Five things: It's all getting closer now

Ryan Lambert
June 06 2013 08:45AM

1. Ramo is locked up

It may have been just a formality at this point, and no they can't reveal terms until July 5, but I guess it's nice to have some level of confirmation that they got the Karri Ramo contract done in something resembling a timely fashion.

I'm not surprised by the multi-year term and I probably won't be surprised by whatever the money is (unless it's really low, I guess), but it really does look like they're going to run a battery of Joey MacDonald, Reto Berra and Ramo, which I think is very interesting.

Here you have a team which says its ambition is to make the playoffs. Here you have a team whose goaltending will be comprised of a career backup and two guys whose combined NHL experience is 48 games, all of them Ramo's. These are reportedly highly-regarded goaltenders, but you can't help but wonder exactly how much experience in SM-Liiga or the KHL helps them for the rigors of an 82-game NHL season. Does that mean MacDonald is the starter? If so, that's trouble for the Flames' chances, which probably leads to a front office cleanout.

Don't get me wrong: I'm all for this team being rather bad the next few years and stockpiling high picks, and I think a goalie rotation of that type is more likely than not to get it done, but you have to think the executives are actually trying to do what was asked of them and make the playoffs. Which leads one to believe they're high as hell on Ramo. I guess we'll see.

2. A thing I can totally see happening

Someone on Twitter the other day, I think it was Dave Lozo, asked idly which team would be most hilarious in their desire to offer a big ol' contract to Bryan Bickell after his insane, unsustainable goalscoring run in this postseason (I asked the same thing yesterday - ed.). All the usual answers followed, with the most obvious being Buffalo because of the Ville Leino situation and how giving Bickell big money would be more or less the same thing.

Meanwhile, all I could think was "The Calgary Flames." They want scoring. They want to get "tough to play against." Bickell, based on what he's done here in the playoffs, provides both. You know, ostensibly. He is a free agent at the end of this season and he reportedly wants more than the $2 million or so Chicago offered him to stay, and someone's certainly going to give it to him. I just have a sinking feeling that it will be Calgary.

Y'know, just because you're scoring a ton of goals on a line with Jonathan Toews doesn't mean you're going to actually play like you're worth more than $2 million a season, particularly if you're already 27 and have no history of doing that thing that you're going to be paid to do. The idea that he'll magically revert back into the 17-goal guy he was three years ago will probably be brought up a lot, backed up by his scoring nine in 48 this year (a contract year), but that is of course preposterous.

His underlying numbers are also completely underwhelming despite his nice goal line too.

I eagerly await the point at which he gets $3.5 or $4 million a year for way-too-long from somebody, and I really hope Jay Feaster isn't the guy to give it to him.

3. Time to get Brodie signed

Rpger Millions tweeted the other day that the Flames have yet to talk to Tj Brodie's agent about anew contract, which indicates that there's very little in the way of traction for him getting signed. Normally no big deal, sure, since he's a restricted free agent. But here's the issue: About the same time as I saw that, I also saw that Elliotte Friedman reported the Flyers would be hunting RFA defensemen.

Uh oh.

This is, one supposes, one of those things that is avoidable: The Flyers are desperate for defensive help and will, as we saw with Shea Weber last summer, go to extremes to pull it off. The reason I think Brodie might be a target for them in particular is that he's a) very good, and b) not exactly the world's best-known RFA defenseman. Consequently, while guys like Roman Josi might attract a bit more attention in the musings-about-this department, Brodie might be a better target, and perhaps one that comes a little bit cheaper in theory.

You'd think the Flames would be hard at work trying to get this sorted out as soon as humanly possible to avoid such a fiasco, but then you never know. The closer July 5 gets without it getting done, the more you have to worry about Philadelphia's designs on swooping in.

4. Some quick thoughts on grandfathered visors

This is a very common-sense thing, which is shocking because the NHL often avoids common sense like it does any association with Sean Avery. It's the best way to make sure everyone has to wear a visor in the future while simultaneously letting the idiots who want to skate around without them put themselves at greater risk. One of the arguments against the move I saw yesterday was that visors don't protect players from everything, and that's certainly true. But just because it's not a total failsafe against facial injuries doesn't mean it shouldn't be pursued.

In a lot of ways — and not to trivialize this too much — it's the same thing as the gun control debate in the United States. Advocates want more basic precautions put into place to prevent guns from getting into lunatics' hands, but those who oppose such measures typically say that it won't stop every gun from getting to every criminal, as though it's an all-or-nothing proposition.

The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of players in the league wear visors these days, and most have done so forever. I think it was something like four guys who have fewer than the requisite games-played to make such a decision actually don't wear visors, so this changes nothing for most players; all CHL players wear visors, all AHL players wear visors, all European players wear visors, all college players wear full cages. That the NHL took this long to get on board tells you everything you need to know about how slow the league moves.

Next up is hybrid icing, which is apparently bad because linesmen get it wrong sometimes. Just like regular icing.

5. I don't see how LA wins that series

People are acting like the Kings are right back in this series now that they've won one at home, but I gotta think they're still in tough to win three of the next four games. You can say it's as simple as winning one in Chicago and continuing their home dominance, but 13 of their 17 games in this postseason have been decided by one goal (or two with an empty netter, like Tuesday).

Do you really wanna get into that kind of narrow slugfest with a team like the Blackhawks? Imagine what happens if Kane or Toews shake out the cobwebs. The Kings are fininshed.

Around the Nation

Jason Gregor has an in-depth interview with Darnell Nurse up at OilersNation. Many believe Nurse will be the second defender taken at the upcoming draft behind Seth Jones and could even sneak inside the top-7 picks. Here's a tase:

JG: How did you approach that question period with the NHL teams? Was it nerve-wracking?

DN: I think that you just have to be genuine. That’s the biggest thing. Obviously you’re in this position for a reason, and you can’t change who you are or give people answers that you think that they want to hear. For me, that was the biggest thing; just go in there and show them who I am as a person. By doing that it made the interview process a lot easier. With that being said, after 22 meetings there is a point where you get sick of talking about yourself for sure.

Check out the rest here.

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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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#1 Colin.S
June 06 2013, 09:08AM
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I REALLY don't get the Brodie thing, I mean it's one thing to not have a him signed already, it's entirely another for a contract discussion to not have even started.

