or an injury came up. Having him work alongside Ortio in Abbottsford seems like the best scenario. Calling up Berra and welcoming him to the NHL and the team the way they have couldn't possibly have turned out any differently. Set them up to succeed and earn a starters role, not set them up to fail by throwing them to the wolves.

I know nothing of coaching hockey, but I can't understand Hartley's logic so far this year at all with the lines. He had 1/2 a season, an off-season and a full camp to evaluate who should be on the club and what his lines should look like. Why not roll four lines with max one face-puncher, give them all fair ice time through the first two periods of each game and don't tamper with them for the first quarter season, then re-evaluate. If someone gets injured, call up a replacement and leave the other lines alone. This way you can spread your vets throughout the line-up and pair them up with the kids, not wear out your key guys (and prevent injuries), and compete better (we are basically a three line team right now). Especially so because we have no elite talent that requires "1st line" minutes and status. It feels to me like he is 'over-coaching', always reacting - indicating there may not be a master plan beyond trying to win every game.

Can anyone enlighten me as I really like Hartley and he seems to have the guys onboard, but can't understand his asset management and decision making process. I worry if he loses his players respect/trust, things could get ugly fast. All he's got right now is the players buy-in.

Also find it interesting that so many still think the best answers are outside the organization in the form of an unknown high-end draft pick, and the fire-sale of all vets for whatever market value they return.

I'm as lost as you are my friend. :)

Some decisions are ones that I like. Some choices that he makes just confuse me. As long as he doesn't screw up Sven, I'm willing to give him a chance.

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#38 Jeff Lebowski
November 20 2013, 11:16AM
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McRib wrote:

"Cammy, Stajan, Stempniak all need to be pushed out in trades ideally. The return will not be NHL pieces. It has to come from within. Literally."

I think this is why Hartley is pushing Backlund & Baertschi so hard. He has been told by management and recognizes that once the vets start heading out the door (Cammy, Stajan, Butler, etc) these two are going to be playing top minutes. Frame of thought being they better learn how to play in the other two zones while they still can, as they will be relied on heavily in the near future.

For the record I hope we keep Lee Stempniak he has shown great leadership qualities with this club and believe his value is fairly underrated on the trading block. As crazy as it sounds at this point we might even get better value for Stajan then Stempniak, thanks to an eastern reputation with Toronto.

Yup. Exactly. You got it.

However, I disagree on Stempniak. He is playing great, no doubt. He is in contract year. For the Flames' short term and long term goals they need to leverage him for assets. Sell high if you will.

Stajan is incredibly impressive. Recall his whipping boy comments to his relative importance to the club. He pulled himself up by the bootstraps (and Hartley). I can only respect that. I think teams will value him highly deadline time. I could be wrong.

Hudler, Glencross, Gio, Wideman, Jones, Russell, Gali, Butler (yes Butler) should be the vets to play tough minutes until young guys start pushing through.

Strip away the narrative on Butler. He can play. The question is how much. Blunders are easy to remember. Every player makes them. I think Butler gets unfairly labelled as the new whipping boy. I'm seeing him try hard all the time. No question he has limitations but I tend to focus on his effort. How can you blame a guy for trying (unless he's trying too hard - forcing).

Those age range guys are best equipped mentally and physically until unseated.

Backlund, Monahan, Colborne, Knight.

Essentially you move guys out near peak (peak return) young guys push through. So when Gaudreau pushes Hudler out it's ok because Baertschi takes the burden. Everyone knows this.

I honestly believe that Knight is going to be the pivot that clicks with Sven. Sven - Knight - Gali

Anyone noticing how well Ferland is producing of late? Imagine what he and a Gaudreau could do for each other? Tantalizing.

Pie in the sky, I know. I'm an optimist. We'll see if I'm justified.

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#39 Fire It Up
November 19 2013, 12:12PM
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@Justin Azevedo

Yogi is 26 years old. I consider him young since he's got a 10-14 year career ahead of him, but I guess it depends on who's perspective you look at it from. Since he's older than you, I can understand your perspective.

The progression from seeing him play back in the summer's prospect camp until now, it's undeniable that Yogi has progressed. Even from his first NHL start until last night's game there has been a pretty steep development curve. His rebound control has also progressed in stride since the beginning of the season where he had, well....none.

