In Defense of Jay Feaster

Kent Wilson
March 02 2013 12:23PM

 


 

The fall-out from the Ryan O'Reilly debacle is still on-going, but there seems to be a strong, gathering sentiment that Jay Feaster should be fired for the near misstep. After some consideration I have (surprisingly) come down on the side of the beleaguered Flames GM.

I'll first establish that his is not a blanket endorsement of Feaster, Calgary's roster, or the Flames management in general. Regular readers know I have been consistently and loudly vocal whenever I have found reason for criticism over the years. I think there have been mistakes made, that the current team is in rough shape and that the organization is nearing a very critical crossroads. To be honest, I don't really know if this is the managment team I'd prefer at the helm when the tough decisions have to be made.

That said, in this instance, Feaster's actions and the resultant error were defensible.

First, because it was the right move from a hockey perspective. Ryan O'Reilly filled some very real short-term and long-term needs for the Flames organization, so he was an appropriate target for this kind of action. In addition, Feaster and company structured the contract in such a way to maximize the chances of the Avalanche walking away (ie; maximize the pain of matching) so although Colorado chose to match the offer, they will be facing some rather awkward consequences down the road as a result. I'm okay with the Flames messing up a divisonal rivals balacne sheet, even if the gambit to secure the player in question failed.

So this was a sound move strategically. In fact, it's the kind of tactic I'd like to see more of from Calgary's decision makers down the line.

Secondly, the offending CBA clause is so new, so obscure and so ambiguous that none of the parties involved in this situation - be it the Avalanche, the Flames or even the player's agent - seemed to have been aware of it. In fact, in retrospect, ignorance of this clause seems to be a far greater misstep for Colorado's management than for Calgary's. Not only could they have short-circuited O'Reilly's leverage in negotiations by publicizing this clause, but it also would have increased their leverage in any trade talks they had with other teams. No chance of an offer sheet means no alternative but to negotiate with the Avs directly for the player.

There's an argument that Sherman and company knew about the clause but wanted to potentially trap teams into offer sheets, but it doesn't hold water. Particularly since Colorado matched the Flames contract immediately even though it's structure is rather uncomfortable for them.

In addition, not even the players own agent knew about the waiver rule. 

O'Reilly's agent, Pat Morris of Newport Sports Management, said Friday that he didn't know his client would head to waivers if Colorado chose to not meet Flames GM Jay Feaster’s offer -- a compelling twist to an already intriguing saga that was reported by Sportsnet.ca’s Chris Johnston earlier in the day.

“Certainly not, or I never would have put Jay or Calgary or any other team in that situation,” Morris told Jeff Marek and Greg Wyshynksi on the duo's Marek vs. Wyshynksi podcast. “When you’re dealing with Europe, there’s some complicated situations.”

Again, there's an argument that Morris did in fact know and was protecting his players interests by nevertheless garnering offer sheets from unaware teams. This is certainly possible since an agents first priority is upping his clients market value, although that means he would have had to find out at some point after O'Reilly played in the KHL in January (which triggered the clause) and kept it to himself - otherwise Morris would have simply advised his client not to take to European ice once the NHL season started.

This strikes me as rather implausible overall. It's one thing to fight for a players interests within the confines of the CBA, but upping his value by banking on the misinterpretation of an obscure rule (that would ulimately undermine and humiliate the team he reached an agreement with) seems like a pretty poor way to do business since it would probably tarnish both the agent's and the agenice's reputation in the eyes of the Flames and Avs. I suppose Morris could try to protect himself from backlash had this all gone down by pleading ignorance, but I doubt he'd get much sympathy from the Feaster, Sherman or the GM's in the league in general.

In fact, given how often the possibility of an offer sheet was openly discussed in the media and with various executives around the league prior to the Flames proffering one, it's seems nobody had taken the time to pour over the clause in question and effectively understand it. One wonders if the NHL would even have had the presence of mind to enforce it had the Avalanche walked away (and Chris Jonhston had not independently done the due diligence to uncover the issue and bring it to everyone's attention).

Certainly the consequences of this error would have been massive for the Flames. That and the fact the team is again completely underwhelming on the ice seems to be fueling the antipathy for Calgary's general manger currently. And fair enough. The offer sheet, at least how it was structured and whom it targetted, was the right move, however. And the error, given the circumstances of the CBA, the wording of the rule and the general ignorance of it from all parties involved - including, perhaps, the bulk of the NHL - makes it an easy one to make.