You figured that at the end of the year they would at least have exploratory discussions about a contract, but no.

I mean, do they think it was because of who he was playing with and they don't value Brodie as much because of it? Cause that's even dumber than not exploring a contract with Brodie. Giordano wasn't that great last year, and Wideman's year was probably the single best year he'll have in his silly contract. If they think Brodie was the one riding in the wakes of the others and flipping him is the best decision and they are "fooling" some other GM, well I think the jokes on them.

Also, I see Kent and Rog tweeting back and forth about Lindholm and how he's committed to going back to Sweden next year and how the Flames might pass on him because of that. I'm sorry, is Feaster Retarded? That would be like if Crosby had said he was going to stay in the Q one more year cause he liked it so much, so the Pens passed him up and took Bobby Ryan. When you are that close to the 1st overall pick, you take the BPA, doesn't matter if its going to be a year or two before he joins the team. Because if Flames are counting on whoever they draft this year to bring them back to the playoffs, I have some bad news for them.

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#2 Kent Wilson
June 06 2013, 09:10AM
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@Colin.S

That was mostly Roger sspeculating, so it's entirely possible Lindholm returning to Sweden next year doesn't effect the Flames views on him.

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#3 Colin.S
June 06 2013, 09:26AM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

That was mostly Roger sspeculating, so it's entirely possible Lindholm returning to Sweden next year doesn't effect the Flames views on him.

I would sure hope so, but I don't think he's blindly speculating, as was previously stated, the intention is Playoffs or Bust next year. If their first priority is, will our draft pick play next year? than I'm more worried than I have been of the direction of this team.

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#4 Avalain
June 06 2013, 09:42AM
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There are people acting like LA is back in the series? I thought virtually everyone just assumed that they will win all the home games and lose the series in game 7.

I'm really not worried about Brodie. Maybe that means I'll be blindsided when his rights are traded away for nothing, but realistically he fits a very real need in the Flames organisation and even Feaster knows it.

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#5 drdoogie
June 06 2013, 09:45AM
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In response to the points in Ryan's column - a) The Flyers are not going after Brodie - typically, teams make the move when they feel they have a team over a barrel (ie. Lack of monies - see Nashville, or up against the cap) The Flames do not fall into either category so any team would know their attempt would fail and in doing so, drive other teams mad, which I know Philly could care less about - just sayin. b) I don't think anyone really believes the Flames are going for it. Forget Feasters - Murray Edwards gave me the playoffs next year mandate- what do you expect a GM to say - they are going to slowly rebuild for 5 years. They have started the retool and I would be very surprised if they made some knee jerk moves to sign veteran players. c) Goaltending situation is somewhat ideal - they are retooling anyway so why not see what Ramo and Berra have and if they both crap the bed it probably doesn't cost you much salarywise and expectations are low so management isn't going to be jetted out of the Saddledome for those decisions.

The telling point will be on about July 10th after the draft and start of Free Agency. We'll get a better feel of the Flames gameplan and can cheer/critique it accordingly at that time.

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#6 Parallex
June 06 2013, 09:46AM
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People, people, people... This is Roger Millions you're talking about. He's an authority on Jack and Squat and Jack left town.

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#7 BurningSensation
June 06 2013, 09:47AM
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Colin.S wrote:

I would sure hope so, but I don't think he's blindly speculating, as was previously stated, the intention is Playoffs or Bust next year. If their first priority is, will our draft pick play next year? than I'm more worried than I have been of the direction of this team.

I think this whole 'playoffs or bust' line is way, way overblown.

Nothing that Feaster (or Weisbrod or Conroy) has said or done since Edwards made that comment to Feaster indicates the Flames think they can make the playoffs next year.

Nothing.

On the contrary, in every interview any of the current Flames mgt have done since then they have walked back or downplayed the comment. (Conroy's recent interview in particular indicates they know clearly we are in the early stages of a full rebuild).

Keep in mind that the Flames went for a longer term project in Jankowski rather than draft a guy in Girgensons who might have been able to help right away - and they did this in a year where everyone was publicly proclaiming playoffs or bust with good reason to think the playoffs were still possible.

Whatever you might think of Feaster, his record indicates that he'll target the best player the scouts think is available, not who is ready right away to help the club make a playoff push.

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#8 Kurt
June 06 2013, 09:48AM
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@Ryan Lambert - "but you have to think the executives are actually trying to do what was asked of them and make the playoffs."

Do you REALLY think this is true? I keep going back and forth between that statement being the true strategy or a PR move... Deep down I WANT to believe that Edwards and Feaster had a man to man and admitted we need to suck the banana for 2-3 more years and get some elite talent. But then they thought it was good PR to talk about playoffs. For the love... I hope so.

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#10 Kevin R
June 06 2013, 10:20AM
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1/Feaster cant win no matter what he does. If he goes out & signs Backstrom or Smith, he'll get piled on for those saying he wants to make the playoffs & then he gets slammed for running with some very highly rated prospects. FFS, what would the ideal scenario be that everyone will be happy? I for one love the idea is running with Berra & Ramo next year, Time to find out what we have while we start to develop a new core.

2/Lets throw the rocks when Feaster actually makes the signing. Many of us have low expectations but I'm not going to get worked up thinking of yucch scenarios that will never happen. Maybe we should look at bright sides of liking the return we got for Iggy after watching him skate in sand against the Bruins. I just thought he lost his fire in Calgary but now, I really do think age has caught up to him. His 7.0mill per year days are long gone.

3/Philly coming in & scooping Brodie??? Really??? Are you nuts? Why would a team like Philly try an OS on a player with a team that has the most available cap space with owners that spend to the max. They would have to offer such ridiculous amount of money, that I would say just take the 3 1st rounders, otherwise Flames will match 3-4 year deal at $4 or $5.0 mill per. Brodie may have lots of potential but he isn't even close to a Weber yet.Philly would be better off approaching the flames to trade for Gio. I think Couturier would get Feaster to jump at that deal pretty quick.

4/Whatever. 5/Chic/LA. Don't care, I'm hedged, I have side bets with my Blackhawk buddy on the series that I'm betting on LA. But if Chic win, I will pretty well have a lock on 2nd & maybe a good shot at winning 1 of my hockey pools. So it's all good. I just want the draft to come around.

