FGD: The Ducks Remember

Ryan Pike
March 26 2014 03:00PM

Exactly two weeks ago, the Calgary Flames welcomed the Anaheim Ducks to the friendly confines of the Scotiabank Saddledome. And prompted to slap them around for three periods. The Ducks weren't all that good, but the Flames were opportunistic and won 7-2. The Ducks are back in town tonight, and are understandably miffed about their last visit to the Stampede City.

And you've gotta believe they hope to put a similarly one-sided beating on the Flames in response to March 12th's stinker of a game.

Since then? The Flames are 4-2-0 (with wins over Edmonton, San Jose, Buffalo and Dallas) while the Ducks are 3-2-0 (beating Colorado, Los Angeles and Florida).

Game time is 8pm MT on TSN.

THE HOSTS

The Flames are feeling pretty good about themselves lately, though head coach Bob Hartley did note on the off-day that since the club's not making the playoffs this year, the season's a failure. He's not wrong, but there are quite a few positives to bring out here.

Lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Cammalleri - Backlund - Byron
Glencross - Stajan - Hudler
Bouma - Monahan - Colborne
Westgarth - Galiardi - McGrattan

Giordano - Brodie
Butler - Russell
Smid - Wotherspoon

Ramo

Ramo's been quite good since returning from injury, and will have to be good again tonight. I figure the Ducks come out of the gate strong, so the first period will probably be close to the deluge the locals faced against the Sharks on Monday. Will they respond as effectively?

Agostino's out tonight, so he and Ben Hanowski watch from the press box. The lines get shuffled around a bit, so Bouma slots in on the third line. His physicality may open up some space for his young linemates.

Markus Granlund (per Wes Gilbertson of the Sun) DID skate before practice today.

THE VISITORS

Line guesswork via Daily Faceoff, last Ducks game and today's skate:

Selanne - Getzlaf - Perry
Cogliano - Koivu - Winnik
Maroon - Perreault - Palmieri
Beleskey - Bonino - Silfverberg

Lindholm - Lovejoy
Allen - Vatanen
Sbisa - Robidas

Hiller

The Ducks clinched a playoff spot last night, but are still in a dog-fight with the Sharks for the Pacific Division lead. San Jose are 4 points up on Anaheim, but the Ducks have three games in hand. The visitors mean business, and will have to deliver, as they simply cannot let any more points slip away in the uber-competitive Pacific.

IMPLICATIONS

If the playoffs began today, Anaheim would play Los Angeles in the first round (and San Jose would play Minnesota). That's the incentive right there, I think.

If the draft was today, the Flames would pick fifth overall (pre-lottery).

SUM IT UP

The Flames can continue to play spoiler to contending teams in the Western Conference tonight, but the Ducks definitely remember their trouncing here two weeks ago, and desperately need two points to cement a strong playoff spot now that a berth is assured.

So it should be a playoff-like atmosphere at the 'Dome tonight.

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Now in his fourth 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 and the Wrestling Observer.
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#1 Bean-counting cowboy
March 26 2014, 03:05PM
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I see a low scoring affair coming.

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#2 RKD
March 26 2014, 03:41PM
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C'mon Ducks, let's your Oilers impersonation for just one more times sake!

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#3 RKD
March 26 2014, 03:42PM
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@RKD

Whoops, I meant c'mon Ducks, let's see your Oilers impersonation for just one more times sake! I miss the edit button.

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#4 FirearmSizzly
March 26 2014, 04:00PM
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It would be immensely enjoyable to watch a complete smackdown again but a bout of real, nice, gritty, good hockey would be just as fun for myself - as long as our boys win. ;)

I predict a tight game.

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#5 cunning_linguist
March 26 2014, 04:28PM
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I hate to say it, but part of me is hoping Wideman sits the rest of this season out. I like him as a player, but I find recently i'm just supremely interested in watching Wotherspoon develop...I would also settle for Wideman coming back while Butler goes down simultaneously.