It's arguable to say the Flames should have double-checked the proceedings with the NHL prior to doing the offer sheet, but that's easy to suggest in hindsight - as mentioned, prior to Johnston digging up the clause in the wake of the Avs matching, no one in the league or the media had noted that O'Reilly was eligible for waivers and therefore not a viable target for an offer sheet. Not TSN, not Elliotte Friedman, no one with the Avalanche nor anywhere else. It therefore strikes me as a mistake anyone in this situation would have made and, as such, not an egregious example of negligence or incompetence.

As mentioned previously, I think there are other reasons to be critical of Feaster and the Flames organization. With Calgary facing a 4th straight year out of the playoffs and with an aging core and no apparent way to meaningfully improve in the short-term, there's plenty of room for criticism.

On this particular issue, though, I think the vitriol is misplaced.

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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#1 Sincity1976
March 02 2013, 01:07PM
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I can't agree with you. The fact that the prior CBA made O'Reilly waiver required and the fact that the MOU was ambiguous is reason enough Feaster should have done diligence by clarifying the wording. Holland and Gilles both said as much.

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#2 jakeryley
March 02 2013, 01:21PM
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I just very simply disagree.

As has been said - there is no room for interpretation. It does not matter what Jay Feaster thinks about the rule, it's about what the league thinks and they say he'd have to go through waivers. You do not risk this. You don't. Not at the NHL level.

If this deal had come to fruition, it would have been locked up in litigation between the NHL and the Calgary Flames.

Meanwhile? The Flames would continue to stink it up on the ice, making that 1st round pick better and better and better for whoever ends up with it.

The team on the ice right now is a farce. Matt Stajan is the only NHL center, they're 14th in the West and they seem deadset on grinding their way up to 10th.

This team is more embarrassing than anything the Oilers have done. The arrogance showed by management is indefensible.

We made a management change to help address the problems that this team faced - and the new management has not done that. All they've accomplished? Continued asset erosion and bad hockey.

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#3 clYDE
March 02 2013, 12:43PM
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Giving up a 1st and a 3rd in a very deep draft which would leave a team needing to rebuild with no picks in the top 3 rounds is not a good hockey move Kent. Especially for a player who has never reached 20 goals in a season in junior or pro.

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#4 Kevin R
March 02 2013, 02:45PM
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Kent, I cant agree defending this management team. A 1st & 3rd in this years draft is huge for a franchise like the Flames. Now, to draft up & offer a 10 million contract without doing any proper due diligence is unacceptable. Are you telling me that we were going to risk these picks & no one looked at any film of what ROR did over in Europe & not uncover that he played in games after Jan 19th. & lets get one thing clear, this waiver issue was questioned this time last year when Nashville brought Radulov over & many GM's felt he should have been placed on waivers. So I dont buy pleading ignorance as an excuse that all the scouts & Weisbrod & Conroy werent investigating every angle on this Oreilly kid even while he was in Europe. Surely they would have tried to get as much film as possible to see if there was any injuries(which I believe there was) that could impact his ability to step right into the lineup. Feaster said as much that they looked into every aspect of this & felt their interpretation was correct to move forward. With so much at stake, & the fact you were interpretting the CBA rules, how can you not ask for a written clarification from the league office. If they clear it, Flames would have been protected, in the case it was true the league missed it & Johnson bird dogged it.

I guess many could debate the move in the 1st place & I didnt like what they did but you are right, ROR is a definite piece Flames need going forward, post Iggy & Kipper anyway. So Ok. I was so happy we were up 3-0 because then I knew we have to at least win 55% of our games so we dont give away a top 10 pick. I was excited when we offer sheeted him but actually relieved when Colorado matched.

Feaster wont get fired from this, but he will get set up to fail then fired. The Flame fans will just be the big losers. Feaster wont be able to trade Iggy/Kipper, he doesnt have the young horses to make the playoffs, but dont kid yourself, King & Edwards expect playoffs, I'm sure that making playoffs is in Hartleys & Feasters performance agreement. Iggy walks to a contender, we get nothing. Then we hire a new puppet GM who thinks this team is close with the quality of veterans we have. Then the alarm clock goes off & its Monday over again & over again & over again.....................

