Random Thoughts - More MIkael Backlund

Kent Wilson
November 25 2013 09:13AM

 

 

With Darren Dreger recently tweeting that the Flames are shopping Backlund, it seems more and more that the former first rounders time with the organization is drawing to a close. We've defended backs around here a lot over the years, so this is going to seem redundant, but here's a bit on why moving him for pennies on the dollar is a bad bet.

It's been well established around these parts - Mikael Backlund is a top-5 player on this team in terms of driving possession. He led the Calgary Flames forwards by that metric over the last two years and is top-3 amongst regular forwards this year (despite starting from the defensive end more often). He's not an overly compelling player in general because he doesn't regularly do the spectacular stuff - he doesn't fight or smash people into the boards and his offense is uneven at best. All he does is drive play into the offensive end.

An apt comparison might be baseball player Scott Hatteberg from the Oakland A's (featured in Moneyball). Billy Beane signed Hatteberg off the scrap heap because he was good at getting on base - an unsexy metric (at the time) that correlated to runs and wins.

Because OBP was unsexy it was also cheap. Corsi and other possession metrics are the same in hockey today - over the long run, a higher corsi rating correlates with a better goal differential and wins, but in the short term it's something that can be overwhelmed by the osscilations of fortune. The best teams in the league tend to consistently control the puck and spend more time in the offensive zone, meaning they aren't overly reliant on all world goaltending or a high shooting percentage. Ergo, to eventually become a good team, the club should collect and keep as many possession players as possible.

Backlund, at 24 years old, does things that help teams win over the long-term. He's not elite, so he can't turn the boat around by himself, and his offense is underwhelming relative to his skill set. Unfortunately, that often means people focus on what Backlund isn't rather than what he is - a useful, cheap, middle-tier forward who drives play in almost any circumstance.

- Another problem with trading Backlund now is the org is unlikely to get much in return for him. Because he doesn't have good counting numbers and there are now questions about his viability as an NHLer, Calgary will be lucky to do better than a second round pick or middling prospect in return. It's the kind of move the Oilers made in the early stages of their rebuild (see: Kyle Brodziak). Giving away established 24-year old centerman out of frustration or because he isn't an bovious star is a good way to spin your wheels.

- It looks like to me that the decision makers have decided they'd rather bet on Colborne than Backlund moving forward, which results in the log-jam and "need" to move Mickis.

I liked the Colborne acquisition and I'm hoping he becomes something for the team, but aside from his size, there's no reason currently to believe Colborne will be better the Backlund. His possession rates this year are worse (even though he starts way more often in the offensive zone), his even strength shot rate is worse and he has just as many points in the same number of games as Backlund. It might be tempting to give Colborne the benefit of the doubt given his age, but the fact is he's just 10 months younger than Mikael, but has played about 160 less NHL games.

It's possible Colborne will become a useful NHLer, but it's also possible he's a replacement level plug. If any center on this club should be getting the ambivalent "up-and-down the line-up treatment" it's Joe Colborne, not Backlund - the former hasn't proven anything at this level yet and doesn't have any compelling results under his belt as a Flame, be it conventional stats or "advanced" metrics.

- Related: one of the many reasons I am against the frequent deployment of enforcers is their presence neuters an entire forward unit each night. Or, to put it another way, if the club had two functional bottom six combinations, it's doubtful anyone would talk about having to choose Colborne over Backlund or vice versa.

Because a line featuring a tough guy can only see 5-7 minutes of ice time per night (and usually they are very unproductive minutes, because it is essentially like skating short-handed), everyone else on that trio is rendered ineffective. For example, in an alternate universe, the Flames could skate these two units:

  • Bouma - Backlund - D. Jones
  • Galiardi - Colborne - B. Jones

Or some mix of players therein. Instead, the team chooses to go with a functional third line and then a usless fourth unit because the two other guys have to carry around Brian McGrattan. An enforcer-less bottom-six would mitigate any questions about keeping Backlund or playing him versus Colborne because each guy would still have a fighting chance to be useful in this configuration no matter how you jumbled things.

