FGD: Still Stuff to Care About

Kent Wilson
April 05 2013 04:05PM

 

 

The Flames are in San Jose taking on the Sharks tonight, but the opponent is all but immaterial. Calgary's not making the playoffs, so their competitiveness and the quality of their foes is more or less irrelevant for the duration.

That said, there are still reasons to care about outcomes and watch the scoreboard. First, of course, is the race to the bottom. There are currently 3 horses battling for 30th overall: the Flames, the Avalanche and the Panthers. Calgary is tied with Florida at 30 points, but has two games in hand. The Avalanche are bottom of the league with 28 points and have played one more game than Calgary. The only other clubs within hailing distance of the top-3 lottery are Buffalo and Tampa Bay, each with 34 points so far.

Of the dive for five combatants, only Calgary and Buffalo sold hard at the deadline. The Sabres shed Jason Pominville and Robyn Regehr while the Flames, of course, nixed Iginla, Bouwmeester, Comeau and, for all intents and purposes, Kiprusoff. Of the teams hoping to choose first overal, Calgary might be the worst (certainly the most gutted) which improves their chances of picking in the top-3 for the first time franchise history this coming June.

In addition, Flames fans should also be cheering for the St. Louis Blues, who currently hold down the 8th seed in the West. Calgary's 2013 first rounder from the Bouwmeester deal is conditional on the Blues making the dance and having three bullets in what is roundly considered one of the best drafts in recent memory is a really good way to start out the new era. St. Louis beat the Blackhawks last night while the Oilers fell to Vancouver, increasing the Blues' playoff odds favorably to about 83%.

Losing to the Sharks this evening helps the Flames cause #1 (which is frankly more important) but only marginally hinders cause #2 (San Jose is already 4 points clear of the Blues). For from a strictly pragmatic point of view, then, losing is optimal this evening.

The Line-up

Suffering a road record 12th (I think?) straight defeat shouldn't be too much of a challenge. The team is mediocre on paper to begin with and the skaters have collectively played like some strangled their puppy before their eyes the last few days. In addition, the dreadful goaltending that has submarined the Flames season continues unabated.

  • Glencross - Stajan - Stempniak
  • Horak - Cammalleri - Tanguay
  • Cervenka - Backlund - Hudler
  • Jackman - Begin - McGrattan

  • Brodie - Wideman
  • Sarich - Butler
  • Babchuk - Carson

  • Kiprusoff

On top of all that, Mark Giordano is out of the line-up celebrating the birth of his first child, meaning the number of capable NHLers on the Flames blueline gets whittled down to about two.

The Stajan line had an okay game despite the score vs Edmonton and the Flames surprising 4th unit with checkers and ruffians has been the only one to really outplay the opponent consistently the last week or so. You can tell the shifting gears of the organization and club hasn't really altered their lives or focus on the ice - they keep plugging away in the same fashion as always. Kudos to them all.

The Opponent

It's the Sharks. They have Thornton and Pavelski and Marleau and Boyle and Burns and...well you get the idea. They're a much better team than the Flames are currently. If they don't win tonight they should be ashamed.

Sum It up

The season is over. What's left on the ice is this evening perfunctory. Keep your eyes on the out of town scorebaord, though.

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 Peter
April 05 2013, 04:23PM
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Keys to Victory:

Keep it within five, would'ya?

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#2 beloch
April 05 2013, 04:24PM
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Last 10 games:

Sharks: 7-3-0
Flames: 3-7-0

Yeah...

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#3 Avalain
April 05 2013, 04:27PM
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I think McGrattan is going to lead us in scoring this time!

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#4 beloch
April 05 2013, 04:31PM
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I honestly can't bring myself to watch the Flames play while cheering against them. I think I'll tune into the Iginla game and go to bed early. Hey, there's still snow on the slopes!

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#5 GermanFlame
April 05 2013, 04:41PM
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I might be the only one but I am more afraid of the Blues making the playoffs and drawing Anaheim in the first round than the Blues not making the playoffs.

