2013: A Brief Review

Ryan Pike
January 03 2014 09:42AM

The past year has arguably one of the most tumultuous in the history of the Calgary Flames franchise. It was every bit as fascinating off the ice as it was, at times, on the ice. For those of you who'd like a quick reminder, here's a brief rundown on the last 12 months.

JANUARY

The four-month long NHL lockout ends! The 2012-13 season begins (three and a half months late) and the Flames go 1-3-1 after a short training camp. The only notable camp happenings were Leland Irving finally winning the back-up job and Steve Begin winning a job as a walk-on. Henrik Karlsson is traded to Chicago.

Johnny Gaudreau, Patrick Sieloff and Jon Gillies - and especially Johnny Gaudreau - win gold with Team USA at the World Juniors in Ufa, Russia.

Kent suggests that the Flames try to offer-sheet Ryan O'Reilly.

We start worrying about Sven Baertschi.

FEBRUARY

The Flames go 6-5-3. Despite having a good record, they flat-out hit the panic button when Miikka Kiprusoff goes down and a goalie revolving door begins - the tandems go: Kiprusoff & Irving, Irving & Danny Taylor, Irving & Joey MacDonald, and finally Joey MacDonald & Taylor. The club also cuts ties with 2008 pick Mitch Wahl and brings in Brian McGrattan from Nashville for AHL defenseman Joe Piskula.

Kent demands that the Flames offer-sheet Ryan O'Reilly.

Book of Loob declares the Flames need a new goal song.

On the last day of the month, the Flames offer-sheet Ryan O'Reilly in an effort to improve the team long-term (and get Kent to stop camping out in front of the Flames offices). Colorado matches the offer sheet, and then it turns out that due to quirks in the new CBA (that wasn't finished yet), the Flames would've lost O'Reilly to waivers (and two picks to the Avs) anyway.

MARCH

The Flames go 6-8-0, flirting with actualy being pretty decent other than being bad on the road. The California Road Trip serves as the beginning of the end for Jarome Iginla in Calgary, with the team going 0-3-0 after heading on the road on the cusp of a playoff spot.

Jarome Iginla's Trade Saga dominates the month. He's traded to Boston, er, Pittsburgh at the end of the month.

APRIL

The bottom falls out. Flames go 6-9-0, but trade (and "rebuild" talk dominates the month. The Flames jettison Jay Bouwmeester and Blake Comeau, but give Joey MacDonald a contract extension for another year. If you were a prospect that the Flames had any plans for, you got called up in the month of April. Miikka Kiprusoff starts the final home game of the year and wins in Classic Kipper fashion, leading to a standing ovation amidst rumours it's his last game in his career.

Roman Cervenka finishes off a bad year, but Mikael Backlund finishes up a good year.

MAY

Armed with three first round picks, the Flames prepare for the Biggest Draft In Franchise History (So Far). The FN crew picks at the bones of the season a bit.

Roman Cervenka, the best player outside of the NHL prior to 2012-13, returns to the KHL.

JUNE

The Flames sign Karri Ramo, the best goalie outside the NHL prior to 2013-14. By pure coincidence, Miikka Kiprusoff tells the Finnish national team he's retired, but doesn't say much to the Flames (who are giving him time to relax before asking about his 2013-14 status). They do, however, snag NCAA standout Corban Knight.

The club begins kicking tires on candidates for a position that's called "President of Hockey Operations". (Brendan Shanahan says no.)

Calgary has its worst flooding in history, with the Saddledome flooding to the ninth row of the lower bowl.

The Flames draft eight players at the 2013 NHL Draft: Sean Monahan, Emile Poirier, Morgan Klimchuk, Keegan Kanzig, Eric Roy, John Gilmour, Tim Harrison and Rushan Rafikov. The day before the draft, they trade Alex Tanguay and Cory Sarich to Colorado for Shane O'Brien and David Jones.

JULY

Restricted free agent Mikael Backlund signs a two-year deal. The Flames acquire T.J. Galiardi from San Jose, but make no major free agent splashes. Other than re-signing Brian McGrattan (and eventually acquiring Kris Russell).

Development camp is the highlight of a low-key month. Many interviews are here (the links are at the end). Johnny Gaudreau is asked many times if he'll come to Calgary. He repeatedly says he will, but doesn't sign a contract on the spot, so it was a bit of a mixed message.

AUGUST

The Flames sign T.J. Brodie to a bridge deal.