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#11 SmellOfVictory
June 06 2013, 10:23AM
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@drdoogie

Agreed on all counts.

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#12 BurningSensation
June 06 2013, 10:28AM
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@Kevin R

"Feaster can't win no matter what he does."

That is Lambert's modus operandi, whatever Feaster does is the apocalypse.

"FFS, what would the ideal scenario be that everyone will be happy?"

Aside from using sorcery to acquire the MacKinnon pick, there simply isn't one.

If Feaster 'goes for it', then the team isn't doing it's best to get good young players at the draft. If the team sucks and we pick high, the team has thrown in the towel and is developing a losing culture, blah blah blah. There is no scenario that doesn't involve Feaster performing the impossible task of sucking and blowing at the same time.

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#13 Baalzamon
June 06 2013, 10:49AM
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1. My dad asked me if I thought the Flames should sign one of those FA goalies this summer. When I said "No" without any hesitation whatsoever, he looked at me like I had grown a couple extra heads. I attempted to explain my reasoning, but as usual (you all have seen me attempt to explain things before) I fell short. Short version: to what end? Finishing 9th again?

2. Yup. That's what I thought the instant Bickell started scoring and I heard he was a FA.

3. How soon you all forget that we were saying the EXACT SAME STUFF about Backlund last summer. He was signed, no problem, but the signing wasn't announced until JULY 5TH! I've already said it like twice in the last 10 hours, but I'll say it again. Calm. Down.

4. The last line was great. Fully agreed.

5. meh. Come what may.

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#14 mattyc
June 06 2013, 10:52AM
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you mean this Roger Millions? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ue_77sFYKU

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#15 Colin.S
June 06 2013, 10:53AM
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@BurningSensation

I think they didn't draft Girgensons because he was overrated not because they weren't looking for someone to play in the NHL right away. Girgensons hardly did anything at the AHL level this year, nevermind be "NHL Ready".

They haven't done anything YET that shows what next year will bring. But they haven't signed Brodie yet, and there's also been talk they are looking at moving pics in order to bring in talent as well. For all we know they might be trading Brodie and Pics for veterans at the draft for a try at the post season. Like it's been shown in other threads, even AVERAGE goaltending would have put us to 9/10 in the west, just out of the playoffs. I can assure you that the Flames probably know this as well. So while the Flames know they should probably rebuild, they say a lot of things, doesn't mean they actually do them.

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#16 piscera.infada
June 06 2013, 10:55AM
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@BurningSensation

Agreed, Sometimes the utter negativity here at FN is unbearable. I love the intelligent hockey discussion - but sometimes it drives me right to a bottle of Henny.

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#17 Kurt
June 06 2013, 10:59AM
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BurningSensation wrote:

@Kevin R

"Feaster can't win no matter what he does."

That is Lambert's modus operandi, whatever Feaster does is the apocalypse.

"FFS, what would the ideal scenario be that everyone will be happy?"

Aside from using sorcery to acquire the MacKinnon pick, there simply isn't one.

If Feaster 'goes for it', then the team isn't doing it's best to get good young players at the draft. If the team sucks and we pick high, the team has thrown in the towel and is developing a losing culture, blah blah blah. There is no scenario that doesn't involve Feaster performing the impossible task of sucking and blowing at the same time.

This is one thing that the Oilers did well. They clearly articulated a plan and got buy in from everyone.

You may disagree with the level of suckery they acheived (I do), and you may argue they still will fail (I am on the fence, but they surely will be better than us for the foreseeable future). But one thing I think they did very well was lay out a clear plan. They got buy in from fans and media. They have SUCKED for 3-4 years, and they have sold out 100% of every game and fans are rabidly excited for the future (I heard about it daily from my buddies... arg). In 2010 Kevin Lowe said it was a 7 year plan to become a cup favourite (not hope and a prayer 8th place playoff grinder). SEVEN!

Don't mistake my post for agreeing with their plan, or saying its working, or not or whatever. I don't care about that and don't want to get this thread sidetracked... My point is just that they had a clearly articulated plan and got buy in from their clients/customers (fans and media are essentially customers of a sports team).

My point is, I think communicating a plan is the missing piece, and would allow Feaster some room to suck a bit before he starts to blow (or vice versa).

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#18 piscera.infada
June 06 2013, 11:01AM
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@Colin.S

From what I have read/heard from interviews with Conny and Weisbrod, they aren't trading picks or young players (let alone the ones they classified as "untouchables" ie. Brodie) for veterans. Conroy said, "we may trade picks to move up" - read; not to move down, not for Owen Nolan.

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#19 Tach
June 06 2013, 11:47AM
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@Ryan Lambert

To be clear, if the Flames' miss the playoffs next year and Feaster gets fired, it is deserved because of Feaster's body of work to date (and presumed failings over the next year). Not because he ought to be able to get the Flames into the playoffs in 2013-14.

Correct? I can get behind that.

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#20 piscera.infada
June 06 2013, 11:52AM
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@Tach

If Feaster/Weisbrod get fired - assuming things are more or less similar to where we are now (meaning, no more ROR-type catastrophes) - I'm going to seriously consider washing my hands of this team.

I, for one, am a big proponent of continuity in this rebuild. It really does nothing for us to not allow the people at the initial stage of our rebuild see their vision come to fruition.

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#21 BurningSensation
June 06 2013, 11:52AM
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Colin.S wrote:

I think they didn't draft Girgensons because he was overrated not because they weren't looking for someone to play in the NHL right away. Girgensons hardly did anything at the AHL level this year, nevermind be "NHL Ready".

They haven't done anything YET that shows what next year will bring. But they haven't signed Brodie yet, and there's also been talk they are looking at moving pics in order to bring in talent as well. For all we know they might be trading Brodie and Pics for veterans at the draft for a try at the post season. Like it's been shown in other threads, even AVERAGE goaltending would have put us to 9/10 in the west, just out of the playoffs. I can assure you that the Flames probably know this as well. So while the Flames know they should probably rebuild, they say a lot of things, doesn't mean they actually do them.

