Joey MacDonald Hits the Waiver Wire

Kent Wilson
November 02 2013 11:00AM

 

 

The Flames decision to claim Joey MacDonald off of waivers last year was understandable - with Kiprusoff hurt and a collection of career AHLers and Leland Irving to choose from otherwise, grabbing a seasoned (albeit mediocre) veteran was defensible.

I never understood, however, why they decided to re-sign him this off-season. A 33-year old career back-up/below replacement level tender isn't a useful asset from any angle. He's not trade-able and he's not going to get better.

After a rough night against the Wings yesterday and boasting an .885 SV% to startr the season, Joey Mac is going back from whence he came - the waiver wire. My guess is he isn't picked up by anybody and is shuttled to Abbotsford to battle it out with Joni Ortio. I expect Reto Berra to be called up for the Chicago game tomorrow.

Berra, by the way, had a hot start to his year in Abby, but has cooled a bit recently with his SV% sinking to just .908. Of course, he has only played in 9 games in NA, so we really can't be sure what his true talent level is. Worth a look at least.

UPDATE (via Ryan Pike): courtesy the official AHL and ECHL sites: G Reto Berra and D Chad Billins are recalled to Calgary, G Laurent Brossoit is moved from ECHL Alaska to AHL Abbotsford to back up Joni Ortio.

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Former Nations Overlord. Current Fn contributor and curmudgeon For questions, complaints, criticisms, etc contact Kent @ kent.wilson@gmail. Follow him on Twitter here.
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#1 beloch
November 02 2013, 10:44PM
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Just watched the Oiler-Wings game... Man. Watching a slaughter like that really gives you some perspective.

1. Hartley is a GOD compared to Dallas Eakins.
2. It is a long way down to rock-bottom from where the Flames currently sit.
3. We should be thankful for the job Feaster's been doing.

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#2 cunning_linguist
November 02 2013, 11:23AM
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This is how it should be. Berra and Ramo battling it out in CGY so we can get a true assessment of their talent levels. Kind of feel bad for Mac, but .885% goaltending with no upside speaks for itself.

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#3 Burnward
November 03 2013, 12:02AM
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Dear Current Calgary Flames,

THANK YOU FOR NOT BEING THE OILERS.

Sincerely,

My Sanity

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#4 Justin Azevedo
November 02 2013, 12:29PM
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he's garbage and anyone who thinks otherwise is wrong. i'm sure he's a great guy but he doesn't help you win hockey games.

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#5 beloch
November 02 2013, 02:31PM
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@HongKongHockeyFan

Like: Colborne is being developed rather than left to rot on the goon squad. This is a good year to prioritize player development even if it means a few losses.

No like: Hartley isn't being honest with Backlund about why he's in the dog house. Backlund doesn't need to develop as much as Colborne or Monahan and Stajan needs some TOI to ensure his trade value stays high. Fine. Be honest about that. Don't play Backlund on the goon squad in a shut-down role and then bench him for not scoring enough.

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#6 ed wailin'
November 02 2013, 06:01PM
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Walter White.... signing off with your initials EVERYTIME is really annoying...

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#7 Ryan Pike
November 02 2013, 11:42AM
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Part of me will miss Mac, having family from the same area of Nova Scotia where he's from. He's also a really nice guy. On the other hand, his numbers and play are what they are.

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#8 HongKongHockeyFan
November 02 2013, 02:12PM
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I know I'm repeating a previous gripe of mine in a recent posting but is it me or doesn't anyone find it funny that as Joe Colborne's ice time has gone and conversely Michael Backlund's has gone down, Calgary's record has gone down.

Similarly, the return of Matt Stajan does not seem to be tilting the ice in Calgary's favour, which is undermining the team.

While it is clear that Calgary doesn't have any number 1 centres on the team currently, nevertheless a solid number 2 (though it is clear that Monahan will eventually be a capable 1/2 centre), I'm still completely perplexed about why Backlund has been relegated to the 4th line or worse.

Although I agree that Colborne is playing better than I initially thought he was capable of, he is still not at Backlund's level. Apologies to all of Colborne's family and friend's in Calgary but I just doesn't have that initial burst of speed to get to pucks and move the play the right way in my view at least as far as taking a first line centre role. He seems more suited for the wing as he looks very capable of winning battles on the board.