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#6 Eric Gold
April 05 2013, 04:49PM
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Hi Kent; I really enjoy your comments and analysis. If Calgary finishes in the bottom 5 what is the maximum number of draft positions they call fall when picking in the first round?

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#7 Craig
April 05 2013, 04:56PM
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I'm watching Nathan Mackinnon now. I really hope we can fall that far, the kid's got skills.

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#8 mattyc
April 05 2013, 05:02PM
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@Eric Gold

I believe the worst they can do is 1 slot below where they finish (i.e anyone below them that misses the playoffs wins the lottery).

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#10 TheoForever
April 05 2013, 05:10PM
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Isn't Smith wearing a cast?

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#11 Petemaherrock a
April 05 2013, 05:11PM
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Why not call up alui and any other ruffian types and lets lose games but punch out some teeth on the way there

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#12 Jibmeister
April 05 2013, 05:26PM
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Smith is on IR.

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#13 Captain Ron
April 05 2013, 05:31PM
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Craig wrote:

I'm watching Nathan Mackinnon now. I really hope we can fall that far, the kid's got skills.

They can and they probably will fall that far. Dead last is a very real possibility.

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#14 Subversive
April 05 2013, 05:37PM
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Everybody knows Shark >Flame>Lizard>Spock.

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#15 mattyc
April 05 2013, 05:41PM
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...so our third pairing is Babchuck and Carson? oie.

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#17 mk
April 05 2013, 05:47PM
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beloch wrote:

I honestly can't bring myself to watch the Flames play while cheering against them. I think I'll tune into the Iginla game and go to bed early. Hey, there's still snow on the slopes!

I'm with you, I'm SUPER excited for Iginla and want to see him/them dominate the rest of the season. Hopefully.

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#18 bookofloob
April 05 2013, 05:51PM
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Key to the game: SCOTT HANNAN. The defense runs through him

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#19 Captain Ron
April 05 2013, 05:57PM
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Our starting D for tonight's game is funny in a sick sort of way.

Watching Babchuk the other night was an insult to hockey players everywhere.

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#20 DieHard
April 05 2013, 06:03PM
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GermanFlame wrote:

I might be the only one but I am more afraid of the Blues making the playoffs and drawing Anaheim in the first round than the Blues not making the playoffs.

too funny. could happen. Wouldn't that be just grand.

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#21 DieHard
April 05 2013, 06:06PM
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@Kent Wilson

Kent

Not sure if you've been asked or not. If you had first choice would you take Jones or a centerman. If center - who?

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#23 DieHard
April 05 2013, 06:26PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

I haven't decided quite yet. I've only given the players a cursory glance to tell you the truth.

My rule of thumb is not to go with a defenseman. Like goalies, they are harder to project than forwards. A high-end defender can have the greatest impact on the team (if he is a Pronger or Lidstrom guy), but very often even high draft picks turn out to be Bogosians, Johnsons and Bouwmeesters.

Those aren't bad consolation prizes, of course, but the difference is profound: if Jones is Pronger-esque, I pick him. Otherwise, go with one of the forwards.

Yes, it will be a tough decision for the Flames if they have the first pick). You (re)build from the back-end out and/or down the middle. If the Flames pick a winger they may be sorry. Hard to say though.

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#24 First Name Unidentified
April 05 2013, 06:49PM
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DieHard wrote:

Yes, it will be a tough decision for the Flames if they have the first pick). You (re)build from the back-end out and/or down the middle. If the Flames pick a winger they may be sorry. Hard to say though.

I just may be biased about this whole issue, but you HAVE to go with a centre. There is a decent possibility of that C turning into a Toews or Stamkos or Tavares or Kessler or Spezza or Kopitar or even Malking or Crosby.

Vs a possibility of Bogosians, Johnsons, Phaneufs or Bouwmeesters (as Kent pointed out).

You have to go with a Centre!