My point about Girgensons wasn't about his NHL readiness, but rather that despite being clearly and firmly on a 'we will make the playoffs' push, Feaster nevertheless took a risk, traded down, and drafted a long term project (and got a 2nd rnd pick) rather than looking for any kind of quick solution. The evidence simply does not exist to warrant a fear that he is going to trade our picks for immediate help. On the contrary, Feaster has shown a marked willingness to collect more picks in contradistinction to his predecessor.

As for what next year will bring, I think it is clear they aren't going to go out and sign a 'name' veteran goaltender because they have Ramo, MacBackup and Bera. Given that fact alone, I would suggest that 'making the playoffs' is simply not their first priority, but that the focus remains on talent acquisition.

If Brodie isn't signed yet, I wouldn't read too much into it. I also don't think that there is any chance at all he isn't re-signed. The idea Philly might sign him to an offer sheet is patently absurd, any contract they could offer Brodie that Calgary wouldn't match immediately would bring back a number of picks far exceeding Brodie's value. Like all the talk about Bickell being a Flame, it's just Lambert scare-mongering.

As for the 'average goaltending and we make the playoffs', I agree this is probably true, but the team has also lost Iggy and J-Bo (top scorer, and top D-man), and appears to have all but lost Tanguay as well, so I think the chances that Ramo comes on board puts up league average goaltending and gets the Flames into the playoffs is highly unlikely.

That all said, if Ramo outperforms expectations I am certainly not going to be disappointed.

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#22 Willi P
June 06 2013, 12:19PM
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@ BurningSensation

Word of the day "Contradistinction". Excellent.

As for RL's 5 things, same old negativity. At least he is predictable is his contradistinction compared to your opinions about the org (which I tend to agree with).

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#23 BurningSensation
June 06 2013, 12:42PM
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@Kurt

"My point is just that they (the Oilers) had a clearly articulated plan and got buy in from their clients/customers (fans and media are essentially customers of a sports team).

My point is, I think communicating a plan is the missing piece, and would allow Feaster some room to suck a bit before he starts to blow (or vice versa)."

I have to (mildly) disagree. When Ottawa went through it's own rebuild (that started with the Heatley trade), they never to my mind articulated a 'plan' that would require them to suck for X number of years before they would be good again. We spend so much time gazing at the gong show to the North of us that we forget there are ways to rebuild a team that don't require us to be terrible for a long period of time.

I do think that Feaster is poor at communicating with the fanbase (his comments regarding Jankowski on draft day are exhibit A), but from his actions so far I am reassured that he isn't going to do stupid quick fixes (Phaneuf for 5 guys!) in an attempt to save his job. This is a guy who quit a winning organization rather than give Lecavalier his cap-busting contract, so I highly doubt he is going to stop his rebuild in an owner mandated attempt to make 8th place.

As for the Oilers, ugh. I can see a situation where the Oilers continue to crap the bed year after year because the only thing they have proven to be good at is finishing last and drafting 1st overall. That team is a total nightmare mess, and I think the rot starts with their scouting department being unable to deliver anything outside of the high end of the 1st round (save Eberle).

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#24 Kurt
June 06 2013, 01:01PM
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@BurningSensation

I wasn't at all saying we need a 7 year plan and don't want to get into the Oilers plan. My point was that they clearly articulated A PLAN. 2 years, 4 years, 7 years, 15 years, whatever. My point is just that Feaster hasn't laid out a plan that us, the paying customers can buy into. I want to know what this team is doing, which gives me a chance to support it or not with my $, and voice my concerns in a logical manner. As a customer/client of the Flames as a business I think I'm entitled to that. I said the Oilers did that well NOT because I agreed with their plan, but just in that they communicated it. It gave mgmt room to be patient as well as unwaivering fan support which to me seems like win-win for mgmt.

I guess Feaster did say he wants to make the playoffs next year. But thats either a terrible plan or a lie.

BTW - The Ottawa 'rebuild' is a good example of rushing back to mediocrity IMO. Exactly what I fear Feaster may do... Again I don't want to sidetrack the discussion to the evil nation up north, but they aren't rebuilding to get back to 8th place and getting stomped in the 1st round of the playoffs each year. They have clearly stated their goal is to become a perennial powerhouse, and have admitted that will take 7 years. Fail or not, its a clear plan.

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#25 BurningSensation
June 06 2013, 01:05PM
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Willi P wrote:

@ BurningSensation

Word of the day "Contradistinction". Excellent.

As for RL's 5 things, same old negativity. At least he is predictable is his contradistinction compared to your opinions about the org (which I tend to agree with).

Merci

Feaster has done the two things that any GM conducting a rebuild should do; collect draft picks (especially in a deep draft) and create cap space. I'm ok with giving Feaster hell if he blows the picks on college guys we've never heard of, or uses the cap-space to put Joel Ward on to a scoring line, but frankly, I don't see either of those circumstances as being likely events.

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#26 BurningSensation
June 06 2013, 01:16PM
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Kurt wrote:

I wasn't at all saying we need a 7 year plan and don't want to get into the Oilers plan. My point was that they clearly articulated A PLAN. 2 years, 4 years, 7 years, 15 years, whatever. My point is just that Feaster hasn't laid out a plan that us, the paying customers can buy into. I want to know what this team is doing, which gives me a chance to support it or not with my $, and voice my concerns in a logical manner. As a customer/client of the Flames as a business I think I'm entitled to that. I said the Oilers did that well NOT because I agreed with their plan, but just in that they communicated it. It gave mgmt room to be patient as well as unwaivering fan support which to me seems like win-win for mgmt.

I guess Feaster did say he wants to make the playoffs next year. But thats either a terrible plan or a lie.

BTW - The Ottawa 'rebuild' is a good example of rushing back to mediocrity IMO. Exactly what I fear Feaster may do... Again I don't want to sidetrack the discussion to the evil nation up north, but they aren't rebuilding to get back to 8th place and getting stomped in the 1st round of the playoffs each year. They have clearly stated their goal is to become a perennial powerhouse, and have admitted that will take 7 years. Fail or not, its a clear plan.

I didn't make my point very well, but the reason that Ottawa doesn't announce to the world they are going to suck for 5 years while they rebuild is in part because they didn't believe they would have to suck for 5 years to do a rebuild.

