Burke’s smoke and mirror show fails to drive up Cammalleri’s price

Steve Macfarlane
March 04 2014 09:40AM

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(courtesy NHL/NHL.com)

Veteran Flames reporter Steve Macfarlane is back, this time shedding light on the ongoing Mike Cammalleri/Brian Burke/trade/contract saga.

Talk of a contract extension for Michael Cammalleri is nothing more than a marketing play by Calgary Flames president of hockey operations and until-further-notice general manager Brian Burke.

Burke is trying to jack up the price by suggesting the diminutive winger has enough of an edge and other leadership qualities to go with his skill to be the kind of player he’d keep around despite his well-publicized preference for more meat in his lineup.

Contrary to popular belief, there are some legitimate reasons as to why the Flames would look at bringing Cammalleri back: Fulfilling the obligation of the salary cap floor; keeping enough veterans around to help guide the young up-and-comers for the next couple of years of the team’s rebuilding process; the hope he can rediscover his scoring touch in meaningful games should they somehow reach the playoffs — or even challenge for the playoffs down the stretch — before his new contract expires.

But for every reason in favour of the Flames trying to hang on to the 31-year-old winger, there are two or more that Cammalleri can list as to why he would be better off escaping the rebuild and heading to greener pastures.

Greener as in more money in the long term, and playoffs in the short term.

Last call for Cammalleri

With his contract expiring this summer, Cammalleri is at the point of his NHL life we’ll dub Last Call. As an unrestricted free agent on the downward crest of his career, his value will never again be higher on the open market.  Instead of a two or three year deal that might be sitting on the table from the Flames, he’ll get at least four or five years from some other team desperate to fill a spot with a player who has scored nearly 40 goals in a season — even if that season was five years ago.

More importantly, he gets to pick which of the over-bidders he wants to join in July.

Many of those same teams that want his services in the summer will be the ones bidding for him now.

Teams looking for an edge on the competition. Established playoff teams that remember how impressive Cammalleri was with the Montreal Canadiens in the 2010 post-season when he scored 13 times and racked up 19 points in 19 games to lead the underdog eighth seed in the Eastern Conference past the top-ranked Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins before losing to the Philadelphia Flyers in the conference final.

His limited no-trade clause is irrelevant at this point. It’s unlikely the seven teams he listed that he can not be traded to likely don’t want him anyway. Wherever he goes, his chances of being in the playoffs for the first time since 2011 skyrocket. He’ll be playing with more skilled and experience players, which means his opportunity to increase his value for the offseason jumps up as well.

The value to Cammalleri to be free of the Flames is obvious. But his value on the trade market has taken a hit this season, for more than just the idea of him being an extremely short-term rental.

The concussion scared some teams away. It wasn’t Cammalleri’s first head injury, and for him to play with the kind of grit playoff teams expect, he opens himself up to more.

And with three goals since the calendar flipped from November to December, this isn’t Jarome Iginla getting traded.

The price isn’t right

The rumoured price of a top prospect and high draft pick will be next to impossible to rake in. That’s why Burke bothered to draw up an offer of any kind in the first place.

It’s not fooling anyone.

Teams will continue to kick tires. Once the top forwards in the rumour mill find homes or are confirmed to be sticking around — Matt Moulson, Tomas Vanek, Ryan Kesler, Ryan Callahan, Martin St. Louis — then Cammalleri’s price will be determined.

A prospect and a second-round pick might be the ceiling, despite Burke’s efforts to make his player sound more attractive

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Former Calgary Sun Flames beat writer who has covered the team for a decade. Opinionated but reasonable, except when it comes to buffets. Follow him on Twitter at @MacfarlaneHKY
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#1 cccsberg
March 04 2014, 09:59AM
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Well, time is running out, or another way to look at it is pressure building with the deadline hours away. High stakes chicken, especially if Cammalleri has no intention of signing here. Interesting sideshow, reality Calgary in this same mode for next couple of years.

That said have really enjoyed this year, and the progress of many Flames. This would include Backlund, Monahan, Giordano, Brodie, Byron, Granlund, Russel, Colbourne and Bouma here, and prospects Gaudreau, Arnold, Reinhart, Poirier, Klimchuck and others coming along. Keep up the good work, keep the coaches and continue this development...

