Flames Acquire Brian McGrattan. Again.

Kent Wilson
February 28 2013 10:09AM

Word coming down this morning that the Flames have traded Joe Piskula to the Predators organization for enforcer Brian McGrattan. This will be the tough guy's second tour of duty for the Flames, previously donning the Flaming C for 34 games in 2009-10.

McGrattan is a pure enforcer with little value outside of dropping the gloves. He can't play more than 5 minutes a night and is a liability even against other 4th liners.

There's no word if McGrattan is a purely an AHL pick-up right now or if he's destined to patrol the Flames 4th line. If the former, then it only means the Heat have gotten worse (Piskula was a top-4 defender for them). If the latter, it means the Flames get a little tougher, but also a little worse as well. It also means the Flames management is busying themselves with things that don't really matter, which is a little more concerning.

We'll see this week which it is.

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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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#51 GermanFlame
February 28 2013, 11:37AM
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It's a good thing the Flames still have their First and Third round picks to get Jokinen!!

Who needs ROR? Good call Flames, it doesn't make sense to get a good, young, natural center. WE NEED SIZE AND GRIT!

Sigh. They just don't get it, do they?

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#52 Q
February 28 2013, 11:43AM
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Ok....and then we can go after bourque and Lombardi and then kobasew and tanguay and cammi. Oh wait we did that with tangs and cammi. Nice to have Darryl back! Good grief jay get a little creative!!!

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#53 Stockley
February 28 2013, 11:43AM
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@GermanFlame

No, I don't think they do.

The bit of black humor in all of this is the argument that ownership is afraid they will drive fans away with a rebuild. In keeping together this bunch of guys who for whatever reason can't get it done is doing the very thing they want to avoid. Meanwhile they keep coining phrases like "intellectual honesty". If you want to be honest then just admit that this team is not very good and stop trying to fool a devoted fan base with smoke and mirrors. There is an increased sense of arrogance around the team of Feaster and Weisbrod. It started with the last two drafts where they smugly acted like they know more than everyone else, that any off-the-wall selection they made was a future home run that other executives and we the fans are too slow to comprehend yet. I sometimes wonder if they read all of our comments and decide to do the opposite of what so many suggest just because they want to prove they're smarter than everyone else.

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#54 the-wolf
February 28 2013, 11:45AM
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Here's a question to ponder?

Is Backlund really that much of a possession juggernaut that this team's coach has essentially taken his entire game plan and seemingly thrown it into the trash bin out of frustration with the lack of heart and grit required to play such a system?

1) Ownership refuses to change course and go for even a partial rebuild.

2) Getting the feeling there's too many cooks in the kitchen - again!

3) Team is only a few points out of a playoff spot and yet no one, including those in charge, seem to have any faith in the club making it.

4) Team is another loss or two from full-on panic.

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#55 the-wolf
February 28 2013, 11:47AM
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@Stockley

It's called "Dutteritis."

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#56 Stockley
February 28 2013, 11:48AM
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@the-wolf

Oh no. Is it fatal, doctor?

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#57 Stockley
February 28 2013, 11:49AM
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@the-wolf

Backlund certainly was a beast before he went down. He might not have been scoring at a point per game clip but he was giving me hope he might be the next Frans Nielsen. Guys like that are far more valuable than points.

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#58 Kevin R
February 28 2013, 11:53AM
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Well this is getting just freaking painful. Aliu is in & Cerevenka out. So Aliu is not injured & we still acquire Mcgratten???WTF?????

I guess there is only 1 thing left to say.

GO AVS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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#59 Stockley
February 28 2013, 11:56AM
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It almost feels like the Suters never left town. The rookies are getting little ice time and minutes that feel a little too sheltered. Tough guys are being acquired. Skill players are scratched while a guy like Comeau still gets ice-time despite being almost completely ineffective all season.

At this point I wish they'd demote Sven and either convince Cervenka to join him or send him back to Europe. If you're not going to play Cervenka, let him go. He isn't a fresh-faced rookie, there is only so much he can learn from the press box. If the coach doesn't like him for whatever reason then cut your losses. Scratching him for the likes of Akim Aliu just seems like yet another slap in the face to a creative player who seems to have zero latitude to learn via his mistakes on the ice.