Instead, the club is may trade Backlund for a nominal return essentially so they can gamble on Joe Colborne and play McGrattan every game.

39d8109299a9795cb3b41a4e9b49d501
Former Nations Overlord. Current Fn contributor and curmudgeon For questions, complaints, criticisms, etc contact Kent @ kent.wilson@gmail. Follow him on Twitter here.
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#51 piscera.infada
November 25 2013, 02:37PM
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@SmellOfVictory

If they do get a good value return for him, then great. Although I'll be a bit choked that one of my favourite Flames is gone.

For sure, I'll be hitting the Martell hard if that day comes.

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#52 RexLibris
November 25 2013, 04:25PM
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Kurt wrote:

Rex - I agree with you about trading Backs being a misuse of assets and risky to hope that some AHLer fills his shoes. Sounds exactly like what the Oilers have been doing for 5 years.

BUT - my the question ties back to an issue I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around. The whole timing thing... I think we can agree the Oilers screwed up by having too many young skill prospects at the same time without a supporting cast of vets. But how does a team manage that, so that when Sven/Monahan & this years 1st overall (fingers crossed) all start to enter their prime.

I guess, my point is... It makes sense to keep Backs around, because one day we will need him. But my gut tells me we aren't going to be competitive for 4 years. Playoffs 2017. Is that reasonable? So given those timelines how do you handle a Backlund type?? Is he worth keeping around for the development phase? Or is he just the guy we need back in 2017?? Or is that what the Oilers tried to do... Wait until they need a Backlund type and then get them (easier said than done)....

I just can't wrap my mind around how all this timing needs to work.... Because its easy to say we need a 3rd line C line Backs one day. But when is that one day. And will he still be relevant at that point?

The timing is tough. You can't plan that, but the best you can do is put value on those around you and sign them to long term deals, even if it is an overpay at the time.

Backlund at around $3 million for five years would've been a good deal because by year 4 the cap is probably high enough that it meshes with his point production and his presence then becomes valuable.

The Oilers get ripped for sending off all their veterans, yet they have hung on to Ales Hemsky, albeit sometimes in spite of themselves, for years because they feel he has more value on the roster than what was offered in exchange.

Identify the core, place a relative value on each, and then move forward. Backlund, Brodie, Baertschi and Monahan are the NHL building blocks for the Flames. Aside from Monahan, nobody is untouchable, but they ought to rank higher than the remainder of the roster.

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#53 44stampede
November 26 2013, 03:35AM
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Baalzamon wrote:

On the other hand, Paul Gaustad (along with a 4th) fetched a 1st rounder. Do we ever really know what GMs will pay for anything?

I hear you and don't think a good return is impossible but I have serious doubts. Wasn't that example of Gaustad at the deadline? In general, IIRC, teams will pay more at that time though I could be wrong.

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#54 MonsterPod
November 26 2013, 05:57PM
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Kent, you're awesome. Thank you for all that you do. That said, you need to proof read your articles or have a minion do it for you.

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#55 T&A4Flames
November 25 2013, 10:15AM
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Kent, I like your bottom 6 configuration. Play those lines and if aparticular line is going, move them up ice time wise.

I suspect this is more of other teams inquiring given Backs perceived struggles with the coach and CGY is listening. Why not see what potential value is out there. He could be an important piece in a salary dump trade that nets us a bigger return.

I just hope that the management hasn't given up on Backlund and are ok dumping him for peanuts just zo they can bring up another prospect.

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#56 RossCreekNation
November 25 2013, 10:17AM
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Question: if you're resigned to the fact they'll prob just get a 3rd for Backlund, would you rather trade him for a player that may be overpaid/underperforming in his current situation, that has 1 more yr left on their deal?

2 guys off the top of my head: Tomas Fleishmann & Martin Erat.