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#6 suba steve
March 26 2014, 04:39PM
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I'm in this deal for the long-haul. The immediate gratification of a win tonight only hurts the team's future, and there is no shame in losing to the Ducks tonight (not advocating trying to lose, that will not happen). I don't want to draft 6th-9th, the team has been there and done that in the past. They have NEVER drafted in the top 5, that is my wish for the franchise this year.

Yes, drafting wisely is at least as important as drafting early...but is it not better to draft wisely with more high-end prospects in the draft pool?

Go Ducks, avenge that nasty loss from 2 weeks ago.

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#7 Primo
March 26 2014, 04:55PM
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@cunning_linguist

It's already been announced that Wideman is done for the season.

I personally hope Burke can unload his big contract at the draft table. One of the few mistakes Feaster made during his short tenure here.

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#8 beloch
March 26 2014, 05:35PM
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I know it's exceedingly improbable but, were the Flames to rack up another highscore on Duck Hunt, it would shock and awe pundits across the league and probably become a talking point right through the first round of the playoffs. I'd take it as a very good sign if people were still talking about the Flames when they're all out playing golf.

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#9 BurningSensation
March 26 2014, 06:11PM
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Primo wrote:

It's already been announced that Wideman is done for the season.

I personally hope Burke can unload his big contract at the draft table. One of the few mistakes Feaster made during his short tenure here.

Not sure I agree. Wideman played reasonably well when healthy, my biggest issue is that he seems to have problems staying healthy.

His contract doesn't worry me at all. The Flames are not going to be a cap-team (at least not until Monahan gets his big payday), so having a few 'bad' contracts around just isn't a problem (and can be a benefit as high payroll guys are the kind you can get from cap-strapped teams without having to part with significant assets).

I know everybody wants to play Billy Beane Moneyball with the Flames, but they simply aren't in the situation Billy Beane was.

I know Kent (and others) have railed about how a 'bad contract is a bad contract', but there is one very good example to show how that just isn't true.

Brian Campbell. Yes, he's overpaid. No, it's not a 'bad' contract - at least, not for Florida.

They needed to get to the cap floor. They needed a defenseman to run the PP and play heavy minutes while the kids develop. Campbell and his huge deal are a perfect fit. He gets them to the cap floor, makes them more competitive, and cushions the youth movement.

So he's overpaid. Why does it matter in his current context?

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#10 Primo
March 26 2014, 06:34PM
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@BurningSensation

Good post. Doubtful Burke will be able to unload him anyways but as his term reduces I think he would be very marketable. IMO he does not fit the rebuild mode and we are better off targeting other UFA's.

Having said that I would rather have a Wideman around to help meet the cap floor than a David Jones who I strongly feel is a prime buy-out candidate!

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#11 BurningSensation
March 26 2014, 06:48PM
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Primo wrote:

Good post. Doubtful Burke will be able to unload him anyways but as his term reduces I think he would be very marketable. IMO he does not fit the rebuild mode and we are better off targeting other UFA's.

Having said that I would rather have a Wideman around to help meet the cap floor than a David Jones who I strongly feel is a prime buy-out candidate!

I'll give you an AWESOME reason to keep Wideman around - because it means you could conceivably trade Giordano.

Giordano might want to stay through the rebuild, but I would bet not. At some point it will make sense to consider what we can get in trade for our almost-not-quite-Norris caliber guy. If the haul is big enough its worth considering.

And if we already have Wideman in hand, we can still cushion the kids while reaping the benefits of moving Gio onwards.

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#12 Primo
March 26 2014, 07:40PM
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@BurningSensation

I would agree only if it gave us a chance at a 'generational' type player...like.trade Gio next year at the draft table to get a chance at McDavid!! ?

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#13 BurningSensation
March 26 2014, 07:46PM
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Primo wrote:

I would agree only if it gave us a chance at a 'generational' type player...like.trade Gio next year at the draft table to get a chance at McDavid!! ?

No offence, but that is not going to happen.

Gio might get you something like; Hampus Lindholm (a really nice defenseman with solid underlying numbers, good size and skating ability) and a 2nd, or, Brayden Schenn, Matt Read and a 1st.

