Five things: So now we're talking about Feaster

Ryan Lambert
August 08 2013 09:40AM

1. Where he started

So Christian Roatis wrote a voluminous post "Defending Jay Feaster" this week and it got a lot of very deserved attention. Personally, I'm not sure Feaster necessarily needs defending because he's in a job where he is going to receive criticism a lot of the time almost no matter what he does since that's how the rebuild process usually goes; there's a reason most guys that oversee the beginnings of such actions — Steve Tambellini, etc. — are heavily embattled and tend not to be able to keep their jobs long enough to see their work in the trenches come to fruition.

The reason for that, meanwhile, is that rebuilds are hard to do as a baseline, and harder to get right. Tambellini, just to use a recent example that's more or less along the same lines as his former team's provincial neighbors, may have been able to draft first overall a number of years in a row, and that's very helpful to success, but it's also not conducive to convincing your bosses that you should keep your job. Furthermore, the other moves he made were underwhelming at best, and I think you could say the same for Feaster. Which is what leads me to believe that Feaster is not long for this job either, and he shouldn't be.

2. The trades

The post contained a comprehensive breakdown of every trade Feaster has made since taking over the job, of which there were 22. To look at them one at a time and say "This one was good, this one was middling, this one was bad," is kind of missing the point, because the overarching issue behind all those transactions was the looming necessity of the rebuild under which the team is now operating and his — and his bosses' — ongoing refusal to accept that this was the case.

The first two trades of his tenure (which brought Freddy Modin, Roman Horak, and a pair of second-round picks to the team) were who-cares by definition, though the latter was at least more interesting because his hand was forced by Erixon's refusal to sign. Two of the next four, though, portended the direction in which the team is now headed: Moving Daymond Langkow, Robyn Regehr, and Ales Kotalik were all salary-dump moves, which indicated that the team was acknowledging all the dead weight Darryl Sutter loaded onto the roster. These trades were made about two months apart in the summer of 2011, and sandwiched an AHL trade, and a swap that brought Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond to Calgary in a swap that foreshadowed how needlessly, and stupidly, the idea of "being tough to play against" was tied to Feaster's philosophical team-building inclinations.

Again, those trades were summer 2011, and yet the team toiled on in sub-mediocrity for another two seasons for reasons that defy logic. The trades made during those 600ish days before he accepted what he had to do show a man idly twiddling his thumbs with no real direction. Consider what he brought aboard since the beginning of the 2011-12 season via trade:

Blair Jones, Mike Cammalleri, the rights to Karri Ramo, the rights to Dennis Wideman, and Brian McGrattan, plus a number of AHLers, and picks in the fifth and seventh rounds. What he shipped out included Brendan Mikkelson, Rene Bourque, Brendan Morrison, Henrik Karlsson, AHLers, prospects, and picks in the second and fifth rounds. He also traded down when he could have had Teuvo Teravainen to get Mark Jankowski (weeeeeee!) and Patrick Seiloff, and that's a trade that already looks like it wasn't necessarily very wise.

What was even the point of all these swaps? Don't answer that, by the way. It's a rhetorical question.

The "rebuild" trades have to be treated separately, I think. It must be reiterated once again that his hand was forced when it comes to the returns. This means that the guys he got were necessarily not going to be good enough for the names he was moving, and in all I think that while it's perfectly reasonable to criticize him for those deals, that has to come with at least some amount of understanding.

What should be praised, though, is his ability to wrangle legitimate NHLers for mid-round picks, if only because he needed to fill a bunch of roster spots. That's really all fine with me.

But taken overall, the names Feaster has shipped out in the past few years probably should have gotten better returns. It comes down to an issue of philosophy, since he couldn't move Iginla, Bouwmeester, Kiprusoff, etc. until it was far too late. That, I think, can be counted as an indictment of his job performance. To use a football analogy, he should have gotten flushed from the pocket years ago, and is now being given credit for eating the ball and taking the sack, rather than throwing a pick. It's the smarter course of action at that point, but he didn't do enough to prevent the necessity in the first place.

3. The signings

This is where the real and actual criticism of Feaster can begin in earnest. The idea that you can't criticize him for trying to take a run at Brad Richards is a joke. It's a great and tender mercy that he and Sutter had already made Calgary so unattractive to free agents that Richards said "No thanks," because if he hadn't this rebuild wouldn't be happening right now, and everyone would still be here.

Moreover, the idea that you can't criticize him for the Ryan O'Reilly fiasco — and that's plainly what it was — because Colorado matched is baffling.

The person who made the comparison of a dog who tried to bite people only to find that he was muzzled and therefore shouldn't be considered a bad dog who tries to bite people was bang on. Management was never going to think trying to sign Richards was a bad idea, since they would have okayed the money and years on the deal. The O'Reilly thing, meanwhile, was a good idea in principle and an awful one in actual practice, and I still think he should have been fired for even trying it.

But to talk about the guys Feaster actually signed, well, it's still not a good thing to have on your résumé. The Tanguay deal, for example, was awful. So was the Sarich extension. That he offloaded both of those contracts successfully is to overlook that he also signed them in the first place for reasons that are probably impossible to comprehend. Anton Babchuk, too, was an inexplicable and bad signing. I would lump the Stempniak extension in with these as well.

These join the Wideman and Jiri Hudler deals as having been made in that vain pursuit of a playoff spot, and these two catastrophic deals are still on the books. Probably will be for a while. The Roman Cervenka experiment having gone sideways meant that he only wasted on year's worth of money for no reason, and thus it was in the end neither good nor bad, really, if you think about it.

Extending Mikael Backlund and TJ Brodie were good signings, but they were also RFAs whom he was always going to re-sign. Along these same lines, any GM who signs what amount to middling NHL roster players to short-term, low-money extensions is doing a great job because he is simply doing his job.

The only real home run out of all these is of course the Curtis Glencross signing, which gives fair market value to a guy who's slightly overrated. One truly good-job contract in more than two seasons? Yeah, that's worthy of defense.

4. The drafts

Here's where I have my real issues with Feaster, as you all know by now.

Almost everyone he picked was listed as being a "prospect with [definer] potential." This is obviously true. All prospects have theoretical potential, with the exception of Keegan Kanzig. I would say, however, that there are only a handful of currently-unassailable picks in the mix here. Sven Baertschi, Jon Gillies, Johnny Gaudreau, and Laurent Brossoit all seem like excellent value selections based upon where they went. A few others (Morgan Klimchuk, Markus Granlund, Pat Sieloff) seem like they could be as well. Everything else is open for debate.

The problem with this is it's all stuff we won't know whether he was actually any good at it until about three years from now at the earliest. However, the gripe I'll make with the idea that Feaster has built the Flames into a top-10 farm in the league is that of course he did; he missed the playoffs three years in a row and has now been stockpiling higher-round picks for a while now.

As Kent said yesterday, that's the easy part of being in a rebuild, and that means you can't give him credit for not screwing it up. There was a giant hole in the middle of the floor, he didn't step into it and die. Good job? Yeah, I'm not so sure you can say that.

