The Flames Rebuild Roadmap

Kent Wilson
March 20 2013 10:03AM

 

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I think one of the big mistakes by rebuilding teams is to concentrate solely on draft picks and big whale hunts. Improving a team can also be done in smaller, incremental steps by making a series of good bets like buying low on the Froliks and Burmistrovs of the world.

I left that in a comment yesterday, but I think I should expand on it further since the idea could use some clarification.

As we've discussed previously, when hockey fans think "rebuild", they seem to think of the "scorched earth" variety where the organization simply liquidates any and all worthwhile assets over the age of 25 in an effort to gather draft picks and also be bad enough to finish in the lottery. 

Although I have been a vocal advocate of trading guys like Iginla and Kipper for a couple of years and admit the Flames org needs to improve its prospect base and find new cornerstone players, I am also adamantly opposed to purposely clear-cutting the roster and drifting to the bottom of the standings. In this, at least, I agree with Flames management.

The guiding principle for any NHL GM should be to find good players. More accurately, it's to make good bets on players given their age, perceived value and contract. This principle, if followed correctly, will lead to a quality roster and success in the long-term. Although a GM's short-term priorites might change depending on how close or how far his team is from contending, the need to identify and retain good players is axiomatic in hockey management.

*"Good", of course, is an on-going subject of debate amongst fans and decision-makers alike. We'll assume a well understood, universal standard for the purposes of this discussion.

The Flames current reality is they have aging stars on expiring contracts, are not a true contender to win anything and have a lackluster prospect base from which to draw. Over the next 12 months, they will have the option to sell former star/cornerstone pieces like Jarome Iginla, Miikka Kiprusoff, Mike Cammalleri and Jay Bouwmeester to improve their stock of futures and leverage assets that are either depreciating rapidly or unlikely to stick around. These are guys a high-end contender might be tempted to hang on to in an effort to press for a cup (although I would argue a well run organization would consider moving them anyways), but that's not in the cards for Calgary.

The common error at this juncture for some rebuilding teams, I think, is to throw the baby out with the bath water so to speak. On top of moving Iginla and Kipper, a scorched earth advocate would probably sell off Giordano, Stempniak, Glencross and Hudler, pick-up some draft picks and kids and watch the lottery tickets roll in. Getting the next "face of the franchise" or superstar often becomes a fixation for bad teams who are actively rebuilding, sometimes to the exclusion of all else. The Edmonton Oilers over the last 5 years are more or less an object lesson on how not to rebuild correctly - for example, they spent more than one summer engaging in fruitless whale hunts for the likes of Marian Hossa, Dany Heatley, Nikolai Khabibulin and Thomas Vanek, but have failed to retain, acquire or develop a meaningful collection of support players behind all of their showy draft picks. Which is why they still kind of suck despite boasting the likes of Eberle, Hall, Yakupov and Nugent-Hopkins.

Over that period, the club lost quality guys like Curtis Glencross, Kyle Brodziak and Raffi Torres, either to free agency or for magic beans. This deterioration was also accelerated by the Oilers continued obsession with "toughness" and collecting marginal ruffians to patrol the bottom end of the roster to "protect the kids" instead of actual NHL-level talent.

There's no question the Flames will also have to go looking for new stars in the coming seasons, whether they retain Iginla and Kipper or not since neither guy is at the point in his career where he can carry the team. However, that priority need not override the guiding principle of finding or keeping other good players, even if they aren't quite the difference makers the team needs so desperately. A universal truth of great teams in the NHL is they boast both elite players and quality roster depth and that both are essential to contend. Poorly run clubs and teams with limited budgets are typically those unfortunates that are stuck on the eternal treadmill of trading one for the other in an effort to get over the hump.

short version: even as the Flames enter a rebuild mode (whether the management calls it that or not) they shouldn't stop making good bets on players at all levels of the roster. The goal should be to improve the team at all times, whether that be by hitting a homerun at the draft or simply knocking a single down the line. To extend the baseball analogy - you improve your chances of scoring by having as many runners on base as possible.

For Example...

