Flames Day One Analysis

Justin Azevedo
July 05 2013 05:34PM

 

Pic via Rob the Hockey Guy

So, with most of the expected signings having been reported and Jay Feaster having talked to the media, day one of free agency in the Saddlesphere seems to be done. There were a couple of new names, a couple of familiar ones and still some UFA targets that haven't signed.

The Old

  • G Karri Ramo: 2 years, $5.5 million. The Flames presumptive starter. If he can provide league average goaltending, this is a very good deal. Even ~.918 goaltending still makes this okay. Ramo has been profiled here.
  • D Chris Butler: 1 year, $1.7 million. A bottom-pairing defenseman likely being given a deal due to loyalty and not much else. He's likely being paid under the assumption he's really 2011-2012 Chris Butler and not 2012-2013 Chris Butler. 
  • RW Brian McGrattan: 2 years, $1.5 million. A fist on skates. See Kent's post for analysis.
  • RW Greg Nemisz: 1 year, $725k. Probably not an NHLer, so this is more of a former 1st round pick/AHL body deal.
  • C Corban Knight: 2 years, $1.8 million. Knight's contract is only $900k in base salary/signing bonuses, but bonuses bring his cap hit to $3.75 million (only counted if he achieves the bonuses). Knight could be the Flames' 3rd line centre, and was profiled in depth here.

The New

  • D Kris Russell: 1 year, $1.25 million. The Flames traded a 5th round pick for his RFA rights as they didn't want to pick up a contract with arbitration linked to it, which they would've had to do had they plucked him from waivers. His underlying numbers are just okay, even as a 5th dman with somewhat sheltered zone starts. Apparently he has some offensive potential (three 20 point seasons), but I highly doubt he'll play well in anything other than bottom-pairing minutes.
  • D Chad Billins: 1 year, $925K. Billins had 10 goals and added 27 assists in 76 games last year in Grand Rapids, for an NHLE of 17. He likely has some upside and will battle for a bottom-pairing spot next year. He'll be 25 when the season starts and was undrafted. He spent 4 years at Ferris State, where he had NHLEs of 14, 9, 14, 23. Strikes me as a Clay Wilson 2.0. 

Yet To Sign

  • C Mikael Backlund
  • C Lance Bouma
  • D Mark Cundari
  • D TJ Brodie

Moneypuck Options

  • C Kyle Wellwood: Has not signed. Probably no longer an option for the Flames due to the amount of bottom-9 forwards they currently possess.
  • C Boyd Gordon: Oilers, 3Yx3M. A liittle more than I would've committed in terms of years but the dollar figure looks about right.
  • C Alexander Burmistrov: Has not signed.
  • C Marcus Johansson: Has not signed.
  • C Jordan Schroeder: Has not signed.
  • RW Clarke MacArthur: Senators, 2Yx3.25M. Good bet for the Sens here, and will be a 2W for them now that Bobby Ryan is in town.
  • LW Viktor Stalberg: Predators, 4Yx3M. I'm honestly shocked he got this much. If he plays 3W minutes, this is an overpayment.
  • LW Nathan Horton: Blue Jackets, 7Yx5.3M. Huge commitment to what was the best winger available in this year's free agent crop. I was thinking 5x5 was going to be the max.
  • RW Pierre-Marc Bouchard: Islanders, 1Yx2M. If he can score 35-40 points this year, it's a bargain. I think he'll probably start on the top line with Tavares and Moulson, so might be the best value signing from this crop. Assuming he can stay healthy.
  • LW Benoit Pouliot: Rangers, 1Yx1.3M. Good signing here by Sather - will fit well on either the 2nd or 3rd line.
  • D Jared Spurgeon: Wild, 3Yx2.6M. Really good value for an offensive top-4 guy. This offersheet would've cost the Flames their 2nd round pick.
  • D David Rundblad: Has not signed.
  • D Mike Lundin: Gone to the KHL.
  • D Alexander Sulzer: Has not signed. Not a lot of room on the Flames due to the amount of bottom-pairing defensemen they currently possess.
  • G Ray Emery: Flyers, 1Yx1.65M. Really great deal by the Flyers here. Should get the majority of starts for the Flyers next year.
  • G Thomas Greiss: Coyotes, 1Yx750K. Jason Labarbera went to the Oilers, so Thomas Greiss has a new home.

