Flames Acquire Kevin Westgarth from Carolina

Ryan Pike
December 30 2013 05:07PM

The NHL's trade moratorium is over and it didn't take Flames president of hockey operations Brian Burke long to get to work transforming the club.

The Flames have since officially confirmed the move.

Westgarth, 29, was signed out of college by the Los Angeles Kings in 2007 after four years with Princeton. He played the better part of five seasons with the Kings organization, including three seasons with the big club, where he won a Stanley Cup in 2012. Well, he was injured but got a ring and his name on the Cup anyway. He was flipped to the Hurricanes in exchange for Anthony Stewart and two draft picks following the Cup win. He makes $725,000 and is an unrestricted free agent following this season. But moreover, he's a big fella - listed as 6'4" and 230 pounds. Westgarth has 9 points in 133 NHL contests, as well as 202 penalty minutes (and a lot of fights).

Nemisz, 23, was Calgary's first round pick in the 2008 Draft. Y'know, the one that produced T.J. Brodie and Lance Bouma. Nemisz is a fairly big kid himself at 6'3" and 200 pounds, but doesn't play especially big. He's struggled with injuries and inconsistency the last couple of seasons. He's played 15 games with the Flames since turning pro, but failed to cement himself in the organization's plans. The emergence of Markus Granlund, Corban Knight and Ben Street, as well as Max Reinhart moving to the wing, basically pushed Nemisz out of the team's plans.

With Burke indicating a preference for black and blue hockey, this move makes sense. To be honest, I'm a bit surprised that they were able to get anything more than a mid-round draft pick for Nemisz. But at the NHL level, I'm not sure if Westgarth amounts to much more than a younger version of Brian McGrattan, albeit with a Stanley Cup ring.

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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 Lober
December 30 2013, 05:14PM
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Lets try not to get too upset with this trade we all know Nemisz is a lazy player who was never going to make a NHL roster.

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#2 HongKongHockeyFan
December 30 2013, 05:18PM
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I must admit this trade won't tilt the ice but it may help stir the pot a little more. If the Flames aren' going to win many more games this season, particularly at home, I want to see the visiting team earn that win the hard way. In a nutshell, I like it.

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#3 Sincity1976
December 30 2013, 05:13PM
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Not sure why we needed another goon.

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#4 beloch
December 30 2013, 09:07PM
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Assuming Hartley plays Westgarth instead of McGrattan, this is a bit of an upgrade. Westgarth is younger and, while he's been sheltered in a similar fashion to McG, has maintained an on-ice corsi of around -5 for several years with both the Kings and Canes. Compare that to McGrattan's truly craptastic -25 so far this season!

Neimsz had basically zero chance of cracking the Flames' lineup. There are just too many center-ice prospects ahead of him with more, such as Arnold, on the way. If no other picks or prospects exchanged hands in this trade, Burke just upgraded his goon-squad's ability to play hockey for the price of a failing prospect that might have been allowed to walk next season just to open up a contract slot. Was Neimsz a horrible 1st round pick? Uh, yeah. Oh well. Live and (hopefully) learn.

Good teams, in addition to having elite talent, have very few holes in their roster that other teams can exploit. I like McG's spirit and personality, but as a hockey player he's the biggest hole on the team right now. I wouldn't call Westgarth the perfect plug, but he's certainly a step up if Hartley refuses to roll without a face-puncher.

Of course, if Hartley decides to play both McGrattan and Westgarth, then you can ignore everything I just said and pepper Burke with some nicely composted tomatoes.

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#5 Burnward
December 30 2013, 05:31PM
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Remember when Nemisz was our great hope? Sweet Jesus those were dark times.

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#6 loudogYYC
December 30 2013, 07:53PM
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Let's not get too worked up here. Veterans are about to be traded and rookies will be replacing them and protected by as many as 3 goons.