Whatever time table Murray had for when the team would return to being competitive was certainly accelerated by the discovery that the defenseman they picked in the 2nd half of the 1st round was an all world offensive force, and the goaltender they picked off the scrap heap in Colorado was arguably one of the top 5 in the game. So why announce some sort of time-table for a rebuild, when it could be derailed or accelerated by one bad/great pick?

As a fan you can certainly vote with your $'s to not support the team because they aren't letting you in on the details for how they are going to conduct the rebuild, but as reasons go for not supporting your team that seems awfully weak to me.

I supported the Flames when they were TERRIBLE (the Brathwaite years! hooray.), and when they were awesome (I was at the celebration on Electric Ave in 1989), so for me Feaster's level of communication isn't an issue. At all. As a fan I feel I'm not owed anything but the product on the ice/tv. If I really don't like it, I can always cheer for someone else (though I never do).

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#27 CDB
June 06 2013, 01:22PM
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Kurt wrote:

I wasn't at all saying we need a 7 year plan and don't want to get into the Oilers plan. My point was that they clearly articulated A PLAN. 2 years, 4 years, 7 years, 15 years, whatever. My point is just that Feaster hasn't laid out a plan that us, the paying customers can buy into. I want to know what this team is doing, which gives me a chance to support it or not with my $, and voice my concerns in a logical manner. As a customer/client of the Flames as a business I think I'm entitled to that. I said the Oilers did that well NOT because I agreed with their plan, but just in that they communicated it. It gave mgmt room to be patient as well as unwaivering fan support which to me seems like win-win for mgmt.

I guess Feaster did say he wants to make the playoffs next year. But thats either a terrible plan or a lie.

BTW - The Ottawa 'rebuild' is a good example of rushing back to mediocrity IMO. Exactly what I fear Feaster may do... Again I don't want to sidetrack the discussion to the evil nation up north, but they aren't rebuilding to get back to 8th place and getting stomped in the 1st round of the playoffs each year. They have clearly stated their goal is to become a perennial powerhouse, and have admitted that will take 7 years. Fail or not, its a clear plan.

I can get on board with most of what you're saying. Feaster probably should communicate better to the fan base in realistic terms. Though it's not like that is what organizations across sports all try and do so while I understand your frustration, I wouldnt call laying out a plan in such simple terms the norm.

Also, I would hardly call Ottawa a team that rushed back to mediocrity. A full season of the top D man in the league, having their franchise number one center healthy and they would be sitting near the top of the Eastern Conference and be a legitimate contender.

They have some very young, promising peices that are quickly developing (Zibenajad, Silverberg, Conacher, Lehner etc.) That's a team on the rise that retooled extremely quickly thanks to some very strong drafting, and hanging onto useful peices through their rebuild.

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#28 Graham
June 06 2013, 01:53PM
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Murray Edwards, who represents the ownership group, exercise’s full control of the Flames through Ken King. Feaster like any employee has a choice; he can either follow the directions given by his bosses, try and persuade his bosses to follow a different direction, or he can resign. If the owners are true to their word and want a competitive team next year, unless Feaster can persuade them otherwise, he will have to ice a competitive team. Likely trading first round picks, trading one or more of our prospects (and yes that could be Bart, Backlund or Brodie) or taking on contracts in return for established players. He has little wiggle room, if he goes down the rebuild options and fails to be competitive he will likely be fired. Given that NHL level GM positions are few and far between, the potential combination of Feaster’s below average record and inability to follow directions would likely force him out of his chosen career for good.

I have no doubt that Feaster will follow the mandate from the owners, the real question is what is that mandate; ‘be competitive’ or ‘rebuild’. The draft will be a good indication of which direction the owners are taking us….

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#29 BurningSensation
June 06 2013, 02:05PM
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Graham wrote:

Murray Edwards, who represents the ownership group, exercise’s full control of the Flames through Ken King. Feaster like any employee has a choice; he can either follow the directions given by his bosses, try and persuade his bosses to follow a different direction, or he can resign. If the owners are true to their word and want a competitive team next year, unless Feaster can persuade them otherwise, he will have to ice a competitive team. Likely trading first round picks, trading one or more of our prospects (and yes that could be Bart, Backlund or Brodie) or taking on contracts in return for established players. He has little wiggle room, if he goes down the rebuild options and fails to be competitive he will likely be fired. Given that NHL level GM positions are few and far between, the potential combination of Feaster’s below average record and inability to follow directions would likely force him out of his chosen career for good.

I have no doubt that Feaster will follow the mandate from the owners, the real question is what is that mandate; ‘be competitive’ or ‘rebuild’. The draft will be a good indication of which direction the owners are taking us….

I've said this before (about two years ago when Regehr was traded), that if you don't think we are in a rebuild, you haven't been paying attention.

As for whether Feaster will follow the mandate from the owners or not, the last GM job Feaster had he quit when the owners insisted he sign Lecavalier to his redonkulous contract.

He is not a 'Yes Man'.

If the Flames were trying to 'be competitive' why would Feaster have dealt JBo for a pick and Rito Bera?

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#30 the-wolf
June 06 2013, 02:46PM
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BurningSensation wrote:

I've said this before (about two years ago when Regehr was traded), that if you don't think we are in a rebuild, you haven't been paying attention.

As for whether Feaster will follow the mandate from the owners or not, the last GM job Feaster had he quit when the owners insisted he sign Lecavalier to his redonkulous contract.

He is not a 'Yes Man'.

If the Flames were trying to 'be competitive' why would Feaster have dealt JBo for a pick and Rito Bera?

Or......he saw the writing on the wall in TB and quit before he was fired, which is the more likely scenario. Those owners were complete @$$-clowns, but it's not like they were going to just keep Feaster around forever.

Jay has also seen the other side of employment as a GM. After writng "Stanley Cup" on his resume, he now doubt assumed he'd be backin the GM chair in no time at all. Instead, he wrote terrible articles for the Hockey News. It probably gave him a new perspective. Also, I doubt teams are going to be lining up at his door whenever he's (eventually) let go of from the Flames.

In other words, past behavior is NOT always the best indicator of future behavior. Current behavior is.