Still Available

  • C Derek Roy
  • C Mikhail Grabovski
  • RW Peter Mueller
  • LW Guillaume Latendresse
  • RW Damien Brunner
  • LW Mason Raymond
  • RW Matt Halischuk
  • LW Nathan Gerbe
  • D Jonathon Blum
  • D Ian White
  • D Tom Gilbert

Conclusion

While GM Jay Feaster did well in staying out of the insanity the day had to offer, there are still some gaping holes in the Flames depth chart - 1C and 4D. In my opinion, there's only three players the Flames should be calling from here on out. The Flames are flush on the wings and bottom of the defensive rotation.

During this afternoon's press confrence, Feaster also said they have a second offer out to Backlund and a first offer out to Brodie.

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Justin is a 23-year-old Flames fan who also happens to be pursuing a double major at the University of Calgary. He has played hockey at high levels, enjoys wearing shorts and tends to drink far too much Grasshopper. Please don't hate him.
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#101 Baalzamon
July 06 2013, 04:53PM
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Looks like Derek Roy to the Blues. Another sigh of relief?

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#102 FireOnIce
July 06 2013, 06:08PM
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Baalzamon wrote:

Looks like Derek Roy to the Blues. Another sigh of relief?

Definitely one less bullet for Feaster to shoot himself in the foot with.

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#103 T&A4Flames
July 06 2013, 07:46PM
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Just sign Blum and be done with it.

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#104 gotommygo
July 06 2013, 08:11PM
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BurningSensation wrote:

Chillout has it right. A player cannot 'waive' his rights to determine where he goes by submitting a list before hand. He can give a list of potential places he might accept a trade to, but there is nothing about it that is binding no matter where the list comes from or who signs it.

The one and only thing that is binding is the players signature on the final trade.

That's right. Plus we got three players. Ottawa got none. Iggy could have Daniel Alfredsson'd us.

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#105 MC Hockey
July 06 2013, 08:45PM
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gotommygo wrote:

That's right. Plus we got three players. Ottawa got none. Iggy could have Daniel Alfredsson'd us.

This is true, did everyone see this!

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#106 Baalzamon
July 06 2013, 08:57PM
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@MC Hockey

I can't believe Alfredsson left them like that. I'm still in shock.

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#107 MC Hockey
July 06 2013, 09:29PM
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Baalzamon wrote:

I can't believe Alfredsson left them like that. I'm still in shock.

Yes, it's sad! The Sens are actually a good team with chance at the Cup in my opinion! Not sure Wings are better team with better chance to get there...baffling to me!

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#108 Kevin R
July 07 2013, 12:17AM
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MC Hockey wrote:

Yes, it's sad! The Sens are actually a good team with chance at the Cup in my opinion! Not sure Wings are better team with better chance to get there...baffling to me!

Evidently Zetterberg & Alfie are good buddies. Ottawa must have pissed Alfie off in the negotiations for this to happen.

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#109 BJ
July 07 2013, 07:57AM
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Stockley wrote:

I was terrified they would sign some 30+ year old to a retirement contract. Unless they get desperate and throw a truck full of money at one of the remaining free agents I'm starting to believe that maybe the times are indeed a-changin'. I wouldn't cry if they signed Grabovski and/or Brunner. Their roster is more or less complete at the moment and some bodies would need to be shipped out to make way for new arrivals. Camm? Stempniak?

Maybe we give Cammy Stemp and Stajan top six roles and move them at the deadline for picks and prospects.

After playing that tune again we should have enough prospects to start promoting players and adding the pie es we need to add.