The Flames have been abysmal as a group. Yogi has had a whopping 7 NHL games in which he's taken part. Only 7. I'll give the kid a season before starting to pick apart his game.

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#40 MichaelD
November 19 2013, 12:32PM
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In regards to Berra. He gives out some sloppy rebounds and gets caught out of position, but he has shown some great athleticism with some big saves. So maybe the coaching staff can fix some position/rebound problems and he can improve with time (more then 7 games).

I don't mind that Hartley keeps going back to him. Ideally though he should be splitting the starts with Ramo.

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#41 rod blogojevich
November 19 2013, 12:48PM
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Kent my man, your pre-season dreams of the Flames taking on bad contracts for picks/prospects may come to fruition with LeBrun finally being the first major MSM guy to mention it (at least of what I have seen)...

"Nobody expected the Calgary Flames to vie for a playoff spot this season, but the internal expectation is at least to compete night in and night out as the rebuild continues.

So the recent free-fall, a 3-11-1 stretch before Monday night's shootout win at Winnipeg, isn't acceptable to management. The question is, what's the plan moving forward this season?

First, the Flames have massive cap space with the 27th-ranked payroll, and unlike most of the few other teams with cap space, Calgary has the financial muscle to use it.

So the hope with the Flames is that at some point cap-strung contenders are going to come calling with an offer to help alleviate their issues. That's when the Flames want to jump at their chance. Can they glean a first-round pick or a top prospect in exchange for helping to fix another team's cap issues via picking up an anchor contract?

That's the hope for the Flames between now and the March 5 trade deadline, to use their financial maneuvering room to gain future assets."

http://espn.go.com/blog/nhl/post/_/id/27845/oilers-goalie-competition-heating-up

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#42 piscera.infada
November 19 2013, 12:52PM
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I've been on the Russell hype train since the first few games of the season. I think he is easily the most surprising, but perhaps we shouldn't be so surprised. I mean, it's not like he was a throw-away from Florida or some other godawful blueline. He was a young guy, who couldn't consistently crack one of the best (if not the best) defensive corps in the league last season.

@Parallex

While I agree that Berra isn't the best thing since sliced bread, I do think he should be given some more time. I'm also somewhat skeptical about the assumption that he could work on what he needs to in the AHL the same as he could in the NHL. Obviously he can (in terms of the nuts and bolts), but the NHL is still a massive adjustment in terms of quality of offensive skill, amount of traffic, etc.

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#43 EugeneV
November 19 2013, 01:18PM
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BoL: When I see that it's late in the third period, in a tie game, and Hartley has opted to throw the fourth line and Chris Butler's pairing on the ice to defend the tie, I want to be able to harness the power from all this delusion and use it to vanquish my enemies.

LOL

Going for a high draft pick, maybe?

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#44 Bikeit
November 19 2013, 01:26PM
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While i agree Berra lets in a bad on once in awhile the hot air on his horrible play is funny. Goaltending like any other sport is about posession of the team around him. If you have the puck the other team is not sending pin ball shots at the net. The Flames are getting out shot, out chanced, losing many face offs and struggle clearing the zone. Especially with Girodano gone.

Goalies take years to develop and Berra is the best mature talent we have over the next four years that can have his wrinkles ironed out with good coaching.

In a perfect world Berra would play 1 year in the AHL, but that is not where the flames are at, thus we get to watch him now and see the odd mistake.

Gillies could take 5 years to become an NHL goalie.

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#45 Gussey
November 19 2013, 02:38PM
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seve927 wrote:

I don't know how long we can keep assuming that every goaltender that doesn't make 10 spectacular saves a game is all that is contributing to league-worst goaltending. We've seen about 70 games of Hartley hockey now, and the defensive zone coverage is absolutely horrible for the most part. I've liked the faster pace and more offense than the Sutter days, but something is seriously wrong in the defensive end. This isn't a young team, it's an average age team with lots of experience amongst the guys who play the most. I don't know how to fix it, but I don't want to see Gillies get thrown away as a garbage goaltender when everyone before him in Hartley's system has the worst stretch of games in his career. Coincidence? Not likely.