Which is why I come down somewhere in the middle. Obviously the team is rebuilding and has been moving slowly in that direction since Regehr was moved, agreed. But, it's also obvious that ownership has greatly hindered that rebuild process over the last 2 years and that Feaster has (grudgingly, maybe) gone along with it. Otherwise, the moves we saw this year would have cerainly been made sooner. Edwards only gave approval, according to Feaster himself, 3 weeks prior to the Iginla trade to commence a full rebuild.

So, point is, Feaster is hardly a renegade manager fighting 'the man' in order to instill what he sees as what's best for the team. Instead, he was (is?) riding a fine line between trying to accomplish 2 things at once: rebuild and win now. Something that cost Coates and Button their jobs because it's basically impossible to do.

People can knock Dutter all you want, but the man could've cared less about rebuilding; he was firmly in the 'win now' camp, a directive that came directly from ownership. Results? Mixed, for sure, but besides the point.

Point is, to a large degree, he is a "Yes Man." That's why he got the job and why a guy like John Davidson wouldn't work for Edwards if it meant putting food on the table for his children.

Hopefully, this summer being the ultimate test, Feaster walks that line better than Coates or Button ever did. Or, Edwards relents. But just because the lackeys tried to downplay the "make the playoffs next year" comment, doesn't mean it wasn't said or being mandated.

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#31 Graham
June 06 2013, 02:46PM
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@BurningSensation

I’m not sure what the mandate is (yet), I hope it is a rebuild but only time will tell.

Yes, Feaster did quit at least on paper, and he didn’t find any hockey related work for a number of years. He was really lucky that the Flames gave him a second chance, it’s unlikely anyone would give him a third.

JBo was a combination of a salary dump, lack of offense, and to honest I think the ‘heart’ issue. Wideman provides the offense, Brodie will develop and eat up the minutes, and the Flames add a more aggressive d man for balance. Moving JBo frees up a bunch of money for other options whether that is ‘rebuild’ or ‘competitive’ in nature.

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#32 BurningSensation
June 06 2013, 03:14PM
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@the-wolf, @Graham

Since Feaster has arrived he has;

- moved out Regehr , Iginla, Bouwmeester and Bourque (older vets) and replaced them with younger players and picks

- carved out a ton of cap space

- rebuilt our scouting department

- added an advanced stats specialist (Chris Snow)

- picked up a couple of young players with upside on the cheap (Cervenka, and whasisname who was waived by the Islanders)

- brought on board a talent guru from a winning program (Weisbrod)

- collected three 1st rnd picks from what is arguably the deepest draft since 2003

- signed FA's who are on the younger side of 'veteran' to reasonable deals

How is this not a rebuild? For sure I think it is fair to be criticial of some of his moves (*cough Sarich/Babchuk *cough), but Feaster's direction since taking over the club has been about as polar opposite from Sutter's as you can get, and by any reasonable estimate Sutter had fully embraced the 'win now at all costs' mandate.

The only move that I think muddies the waters a little is the ROR offer sheet, but even that looks like it was at worst a sideways move (young player entering prime for picks), rather than a repudiation of the rebuild.

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#33 Baalzamon
June 06 2013, 03:16PM
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@the-wolf

"Also, I doubt teams are going to be lining up at his door whenever he's (eventually) let go of from the Flames."

You say that, and yet the Oilers hired Scott Howson as a pro scout the instant John Davidson fired him as the GM for his complete inability to evaluate pro talent.

People don't always make decisions that make sense. Often, bizarre decisions are made for seemingly no reason at all.

I'm not saying that Feaster will definitely get a job after the Flames (because logic says he probably shouldn't, at least not a position where he wields any real power). But I didn't think that Scott Howson would ever find another NHL job ever again--and yet the Oilers didn't hesitate AT ALL in brining him back.

Anything can happen.

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#34 suba steve
June 06 2013, 03:38PM
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@the-wolf

So, who would you say is "a renegade manager fighting 'the man' in order to instill what he sees as what's best for the team"?

His name is Darryl Sutter, and we've been there/done that. I'm not saying Feaster is any kind of saviour, but he was able to move Iggy, JBow, and had a deal in place to move Kipper for assets that we all have high hopes for. June 30 is going to be like Christmas.

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#35 Colin
June 06 2013, 03:53PM
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BurningSensation wrote:

My point about Girgensons wasn't about his NHL readiness, but rather that despite being clearly and firmly on a 'we will make the playoffs' push, Feaster nevertheless took a risk, traded down, and drafted a long term project (and got a 2nd rnd pick) rather than looking for any kind of quick solution. The evidence simply does not exist to warrant a fear that he is going to trade our picks for immediate help. On the contrary, Feaster has shown a marked willingness to collect more picks in contradistinction to his predecessor.

As for what next year will bring, I think it is clear they aren't going to go out and sign a 'name' veteran goaltender because they have Ramo, MacBackup and Bera. Given that fact alone, I would suggest that 'making the playoffs' is simply not their first priority, but that the focus remains on talent acquisition.

If Brodie isn't signed yet, I wouldn't read too much into it. I also don't think that there is any chance at all he isn't re-signed. The idea Philly might sign him to an offer sheet is patently absurd, any contract they could offer Brodie that Calgary wouldn't match immediately would bring back a number of picks far exceeding Brodie's value. Like all the talk about Bickell being a Flame, it's just Lambert scare-mongering.

As for the 'average goaltending and we make the playoffs', I agree this is probably true, but the team has also lost Iggy and J-Bo (top scorer, and top D-man), and appears to have all but lost Tanguay as well, so I think the chances that Ramo comes on board puts up league average goaltending and gets the Flames into the playoffs is highly unlikely.

That all said, if Ramo outperforms expectations I am certainly not going to be disappointed.

That was a single year, it doesn't speak to their overall strategy, they may not have felt it necessary to trade that pick as they had enough cap space to make some significant acquisitions in FA(which they did, Hudler and Wideman). As well they might not have thought they were so far out of the playoffs based on where they finished, so they thought that it was a safe year to take a bigger risk.

As well I'm not talking about signing veteran goalies, the goalie situation is pretty well over with the signing of Ramo, they have 3 signed to NHL deals and a couple other prospects. The veterans I'm talking about are Forwards or D, With Iggy gone, Tanguay on the way out and Bouwmeester gone, I have a feeling some of the picks or even Brodie can be dangled to get guys that are in the 27-29 age range for the win NOW feeling.