Which would be a nice haul, but not a 'generational player'.

The reason for thinking we should deal him is obvious - he won't likely be here by the time the team is good enough to win a Cup. Better to maiximize his trade value, make sure we can survive his loss in the short term (keep Wideman!), and pounce on the right deal.

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#14 beloch
March 26 2014, 07:50PM
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@BurningSensation

Wideman really fell off a cliff this season. His offensive zone-starts lead the blue-line at 62.9%. That's 8% more than any other defender and 17% more than he was given in 2012/2013. Only the two rejects, O'Brian and Smith, faced easier competition this year. Every single defender playing tonight has faced tougher competition than Wideman. Despite these cushy circumstances Wideman's possession is still down significantly from last season. Note that last season was the only season he's played first-pairing minutes since before 2006 (I didn't look any further back).

Wideman does not look like a good bet to play first-pairing minutes at present. He's still a soft-minutes offensive option and powerplay specialist, which is certainly useful. He'd need to take a huge step forward just to be a good even strength second pairing option though. Perhaps he was playing injured this season? Hopefully he will rebound next season.

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#15 beloch
March 26 2014, 07:59PM
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BurningSensation wrote:

No offence, but that is not going to happen.

Gio might get you something like; Hampus Lindholm (a really nice defenseman with solid underlying numbers, good size and skating ability) and a 2nd, or, Brayden Schenn, Matt Read and a 1st.

Which would be a nice haul, but not a 'generational player'.

The reason for thinking we should deal him is obvious - he won't likely be here by the time the team is good enough to win a Cup. Better to maiximize his trade value, make sure we can survive his loss in the short term (keep Wideman!), and pounce on the right deal.

If Wideman rebounds next season, his trade value might be enough to compensate for keeping Giordano around an extra year or two. Wideman is a year older, has had health problems, and his contract is longer, so trading him when his value isn't negative would be a priority. If he doesn't rebound the team will likely have little choice but to keep Giordano unless one of the rookies or a new acquisition has a major break-out season. Also, if Wideman doesn't rebound, Burke (or the new GM) might decide to cut bait and get rid of him in any way possible, depending on the cap situation.

I'd bet on Giordano staying for at least a couple seasons unless Burke cons some unwitting GM into a massive overpay. Wideman is far more likely to be traded.

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#16 MichaelD
March 26 2014, 08:23PM
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Well this is sloppy hockey

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#17 Travis
March 26 2014, 08:46PM
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Man, this team makes me so proud. They've completely changed. Gone are the Sutter defensive trap games and being afraid to make mistakes. Gone are the wayne primeau's and mike leclerec's and kale hulses, and the brad bochuks of the western hockey leagues. They have excellent team speed, they play an exciting style with relentless work ethic and never say die attitude. Add in some elite level skill along with 1 or 2 more puck moving defencemen, and I have a weird feeling that after years of having terrible luck in drafting and developing, that we'll finally be hitting homeruns. I'd give it one more year at least of this consistent work ethic to make sure this isn't some anomaly, but we're building something special. Something that'll reap rewards for years to come.

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#18 kittensandcookies
March 26 2014, 08:54PM
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BurningSensation wrote:

Not sure I agree. Wideman played reasonably well when healthy, my biggest issue is that he seems to have problems staying healthy.

His contract doesn't worry me at all. The Flames are not going to be a cap-team (at least not until Monahan gets his big payday), so having a few 'bad' contracts around just isn't a problem (and can be a benefit as high payroll guys are the kind you can get from cap-strapped teams without having to part with significant assets).

I know everybody wants to play Billy Beane Moneyball with the Flames, but they simply aren't in the situation Billy Beane was.

I know Kent (and others) have railed about how a 'bad contract is a bad contract', but there is one very good example to show how that just isn't true.

Brian Campbell. Yes, he's overpaid. No, it's not a 'bad' contract - at least, not for Florida.