But here's the thing, right? He's left himself open to a lot of criticism in the meantime. The Jankowski pick looms large (especially considering how good guys like Teravainen and Olli Maata look), as does picking Monahan — a safer bet with a lower ceiling — instead of Nichushkin. Baertschi seems like the only slam-dunk first rounder, and even then he got a decent bounce on it.

The thing with the late-round picks that seem more likely to work out, and I've always said this, is that it's throwing darts at a dartboard to a large extent. In the same way that I don't think Ken Holland is a drafting genius for getting Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg in the sixth and seventh rounds, I don't know if you can look at Feaster taking a flier on a fourth-round 5-foot-4 kid and say, "Well he knew Gaudreau would be a good pick." He got lucky. Good for him. Darryl Sutter almost never did. I might even consider this kind of thing to be little more than regression to the mean, I think.

5. What does it tell us?

I understand all this is long and incredibly subjective, but the point is that you're only going to see Feaster as being particularly good at his job if you're willing to forgive all the inaction to do what he should have done in his first two seasons.

He's been fine — not good, just acceptable — in the rebuild process to this point. And again, it's only because it was almost impossible to screw up selling off everything. I'm sorry if it rankles you that this is the case, but it is. Any defense of Feaster begins and ends with a sentence that involves the phrase, "Well if you ignore…" and that's a crazy thing to say, isn't it? Ignore what he started with, ignore how he did his job for two years, ignore that he started the rebuild then inexplicably stopped, ignore that he's only just now getting around to fixing things, ignore that some of the contracts he's gotten credit for moving were ones that he signed, ignore that his drafting has been questionable even as it's supposed to have been easy.

It's silly and it accomplishes nothing. If you want to continue that house on fire analogy, it's like he's just now getting around to throwing a fresh coat of paint on the remains that have long since stopped smoldering, and maybe swept up only part of the mess. Doesn't change the fact that he still doesn't have a roof over his head.

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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 coachedpotatoe
August 08 2013, 09:53AM
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Feaster rants, Feaster praise; I'm tired of it as it reminds of a dog chasing it's tail. Hopefully we can have some new fresh topics. Is anyone else interested in discussing the WJC tryouts and how the kids are doing or possibly the next draft year. Or the hirings and job the new head of NHl officials. Ah no more Feaster for awhile.

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#2 BurningSensation
August 08 2013, 10:26AM
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"I understand all this is long and incredibly subjective, but the point is that you're only going to see Feaster as being particularly good at his job if you're willing to forgive all the inaction to do what he should have done in his first two seasons."

Do you seriously believe that the course of the team for the first two years was Feaster's to determine? Flames mgt gave him clear and unambiguous directions that his job was to make the playoffs. A herculean task given the roster that was gifted to him, but nevertheless, one he nearly pulled off.

The vast majority of crtiticism that Feaster gets is that he was making decisions that ran counter to the rebuild Flames fans were clamouring for, ignoring the fact that launching a rebuild was not something within his purview. It's like me complaining that a Ryan Lambert Flames column lacks sufficient coverage of the Oilers - if you are judging Feaster's moves in his first two years by how they fit the goal of a rebuild than you have completely missed the point of what he was trying to do.

As for not giving him credit for rebuilding the farm system, that is just being churlish. Feaster's first draft (before the rebuild garnered him extra picks) netted us no fewer than four of our top 10 prospects, at least two of which (Baertschi and Gaudreau) are tracking to be very good players. The Erixon trade netted us a decent (if unspectacular) player in Horak, and two more prospects that slot into our top 10. In short order Feaster has turned the Flames prospect pool from one of the worst in the league to one of the best, but you make it sound like that should be no problem for any GM to pull off. In contrast, the Oilers have had high picks for what seems like forever, but outside of the #1s overall, have failed to find NHL caliber guys outside of the most obvious picks possible. Funny, that, somehow a team with multiple high picks isn't able to translate that into a deep farm system - but Lambert thinks it should be easy.

Finally, I find the notion that Feaster should have taken Nichushkin over Monahan to be little short of insane, and I say that as someone who was pounding the drums for Nichushkin should the centers be off the board at our pick. Monahan had a better NHLequivalent in his final year, brings more to the table (playmaking, defense, face-offs, etc.) than Nichushkin (who has essentially one move coming in off the wing against a flat-footed defenseman), and fills a positional need for a legit #1 center.

If the Flames had taken Nichushkin with Monahan still on the board the outrage would have been visible from Alpha Centauri.

It's easy to take shots at Feaster over the Jankowski pick, if only because he is a project that will take time to mature while the players picked around him are likely to show more sooner (Maata). Fair enough. But to suggest that Nichushkin was the guy Calgary should have taken betrays a deep lack of understanding with regards to both the scouting of the players in question and the needs of the team.

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#3 Parallex
August 08 2013, 10:37AM
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"I would lump the Stempniak extension in with these as well."

... what?

Stempniak was a great (or at least very good) extension. By reguler stats he's fairly priced, he's one of the better #fancystat guys on the team IIRC, and the deal was not onerously long.

I'm honestly flabbergasted that anyone could or would try to put Stempniak's extension into the same catagory as Babchuk and Sarich.

"I don't know if you can look at Feaster taking a flier on a fourth-round 5-foot-4 kid and say, "Well he knew Gaudreau would be a good pick." He got lucky. Good for him. Darryl Sutter almost never did"

I'm going to take a bit of an exception to this statement... I will wear one set of underwear continuelly for a week without showering and then eat it anyone could demonstrate that Darryl Sutter would have ever legitimately considered drafting a 5'5 150Ib kid from New Jersey. Wouldn't have happened. Part of the reason Sutter never "got lucky" (although Brodie in round 4 is proabably good enough to qualify IMO) was because he never put himself into a position to get lucky. Let's be honest here if you put the stats and measurements of JD Watt and Johnny Gaudreau next to one another and asked someone familer with Sutter to pick which one he (Sutter) would draft I would bet heavily against anyone not picking the face-puncher.

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#4 ChinookArch
August 08 2013, 10:06AM
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The post is a little heavy-handed, while I agree his trades have been underwhelming, his drafting has been at least okay. The post doesn't give any credit for some of good things that Feaster has accomplished from an organization standpoint.

I mentioned in Christian's post that Feaster deserves credit for improving the AHL farm team and providing foundation where all the systems will be integrated for better success, when player come up from the farm. Feaster seems to be a much better manager than his predecessor and has surrounded himself with good hockey people. This now has lead to a committee approach to decision-making, as opposed to a central single figure making all the decisions. Another commentator also mentioned that he has provided clear objectives and guidelines to his scouting staff (high hockey IQ etc.). This has been good.

In fairness, criticisms should also be balanced with accolades, if the are deserved. From a management perspective, I give Feaster full marks.

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#5 seve927
August 08 2013, 09:59AM
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Next topic. Please.

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#6 piscera.infada
August 08 2013, 10:35AM
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@BurningSensation

"If the Flames had taken Nichushkin with Monahan still on the board the outrage would have been visible from Alpha Centauri."

I didn't even know that was a Feaster gripe. I'm not sure how someone can get worked up about the Jankowski pick as risky, and in the same breath get worked up about the Monahan pick as safe.