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#7 schevvy
December 30 2013, 05:09PM
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GRITCHART

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#8 Funkyjaman
December 30 2013, 05:52PM
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Agree with Lober here. Let's not get bent out of shape over this very minor trade. Looking at you Mr. Wilson!

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#9 Trevy
December 30 2013, 06:19PM
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Let the Burke era begin! Minor trade but nonetheless, I like it. Nemiz will never become a regular NHLer. At least Westgarth has experience and is a character player. If anything, seeing him and McGratton should be fun to watch!

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#10 clyde
December 30 2013, 11:05PM
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So far this extremely minor trade has 4 times more hits than a tutorial on the relevance of a certain set of advanced stats.

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#11 Parallex
December 30 2013, 09:46PM
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Derzie wrote:

So it comes to this. Can there be a less impactful transaction. Mediocre facepuncher for a failed facepuncher. We are the armpit of the league.

Nemisz was never a facepuncher. He's just a guy that rode Taylor Hall and Adam Henrique's coattails to a 1st round draft selection and never panned out. If you want to compare him to a current Flame he's more Joe Colborne then Brian McGrattan.

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#12 Karasu89
December 30 2013, 05:27PM
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So we got rid of jackman to trade for a much much much worse jackman..

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#13 MontanaMan
December 30 2013, 05:59PM
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At this time of year, trades are often made as part of a bigger plan. Is there a team that covets McGratten? If so, you deal from a position of strength and fill his spot before you trade him. Or it may be depth in the toughness department in case the Big Ern goes down. It will all play out before the deadline.....the first of many I'm guessing.

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#14 Burnward
December 30 2013, 05:36PM
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Just for fun I revisited the 2008 Draft. Wasn't fun at all.

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#15 Burnward
December 30 2013, 06:23PM
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@They're $hittie

Too soon to write either of those guys off. At least Sven has already played in the NHL!

I get your point though.

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#16 Kurt
December 30 2013, 08:31PM
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Rockmorton65 wrote:

I'm not overly excited either way, but I must admit, I'm concerned that with Burke overseeing the rebuild, we've only acquired Colborne, two face punchers who may never make the team full time and a 6th rd pick. I thought things would be a little more dramatic. Is anyone else concerned, or should I just be more patient?

WAY more patient. Wait until Burke blows out Cammi/Stemps & whoever else isn't bolted down at the deadline. We'll get a few more draft picks and then need to buckle down hard for some levels of suckery we haven't even dreamt of yet.

I think Burke learned his lesson on rushing a rebuild in Toronto. Its nothing but a way to quickly rush back to mediocrity.

Maybe he'll be all crazy wildman Burke and pull off Kessle 2.0 but I doubt it. I expect some minor face puncher moves, some minor league moves, and then a whole lot of losing.

EKBLAD!

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#17 Parallex
December 30 2013, 08:55PM
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"To be honest, I'm a bit surprised that they were able to get anything more than a mid-round draft pick for Nemisz."

How is Westgarth "more then a mid-round round draft pick"? I'd much much much rather have a mid-round pick then a surplus goon (Wasn't that what MacDermid was gotten for anyways?)He adds nothing to the Flames... he doesn't even add anything to the Heat should he find his way there.

While I agree that Greg Nemisz also isn't worth much at least he wasn't going to be worth much at a AHL salary and wouldn't be costing the Flames at the NHL level.

Pointless trade, I'm not impressed with trading bad for bad. All in all he's something that we just don't need more of. I suppose he's a slightly better actual hockey player then McGrattan... but I'd only rate that a positive in the event that we were somehow able to get rid of McGrattan.

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#18 CTibs
December 30 2013, 05:15PM
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Pointless, but equal, trade in my opinion. As you said, Nemisz never cemented himself as an NHLer despite 1st round status, and Westgarth doesn't look like he'll become a breakout player. Just upgrading the size and truculence I guess.

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#19 They're $hittie
December 30 2013, 06:09PM
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@Burnward

before monohan a legit hope, wasnt sven and jankowski the organizations hope.