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#60 ALL THE WAY IN
February 28 2013, 11:57AM
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Piskula is of zero importance to the Flames organization! Who cares if he was a top 4 in Abby. Now someone younger will get a shot at developing in his spot. And at 5 mins a game Mcgratten will hardly be the downfall of this team. Plus, he's only going to be in the lineup with teams like LA Kings, San Jose Sharks etc when we need to combat some toughness from the other side. From all I have read about him, he's a great teammate and would be one hell of a deterrent for anyone thinking of taking liberties with our team (ex. Running our goalies, or headshots to stajan).

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#62 Kevin R
February 28 2013, 12:07PM
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ALL THE WAY IN wrote:

Piskula is of zero importance to the Flames organization! Who cares if he was a top 4 in Abby. Now someone younger will get a shot at developing in his spot. And at 5 mins a game Mcgratten will hardly be the downfall of this team. Plus, he's only going to be in the lineup with teams like LA Kings, San Jose Sharks etc when we need to combat some toughness from the other side. From all I have read about him, he's a great teammate and would be one hell of a deterrent for anyone thinking of taking liberties with our team (ex. Running our goalies, or headshots to stajan).

I dont think anyone is really saying we were took on the trade, like usual Feasters deals really didnt cost us much & you are right about Piskula. My problem is what was wrong with Aliu if he was healthy? Did we even give him a chance & at least he is young and a very very remote chance he finds some hands while he crashes the net & pops a goal or two. 1 stinking game & the acquisition of mcgratten is like telling him where the door is. No different than what picking Joey Mac, it slammed the door on giving Irving & Taylor a chance. Now Joey Mac has played great, but I would have been ecstatic to say yeah, Irving or Taylor have really stepped up & are playing great. These kids just dont get a chance when Ownership & Management have this win now Dutteritis syndrome. If work at the Dome watch ou, it seems contagious & may even be airbourne.

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#63 FireOnIce
February 28 2013, 12:19PM
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I'd like to add my 2 cents. I hate McGrattan, he was a dancing bear when he was here earlier, and I thought the Flames had gotten off that carnival ride.

What is with the Flames org. bringing in ex-substance abusers? McGrattan was a bad drunk/drug-addict (he was in rehab for a long time before joining CGY the 1st time). Malarchuk was a drunk pill-popper and tried to kill himself. Kipper smokes like a chimney stack. God knows what 'roids are making Aliu go crazy.

No fighters. Jackman needs to step up like he's done in previous seasons (Jackman probably got concussed and we never knew, he certainly plays like he's scared of being injured). Iginla doesn't care most nights. If the Ragin' Stajan is "playing so well" (according to Hartley), why does he not stand up for his teammates, instead choosing to fake an injury?

This team is garbage.

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#64 Scary Gary
February 28 2013, 12:46PM
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Hey Kent, was the photo of McGrattan fighting Ivanans of all people on purpose? Too bad you couldn't find one with Leblond in the background as well...our history with fighters has been dismal since Prust left.

That Jokinen/Prust for Higgins/Kotalik trade was atrocious.

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#65 Parallex
February 28 2013, 01:12PM
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@FireOnIce

Dancing Bear!

Nice to see that my sole contribution to online Flames fandom lives on! I think it was me that came up with that term anyways (on Matchsticks and Gasoline).

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#66 flamePOM
February 28 2013, 01:13PM
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i dont mind McGrattan sitting in the press box. Playing the occasional 4th line minutes, especially at the expense of Piskula who never would of worn a flames jersey. Needed skill - acquired skill. Needed grit - acquired grit. I dont understand why evryone is complaining. Plus...now maybe will stand up for joey when he gets ran over..

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#67 Colin.S
February 28 2013, 01:21PM
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IMO, there are only two explanations for this trade:

1.) It was a trade simply made for the sake of making a trade. They wanted to make headlines so people talk about this rather than the fact Cervenka is benched again in favor of Aliu, or the Blair Jones situation. Or the fact that we don't have a single first line or second line center of any significance playing right now. So instead of having people talk about the Cervenka situation and how Feaster spent the whole summer talking about this big acquisition and now he can't crack the lineup over the likes of Jackman, Begin or Aliu, it looks like Feaster would rather people talk about bad trades that they frame as good trades, cause YAY! TOUGHNESS!