That said, I echo a lot of the sentiment on here about the Feaster debate getting old. I agree with much of what's in this article, minus that Monahan bit.

I'm not too sure where I sit on Feaster's tenure thus far. I don't think he's horrible, but I'm definitely skeptical. So I guess I'm a fence sitter (as lame as that is). I definitely do echo many of the comments on here in recent days. It's the next year or two where we'll know whether he's horrible, mediocre, or good - and that's entirely fine with me. For the record, I agree that I don't see him finishing this rebuild with the club.

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#7 SmellOfVictory
August 08 2013, 11:05AM
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4. I take umbrage with your entire argument here. First you say Feaster drafted crappily, then when he drafted well in the later rounds (e.g. Gaudreau) you say it was blind luck. If he's successful, it's not his doing, but if he's unsuccessful it's clearly his fault. That is an incredibly biased mode of arguing, and quite frankly it's fallacious.

Secondly, you say that he brought the Flames' prospect pool into a top 10 ranked pool by virtue of multiple high-round picks. This is in spite of the fact that the Flames have only had multiple first round picks during one draft (the most recent), one of which essentially just replaced their missing 2nd rounder to Montreal, and that a lot of their organizational depth is comprised of guys from outside the first two rounds (Johnny Gaudreau, Jon Gillies, Laurent Brossoit, Ryan Culkin & Brett Kulak).

I'm in the middle on Feaster. I don't think he's amazing (I do think he's better than Sutter), primarily because his trading history is lacklustre and he DID try to make a couple of moves that could have been disastrous, but he deserves credit where he has succeeded (or rather, allowed his support staff to succeed).

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#8 Baalzamon
August 08 2013, 10:52AM
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"especially considering how good guys like Teravainen and Olli Maata look"

Maatta? Really?

How good is he? REALLY, how good? His improvement over his draft year was so insignificant it can likely be explained by statistical variance. FYI, he was unable to outscore Brett Kulak last season--a player who doesn't get anywhere near enough play pretty much anywhere, by the way--and Kulak isn't any (well, much) more of an offensive defender than Maatta is, and he plays for a VASTLY inferior team. Maatta was the top offensive defenseman for London (a tremendously good team) last season, and he was still outscored by Ryan Culkin, who I have serious doubts will ever play in the NHL. And Culkin is NOT an offensive defender.

I really don't understand all the hype around Olli Maatta. All I've ever seen watching him was an awkward skater who couldn't do much with the puck. Sounds EXACTLY like my scouting report for Culkin.

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#9 RustyStrombone
August 08 2013, 10:49AM
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I agree with piscera's last comment. The fact that the following was a sentence is so contradtictory and clearly indicates that Lambert and others who share the Feaster hatred are simply waiting for the next move to criticize.

"The Jankowski pick looms large (especially considering how good guys like Teravainen and Olli Maata look), as does picking Monahan — a safer bet with a lower ceiling — instead of Nichushkin."

While I wholeheartedly agree that we should not be praising Feaster for his body of work, he is also receiving undue criticism for a number of moves or decision. I also fall in the wait and see camp.

That is all....let's stop talking about this for a while. That and Jankowski. Please.

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#10 TheRealPoc
August 08 2013, 11:06AM
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Dismissing the Monahan pick as the wrong selection, despite expressing serious trepidation last week about Monahan playing with the big club next season, because we have zero organizational depth down the middle...

http://bringthetuck.us/rr/the-rock-clapping.gif

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#11 crapshoot
August 08 2013, 11:14AM
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I agree with you on the signings Ryan. Every signing of a contract ever has been horrible. Feaster should not have signed or re-signed anyone to any contract, no money, no term, ever. That would have been an awesome team.

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#12 T&A4Flames
August 08 2013, 03:24PM
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"The Jankowski pick looms large (especially considering how good guys like Teravainen and Olli Maata look), as does picking Monahan — a safer bet with a lower ceiling — instead of Nichushkin. Baertschi seems like the only slam-dunk first rounder, and even then he got a decent bounce on it."

So.....you criticize Feaster for taking the flier on Janko, a guy with higher upside instead of the safe Olli Maatta and then trash him for doing the opposite, taking the safer Monahan instead of riskier Nichushkin.

This is why I have trouble reading your stuff. Pick a side and give credit and criticism where it's due instead of just criticism as it suits your needs by twisting things in your favour.

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#13 BitGeek
August 08 2013, 11:21AM
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I stumbled upon these once upon a time when the whole ROR debacle was taking place.

Mebbe we need to stop including ROR as part of Feasters Failings...

http://www.mcsorleys-stick.com/2013/03/chris-johnston-doubles-down-on-his-false-scoop/

http://www.mcsorleys-stick.com/2013/03/why-im-wrong-and-everyone-is-also-wrong/

http://www.mcsorleys-stick.com/2013/03/jay-feaster-righ/

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#14 Subversive
August 08 2013, 10:44AM
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Can I triple prop Burning Sensation's post? Yeah, what he said.

Further, if ownership tells you 'make the playoffs, or else', you do what you can to try and accomplish that goal. You really think he's going to come to a press conference and say "Well, I really think we should blow this thing up and rebuild, since this roster is pretty much garbage, but the owners pay the bills and they really want to make the playoffs, so that's what we're going to try and do"? Of course he's going to appear to be on the same page and want to do what they tell him. He's not an idiot. You can like or dislike his personal style of bluster and BS in press conferences, but the fact remains that he's been given a mandate from ownership that he may or may not like. The public perception part of the job requires him to appear to like it regardless.

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#15 Trianglereverie
August 08 2013, 11:20AM
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5 things?

This article really could have been written in 1 thing and I could have done it in less than a paragraph.

The point I believe Ryan is making is simple. "We as fans and followers of the franchise shouldn't be quick to praise Feaster for doing what any idiot in charge of a Franchise rebuild can do. Take a stab in the dark at players in lower rounds and hope that just a small percentage of them work out. I quite liked Ryan's metaphor of walking into a room spotting a hole in the floor and not stepping into it as being praiseworthy. Any idiot should have been able to recognize the gapping pit and not stepped into it. We should in fact be pissed off, angry and even demand his head for the stupid deals and trades he's made and the lack of "intellectual honesty" and therefore outright hypocrisy that he has spouted for two years. If those marching orders came from above and Feasters hands were tied or not is really irrelevant because he lied to our faces about it. One could even argue that resigning Tanguay, Babchuk, Sarich and Cammalleri, trying to sign Richards and O'Reily was indeed stepping into that hole and for that reason he should be held accountable not praised.

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#16 Citizen David
August 08 2013, 11:46AM
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Kent's article yesterday said it perfectly. It is simply too early to tell. In a few years he might look like a great GM. Or he might look horrible. The problem with the flames prospects is that almost all prospects look good early. The Oilers started the rebuild and things looked great. Their prospects were looking very good in the CHL or in College or in Europe. Then they graduated to the AHL. And that's when prospects start dropping like flies. The fact that Baertchi is the only top prospect who has proven himself in the AHL should be a caution flag for flames fans. Gaudreau is in the NCAA same with Jankowski and Gillies, Brossiot has just played junior, Monahan Poirier and Klimchuck just got drafted and are in the CHL. For the next two seasons they are going to look very very good. The test is can they step into the AHL and play well.