They needed to get to the cap floor. They needed a defenseman to run the PP and play heavy minutes while the kids develop. Campbell and his huge deal are a perfect fit. He gets them to the cap floor, makes them more competitive, and cushions the youth movement.

So he's overpaid. Why does it matter in his current context?

Bad contracts are bad because they are inflationary. So in the long run they are bad for every team. Of course short term they may of some limited help in specific cases. Taking your Campbell example, it would be better for any team to have him at a cheaper price. It might even be better for Campbell, because he's not meeting expectations and that's actually worse for him in the long run.

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#19 Jeff Lebowski
March 26 2014, 08:55PM
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@beloch

Wideman's play at the start of the season (while partnered with Russell) was exceptional. A right handed heavy shot, plays pp, plays physical that can spot anywhere in rotation is versatile and therefore valuable. Injuries derailed him but prior, he was playing with distinction.

Trading Gio with no one with his stature (top minute player who is good enough for skilled guys to listen to him and hard working enough for blue collar guys to respect him) ready is to put politely not wise.

One can not stress enough the advantage of having this combination as your captain for a developing team (with developing leaders).

The assumption is that trading Gio would be for futures and not a hockey deal (getting a top d man -right now- in return).

Not when Wideman has nice value.

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#20 BurningSensation
March 26 2014, 09:01PM
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kittensandcookies wrote:

Bad contracts are bad because they are inflationary. So in the long run they are bad for every team. Of course short term they may of some limited help in specific cases. Taking your Campbell example, it would be better for any team to have him at a cheaper price. It might even be better for Campbell, because he's not meeting expectations and that's actually worse for him in the long run.

As far as I can tell the only player who has actually ben 'hurt' by a big contract was Wade Redden - and in his case the 'hurt' was that he got his massive paychecks while playing in the AHL.

Otherwise, even 'bad' contracts like Luongo can be moved.

The inflationary argument is interesting given that all players share from a pool of money and when one guy gets overpaid that means someone else is likely to be underpaid.

At least that works in theory until you realize that all players on their rookie and 2nd contracts (See Subban) are underpaid.

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#21 Jeff Lebowski
March 26 2014, 09:13PM
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Another fantastic display by Wotherspoon.

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#22 MichaelD
March 26 2014, 09:13PM
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Maybe Wotherspoon shooting it off of tough guys will become a thing

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#23 beloch
March 26 2014, 09:14PM
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You know, I'm starting to wonder how McG would have turned out if he'd been on the straight and narrow his whole life. He's been good tonight!

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#24 kittensandcookies
March 26 2014, 09:14PM
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@BurningSensation

Campbell is hurt because he's playing for a crap team, and I'm sure he'd rather play for a contender, like every other player.

As it so happens Luongo is also now playing for the same crap team.

You don't seem to understand inflation. The problem arises when player contract values rise faster than league revenues. Then lockouts happen, and everybody loses in the short term.

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#25 BurningSensation
March 26 2014, 09:15PM
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beloch wrote:

Wideman really fell off a cliff this season. His offensive zone-starts lead the blue-line at 62.9%. That's 8% more than any other defender and 17% more than he was given in 2012/2013. Only the two rejects, O'Brian and Smith, faced easier competition this year. Every single defender playing tonight has faced tougher competition than Wideman. Despite these cushy circumstances Wideman's possession is still down significantly from last season. Note that last season was the only season he's played first-pairing minutes since before 2006 (I didn't look any further back).

Wideman does not look like a good bet to play first-pairing minutes at present. He's still a soft-minutes offensive option and powerplay specialist, which is certainly useful. He'd need to take a huge step forward just to be a good even strength second pairing option though. Perhaps he was playing injured this season? Hopefully he will rebound next season.

I do think that Wideman played hurt, and I agree that it is hopeful he can rebound next year.

I agree with everything you wrote, my point was more that IF Wideman can rebound his value, THEN we could look at what Gio would bring back in a deal.

In a perfect world I'd keep Gio, but the world isn't perfect, and at some point we'll need to consider what we should look at moving him for.