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#110 ChinookArch
July 07 2013, 08:26AM
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A little off topic: a blog at the Score measured how far off the board that all NHL teams went over the last 2 drafts. The Flames are near the top of the list thanks to the Jankowski and Poirier picks.

http://blogs.thescore.com/nhl/2013/07/02/which-teams-went-furthest-off-the-board-at-the-2013-nhl-entry-draft/

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#111 RexLibris
July 07 2013, 09:29AM
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ChinookArch wrote:

A little off topic: a blog at the Score measured how far off the board that all NHL teams went over the last 2 drafts. The Flames are near the top of the list thanks to the Jankowski and Poirier picks.

http://blogs.thescore.com/nhl/2013/07/02/which-teams-went-furthest-off-the-board-at-the-2013-nhl-entry-draft/

Interesting read. First impressions are that reaching in later rounds is a safer bet than reaching with the earlier (ie: first and second round) picks. Hardly surprising, but it will be interesting to look at how Poirier and McCarron do over the next five years.

Montreal is historically one of the strongest teams at the draft, and Calgary is just slightly below league average. This puts them both in the same range and year for a great opportunity at direct comparison.

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#112 ChinookArch
July 07 2013, 09:54AM
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@RexLibris

Also of interest, the research was mostly dependent on the work performed NHLNumbers.com.

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#113 Kurt
July 07 2013, 11:09AM
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This is what we need to start talking about and getting excited for.,.

http://bit.ly/10Hjqeg

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#114 RexLibris
July 07 2013, 01:01PM
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ChinookArch wrote:

Also of interest, the research was mostly dependent on the work performed NHLNumbers.com.

That is because four out of five dentists recommend the Nations Network to their patients.

The fifth dentist is a Habs fan.

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#115 dotfras
July 07 2013, 04:28PM
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Like the idea of a Stemp/Staj/Cam line.

What if we used them as our scoring/easier comp line & threw GlenX/Backs/Jones at tougher comp in an effort to make our "tradeable assets" look better?

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#116 Baalzamon
July 07 2013, 04:57PM
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dotfras wrote:

Like the idea of a Stemp/Staj/Cam line.

What if we used them as our scoring/easier comp line & threw GlenX/Backs/Jones at tougher comp in an effort to make our "tradeable assets" look better?

I think Stempniak would be better suited to a tough comp line than Jones. That said, Stempy would also bring more in trade.

For myself, I'd like to see something like this (at first, and assuming Cammy sticks around):

Glencross - Stajan - Stempniak

Baertschi - Backlund - Hudler

Cammalleri - Knight - Jones

You could potentially switch Hudler and Cammalleri, of course, but I think Cammalleri helps Jones more than Hudler does, and Hudler compliments the Bs better. Just a thought.

Stajan with Glencross and Stempniak was a fairly consistent line last season which was trusted by Hartley, so we'll probably see more of it.

As I'm writing this, I wonder if they don't put Jones with Sven and Mickis, just to give them some size to work with.

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#117 Baalzamon
July 07 2013, 04:59PM
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@Baalzamon

WOW. I can't believe I forgot Galiardi. We have even more wingers than I thought!

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#118 jeremywilhelm
July 07 2013, 08:10PM
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Is Emile Poirier really that much of a reach? I don't see it. He doesn't look any different than any if the kids picked in that range. And he's got an invite to WJC camp.

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#119 BurningSensation
July 07 2013, 08:26PM
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jeremywilhelm wrote:

Is Emile Poirier really that much of a reach? I don't see it. He doesn't look any different than any if the kids picked in that range. And he's got an invite to WJC camp.

Montreal had him at a similar position as the Flames did. So I'd say 'no', not a reach.

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#120 Kent Wilson
July 07 2013, 09:59PM
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@BurningSensation

Haha probably not. Except for Kanzig...I don't think the Flames should have bothered with him at all.

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#121 MC Hockey
July 07 2013, 10:50PM
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Kevin R wrote:

Evidently Zetterberg & Alfie are good buddies. Ottawa must have pissed Alfie off in the negotiations for this to happen.

Or maybe he got tired of the GM's mumbling

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#122 MC Hockey
July 07 2013, 10:54PM
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Baalzamon wrote:

WOW. I can't believe I forgot Galiardi. We have even more wingers than I thought!

I bet the Flames use at least one winger out of position as a Centre unless they get Grabo..anyone think 25-year old Peter Mueller is worth a low-cost perhaps even 2-way contract? Then Bob Hartley can do his best Ben Stein imitation during film sessions...can you see this: Anyone know what the winger did wrong there? Anyone? Anyone? Mueller? Mueller?

