Five things: Oh I don't know

Ryan Lambert
May 30 2013 10:35AM

1. The Flames' draft strategy

So the NHL's website has been talking to various teams' officials in recent weeks and talking about the strategies those organizations will employ once the draft rolls around. Earlier this week, they talked to John Weisbrod about what the Flames plan to do.

And hey, look, I don't want to make it out like I'm immediately dismissive of their strategy late next month, but when he got right down to things, ideas like "drafting for need" came up. Which obviously infuriated me for different reasons.

"Once you get to the later rounds, drafting out of need becomes dangerous because you're talking about longer-term development projects and the immediate needs of your team from what the needs are going to be in two to three years," Weisbrod told NHL.com.

This obviously ignores the fact that this is the case, you know, with the guy they picked in the first round last year. In the case of most drafts, I think, once you get out of the first five picks, or even 10 at the very outside, you're waiting two or three years at least for prospects to develop into NHL-ready players, and that means that drafting for need is — you guessed it — stupid as hell. The idea that the Flames might get an NHL-ready guy at No. 6 (or slightly higher if they trade up) is a nice one, but even in deep drafts, how many guys taken outside the top 5 are that ready every year?

Weisbrod says that the draft is deepest at forward and he is of course right about that 100 percent. It just so happens the Flames' biggest need is at forward, any position, so whoever they get at No. 6 is likely to fit their need, but if that's the draft philosophy at 22 or 27-30, then this team is in deeper trouble than I thought.

2. Germane to that discussion

Another thing Weisbrod brought up, and it's one that I honestly hadn't considered, is the idea of trading some of their picks for roster help now. When I read that, I just started laughing.

I don't know who they'd target and I don't know why they'd do it, other than the fact that as Weisbrod says, they simply don't have the warm bodies to fill out an NHL roster this season. I think this probably goes back to the absurd mandate that the team must make the playoffs next season or heads will roll. It's an idea I think Flames fans should find distasteful, because it once again involves the acknowledgement of a need to rebuild without the actual desire to commit to it.

Who do they target on the trade market that's young enough to be impactful for several years while the team rebuilds and also can be had for a reasonable asking price that doesn't involve No. 6 overall? You have to think that list is extremely short.

3. Adios to Babchuk

So Anton Babchuk is joining short-term teammate Roman Cervenka in returning to the KHL, which is just about right. The Flames won't miss these guys more than they'd miss any other NHL-replacement-level AHLers, and maybe they'll be even happier because they won't have to pay them a combined $6.275 million against the cap (which, holy hell).

That got me thinking about just how bad the KHL must be if they'll welcome these guys with open arms after they flamed out so badly (no pun intended) with Calgary. They were both abjectly awful for the club, and this was one that had a lot of holes to fill and few options to fill them. When they couldn't hack it with the Calgary f'n Flames, the fact that anyone would take them at all should tell you everything you need to know about the quality of that league.

Hopefully for the Flames, this discourages Jay Feaster from ever wading back into that water in search of a high-quality player again. Honestly, can you think of any NHL players who were superstars in that Russian league who wound up being of even passable quality in the NHL? I'm having difficulty, and I think that's a good enough indicator that the well there should be considered extremely dry.

Yes, I know. Karri Ramo. We'll see how that goes. Don't expect it to go well.

4. TSN's offseason plans

Much like NHL.com doing a draft preview, TSN fantasy guru Scott Cullen is previewing the offseason plans of the various teams that didn't make the playoffs. As you might imagine, that stuff about the mandate to make the playoffs came up, which in turn prompted him to note two things:

1) That they might have been in the conversation at least if they got slightly-better-than-average goaltending, instead of substantially-below-average goaltending this year.

2) That there is a significant need to acquire high-quality players.

"Feaster's challenge is acquiring top-end talent, whether through draft, trades or free agent signings. While the Flames have solid pros scattered throughout the roster, they don't have guys at the top end of the talent scale," he wrote.

Well no kidding.

I can't remember who it was, but someone on Twitter earlier today brought up the idea that the Flames seem like the most likely team to make a run at Valtteri Filppula, and boy doesn't that sound right/like a bad idea? So of course that's exactly what's going to happen.

5. Sorry pardner

Go Pens I guess.

