Introducing Mark Cundari and Reto Berra - UPDATE

Kent Wilson
April 02 2013 10:17AM

Blues vs Lightning-7442.jpg

pic via Sarah Connors

Calgary added two more prospects with the Jay Bouwmeester trade yesterday. Like Agostino and Hanowski, neither Reto Berra or Mark Cundari are household names - at least not here in Calgary (Berra may very well be a folk hero in Switzerland). Here's some background on each guy:

Mark Cundari - 22 years old, D

Undrafted out of junior, Cundari has a somewhat similar resume to Mark Giordano (and he kinda looks like him) - although his results were a little heavier on the PIMs and a little lighter on the scoring, especially in his first three seasons with the Windsor Spitfires. His career best point total in junior topped out at eight goals and 54 points in 63 games on a heavyweight club that included Taylor Hall, Cam Fowler, Ryan Ellis, Adam Henrique and...Greg Nemisz. As mentioned, Cundari was also a consistent triple digit penalty minute guy in the OHL, despite only standing 5'10". I don't know if that means he's some sort of human honey badger or just takes a lot of hooking and high-sticking penalties...

Cundari has had a decent if unremarkable career in the AHL since turning pro. He leads the less than potent Peoria Riverman in scoring from the blueline so far this season with seven goals and 25 points in 56 games. When I talked to Corey Pronman about Cundari recently he noted the defender was tough but realtively small guy who can move the puck well. He apparently doesn't have a high skill set/ceiling however and will probably top out as a third pairing guy if he makes the NHL.

Mark has already joined the Abbotsford Heat and will playing the remaining few games with the club. It wouldn't surprise me if he gets a look with the big team at some point down the stretch as well.

Reto Berra - 26 years old, G

The goaltender is a far bigger wildcard in this deal. Originally drafted in the 4th round back in 2006 (the same year as Leland Irving), Berra has played his entire career in Switzerland, so is a virtual unknown. Feaster has said recently that the Flames scouts identified Berra as "one of the best goalies outside the NHL", but I'm not sure that's indicative of anything. Flames management has been eager to heap hyperbole on players and additions these last few seasons under Feaster and puckstoppers tend to be voodoo anyways - GMs and scouts misidentify goalie talent more often than probably any other position.

Which means this really could go either way. I find it somewhat suspicious that the team who drafted Berra has never really endeavoured to bring him over the pond despite having some pretty obvious goalie issues (both this season and in years past when they were trading high-end prospects for Jaro Halak and signing flops like Brian Elliot), but maybe the player had no interest in playing in NA at the time.

Goaltending is the one area where you can sometimes pluck a 20/30-something guy out of an obscure league in Europe and actually strike gold. Jonas Hiller, Niklas Backstrom, Viktor Fasth and Tim Thomas are notable recent examples. Of course, there is also flops like Jonas Gustavsson, Henrik Karlsson, Erik Ersberg that have proved that there are no guarantees here.

Berra's numbers in the NLA (Swiss pro league) are, to be blunt, underwhelming. If you click through the various links above, you'll notice most of the those guys were posting save rates that would be very good-excellent even in the NHL before they established themselves in the show. That's not true of Berra who hovers around the .905-.910 SV% in his pro career. This season he is 9th amongst NLA goalies with a .906 SV%, just behind former NHLer Jussi Markanen (.910).

UPDATE - Eliteprospects scout/writer Matias Strozyk had this to say about Berra when I asked him about the newest Flame goaltender today:

He's one of the better Swiss goalies, but still only 26 years old. A big guy with great athleticism and movement. Had a very good season in 11/12, this year the whole team struggled and only barely missed the playouts. His Biel contract ended and he won't be staying. Wants to head to North America next, so he would definitely be interested in going over for 13/14.

On why Berra never came over and challenged for a spot on the Blues:

If what I remember is correct, the Blues drafted him in '06 and were pretty cramped goalie-wise. That was the time Marek Schwarz was there too. I remember talking to him about all the competition and him, Bacashihua, Legace, Sanford, Lalime etc. trying to get games in St. Louis/Peoria. Berra also had a couple of low-profile seasons after his draft year and only became a regular NLA starter in 09/10 after switching from Davos to Biel. Now he's determined to move on after 4 years there.