To take this out of theoretical, here's how things would probably work for the Flames over the next 12 months if I was in charge:

2013 deadline

- Auction off Jarome Iginla for package of picks/prospects and a roster player(s)

- Investigate market for Roman Cervenka, Anton Babchuk, Cory Sarich, Chris Butler, Blake Comeau and Matt Stajan

- Move Cervenka and company for anything, but retain Stajan in absence of worthwhile offer

- Look into asking prices for Burmistrov, Grabovski, Couturier, Frolik and Gardiner

2013 off-season

- Investigate market for Kiprusoff at draft. Trade him if quality offer emerges, keep if not

- Target UFAs like Alex Semin, David Clarkson, Damien Brunner, Patrik Elias, Viktor Stalberg, Nathan Horton, Clarke MacArthur, Val Filppula, Chris Higgins, Ryane Clowe, Ladislav Smid and Stephen Weiss, depending on availability and price

- Avoid overpays and long-term deals, however

- Re-sign Mikael Backlund and TJ Brodie for 3+ years each

- Sign Karri Ramo

2013/14 season

- Re-sign Lee Stempniak half way through year for 3 years at reasonable raise if performance is close to current levels

- Investigate Jay Bouwmeester's willingness to stay with team at approximately $4M/year for 4 years or less. If interest level is low, auction him off at trade deadline

- If Kiprusoff is still with team, trade him at deadline

- Investigate Cammalleri's interest in staying with team at $3.5M/year for two years. If low, auction him at the deadline with Kipper and Bouwmeester

- Investigate market for Stajan if he's still with the team. Ditto Derek Smith

- Gauge Alex Tanguy's performance/decline. Determine whether to keep or trade at deadline

The above would be my roadmap for the team, assuming no unforeseen changes, speed bumps or opportunities. In this scenario, the club leverages certain expiring assets, some of which should bring decent enough returns while others might get you middling prospects or picks. However, the club is still actively pursuing other decent options from the UFA market and retaining good bets from within the org as well.

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 Eric
March 20 2013, 10:15AM
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Well put. I definitely agree with most of this.

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#2 mattyc
March 20 2013, 10:29AM
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I think a lot of the 'rebuild'/scorched earth mentality is an aesthetic thing more than a practical thing. People are frustrated by what has been a pretty average team for a long time, and just want 'change'. I can't imagine too many people rationally think we would be a better team in 3 years if we traded anybody of value on the team for draft picks.

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#3 Primo
March 20 2013, 10:29AM
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Kent...well thought out credible plan! I would suggest a stronger immediate focus on the goaltending plan. Given Kippers age and most likely reluctance to play beyond 2014 I would trade him at the 2013 deadline. Also Ramo is not proven at NHL level and would propose a risk without an effective succession plan. Dany Taylor impressive and in need of development time so let's not waste our time on an aging backup like Macdonald.

Strongly agree with your comments to lock up Brodie and Backlund long term as they are critical to the Flames rebuld plan. Also somehow the acquisition of a top 4-5 veteran big tough defenseman needs to be worked into the plan somehow.

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#4 Ed Ward
March 20 2013, 10:36AM
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Once again you nailed it Kent. A sensible plan that starts moving the team away from mediocrity without unnecessarily destroying the team.

I like your use of the Oiler's example. I think the biggest myth perpetuated up north is that being terrible the last five years has been part of Tambo and co's plan. If you look at the moves they've made its pretty clear that they were trying to be competitive and just failing at it. Not saying I wouldn't love to have Hall or Eberle or Yak or the Nuge, merely that the idea that the Oiler's bottomed out on purpose is totally bogus.

If I was an Oiler's fan I'd be most frustrated by the fact the Oil have wasted their top talent's ELC years on terrible teams. One of the best ways teams can "game" the system in the new CBA is to maximize what you get out of your stars in their ELC years where their cap hit is way less than their actual value. So far the oiler's have completely failed to do this. Once the Hall and Eberle extensions kick in plus what they have to pay Yak, the Nuge and Schultz the next coming years, we could see an exodus of talent, ala Chicago, probably (hopefully) without the Cup win to soften the blow.

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#6 negrilcowboy
March 20 2013, 10:37AM
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great plan. you are hired when can you start.

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#7 mcculb
March 20 2013, 10:37AM
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I like this approach. If by next yrs reboot we could get a decent return for Iggy, a good top ten draft pick of our own, a return for 2 or 3 of Babs Sarich Comeau Stajan (add McBackup or Taylor with the goal propects coming in), aquire one of Burmistrov, Grabovski, Couturier, Frolik or Gardiner, and bring in one good UFA, we would be vastly better in 2013. It is not unrealistic. Especially if Ramo proves to be a find.

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#8 icedawg_42
March 20 2013, 10:41AM
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Now a post on why grabbing Zach Boychuck off waivers is a good idea?