I guess at the end of the day, I'm frustrated with both Stajan and Colborne taking up more ice time than Backlund. Lets face it, Stajan's days are numbered in Calgary, however I admit he is simply not a tradable asset.

Anyways, I guess Backlund's days are numbered as a Flames. Although I hope I'm wrong, I suspect that he will be traded to make room for Knight, Horak or Reinhart.

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#9 acg5151
November 02 2013, 11:44PM
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Alaska Aces fan here. My friend watched the game that Brossoir played and he was pretty impressed. Him leaving won't affect AK too much because we already have Guggenberger but both it sounded to me like Brossoit and Ortio were both solid for the Aces. A lot of teams have worse goaltending prospect pipelines than Calgary right now.

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#10 RKD
November 02 2013, 12:04PM
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Let's see where the 1-2 tandem of Berra and Ramo take us the rest of the season. Bryz would be too much of a distraction, they don't need any problems in the dressing room.

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#11 schevvy
November 02 2013, 11:59AM
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Best news of the day.

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#12 theCalgaryJames
November 02 2013, 02:40PM
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so, with the update and seeing as how LB has been brought up to backup Ortio in abby... do we expect MacDonald to be assigned to the ECHL? if so, ouch! but really his play has been that bad. He's played himself out of the league.

Ramo hasn't been a whole lot better but I think he gets at least a little bit of a pass due to his inexperience in the league and NA as a whole.

Backlund's demotion is an absolute debacle. The guy has played the toughest minutes on this team. Do I think he has more to give offensively? Sure. But how does it help his offensive game to have him play barely any ES hockey while in the middle of McGratten and Bouma?

If we're to believe the teams line on 'meritocracy' then we should expect guys like Glencross, O'Brien, etc. to be taking a seat long before Backs.

I don't get it, Hartley. I just don't.

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#13 EugeneV
November 02 2013, 08:26PM
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@HongKongHockeyFan

They have to give Stajan enough ice time to give him SOME trade value. (soon hopefully)

While at the same time they need to assess Colborne by giving him ice time, and of course at the same time they need to give Monahan enough ice as well.

This leaves Backlund where he is currently, a 3rd line center on a team without a 3rd line.

Backlund is a year older than Colborne with 150 more NHL games, so the team should know where he will slot in going forward. (maybe on another team)

Seems pretty clear to people who WATCH THE GAMES WITH THEIR EYES (not just with advanced stats which only complement the eye test) that he will not score enough to be a top 6 on a Cup winning team

Remember that WE ARE REBUILDING and that Backlund is only a piece of a puzzle and he is replaceable with a free agent when we actually need a 3rd line center

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#14 seve927
November 02 2013, 11:58AM
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I don't know what the value is of having good guys on the team, but I don't think it's zero. Just like having Craig Conroy in the front office. I have no idea if he has any clue what he's doing, but I bet he's had a big part in being able to draw some guys to sign here. That could have been the impetus in having MacDonald around, who knows. All I know is I'm certainly not upset that he's played a handful of games, and I don't see that he's taking anything away from anybody's development.

I wish him the best and hope somebody picks him up.

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#15 Baalzamon
November 02 2013, 03:21PM
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@Kmp

Nope. Backlund was in the best shape on the team in training camp. I sincerely doubt he has any conditioning issues.

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#16 ed wailin
November 02 2013, 07:53PM
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WW - Do whatever you want man. I'm just sayin.

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#17 Kevin R
November 02 2013, 11:21AM
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Personally Kent, if no one picks him up, although the Oil should, I think he should be bought out before considering sending him to Abbey! Leave the tending to Ortio & Brossoit down in Abbey. That would make a phenomenal competing environment between two hungry goalies trying to prove themselves at the pro level. This is a no-brainer, its not like we don't have the cap space for the buyout. Stupid contract right from the start & we should have given Leiland & Taylor a shot before even picking him up last year. Both of those guys toiled for this organization & deserved that chance before being cut loose. Who knows, had we done that, we may have had Seth Jones or Barkov.

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#18 SmellOfVictory
November 03 2013, 09:41AM
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beloch wrote:

Just watched the Oiler-Wings game... Man. Watching a slaughter like that really gives you some perspective.

1. Hartley is a GOD compared to Dallas Eakins.
2. It is a long way down to rock-bottom from where the Flames currently sit.
3. We should be thankful for the job Feaster's been doing.

Absolutely. I love Hartley as a coach; the only thing he does that drives me nuts is his treatment of Backlund. Everything else is above average, or at least average (e.g. dressing goons, which every coach in the league does).