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#5 RossCreekNation
March 02 2013, 11:54PM
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I've said what I have to say on twitter - I think it is indefensible. I don't think "no one else knew about waivers either" or "the Avs matched, so it's all moot anyways" are good enough defenses. Feaster & the Flames are the team that signed the deal. They are the only ones that HAD to know the ramifications, and they failed. Fire Feaster, fire Holditch. Vote of non-confidence. This "head in the sand", "no harm, no foul" attitude some are displaying is no good. Accountability... let's see some.

Sidenote: could you imagine the outrage if Darryl Sutter were still here & made this gaffe? Doubt he'd have gotten a pass.

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#6 Stockley
March 02 2013, 12:42PM
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It isn't hard to make an argument that the Flames passed the crossroads a long time ago. To take a different path at this point means they have to turn around and that they have wasted valuable time on the wrong path.

I don't think Feaster should be fired for this gaff, though a little more honesty from both him and the organization as a whole might have gone a long way. Few seem to be buying their claims to have noticed the potential issue and being prepared to argue their case with the NHL. If you messed up, 'fess up. Sherman helped you dodge a bullet, move on and don't lie to us.

It's just a messy situation for a very messy franchise. If the higher-ups are interfering with Jay's ability to run this club, maybe they need to step back and let the man they hired to run hockey ops do his job. Owner interference certainly didn't do the Leafs any favors during the Ballard days, it's the main reason the Isles are saddled with the Dipietro contract.

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#7 Stockley
March 02 2013, 12:46PM
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clYDE wrote:

Giving up a 1st and a 3rd in a very deep draft which would leave a team needing to rebuild with no picks in the top 3 rounds is not a good hockey move Kent. Especially for a player who has never reached 20 goals in a season in junior or pro.

I agree with your point. I'd rather have the prospects going forward, especially if the Flames wind up with a high lottery pick. ROR is a very good player but he's not good enough to single-handedly turn the Flames around and carry them on his back. I just hope this mess tips management towards at least a quick rebuild. Ship some of these guys out of town and stop trying to convince us that this team is the answer. There is obviously something very wrong with the lack of consistency and compete in the veteran core.

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#8 VK63
March 02 2013, 12:47PM
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You are probably correct.

The vitriol is rather comical however. Perhaps most revealing for me is how the guys who have proven themselves most incompetent are the most indignant on the gaff. I'm sure that those who follow this stuff closely will find that statement to come direct from the book of captain obvious... but hey.... I like that book!!

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#9 Brick
March 02 2013, 12:50PM
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I agree that Jay Feaster should not be fired. I hope that he makes more moves to acquire these types of players in the near future. It let me know that they are not happy with their hockey team and that they intend to do something about it.

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#10 suba steve
March 02 2013, 12:52PM
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@clYDE

Agreed that those draft choices are of great potential value to this org. But, even in a deep draft year, there is no guarantee that the players you take in the first and third round will ever score 20 goals in their NHL careers. In short, if the Flames got a single NHL player out of those 2 picks of equal skill/value to ROR, I think you would have to be satisfied. Sure, they could potentially do better, but could also do way worse. In 2003 (another strong draft class) they got Dion 1st, Tim Ramholt 2nd, Ryan Donally 3rd. Would COL trade ROR straight up for Dion at this point? Doubt it.

Having said all that, my preference is to clean house and pick in the top 5 this year. But, I can see the sense/value in the RFA signing that they attempted.

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#11 Stockley
March 02 2013, 12:57PM
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suba steve wrote:

Agreed that those draft choices are of great potential value to this org. But, even in a deep draft year, there is no guarantee that the players you take in the first and third round will ever score 20 goals in their NHL careers. In short, if the Flames got a single NHL player out of those 2 picks of equal skill/value to ROR, I think you would have to be satisfied. Sure, they could potentially do better, but could also do way worse. In 2003 (another strong draft class) they got Dion 1st, Tim Ramholt 2nd, Ryan Donally 3rd. Would COL trade ROR straight up for Dion at this point? Doubt it.

Having said all that, my preference is to clean house and pick in the top 5 this year. But, I can see the sense/value in the RFA signing that they attempted.

