When Push Comes to Shove, Burke Will Eat A Contract But Not His Pride

Steve Macfarlane
March 09 2014 10:14AM


(courtesy puffycoombes)

Don’t try to bully a bully.

That’s the statement Brian Burke made to his fellow hockey executives this week while stubbornly clinging to Michael Cammalleri despite the knowledge that the pending unrestricted free agent is almost assuredly moving elsewhere come July.

In Burke’s mind, something is not always better than nothing. Especially when that something means you will be perceived as weak or easily manipulated.

Burke, who admittedly lacks a patient bone in his body, also is minus a give-a-crap molecule when it comes to what hockey fans might think of him versus the way other general managers—acting or otherwise—view him and his hockey team.

"I think an organization has to have a reputation at the trade deadline that you're not going to give people away," Burke told those gathered at the Saddledome all day waiting to hear how high a pick was brought in for Cammalleri.

"The fact we didn't give him away is something next year's deadline and 10 years down the road people will remember.”

They’ll remember, but will it really matter? The Flames are still stuck with an asset that depreciates by the day.

The next opportunity Burke will have to peddle Cammalleri will come after the season ends. Maybe some team will want the opportunity to secure his negotiating rights exclusively before July 1. But how much will they pay at that point, with no guarantee they’ll be able to sign the soon-to-be 32-year-old who is looking at cashing in for maybe the final time as a free agent?

It’s a risk Burke — whose constant suggestion Cammalleri might somehow choose to stay on in Calgary is so steadfast that some might even start to believe it — is willing to take. Pride is more important than practicality, apparently.

Generally I’m all for people sticking to their principles. But in this case, in the early stages of a massive rebuild where every extra draft pick provides the opportunity to add a prospect or the flexibility to make a future trade to help the team, it makes no sense to swallow a sandwich you don’t really want just to keep your frenemies from finishing it for free.

It’s tough not to respect Burke, mostly because his gruff and inflexible nature demand it. His live hit on TSN during which he rightly grumbled to James Duthie that the TradeCentre host was putting words in his mouth was absolutely priceless.

But there is a contradictory element to his post-deadline answers that leads you to believe by reading between the lines that it wasn’t a case of sticking to his guns with Cammalleri’s price — which dropped during the day as the market dictated the returns on rentals to be far less significant than years past — it was a matter of time. Caught up in negotiations at the higher price, he was stuck without a seat in the game of free agent musical chairs.

His belief in the importance of draft picks takes the legs out from under his argument against giving Cammalleri away.

"If you look at how championship teams are built, they are built largely through the draft," Burke said, going on to suggest he considered second- and third-round picks extremely valuable, and proving it when he picked up one of each by trading away goaltender Reto Berra and winger Lee Stempniak, both of whom had expiring contracts.

Cammalleri would surely have fetched no lower than a third-rounder as a starting point. The Edmonton Oilers got a third and fifth by shipping Ales Hemsky to Ottawa. That beats the goose egg that was certain to follow in the summer.

Burke knows that his shot of signing Cammalleri — which will mean giving up money, term and maybe most importantly a blueprint for success somewhere within that long-term picture that the player has confidence in — is next to zero.

His saving grace was the unexpected return for Berra and Stempniak, and the fact that the on-ice product is full of rookies that are so intriguing to watch that they’re looking far into the future, well past the summer’s certain loss of a certain winger who once scored 39 goals in a Flames uniform who will walk away for nothing.

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Covered the Flames on the newspaper beat from lockout to lockout and continue to do it on my own terms. Follow me on Twitter at @MacfarlaneHKY
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#1 Glenn
March 09 2014, 10:48AM
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I've been looking at this site during and since the deadline. Despite the fact I believe much of the info and stats put forth on this site is excellent, I feel the opinions out on here are ridicules.

Seriously Steve. Burke has been speaking with Michael Cammalleri for weeks now. I'm sure he has a much better idea of what it will take to sign him than you do!

Your point about trading him for a late round 3rd is just silly. We have a first, two seconds and two thirds already. How is that such a loss?

BB slayed it on the 2 deals he did make and you really aren't entitled to even suggest you know better than him. Really!

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#2 suba steve
March 09 2014, 11:21AM
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I imagine that Burke would have viewed dealing Cammi for the best offer he received (vs his ask price) as a tad-bit hypocritical...since his firing of Feaster was largely based upon similar dealings last year in the Iggy/JBo deals.

I was/am disappointed that he couldn't make HIS deal (like he WAS able to do with Berra), but I do understand his mindset in this case. In the end, other (lesser) GM's caving in on their ask price, cut the feet out from under Burke's deal, let's move on.

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#3 sb
March 09 2014, 11:26AM
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@Glenn

Agree with above.

Did any of us sit down with Michael at Tim's and discussed his future over a coffee and donuts. True we are all voicing our option and are allowed to point fingers at anyone to make our point. But I remember the first time Cammy left the Flames. He said there was room to discuss him staying. Agree then he knew he was worth more then what the Flames were offering him at that time. Again he had I think problems with Montreal and again the Flames traded for him and paid his remaining contract. I am not saying he owes the Flames for this but if he is only playing for money and for a winning team then I agree he is gone July 1. I guess he is different then Stajan as a person.

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#4 theartfuldodger
March 09 2014, 11:28AM
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I also am a little tired of the We know better attitude. Much more enjoyable when a more journalistic approach is taken rather than some dudes opinion.

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#5 Jeff Lebowski
March 09 2014, 11:48AM
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The author is exactly right. Because Burke arguably got good returns on other deals does not mean his gaffe with Cammy is tolerable. It isn't. It's a huge mistake. And his subsequent reasoning is just as horrible. Anyone who buys the 'reputation' argument is blind (and probably dumb too). Would they react the same way if Feaster tried to explain the same way?