#sarcasm

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#9 BitGeek
March 20 2013, 10:42AM
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I love this plan.

The apple is still good if you just trim off some of the brown spots. I don't see it being rotten to the core.

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#10 MC Hockey
March 20 2013, 10:42AM
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Eric wrote:

Well put. I definitely agree with most of this.

Me too...however the Leafs may be realizing that Gardiner is recovered from concussions and worth keeping. But is he worth the risk for Flames given the head injury history? I have other radical ideas to add like:

-JBo + checking forward to Oilers for Gagner and Smid. Why? They get top D-man who would waive NTC for Edmonton and a support forward and we get offensive Centre and good underrated shutdown D-man to help replace JBo minutes

- Iggy to Chicago for 2013 1st round or 2nd rounder (1st if Iggy re-signs in Chi) plus good young centre or Centre prospect like Shaw, Pirri, Kruger, or McNeiil...Feaster's will not get more than this I believe. Why? Obvious for both teams I think.

- Kipper + DSmith or (ironically) Butler for Ryan (Dumb Comments) Miller? Why? Buff loses complainer (Miller) and shore up G and D for two years (assuming Kipper re-signs with Buff) as Enroth improves and Flames get new starting G.

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#11 seve927
March 20 2013, 10:50AM
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Now, that's the kind of rebuild I can get behind! Much better than just hanging the "At least we're not trying" banner over the door and sitting back collecting lottery picks. I'm glad the Flames haven't taken the easy way out, and just sold off everything.

I would love to see some of the above moves happen. I've got no interest in Semin, but anyone else off that list would be great.

Kent for GM!

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#12 mslepp
March 20 2013, 10:58AM
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Really good stuff.

Unfortunately, there is far too much common sense in this piece to be anything close to the actual road map that Feaster will be referencing.

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#13 Colin.S
March 20 2013, 10:58AM
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I really am for trading Kipper, however, at his age and performance and the little amount of money he's making, I think he just retires if we try to trade him. Also we are not getting much for him anymore, with this giant performance decline, and goalie market saturation I don't see teams lining up to give us any decent offers.

I just don't see him as being any big part of a rebuild, but you never know, maybe the 4th round pick he gets us turns into another 1st pairing Defender like Brodie.

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#14 Michael
March 20 2013, 11:04AM
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The Perry contract shows that the high end players will continue to earn a premium, but with the declining salary cap, you have to think that the mid and lower level players will start to see their salaries squeezed. We might start to see some reasonable values in the mid tier market, which may be a good way for the Flames to improve the overall quality of the team.

This trade deadline is a big test for Feaster. He needs to step up his game, communicate a longer term plan, and take advantage of this period to sell some assets while they still have value. Reduce salaries by deleting a copy of larger contracts, and position yourself with cap room for the free agency / over the summer trade market.

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#15 Alt
March 20 2013, 11:19AM
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Great analogy Kent.

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#16 Veggie Dog
March 20 2013, 11:25AM
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seve927 wrote:

Now, that's the kind of rebuild I can get behind! Much better than just hanging the "At least we're not trying" banner over the door and sitting back collecting lottery picks. I'm glad the Flames haven't taken the easy way out, and just sold off everything.

I would love to see some of the above moves happen. I've got no interest in Semin, but anyone else off that list would be great.

Kent for GM!

Why are you so down on Semin? He has proved himself this year I think. 30pts in 29 games and +19. We only have 2 plus players at the moment, and that would be good for the lead in team scoring on 20 teams in the league.

Maybe he did have attitude problems in Washington, but that seems to be an organizational malaise in the late Ovie era. I don't follow the Hurricanes (because who cares) but don't remember hearing anything bad about him this year.

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#17 Trianglereverie
March 20 2013, 11:32AM
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This is exactly what I've been saying. A "rebuild" does not have to be done like the "Oilers" did it. You already have some great "out of the box" prospects that this team has found and cultivated in the last 2 drafts who will be coming in to the team. It's time now to start looking for NHL proven players to start reshaping the core for the next 3 years as these players and Sven start coming into the team. You need to bring players in now who are younger but proven who will fit into the mold of the Gaudreau, Sven's, Granlunds, etc. This way we're ahead of the 8 ball instead of 3 years behind it when they do come in.

So like Ken was saying if you look at a Elias or a Grabovski, or whoever management needs to ask does this player compliment Sven and Gaudreau. Does he give us a legitimate chance?