Right now, his value is at an all-time high. Which is why I thought perhaps it would be worth pondering.

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#26 MichaelD
March 26 2014, 09:20PM
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beloch wrote:

You know, I'm starting to wonder how McG would have turned out if he'd been on the straight and narrow his whole life. He's been good tonight!

Yeah but I believe he got his start because of fighting, which probably lead him down that road. So it's tough to say if any hockey skill could have got him too where he is now.

Maybe I'm just being the devils advocate though. I do love the guy, love to see him do good, and I agree he has been playing great as of late.

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#27 BurningSensation
March 26 2014, 09:22PM
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kittensandcookies wrote:

Campbell is hurt because he's playing for a crap team, and I'm sure he'd rather play for a contender, like every other player.

As it so happens Luongo is also now playing for the same crap team.

You don't seem to understand inflation. The problem arises when player contract values rise faster than league revenues. Then lockouts happen, and everybody loses in the short term.

I understand inflation just fine, what you describe is not it.

Player contract can't rise faster than league revenues - by design. Players have a portion of their earnings held in escrow until league revenues are tallied. If the revenues are higher than expected everybody gets a really big fat check. If they are less than expected (has yet to happen) they get a less big fat check.

If the revenues of the league were to unexpectedly crater than the players would get none of the escrow back.

So no matter what contract Campbell signs, it isn't actually inflationary.

Which isn't to say that a big $ contract for Campbell is fair value, or even a good idea. But with how the league's economics now work it just isn't inflationary.

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#28 exsanguinator
March 26 2014, 09:41PM
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Why are you guys even talking about trading Gio? That would be insane.

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#29 RKD
March 26 2014, 09:57PM
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Big Ern, Crazy Eyes, whatever you want to call him must be pretty happy to score a goal in his 300th NHL game.

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#30 Chambers
March 26 2014, 09:58PM
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Dear Mr. Burke.....you did it in Vancouver and traded to ensure the Sedin's played together. Please put together a nice package with the Wild that will see both the Granlund brothers together with the Flames!

That will be a huge springboard for the rebuild!

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#31 seve927
March 26 2014, 09:59PM
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Smid leads Flames in icetime after 2. File that under 'things I never thought I'd see'

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#32 Wot96
March 26 2014, 10:12PM
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seve927 wrote:

Smid leads Flames in icetime after 2. File that under 'things I never thought I'd see'

I think Hartley has had the fourth line out against Anaheim's first line a few times too.

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#33 seve927
March 26 2014, 10:13PM
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Yes, and they did all right!

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#34 Kmp
March 26 2014, 10:17PM
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You could see that goal coming, pinned in their zone chip it to the neutral zone, brace for another rush.

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#35 BobbyO
March 26 2014, 10:31PM
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Karri "rebound" Ramo.

He has been doing all year!

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#36 belchies primo sensation
March 26 2014, 10:34PM
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beloch wrote:

You know, I'm starting to wonder how McG would have turned out if he'd been on the straight and narrow his whole life. He's been good tonight!

Grats plays his role with class! Westgarth plays like an a$$hole because he has McGrattan on his line! I am a Flame fan but won't feel bad for him the next time he gets knocked out! He should emulate his game after Grats, and play tough but fair, not run around like a pri@k!

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#37 RKD
March 26 2014, 10:35PM
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I bet Silfverberg must be happy he's not in Ottawa because he gets to go the playoffs, Bobby Ryan not so much.

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#38 beloch
March 26 2014, 10:43PM
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There's no shame in losing a game like that. What a knuckle-biter!

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#39 Kmp
March 26 2014, 11:09PM
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Would like to see Byron or Galliardi with Monahan and Colborne. Someone with speed that could pressure the puck when they manage to get it out of the zone, instead of watching the opponent get quick re-entry and additional scoring chances.

Probably why they get more O zone starts.

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#40 Burnward
March 26 2014, 11:17PM
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The ol' loss-win.

Also, I had a crazy thought. If you add a Corey Perry-esque guy to our top six...I might take our roster over Anaheim's.

Weird.

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