LMFAO

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#20 negrilcowboy
December 30 2013, 07:49PM
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with the acquistion of westgarth the flames are solidifying their spot as a contender, for the three member tag team ladder match on the undercard of the lowe versus brian beserker no holds barred farmyard match.

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#21 coachedpotatoe
December 30 2013, 09:28PM
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For a team tat has scored 0 goals in two games, this helps how?

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#22 SmellOfVictory
December 30 2013, 10:26PM
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Lober wrote:

Lets try not to get too upset with this trade we all know Nemisz is a lazy player who was never going to make a NHL roster.

I'd still rather have gotten a 7th round pick than Kevin effing Westgarth.

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#23 McRib
December 30 2013, 11:45PM
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At least getting ride of Greg Nemisz opens up more ice time in Abbotsford for prospects who actually have a chance at cracking an NHL roster someday (Knight, Reinhart, Granlund, Ferland, Hakowski, etc). Not sure we need another AHL fighter though.....

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#24 RKD
December 30 2013, 07:31PM
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I honestly don't think many people new about Westgarth until the NHL lockout. His name popped up at every meeting, I was like who is this guy? Anyways, looks like Burke wants to start physically improving the roster. I think Westgarth makes the Flames tougher to play against. His penalty minutes are high which is a concern.

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#25 SeanCharles
December 30 2013, 07:34PM
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MacDermid, Westgarth and McGrattan... I can't see all 3 being in the long term plans...

McGrattan is one of the best fighters in the league so I think you keep him if your gonna ice an enforcer anyway.

Maybe MacDermid isn't as expected...?

Too bad Ferland is severely injured...I had high hopes of an enforcer who could play a regular shift.

This is probably a move so we have more options for icing an NHL roster after the trade deadline. Once the UFA sell off, we will likely have, begins 4th liners will fill in the roster as players like Bouma, Colborne, Granlund, Sven, Knight, Reinhart and Byron are afforded top-9 ice time to initially or further test where they fit in the organization moving forward.

Nemisz is not an NHLer so getting a marginal one for him is not a bad move, especially since it is likely precedes more changes...

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#26 Rockmorton65
December 30 2013, 08:17PM
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I'm not overly excited either way, but I must admit, I'm concerned that with Burke overseeing the rebuild, we've only acquired Colborne, two face punchers who may never make the team full time and a 6th rd pick. I thought things would be a little more dramatic. Is anyone else concerned, or should I just be more patient?

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#27 Colin
December 30 2013, 10:13PM
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This move is really a zero impact move, it's not going to make the team any better or worse and Nemisz was NEVER going to make an impact in the NHL with the flames, whether as a top 9 or 4th line player, he was barely a third line AHL player.

The only issue to take with this, is that Westgarth is on an NHL only deal, so that means when the team is fully healthy up front, it may push out a guy like Bouma or someone from the lineup.

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#28 Derzie
December 30 2013, 09:29PM
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So it comes to this. Can there be a less impactful transaction. Mediocre facepuncher for a failed facepuncher. We are the armpit of the league.

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#29 Parallex
December 31 2013, 09:16AM
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@ChinookArch

But all Brian McGrattan dropping the gloves with other facepunchers (followed by his friendly head taps to demonstrate how phony staged goon-fights are) accomplishes is removing the other teams worst player from potentially hitting the ice in the next 5 minutes... don't know about anyone else but I like seeing the other teams icing inferior players.

McGrattan needs to go away, it'd be addition by subtraction. He's the worst player on this team and I have zero faith that either Hartley or Burke can subdue their fetish for these guys and only dress one or none.

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#30 Carlizzle
December 30 2013, 05:21PM
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Sincity1976 wrote:

Not sure why we needed another goon.

Truculence, Truculence, Truculence, that and the fact that Big Ern' is probably going to be suspended.

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#31 everton fc
December 30 2013, 10:31PM
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SeanCharles wrote:

MacDermid, Westgarth and McGrattan... I can't see all 3 being in the long term plans...