Take it from an Oilers fan, a couple years into the rebuild Pitlick, Martindale, Hamilton, Omark, Lander, Bunz, Roy, Marincin all looked very very good. Now Marincin is the only one that looks good and Lander and Roy are hanging on by threads.

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#17 Demetric
August 08 2013, 10:21AM
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I understand all this is long and incredibly subjective.

^ good summary

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#18 TRAV
August 08 2013, 01:04PM
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I like that Lambert's articles always ilicite such a strong response. I rarely agree in whole with them but I like anticipating the responses to follow. Entertaining...

I find it a little bit ironic how people are always all over Feaster for thinking he's "the smartest guy in the room" and then we post our opinions where guys speak like they have all of the answers or are the smartest guys in the room. The one thing that I will give Feaster credit for is empowering his people. I think that recognizing the talent and insights of the people around you and then acting on those ideas is an important part of good leadership. I think that bringing in stong people and collaborating with them has been a strength of Feaster's and is part of the reason for improved drafting. (I think that most would agree that our drafting has improved during his tenure, though this won't be for certain until guys perform in the NHL)

In terms of grading his performance overall I am with Kent on this one, insufficent information to make a defintive assessment. Some good some not so good.

I also echo what I am hearing. Please no more Feaster- Janko debate. Though these do seem to be hot button topics....

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#19 BurningSensation
August 08 2013, 04:31PM
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BitGeek wrote:

I stumbled upon these once upon a time when the whole ROR debacle was taking place.

Mebbe we need to stop including ROR as part of Feasters Failings...

http://www.mcsorleys-stick.com/2013/03/chris-johnston-doubles-down-on-his-false-scoop/

http://www.mcsorleys-stick.com/2013/03/why-im-wrong-and-everyone-is-also-wrong/

http://www.mcsorleys-stick.com/2013/03/jay-feaster-righ/

Remind me to source these whenever the ROR signing is raised as an issue of Feaster's alleged incompetence.

Funny, if only there were a profession out there, you know, people who research topics for a living and then write about them. Maybe in journals, or some sort of publication. We could call them 'writers' or 'journalists'. If only there were some of these people around who could actually you know, read the CBA and see what it says regarding RFAs and the waiver wire.

Maybe Ryan Lambert knows somebody like this. It clearly it isn't him.

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#20 Lordmork
August 08 2013, 11:59AM
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Well, now we've had posts arguing "Feaster is doing well given the circumstances," "We can't judge Feaster yet," and "Fire Feaster." All possible angles are covered, and a lot of this depends entirely on how much management has been allowing Feaster to do his job (something we're unlikely to ever know for certain).

I'm not sure I have anything insightful to add beyond that. I think a lot is going to depend on what the team looks like at the start of next season, after we shed about 25 contracts and (presumably) a number of older/higher-priced players will be gone. Then it really is going to be Feaster's team, and we can start to judge just what that means.

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#21 Jeff Lebowski
August 08 2013, 12:09PM
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The only part of this I agree with is 'I understand all this is long and incredibly subjective,...'.

I understand it's about increasing traffic and producing 'interesting' content but the sheer amount of assumptions we make is actually laughable. Especially when these assumptions become narratives-taken as fact, referenced to prove other assumptions.

After reading Moneyball years ago, I became fascinated in the management side of sports. The following is an excerpt from an interview with a baseball operations guy. I find it provides perspective on what I wrote above:

Question: “When you’re making decisions are you listening to sportstalk radio, newspapers, or expert opinions outside of your own little A’s family? Or do you just kinda make decisions in a vacuum and take all of the emotion out of it. At some point there seems like there are some decent ideas out there but there’s also a lot of crazy fans who, you have no basis for their (inaudible)”

FZ: “I just honestly, like we don’t really have time to sort of survey public opinion and I don’t mean that in any sort of derisive way. Because I agree with you, there are a lot of people out there, fans of us, or people that just write their own analyst blogs that i think do terrific work and come up with terrific ideas. But you know it’s basically our job to think about this team 24-7. So almost anything that’s out there we’ve at least thought about. We might not make the right decision about it, we might be ultimately wrong in our evaluation but there are only so many players and so many decisions we have to make and we’re just thinking about this all the time. I mean I get sent stuff by people and I do think that our sort of fans and bloggers are among the if not the smartest and most savvy in Baseball. And I’m not trying to ya know (laughs).. I think that group doesn’t always agree with things that we do and a lot of times it’s because of information that we have that they don’t have.

Even if it’s just our scouting reports, we may bet on a player that the popular opinion isn’t very strong on because we have a couple of scouting reports that really liked a certain player. So there’s a little bit of Information Asymmetry there where I don’t think that we are necessarily dealing with the same set of information. Sometimes that works against us because maybe we put too much weight into those scouting reports. So I think a lot of times, I think what happens a lot is that you can really see people thinking in concert with us and sort of the logic behind some of our moves. I think our fans can often articulate better than anybody else.”

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#22 the-wolf
August 08 2013, 12:57PM
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Other than the part about Nichushkin vs Monahan, great article.

BS, correct me if I'm wrong, but weren't you in favor of Nichushkin over Monahan?

The one thing the pro-Feaster camp loves to do, and Ryan explained it in other terms ("if you ignore"), is to give him credit where credit is due and where criticism is due, to blame it on ownership. Bad - not his fault. Good - all his credit.

Of course Feaster was under a 'winnow' mandate. But so was Darryl and look how he gets bashed by the same people who support Feaster. So, working under the same orders, one GM is an idiot for his moves and the other GM had no choice? Interesting logic.

Besides, while Feaster was under orders to win at all costs, the individual moves still have to be considered his to have made (kust like Darryl's were his). In that sense, he failed miserably. He was supposed to 'win now' and failed to do so. Impossible circumstances? Partly, sure, but there's still responsibility there on his part because none of his moves made the team any better. In fact, the team got worse.

And, as I've noted before, of course the prospect pool has improved. You moved your 2 biggest names and finsihed 6th last in the league (almost way worse if it weren't for Begin). Here, of course, Feaster suddenly gets all of the credit because things are looking rosy. Wait, I thought Button ran the scouting?

Like I said in another column, his performance is "meh." No steals, nothing brilliant, some absolute debacles, some very poor signings, some half decent moves, a lot better hockey offices (though where do you go but up from Darryl's 1-man band) and a big mouth.

He's nothing to write home about, but the logic of giving him credit for everything good and blaming ownership for everything bad escapes me.

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#23 BitGeek
August 08 2013, 11:33AM
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piscera.infada wrote:

Really? Is this truth?

I don't know what the actual truth is, but I'm inclined to give Feaster the benefit of a doubt after reading those links.

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#24 McRib
August 08 2013, 11:37AM
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@Baalzamon

Olli Maata is also a tool he has zero hockey sense. He is sheltered playing on a great team, any other situation and he would be getting as much talk as an Eric Roy type after being drafted in the 3 or 4 round.