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#19 SmellOfVictory
November 03 2013, 09:44AM
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BurningSensation wrote:

I love this assessment, in particular, #2.

When the Oilers bottomed out it was because they were utterly awful (to the complete surpise of their management) - and despite 3 1st overall picks (and the gift of Justin Schultz), the roster remains awful.

In contrast, Feaster started rebuilding the talent pipeline when he came on board, but he did so while keeping a stable of decent vets and making a run at the playoffs. Lots of fans start counting the rebuild at the Iggy trade, but it really began much earlier with the Regehr trade (which was not as bad as many have suggested).

Now that the MacBackup experiment is over (and kudos to the Flames for giving the vet a legit shot before letting Ramo take over), we can see if Ramo can be a league average goalie.

And if he is, we are WAY ahead of the Oilers

Have to disagree on the Regehr trade. That trade was terrible. It would be palatable if there had been no 2nd rounder going to Buffalo for Byron, but as it stands it's pretty gross.

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#21 mattyc
November 02 2013, 11:35AM
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I feel for him, he's one of the nice guys.

Bring on Dipietro or Bryzgalov? - I kid I kid!

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#22 ngthagg
November 03 2013, 06:15AM
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Bringing Berra up to the NHL makes a lot of sense. It's so difficult to predict NHL goalie success from play outside the NHL that I firmly believe the only way to go is to give goalies time in the NHL. Ramo/Berra will be a better fit with Hartley as well. His win-you're-in, lose-you're-out strategy makes sense now.

Regarding Backlund, I have no problems with him on the fourth line. There are excellent reasons for Stajan, Colborne, and Monahan being ahead of him (some of which are outlined above). It's his linemates that I object to. Young defensively responsible centers are not common enough for us to give up on Backlund. Surely we could find some wingers that can play a similarly defensively responsible style of hockey, while at the same time provide opportunities for his scoring to develop! We can't afford to go the route of the Oilers and only develop players with top line potential.

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#23 Lordmork
November 02 2013, 11:58AM
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It's always too bad when a player who's a nice guy gets demoted/traded/whatever. I hope maybe he's able to mentor Ortio/Brossoit and find some success in the AHL. But from an organizational standpoint, it seems pretty clear that the best way forward is to play Berra and Ramo until the team figures out which one is best.

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#24 Kevin R
November 02 2013, 12:16PM
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Kenta wrote:

You seem to have mistakenly ended up on Flamesnation. Click the yellowish tab above for the site handling the team north up the QE2.

Hahahaha ???? Is that you Joey? Are you capable of reading a whole post? You're a funny guy. Have a lovely day.

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#25 Justin Azevedo
November 02 2013, 12:33PM
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also don't expect reto berra to do... well, anything really. i don't anticipate that he's actually an nhl-calibre goalie.

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#26 Jeff In Lethbridge
November 02 2013, 01:20PM
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aloudoun wrote:

If anyone feels bad for Joey then watch his post-game interview… wow.

just watched it...

he seems VERY frustrated, and by my interpretation really throws the other guys under the bus - excuses his soft goal (he says "lucky one" but by my count there were 2 freebies!) and blames the loss on the teams lack of effort in the 3rd.

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#27 Chad
November 02 2013, 03:50PM
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@HongKongHockeyFan

Backlund problem is that he is a non-traditional middle six center in a traditional organization.

Backlund is the best Flames center from the opposition blue line back to the Flames end he also is the worst offensive center from the opposition blue line in.

As a result there are several roles that Backlund could take and be a very effective player that drives play either as the center on a hard minutes line that tries to play keep away from other team top lines or the defensive responsible player between two offensive players that get the play into the offensive zone for them.

Unfortunately the Flames are a very traditional organization and they want 2 scoring lines that play all the power play time a physical third checking line and then a "energy" line that is big and doesn't play very much.

So Backlund doesn't score enough to play on the second line and he isn't as flashy/gritty working defensively like Stephen Yelle was so the organization can't see what Backlund should be doing.

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#28 ChinookArch
November 03 2013, 06:59AM
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aloudoun wrote:

Just when it seems it can't get any worse for the Oilers… it does. I honestly can't think of how they can possibly fix this. They have no depth, no defence, no goaltending and no character or drive on that team. The culture of losing is hard to break... Happy to be a Flames fan right now :)

Yup. Time to rebuild the rebuild.