686dfac3780611cb7acad6ce5166c6c1
Yer ol' buddy Lambert is handsome and great and everyone loves him. Also you can visit his regular blog at The Two-Line Pass or follow him on Twitter. Lucky you!
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#51 piscera.infada
May 30 2013, 04:12PM
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@RexLibris

As has been stated here ad nauseum; I guess it depends on what Yzerman thinks he has. He has a star player in his prime at 7.5 mill a season, and as we've heard for more than a year, they're a goalie away from being a team that can compete. So if they want cap flexibility (they have just over 3 million for next year with 17 players under contract) then that's your greatest asset to offer.

Like I said, I don't think it will ever happen. I just kind of find the prospect interesting.

Sorry, I will stop beating this dead horse now.

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#52 schevvy
May 30 2013, 04:16PM
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Iggy :(

There is no chance in hell the Flames trade for Vinny and then proceed to buy him out. Remember, this is the same owner who would not spend the money to bury Kotalik in the minors. In comparison to Vinny's contract, Kotalik's deal was pocket change. So, unfortunately this will not happen.

Not really related, but I see that Reggie signed a new deal with LA. Is Darryl in charge there now? 3M per year for 2 years is a lot to give to a guy whose knees are shot. Always liked Reggie but that's a little nuts.

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#53 Baalzamon
May 30 2013, 04:18PM
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Graham wrote:

'Point 3: What did the Flames really give up for cervenka?'

Not much on paper, but Feaster was so convinced that Cervenka was a top 6 center that he didn't go out and actually sign one. Depth at center was one of the major failing's last year, and it really kicked the Flames in the behind. What did Cervenka cost us... a missed opportunity and points in the standings.

Oh, and we know the absolute plethora of 2nd line centers available. If only we could have signed... uh... um... well...

Oh right, there was nobody.

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#54 Baalzamon
May 30 2013, 04:20PM
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@schevvy

I don't think that applies, because the Flames were getting NOTHING out of Kotalik and his contract, whereas they'd be getting a top 3 pick out of Tampa's.

I'm not saying I think or hope it will happen--because neither is true--but the Kotalik situation is pretty much completely unrelated.

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#55 Avalain
May 30 2013, 05:03PM
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Graham wrote:

'Point 3: What did the Flames really give up for cervenka?'

Not much on paper, but Feaster was so convinced that Cervenka was a top 6 center that he didn't go out and actually sign one. Depth at center was one of the major failing's last year, and it really kicked the Flames in the behind. What did Cervenka cost us... a missed opportunity and points in the standings.

What top 6 center was there to be signed? If I remember correctly there was really no one. At least, no one who wanted to come here.

I'm pretty sure Feaster took what he could get.

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#56 Kent Wilson
May 30 2013, 06:12PM
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@BurningSensation

Tbay can't re-sign him I'm sure. Otherwise, I'd have to research.

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#57 Justin Azevedo
May 30 2013, 06:14PM
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@Kent Wilson

afaik tb could resign him if the flames were the ones to buy him out. the contractual commitment for the 2 mil would be with the flames, not the player, right?

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#58 seve927
May 30 2013, 06:17PM
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Baalzamon wrote:

I don't think that applies, because the Flames were getting NOTHING out of Kotalik and his contract, whereas they'd be getting a top 3 pick out of Tampa's.

I'm not saying I think or hope it will happen--because neither is true--but the Kotalik situation is pretty much completely unrelated.

Why would you not be hoping for a MacKinnon or Barkov to be added at no cost to the current or future roster? Or are you saying that you think there would be a cost?

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#59 BurningSensation
May 30 2013, 06:30PM
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Justin Azevedo wrote:

afaik tb could resign him if the flames were the ones to buy him out. the contractual commitment for the 2 mil would be with the flames, not the player, right?

That is my understanding as well, but if Tbay 'eats' salary in the trade that might make a difference.

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#60 please cancel acct
May 30 2013, 06:51PM
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Thanks for pissing everyone off Ryan ,as it always brings out the best reads from FN.