Conclusion

Like the Iginla trade, the prospects coming back for Bouwmeester are fairly underwhelming - an undrafted AHL defenseman who might challenge for a third pairing job and a 26 year old pro goaltender who has never played the NA game and probably wasn't even in the Blues plans moving forward. One or both guys might become something of value down the road (because you just never know) but they really look like the sort of extra pieces that pretty much any organization has floating around at any given time.

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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#2 dotfras
April 02 2013, 11:29AM
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Philly was never trading Couturier - especially not for an overpriced J Bo.

Reality Check Flames fans.

There's a reason we have an abysmal record (our players aren't as good as we make them out to be).

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#3 the-wolf
April 02 2013, 10:33AM
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Sports Forecaster lists 8 goalies for the Blues - Berra was not one of them. We traded for, at best, the Blues' 9th best goalie.

More Feaster hyperbole, as you note. Clearly, they hope to just throw out a wide net and hope they catch the Miika in it.

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#4 Bezer
April 02 2013, 10:33AM
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Hey but we have cap space right !!?!?? (Le sigh)

I have one foot off the ledge at this point..

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#5 the-wolf
April 02 2013, 10:34AM
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etownman wrote:

Rubberbadger, would be nice if the Oil beat St. Lou out of playoff spot & Flames lose 1st rounder! Poetic!

Worse, realistic.

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#6 backburner
April 02 2013, 10:47AM
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Why not try to obtain one of the best goalies IN the NHL?

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#7 backburner
April 02 2013, 10:58AM
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bookofloob wrote:

YOOOOOOOOUUUUUUNNNNGGG GGGGUUUUNNNNNNNNNSSSSS

Only with a z this time

Young Guns Part II

Where the real fans suffer... the bandwagon jumpers break there ankles..

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#8 IMPEACH FEASTER
April 02 2013, 11:02AM
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The goaltender is going to come in and compete with Ramo and MacDonald in the fall, but only somebody coming out of Oz would believe that we have the top 2 goaltenders in the world not playing in the NHL.

I like the defenseman prospect and think based on what I read that he has a lot of Giordano potential to him. Giordano was not an NHL regular after his first three seasons and had to go to the KHL in order to get the experience to make the Flames. That said, he is a prospect you could have gotten for a 4th or 5th round pick at the draft.

I understand that at this time with the contract and the cap situation that there might not have been more than a few high end teams that would have done a deal for him, but then why be forced into something now?

This deal reminds me of the Kotalik deal. Send a 2nd round draft choice to Buffalo so that Edwards does not have to pay out $4M. In this case it was don’t worry about bringing back a high end prospect like Rattie if it means that Edwards is going to have to pay out $3M of Bouwmeester’s salary when he is in St Louis. The press conference where Feaster says that he must not have been using any intellectual honesty when evaluating the team, when almost every hockey person around was saying that they needed to rebuild three years ago. His intelligence is what we are supposed to trust when making trades for assets.

Until they fire King and Feaster I just cannot be a fan of this hockey team. I would rather have Milbury, Risebrough, Button, or Ferguson Jr as our general manager than have Feaster doing the job. This is an ugly long term never ending death spiral this franchise is in. The “young gun” era will seem like a walk through the Wonka chocolate factory compared to what the organization is about to embark on if they decide to keep King and Feaster in charge.

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#10 Sanintarious
April 02 2013, 11:20AM
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While I am happy with all the first round picks...I am completely underwhelmed with the prospects we picked up for these guys.

Dallas just got a fairly good prospect for Derek Roy and a second. I would have been okay with a second round pick and a more proven prospect then these out of left field type prospects.

This all goes back to the draft when the Flames went way off the board with their first round pick. For a team with very poor drafting history, going off the board is a silly silly move.

The UFA list for next year is also very underwhelming....Feaster is really shooting for the sky hoping some big contract players become available to get teams under the cap.