Still can't get the image of Brett Connolly steamrolling him at the World Juniors in Edmonton out of my head. Haha. Kulak is twice the defender!!

Outside of Teuvo Teravainen the only other player that I would have liked to see in a Flames sweater in 2012 is Tom Wilson, who was also a reach by most on draft day. Other than that lets just give Mark Jankowski some time. As I have a hard time believing a 6'3" toolsy late bloomer is not going to be worstcase a third liner, which everyone else drafted in that 20-40 range is going to be as well anyway.

Plan & simple the 2012 draft had average talent available in the 20-40 range, I have no problem going for a high upside guy there. Where as this year they recognize the depth and choose a Morgan Klimchuk right where everyone had him.

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#25 NHL93
August 08 2013, 02:01PM
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To me Feaster is like a lot of other GM's: pretty average. If he wins a traded or loses a trade or drafts a stud down the line it's all down to luck. To me it all depends on who he surrounds himself with. Does he hire people smarter than himself, and then listen to them? If so, he's above average, if not, he's a dud.

And yes the articles on Feaster are tiring, but what other stories are out there right now? It's been pretty quiet out there.. tsn is doing a massive drawn out 25 years later autopsy on the Gretzky trade, that's pretty lame in my opinion.

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#26 Avalain
August 08 2013, 03:21PM
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the-wolf wrote:

Other than the part about Nichushkin vs Monahan, great article.

BS, correct me if I'm wrong, but weren't you in favor of Nichushkin over Monahan?

The one thing the pro-Feaster camp loves to do, and Ryan explained it in other terms ("if you ignore"), is to give him credit where credit is due and where criticism is due, to blame it on ownership. Bad - not his fault. Good - all his credit.

Of course Feaster was under a 'winnow' mandate. But so was Darryl and look how he gets bashed by the same people who support Feaster. So, working under the same orders, one GM is an idiot for his moves and the other GM had no choice? Interesting logic.

Besides, while Feaster was under orders to win at all costs, the individual moves still have to be considered his to have made (kust like Darryl's were his). In that sense, he failed miserably. He was supposed to 'win now' and failed to do so. Impossible circumstances? Partly, sure, but there's still responsibility there on his part because none of his moves made the team any better. In fact, the team got worse.

And, as I've noted before, of course the prospect pool has improved. You moved your 2 biggest names and finsihed 6th last in the league (almost way worse if it weren't for Begin). Here, of course, Feaster suddenly gets all of the credit because things are looking rosy. Wait, I thought Button ran the scouting?

Like I said in another column, his performance is "meh." No steals, nothing brilliant, some absolute debacles, some very poor signings, some half decent moves, a lot better hockey offices (though where do you go but up from Darryl's 1-man band) and a big mouth.

He's nothing to write home about, but the logic of giving him credit for everything good and blaming ownership for everything bad escapes me.

First of all, it's ironic that you mention that the pro-Feaster camp is saying all of the bad things are not his fault while all of the good things are to his credit, because this article is an example of the anti-Feaster camp doing the exact same thing (just the other way). His draft pick turns out good? He got lucky. His pick turns out bad? He's awful. I don't really see anyone defending things like the Babchuk signing as anything but a mistake, but then I think the number of people who think Feaster is Gods gift to Flames fans can probably be counted on one hand (in binary ;-) kidding ).

Your "win now" comments (I was trying to figure out exactly what you meant talking about winnowing, but I digress) seem to be pulling a bunch of things that different people said about different situations and putting it together as if everyone who disagrees with you is a single hive-mind. That being said, I don't really disagree with Sutter betting the farm on winning the Cup somewhere between 2006-2008, Especially since that was pretty much his mandate from ownership. However, I don't see Feaster's "failing to drag a bad team into the playoffs" as the same kind of failure as Sutter's "failing to manage the cap so that you can't even replace injured defenders in the playoffs".

Yes, I feel the prospect pool has improved. I actually feel that the prospect pool had improved before blowing the team up and drafting 3 1st rounders. Yes, Feaster gets the credit for this even though most of the leg work should have been done by Button and Weisbrod. Why? Because the compliment that Feaster is receiving is that he is letting his scouting department do their job. I want a GM that finds people who are good at their job and then actually lets them DO their job.

After all that, I actually agree that his performance is pretty average. Maybe I just had really low expectations, but "pretty average" is better than I had hoped. I like where he is taking the team for the most part, but feel like we really just need to wait and see. I wouldn't mind him being fired, but only if we actually had someone lined up that was REALLY good. Replacing him for someone else equally mediocre is a very bad idea. Even if we end up with someone marginally better I would be against it simply because the last thing we need is a GM making short-term decisions based on fear of losing his job.

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#27 BurningSensation
August 09 2013, 10:16AM
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Kurt wrote:

Full disclosure, I think Feaster stinks and should be fired for ROR. But I think the bigger issue, independent of any trade, draft pick or offer sheet is the macro job he did at managing the team assets heading into a rebuild. I don't give him a free pass because of some perceived win-now ownership push down. I don't buy that, no excuse. He alone cost us 3 years by blowing the value of our assets and refusing to rebuild until no value was left. Sort if like your stock broker selling your entire portfolio after a market crash... And then blaming market forces... Would you forgive him and shrug? But I digress... I think the key take away from your comment above is the last bit.

If Feaster had a plan and was rebuilding and trading assets why was he whale hunting a few months earlier. Some people will say he changed his plan and responded to his situation and that ROR fit in regardless of the rest of the plans...

But to me it just looks like he had no plan and was completely changing his macro level plan week by week based on how the previous week went. That to me is scary. Some people pointed out the Holland example and his 20 year comment. I tend to agree a bit, GMa are judges way too early. But sometimes bumbling is bumbling and you don't have to wait to see a lack of a long term plan and a consistent clear plan. Has this team shown a clear plan for any amount of time?? I'd suggest the past few months is the first time (since the trade deadline). That's at least encouraging, but not something to commend management for.

Yeah, you and I don't see eye to eye on this at all.

Here's where we part ways;

"But I think the bigger issue, independent of any trade, draft pick or offer sheet is the macro job he did at managing the team assets heading into a rebuild. I don't give him a free pass because of some perceived win-now ownership push down. I don't buy that, no excuse. He alone cost us 3 years by blowing the value of our assets and refusing to rebuild until no value was left. "

There is no question that the Flames ownership gave Feaster a mandate to 'win now'. None. His marching orders were clear from the moment he was hired. You can disagree with this directive from ownership (and many will join you in disparaging it), but I don't think there is any question that is what the directive was.

His trades and signings at the time reflect that imposed direction. He moved Regher (and Kotalik) not for prospects, but to get out of salary cap hell. He signed bomb-throwers to contracts because the team needed the nuclear option to compete with other top end teams in the West, and the ROR signing was an attempt to add useful high-end NHL talent at center at the expense of future picks rather than current assets.

Should the Flames have been rebuilding the moment Feaster arrived? I think that is a fair argument to have, but it wasn't Feaster's call to make.