At least we picked up Dion in that draft. Looked like an excellent pick at first. It still wasn't terrible in my opinion. Can't blame the draft itself for the fact the Flames gave a perfectly good asset to the Leafs for a bucket of pucks, half a ham-sandwich and the much-maligned Matt Stajan contract. Feaster and co already have a better drafting record than Sutter; if only because they aren't afraid to draft players who grew up east of Manitoba. Despite their apparent fetish for college players, they have shown a tendency to think outside the box a little and I commend them for that. Even if none of these guys they drafted pan out, they realized the status quo wasn't working.

Now if only they'd wise up and realize the status quo on the ice and in the veteran core wasn't working and do something about it.

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#12 Bruins
March 02 2013, 01:00PM
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The easy part of the schedule is over and the trade deadline is near. These next few weeks should be interesting.Feaster shouldn't be fired but he has to do something with this team. Is he going to move some of the core?

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#13 RKD
March 02 2013, 01:05PM
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What difference does a deep draft year make? The Flames need a top 10 pick, not 10-15, not 10-20. Heck, they need a top 5 pick.

It's hard for me to believe that Feaster and co. would not have done their due diligence. The fact that the agent didn't know speaks volumes about how fresh the new CBA understanding is. The arrogance by Gillis comments are disgusting, earth to Mike, Feaster just like you is also a lawyer! Ken Holland was much more forgiving. Any GM could have made this mistake but it will be magnified and the media and everyone has made the Flames the laughingstock of the league.

I also read this recently: 'All Players on a Club's Reserve List and Restricted Free Agent List will be exempt from the application of CBA 13.23 Waivers in the case of a mid-season signing. For further clarity, if Club A trades such a Player to Club B and Club B signs the Player to an SPC, such Player will be exempt from the application of CBA 13.23' which someone said it should supersede the NHL rule.

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#14 Miko
March 02 2013, 01:05PM
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Agreed. And good point about the Avalanche's apparent ignorance of the rule being at least as egregious as the Flames'. I think it was an understandable, if potentially unfortunate, error. I also think it was just a one-off occurrence. I doubt management would develop a pattern of systematically misinterpreting the CBA going forward, especially after this incident, so I find calls for Feaster to be fired a little knee-jerk.

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#15 suba steve
March 02 2013, 01:05PM
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Bruins wrote:

The easy part of the schedule is over and the trade deadline is near. These next few weeks should be interesting.Feaster shouldn't be fired but he has to do something with this team. Is he going to move some of the core?

Iggy and JBo to Boston for Dougie Hamilton + draft choices?

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#16 Stockley
March 02 2013, 01:05PM
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@Bruins

We can only hope and pray. At this point I think it's in the best interests of the team and the players that someone sits back and honestly evaluates the state of this team. The veterans deserve better, the rookies who are stapled to the bench deserve better, the kids in Abbotsford deserve better and most importantly we the FANS deserve better.

Change the direction. It seems everyone but current management is of the opinion the current direction isn't working. Pretty soon it will be too late to turn around and we're staring down the barrel of Jarome leaving this circus behind with zero return. Best case scenario is his rights get traded to a team who wants to negotiate with him early. Such a return would probably be a 2nd rounder at best, even that might be optimistic.

Calgary used to be a place players wanted to come play. With this fiasco being tacked on to all the other issues plaguing the team the Flames are in danger of becoming the Oilers; only minus the boatload of young players who still may or may not pan out. At least Tambellini can still peddle hope for a brighter future, even if that message is wearing thin with Oiler faithful. Flames can't even sell that right now.

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#17 Stockley
March 02 2013, 01:07PM
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suba steve wrote:

Iggy and JBo to Boston for Dougie Hamilton + draft choices?

The B's don't have the cap space and I doubt they would ever go for it. Much more likely to see Iggy lining up alongside Crosby. If he is ever traded.

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#18 miko
March 02 2013, 01:08PM
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Let's also remember that the jury is out on the correct interpretation of the rule. While management should have checked with the league in hindsight, they may actually be right about the rule.

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#19 schevvy
March 02 2013, 01:09PM
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Agreed Kent. I think if the worst-case scenario actually played out Chris Johnston would probably be the most hated man in Calgary.

I want to see these next five games. It's a brutal schedule: at home vs Vancouver and San Jose, then on the road in Anaheim and LA (they play in LA again on Monday). Very possible they go 0-5. Then what? This could very well be the defining season of Feaster's tenure here in Calgary.