I share your pessimism with this management group,and would be very disappointed if they traded any of our first round picks ,unless the results were obviously in Calgary's favour.I can't remember the last time that happene

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#61 BurningSensation
May 30 2013, 07:57PM
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Kevin R wrote:

On the surface I would agree if Edwards wouldn't buy out Kotalik, why in Gods name would he look at Vinny's contract. Remember, we gave up a 2nd & took a crud return on Regehr to save him from the Kotalik contract. Thing is, back then, they felt they could tweak the roster & with Iggy & Kipper & JBO take a run at the playoffs. That 2nd we gave up had 0 value & Regehr return didn't hit a nerve. In fact he was saving millions. Fast forward to today. His 3 Franchise players in Iggy, JBO & Kipper are done. His franchise that is worth what 250 million & a cash cow with a new CBA has no franchise players left. 2million a year for the next 12 years (Vinny can play next year & then buy him out) for your future franchise face, wow, that's a cheap price. Suddenly, there is a lot more sense in this talk.

Agreed. The opportunity to leverage cash (which our owner has gobs of) into a possible franchise player (Drouin or Barkov) doesn't come around very often.

At the least I'd bet that the Flames brass have run this idea upwards to see if it is a possibility they can pursue.

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#62 Jeff Lebowski
May 30 2013, 08:26PM
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Did anyone else hear Conroy's interview on 960? Things I took away:

If his comments are in sync with the rest of management it seems they know there are no shortcuts to rebuilding. If they can move up they will even if it means moving a few assets. They aren't going to overpay FA and they realize they have to develop all the young players. The understanding of where they are is clear and they have a clear plan. It sounded good, honest and hinted at how analytical and level headed they are in decision making.

Conroy might make one helluva GM one day. I think Feaster is exposing him to all the facets and he's getting his hands dirty doing the work.

June 30 is going to be very exciting.

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#63 Primo
May 30 2013, 10:01PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Yeah I really hope the Flames aren't thinking of taking Fucale in the first round. Or any goalies in the top-90 picks for that matter.

Just heard an interview with the author of McKeen's Hockey website on QR 77. He rates Lindholm higher than Monahan. Compares him to a young Peter Foresberg. Fast and plenty of tenacity. Also big and skilled enough to be a top 6 centerman in the NHL. As much as he liked Monahan he mentioned that his lack of 'NHL' speed will be a challenge for him to be a top 6 centre. Labelled him a solid 3rd line centre. Not what the Flames need!

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#64 Greg
May 30 2013, 10:59PM
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@Kevin R

I thought compliance buyouts were last summer and this one only?

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#65 Baalzamon
May 30 2013, 11:12PM
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@Greg

The current CBA didn't even exist last summer.

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#66 Kevin R
May 30 2013, 11:42PM
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Greg wrote:

I thought compliance buyouts were last summer and this one only?

This year & next(to July 1 I believe) is when they have the ability to do the compliance buyout. We get the 3rd & 6th overall picks in this draft & this is going to make people forget the blowout & get totally behind the rebuild. I would bet there would be more excitement than the Oreilly offer sheet.

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#67 Franko J
May 31 2013, 04:14AM
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The wisest moves this team can make is to stay away from bad contracts and players who will have little or no impact to improving this team next year or in the future.

Stay away from Lecavalier. The Flames just moved Iginla, they have both Tanguay and Cammalleri, why take on more duds?

Instead of buy outs, why not try and trade roster players like Tanguay and Cammelleri for later round picks? After all if the Flames have done their due diligence with the upcoming draft, whoever they select with the later round picks should be an improvement over either one of those guys. IMO those two guys will never make this team a playoff contender and going forward have less than zero effect making this team any better. Move them for whatever is available and move on.

In reality any aspirations this team has of ever making it back into the playoffs begins with good drafting, great development and some luck in free agency. However does this current management have the necessary mentality and aptitude to make it possible?

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#68 please cancel acct
May 31 2013, 06:42AM
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BurningSensation wrote:

So, you'll be pissed if we make a trade, unless it's a good one, in which case it would make you happy if we make a trade?

Glad we got that cleared up.

This management group has not clearly won at trading any player,BS.I have little faith that they could pull it off here.

Is that clear enough for you.

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#69 Avalain
May 31 2013, 07:11AM
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Franko J wrote:

The wisest moves this team can make is to stay away from bad contracts and players who will have little or no impact to improving this team next year or in the future.

Stay away from Lecavalier. The Flames just moved Iginla, they have both Tanguay and Cammalleri, why take on more duds?