2.) Feaster actually in some way believes this trade makes the Flames better. In which case he and anyone that agree with him should immediately be fired. Some people are saying he's going to counter other teams tough guys, or he's only going to play 4-5 minutes a night so no big deal. Yes both of those are big deals. He only counters other goons, if both goons equally suck as bad at hockey and other teams take the bait. Better teams are instead of throwing their own meat head out there, throwing a player who can actually skate and making the meat head on our team a pylon in the best case scenario. And even if he only plays 4 minutes a night, that's a big deal, cause other players have to play MORE now to make up that time an otherwise competent fourth liner could have played.

The Biggest Problem is the assumption it's our grinders that need to be tougher, when its our top lines that are getting out muscled by other teams top lines, throwing a big slow useless goon on the fourth line isn't going to miraculously fix that.

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#68 Tach
February 28 2013, 01:24PM
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In the words of Homer Simpson's brain "I'm outta here." I no longer have any time for Feaster, King or the rest of them. Life is too short to cheer for Balkan and obvious ineptness.

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#69 Parallex
February 28 2013, 01:25PM
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@flamePOM

So some guy runs the goalie what is he (McGratten) going to do? Glare at him?

Odds are he's not on the ice to do anything about it right then and there and what does he do later? Challange the guy to a fight? Guy laughs in his face and says "no". He gonna just attack him later? Not very "code" of him if he does it (to say nothing of giving them a PP as a result if he does it anyways). So then what? He goes and fights the other teams goon? Wow off-setting majors and the guy who committed the infraction get's off scot-free... what a positive contribution.

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#70 SmellOfVictory
February 28 2013, 01:27PM
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ALL THE WAY IN wrote:

Piskula is of zero importance to the Flames organization! Who cares if he was a top 4 in Abby. Now someone younger will get a shot at developing in his spot. And at 5 mins a game Mcgratten will hardly be the downfall of this team. Plus, he's only going to be in the lineup with teams like LA Kings, San Jose Sharks etc when we need to combat some toughness from the other side. From all I have read about him, he's a great teammate and would be one hell of a deterrent for anyone thinking of taking liberties with our team (ex. Running our goalies, or headshots to stajan).

There's no one younger to get a shot at developing in his spot this season. The Heat just got appreciably worse for no reason.

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#71 suba steve
February 28 2013, 02:08PM
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@SmellOfVictory

Guess it would be nice if the Heat won their league championship, but if they did, most of us would not really care anyway. It's Stanley's mug I crave. The Heat get worse everytime a Flame is injured, no tears for the Heat then either.

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#72 Bean-counting cowboy
February 28 2013, 02:12PM
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When I fearst heard, I immediately checked capgeek thinking perhaps Piskula's contract went one more year and they were trying to shed a contract faster this way.

Nope.

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#73 vowswithin
February 28 2013, 02:29PM
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Parallex wrote:

So some guy runs the goalie what is he (McGratten) going to do? Glare at him?

Odds are he's not on the ice to do anything about it right then and there and what does he do later? Challange the guy to a fight? Guy laughs in his face and says "no". He gonna just attack him later? Not very "code" of him if he does it (to say nothing of giving them a PP as a result if he does it anyways). So then what? He goes and fights the other teams goon? Wow off-setting majors and the guy who committed the infraction get's off scot-free... what a positive contribution.

Agreed but, you run a goalie you probably don't really have a choice about the fight. And you say no to that you should get your block "knocked right off".

Either way I just look at it as a possibility for us to move down the ranks. It seems like they might be doing that on purpose with sitting Cervenka, playing Comeau and demoting Jones.

Either that or MANAGEMENT / COACH ARE MORONS or I am just a stupid hockey fan. But it seems to me as if the writers here share my sentiments.

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#74 SmellOfVictory
February 28 2013, 02:44PM
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@suba steve

I just want the guys who ARE developing down there to have a decent support network on their team. There is serious benefit to having solid players alongside whom your prospects can play, and Piskula was one of those guys.

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#75 reggie
February 28 2013, 02:44PM
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WTFEASTER.

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#76 icedawg_42
February 28 2013, 03:03PM
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I want so badly to love the Flames....but, gawd it's getting hard.

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#77 vowswithin
February 28 2013, 03:09PM
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@icedawg_42

Its like watching a car accident, you know the outcome you see the paramedics maybe even the coroner but yet you still watch.

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#78 icedawg_42
February 28 2013, 03:26PM
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Flames new intro song: http://www.sadtrombone.com/classic

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#79 rubbertrout
February 28 2013, 03:48PM
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McGratton is actually a guy I like. Not because he can play hockey though. He just seems like a pretty cool guy.