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#18 Captain Ron
March 20 2013, 11:51AM
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For the most part I have to agree that you are barking up the right tree. This is a sensible approach.

If I am nitpicking a bit I would question bringing Elias here though. I like Elias but it seems counter productive to be bringing him here given his age.

Other wise your looking good with the framework of your proposal over the next couple of seasons.

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#19 seve927
March 20 2013, 11:59AM
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Veggie Dog wrote:

Why are you so down on Semin? He has proved himself this year I think. 30pts in 29 games and +19. We only have 2 plus players at the moment, and that would be good for the lead in team scoring on 20 teams in the league.

Maybe he did have attitude problems in Washington, but that seems to be an organizational malaise in the late Ovie era. I don't follow the Hurricanes (because who cares) but don't remember hearing anything bad about him this year.

Yeah, I don't claim to know anything. I'm just going off what I've heard - that his effort is not where it could be. I don't think that type of person ever changes, and I don't see him as part of a championship type team, or a mentor for youth.

So he might not be a bad fit for the current Flames for a couple years - no championship aspirations, not much youth.

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#20 SmellOfVictory
March 20 2013, 12:12PM
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seve927 wrote:

Yeah, I don't claim to know anything. I'm just going off what I've heard - that his effort is not where it could be. I don't think that type of person ever changes, and I don't see him as part of a championship type team, or a mentor for youth.

So he might not be a bad fit for the current Flames for a couple years - no championship aspirations, not much youth.

Let's say he does only put out a partial effort on a regular basis; he's still an amazing player. Semin putting out a half-effort (if we're saying that's what he does) is still more effective than 90% of the NHL playing balls-to-the-wall on a nightly basis.

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#21 seve927
March 20 2013, 12:32PM
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SmellOfVictory wrote:

Let's say he does only put out a partial effort on a regular basis; he's still an amazing player. Semin putting out a half-effort (if we're saying that's what he does) is still more effective than 90% of the NHL playing balls-to-the-wall on a nightly basis.

Shouldn't have mentioned his name I guess. I don't really care - he's just an expensive coaster to me.

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#22 Veggie Dog
March 20 2013, 12:39PM
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seve927 wrote:

Shouldn't have mentioned his name I guess. I don't really care - he's just an expensive coaster to me.

For the record, I don't care terribly much about him or his team either. I think a guy who can get to point per game production on less than optimal effort can't be taken lightly. Who knows, players like him might have a fire lit under them from time to time and do good things. Kovalev and Ovie both fit in this category too, oozing talent, but lacks work ethic from time to time. We all know sticking to the good 'ol Western Canadian boys who are prepared to be gritty didn't do us much good.

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#23 seve927
March 20 2013, 01:05PM
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Veggie Dog wrote:

For the record, I don't care terribly much about him or his team either. I think a guy who can get to point per game production on less than optimal effort can't be taken lightly. Who knows, players like him might have a fire lit under them from time to time and do good things. Kovalev and Ovie both fit in this category too, oozing talent, but lacks work ethic from time to time. We all know sticking to the good 'ol Western Canadian boys who are prepared to be gritty didn't do us much good.

I don't think it has to be one or the other. As for lighting a fire under him, that was why I said anything in the first place, I don't think that type of guy ever changes...

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#24 Rich Man
March 20 2013, 01:11PM
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Komisarek will be claimed by Calgary

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#25 Veggie Dog
March 20 2013, 01:28PM
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Rich Man wrote:

Komisarek will be claimed by Calgary

Is this a joke?

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#26 the-wolf
March 20 2013, 01:30PM
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@kent wilson - but what you don't address is HOW to get those star players. You mention the necessity, but not the method of going about it.

I am in agreement with you for the most part. Improve whenever and wherever you can any time you can. Always.

I'm also in agreement on support players. That's why I suggested keeping GlenX, Hudler, Cervenka, Backlund, Stempniak and Stajan. All worthwhile support players and vets that are affordable.

The reason I want to move Iginla, Cammi, Tanguay, JBo and Gio (maybe) is because they will bring the most back and also free up the most cap space.

Focus on brining back 2nd tier prospects who have high upsides and are close to stepping in, but who aren't elite or homeruns (which isn't practical). There's still risk and they aren't guarantees, but there's good potential and they're close to playing which cuts development time.

UFA money can be spent on replacement level D and goalies until developed.