It's not that Brodie isn't signed yet, it's that no offer has even been made, no exploration as to what Brodies camp is even looking for. For the guy that was argueably the best Defencemen on the Flames last year, there doesn't seem to be any sense of getting him under contract long term or him as part of the long term strategy and thats a hell of a scary thought. Because if the thought is to rebuild, when Brodie is in his prime is just when we should be coming out of a rebuild, so why is Feaster not even playing ball with the Brodie camp?

The lose of Jay-bo IMO is the only one that will matter IMO. Tangauy was never going to live out that contract and be a meaning contributor, at the end of the year all he had were his counting numbers and not much else. As well watching Iggy in Pittsburgh, either he's got the biggest injury of his career, or being outside of Calgary has really got to the guy, cause he is far from playing any sort of Elite hockey and is being dropper farther down the pitt depth chart the more meaningful the games become. We would have almost been a playoff team this year with average goaltending. We probably won't be next year even with average, but we won't be close to the cellar either.

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#36 Baalzamon
June 06 2013, 04:04PM
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@Colin

"For the guy that was argueably the best Defencemen on the Flames last year, there doesn't seem to be any sense of getting him under contract long term or him as part of the long term strategy and thats a hell of a scary thought."

You mean aside from the fact that they identified him as an untouchable at the deadline?

Seriously, this bellyaching over "they haven't even talked to Brodie yet wah wah wah" is getting old. Fast. Since you seem determined to forget that we went through this EXACT situation last summer with Backlund, consider that the Flames' managerial types have been EXTREMELY busy, what with preparing the draft lists, the combine and its interviews, signing Berra and then Ramo, etc.

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#37 piscera.infada
June 06 2013, 04:15PM
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@Baalzamon

All of this.

People actually thinking there's a reluctance to sign Brodie is a head-shaker in my mind. It's mutually beneficial to both sides to get a deal worked out, but it's not a top priority with the draft and free agency fast approaching. He's an RFA who knows he's no Subban or ROR. So, when Feaster does in fact get around to it, I'm sure he'll indulge.

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#38 BurningSensation
June 06 2013, 04:20PM
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@Colin

" I have a feeling some of the picks or even Brodie can be dangled to get guys that are in the 27-29 age range for the win NOW feeling."

Then I would recommend drinking heavily until you can't feel anything. If the Flames move their picks for a vet it would only be to get Malkin. Far more likely is Feaster packaging assets together to move up in the draft to take Mackinnon/Barkov.

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#39 the-wolf
June 06 2013, 04:40PM
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suba steve wrote:

So, who would you say is "a renegade manager fighting 'the man' in order to instill what he sees as what's best for the team"?

His name is Darryl Sutter, and we've been there/done that. I'm not saying Feaster is any kind of saviour, but he was able to move Iggy, JBow, and had a deal in place to move Kipper for assets that we all have high hopes for. June 30 is going to be like Christmas.

Maybe I didn't articulate my comments very well.

My point in that statement of mine you quote was that Feaster is, in fact, a "Yes Man," at least to a large degree.

Darryl was as well. His mandate was to 'win now' and he bloody well did his best to achieve it (with obvious mixed results, but that's a different debate).

Difference is that Feaster is trying to do what Coates and even Button did in trying to follow that mandate and rebuild. And by his own admission, the rebuild part was only granted by Edwards very recently.

If you reread my post, you'll see that I agree totally that Feaster has been trying to rebuild on the sly (with mixed results - I still think the Regehr return was awful). But he's also been towing the line. So the idea that he'd quite before compromsing what he feels is best for the team is false IMO.

I agree with a lot of Feaster from a philosophical point of view. His execution, not so much.

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#40 Lober
June 06 2013, 04:48PM
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I lost all hope in Feaster when he did not demand Ty Rattie in the J BO trade, all we can hope for now is that Feaster is not planning to sign all the average F/As this summer. Should I buy my Bickell/MaCarthur jersey now?:(

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#41 Tlavoie
June 06 2013, 04:49PM
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Watching the playoffs with great interest I keep seeing some Great forwards being shut-down by some great Defence. I don't think the Flames should strictly look at forwards with the low pick, they say winning starts at the Goalie out. We don't need more goalies but a few more strong mean D would be nice.

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#42 Purple Hazze
June 06 2013, 04:56PM
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@Baalzamon

Couldn't agree more. All this Brodie talk is really such a non-issue it's a waste of brain power even discussing it. Brodie will be signed and in a Flames uniform by the start of next season period.

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#43 BurningSensation
June 06 2013, 05:05PM
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Lober wrote:

I lost all hope in Feaster when he did not demand Ty Rattie in the J BO trade, all we can hope for now is that Feaster is not planning to sign all the average F/As this summer. Should I buy my Bickell/MaCarthur jersey now?:(

Much as the leaf fans lost faith in Burke when he didn't swing a deal for Crosby.

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#44 the-wolf
June 06 2013, 05:28PM
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Purple Hazze wrote:

Couldn't agree more. All this Brodie talk is really such a non-issue it's a waste of brain power even discussing it. Brodie will be signed and in a Flames uniform by the start of next season period.

I tend to agree, but there are other teams with cap room in the 20mil range, not just Calgary.

It's certainly not something the Flames should dither on.

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#45 negrilcowboy
June 06 2013, 06:14PM
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the upcoming draft and off season player movement should be extremely exciting, if executed properly the flames have the opportunity to retool as they say as well as become a playoff team. if the pens are swept or go down in five, shero has a huge dilemna as to the direction his team goes. the canucks have organization direction issues, so do other clubs. numerous rfa's futures hang in the balance, buyouts loom and cap issues abound. what is needed is a definite plan of action, no catchy phrases or buzz words, we can all speak sportugese. feaster faces his biggest challenge as a gm and that is to build a winner not inherit dudleys champs or dutter dillusion madman chemistry project. its time for all management to demonstrate not articulate.

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#46 SmellOfVictory
June 06 2013, 06:37PM
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BurningSensation wrote:

Much as the leaf fans lost faith in Burke when he didn't swing a deal for Crosby.

Funny, but he's got a point: including some completely unimpressive mid-20s goalie from Switzerland in the deal seems entirely useless to me.