The thinking being: they only have 1 yr left, so they're not a big hindrance to the long term payroll (something that searching the UFA market might be). With Cammalleri gone next yr, and the Flames already near the bottom in payroll, they're gonna need to spend $ on somebody for next yr. Signing a UFA to an inflated contract with term probably isn't in their best interest at this time. Adding a player that may be overpaid but just has 1 yr left on his contract for pennies on the dollar might be the smart play (regardless of whether Backlund is involved). Then, at next yrs deadline, you could likely salvage a pick for said player anyways.

Thoughts?

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#57 Kevin R
November 25 2013, 10:31AM
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Backs has just been cursed with bad timing here in Calgary. His rookie start was hampered by the Sutters & when he started to make progress he usually got injuries that slowed his start that one year & shelved him while he was going great another year. So now he hasn't proven that he is a top 6 but more of a 3rd line centreman. Unfortunately we just started our rebuild & we have 3-4 young guys that we need to give those 3rd line minutes to so we can find out what they have. Reinhart, Knight, Colbourne, Granlund all have the potential to slot in there & perform as well as Backlund. I do believe we have run out of Bridge contract for Backs & his value is better as a RFA than a UFA. Seems silly to just sell him straight up when his value straight up is so low. However combine is potential, his good Corsi, his cheap contract with the huge cap space we have available & then suddenly if he were a piece of a larger deal, the value improves.

One thing I would like to see & I read someone mentioning it before was during the lockout he played wing with Berglund & was awesome, brought out his offense & gave him confidence that carried over last season. Can we not try him there & at least pump up some numbers to pump up his value?

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#58 bookofloob
November 25 2013, 10:50AM
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@RossCreekNation

Yeah, I really think it'd be a mistake letting Stemps go. He's an important player on this team, no matter where they sit in the standings or philosophically.

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#59 piscera.infada
November 25 2013, 11:17AM
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Kurt wrote:

Rex - I agree with you about trading Backs being a misuse of assets and risky to hope that some AHLer fills his shoes. Sounds exactly like what the Oilers have been doing for 5 years.

BUT - my the question ties back to an issue I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around. The whole timing thing... I think we can agree the Oilers screwed up by having too many young skill prospects at the same time without a supporting cast of vets. But how does a team manage that, so that when Sven/Monahan & this years 1st overall (fingers crossed) all start to enter their prime.

I guess, my point is... It makes sense to keep Backs around, because one day we will need him. But my gut tells me we aren't going to be competitive for 4 years. Playoffs 2017. Is that reasonable? So given those timelines how do you handle a Backlund type?? Is he worth keeping around for the development phase? Or is he just the guy we need back in 2017?? Or is that what the Oilers tried to do... Wait until they need a Backlund type and then get them (easier said than done)....

I just can't wrap my mind around how all this timing needs to work.... Because its easy to say we need a 3rd line C line Backs one day. But when is that one day. And will he still be relevant at that point?

I fully agree with you on all points. The timing thing is precisely why you can't be absolutist about anything this early into the rebuild - it's all return based.

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#60 the-wolf
November 25 2013, 11:22AM
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piscera.infada wrote:

I fully agree with you on all points. The timing thing is precisely why you can't be absolutist about anything this early into the rebuild - it's all return based.

See, and I say, using your 4 year time line, that it makes perfect sense to keep him. By then he's 29 or 30 and is contuing to be a possession juggernaut for a few playoff runs. That's perfect.

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#61 piscera.infada
November 25 2013, 11:25AM
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the-wolf wrote:

He may not have "compelling results" but it's one more piece. Everyone knocks the Oilers for their rebuild, but we want to toss a 24 year old centre who puts the puck in the other team's zone.

I agree with you in theory, but I still maintain that Backlund has more value plaing for the team than as a trade asset. That's where the absolutism comes from. Because it seems like a trade the Flames would be destined to lose.

The 'compelling results' claim wasn't made by me. It was simply posited that Backlund does have compelling results. I'm asking what those are.