Trade the guys I mention and the team will still plummet this year though. Which is fine for 1 or 2 years. That's where we get our stars from. Add Baertschi to that mix.

Then move out other vets 1 at a time as necessary to make room for young guys or when able to sell high.

3 year turnaround instead of 5,6,7 years.

Optimistic, I know.

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#27 Kurt
March 20 2013, 01:30PM
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@Kent Wilson

Good read Kent...

My only question is if there is an example of a team not going scorched earth and turning a titanic situation into a contender. I realize there are examples of turning a terrible team into a playoff team quite quickly. Ottawa for example.

But are there examples of an organization turning a 180 from the pits of despair to being a true powerhouse? Thats what I want, not just being happy to be a perimeter playoff team hoping to sneak in perpetually and catch lightning in a bottle.

Pittsburgh, LA, Chicago - the real powerhouse teams went through extended burn it to the ground rebuilds. Teams like Ottawa or Toronto or even Montreal haven't. Montreal is great and all, but can they really expect to beat Pittsburgh except by lightning in a bottle. They certainly aren't a powerhouse favourite.

I don't really know the answer, I'm just asking. Personally I'd rather go through 3 years of pain to be a powerhouse instead of 1 year of pain to get back to being a middling fringe team with not much hope to really win the big prize.

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#28 Rich Man
March 20 2013, 01:34PM
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Veggie Dog wrote:

Is this a joke?

Nope, I have a friend that works for the flames and she said the Flames have put a claim in.

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#29 Denscafon
March 20 2013, 01:36PM
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I still think Cervenka needs to be given some time to develop his game in the NHL and hopefully get off blood thinners. I think trading him for most likely not much is a big mistake as he's shown to have the talent and even chemistry with Hudler. Sign him for the same amount as this year but without the bonuses and I think that would be fair and not a risk if he is indeed a bust.

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#30 the-wolf
March 20 2013, 01:40PM
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Kurt wrote:

Good read Kent...

My only question is if there is an example of a team not going scorched earth and turning a titanic situation into a contender. I realize there are examples of turning a terrible team into a playoff team quite quickly. Ottawa for example.

But are there examples of an organization turning a 180 from the pits of despair to being a true powerhouse? Thats what I want, not just being happy to be a perimeter playoff team hoping to sneak in perpetually and catch lightning in a bottle.

Pittsburgh, LA, Chicago - the real powerhouse teams went through extended burn it to the ground rebuilds. Teams like Ottawa or Toronto or even Montreal haven't. Montreal is great and all, but can they really expect to beat Pittsburgh except by lightning in a bottle. They certainly aren't a powerhouse favourite.

I don't really know the answer, I'm just asking. Personally I'd rather go through 3 years of pain to be a powerhouse instead of 1 year of pain to get back to being a middling fringe team with not much hope to really win the big prize.

It would be interesting to see one of the mods do a counter-article to this piece, on why Calgary should (as Lambert puts it) "nuke their roster from orbit."

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#31 icedawg_42
March 20 2013, 01:42PM
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Rich Man wrote:

Nope, I have a friend that works for the flames and she said the Flames have put a claim in.

Whaaaaa---?

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#32 Veggie Dog
March 20 2013, 01:43PM
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Rich Man wrote:

Nope, I have a friend that works for the flames and she said the Flames have put a claim in.

So… -Wideman, JBO, Gio, Brodie, Butler, Smith, Sarich, Babchuk who = 23,000,000ish together PLUS Komisarek’s 4,500,000???????????????

It had better be a joke.

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#33 gussey
March 20 2013, 01:50PM
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I completely agree with this article. It would be exactly how I would like to see it done.

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#34 vowswithin
March 20 2013, 02:00PM
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Veggie Dog wrote:

So… -Wideman, JBO, Gio, Brodie, Butler, Smith, Sarich, Babchuk who = 23,000,000ish together PLUS Komisarek’s 4,500,000???????????????

It had better be a joke.

Well with the whole "Keep competitive thing in mind", Maybe feaster has the trade of JBO lined up and its for a forward (Couts) not D prospects and he figures he better have something ready to put in the place of one of the guys.

Gio + T.J. Widman + Buttler Komi + whoever in the d rotation

Come on couts, come on couts ;-)

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#35 backburner
March 20 2013, 02:02PM
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Veggie Dog wrote:

So… -Wideman, JBO, Gio, Brodie, Butler, Smith, Sarich, Babchuk who = 23,000,000ish together PLUS Komisarek’s 4,500,000???????????????