IF THE FLAMES TRADE GLENCROSS I WILL ABSOLUTELY LOSE IT. A 25+ goal scorer for under 3m a season?! those don't grow on tree's.

Going to be an interest next few months....

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#11 Tommynotsohuge
April 02 2013, 11:33AM
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Just remember guys. We couldn't have paid someone to take Jaybo off us last year. I think the dman could work out. I have no idea what is going on with the goalie kid, but I think we could package the two low 1st round picks to hopefully move up into the top ten. Look on the bright side guys. We've been asking for this for years. Now we've got it. Wait until the draft, then start bitching if Feaster royally screws it up ( which he probably will)

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#12 ChinookArch
April 02 2013, 11:54AM
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I know there's a lot of talk surrounding Kipprusoff's possible trade. I'd rather see Cammalleri go (with his elephant in the room contract). If Feaster could parlay a trade for a 1st. I might actually forgive him for the Bouwmeester give away.

I just can't get my head wrapped around Berra. Feaster must have been a sleep when the Blue's slipped him in as a target. A 26 year old replacement level SWISS league player. $10 says Ramo doesn't leave the KHL and has no intention of coming back to the NHL. Why else is Feaster so desperate to deal for goalies.

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#13 JL
April 02 2013, 12:21PM
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Just Sayin wrote:

I notice that Flames fans like to refer to Edmonton as Shelbyville. That's funny because what has entertained us over the years about that program is the idiocy of the residents of Springfield. And the reason the residents of Springfield dislike Shelbyville is because they are jealous of Shelbyville and its residents. They are always trying to equal or one up Shelbyville because of their own insecurities.

Sometimes I genuinely question the intelligence of the participants from Calgary on this website.

Just an observation.

Its True,

I’m Jealous of Shelbyvilles Mall, truly a attraction, definitely an insecurity of mine.

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#14 RexLibris
April 02 2013, 01:09PM
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@Colin.S

Douglas Murray got the Sharks two 2nd round picks.

I suspect that Tambellini is waiting on Ryan Whitney hoping that he can get an overpay in that range (although probably a prospect/player in lieu of picks).

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#15 Rubberbadger
April 02 2013, 10:22AM
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Sounds like Cundari is hurt (wrist), and will not be playing with anyone any time soon.... ug

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#17 Rubberbadger
April 02 2013, 10:26AM
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I also truly don't like that our 1st rounder this year is riding on JBow making the playoffs.... he never makes the playoffs

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#18 etownman
April 02 2013, 10:31AM
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Rubberbadger, would be nice if the Oil beat St. Lou out of playoff spot & Flames lose 1st rounder! Poetic!

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#19 Vintage Flame
April 02 2013, 10:37AM
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etownman wrote:

Rubberbadger, would be nice if the Oil beat St. Lou out of playoff spot & Flames lose 1st rounder! Poetic!

Actually, it's not that bad of a scenario. If the Blues don't make the playoffs we would get their 4th round pick this year and their 1st next year.

Calgary would then have 2 firsts next year and two this year... And I don't think they're done yet.

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#20 backburner
April 02 2013, 10:41AM
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This seems like a salary dump trade... why not try for Couturier or the very least Rattie? Brutal.

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#21 Danger
April 02 2013, 10:42AM
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etownman wrote:

Rubberbadger, would be nice if the Oil beat St. Lou out of playoff spot & Flames lose 1st rounder! Poetic!

Not going to pretend that wouldn't suck for the flames, but they would still get the Blues' 4th round pick this year plus their 1st round pick next year. Of course if that happens, then I'll have to predict that next year the Blues will win the President's trophy.

If this is what it feels like to be Shelbyville, I gotta say I don't much care for it.

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#22 danglesnipecelly
April 02 2013, 10:48AM
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@Vintage Flame

Anyone know what the record is for the most 1st round picks in a single draft?

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#23 Stockley
April 02 2013, 10:49AM
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backburner wrote:

Why not try to obtain one of the best goalies IN the NHL?