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#25 danglesnipecelly
April 05 2013, 06:55PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

I haven't decided quite yet. I've only given the players a cursory glance to tell you the truth.

My rule of thumb is not to go with a defenseman. Like goalies, they are harder to project than forwards. A high-end defender can have the greatest impact on the team (if he is a Pronger or Lidstrom guy), but very often even high draft picks turn out to be Bogosians, Johnsons and Bouwmeesters.

Those aren't bad consolation prizes, of course, but the difference is profound: if Jones is Pronger-esque, I pick him. Otherwise, go with one of the forwards.

I was going to ask a similar question... given the standings we should get a crack at either McKinnon or Barkov but if Drouin is on the board can we pass him up? I know we need a left wing prospect like we need a hole in the head but they're starting to compare this guy to Datsyuk!

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#26 Alt
April 05 2013, 07:02PM
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I was looking for strong leadership signs from Jones in the World Junior's.Did'nt see it.He came on strong in the end,but other teamate's led the charge

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#27 Craig
April 05 2013, 07:03PM
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Drouin is absolutely amazing to watch, a lot of the time he looks better and more skilled than Mackinnon. He's got heart too.

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#28 danglesnipecelly
April 05 2013, 07:09PM
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Interesting tweet from CapGeek today:

"Fourteen NHL teams have less than$1.8M to spend per open roster spot next season. Average salary is $2.45M"

This is an unusual situation coming up next year. The RFA list is packed with good players and there's going to be a few that teams just can't jam in under the cap.

Say what you will about our current situation but at least we have some shopping money!

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#29 mattyc
April 05 2013, 07:12PM
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I gotta think you go for MacKinnon. But Barkov seems really interesting too - especially considering he's playing in a men's league. But i'd still go for MacKinnon. If I was buiding a team, I'd start with, as a baseline, try to focus as much as possible on good skaters, and by all accounts, MacKinnon is an excellent skater.

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#30 SmellOfVictory
April 05 2013, 07:19PM
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Also, ideally we want the Blues to make it in as a low seed. Preferable first round matchup would be either Chicago or LA, as they have the best chance of knocking the Blues out right away (and thus assuring the Flames a draft pick in the teens rather than the twenties).

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#31 DieHard
April 05 2013, 07:26PM
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SmellOfVictory wrote:

Also, ideally we want the Blues to make it in as a low seed. Preferable first round matchup would be either Chicago or LA, as they have the best chance of knocking the Blues out right away (and thus assuring the Flames a draft pick in the teens rather than the twenties).

Smart thinking.

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#32 First Name Unidentified
April 05 2013, 07:31PM
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What would it take for the Avs or the Panthers to give up their 1st in favor of our 2 firsts from PIT and STL? Just curious?

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#33 BurningSensation
April 05 2013, 08:20PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

I haven't decided quite yet. I've only given the players a cursory glance to tell you the truth.

My rule of thumb is not to go with a defenseman. Like goalies, they are harder to project than forwards. A high-end defender can have the greatest impact on the team (if he is a Pronger or Lidstrom guy), but very often even high draft picks turn out to be Bogosians, Johnsons and Bouwmeesters.

Those aren't bad consolation prizes, of course, but the difference is profound: if Jones is Pronger-esque, I pick him. Otherwise, go with one of the forwards.

I'm with you on the 'unless it's Pronger/Lidstrom' bus as far as taking a D-man 1st overall, but that is sort of the problem here. Jones is now regarded in that class (though more Pronger than Lidstrom I would think).

The other risk is Drouin. I adore the kids game, but I would be VERY hesitant to make him our top choice, especially given who else might be on the board.

My own top 5;

1. MacKinnon 2. Barkov 3. Lindholm 4. Nichushkin (though I flip back and forth between him and Lindholm at #4) 5. Drouin 6. Jones

Wny? Because even if Drouin is super-elite, he's still a winger, and even if Jones is super-elite, he's a defenseman.