Instead of buy outs, why not try and trade roster players like Tanguay and Cammelleri for later round picks? After all if the Flames have done their due diligence with the upcoming draft, whoever they select with the later round picks should be an improvement over either one of those guys. IMO those two guys will never make this team a playoff contender and going forward have less than zero effect making this team any better. Move them for whatever is available and move on.

In reality any aspirations this team has of ever making it back into the playoffs begins with good drafting, great development and some luck in free agency. However does this current management have the necessary mentality and aptitude to make it possible?

We take on more duds because it gives us a much better chance of picking up a franchise player to lead the team for the next 15 years. Also we can pick up and then buyout lecavalier without any cost to the team (just a huge cost to the owners).

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#70 Scary Gary
May 31 2013, 07:27AM
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@Franko J

I'd hardly call Cammalleri a "dud", he's a bit overpaid relative to production but he's only 30 and still produces.

If a team were to get him for the playoffs based on his past performaces he'd be a beast. 13 goals, 19 points in 19 playoff games 2009-2010, 3 goals 10 points in 7 playoff games 2010-2011.

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#71 Ed Ward
May 31 2013, 07:52AM
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To me any deal that centres around taking on Vinny's contract and buying him out in exchange for the #3 pick is an absolute no brainer. It's a chance for Calgary to use its competitive advantage in resources to bolster the team for the future. However only a tiny sliver of the money used to pay Vinny would be coming from me so I don't think I'm in a position to make an unbiased call.

To me the likelihood of the deal occurring really depends on Edwards but I don't have much of a read on him.

I know he was a hardliner during the lockout but I'm not sure what that says about his willingness to eat Vinny's salary.

Does any one have a decent read on him? I'm open to conjecture but anyone who dealt with him or knows someone who dealt with him in business might help.

That being said, probably most of what we come up with will be anecdotes that we spin to fit our own narrative of the way the Flames have been run.

Still if some general consensus about Edwards emerges it might help shed some light on whether all this Vinny talk is pointless conjecture.

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#72 Rockmorton65
May 31 2013, 08:02AM
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What about Vinny and 3rd overall for the StL pick, Ramo and Tanguay? (KIDDING!!!!)

Seriously, I could see a trade like, Vinny & 3rd overall for the StL pick + a roster player/prospect.

The question seems to be - would Tampa consider it worthwhile to drop about twenty spots in a good draft to get out of an impending cap hell?

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#73 piscera.infada
May 31 2013, 08:39AM
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@BurningSensation

When I read ALT's comment, I assumed he meant the recent trades as well. Those are too young to judge in that they are entirely contingent on what happens with the first round picks. If those end up being impact players (in some form or another) we win the trade. Not to mention if those prospects can be roster players at some point, there's a little extra value added to the trades. Who knows? Maybe Agostino ends up being a solid top 9 forward, maybe Cundari ends up being a #4 d-man with a huge shot (which apparently he has in spades) to quarterback a #2 pp unit... You just don't know. But I don't think we can throw management under the bus on such trades quite yet.

I would assume the Iggy for Nieuwendyk trade was considered 'a loss' at the time. In hindsight, you'd make that trade today 100 percent of the time.

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#74 piscera.infada
May 31 2013, 08:41AM
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Jeff Lebowski wrote:

Did anyone else hear Conroy's interview on 960? Things I took away:

If his comments are in sync with the rest of management it seems they know there are no shortcuts to rebuilding. If they can move up they will even if it means moving a few assets. They aren't going to overpay FA and they realize they have to develop all the young players. The understanding of where they are is clear and they have a clear plan. It sounded good, honest and hinted at how analytical and level headed they are in decision making.

Conroy might make one helluva GM one day. I think Feaster is exposing him to all the facets and he's getting his hands dirty doing the work.

June 30 is going to be very exciting.

I just listened to it, and I am happy that there at least seems to be a plan in place.

I also like the fact that he alluded to the fact that management knows Janikowski was "a bit of a reach", and then proceeded to say the Flames aren't thinking that way this year.

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#75 thprop
May 31 2013, 09:52AM
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It's official....that is the last Lambert "contribution" I will read.

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#76 Kurt
May 31 2013, 10:40AM
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thprop wrote:

It's official....that is the last Lambert "contribution" I will read.