Having one of the best goalies in the NHL is what got the Flames into this mess to begin with. Kipper stole more than his share of wins and deluded the Flames braintrust and more than a few of their fans into thinking they were realistically a decent team. Now thet Miika has come back to earth this season they've revealed their true colors.

Time to suffer for a few years and hope the rebuild is more Blackhawks/Penguins than Oilers/Panthers.

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#24 Stockley
April 02 2013, 10:50AM
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danglesnipecelly wrote:

Anyone know what the record is for the most 1st round picks in a single draft?

I know the Avs had 4 one year. They chose Tanguay and Regehr in that draft. I think one of the other picks was used on Ramzi Abid. Can't remember who they used/wasted the other pick on. Not sure if that's the record or not, but it's the most I can recall.

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#25 Bikeit
April 02 2013, 10:50AM
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I was thinking about it this morning and with all the Salary cap issues arising next year could you potentially see Bouwmeester as a rental for the playoffs. Saint Louis might just have to buy him out next year, with all the guy's they have to sign and make it under the 60 million cap. Players getting overpaid compared to production will be cast overboard next year. Boumeester would have been a candidate for this in the first place if they had kept him. Kent wrote on this awhile back i believe.

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#26 bookofloob
April 02 2013, 10:51AM
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YOOOOOOOOUUUUUUNNNNGGG GGGGUUUUNNNNNNNNNSSSSS

Only with a z this time

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#27 joeyjoejoejr
April 02 2013, 11:02AM
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it seems like GMs are treating their first rounders like gold this year. i know there's a lot of hoopla about this being a deep year, does that help explain some of these diminished returns?

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#28 Bean-counting cowboy
April 02 2013, 11:03AM
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Return could've been better, we may have had to take salary back, but trading him this year is better than next year because he is playing so well and trading our best D helps ensure one of Jones, MackKinnon, Barkov or Drouin.

Jay would have helped us too much this year and we may likely have drafted 6th, which is a bad number for the Flames to draft at given their history with that pick.

Keep it in the top 4 Feaster!! If you end up drafting fourth - that Barkov looks awful good. NHL sized body already. This year's version of Landeskog in the draft if you ask me. Already PPG in pro men's league.

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#29 Colin.S
April 02 2013, 11:06AM
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So lets look at our list of goalies shall we:

Kipper Ramo Irving MacDonald Ortio Taylor Broissoit Gillies

and now Berra

I see ONE goalie on that list that I believe is worth a damn at this point, hint he's really tall.

Kipper will be gone at deadline or seasons end, either through trade or retirement. I don't trust Ramo, he went from Abysmal AHL/NHL numbers to just down right Hall of Fame numbers in Russia. The rest are either barely replacements or just below that. Broissoit may be good, but I have less faith in him than Gillies.

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#30 Victoria Flames Fan
April 02 2013, 11:10AM
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Kent, Any idea where the human honey badger will line up in Abby?

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#32 Stockley
April 02 2013, 11:29AM
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Sanintarious wrote:

While I am happy with all the first round picks...I am completely underwhelmed with the prospects we picked up for these guys.

Dallas just got a fairly good prospect for Derek Roy and a second. I would have been okay with a second round pick and a more proven prospect then these out of left field type prospects.

This all goes back to the draft when the Flames went way off the board with their first round pick. For a team with very poor drafting history, going off the board is a silly silly move.

The UFA list for next year is also very underwhelming....Feaster is really shooting for the sky hoping some big contract players become available to get teams under the cap.

IF THE FLAMES TRADE GLENCROSS I WILL ABSOLUTELY LOSE IT. A 25+ goal scorer for under 3m a season?! those don't grow on tree's.

Going to be an interest next few months....

Maybe Jay is betting on some good players being bought out with the amnesty clause this summer so cap teams can become cap compliant? Who knows.

This is becoming a train wreck and none of us seem to be looking away. We're just waiting to see what happens next.