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#29 ChinookArch
November 03 2013, 07:29AM
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For the most part, Hartley has done some very good work, since taking over. While the results are ultimately a credit to the players, Hartley has been a steady hand. Two complaints remain, first I'd like to see him trust, and develop the younger players, and sit vets that simply don't deserve the TOI they've received. This I think would improve, if he fixed the second complaint: his appreciaton of goons. By simply re-jigged the 4th line, and created another 3rd line with tons of speed, the team would impove. By my eye Calgary has enough talent to have 2 solid 2nd lines, and 2 solid 3rd lines.

By cutting McGratton from this team, and replacing him with GlenX on the forth, we end up with a dangerous and gritty 4th line, with the added benefit of elevating younger forwards up the rotation. Also, Backlund actually has a hockey player as a line mate.

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#30 BurningSensation
November 03 2013, 09:26AM
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beloch wrote:

Just watched the Oiler-Wings game... Man. Watching a slaughter like that really gives you some perspective.

1. Hartley is a GOD compared to Dallas Eakins.
2. It is a long way down to rock-bottom from where the Flames currently sit.
3. We should be thankful for the job Feaster's been doing.

I love this assessment, in particular, #2.

When the Oilers bottomed out it was because they were utterly awful (to the complete surpise of their management) - and despite 3 1st overall picks (and the gift of Justin Schultz), the roster remains awful.

In contrast, Feaster started rebuilding the talent pipeline when he came on board, but he did so while keeping a stable of decent vets and making a run at the playoffs. Lots of fans start counting the rebuild at the Iggy trade, but it really began much earlier with the Regehr trade (which was not as bad as many have suggested).

Now that the MacBackup experiment is over (and kudos to the Flames for giving the vet a legit shot before letting Ramo take over), we can see if Ramo can be a league average goalie.

And if he is, we are WAY ahead of the Oilers

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#31 seve927
November 03 2013, 11:29AM
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Justin Azevedo wrote:

he's garbage and anyone who thinks otherwise is wrong. i'm sure he's a great guy but he doesn't help you win hockey games.

Just curious Justin, what would the coaches response typically be when your mom pointed this out?

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#32 Steve
November 03 2013, 12:58PM
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Bolland injured, we have the solution!! Matty for a 2nd :) Get on it fleester!

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#33 Primo
November 02 2013, 05:30PM
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Kevin R wrote:

Personally Kent, if no one picks him up, although the Oil should, I think he should be bought out before considering sending him to Abbey! Leave the tending to Ortio & Brossoit down in Abbey. That would make a phenomenal competing environment between two hungry goalies trying to prove themselves at the pro level. This is a no-brainer, its not like we don't have the cap space for the buyout. Stupid contract right from the start & we should have given Leiland & Taylor a shot before even picking him up last year. Both of those guys toiled for this organization & deserved that chance before being cut loose. Who knows, had we done that, we may have had Seth Jones or Barkov.

I was of the same mind set as you. But after seeing what we have in Monahan he may become the better overall player than Jones or Barkov.

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#34 Baalzamon
November 02 2013, 07:41PM
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Another win for Ortio. 35 saves, three more in shootout. Blair Jones with two goals and the shootout winner.

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#35 aloudoun
November 03 2013, 01:20AM
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Just when it seems it can't get any worse for the Oilers… it does. I honestly can't think of how they can possibly fix this. They have no depth, no defence, no goaltending and no character or drive on that team. The culture of losing is hard to break... Happy to be a Flames fan right now :)

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#36 Justin Azevedo
November 03 2013, 11:36AM
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seve927 wrote:

Just curious Justin, what would the coaches response typically be when your mom pointed this out?

I don't really care what the coaches response would be, honestly. until macdonald goes above .915, i'm right. also, I think you should probably consider never commenting like that again.

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#38 aloudoun
November 02 2013, 12:55PM
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If anyone feels bad for Joey then watch his post-game interview… wow.

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#39 KetchupKid
November 02 2013, 01:46PM
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aloudoun wrote:

If anyone feels bad for Joey then watch his post-game interview… wow.

Agreed. I didn't care for his tone at all in that interview. You could argue that it's become a meaningless gesture over the years, but I always appreciate when a player errs on the side of accepting responsibility for a loss. MacD flat out did the opposite.