McGrattan is one of the best fighters in the league so I think you keep him if your gonna ice an enforcer anyway.

Maybe MacDermid isn't as expected...?

Too bad Ferland is severely injured...I had high hopes of an enforcer who could play a regular shift.

This is probably a move so we have more options for icing an NHL roster after the trade deadline. Once the UFA sell off, we will likely have, begins 4th liners will fill in the roster as players like Bouma, Colborne, Granlund, Sven, Knight, Reinhart and Byron are afforded top-9 ice time to initially or further test where they fit in the organization moving forward.

Nemisz is not an NHLer so getting a marginal one for him is not a bad move, especially since it is likely precedes more changes...

Westgarth may be a better hockey player than McGrattan. In fact, as Beloch pointed out, he is. On a game-to-game basis.

MacDermid's a bit more than a goon/face puncher. He may have potential as an everyday 4th liner. An energy guy. And so on.

What happened to Ferland? I've been out of touch with the Flames and the farm, over the holidays. How long is he out?

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#32 Keith Fredlund
December 30 2013, 10:52PM
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I just watched a really good vid on YouTube called - My 5 year old's reaction to the Kevin Westgard trade.- Priceless. Someone really likes him!

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#33 MC Hockey
December 30 2013, 11:33PM
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MontanaMan wrote:

At this time of year, trades are often made as part of a bigger plan. Is there a team that covets McGratten? If so, you deal from a position of strength and fill his spot before you trade him. Or it may be depth in the toughness department in case the Big Ern goes down. It will all play out before the deadline.....the first of many I'm guessing.

I agree other teams could covet McGrattan for the playoffs and MacDermid and Westgarth are the replacements, both likely with more skill.

Nothing wrong with the trade, glad to get anything for Nemisz, who unfortunately may be in Europe one day.

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#34 If Only HIs Name Was Olli Postandin
December 31 2013, 12:37AM
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SeanCharles wrote:

Severe knee injury. Out for season at least...

Did you just dream that up in your mind? If a player has a season-ending injury, teams always declare the exact cause. They don`t try to keep is secret by describing it as a lower-body injury. There has been absolutely no news to support your statement.

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#35 Kmp
December 31 2013, 01:27AM
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Yawn.

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#36 SmellOfVictory
December 31 2013, 08:51AM
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clyde wrote:

So far this extremely minor trade has 4 times more hits than a tutorial on the relevance of a certain set of advanced stats.

I'm assuming a lot of the regulars have a pretty decent grasp of advanced stats at this point.

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#37 ChinookArch
December 31 2013, 11:17AM
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@Parallex

Agreed, that's why I characterized this as a guilty pleasure.

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#38 SeanCharles
December 30 2013, 10:39PM
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Severe knee injury. Out for season at least...

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#39 Keith Fredlund
December 30 2013, 10:59PM
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@Keith Fredlund

Westgarth. Sorry.

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#40 jeremywilhelm
December 31 2013, 02:21AM
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Puke...

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#41 rhyno 365
December 31 2013, 02:46AM
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@Kurt

Exactly I am ok with us losing not sure why everyone is so hell bent on this move? Nemisz will be in Europe in a year or 2 and I bet we move Grats to a contender so Wetgarth steps in his role. If there is a Kessel 2.0 deal I think he will go after Evander Kane. Thats a Burke type player a young rising star who is rumoured to not see eye to eye with his coach. He is big gritty and not afraid to drop the gloves. I can see Kane for Sven plus Backland and one more piece. Kane is a young Iggy in the making different attitudes obviously! and in the mean time play hard lose and draft Ekbald we need a #1 dman in our system!

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#42 coachedpotatoe
December 31 2013, 07:32AM
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@SeanCharles

Ferland injury, I can't find any confirmation on it. I checked general google, Flames and Heat websites nothing. I do know he is injured I heard Ward last week or so on 960 but no details. If it's as severe as earlier mentioned then I don't see why the mystery.