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#20 suba steve
March 02 2013, 01:10PM
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Stockley wrote:

The B's don't have the cap space and I doubt they would ever go for it. Much more likely to see Iggy lining up alongside Crosby. If he is ever traded.

Capgeek says both Pitt & Boston have $8mil in cap space currently. Both could be targets, if the Flames pull their heads out their butts.

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#21 danglesnipecelly
March 02 2013, 01:31PM
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I give Feaster full marks for the attempt.... it was a bold move and one that a lot of people on FN have been calling for. The contract offer was clever and aggressive. HOWEVER if we assume that Feaster and others would have been fired if we lost ROR to waivers then I'm not sure I can give them the pass now... the point isn't really moot, a huge mistake was still made. We just got lucky and didn't have to pay for it. No punishment but the crime was still made... On the bright side I assume every GM in the NHL is salivating at the opportunity to wheel and deal with uncle Feaster come trade deadline day as he's liable to fumble away what few assets we have left... I don't have a lot of confidence in managements ability to win trades.

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#22 LaToya W
March 02 2013, 01:38PM
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Honestly, I'd fire Ken King before Feaster. Should have happened a long time ago.

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#23 clYDE
March 02 2013, 01:47PM
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suba steve wrote:

Agreed that those draft choices are of great potential value to this org. But, even in a deep draft year, there is no guarantee that the players you take in the first and third round will ever score 20 goals in their NHL careers. In short, if the Flames got a single NHL player out of those 2 picks of equal skill/value to ROR, I think you would have to be satisfied. Sure, they could potentially do better, but could also do way worse. In 2003 (another strong draft class) they got Dion 1st, Tim Ramholt 2nd, Ryan Donally 3rd. Would COL trade ROR straight up for Dion at this point? Doubt it.

Having said all that, my preference is to clean house and pick in the top 5 this year. But, I can see the sense/value in the RFA signing that they attempted.

We can't keep using the old We don't draft well anyway excuse. IF this draft is indeed as strong as 2003 we could be trading away an opportunity to draft the equivalent of a parisse AND a Shea Weber for a player who has never scored 20 goals. Sorry, that is not a smart hockey move at all. To get better this team MUST draft better not trade away their drafts.

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#24 VK63
March 02 2013, 01:59PM
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LaToya W wrote:

Honestly, I'd fire Ken King before Feaster. Should have happened a long time ago.

I totally agree with you. He is one of the biggest db's in hockey, only guy I know with similar levels of arrogance and suspect competence is Dan Tencer.

BUT

King is the ticket seller guy and the barn is full, so by that metric, he is doing his job...... sadly. Plus... edwards has put up with him for this long so in all probability HE AINT GOIN ANYWHERE.

He hooked his wagon to Darryl Sutter saying if Dutter was fired someone else could sell tickets.

Yup..... hes that kinda guy. As my Dad used to say.... if your word isn't worth anything who gives a rats a** about your signature.

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#25 KetchupKid
March 02 2013, 02:03PM
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The drafting under Feaster has been a breath of fresh air and I'm excited to see what he does in New Jersey this year. Didn't the Canucks also tender an offer for O'Reilly? Do they get a free pass because Calgary's draft pick is going to be better?

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#26 meat1
March 02 2013, 02:25PM
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Good article, Kent. I have been quite vocal about my opinion that Feaster and his posse need to be fired. I am more certain than ever that he has to go. Not just for this near-horrific, franchise paralyzing mistake, but because I don't think this group can make the important decisions we HAVE to make in the next month. This can't be looked upon as an "aw shucks" moment.

Regarding ROR, I wanted him as a Flame as bad as anyone. But ONLY if it came in the way of a trade, and only by involving the likes of a Glencross, Giordano etc. We can NOT keep getting rid of picks and ever get this mess sorted out.

I realize they won't fire anybody, certainly not this close to trade deadline. And I'm sure Jarome will sign a 4 year, $22 million deal to stay, and Sven will ride shotgun on the dancing bear's line, and Comeau will conitinue his torrid...amount of ice-time..........

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#27 matsthomassen
March 02 2013, 02:56PM
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do we know for sure that feaster and the flames were totally ignorant of that clause?

or did they simply interpret it a certain way and then move forward with that interpretation?