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#2 Iggyfan
March 04 2014, 09:59AM
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If we take half of his salary, I hope we can get a 1st round pick.

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#3 Ultimate Flame Fan
March 04 2014, 10:16AM
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I think we should keep Cammallieri. Burke's obsession with size and fighting is stupid! I am Ok with big guys who can play the game like McGrattan, and even Gazdic up north. The Flames don't need clowns like Trevor Gillies, goalie running/line brawl instigating goofs like Westgarth, MacIntyre, Scott etc. If he claims McLaren I'm not renewing my season tickets!

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#4 piscera.infada
March 04 2014, 10:24AM
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@Ultimate Flame Fan

It's funny because by both the eyes test and the numbers, Westgarth is actually a better hockey player than both McGrattan and Gazdic. He's no allstar, but he's not a total anchor.

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#5 UFF
March 04 2014, 10:30AM
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Westgarth is OK I agree. I was trying to say McGrats is sufficient for that role! We don't need some of the no talent goofs the Oilers and Sabres employ! Agreed Westy is OK and shouldn't have been on that lust.

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#6 mattyc
March 04 2014, 10:36AM
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Cory Conacher is on waivers. Dude's 24, has a history of doing some scoring (put up 200+ shots in the AHL in 11-12), and is also only shooting 5% this year. I would think that's a low risk gamble Calgary should take 100% of the time...

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#7 piscera.infada
March 04 2014, 10:40AM
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@mattyc

Totally agree. I wonder why he hit waivers. Although he is a left-wing, but I mean, for nothing, he's worth a stab.

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#8 mattyc
March 04 2014, 10:50AM
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@piscera.infada

Pretty crazy. Ottawa must be up to something big. This is the centrepiece they got for Ben Bishop only a year ago.

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#9 piscera.infada
March 04 2014, 10:53AM
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@mattyc

For sure, it makes Yzerman look like a genius. He was what, second in rookie scoring last year? Sure, he only has 4 goals this year, but I'm not sure you give up on that so easily.

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#10 Hank
March 04 2014, 11:24AM
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I wonder what's up with the news conference scheduled for noon today is all about....Burke scares me sometimes

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#11 Veggie Dog
March 04 2014, 11:33AM
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Hank wrote:

I wonder what's up with the news conference scheduled for noon today is all about....Burke scares me sometimes

I expect a some dishevelled hair, a tie that is crooked and rumpled and red-faced mumbling about truculence.

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#12 mattyc
March 04 2014, 11:36AM
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Hank wrote:

I wonder what's up with the news conference scheduled for noon today is all about....Burke scares me sometimes

The Flames are pleased to announce the acquisition of Frazer McLaren, Colton Orr and Zenon Konopka.

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#13 Bean-counting cowboy
March 04 2014, 11:43AM
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Flames should totally claim Conacher. He would help to fill the whole (assumably) left by Cammy immediately and would allow us to let some younger prospects stay in Abby for the drive for the playoffs.

If it doesn't work out, you haven't lost anything. Surely that shooting % will rebound on Conacher.

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#14 Jeff In Lethbridge
March 04 2014, 11:43AM
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Hank wrote:

I wonder what's up with the news conference scheduled for noon today is all about....Burke scares me sometimes

my bet, he announces the resigning of Calamari

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#15 mattyc
March 04 2014, 11:45AM
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Jeff In Lethbridge wrote:

my bet, he announces the resigning of Calamari

That's by bet too - assuming we didn't acquire every enforcer in the league...

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#16 Hank
March 04 2014, 11:46AM
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Jeff In Lethbridge wrote:

my bet, he announces the resigning of Calamari

or maybe a GM announcement?

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#17 RexLibris
March 04 2014, 11:50AM
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mattyc wrote:

The Flames are pleased to announce the acquisition of Frazer McLaren, Colton Orr and Zenon Konopka.

I wondered about McLaren yesterday.

He is one of Burke's old players and does fit the bill.

The funny thing is, if you run him on the Vollman Sledgehammer against players like Bickell, Westgarth, Clarkson, Gazdic, McGrattan and Clifford...McLaren is way, way, way, way down on the chart.

Like the Laurentian Abyss kind of way down.

I suspect Burke's news conference is to announce Cammalleri's trade. I recall his conference a few years ago in Toronto (2011, maybe)after the deadline where he said there were many offers but none that reached what he believed was value for the players on offer.