It had better be a joke.

That's hilarious.. one piece away..

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#36 beloch
March 20 2013, 02:26PM
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Your plan shows a way of thinking that is crucial to proper negotiating technique, but which many NHL GM's (especially Dutter) sorely lack:

Know your walk-away options and keep them open for leverage.

For multiple players you've said they should be approached to negotiate a reasonable extension mid-season and then traded if their demands are too high. *Perfect*!

If you're trying to negotiate a contract with a player, you need to keep in mind what return trading him could bring. If his demands are high enough, the team will be better off if he is traded. If you've left extending a contract until the last possible moment then you have *no* options. Either you give the player the contract he wants, which burdens the team and may make him nearly impossible to trade, or he walks and you're left with nothing.

With this principle in mind, *now* is the time to negotiate Iginla's extension. Yes, it's probably best to trade him, and the contract shouldn't be inked until that's clearly not going to happen. However, Feaster needs to have a good idea of what the cost of not trading Iginla is in order to evaluate the offers he receives. For example, if Iggy feels he's still a $7M/yr player and nothing will persuade him otherwise, Feaster might be forced to accept a lower trade offer for him than if he said he'd be willing to come back cheap. The team cannot afford to pay him that much, probably couldn't trade him if they did, nor can they afford to lose him to free-agency outright. Leaving agreements uninked is obviously not without risk, but having not even discussed a new contract would be idiotic.

For this reason, I remain somewhat hopeful. If Iginla had signed a new contract by now, Feaster would have done the wrong thing. However, by now Feaster had better have a good idea what it's going to take to resign Iginla if he's not traded.

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#37 the forgotten man
March 20 2013, 02:28PM
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Agree Kent...I would go further to say that those who rail against a "rebuild" are simply fronting a straw man argument in essence to maintain the status quo...flames management is most responsible for forwarding this meme. Sadly, they define the choices as either "one player away" or a "scorched earth rebuild", where in reality there are many paths of moderation as demonstrated by this article. Lazy, stupid or incompetent persons frame dilemmas with straw man arguments to either invoke fear of the unknown or to distract the populace from a measured course of action (ie. bread & circuses). When one thinks about it, it is quite laughable that getting rid of Iginla or Kiprusoff constitutes scorched earth...give me a break! One is either grossly overvaluing these 2 players based on an emotional connection forged some 10 years ago or undervaluing the rest of the club which is insulting to the remaining players.

I would fully agree that the whole apple is far from rotten, but I still feel the Club would benefit far more from an upper management shakeup than any changes made on the ice. I get nightmares envisioning King and Feaster heading up any kind of rebuild or new era for the Flames...I wouldn't mind seeing one more Cup before I leave this mortal coil.

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#38 Old Soldier
March 20 2013, 03:05PM
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Hmm, the scorched earth, trade everyone over 25 and buid a deep talent pool of prospects has obviously been a horrible disaster based on the standings with the NYI, Columbus, Oilers all above and trending higher than the Flames.

While any hockey fan with enough fingers left to type has the perfect answer to how to build a hockey team from scratch. I would hardly be too critical of scorched earth syndrome.

I am not including the Pens because we all know, the stars were aligned to be able to draft Crosby and Malkin back to back. And with the Hawks, it wasnt who they drafted, but what they got for them in trade that built that team.

I am not more an expert than any on here, but being that big dumb old soldier I am, I am willing to throw out that the day after the deadline, even if Iginla/Kipper/Bouwmeester are gone along with lesser lights, that the treasure "trove ye seek" will be more tarnished silver than shiny gold. Timing the reason, and sadly the time was 2 years ago and the returns will prove it.

So while the Oilers, Islanders, Blue Jackets, keep blundering along, building slowly, you all can mock, but the results, a year, 2 years 3 years from now, will speak volumes. In fact, just open the sports page today and its looking you right in the face.

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#39 Kevin R
March 20 2013, 03:06PM
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Hockey Central panel talking of reports of possible Kipper to Toronto popping up. Poor bugger, just had a son too, if that were to happen.