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#28 suba steve
March 02 2013, 02:58PM
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@clYDE

Would love to have got Parise and Weber in '03, so would have 29 other teams. Good luck with that in 2013. It obviously does happen, but not predictably for any given team. Perhaps the Flames are due. I hope they do it. Might want to pick up a few 6/49 tickets while you are busy counting those chickens though.

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#29 Derzie
March 02 2013, 03:00PM
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Imagine a spaceship landing in Calgary once a year on this day to assess how this Cap team with Top 10 revenue is doing. The answer is the same every year: middling to poor. In music, this is like Taylor Swift or Biebs. Our team is popular(ticket sales-wise) and terrible. Just like Taylor and the Biebs.

The media should use this ROR management flub to draw attention to our endless plight with Ken King and his band of salesmen. Certainly not to defend it. This smacks of the same sincerity as the Budwieser Goal Light blog. Wanna get paid, get writin (says the man with the money).

Anyway, I don't know what it will take to get this team headed in the right direction but it feels like forever.

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#30 negrilcowboy
March 02 2013, 03:07PM
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The blatant grandstanding when they announced the offer sheet screams arrogance. Feaster and company pulled their stunt in the AVS building, definitely a violation of the code amongst GMs.It almost backfired to the extent of being the worst front office move in the history of front offices. Couple this near disaster with a questionable draft selection in Janko and the comical goaltending contract movement and management has got to be on very thin ice. Intellectual honesty great phrase just like guarnteed playoffs. time for edwards to scorch the earth and bring in real hockey people not a snake oil salesman and his gang of gypsies.

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#31 Robhouli
March 02 2013, 03:09PM
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You hate to say it, but that gaffe should have cost Feaster his job. Whether Colorado matched or not, is not relevant. Could you imagine this deal going the other way. Colorado passes on the deal, get the Flames 1st and 3rd round picks. Then a team like Minnesota or Detroit get the opportunity to pick up ROR on waivers. There is no excuse for not knowing the rules, that's why these guys are paid.

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#32 RKD
March 02 2013, 03:16PM
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Ken King won't be fired, the Flames also own the Stampeders and he know hows to bring in money. Calgary Flames season ticket renewal 97% with a five year waiting list. He shouldn't be involved with hockey matters whatsover, nor should Murray Edwards.

The Flames are suffering big time now when they could have hired Bob Nicholson, Steve Yzerman and John Davidson most recently.

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#33 negrilcowboy
March 02 2013, 03:24PM
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Robhouli wrote:

You hate to say it, but that gaffe should have cost Feaster his job. Whether Colorado matched or not, is not relevant. Could you imagine this deal going the other way. Colorado passes on the deal, get the Flames 1st and 3rd round picks. Then a team like Minnesota or Detroit get the opportunity to pick up ROR on waivers. There is no excuse for not knowing the rules, that's why these guys are paid.

I would love to know what the other GMs are truly thinking about the showboating that surrounded the annoucement of an offer sheet. In the Avs barn, they grandstand only to dodge a fatal bullet. I wish the Avs didnt counter and the house of cards came crashing down. Intellectual honesty.

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#34 Alt
March 02 2013, 03:30PM
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The reason i go to lawyers before signing a business contract,is to ensure that i understand every aspect of the document.My lawyer goes over all the clauses that he feel,s are important for me to understand,and then makes sure all the t,s are crossed and the i,s dotted.That,s what lawyers do!

Edward,s and Feaster are both lawyers,who appear to be in need of a good lawyer

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#35 Colin
March 02 2013, 04:14PM
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I don't think Feaster should be let go for this move alone, but it's a culmination of moves that has me moving the scales to him getting fired. The offer sheet itself was a bold move and a good one in terms of team need, as long as the pick didn't become a top 5 pick, and with a healthy Backlund/Kipper along with ROR, very much doubt that happening.

However it was the bull headedness not to talk to Daly/the league about the clause, rather deciding to make the move and challenge it after the fact(I think they would have won, but thats besides the point) is what should get him fired. Signing ROR to an offer sheet wasn't a spur of the moment decision, they had LOTS of time to discuss it with the league. Combine that with the MacGratton decision(who is now playing over much more competent NHLers, hello Blair Jones), the goalie mess we have, the 49/50 contracts we are now at which limits our flexibility.

I don't know who makes the game day Rosters, playing Aliu over Cervenka, but that's another big issue, is player usage. I thought this team was suppose to be more skilled, up tempo, possession, but instead it looks like we are gonna fill our bottom six with knuckle chuckers.