I think that once Kipper got hurt/sucked like a chest wound at the mid-point of the season Feaster went to mgt and insisted that a rebuild was now the only option left, or they would lose Iggy for nothing, and miss the window on getting a 1st rnd pick for JBo. It was at that point that the 'macro-plan' was finally changed.

That all said, I think Feaster was doing a 'soft rebuild' from the moment he arrived. The Regehr trade cleared cap space (one of the things you need to do in a rebuild), and the other trades Feaster made the team younger and cheaper while at the same time keeping the team competetive. In his first two years he was doing a balancing act, trying to add young talent and picks while still being within spitting distance of playoff dates. Sure he was whale-hunting (in particular for Brad Richards), but that fit in with his mandate from above, and he had created the cap-space to add a whale should he hook one.

Once he was given the go ahead to tear it down though, many of the pieces to launch the rebuild were already in place. The scouting dept had been retooled (from the top), the prospect pipeline had been improved, he had added an advanced stats guy, the relationship with the AHL team was strengthened, etc. Areas of the organization that are typically ignored by high-end playoff teams were being rebuilt even as the team was trying to make the playoffs. Once the rebuild was fully launched these areas didn't need to be overhauled anew because they had already been addressed.

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#28 BitGeek
August 08 2013, 10:49AM
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meh... it could have been worse.

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#29 Monaertchi
August 08 2013, 11:15AM
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"Any defense of Feaster begins and ends with a sentence that involves the phrase, "Well if you ignore…" and that's a crazy thing to say, isn't it?"

Yes, it is crazy.

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#30 chillout
August 08 2013, 01:48PM
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Typical Lambert spouting all the garbage he reads on other flames hate blogs.

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#31 SmellOfVictory
August 08 2013, 02:17PM
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@the-wolf

Yes, Darryl was under a "win now" mandate, but while the mandate was not his choice, the Phaneuf return and the Jokinen trade were both his decisions. Just as we blame Feaster for the garbage Regehr trade, we blame Sutter for the garbage Phaneuf trade. Difference is, Sutter's trades were catastrophic at times, rather than the underwhelming ones that Feaster sometimes makes.

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#32 ChinookArch
August 08 2013, 09:53AM
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Why pick at the scab, when you can rip it right off?

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#33 piscera.infada
August 08 2013, 11:31AM
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@BitGeek

Really? Is this truth?

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#34 Baalzamon
August 08 2013, 11:40AM
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@Trianglereverie

When did Feaster sign Cammalleri? Don't answer, that's a rhetorical question. The answer is 'never'.

He TRADED for him, yes. But that moronic contract was signed with the Habs, not the Flames.

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#35 the-wolf
August 08 2013, 12:58PM
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Citizen David wrote:

Kent's article yesterday said it perfectly. It is simply too early to tell. In a few years he might look like a great GM. Or he might look horrible. The problem with the flames prospects is that almost all prospects look good early. The Oilers started the rebuild and things looked great. Their prospects were looking very good in the CHL or in College or in Europe. Then they graduated to the AHL. And that's when prospects start dropping like flies. The fact that Baertchi is the only top prospect who has proven himself in the AHL should be a caution flag for flames fans. Gaudreau is in the NCAA same with Jankowski and Gillies, Brossiot has just played junior, Monahan Poirier and Klimchuck just got drafted and are in the CHL. For the next two seasons they are going to look very very good. The test is can they step into the AHL and play well.

Take it from an Oilers fan, a couple years into the rebuild Pitlick, Martindale, Hamilton, Omark, Lander, Bunz, Roy, Marincin all looked very very good. Now Marincin is the only one that looks good and Lander and Roy are hanging on by threads.

Well put.

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#36 BurningSensation
August 08 2013, 02:12PM
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the-wolf wrote:

Other than the part about Nichushkin vs Monahan, great article.

BS, correct me if I'm wrong, but weren't you in favor of Nichushkin over Monahan?

The one thing the pro-Feaster camp loves to do, and Ryan explained it in other terms ("if you ignore"), is to give him credit where credit is due and where criticism is due, to blame it on ownership. Bad - not his fault. Good - all his credit.

Of course Feaster was under a 'winnow' mandate. But so was Darryl and look how he gets bashed by the same people who support Feaster. So, working under the same orders, one GM is an idiot for his moves and the other GM had no choice? Interesting logic.

Besides, while Feaster was under orders to win at all costs, the individual moves still have to be considered his to have made (kust like Darryl's were his). In that sense, he failed miserably. He was supposed to 'win now' and failed to do so. Impossible circumstances? Partly, sure, but there's still responsibility there on his part because none of his moves made the team any better. In fact, the team got worse.

And, as I've noted before, of course the prospect pool has improved. You moved your 2 biggest names and finsihed 6th last in the league (almost way worse if it weren't for Begin). Here, of course, Feaster suddenly gets all of the credit because things are looking rosy. Wait, I thought Button ran the scouting?

Like I said in another column, his performance is "meh." No steals, nothing brilliant, some absolute debacles, some very poor signings, some half decent moves, a lot better hockey offices (though where do you go but up from Darryl's 1-man band) and a big mouth.

He's nothing to write home about, but the logic of giving him credit for everything good and blaming ownership for everything bad escapes me.

"BS, correct me if I'm wrong, but weren't you in favor of Nichushkin over Monahan?"

Probably (for certain I had Lindholm ahead of Monahan), but there was zero logic to the Flames swinging for the fences on Nichushkin with Monahan still on the board. Monahan simply checked off way too many boxes (size, skill, position, defensive play, birth certificate, etc.).

I think Nichushkin could be a very special player, but it was acknowledged everywhere (including me) that he carried a significantly higher risk than Monahan.

Now if Nichushkin had played center, then I might have had a real problem with taking Monahan first....

That all said, my point was that there is simply no way on Earth that Calgary could have taken Nichushkin over Monahan given the needs of the team. People like Lambert would have been calling the pick 'reckless', etc. and villagers with pitchforks would have descended on the windmill.

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#37 RustyStrombone
August 08 2013, 03:32PM
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Just to add to the "Let's give Feaster time" narrative, I believe I recall Ken Holland (who I think might be an ok/decent GM)saying that in his opinion, a GM needs 20 years for a team to truly reflect his body of work.

Now I'm in no way advocating that we should give Feaster 20 years to figure this thing out, this does speak to the fact that we can't adequately judge his performace after 2 1/2.

Then again, who is this Holland guy to make such grandiose claims.

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#38 Trianglereverie
August 08 2013, 04:34PM
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For me it's not even about the bad deals or the good deals anymore. I've become indifferent beyond the individual record after 3 years of the same thing.

What I do not appreciate is having my intelligence insulted as a fan on a repeated basis. The Flames management from King right down to whoever is the last on the totem pole below Feaster continually do this.

I'd be more willing to get on the wait and see train if I wasn't told by the same people for 2 years that this wasn't a rebuild then they traded Reggie for picks and prospects, and even after they finally started the official rebuild Feaster was continuing to hype the "this isn't a rebuild" sell. This would have been the continued stance probably if someone in the media had not finally called the organization out on it. Then there was the whole we're not going to sign post-apex players and they resigned Tangs and Sarich and brought back/traded for Cammy. It's the fact that they talk to the fans like we're morons and use words like intellectual honesty when as a management group they have been nothing near honest with fans and with organizational expectations.