Does the truth hurt?

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#77 Derzie
May 31 2013, 12:32PM
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I'd rather sign Lanny McDonald than Vinny. The money is not my concern at all but what is my concern is the on-ice product and the morale of the team. When I heard 'no post-apex players' I took that to heart. If your age has anything greater than a 2 as the first digit, not what we need right now. We don't need big splashes or high risk home runs. We need sure things and players with a high probability of reaching a high ceiling. As does everybody but we need management to be solid right now and do the right thing for rebuilding this team. The ONLY player worth giving anything up for is McKinnon, and possibly Drouin. Proven in North American and on a big stage. Otherwise, draft the best guy your scouts can find. No time for riverboat gambling. We can't handle a big loss at this stage of the proceedings.

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#78 icedawg_42
May 31 2013, 01:19PM
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@thprop

Really? Where was he wrong? The Flames NHL roster is alarmingly thin right now. The prospect pool isn't anywhere near as deep as most people seem to want to believe. I will say it's on the right track (only compared to where it's been in the recent past) but without some solid draft picks and PATIENCE, the team is nowhere near out of the woods.

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#79 BurningSensation
May 31 2013, 02:58PM
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icedawg_42 wrote:

Really? Where was he wrong? The Flames NHL roster is alarmingly thin right now. The prospect pool isn't anywhere near as deep as most people seem to want to believe. I will say it's on the right track (only compared to where it's been in the recent past) but without some solid draft picks and PATIENCE, the team is nowhere near out of the woods.

Lambert was wrong;

- about the Flames draft strategy. Indeed, he went so far as to selectively quote Wiesbrod in order to be that wrong.

- He was wrong to be snide about trading a 1st for roster help now. There are dozens of guys I would cheerfully deal one of our first round picks for, but Lambert dismisses this possibility out of hand and with a sneer.

- He's wrong about the KHL not being home to any good players who might contribute to an NHL team (I note with some irony that Belov was just signed out of the KHL by the Oilers).

- He's wrong (at least IMO) that signing Fillpulla would be a bad thing for the Flames. Having a utility knife center who can move up and down the roster as needed, and one who is the right age to grow and mentor the younger players coming on-line is a solid commodity to have. He won't be a cap buster at $10m a year, but something like the Hudler contract (a guy he used to play with) would be appropriate and help the team avoid developing the 'abandon all hope ye who play here' attitude that now defines Oilers hockey.

Lambert is one of those people openly cheering for the Flames to be brutal for a five year span, and he refuses to believe that there are other ways to rebuild a team.

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#80 Thprop
May 31 2013, 06:38PM
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icedawg_42 wrote:

Really? Where was he wrong? The Flames NHL roster is alarmingly thin right now. The prospect pool isn't anywhere near as deep as most people seem to want to believe. I will say it's on the right track (only compared to where it's been in the recent past) but without some solid draft picks and PATIENCE, the team is nowhere near out of the woods.

BS you beat me to it.

Weibrod's quotes were "cherry picked" completely out of context to support his opinions. I love a good debate but don't misquote someone to validate your arguement. Bash Flame Management for the mistakes they have made... I understand it but don't take some cliche, mundane, interview comments and try to twist them to discredit Weisbrod ...that is weak at best. Also, don't link an article to your column that contradicts the thesis of said column... honestly I am done commenting on this my rants are giving the "work" more attention and merit than it deserves.

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#81 Thprop
May 31 2013, 06:38PM
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icedawg_42 wrote:

Really? Where was he wrong? The Flames NHL roster is alarmingly thin right now. The prospect pool isn't anywhere near as deep as most people seem to want to believe. I will say it's on the right track (only compared to where it's been in the recent past) but without some solid draft picks and PATIENCE, the team is nowhere near out of the woods.

BS you beat me to it.

Weibrod's quotes were "cherry picked" completely out of context to support his opinions. I love a good debate but don't misquote someone to validate your arguement. Bash Flame Management for the mistakes they have made... I understand it but don't take some cliche, mundane, interview comments and try to twist them to discredit Weisbrod ...that is weak at best. Also, don't link an article to your column that contradicts the thesis of said column... honestly I am done commenting on this my rants are giving the "work" more attention and merit than it deserves.

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