The big thing to me will be this summer, in what happens to Kipper/Iggy, how do we move forward with them.

I like the Feaster/Wisebrod drafts and some of the signings/trades they made(the stempniak trade, the Regehr trade) but the longer that tandem is going, the worse the trades are coming out and the worse the player management looks.

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#36 Old Soldier
March 02 2013, 04:39PM
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Questioning Feasters management or ability to manage to me is not about the fact that he (and obviously many people) missed the fact that O'Reilly would have to have cleared waivers. Is that embarrassing, sure it is, though it could have been much more embarrassing, as we all know.

What makes me question Feaster as a GM, is the actual offer sheet itself.

First, as some have stated, what is a priority to the Flames, a solid 2nd line Center (and thats a reasonable evaluation), or for a team with minimal organizational depth, the 1st and 3rd picks in a top heavy draft?

Even if the answer is still that ROR fills a bigger need, then there is still the question of simple management. This team will be going through some serious changes in the next two years. By the summer of 2015 the Flames will have only have 6 current players under contract. That means the next two years would be ideal to look into reshaping this team and eliminating those contracts you dont want and building a younger more talented team.

Makes some sense right?

But then if thats the case, how are you going to manage a team payroll full of young players coming off ELC's or entering the prime of their careers when you have the ROR contract as the basis for negotiation?

How do you address Baerstchi and any other young player coming off even mild success and tell them, forget it, you arent getting the same money as our #2 center?

That O'Reilly contract, with the fact that in 2015 you would have to offer at least that much to maintain his negotiating rights, leading to what? a $7 mill deal for a #2 center? would be an absolute disaster for your teams salary structure.

You can overpay for superstars, no-one would say nay if Feaster threw an offersheet out there overpaying a young Stamkos, because you know he will be your best player. But when you do that for someone like ROR who you know in the long run is not a "franchise player" (and you know that Feaster, that was a bit disingenuous), then everyone wants the same treatement.

That is why I question Feasters ability to be a solid GM, not for his desire to improve the team, but moreso the lengths he might go to do so, in the short term, can be very destructive in the long run.

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#37 suba steve
March 02 2013, 05:12PM
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@Old Soldier

You call ROR a #2 C. Fair enough. So then who would be our #1 C?

If ROR was functioning as a #1-2 C as a 20-21 year old in COL, is it not reasonable to assume he is still improving as a player and will evolve into a solid #1 C or a well above average #2 at very least? I expect he would have been the most solid #1 this franchise has had in quite a long time.

Not unhappy that COL matched though, as I am looking foreward to the '13 draft and the assets it may provide. I'm with you on the rebuild. But to say ROR is a finished product with a defined #2C roll at the ripe old age of 22, that is just wrong.

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#38 Franko J
March 02 2013, 05:22PM
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The only criticism I can complain about Feaster and the whole ROR fiasco is trading valuable picks. I thought if there was one thing that Feaster would have done better than Sutter was the ability to build from the draft. Now I'm not so sure. I think the Flames have another GM who sacrifices long term stability for short term glory.

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#39 Monaertchi
March 02 2013, 06:01PM
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Kent, I usually agree with most everything you write on here, but not in this case. Feaster et al interpreted an ambiguous new rule, and didnt bother to check with the league prior to exposing themselves to the consequences of that rule. That is an egregious error, and an error for which someone should be fired.

Also, did the agent not know about the rule, or not know about the actual interpretation of it? Feaster says that he, the Flames, and the agent were all certain that waivers would not be a part of this transaction.

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#40 mattyc
March 02 2013, 06:18PM
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@Colin

I agree. One thing i would add, is for all we know Feaster et al did check with the league office, and then decided they still disagreed with the interpretation and felt confident they would win an arbitration (I still feel like they wouldn't have lost him on waivers).

I think this summer will be their last best chance to turn things around. If they don't do it right this trade deadline/draft, they'll be pretty close to the chopping block come next christmas.

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#41 Tonelli's Stache
March 02 2013, 06:30PM
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What I would like to understand is the rationale behind the rule. It makes little sense to have one team lose the player, one team to lose picks and the third team to get the player. Seems to me that the rule is meant to dissuade players from playing in another league while not playing for the team holding their RFA rights. So the waiver process itself that kicks in if the offer isn’t matched should be dependent on any team making a claim first having the picks in question (1st and 3rd in this case) and having to surrender them in order to sign the player. Feels like a broken rule.