In business if you tell investors to expect one thing and then you go out and do the opposite and it fails you will almost always lose your investors and by extension your job.

How Feaster is still employed when he has the arrogance with which he talks to us (his investors) is a bit beyond me.

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#39 BurningSensation
August 08 2013, 05:30PM
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Robert Cleave wrote:

Indeed, research is always an excellent idea. Here's the full clause from the actual CBA, and not the summary version Quisp was going off of when he wrote those posts:

"13.23 In the event a professional or former professional Player plays in a league outside North America after the start of the NHL Regular Season, other than on Loan from his Club, he may thereafter play in the NHL during that Playing Season (including Playoffs) only if he has first either cleared or been obtained via Waivers.

For the balance of the Playing Season, any such Player who has been obtained via Waivers may be Traded or Loaned only after again clearing Waivers or through Waiver claim.

This section shall not apply to a Player on the Reserve List or Restricted Free Agent List of an NHL Club with whom the Player is signing an NHL SPC or is party to an existing SPC with such NHL Club."

That last paragraph is where the league's case against Calgary in an arbitration would have rested. Absent Feaster being able to prove that clause was inserted after the fact and wasn't part of the intended settlement, he'd have been hooped.

Now the issue you raise is that what Quisp (and Feaster) were working off of was not the final document (that you quote) but rather summary;

The 2013 CBA Summary (quoted by Quisp);

"All Players on a Club’s Reserve List and Restricted Free Agent List will be exempt from the application of CBA 13.23 Waivers in the case of a mid-season signing. For further clarity, if Club A trades such a Player to Club B and Club B signs the Player to an SPC, such Player will be exempt from the application of CBA 13.23."

In other words, the CBA summary is clear that ROR was free to sign a contract with Calgary as an RFA and play in the same season without going through waivers, and the basis Feaster had for thinking this was the case was the official document the NHL/NHLPA released to the teams.

Given that Feaster was having to read the summary and not the actual document, he looks to be free and clear. It certainly would have put the league in a very poor position to claim that while the summary says one thing, the final document they released later on says something else and therefore ROR goes on waivers.

For the NHL to claim then that summary they provided was wrong, and they really meant for that loophole to be closed is a very thin stick with which to beat Feaster.

I further wonder whether the NHL would bother to try and enforce the clause as finalized. Colorado's GM, ROR's agent, Feaster, the blogosphere (including everyone here), and every major news organization thought that ROR was an RFA available to be signed without a waiver claim. But the NHL would step in and say 'oh wait, we meant to word that differently, sorry. ROR goes on waivers. Surprise!'?

I think that highly unlikely. Feaster signed ROR in good faith. Colorado matched as per the rules. Was it a mistake? Depends on whether you think Feaster should have been blowing up the roster against the owners wishes. If you understand that Feaster was operating in a 'trying to win now' scenario the ROR signing looks not only reasonable, but positively EXCELLENT. But if competing for the playoffs is not your thing despite what the owner wants, then ROR is a mistake, regardless of what the CBA bylaws might have said.

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#40 Justin Azevedo
August 08 2013, 08:40PM
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Robert Cleave wrote:

Indeed, research is always an excellent idea. Here's the full clause from the actual CBA, and not the summary version Quisp was going off of when he wrote those posts:

"13.23 In the event a professional or former professional Player plays in a league outside North America after the start of the NHL Regular Season, other than on Loan from his Club, he may thereafter play in the NHL during that Playing Season (including Playoffs) only if he has first either cleared or been obtained via Waivers.

For the balance of the Playing Season, any such Player who has been obtained via Waivers may be Traded or Loaned only after again clearing Waivers or through Waiver claim.

This section shall not apply to a Player on the Reserve List or Restricted Free Agent List of an NHL Club with whom the Player is signing an NHL SPC or is party to an existing SPC with such NHL Club."

That last paragraph is where the league's case against Calgary in an arbitration would have rested. Absent Feaster being able to prove that clause was inserted after the fact and wasn't part of the intended settlement, he'd have been hooped.

lol ilu bob.

bs: feaster had access to the mou, which was not a summary and he also had access to nhl counsel. there is zero reason, having those resources, that he should not have had the waiver information.

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#41 Kurt
August 09 2013, 10:48AM
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@BurningSensation

I don't agree entirely with your stance, I find it much to apologetic. That said its a valid opinion and one I respect.

I guess for me I tend to blur Feaster in with a general 'management' group that also includes ownership, or the entire organization. So I don't let him off because he had things pushed on him. Your positives are valid, where we differ is that you feel his sins are forgivable. I think being unwilling (or unable) to stand up against ownership for what he felt was right is a lack of ability to do his job.

Anyways, this horse is deader than dead. Lets are how the season unfolds. I am quite optimistic based on the past few months, especially Feasters inaction in free agency. That is a clear change of direction and a huge positive IMO

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#42 Baalzamon
August 08 2013, 02:11PM
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@NHL93

makes you wonder what they'll do for the 50th anniversary.

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#43 Colin
August 08 2013, 04:12PM
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Enjoyed reading this a lot, it's actually been a few good reads about Feaster these last few days. I think the true test is this year, what does he do, does the rebuild go even further down the tear it down path(trading pretty well everyone not named Backlund/Baertschi/Brodie) or do they keep most everyone and try to remain as competitive as possible.

The only thing I really disagree with is the ROR "debacle". Even then, it's still Feasters fault for not getting 100% clarification before the signing, but the whole Feasters an idiot for doing it wears thin. The "rough" cba that was drafted had the provision in there to sign a player from "a clubs" reserve list, it doesn't say it has to be your own. Feaster with his law background would have been able to see the sloppy writing of said clause and saw the loophole in it, and IMO he is right in that loophole, what the NHLs "intentions" are/were may be a different story. But I think it's still a ballsy move that he probably could have pulled off.

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#44 Robert Cleave
August 08 2013, 04:52PM
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BurningSensation wrote:

Remind me to source these whenever the ROR signing is raised as an issue of Feaster's alleged incompetence.

Funny, if only there were a profession out there, you know, people who research topics for a living and then write about them. Maybe in journals, or some sort of publication. We could call them 'writers' or 'journalists'. If only there were some of these people around who could actually you know, read the CBA and see what it says regarding RFAs and the waiver wire.

Maybe Ryan Lambert knows somebody like this. It clearly it isn't him.

Indeed, research is always an excellent idea. Here's the full clause from the actual CBA, and not the summary version Quisp was going off of when he wrote those posts:

"13.23 In the event a professional or former professional Player plays in a league outside North America after the start of the NHL Regular Season, other than on Loan from his Club, he may thereafter play in the NHL during that Playing Season (including Playoffs) only if he has first either cleared or been obtained via Waivers.

For the balance of the Playing Season, any such Player who has been obtained via Waivers may be Traded or Loaned only after again clearing Waivers or through Waiver claim.