While I agree with you, he does have more value playing for the team then he does in a one-off trade. But it seems to me the absolutism is only warranted if the line from management was "we're trading Backlund for whatever we can get - regardless of return, it's happening". I Haven't heard that, so to assume that he's going to be traded for nothing is capricious.

I don't have a four year timeline - I for one, don't think a hard timeline on a rebuild does anything positive at all for anyone. I'm just saying you have to be open when teams are kicking tires. Again, I don't want to trade Backlund - I want everyone to sit down to a nice Christmas dinner, and their kids can be lifelong friends so they all grow old together thusly being buried beside each other along the Bow River.

Seriously though, I actually really don't think we're that far off in opinion. I just don't see it as definitively horrible asset management until I can see the return.

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#62 Kurt
November 25 2013, 11:33AM
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the-wolf wrote:

See, and I say, using your 4 year time line, that it makes perfect sense to keep him. By then he's 29 or 30 and is contuing to be a possession juggernaut for a few playoff runs. That's perfect.

You could be right... My original comment was basically a big question. I'm wondering out loud if you keep guys like Backs on a 4-5 year window or if you try to find a different 'Backlund" in 3-4 years when you need them....

Its easy to look up north and see what they screwed up. But I don't know the answer. I wonder what the Hawks did. Did they keep their depth 3-4 liners around through the dark days of Toews early career and then use those same guys to win the cups now? Or is their bottom 6 completely replaced from the guys they had at ground zero?? I'm honestly asking (and hoping someone has more time than me to look it up!)

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#63 the-wolf
November 25 2013, 11:42AM
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piscera.infada wrote:

The 'compelling results' claim wasn't made by me. It was simply posited that Backlund does have compelling results. I'm asking what those are.

While I agree with you, he does have more value playing for the team then he does in a one-off trade. But it seems to me the absolutism is only warranted if the line from management was "we're trading Backlund for whatever we can get - regardless of return, it's happening". I Haven't heard that, so to assume that he's going to be traded for nothing is capricious.

I don't have a four year timeline - I for one, don't think a hard timeline on a rebuild does anything positive at all for anyone. I'm just saying you have to be open when teams are kicking tires. Again, I don't want to trade Backlund - I want everyone to sit down to a nice Christmas dinner, and their kids can be lifelong friends so they all grow old together thusly being buried beside each other along the Bow River.

Seriously though, I actually really don't think we're that far off in opinion. I just don't see it as definitively horrible asset management until I can see the return.

"The 'compelling results' claim wasn't made by me. It was simply posited that Backlund does have compelling results. I'm asking what those are."

I realize that wasn't you and was agreeing with you that he doesn't per se, but.......

Agree about a hard time line, just trying to point out that Backlund is of that age group where he'll still be highly useful at the end of it. Feaster was just saying again the other week about how the team lacks guys in that age range which makes the whole rumor a little strange from that POV.

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#64 thymebalm
November 25 2013, 11:47AM
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@Ryan Pike

I really hope they don't break up the Heat squad this season. The Heat fell apart after the call ups started coming last year. They were almost this good at this point last season too.

Knight, Granlund, Hanowski, Billins, Ferland, Ortio... they are all playing like future NHLers right now. But it's only 15 wins.. The Heat are already at the breaking point for injuries. They only had 5 healthy defenders for their last game of the road trip.

No matter who comes up, the Flames aren't winning this season. I see the sense in giving guys 3 game cups of coffee since we can afford to, but I think the development goes a long way if this young Heat team can make the playoffs and do some damage.

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#65 Kurt
November 25 2013, 02:01PM
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Burnward wrote:

Why is there so much certainty around here that this is going to be a long, drawn out re-build?

There is nothing in Burke's or Calgary's history to suggest this will be the case.

We have 30 million in Cap Space to play with, an interesting UFA pool coming up and plenty of flexibility.

Not saying it's the right way to go, but I think we're kidding ourselves if we believe Burke/King have the stomach to lose the way the Oil or Panthers have done.