Kent surmises five teams that may be worse than the Flames in 2013-14.

The prospective Canadian Olympic hockey club plays ball hockey (for insurance reasons).

SEPTEMBER

The Saddledome is ready for pre-season hockey because many contractors spent many hours fixing it. The event level looks basically the same, except strangely much cleaner.

The Flames hire Brian Burke as President of Hockey Operations.

Ryan Howse quits hockey. So does Miikka Kiprusoff, although one of them won a Vezina before they hung their skates up.

The Flames acquire Joe Colborne.

Kent ponders the usefulness of fighting in the NHL.

Training camp opens. Many Flames bristle at the notion that they'll be bad and should just give up trying during training camp.

OCTOBER

An NHL season begins on-time for once. The Flames play perfectly well, despite injuries, and go 5-5-2.

We continue to be worried about Sven Baertschi a bit.

Sean Monahan makes the team and scores all the goals.

NOVEMBER

The league starts to catch up to the Flames, as they go 4-8-2 despite not playing that much worse than in October.

The team also makes a slew of roster moves: Joey MacDonald is jettisoned to the minors in favour of Reto Berra (the best goalie outside of the NHL), Roman Horak and Laurent Brossoit are sent to Edmonton for Ladislav Smid and Olivier Roy, and Tim Jackman turns into a draft pick, while a slightly better draft pick becomes Lane MacDermid.

DECEMBER

Jarome Iginla returned to Calgary as a member of the Boston Bruins!

Jay Feaster and John Weisbrod were relieved of their duties. Brian Burke begins a GM search.

The Flames send Sven Baertschi back to Abbotsford.

Amidst all this hooplah, the Flames went 5-7-2.

ODDS AND ENDS

In 2013, the Flames went 33-45-10. Goalie wins were: Joey MacDonald (11), Miikka Kiprusoff (8), Karri Ramo (6), Reto Berra (5), Leland Irving (2) and Danny Taylor (1).

Jiri Hudler was the team's leading scorer, with 60 points. Mike Cammalleri had 52, Lee Stempniak had 45, Matt Stajan had 39 and Curtis Glencross had 38. On the blueline, the leaders were Dennis Wideman (34), Mark Giordano (32) and T.J. Brodie (26).

The Abbotsford Heat went 40-32-2-3 in 2013. Tyler Ruegsegger, who's not even with the Heat anymore, had 5 game-winning goals to lead the team.

Among the prospects, production varied. Let's attempt to compare apples and apples (players that were at the same level all year).

  • In the CHL: Emile Poirier had 85 points, Brett Kulak had 64, Morgan Klimchuk had 59, Coda Gordon had 57, Ryan Culkin had 49, Eric Roy had 44....and Keegan Kanzig had 6.
  • In the NCAA: Johnny Gaudreau had 61 points, Bill Arnold had 38, Kenny Agostino had 35, Mark Jankowski had 21, and John Gilmour had 16. Jon Gillies went 20-7-7. Yes, a college goalie won more than any Flames goalie did. In a 40-game season.
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Now in his third full season covering the Calgary Flames and the NHL, Ryan Pike is a Calgary native and FlamesNation's managing editor. He's trying to keep his head up, his stick on the ice and is giving it 110% every shift. You can also find his work at The Hockey Writers, the Wrestling Observer and Tough Talk MMA.
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#1 negrilcowboy
January 03 2014, 10:46AM
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will brian berserk's recent comments regarding bobby stevenson, aka bobby ryan come back to bite the flames in the arse? will players and agents shun the flames?

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#2 Derzie
January 03 2014, 10:43AM
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Burke is a train wreck no matter how you slice it. Nobody knows who Burke had on his roster. Ryan didn't make the team. On his roster? Nobody listened. Off his roster? Poile lied. Also, every personnel move so far for the Flames (except the admin of signing picks) has been anti-skill. I have not seen one shred to show Burke deserves support.

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#3 coachedpotatoe
January 03 2014, 10:13AM
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Brent G. wrote:

So not to be a total d*ck but everyone who took the opportunity to jump all over Burke for nothing, should collectively apologize...

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=440282

Why? I went to that sight and nothing there says Burke did not say what he said, yes it says Burke would have him on his team but then he went on in an interview to throw Ryan under the bus. The Burke supporters should get that those who do not like Burke will almost always find reasons to throw him under the bus too. Burke is a polarizing guy and I have clearly stated that I not a Burke supporter but have also said I hope he proves me wrong for the good of the Flames. I did not like him when he was in charge of the Canucks, Ducks or leafs and believe he is over rated as a hockey guy. I don't like his public persona or the image he now will present for the Flames(I did not like it for his other teams either) and I don't like his public view of the game.