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#33 Sanintarious
April 02 2013, 11:32AM
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Who knows....maybe stocking up the firsts will come in handy come the draft. Might be able to pick up a really solid player for 1 of the 3 first round picks. Obviously not the Flames first round picks. Would be solid to get another first round pick....but that would likely have to be Glencross, and I'd certainly prefer to keep him then get another low first round pick for him.

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#34 Stockley
April 02 2013, 11:34AM
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Sanintarious wrote:

Who knows....maybe stocking up the firsts will come in handy come the draft. Might be able to pick up a really solid player for 1 of the 3 first round picks. Obviously not the Flames first round picks. Would be solid to get another first round pick....but that would likely have to be Glencross, and I'd certainly prefer to keep him then get another low first round pick for him.

The only way I'd be content to see Glencross go is if he really wants out. Only fair to give these veterans the option to move along if they don't want to stay through the rough period. If he wants to stay they'd best keep him. He's an Alberta boy, loves the city, loves the cowboy culture, etc. He'd look good with a C on his chest.

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#35 Danger
April 02 2013, 11:35AM
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@bookofloob, Kent Wilson

Young Guns 2: Gun Younger

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#36 danglesnipecelly
April 02 2013, 11:36AM
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And Jagr goes to Boston for two prospects and a draft pick. No details yet but probably the same package as they offered for Iggy.

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#37 Sanintarious
April 02 2013, 11:38AM
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Stockley wrote:

The only way I'd be content to see Glencross go is if he really wants out. Only fair to give these veterans the option to move along if they don't want to stay through the rough period. If he wants to stay they'd best keep him. He's an Alberta boy, loves the city, loves the cowboy culture, etc. He'd look good with a C on his chest.

I really feel Iginla will be back next year. I just can't see how Pittsburgh will get him under the cap with an extension.

I fully believe if Pittsburgh can't sign him, he will return to the Flames.

Maybe its wishful thinking, but I think he will come home and wants to stay in the city.

IF this does happen, then loaning him for a couple months for a first and 2 "prospects" looks much much better.

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#38 FireOnIce
April 02 2013, 11:39AM
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Jagr just got traded to Boston for 2 prospects and a pick. Why do I think their names are Bartkowski and Kokachocolatov?

I won't feel so bad about the Iginla trade returns if Jagr nets the exact same return. You know, considering he's got a longer, more storied career.

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#39 Stockley
April 02 2013, 11:41AM
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Sanintarious wrote:

I really feel Iginla will be back next year. I just can't see how Pittsburgh will get him under the cap with an extension.

I fully believe if Pittsburgh can't sign him, he will return to the Flames.

Maybe its wishful thinking, but I think he will come home and wants to stay in the city.

IF this does happen, then loaning him for a couple months for a first and 2 "prospects" looks much much better.

If he wins a cup, maybe. If he doesn't? He either stays in Pitts or signs with a contender. Now that he took the plunge and is gone he won't return as a player until he's got that cup ring.

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#40 FireOnIce
April 02 2013, 11:45AM
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Re: Iginla coming back to Calgary.

ONLY if he wins a cup in Pittsburgh THIS SEASON. Otherwise, he's going to keep trying and will not come back to Calgary. Why would you get back on the Titanic if you were already in a life raft to safety?

I'm sure MGMT hopes he comes back too. There's a reason they didn't name a captain yet, and it's probably because they promised it to Iginla if he came back.

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#41 Lordmork
April 02 2013, 11:45AM
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According to this, we're signing Berra to a 1-year, 925k deal.

http://www.20min.ch/sport/eishockey/story/Berra-wechselt-fuer-ein-Jahr-zum-NHL-Klub-Calgary-31990338

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#43 Colin.S
April 02 2013, 11:56AM
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ChinookArch wrote:

I know there's a lot of talk surrounding Kipprusoff's possible trade. I'd rather see Cammalleri go (with his elephant in the room contract). If Feaster could parlay a trade for a 1st. I might actually forgive him for the Bouwmeester give away.