Agree with direction Kent was heading but I would sit down with Hartley & say pick the guys we are going to move forward with. Off the top I would say Backs, Brodie, Gio, GlenX, Hudler, Wideman, maybe Stemps & Tangs. The rest get moved with the objective of getting the best possible NHL prospects, as many #1 & #2 picks & freeing up as much cap space as possible. (I'm leaving Sven as a prospect on Abbottsford & not included in this discussion, he obviously stays) Off the top, I see us jettisoning over 30 mill of salary. I would eat salary if it meant the difference of a 1st rounder instead of a 2nd or 3rd. I dont mind the target list of players at all & I would add 1. Bishop from Ottawa, Ottawa seem to be in a market for a top 6 forward & I would see if Cerevenka fit that bill & do a swap. next summer, we have tons of cap space & teams in cap hell & I would use that little leverage to get a few more pieces for the rebuild.

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#40 RexLibris
March 20 2013, 03:18PM
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The only weakness I see is the reliance on acquiring some of the free agents mentioned.

While I believe this is a very solid plan, and frankly one that I wish half the management group of the Oilers had the wherewithal to devise, it does hinge somewhat on factors that you cannot control.

To use a sports analogy, the plan is akin to the Flames putting themselves into a position where they have won as much as they can and to make the playoffs they would need their opponents to lose.

For instance, imagine that three of those UFAs re-sign with their teams, then try to factor in the likelihood of signing more than one of the remaining UFAs against the 20-odd other teams that may be interested.

Keeping Matt Stajan, Glencross, Giordano, and others is a must. No arguments here.

The problem when running these thought experiments is that the unforeseen challenges and opportunities that arise are often almost impossible to predict, for instance when Chicago committed to a rebuild and won the draft lottery to select Patrick Kane. Without that they likely have Sam Gagner and may still be without a Stanley Cup.

In the end though, I'd back this plan in a heartbeat over whatever the Flames have planned now.

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#41 ChinookArch
March 20 2013, 03:25PM
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@Kent Wilson

Well written and argued. (Or maybe it's hard not to like work that reflects exactly what I'd like to see).

I have 2 questions:

1.) It appears that you have given up on the Cervenka experiment? Is this the reason that you're looking to trade him?

"- Move Cervenka and company for anything, but retain Stajan in absence of worthwhile offer" Personally, I'd like to see more in order to get a better sense of what Cervenka is.

2.) I wonder about the use of the One Time Buyout option available to the Flames next season. Is a team able to buyout a player and then sign him to a new contract?

If this could be done, I'd look to use it on the Tanguay deal, by buying him out and offering him the league minimum for the next 4 years and remove the NTC in the last 2 years of the deal. It would create a lot of cap space. I'd do it for Bouwmeester as we'll, if he'd sign for a longer term at $2M per season for another 5 years.

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#42 icedawg_42
March 20 2013, 03:39PM
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ChinookArch wrote:

Well written and argued. (Or maybe it's hard not to like work that reflects exactly what I'd like to see).

I have 2 questions:

1.) It appears that you have given up on the Cervenka experiment? Is this the reason that you're looking to trade him?

"- Move Cervenka and company for anything, but retain Stajan in absence of worthwhile offer" Personally, I'd like to see more in order to get a better sense of what Cervenka is.

2.) I wonder about the use of the One Time Buyout option available to the Flames next season. Is a team able to buyout a player and then sign him to a new contract?

If this could be done, I'd look to use it on the Tanguay deal, by buying him out and offering him the league minimum for the next 4 years and remove the NTC in the last 2 years of the deal. It would create a lot of cap space. I'd do it for Bouwmeester as we'll, if he'd sign for a longer term at $2M per season for another 5 years.

Personally I think that Cervenka has some NHL level talent, and plenty to like. I do NOT like the way he bails out on physical play. Frankly, I don't think he's going to get the chance to work out his North American game so long as he plays for Hartley. Better for him to be moved on, and hopefully get something in return.

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#43 clYDE
March 20 2013, 03:54PM
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Kevin R wrote:

Hockey Central panel talking of reports of possible Kipper to Toronto popping up. Poor bugger, just had a son too, if that were to happen.

Agree with direction Kent was heading but I would sit down with Hartley & say pick the guys we are going to move forward with. Off the top I would say Backs, Brodie, Gio, GlenX, Hudler, Wideman, maybe Stemps & Tangs. The rest get moved with the objective of getting the best possible NHL prospects, as many #1 & #2 picks & freeing up as much cap space as possible. (I'm leaving Sven as a prospect on Abbottsford & not included in this discussion, he obviously stays) Off the top, I see us jettisoning over 30 mill of salary. I would eat salary if it meant the difference of a 1st rounder instead of a 2nd or 3rd. I dont mind the target list of players at all & I would add 1. Bishop from Ottawa, Ottawa seem to be in a market for a top 6 forward & I would see if Cerevenka fit that bill & do a swap. next summer, we have tons of cap space & teams in cap hell & I would use that little leverage to get a few more pieces for the rebuild.