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#123 MC Hockey
July 07 2013, 11:07PM
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clyde wrote:

Someone commented last week that people like to rip Jay because of his build and the fact that he talks a little too much. I think there is a lot to that. Our last 3 drafts and this year's pick ups of late show some good promise. We will need a couple more years of high end picks though and great work by whoever is in charge of developing our guys.

Agreed 1 million per cent. While smarter analysts on here like Kent give valid reasons for disliking certain moves, a lot of people just like to rip on the fat guy...a bit jealous perhaps. Not that it matters, but as a former somewhat fat guy, some people have health reasons for weight gain. I'd rather be as smart as Feaster and a bit fat than half as dumb as some of the commenters.

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#124 Captain Ron
July 07 2013, 11:51PM
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MC Hockey wrote:

Agreed 1 million per cent. While smarter analysts on here like Kent give valid reasons for disliking certain moves, a lot of people just like to rip on the fat guy...a bit jealous perhaps. Not that it matters, but as a former somewhat fat guy, some people have health reasons for weight gain. I'd rather be as smart as Feaster and a bit fat than half as dumb as some of the commenters.

Hahaha! Isnt that true!

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#125 Michael
July 08 2013, 07:20AM
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Feaster is a good guy in the wrong job. He should be team President or an Asst GM tasked with understanding the CBA and negotiating contracts. Feaster as a GM is what people like to complain about; from the first Freddy Modin signing, to the chase for Brad Richards (look how well that would have turned out), to Babchuk, Sarich, thinking Cervenka was a center, last years completely unbalanced team, underwhelming trades, his bluster, and the destruction of the Flames reputation under his watch. He simply has the wrong job...

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#126 Kent Wilson
July 08 2013, 07:40AM
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@KetchupKid

I suspect that's why Feaster has the job. In many ways, he has the opposite of public personna of Darryl Sutter and the media gleefully piled onto the jolly rancher once the results went south, in no small part because he made their jobs harder and lives miserable.

The franchise needs someone who can present a much friendlier face for the fans and media in rough times. Feaster needs to sell hope rather than the team itself and you attract more flies with honey than vinegar.

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#127 Kent Wilson
July 08 2013, 07:41AM
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MC Hockey wrote:

I bet the Flames use at least one winger out of position as a Centre unless they get Grabo..anyone think 25-year old Peter Mueller is worth a low-cost perhaps even 2-way contract? Then Bob Hartley can do his best Ben Stein imitation during film sessions...can you see this: Anyone know what the winger did wrong there? Anyone? Anyone? Mueller? Mueller?

Nah. Mueller's completely broken.

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#128 KetchupKid
July 08 2013, 09:53AM
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@Kent Wilson

Yeah he really is the opposite of Darryl isn't he? I just wonder if the broken promises and boasting are making the rough times rougher, compared to say a bit of tight-lipped, stoic Sutterism. At a glance, I'll take Feaster's drafting over his predecessor's though, and that's probably the first thing a team in Calgary's position should be looking for in a GM.

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#129 BurningSensation
July 08 2013, 11:33AM
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@Kent Wilson

Pronman gave him the thumbs up yesterday on twitter.

He had an absolutely nightmarish run of injuries, but seems to have recovered. Given his age, talent, and our current team needs, I'd take a flyer on him for a 3 year deal at modest $s.

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#130 Kent Wilson
July 08 2013, 11:51AM
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@KetchupKid

I don't think a tight-lipped stoic would fare well in the tough times. Feaster is acting as a salesman in his handling of the media now as much as anything else right now, and salesmen polish the product as much as possible, even it's a turd.

His stuff looks a bit silly in retrospect, but in general it probably does what it's designed too - create buzz, reassure the general fan base and enliven interest in the product.

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#131 jeremywilhelm
July 08 2013, 02:20PM
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Mueller was garbage, in pretty favourable conditions, pass for me...

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#132 KetchupKid
July 08 2013, 04:50PM
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@Kent Wilson

It definitely doesn't reassure ME, but I can't say I'm terribly surprised to find out my finger isn't on the pulse of the general fan base. If the Nations overlord figures it's good for biz though, I'll keep an eye out for silver linings.

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