Interesting you bring up the Panthers. Dale Talon came into FLA after the team had acquired a few top picks. He blew his wad a few summers ago to dramatically speed up the rebuild. They had 30 mil in cap space & a few top 5 picks. They spent like drunk sailors on UFAs to speed things up.

Now they are talking about selling off EVERYTHING that isn't bolted down about starting over.

They are basically the 100% opposite of what the Oilers have done. The Oilers committed 100% to a nuclear rebuild with the goal of building a powerhouse, not just quickly getting back to fighting for 8th. They have been stubborn to a fault, and not moved any asset or draft pick. They suck this year because they refuse to do anything to address needs now at the expense of the future.

Personally I think they went TOO far, but I'd lean way more to Oilers style. I think with competent management, the core the Oilers have put together SHOULD be a powerhouse within 24 months. Lucky for us, they have a bunch of shmucks ruining it all.

But FLA & EDM are not comparable examples of rebuild failures. Same results, but dramatically different.

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#66 J.P.
November 25 2013, 02:14PM
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Personally I would choose not to trade Backlund. However if they do, maybe a good target would be Ryan Ellis from Nashville (who is also getting limited minutes). Burke does have history with Nashville in picking up Franson.

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#67 Colin.S
November 25 2013, 02:16PM
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@Kurt

One of the big problems of the Oilers rebuild is that other than their first overalls they got pretty much NOTHING else out of the drafts. I think you can back 10 or more years and see the draft wasteland that is the Edmonton Oilers Rounds 2-7 draft. Not that the flames have been much better, but the Oilers don't have much else outside their firsts. The Flames have managed to snag two top 4 defenders from an undrafted kid and a 4th rounder. That's the difference. Maybe theres someone I missed that the oilers drafted/signed late and Rex could correct me,.

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#68 SmellOfVictory
November 25 2013, 02:17PM
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Kurt wrote:

Remember when you were debating me about Backlund being better than Nugent-Hopkins back in the spring.

He was more effective than Nugent-Hopkins at even strength in the spring. I haven't watched RNH this season, though.

I've never had delusions of Backlund being a top line offensive centre, but the fact of the matter is that he had five years' development on a kid who was barely a year removed from his draft.

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#69 Kurt
November 25 2013, 02:26PM
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Colin.S wrote:

One of the big problems of the Oilers rebuild is that other than their first overalls they got pretty much NOTHING else out of the drafts. I think you can back 10 or more years and see the draft wasteland that is the Edmonton Oilers Rounds 2-7 draft. Not that the flames have been much better, but the Oilers don't have much else outside their firsts. The Flames have managed to snag two top 4 defenders from an undrafted kid and a 4th rounder. That's the difference. Maybe theres someone I missed that the oilers drafted/signed late and Rex could correct me,.

OH ya, tons of misteps. No reason a team with 3 1st overalls + Eberle should be last. Bad drafting, bad coaching, bad management, bad logo.

All I was saying with the FLA comparable is that I absolutely DO NOT want to follow their path. They got impatient, tried to rush things along or do all sorts of things to be smarter and more creative than other teams (Dale Tallon thought he was smarter than everyone else). They snuck into the playoffs once, then the deck of cards fell in.

Now they are basically starting over.

I'd argue Ottawa is another example of what happens when you mini rebuild. You get back to mediocre quick... But FLA is the best example.

Now is not the time for impatience, creativity, UFAs, mini retools or crazy anything.

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#70 T&A4Flames
November 25 2013, 02:35PM
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Kurt wrote:

Interesting you bring up the Panthers. Dale Talon came into FLA after the team had acquired a few top picks. He blew his wad a few summers ago to dramatically speed up the rebuild. They had 30 mil in cap space & a few top 5 picks. They spent like drunk sailors on UFAs to speed things up.

Now they are talking about selling off EVERYTHING that isn't bolted down about starting over.