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#4 coachedpotatoe
January 03 2014, 10:49AM
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schmenkley wrote:

Totally agree, too often I think Burke gets crucified for comments made in front of the camera, often justifiably. I think Burke often winds up as the one who gets the "tough minutes" with the media, probably because he doesn't care what his public perception is. I see this as Burke taking the public heat for what was undoubtedly going to be a controversial decision. The optics are still terrible however

Burke either allows himself to be available or is pursued by the media. Either way he says what he says and should be accountable for it. He for better or worse is the public face of this organization and that matters to me. It shapes his relationships with our players and staff, other GM's, UFA's and their agents and this in turn will influence the success or failure of our team.

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#5 Primo
January 03 2014, 02:33PM
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coachedpotatoe wrote:

I'm not sure it to deflect attention from his team as much as it is bring attention to himself. It's clear that I am not a Burke fan nor a believer in his hockey greatness or his vision of the game. Until he does something to convince me otherwise I will remain a skeptic and would rather talk about the team.

at coachpatatoe....you are certainly entitled to your negative views on Burke but your ridiculous comment needs to be challenged....so if you were a leader (i'm sure you have never been) then everyone on your team is a dickhead unless they convince you otherwise. Nice view of life! Go for that walk and breath of fresh air please!

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#6 Brent G.
January 03 2014, 09:52AM
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So not to be a total d*ck but everyone who took the opportunity to jump all over Burke for nothing, should collectively apologize...

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=440282

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#7 coachedpotatoe
January 03 2014, 01:33PM
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schmenkley wrote:

I am not disagreeing and in fact I think Burke claimed this role when he cleared out Feaster. I think Burke establishes himself as the one who will face the music with the media and take the heat. Should he learn to temper his language and be a bit more sensitive to the fallout? Absolutely. Burke 's recent outburst reminds me of a similar outburst by a GM of an Olympic team claiming "Us against the world" to deflect attention away from the product on the ice... Burke puts himself in that role to take the media heat that would otherwise be directed to the rest of the gms that outvoted him.

I'm not sure it to deflect attention from his team as much as it is bring attention to himself. It's clear that I am not a Burke fan nor a believer in his hockey greatness or his vision of the game. Until he does something to convince me otherwise I will remain a skeptic and would rather talk about the team.

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#8 Primo
January 03 2014, 02:22PM
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Note to Bobby Ryan...Suck it up be a man. These types of comments are typical from decision makers who want to ensure the US team has enough toughness rather than what you bring to the table. Goal scoring is not an issue with team USA it will be toughness and there ability to match Canada's intensity.

You might also want to consider sending Brian Burke a thank you card for making you a second overall pick thus ensuring you and your family will lead a prosperous wealthy life for generations to come.

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#9 coachedpotatoe
January 03 2014, 02:43PM
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Primo wrote:

at coachpatatoe....you are certainly entitled to your negative views on Burke but your ridiculous comment needs to be challenged....so if you were a leader (i'm sure you have never been) then everyone on your team is a dickhead unless they convince you otherwise. Nice view of life! Go for that walk and breath of fresh air please!

Primo: I take it that the only way you can try and win an argument is make personal attacks. maybe you should take your own advice.

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#10 piscera.infada
January 03 2014, 10:25AM
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@coachedpotatoe

The majority of hatred on here had nothing to do with the comment(s) - which IMO it shouldn't have, that's not an issue, but I think we should be done talking about that either way you cut it - it had to do with the fact that by leaving Ryan off, it said something of Burke omitting skill. Therefore, with Burke's roster having Ryan on it over Saad and/or Pacioretty, that argument is no longer an argument at all.

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#11 coachedpotatoe
January 03 2014, 09:50AM
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It was an interesting year. Interesting how kent led to RoR issue and ultimately to the Feaster firing(just kidding). Also it was a frustrating year; the rebuild finally(officially) begins and has a sense of direction only to have a change of heart and now a new sense of direction. It will be interesting to see how Burke's vision pans out.