There were rumours the other day that Nieuwendyk may yet become GM. His initial refusal was for family reasons and that if offered the job again he wouldn't refuse.

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#18 joeyjoejoejr
March 04 2014, 11:54AM
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question: has a GM ever signed a player only to trade them immediately?

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#19 mk
March 04 2014, 12:02PM
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Short version of the press conference: nothing to report. Maybe stuff tomorrow. The end.

Longer version: trades around the league are not happening because of a "logjam" created by 2 or 3 players who are high-end forwards that teams are lining up for. For the Flames, players who can impact the roster immediately are better: i.e. Burke prefers prospects to picks.

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#20 round the rosey
March 04 2014, 12:05PM
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Moulson and ehrhoff to l.a for Pearson,Greene and a first and third...sabres are racking up the picks. I hear Minnesota wants halak from them also

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#21 negrilcowboy
March 04 2014, 12:10PM
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berserks presser is to announce the much awaited barn match with lowe, on the undercard the sutter brothers face the alliance in a 12 man tagteam match for the intercontinential hog breeders belt.

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#22 jason
March 04 2014, 12:11PM
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Anything about conacher?

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#23 RexLibris
March 04 2014, 12:16PM
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mk wrote:

Short version of the press conference: nothing to report. Maybe stuff tomorrow. The end.

Longer version: trades around the league are not happening because of a "logjam" created by 2 or 3 players who are high-end forwards that teams are lining up for. For the Flames, players who can impact the roster immediately are better: i.e. Burke prefers prospects to picks.

Is this like the Pentagon calling Vietnam a "police action" while the bullets are whizzing past their heads and the smell of napalm wafts over the treetops?

The trade market is going crazy with set-up moves and some moderate adjustments.

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#24 Veggie Dog
March 04 2014, 12:18PM
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Geez, I thought our goal situation was unsettled. Minny and Edmonton are crazy with the signings and trades in goal.

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#25 piscera.infada
March 04 2014, 12:25PM
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@Veggie Dog

Fasth! The missing piece!!! hahahahahahaha

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#26 RexLibris
March 04 2014, 12:25PM
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Veggie Dog wrote:

Geez, I thought our goal situation was unsettled. Minny and Edmonton are crazy with the signings and trades in goal.

MacTavish didn't like what he had and has overhauled it completely.

He's added Fasth, Brossoit, Bachman, Rimmer, Scrivens and Bryzgalov this year alone.

Burke doesn't have a history of doing well in goalie searched, although to be fair few GMs do.

All the same, he or someone in the organization must believe strongly in Ortio, Ramo and Berra to have left things as they are this long.

That or he is planning to throw a lot of money at Jonas Hiller this summer.

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#27 sathome
March 04 2014, 12:25PM
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Burke wants to be a buyer next year, because it would be terrible if the Flames sucked and got a generational player like Connor McDavid.

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#28 RexLibris
March 04 2014, 12:31PM
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sathome wrote:

Burke wants to be a buyer next year, because it would be terrible if the Flames sucked and got a generational player like Connor McDavid.

He wants to try and make the Flames relevant than stand there and say "we're setting ourselves up nicely for June of 2015 and our marketing group has done some nice mockups of the McDavid logo we'll unveil the following September."

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#29 the-wolf
March 04 2014, 12:40PM
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Well, given what the Ducks got for Penner......

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#30 beloch
March 04 2014, 12:44PM
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Veggie Dog wrote:

Geez, I thought our goal situation was unsettled. Minny and Edmonton are crazy with the signings and trades in goal.

It probably isn't over yet either. I seriously doubt they're going to rely on Bachman to be their backup. Scrivens has been awesome this year, but Dubnyk was awesome last year too. MacT should have some appreciation for the necessity of keeping a decent backup around.

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#31 RexLibris
March 04 2014, 12:47PM
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the-wolf wrote:

Well, given what the Ducks got for Penner......

Yes.

This could be seen by some to reduce the offered price for wingers like Cammalleri and Hemsky.

One has to hope that Vanek and Moulson push the price higher.

The interesting thing is that these players are likely to go West and the Flames and Oilers are both hoping that a bidding war will raise the price for their commodities.

It could be very interesting if both MacTavish and Burke are left holding the last two forward assets near the end of the deadline with three or more suitors still looking around.