They are basically the 100% opposite of what the Oilers have done. The Oilers committed 100% to a nuclear rebuild with the goal of building a powerhouse, not just quickly getting back to fighting for 8th. They have been stubborn to a fault, and not moved any asset or draft pick. They suck this year because they refuse to do anything to address needs now at the expense of the future.

Personally I think they went TOO far, but I'd lean way more to Oilers style. I think with competent management, the core the Oilers have put together SHOULD be a powerhouse within 24 months. Lucky for us, they have a bunch of shmucks ruining it all.

But FLA & EDM are not comparable examples of rebuild failures. Same results, but dramatically different.

FLA went bonkers on free agency because they had to get above the cap floor. Adding some vets wasn't a terrible idea anyway since they really needed some players to mentor their numerous kids. Now some of those kids are showing well and they need to make room as well as keep their cap down to their internal budget.

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#71 EugeneV
November 25 2013, 02:36PM
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J.P. wrote:

Personally I would choose not to trade Backlund. However if they do, maybe a good target would be Ryan Ellis from Nashville (who is also getting limited minutes). Burke does have history with Nashville in picking up Franson.

We would have to add something for this to happen, but I like the idea.

I could see Ellis on our RW with his offensive talent.

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#72 Kevin R
November 25 2013, 04:09PM
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? wrote:

I don't think anyone's getting bent out oh shape. Listen to offers, sure, but ghe Flames r dealing from a position of weakness, as Backlund isn't a sell high asset right now.

??????? I'm totally confused with your last statement about us dealing with a position of weakness. Oh contraire! 30 mill of cap space, almost mathematically eliminated from playoffs already, 1st year of declared rebuild, I think we are in the drivers seat with dealing with most teams in the league.

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#73 T&A4Flames
November 25 2013, 04:48PM
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RexLibris wrote:

To Kurt, Burnward and Colin S.

Sorry to step in, but with regards to the Oilers rebuild, their depth drafting, and the Hawks' way of doing thing...

The Oilers haven't rushed their 1st overall picks into the league, virtually all player taken there play in the league in their first year. That they haven't had players taken in the later rounds play regularly in the NHL yet isn't a damning stat...yet. Prospects take time to develop and the Oilers didn't find a Ryan O'Reilly in the 2nd round. Some are tracking well, others aren't, that is pretty much par for the course. If some don't begin to break through next season, though, then this criticism becomes more appropriate.

The Oilers have drafted well in depth rounds with players like Jeff Petry, Shawn Horcoff, Fernando Pisani, Jarret Stoll, Matt Greene, and a few others. So their history isn't entirely devoid of talent. They and the Flames are fairly similar in this regard. What has sunk the Flames is that they couldn't find a player in the first round if they had a map and a tour guide.

As for the Hawks, they had Seabrook and Keith in their system developing from earlier drafts, then stunk and got Toews and won the draft lottery the next year to get Kane. They traded for Sharp (Matt Ellinson and a 3rd round pick) and moved Brandon Bochenski for Kris Versteeg. Hossa was offered a gajillion dollars and they got Khabibulin as a free agent. The Hawks built up a solid base gradually that came together exactly when they added the high-end talent to complete the picture.

You can't plan what they did, it just worked out. The Oilers didn't plan to draft 1st overall three years in a row. Tambellini was just that bad at managing a hockey club - notice how his name NEVER comes up in potential GM discussions.

A couple of things Rex: 1. Sure, by draft pedigree it cojld be argued those players weren't rushed into the league. However, it could easily be argued that the expectation put on those players was rushed. Hall was put immediatly into the top line without a lot of support. Same with Ebs, and RNH. To much expectation too soon.

As for Flames drafting, I'm pretty sure both franchises went through a similar period where their 1st rnd drafting was futile. It appearz that both have improved recently. In EDM case I would hope so being as they have had 3 1sts overalls and top 7 picks in 6 of 7 yrs.

As for Hemmer, as you said, he's been kept around because nobody believes he's worth enough to entice EDM to trade him. I have little doubt if a decent offer was there, he would have been moved a long time ago and added to the disbanded vet pile.