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#12 schmenkley
January 03 2014, 10:36AM
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@piscera.infada

Totally agree, too often I think Burke gets crucified for comments made in front of the camera, often justifiably. I think Burke often winds up as the one who gets the "tough minutes" with the media, probably because he doesn't care what his public perception is. I see this as Burke taking the public heat for what was undoubtedly going to be a controversial decision. The optics are still terrible however

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#13 piscera.infada
January 03 2014, 10:47AM
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@Derzie

Yes, the two whole trades that have been made under his watch... Right. Calm down bud, you're going to give yourself hemorrhoids.

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#14 schmenkley
January 03 2014, 11:03AM
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@coachedpotatoe

I am not disagreeing and in fact I think Burke claimed this role when he cleared out Feaster. I think Burke establishes himself as the one who will face the music with the media and take the heat. Should he learn to temper his language and be a bit more sensitive to the fallout? Absolutely. Burke 's recent outburst reminds me of a similar outburst by a GM of an Olympic team claiming "Us against the world" to deflect attention away from the product on the ice... Burke puts himself in that role to take the media heat that would otherwise be directed to the rest of the gms that outvoted him.

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#15 piscera.infada
January 03 2014, 11:06AM
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@schmenkley

Exactly.

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#16 SeanCharles
January 03 2014, 11:09AM
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Brian Burke is one of the most respected men on the management side of hockey.

He will attract more assets than repell.

His comments haven't hindered anything. We all knew he would be controversial.

Its time to get over it and judge him on what is about to come not what he did for other organizations and/or the insignificant transactions he has completed as GM here.

I'm all for critical thinking but wait til we have some substance to support our arguments.

He has yet to do anything worth judging as of yet..

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#17 aloudoun
January 03 2014, 11:15AM
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Brian Burke was the one who drafted Bobby Ryan... And there were issues with Ryan if I can correctly recall after he was drafted. Remember this guy was drafted 2nd overall after who? Sidney Crosby.

Im sure worse things are said about players on the selection of teams. Lets throw Charelli under the bus for comments made about Seguin before the Bruins traded him. Double standard and blown way out of proportion.

Having said all that I would love Bobby Ryan on the Flames.

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#18 piscera.infada
January 03 2014, 11:03AM
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@coachedpotatoe

If players are actually naive enough to believe comments like that aren't made in conversations between or within organizations, then I don't know what to say. Hell, I assume for the most part, that when employees are discussed by their employers, a lot worse things are probably said. Burke tried to turn a phrase. Could he have used better verb-age? Probably, yes. That said, in having conversations about certain players in the league with my friends I've said far more horrible things.

The point is, Burke was given a job by hockey USA, he did that job. USA hockey is the one to blame for the comments, as they should never have embedded a journalist in that situation. Do you honestly think that Hockey Canada's deliberations are free from choice words, assumptions about character, and hard-truths? If so, you're just as naive as a player who thinks their invincible to attacks - you've put yourself in the line of fire, might as well buck-up big guy.

I agree with you in part about the fact that Burke now represents the city and the team that we love. That said, I'm not losing sleep about him making an off-the-cuff statement that I kind of agree with.

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#19 Schmenkley
January 03 2014, 11:07AM
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@piscera.infada

Beat me to it

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#20 TRAV
January 03 2014, 11:07AM
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piscera.infada wrote:

The majority of hatred on here had nothing to do with the comment(s) - which IMO it shouldn't have, that's not an issue, but I think we should be done talking about that either way you cut it - it had to do with the fact that by leaving Ryan off, it said something of Burke omitting skill. Therefore, with Burke's roster having Ryan on it over Saad and/or Pacioretty, that argument is no longer an argument at all.

Correct. There was a great deal of anger/angst about having a guy in charge who wouldn't select Ryan. I think, though I might be mistaken, that Justin and Arik were leading the charge. The whole skill versus variety of skills versus intangibles debate was right up there with the Janko selection. (well not quite)..

Mistake number one was having a reporter in the room when you're evaluating players. As some have pointed out, this kind of conversation happens all of the time, the difference is that this was reported upon. (Also Burke has a big mouth and phrases things poorly!)

For me this is a good reminder of context. Many quotes can be spun without context. I wasn't in the room and don't know the context but this certainly has been a big story. (too big)

Unfortunately (unless you're a reporter) this circus show seems to follow Brian Burke everywhere he goes.

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#21 TRAV
January 03 2014, 03:39PM
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Primo wrote:

at coachpatatoe....you are certainly entitled to your negative views on Burke but your ridiculous comment needs to be challenged....so if you were a leader (i'm sure you have never been) then everyone on your team is a dickhead unless they convince you otherwise. Nice view of life! Go for that walk and breath of fresh air please!