Cundari seems okay so far, but it's a small number of games he's played.

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#47 Colin
June 06 2013, 06:51PM
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BurningSensation wrote:

@the-wolf, @Graham

Since Feaster has arrived he has;

- moved out Regehr , Iginla, Bouwmeester and Bourque (older vets) and replaced them with younger players and picks

- carved out a ton of cap space

- rebuilt our scouting department

- added an advanced stats specialist (Chris Snow)

- picked up a couple of young players with upside on the cheap (Cervenka, and whasisname who was waived by the Islanders)

- brought on board a talent guru from a winning program (Weisbrod)

- collected three 1st rnd picks from what is arguably the deepest draft since 2003

- signed FA's who are on the younger side of 'veteran' to reasonable deals

How is this not a rebuild? For sure I think it is fair to be criticial of some of his moves (*cough Sarich/Babchuk *cough), but Feaster's direction since taking over the club has been about as polar opposite from Sutter's as you can get, and by any reasonable estimate Sutter had fully embraced the 'win now at all costs' mandate.

The only move that I think muddies the waters a little is the ROR offer sheet, but even that looks like it was at worst a sideways move (young player entering prime for picks), rather than a repudiation of the rebuild.

You should also include in the Regehr/Iggy/Bouw/Bourque deals they also moved OUT young players and picks as well. Two out of those 4 deals were not simply made for "rebuilding" purposes. They were hockey deals.

He hasn't exactly "carved" out a ton of cap space, more a circumstance of a lot of big deals coming to an end, Kipper, Iggy and JayBo wanting to leave Calgary and things like Cervenka's imaginary capnumber coming off the books.

As well picking up the youngsters on the cheap, both turned out not well at least, though both were okay experiments.

What FA's has he signed that are on the younger side of veteran to "Reasonabl Deals", maybe Hudler, Widemans deal is anything but Reasonable, or at least so has been the general consensus.

As for the rebuilt scouting department, we won't know how thats worked out for 6-7 years time when those picks are really maturing and maybe contributing (or not) to an NHL team.

This isn't a rebuild. They've been at least smart enough to move assests they know they were going to lose for nothing, Iggy wasn't coming back, they tried to move Kipper who will be retiring(Ramo signing confirms this), moved Bouwmeester before he walked next year as well. But they still haven't engaged rebuild territory, they are moving out the occasoinal old person and trying to bring in a 25-27 year old in their place. At this rate all they will accomplish is not finishing high enough to get into the playoffs but never finishing low enough to get a prospect like a Kane, Crosby, Malkin or whoever to truly build around.

What they should have done or still should be doing is setting fire to the whole works, ship out anyone who isn't going to be around in 5-6 years time, get ALL the picks and prospects you can get and start a TRUE rebuild. The problem is that Feaster and company (probably at the direction of Edwards) keeps trotting out this HAVE TO MAKE THE PLAYOFFS bs.

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#48 T&A4Flames
June 06 2013, 07:12PM
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Kurt wrote:

I wasn't at all saying we need a 7 year plan and don't want to get into the Oilers plan. My point was that they clearly articulated A PLAN. 2 years, 4 years, 7 years, 15 years, whatever. My point is just that Feaster hasn't laid out a plan that us, the paying customers can buy into. I want to know what this team is doing, which gives me a chance to support it or not with my $, and voice my concerns in a logical manner. As a customer/client of the Flames as a business I think I'm entitled to that. I said the Oilers did that well NOT because I agreed with their plan, but just in that they communicated it. It gave mgmt room to be patient as well as unwaivering fan support which to me seems like win-win for mgmt.

I guess Feaster did say he wants to make the playoffs next year. But thats either a terrible plan or a lie.

BTW - The Ottawa 'rebuild' is a good example of rushing back to mediocrity IMO. Exactly what I fear Feaster may do... Again I don't want to sidetrack the discussion to the evil nation up north, but they aren't rebuilding to get back to 8th place and getting stomped in the 1st round of the playoffs each year. They have clearly stated their goal is to become a perennial powerhouse, and have admitted that will take 7 years. Fail or not, its a clear plan.

Ok, here is my 2 cents. The psychology is different between the 2 cities. Not to offend anyone, but the Oil fans are a lot more....simple. Straight up talk is what they need to keep believing. It was sold to them and they bought it. Most Flames fans have a more complicated thought process it seems. I get that when I read various blogs here and elsewhere. The content of the comments is much more insightful and knowledgable with Flames blogs.

Again, I'm not trying to insult anyone, it's just how I see it. CGY fans need to be able to ponder the comments to be interested. Just my thoughts.

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#49 piscera.infada
June 06 2013, 07:16PM
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@Colin

Ho-hum...

Another 'blow it all up' rebuild proponent. The whole "doesn't always work/never works/not the only way" arguments have all been spouted off ad nauseum.

So, one last time - just because this team doesn't start from ground zero doesn't mean this isn't a rebuild. At the very least, starting from nothing is not a pragmatic scenario at all. Even the burn down-roll around in the ashes Oilers kept some of their old core around. Even Chicago traded for a 25 year old (gasp) player, who wasn't very good (gasp) on the Flyers (gasp).

A rebuild should NOT be about crapping the bed for 6 years, crossing your fingers, and hoping your prospects work out. Face it, the Flames were/are a mess of a team, that Feaster for all intents a purposes has done a reasonable job with (I won't say great, or even good - but I remain optimistic).

On another note, @Lober, good luck prying Rattie out of St. Louis with the Jay Bo deal. We don't get blue-chip prospects for a player that the entire league knows came to Calgary and was a colossal failure - no good half of a half season is going to change that.

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#50 BurningSensation
June 06 2013, 07:18PM
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SmellOfVictory wrote:

Funny, but he's got a point: including some completely unimpressive mid-20s goalie from Switzerland in the deal seems entirely useless to me.

Cundari seems okay so far, but it's a small number of games he's played.

No, he actually doesn't have a point. There is no reason to think Rattie was ever an asset that StL was willing to part with (ala Crosby to the Leafs).

Cundari looks like he might actually be a player (albeit it is highly unlikely he'll be an All-Star), and Reto Bera was the goalie for the Swiss that stunned the US at the recent Worlds. If he is even a quality backup that is enough,

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