I just can't get my head wrapped around Berra. Feaster must have been a sleep when the Blue's slipped him in as a target. A 26 year old replacement level SWISS league player. $10 says Ramo doesn't leave the KHL and has no intention of coming back to the NHL. Why else is Feaster so desperate to deal for goalies.

Why would Ramo leave, he is one of the best goalies in the KHL and he'd have to come back to the Mess that is the Calgary Flames. I have serious doubts now he is coming back, and if so, I don't even want to know what our goalie situation looks like next year.

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#44 ChinookArch
April 02 2013, 11:58AM
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FireOnIce wrote:

Re: Iginla coming back to Calgary.

ONLY if he wins a cup in Pittsburgh THIS SEASON. Otherwise, he's going to keep trying and will not come back to Calgary. Why would you get back on the Titanic if you were already in a life raft to safety?

I'm sure MGMT hopes he comes back too. There's a reason they didn't name a captain yet, and it's probably because they promised it to Iginla if he came back.

Actually, my conspiracy theory of the day makes me think, it's Bouwmeester coming back next season, not Iginla. The Blues can't afford him for more than just a rental. I also don't believe they want to jettison their young core of players.

It will never happen, but I would forgive Feaster and put a crown on his head, if he pulled that off.

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#45 the-wolf
April 02 2013, 12:02PM
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ChinookArch wrote:

Actually, my conspiracy theory of the day makes me think, it's Bouwmeester coming back next season, not Iginla. The Blues can't afford him for more than just a rental. I also don't believe they want to jettison their young core of players.

It will never happen, but I would forgive Feaster and put a crown on his head, if he pulled that off.

Wherever JBo goes next,it will be a playoff team for sure.

Yeah, one does have to wonder about Ramo now. I can't remember? Is his team out of the playoffs now?

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#46 piscera.infada
April 02 2013, 12:05PM
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As far as these "shoddy" prospects go, I understand they are not blue-chippers.

However, people grunt and moan about the fact our prospects never turn out. So, how does an organization get their prospects to develop and come to the NHL at a high level?

While there are many answers to that question, I believe one that is consistently overlooked is that you need to not only create a winning culture within your minor league teams, but (perhaps) more importantly, you have to create competition between ALL your prospects.

Great organizations are the ones in which all your prospects have to compete regardless of if they're a first rounder or a seventh rounder. Therefore, we can often argue that we blew our early round picks, but I would argue that we threw away our mid and late round picks, and stomped on them repeatedly.

Depth begets depth, and success begets success.

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#47 Stockley
April 02 2013, 12:07PM
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the-wolf wrote:

Wherever JBo goes next,it will be a playoff team for sure.

Yeah, one does have to wonder about Ramo now. I can't remember? Is his team out of the playoffs now?

I don't think his team will release him from his deal until it expires at the end of the month because they don't want to lose him and are probably throwing money at him to stay.

It all comes down to how badly does Ramo want to be a goalie in the NHL? Nightmare scenario or not he'll never play in North America again if he doesn't put a Flames jersey on first.

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#48 Just Sayin
April 02 2013, 12:12PM
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I notice that Flames fans like to refer to Edmonton as Shelbyville. That's funny because what has entertained us over the years about that program is the idiocy of the residents of Springfield. And the reason the residents of Springfield dislike Shelbyville is because they are jealous of Shelbyville and its residents. They are always trying to equal or one up Shelbyville because of their own insecurities.

Sometimes I genuinely question the intelligence of the participants from Calgary on this website.

Just an observation.

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#49 Big Ell
April 02 2013, 12:16PM
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Isn't the whole point of this sell off to be terrible next year as well. At this rate we are going to have another very high pick next year. It doesn't really matter which goalie we throw to the wolves next year. Whether it is Ramo, McDonald, Berra etc. Unless Feaster plans on bringing in a new group consisting of amnesty buyouts. God I hope not.

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#50 McRib
April 02 2013, 12:20PM
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What is it with the Flames goaltender overload?!?!?!? If I were a betting man, I would say $100 bucks we draft another Goalie in the third round of this years draft!!! lol. If we trade Kipper I know what’s coming back.... Another Goalie!!!

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