Wow. I actually agree with you but not the way you expressed it. I think it's perfectly okay for someone not to like Burke's behaviour. I think that it is okay to look at Burke's record past and present and not be impressed. (not my viewpoint) Because a guy is waiting for evidence of good moves before changing his opinion seems pretty logical to me. I'm not sure that his views of hockey decisions are the filter that he applies to his life but if they were I'm okay with it for two reasons. 1.) It's non of my business. 2.) Deciding that you don't agree with someone's vision or behaviour based on evidence from the past or present and requiring something to change your mind makes sense.

Again I don't agree with Potatoe on this point but pretty sure this response was over the top...

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#22 coachedpotatoe
January 03 2014, 03:55PM
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TRAV wrote:

Wow. I actually agree with you but not the way you expressed it. I think it's perfectly okay for someone not to like Burke's behaviour. I think that it is okay to look at Burke's record past and present and not be impressed. (not my viewpoint) Because a guy is waiting for evidence of good moves before changing his opinion seems pretty logical to me. I'm not sure that his views of hockey decisions are the filter that he applies to his life but if they were I'm okay with it for two reasons. 1.) It's non of my business. 2.) Deciding that you don't agree with someone's vision or behaviour based on evidence from the past or present and requiring something to change your mind makes sense.

Again I don't agree with Potatoe on this point but pretty sure this response was over the top...

Trav: See we disagree over Burke and I'm okay with that without being demeaning and I will respect your opinion and when you make a case for Burke or anyone else for that matter I will listen. My opinion of Burke the persona does indeed cloud my vision of him. I'm prepared to admit if he does a good job but so far I'm still waiting. As fans I would rather focus on our players, prospects and the style of play than all the distractions.When Burke does something that you think is great point it out and I will gladly discuss and listen to it. Coachpotatoe

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#23 Primo
January 03 2014, 04:02PM
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coachedpotatoe wrote:

Trav: See we disagree over Burke and I'm okay with that without being demeaning and I will respect your opinion and when you make a case for Burke or anyone else for that matter I will listen. My opinion of Burke the persona does indeed cloud my vision of him. I'm prepared to admit if he does a good job but so far I'm still waiting. As fans I would rather focus on our players, prospects and the style of play than all the distractions.When Burke does something that you think is great point it out and I will gladly discuss and listen to it. Coachpotatoe

My intentions were certainly not intended to be demeaning or disrespectful to anyone. My point is simply too give an individual a chance before he is discarded. In Burke's case his record speaks for itself and in my view is very positive in terms of successfully building teams and being a shark at trades. Regardless I start with the glass half full. That is my view.

If coachpatatoe view is different than mine no problem. That is the beauty of FN...we can freely express our opinions but not everyone needs to agree.

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#24 coachedpotatoe
January 03 2014, 04:15PM
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Primo wrote:

My intentions were certainly not intended to be demeaning or disrespectful to anyone. My point is simply too give an individual a chance before he is discarded. In Burke's case his record speaks for itself and in my view is very positive in terms of successfully building teams and being a shark at trades. Regardless I start with the glass half full. That is my view.

If coachpatatoe view is different than mine no problem. That is the beauty of FN...we can freely express our opinions but not everyone needs to agree.

Enough Burke until he does something one way are another, then we can into it again.

Has anyone heard whether or not Sieloff is back with the Heat yet? Last I heard he was going to be back sometime in the New Year (Ward in an interview).

Does anyone have any update on Ferland injury? yes we know it's a knee.

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#25 MontanaMan
January 03 2014, 07:44PM
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Just watching this Flames lineup tonight, you realize how bad this team really is. Westgard and McGratten both getting regular shifts. Gio on the power play. Butler top 4 defence minutes. Frightening.

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#26 coachedpotatoe
January 03 2014, 09:14PM
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MontanaMan wrote:

Just watching this Flames lineup tonight, you realize how bad this team really is. Westgard and McGratten both getting regular shifts. Gio on the power play. Butler top 4 defence minutes. Frightening.

Gio has had lots of pp time this year so no surprise and has scored some key goals.

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#27 Baalzamon
January 03 2014, 09:33PM
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@MontanaMan

Butler is on the third pair.

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#28 Walter White
January 03 2014, 09:42PM
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Flames zero goals tonight....

Tim Jackman one goal tonight.....

WW

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