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#42 Tach
March 02 2013, 06:32PM
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Kent, once again, says exactly what I think about a subject but in a much more eloquent and reasonable way.

Not to mention that I agree with the guys at Offside on the interpretation issues.

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#43 Alt
March 02 2013, 06:34PM
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Other teams may very well stay away from dealing with Feaster moving forward.Won,t want to deal with the dysfunctional reputation he,s helped create

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#44 Tach
March 02 2013, 06:35PM
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@Tonelli's Stache

The purpose of the rule is to stop team's from loading up on unsigned talent as part of a stretch or playoff run. Imagine some team signing every UFA in the KHL on the last day of the season.

The reason I think the clause would be interpreted not in the way Daly suggests (which is all well and good for the league to say after the fact when it doesn't matter and when it is in their interests to put more pressure on hold out RFAs) but in the Flames' favour is the new CBA was supposed to eliminate "Re-Entry Waivers" which were designed for players that were coming back from the minors or Europe, which is how I see O'Relly's status.

But reasonable people could disagree.

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#45 Tonelli's Stache
March 02 2013, 06:46PM
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@Tach

I am with you on that. It makes sense to apply waivers in UFA situations, not so much in RFA situations. I wonder if it will be addressed in the final CBA as a result of this fiasco. Seems like it needs some attention from whatever NY law firms are taking this on.

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#46 JayD54
March 02 2013, 06:59PM
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I certainly agree with the premise and the overall tone of this article Kent.

Like a lot of Flames faithful, I was elated at the news that O'Reilly had been inked to an offer sheet. The airwaves were filled with those singing the praises of Feaster, for ownership for the gutsy move. Even after it was announced that the Avalanche had matched, it did not diminish the admiration for the effort made to improve the club.

Fast forward (what, twelve hours?) and the revelation that the Flames (and potentially 3 other clubs who tendered offer sheets to O'Reilly's camp)had dodged a bullet because of the match, that the transaction could have been a disaster for the franchise due to an obscure wrinkle in the as-yet unsigned CBA.

Then the talking heads have demonized Feaster and ownership as being uninformed, of being incompetent and due their pink slips. Sorry, don't buy it. They made the effort and it did not work. The roster did not change. The draft picks remain in place.

I still admire Feaster and ownership for the effort. They made it just like they did when they tried to get Brad Richards into a Flames uniform. I expect them to try again. And I, for one, am looking forward to those continued efforts.

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#47 icedawg_42
March 02 2013, 07:11PM
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Brilliant Kent....I've been looking for words for a day now and this about sums it up

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#48 Q
March 02 2013, 07:18PM
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No defense from me! This is an embarrassment! They wouldn't have fired him even if avs didn't match! The only thing I think is strange is why the nhl isn't more responsible for what took place because apparently 4 other teams presented offer sheets too! What a joke betteman!

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#49 Sincity1976
March 02 2013, 07:51PM
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Off my mobile so I can give a slightly more detailed response.

First, I really want O'Reilly. Fits a big need for the team.

But I was never supportive of an offer sheet. I said the same thing on the blog suggesting such.

First, Colorado was always going to match. It is rumored they were looking for Del Zotto, Kreider, and a pick from the Rangers. They weren't going to take a first and a third. All the offer sheet did was add O'Reilly to Colorado's lineup reducing our chances of making the playoffs.

Second, 5-million (and 6+ in just over a year) is too much for O'Reilly. Especially when you have to give up a 1st and a 3rd in addition. That is really really poor asset management. He is a good player. But not at that cost. The guy has one year of production for crying out loud.

Third, there is no way that Feaster has any business going forward with an offer sheet without doing due diligence and speaking to the NHL first. I don't care if all 29 other GMS would have made the same mistake. That doesn't make it right or okay. Especially with Murray so close to the CBA process and Feaster being a lawyer by trade.

I know the crowd here really really likes O'Reilly. I get why. But wanting the player doesn't excuse this fiasco.

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#50 Alt
March 02 2013, 08:27PM
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@Sincity1976

Del Zotto Kreider,and a pick for O,Reilly.That,s a wild rumour .If Sherman thought he was worth all that he would have surely signed him last summer

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