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#74 RexLibris
November 25 2013, 05:23PM
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@T&A4Flames

Fair points, however with regards to your first, couldn't one argue that if the Oilers had actually had a decent 1st line player who could support a rookie like Hall, Eberle or Nugent-Hopkins, then they wouldn't have found themselves drafting 1st overall in the first place?

The best they could do was have Horcoff mentor them on professionalism and off-ice behaviour.

When I looked at the Flames and Oilers drafting back in the spring/summer, what stood out was that both could find role players. For every Rico Fata there is a Jani Rita, a Greg Nemisz and a Jesse Niinimaki, and so on.

The Oilers and Flames may find themselves both on the phone to the Penguins this trade deadline with scoring wingers on offer (Hemsky and Cammalleri). Could be interesting times ahead.

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#75 BJ
November 25 2013, 05:57PM
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Tough situation with so many Prospects at center... and so many middle tier centers in the org.

I would bet that he doesnt get moved due to a lack of a return.

Im thinking Feaster is just fishing... that is if there is any truth to this rumour which I am also skeptical of.

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#76 Baazlamon
November 25 2013, 06:01PM
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@RexLibris

"They traded for Sharp (Matt Ellinson and a 3rd round pick)"

That's um... wow. I uh... wow.

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#77 Baalzamon
November 25 2013, 08:42PM
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44stampede wrote:

This is a huge assumption. I would bet a lot that Backlund is not worth a 1st rounder by most GM standards and a second or third is not worth it. Any current player you trade him for is not likely to have the same 2 way skills.

I hope you are right but I just don't see equal or better value happening. 95% sure that if we trade him right now, we lose the trade.

On the other hand, Paul Gaustad (along with a 4th) fetched a 1st rounder. Do we ever really know what GMs will pay for anything?

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#78 SeanCharles
November 26 2013, 12:09AM
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Gange wrote:

Maybe we're missing the point? Would you trade Backlund to have Connor McDavid? That's about the only positive I can draw from this.

My faith in this team's pro-scouting is extremely low. Their amateur scouting, I've been impressed with actually.

However I see that Martin Erat wants to be traded, I'm sure you can all see where this is going...

Under Feaster the pro scouts have targeted Hudler, Wideman, Russell, Smid, Stempniak, Galiardi, Colborne, Billins, Street, B.Jones.

Took chances on others such as Berra, Ramo and Cervenka.

I don't think the pro scouting is bad.

I trust the Flames in their trading and FA signings.

The trades they have arguably lost are mostly due to minimal flexibility. Such as Regehr when we had salary cap issues or Tanguay/Sarich who wanted out.

Right now we have cap space, valuable UFA's and players on good value contracts.

We are in a position of strength in any future dealings... I am interested in seeing what they will do.

Oh and Erat is post-apex and doesn't transcend its meaning like Lecavalier.

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#79 RKD
November 26 2013, 11:51PM
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Dreger says Carolina has made an offer on Backlund but there's not a fit yet. The Flames would be looking to add a player back of a similar age who's comparable.

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#80 legnav
November 27 2013, 08:21AM
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TRAV wrote:

I'm in the camp of let's not trade him unless it's a good trade. I have said a few times that I'm open to trading anyone on the team for the right return.. (I also would agree that it might be difficult to get a good return for Backlund based on his stats and use)

If Backlund were traded though think about the decrease of comments and content on the site. Sometimes it's interesting to me how much attention our 3rd/4th line centre gets. (not a criticism just an observation)

In an ideal world our third line centre drives both possession and is able to score.

Lastly I agree with most who are suggesting that we dress a hard working skilled 4th line. I'd keep Gratz on the team for use against some of the other knucklehead clubs but I would dress him rarely. I bet he's on pace for career appearances in a year. (makes little sense)

agree. Alternatively why not have Gratz go to the front of the net and cause havoc with the opposition d'men. We would be better served than him trying to keep up with the other linemates. He should head straight to the blue paint and stir the pot.

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