The opportunity exists for the Flames to do the classic 'build down the middle', and what's more they may even get the chance to pick two guys at center to solidify the position for a decade or more (I could see Nichushkin falling ala Grigorenko, the Flames moving up to snag a 2nd center, or even drafting another pivot later on who ends up being a high-ender),

My worst fear? We pick at #5 and the top four pivots all go off the board and we HAVE to take Jones or Drouin.

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#34 SmellOfVictory
April 05 2013, 08:20PM
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First Name Unidentified wrote:

What would it take for the Avs or the Panthers to give up their 1st in favor of our 2 firsts from PIT and STL? Just curious?

Given historical draft move-ups, a lot. Generally a team will move up maybe five picks or so, and to do that in the middle of the first round often requires at least a 2nd round pick to be added, if not more.

If both picks end up in the teens (poor Iggy), the Flames might be able to parlay the pair of them into a top 10 pick (7thish, if we're feeling lucky?). Assuming the Avs and Panthers are in the top 3, it's unlikely anything short of an Earth-shattering deal would make them budge (I'm thinking like Giordano plus both of those 1st rounders). Only way I see the Flames successfully translating the two picks into a top 3 pick without a substantial overpayment is if Col or Fla scouts have decided that they've found their own Jankowski and would benefit from two 1st round picks, while thinking they will still grab their "best player in the draft"; and that's incredibly, incredibly unlikely.

@DieHard: too bad we can only pray for it to happen. Haha

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#35 SmellOfVictory
April 05 2013, 08:22PM
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PS How mad would everyone be if the Blues missed the playoffs and won the lottery this season? Like, burn everything mad? Or burn everything and then piss on it mad?

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#36 BurningSensation
April 05 2013, 08:23PM
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First Name Unidentified wrote:

What would it take for the Avs or the Panthers to give up their 1st in favor of our 2 firsts from PIT and STL? Just curious?

At a guess? Baertschi.

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#38 Captain Ron
April 05 2013, 08:59PM
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SmellOfVictory wrote:

PS How mad would everyone be if the Blues missed the playoffs and won the lottery this season? Like, burn everything mad? Or burn everything and then piss on it mad?

I'll take option number two.

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#39 schevvy
April 05 2013, 09:00PM
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So, I hope the Flames win tonight. They're gonna win on the road eventually, right? They've got more games to lose. Go Flames!

On a side note, this game could realistically end up 10-0 SJ.

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#40 DirkNoshitsky
April 05 2013, 09:00PM
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The St.Louis Blues are everything I want my Flames to be.

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#41 schevvy
April 05 2013, 09:03PM
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Also, this game is on NBC Sports Network in the States. Now everyone can watch the disaster!

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#42 Captain Ron
April 05 2013, 09:04PM
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mattyc wrote:

...so our third pairing is Babchuck and Carson? oie.

I feel sorry for Carson having to play with that guy.

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#43 schevvy
April 05 2013, 09:04PM
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HEY WE'RE ONLY 10 POINTS OUT OF 8th!! Going for it! Right? No.

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#44 schevvy
April 05 2013, 09:05PM
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St. Louis wins. Woo!

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#45 schevvy
April 05 2013, 09:08PM
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2 mins in. 0-0. Success!

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#47 schevvy
April 05 2013, 09:10PM
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Anton Babchuk. Worst d-man in the league.

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#48 Captain Ron
April 05 2013, 09:10PM
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danglesnipecelly wrote:

Interesting tweet from CapGeek today:

"Fourteen NHL teams have less than$1.8M to spend per open roster spot next season. Average salary is $2.45M"

This is an unusual situation coming up next year. The RFA list is packed with good players and there's going to be a few that teams just can't jam in under the cap.

Say what you will about our current situation but at least we have some shopping money!

Were going to have to spend some on defence and goaltending. Two areas the Flames need major improvements in.

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#50 Captain Ron
April 05 2013, 09:13PM
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Anton Babchuck soon to be out of the league forever. Worst Flames signing maybe of all time.

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