This section shall not apply to a Player on the Reserve List or Restricted Free Agent List of an NHL Club with whom the Player is signing an NHL SPC or is party to an existing SPC with such NHL Club."

That last paragraph is where the league's case against Calgary in an arbitration would have rested. Absent Feaster being able to prove that clause was inserted after the fact and wasn't part of the intended settlement, he'd have been hooped.

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#45 Derzie
August 08 2013, 08:16PM
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Amen brother. Nice post. Winning or losing is the only thing will determine Feaster's legacy but you have a nice non-homer look at his mediocre to poor tenure thus far. Ken King and Murray Edwards are heavy hands in whatever the legacy as well.

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#46 Kurt
August 09 2013, 09:17AM
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BurningSensation wrote:

Now the issue you raise is that what Quisp (and Feaster) were working off of was not the final document (that you quote) but rather summary;

The 2013 CBA Summary (quoted by Quisp);

"All Players on a Club’s Reserve List and Restricted Free Agent List will be exempt from the application of CBA 13.23 Waivers in the case of a mid-season signing. For further clarity, if Club A trades such a Player to Club B and Club B signs the Player to an SPC, such Player will be exempt from the application of CBA 13.23."

In other words, the CBA summary is clear that ROR was free to sign a contract with Calgary as an RFA and play in the same season without going through waivers, and the basis Feaster had for thinking this was the case was the official document the NHL/NHLPA released to the teams.

Given that Feaster was having to read the summary and not the actual document, he looks to be free and clear. It certainly would have put the league in a very poor position to claim that while the summary says one thing, the final document they released later on says something else and therefore ROR goes on waivers.

For the NHL to claim then that summary they provided was wrong, and they really meant for that loophole to be closed is a very thin stick with which to beat Feaster.

I further wonder whether the NHL would bother to try and enforce the clause as finalized. Colorado's GM, ROR's agent, Feaster, the blogosphere (including everyone here), and every major news organization thought that ROR was an RFA available to be signed without a waiver claim. But the NHL would step in and say 'oh wait, we meant to word that differently, sorry. ROR goes on waivers. Surprise!'?

I think that highly unlikely. Feaster signed ROR in good faith. Colorado matched as per the rules. Was it a mistake? Depends on whether you think Feaster should have been blowing up the roster against the owners wishes. If you understand that Feaster was operating in a 'trying to win now' scenario the ROR signing looks not only reasonable, but positively EXCELLENT. But if competing for the playoffs is not your thing despite what the owner wants, then ROR is a mistake, regardless of what the CBA bylaws might have said.

Full disclosure, I think Feaster stinks and should be fired for ROR. But I think the bigger issue, independent of any trade, draft pick or offer sheet is the macro job he did at managing the team assets heading into a rebuild. I don't give him a free pass because of some perceived win-now ownership push down. I don't buy that, no excuse. He alone cost us 3 years by blowing the value of our assets and refusing to rebuild until no value was left. Sort if like your stock broker selling your entire portfolio after a market crash... And then blaming market forces... Would you forgive him and shrug? But I digress... I think the key take away from your comment above is the last bit.

If Feaster had a plan and was rebuilding and trading assets why was he whale hunting a few months earlier. Some people will say he changed his plan and responded to his situation and that ROR fit in regardless of the rest of the plans...

But to me it just looks like he had no plan and was completely changing his macro level plan week by week based on how the previous week went. That to me is scary. Some people pointed out the Holland example and his 20 year comment. I tend to agree a bit, GMa are judges way too early. But sometimes bumbling is bumbling and you don't have to wait to see a lack of a long term plan and a consistent clear plan. Has this team shown a clear plan for any amount of time?? I'd suggest the past few months is the first time (since the trade deadline). That's at least encouraging, but not something to commend management for.

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#47 Baalzamon
August 08 2013, 11:43AM
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@McRib

"Outside of Teuvo Teravainen the only other player that I would have liked to see in a Flames sweater in 2012 is Tom Wilson"

I don't know... I like Hertl and Collberg, myself.

Bastian Collberg is actually kind of an odd choice of mine to be honest, because he hasn't had good results as a pro. I've just been ridiculously impressed with him whenever I've watched him (sort of like the general public with Nichushkin, come to think of it). The kid has some major tools.

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#48 Robert Cleave
August 08 2013, 05:46PM
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Baalzamon wrote:

"This section shall not apply to a Player on the Reserve List or Restricted Free Agent List of an NHL Club with whom the Player is signing an NHL SPC or is party to an existing SPC with such NHL Club."

So basically, the Flames should have traded for O'Reilly's rights--thus adding him to their RFA list--then signed him, rather than offersheeting him.

In doing so, O'Reilly wouldn't have had to pass through waivers to play for them for the same reason he didn't have to clear waivers to play for the Avalanche.

At least, that's my interpretation of that...

That's my assessment as well. He needed to be on Calgary's reserve list to be exempt, so a trade would have facilitated that. Working out that trade would have been the tricky part, of course, and I do believe Feaster made inquiries about O'Reilly before tendering the offer sheet. They went nowhere, and so what happened happened.

I want to add one other thing re: my previous post. From my own experience as a represented employee, having poorly worded clauses that don't fully capture intent isn't unknown, especially with tentative agreements. Clarifications do happen, and they often take a fair bit of work to be finalized. Those clarifications are often a primary reason why final copies of CBAs in many lines of work appear several months after ratification.

That noted, if there is a meaningful dispute and an arbitrator gets involved, the first question that would be asked of both management and the union would be "What was the intent when you negotiated this clause?" Given that the current clause reads as it does in the final copy, both sides must have been comfortable with the idea that teams could only have their own guys come back waiver-exempt. If the NHL, as represented by Bettman/Daly et al, were going to argue against the Flames and the PA was in agreement with the league re: the intent, I'm just not sure how Feaster ever threads that needle.

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#49 acg5151
August 08 2013, 07:06PM
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I don't think Jay Feaster could have started the rebuild earlier.

We all forget that ownership is a big part of a GM's job and that if you go against their wishes, you can get fired. I really doubt that Flames ownership was on board with starting a rebuild - if they had been, Jarome Iginla and Bouwmeester and Kipper would have all been shipped out earlier for more stuff.

When he did trade them, he got solid value. Jarome Iginla is slow as hell and the fact that he got as much as he did was amazing. JBo was overpriced, had a NTC, and was going to be a UFA in a year anyways. Rumor had it that the St. Louis offer was the only one with a first round pick.

As for drafting, the GM isn't as culpable as people like to think. Their picks are mapped out months in advance by scouting departments. The GM has the final say, but they get too much credit when the drafting is going good, and too much flak when it's going bad.

All in all, I think Jay Feaster is a pretty mediocre GM, but I question a lot of the points that are often brought against him - and I question whether the Flames could have really hired anyone who would have been better. Sutter pretty much did the franchise in before Feaster even made it to Calgary, and no one really knows what was going on behind the scenes. We don't know what effect ownership had on all of this to be honest, either.

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#50 schevvy
August 08 2013, 09:52PM
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God, that whole waiver rule for people coming from Europe is the most BS rule ever

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