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#40 Thprop1
November 02 2013, 07:14PM
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Holy crap just watched the interview... I wonder if Feaster did too ... When was he waived..pretty bush comments.

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#41 Veggie Dog
November 03 2013, 11:31AM
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SmellOfVictory wrote:

Have to disagree on the Regehr trade. That trade was terrible. It would be palatable if there had been no 2nd rounder going to Buffalo for Byron, but as it stands it's pretty gross.

Can we stop beating the Regehr dead-horse. It was in a different era when we were saddled with so many NTCs and high cap contracts that we were up against it. Regehr was past his best, and we unloaded Kotalik on the hapless Sabres. Even if Sutter is mindlessly attached to him, we would not be appreciably better with him, and in any case, that ship sailed 2.5 years ago.

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#42 Justin Azevedo
November 03 2013, 11:40AM
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@Veggie Dog

I don't think there's any reason to let it go considering buffalo got more in return for him than the flames did even though he was considerably worse in buffalo

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#43 BurningSensation
November 03 2013, 12:28PM
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SmellOfVictory wrote:

Have to disagree on the Regehr trade. That trade was terrible. It would be palatable if there had been no 2nd rounder going to Buffalo for Byron, but as it stands it's pretty gross.

I think we 'lose' the Regehr trade - badly - until you factor in that it was the ticket out of cap-relief hell.

Kotalik's contract in particular was weapons grade radioactive.

It was that move though, dealing aging vet, and a huge amount of money to get younger (if not actually better), that defines Feaster as seeing the forest for the trees.

The team was carrying a ton of bad contract money, and in that one move Feaster gave the team breathing room to make changes.

Every move since has been to make the team younger, and/or to collect picks prospects.

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#44 Baalzamom
November 03 2013, 01:13PM
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Steve wrote:

Bolland injured, we have the solution!! Matty for a 2nd :) Get on it fleester!

Call now and your Butler is free.

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#45 Kenta
November 02 2013, 12:21PM
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Kevin R wrote:

Hahahaha ???? Is that you Joey? Are you capable of reading a whole post? You're a funny guy. Have a lovely day.

You too and say hi to all Oilers fans in what was previously known as The City of Champions. LOL.

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#46 mattyc
November 02 2013, 12:52PM
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Justin Azevedo wrote:

he's garbage and anyone who thinks otherwise is wrong. i'm sure he's a great guy but he doesn't help you win hockey games.

haha! So absolutist.

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#47 beloch
November 02 2013, 02:42PM
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Re: MacDonald

He was a warm body with a pulse when the Flames were seriously considering taping a plywood cutout to their net. The best that can be said about him is that he was slightly better than utterly terrible. Ramo, despite being not great so far, is a clear upgrade. Cutting MacBackup loose so other prospects can be evaluated is a no-brainer.

I only hope someone claims MacDonald off waivers, thereby burning the ships and forcing Feaster to finally put his back to the sea and commit to finding a real NHL goalie.

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#48 piscera.infada
November 02 2013, 03:27PM
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beloch wrote:

Like: Colborne is being developed rather than left to rot on the goon squad. This is a good year to prioritize player development even if it means a few losses.

No like: Hartley isn't being honest with Backlund about why he's in the dog house. Backlund doesn't need to develop as much as Colborne or Monahan and Stajan needs some TOI to ensure his trade value stays high. Fine. Be honest about that. Don't play Backlund on the goon squad in a shut-down role and then bench him for not scoring enough.

My thoughts exactly.

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#49 HongKongHockeyFan
November 02 2013, 09:02PM
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@Chad and EugeneV

Chad, I think you have hit the nail in the head about your assessment of Backlund's skill set. I still think his ceiling may be a bit higher, however, I believe it is hard to tell given Calgary's wingers, which are mainly second or third liners most nights. Though I have to give props to Hudler, he has been playing great this year.

EugeneV, I hope your wrong about management bumping up Stajan's minutes to lift his trade value because I'd rather see the Flames winning games at this point in the season, which has shown to be the case when he is not in the line up. As I mentioned before, I just don't think he is tradable asset given the lower salary cap. I just hope we don't resign him.

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#50 Baalzamon
November 03 2013, 09:54AM
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Blair Jones is currently averaging nearly four shots per game. Even Horak doesn't approach that pace. (Jones also has 7 points in 7 games, which is also nice)

I think it may be time for a Knight callup. No points last night, but he's been real steady for the Heat.

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