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#32 kittensandcookies
March 04 2014, 01:00PM
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Soon Edmonton will have ALL the goalies!

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#33 Carlizzle
March 04 2014, 01:09PM
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I've read that Jordan Staal is being made available, any interest?

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#34 Jeff In Lethbridge
March 04 2014, 01:10PM
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kittensandcookies wrote:

Soon Edmonton will have ALL the goalies!

and they'll still suck

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#35 Bob Cobb
March 04 2014, 01:48PM
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@Jeff In Lethbridge

Well you would know about sucking being from Lethbridge, at least I know where the wind goes cause no one knows where it comes from.

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#36 Byron Bader
March 04 2014, 01:52PM
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@joeyjoejoejr

Setoguchi was pretty close. I don't know if that was the intent but I believe he was signed the day before the draft a few years ago by the Sharks and was part of the trade for Brent Burns the next day.

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#37 loudogYYC
March 04 2014, 01:52PM
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@joeyjoejoejr

I've seen the sign and trade happen in the NBA but I can't recall ever seeing it in the NHL.

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#38 BurningSensation
March 04 2014, 01:59PM
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Carlizzle wrote:

I've read that Jordan Staal is being made available, any interest?

If Jordan Staal hits the market we had better be interested.

He checks all the boxes - except elite offense; size, skill, age, f/o ability, checking, speed, special teams, etc.

A heavy lifter who can play in all situations, he'd be the perfect guy to anchor the forward units around as the kids develop.

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#39 maimster
March 04 2014, 02:15PM
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@BurningSensation

Ha ha, missed your semi-colon after "offense" the first time I read it. Didn't seem like you were too fond of him, thought the rest of the post was a bit off message!

I like Staal too if he was available for some reason.

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#40 suba steve
March 04 2014, 02:21PM
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Carlizzle wrote:

I've read that Jordan Staal is being made available, any interest?

Interested....sure.

Interested in paying the probable asking price....I wouldn't be, not at this stage of re-build.

But, as with anything else, depends on the ask.

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#41 BurningSensation
March 04 2014, 02:28PM
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suba steve wrote:

Interested....sure.

Interested in paying the probable asking price....I wouldn't be, not at this stage of re-build.

But, as with anything else, depends on the ask.

Aside from Monahan, and maybe JG, I'd be happy to send our 1st and any prospect to Carolina for him.

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#42 Jeff In Lethbridge
March 04 2014, 02:42PM
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Bob Cobb wrote:

Well you would know about sucking being from Lethbridge, at least I know where the wind goes cause no one knows where it comes from.

Yes, I would know... I have had the chance to watch Edmonton for years... :-D

the difference is I get to watch it, while Edmonton gets to experience it!

Or, maybe you feel Edmonton isn't all that bad??? are you gonna pull out the "You can't match how good we used to be or how good we are soon gonna be" card? I love that one. :-P

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#43 RexLibris
March 04 2014, 03:17PM
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BurningSensation wrote:

If Jordan Staal hits the market we had better be interested.

He checks all the boxes - except elite offense; size, skill, age, f/o ability, checking, speed, special teams, etc.

A heavy lifter who can play in all situations, he'd be the perfect guy to anchor the forward units around as the kids develop.

And risk hurting Matt Stajan's feelings after he re-signed? That is just mean.

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#44 Chris
March 04 2014, 09:40PM
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Meanwhile, the real action is going on in Vancouver. Mike Gillis looks like he's going to completely blow up the Canucks. He's already traded two of the league's top 15 goaltenders, leaving his team with two unproven young goalies. Next, it's rumoured he'll trade Kesler, who's only the heart-and-soul of the team.

The thing is, it has (apparently) never been his intention to do this. He's just bumbling into one trade after another.

Gillis is a lock to get in to the Hockey Hall of Infamy, along with Garth Snow and Mad Mike Milbury.

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#45 Benfrank
March 05 2014, 12:55PM
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@Ultimate Flame Fan

I think Cammy is over valued by most Flames fan. He has become almost exclusively a sniper who doesn't really snipe much. He has some of the highest power play minutes per game in the league but is not especially dynamic in that role. He was about 4th worst in +/- while not going head to head against tough competition. Additionally he turns the puck over a lot at the offensive blue line. Not sure how much value a one dimensional player who isn't performing that well within that dimension commands.

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