As a player though this is retarded. Why not get a middleweight who can play?

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#80 RKD
February 28 2013, 03:52PM
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Maybe Feaster felt he had to do something when the Flames players don't stick up for each other. MacDonald got ran and they stood pat, last season in Buffalo Miller got smoked and not a single person did anything about it.

That could be a bigger problem of a dressing room issue, Phaneuf was speculated to be a problem and ousted he was. If the players don't stand up for each other than other teams are going to take liberties on our goalie.

If anything maybe it removes the distraction of media guys asking the players why they don't stand up for their teammates. It was perpetuated when Hartley was talking about how players on this team need to take a punch or a slap for the betterment of the whole.

If I were Feaster my main concerns would be to add a top 4 shutdown d-man or 2 shutdown guys who can play in your top 6. The Flames are tied for first in goals against. Since his returns Babs has only played twice while Sarich has played in eight games. Maybe the Canes would take Babchuk back. If Feaster has any intention of moving Babs he would have to be packaged with a guy like Irving assuming the Flames have given up on him. Sarich would be coveted a little more by a few more teams but he has another year left on his contract. My other deal would be to get another top 6 forward, preferably a center. If you can't get a #1 center, get a solid #2 center. The asking price will be lower.

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#81 Primo
February 28 2013, 03:55PM
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Stockley wrote:

No, I don't think they do.

The bit of black humor in all of this is the argument that ownership is afraid they will drive fans away with a rebuild. In keeping together this bunch of guys who for whatever reason can't get it done is doing the very thing they want to avoid. Meanwhile they keep coining phrases like "intellectual honesty". If you want to be honest then just admit that this team is not very good and stop trying to fool a devoted fan base with smoke and mirrors. There is an increased sense of arrogance around the team of Feaster and Weisbrod. It started with the last two drafts where they smugly acted like they know more than everyone else, that any off-the-wall selection they made was a future home run that other executives and we the fans are too slow to comprehend yet. I sometimes wonder if they read all of our comments and decide to do the opposite of what so many suggest just because they want to prove they're smarter than everyone else.

Dear Mr. Feaster...It seems fans are up in arms again! You had a very soft timid team and fans were very upset at you! Today you addressed it with toughness in the acquisition of McGratton...thanks you! Some fans are critical that he can only play 4 minutes a game and poorly but they don't mention that he was not acquired to score goals but rather to instill some fear to an opposition that continously runs our goalies and take cheap shots at our top players without any repercussion!

Oh...some fans even talk about a rebuild but don't really define what that means? My definiton is consistent with your in drafting the best possible talent given your poor draft positon and by all counts you appear at this point to be doing an effective job here..the young prospects you drafted are doing well statistically at least.

Oh...I would really like to see Nathan McKinnon or Seth in a Flames uniform but not at the expense of a 30th, 30th, 29th place Oiler finishes.

Keep the course...give me hope that the team can win every nite and have a shot at the playoffs. Your rebuild strategy is effective. You inherited a lousy state of affairs and knowledgeable hockey fans support you in the challenges that are ahead!

Just heard you put an offer sheet on Ryan O'Rielly. Nice move Jay!!

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#82 the-wolf
March 01 2013, 09:19AM
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Primo wrote:

Dear Mr. Feaster...It seems fans are up in arms again! You had a very soft timid team and fans were very upset at you! Today you addressed it with toughness in the acquisition of McGratton...thanks you! Some fans are critical that he can only play 4 minutes a game and poorly but they don't mention that he was not acquired to score goals but rather to instill some fear to an opposition that continously runs our goalies and take cheap shots at our top players without any repercussion!

Oh...some fans even talk about a rebuild but don't really define what that means? My definiton is consistent with your in drafting the best possible talent given your poor draft positon and by all counts you appear at this point to be doing an effective job here..the young prospects you drafted are doing well statistically at least.

Oh...I would really like to see Nathan McKinnon or Seth in a Flames uniform but not at the expense of a 30th, 30th, 29th place Oiler finishes.

Keep the course...give me hope that the team can win every nite and have a shot at the playoffs. Your rebuild strategy is effective. You inherited a lousy state of affairs and knowledgeable hockey fans support you in the challenges that are ahead!

Just heard you put an offer sheet on Ryan O'Rielly. Nice move Jay!!

You obviously haven't been around for the last 23 years, have you?

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