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#43 Rockmorton65
December 31 2013, 07:35AM
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@Kurt

After Burke talked about wanting to speed up the rebuild, I can't see him going after only draft picks. I agree, I think Burke learned his lesson in Toronto. I don't think he's going to give up a kings ransom for established NHLers (Kessel), I do, however, that instead of just simply trading for draft picks, he is going to trade for prospects/RFA''s who have shown some potential to produce sooner rather than later. For example, if Pittsburgh is interested in Cammalleri (just as an example), I could see Burke looking for a deal like, Cammy and Butler for Maata and a 3rd (maybe not those players exactly, but you get my drift?) That to me would be better than simply going after a first-round draft pick and a couple of lesser prospects, for the sake of getting a first-round draft pick.

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#44 coachedpotatoe
December 31 2013, 07:52AM
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The trade: Cleans up another of Dutters mistakes. Clearly defines Beef Jurkees definition of hockey. At this point does nothing to address the needs of the team or organization. Flies in the face of the concept of a rebuild. Jurkees vision of hockey reminds me of Dutters and I'm not impressed.

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#45 CDB
December 31 2013, 08:52AM
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Burnward wrote:

Just for fun I revisited the 2008 Draft. Wasn't fun at all.

Reading that made me go back and look. Calgary took Ryley Grantham in the 6th round, one pick before Chicago took Ben Smith. That right there sums up Darryl Sutter as a GM vs a well run team.

Not even close to the worst thing in that draft, just made me laugh out loud.

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#46 ChinookArch
December 31 2013, 09:01AM
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beloch wrote:

Assuming Hartley plays Westgarth instead of McGrattan, this is a bit of an upgrade. Westgarth is younger and, while he's been sheltered in a similar fashion to McG, has maintained an on-ice corsi of around -5 for several years with both the Kings and Canes. Compare that to McGrattan's truly craptastic -25 so far this season!

Neimsz had basically zero chance of cracking the Flames' lineup. There are just too many center-ice prospects ahead of him with more, such as Arnold, on the way. If no other picks or prospects exchanged hands in this trade, Burke just upgraded his goon-squad's ability to play hockey for the price of a failing prospect that might have been allowed to walk next season just to open up a contract slot. Was Neimsz a horrible 1st round pick? Uh, yeah. Oh well. Live and (hopefully) learn.

Good teams, in addition to having elite talent, have very few holes in their roster that other teams can exploit. I like McG's spirit and personality, but as a hockey player he's the biggest hole on the team right now. I wouldn't call Westgarth the perfect plug, but he's certainly a step up if Hartley refuses to roll without a face-puncher.

Of course, if Hartley decides to play both McGrattan and Westgarth, then you can ignore everything I just said and pepper Burke with some nicely composted tomatoes.

Nice work injecting the Corsi discussion in KW's article into the Westgath trade news. There seems to be a lot of speculation that this may lead to a McGrattan trade, which seems plausible given the reality that McDermid is already in the minors and Westgarth has a one-way contract.

He's definitely an upgrade on McGrattan, but even though I don't really like one dimensional goons dressed as regularly as he has, I do get a guilty pleasure out of watching McGrattan destroy other face punchers every time he drops the gloves. The man is incredibly strong and tough.

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#47 MangoTanker
December 30 2013, 11:58PM
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SmellOfVictory wrote:

I'd still rather have gotten a 7th round pick than Kevin effing Westgarth.

As would I, but you know… #GRITCHART

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#48 SeanCharles
December 31 2013, 01:05AM
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If Only HIs Name Was Olli Postandin wrote:

Did you just dream that up in your mind? If a player has a season-ending injury, teams always declare the exact cause. They don`t try to keep is secret by describing it as a lower-body injury. There has been absolutely no news to support your statement.

Burke said as much a week or so ago while he was in Abbotsford. He did an interview during the intermission of one of the games he attended.

The doctors don't know how long but it is much worse than anticipated.

I can't be the only one who heard this....?

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