Kipper and Sarich for Kulemin, Komi and a 1st. We get a good sized younger winger with a horrible salary dump and the coveted 1st. Toronto gets the promise of a goalie who will get them to the playoffs, and a veteran physical def at less cost. They think the draft will be in that 15-22 range, we hope for much better. Thoughts?

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#44 seve927
March 20 2013, 04:01PM
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clYDE wrote:

Kipper and Sarich for Kulemin, Komi and a 1st. We get a good sized younger winger with a horrible salary dump and the coveted 1st. Toronto gets the promise of a goalie who will get them to the playoffs, and a veteran physical def at less cost. They think the draft will be in that 15-22 range, we hope for much better. Thoughts?

I'm very much in on trading for Toronto's first. I would have to think they would by very gunshy about that though. I think it's a high probability top 10 pick.

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#45 MC Hockey
March 20 2013, 04:18PM
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Veggie Dog wrote:

Is this a joke?

Hopefully but if Flames trade a D-man today..who knows!

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#46 Michael
March 20 2013, 04:52PM
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Rich Man wrote: Komisarek will be claimed by Calgary

Komisarek is a character guy, but basically played himself out of the Toronto lineup with bad on ice decisions. I wouldn't pick him up at $4.5 million this year and next... However, he is likely a Toronto buyout this summer. If Feaster really wants him (and I would question that call)wait until after the buyout, and offer him a short term low dollar contract.

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#47 BurningSensation
March 20 2013, 05:33PM
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Love the presented plan and wanted to echo some of the commentary;

- rebuilds come in more much than one flavour

- the Oilers rebuild is a slow motion disaster. Fun to watch though!

- a key to any rebuild is talent acquisition/development. There is no point in collecting draft picks if you are just going to use them to draft Riley Nash.

- young guys a few years post-draft are often better bets than raw picks.

So far I've been a big fan of Feaster's reign, the things he can control (putting good people into the org like Weisbrod and Hartley, signing FAs like Hudler, and drafting better) he's been above average at. The things he typically gets heat for (having to go he'll bent for the playoffs, trading Iggy, etc) I cut him slack.

Sutter left this team with an aging veteran roster and virtually zero prospects. Feaster has made it younger, and added talent to the pipeline - which is what we should want.

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#48 Jay
March 20 2013, 05:56PM
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It's good u didn't mention any drafting, b/c seriously we have no clue, I swear the drafting guys are playing angry birds instead of watching the games.

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#49 the-wolf
March 20 2013, 06:16PM
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I have to really wonder about the whole "bash the Oilers rebuild constantly" thing.

Seriously, they are absolutley loaded with young talent in their line-up. They have more talent in the pipeline and still more draft picks to use as collateral.

Let's not confuse idiots at the helm with "burning it to the ground could never work. And when it does work, it's just because the team got lucky with Crosby or Kane, etc., etc."

In other words, when burning it to the gound doesn't work it's because it must never work rather than it's because morons like Lowe and Milbury are put in charge of teams.

And when they do work it's because of some fluke cosmic alignment.

Uh-huh.

Seriously, I would take that Oilers team over Calgary's in a heartbeat. Talent is currency, after all.

All Katz needs to do is fire the management group and hire some smart hockey people and that team could be very, very good in a matter of literally days.

But confusing the guys-in-charge with methodology is wrong.

Not advocating Calgary burn it 100% down btw, my plan is outlined further up. It's just, let's stop pretending that the Oilers are no better off than we are. It's just not true.

The Oilers collective talent isn't one and the same as Lowe's inability to complete the puzzle is I guess what I'm saying.

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#50 Sincity1976
March 20 2013, 08:02PM
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I agree, but it depends on the value. Personally I think it is unlikely that Bouwmeester is going to re-up with the Flames. Especially if we don't have Iginla or Kipper. He probably wants a trip to the playoffs. If that is the case you might get better value this season then next as a rental.

Also, Cammalleri has been scoring a fair bit this season. Do you want to risk he falls off without Iginla and you can't move him?

Etc.

I don't think you try and trade everyone. But if there is a strong offer for a player not part of your future plans then he should be moved ASAP.

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