I agree with this. It seems to me less about goaltending ability and more about the defensive system. Kipper had one of his best years under Sutter in 2011, then was one of the worst goalies in the league in 2012 under Hartley. I like watching back and forth, high energy hockey, but I think the lack of defensive discipline is what is costing the goalies for the flames. Neither Berra or Ramo are elite goalies by any means, but I don't believe they have been that horrible either. Defensive breakdowns are common place for the flames these days. Look at that Dustin Byfuglein goal last night. Untouched in the slot with three flames laying on the ground.

I think goalies at the NHL level tend to be all the same for the most part, outside the few elite (Roy, Brodeur). Their stats are generally attributed to the systems they play in. Bryzgalov is awesome in Phoenix (defense first system) and then is bad in Philly. Mike Smith is bad in Tampa and then awesome in Phoenix. Kipper was a third stringer in San Jose and then vezina candidate under Daryl Sutters defense first system.

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#46 Jeff In Lethbridge
November 19 2013, 02:45PM
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seve927 wrote:

I don't know how long we can keep assuming that every goaltender that doesn't make 10 spectacular saves a game is all that is contributing to league-worst goaltending. We've seen about 70 games of Hartley hockey now, and the defensive zone coverage is absolutely horrible for the most part. I've liked the faster pace and more offense than the Sutter days, but something is seriously wrong in the defensive end. This isn't a young team, it's an average age team with lots of experience amongst the guys who play the most. I don't know how to fix it, but I don't want to see Gillies get thrown away as a garbage goaltender when everyone before him in Hartley's system has the worst stretch of games in his career. Coincidence? Not likely.

I am not sure how you can say that defensive zone coverage is horrible - we DID limit the Jets to 47 shots last night!

:-D

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#47 jonahgo
November 19 2013, 03:37PM
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berra loses his angles and gets caught out of position very frequently. his game at this stage appears pretty flawed, and his poor es save percentage backs that up.

i think galiardi is a pleasant surprise. he's lost his way a bit recently (along with the rest of the team), but his possession numbers for the season are, relatively speaking, quite good.

i don't understand hartley's line-up construction process at all, and he doesn't explain it well... so i'm left to assume what?

of course, monahan has been the most pleasant surprise of them all.

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#48 seve927
November 19 2013, 03:49PM
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kittensandcookies wrote:

Nah. Once a goalie goes below .905 SV% it's on them.

All three goaltenders have let in terrible goals this year. You know, the "shoot it at the goalie and see what happens" stuff. No amount of defending is going to stop that from happening.

Every goalie in the league has let in bad goals. But no one that I've seen except maybe Dubnyk (actually seen him play a few times) has been hung out to dry like Flames goalies. Minnesota and Dallas games especially.

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#49 seve927
November 19 2013, 04:00PM
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Bean-counting cowboy wrote:

I would like to see the Flames get more seasoned D prospects than trading all the vets for picks. I'm thinking like Cammy + to NYI for Griffin Reinhart. Then draft Max to complete the brother trio! Put all three of them out on the powerplay together and see what happens.

Basically a young D, not yet in the NHL with upside. Takes a lot less time for them to get to the show than next year's defense draft picks.

I'm not particularly high on Reinhart right now, but I too would like to see that type of a deal. I've always liked Alex Petrovic. Florida hardly an ideal trading partner though.

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#50 TRAV
November 19 2013, 04:29PM
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Justin Azevedo wrote:

i meant that in that he's like 6 months younger than rämö.

i said yesterday that the most important thing is to get the goalies 1000 ev shots each. i'm not saying they wash their hands, its just that rämö should be starting right now based on "merit"

I don't totally disagree with the Merit comment. I personally don't mind this little run of Berra though. Sometimes it can take a few consecutive appearances for goalies to get into a rhythm. I would think that this is especially true of goalies new to the league and smaller ice surface. I anticipate that Ramo will get a similar chance shortly. I don't really see it as much of a controversial decision by Hartley though.

Where I firmly agree with you is that it is too early to make definitive judgements about our goaltending. hasn't been very good so far but it is still early in terms of sample size.

I think that Berra has shown some promise in his game. He has great down low lateral movement and is a big man in the net with good quickness. I'm anxious to see how a bit of coaching and development works with this guy.

Overall I'm pretty okay with the job that the Flames as an organization are doing. I can see their plan and think that they are executing it successfully.

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