I think the other misconception about Burke is his 'I don't care what anyone thinks' persona. I think Burke cares a lot. Too much.

I don't really care about his new cowboy boots or truck or windshield (Burke playbook: how can I get Calgarian to like me?) or how in Alberta we like big hockey players. Although it's admirable he visits the troops, I don't need to hear about it, especially from him. Let others speak your praises. Burke says what will make him popular. Burke is driven by his ego, he is therefore irrational.

Some people like the tough talk, the no tie, I'm my own man type persona. I see it as a smoke screen. He's just as prone to stupid moves as the next guy. He proved it with Cammy.

People disliked Feaster for a myriad of reasons. Anything but him is ideal to their thinking. They will find excuses to keep Burke in a positive light but wouldn't do that same excuse searching for Jay. So whatever Burke does is therefore good: the wishful thinking fallacy.

Having noted the above, I think there are positives to balance out his evaluation to date:

In the moves he has made, he hasn't traded away the top tier prospects. Letting Neimsz go for Westgarth is better than one of skilled kids Calgary has.

His comments about how to build a team vis a vis the Torrey blueprint makes a lot of sense.

Burke will show me his value as a GM or POHO by how he adds his truculence. Will he give up skill for grit straight up? Will we see trades that give up Granlund types for meatheads.

Will he want to draft the Colten Teuberts of the world in the first round? Will Calgary ever draft someone like Gaudreau again?

Everyone is so enamored by the Burke media sideshow. They love the sounds coming out of his mouth, it makes sense to them, tough, big. Those are ideas they can wrap their heads around.

Hockey IQ??? But how big is he?!!!?? these notions are tougher for fans who don't notice things.

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#6 Graham
March 09 2014, 11:49AM
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I'm kind of with Burke on this one, I wouldn't have traded Cammy for a third rounder. This team is stuffed full of mid tier prospects, and at best, a third rounder would have added more of the same. Take the time and try to sign Cammy, don't overpay or go to long, and think of the lost third rounder as the cost of buying this time. If Cammy walks he walks, and we free up more cap space for Burkes / new GM upcoming buying spree.

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#7 jonahgo
March 09 2014, 11:54AM
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Burke's logic on this is deeply flawed. He wasn't the only one who "didn't blink"--the teams that passed on Cammalleri held their ground too and demonstrated that they weren't going to overpay for a rental. Why is his stance any more principled than theirs? Why does this non-trade enhance his reputation in their eyes and not their reputation in his eyes?

All we can say is that the other GMs did not value 3 months of Cammalleri as highly as Burke did. This is problematic because 3 months of Cammalleri is worth effectively nothing to the Flames.

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#8 Subversive
March 09 2014, 12:02PM
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Graham wrote:

I'm kind of with Burke on this one, I wouldn't have traded Cammy for a third rounder. This team is stuffed full of mid tier prospects, and at best, a third rounder would have added more of the same. Take the time and try to sign Cammy, don't overpay or go to long, and think of the lost third rounder as the cost of buying this time. If Cammy walks he walks, and we free up more cap space for Burkes / new GM upcoming buying spree.

TJ Brodie was a 4th round pick. So was John Gaudreau. Any pick is better than letting him walk away for nothing.

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#9 suba steve
March 09 2014, 12:03PM
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@Jeff Lebowski

"Anyone who buys the 'reputation' argument is blind (and probably dumb too)."

So...reputation in hockey means nothing? Explaine me plees, me 2 domb to be udderstand.

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#10 Veggie Dog
March 09 2014, 12:04PM
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Graham wrote:

I'm kind of with Burke on this one, I wouldn't have traded Cammy for a third rounder. This team is stuffed full of mid tier prospects, and at best, a third rounder would have added more of the same. Take the time and try to sign Cammy, don't overpay or go to long, and think of the lost third rounder as the cost of buying this time. If Cammy walks he walks, and we free up more cap space for Burkes / new GM upcoming buying spree.

I agree, no one was happy with the Iggy and JBO returns either. If Burke took an underwhelming return people would bitch, it he kept Cammi they would bitch. There is no winning as GM of a team in the middle of a rebuild.

Also, we have no idea what internal conversations about an extension might be. He has had a great attitude through the rebuild. Remember the immediate sulking of Tanguay? I don't think Cammi is the kind of guy to be dishonest or make signals about staying when his intention is to leave. I think it absolutely is a possibility that he re-signs.

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#11 Jeff Lebowski
March 09 2014, 12:09PM
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suba steve wrote:

"Anyone who buys the 'reputation' argument is blind (and probably dumb too)."

So...reputation in hockey means nothing? Explaine me plees, me 2 domb to be udderstand.

It means you can't ice a team with reputation. You ice a team with assets.

If your goal is to put a team on the ice are you going to roll out your reputation or ... I don't know, maybe some actual, real life players.

Get it now?

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#12 suba steve
March 09 2014, 12:15PM
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@Jeff Lebowski

No, you reely smart, me no follow you intilect.

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#13 BurningSensation
March 09 2014, 12:15PM
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@jonahgo

I am literally shocked at how much whining there is about Cammalleri's non-trade.

Seriously, if the best we could get for him was a 3rd rnd pick - a pick that has less than a 10% chance of being an NHL player, than all it takes is for there to be a better than 10% chance we can re-sign him before he goes UFA. Thats a risk I am very willing to take.

Did Burke improve the team's draft picks? Yes (an extra 2nd and 3rd). So everyone can stop bitching that somehow Burke has let us down in this regard - he hasn't.

Seriously, I sometimes think that Flames fans have a Pavlovian reaction to their GMs, in that it seems like no matter what they do (like getting a 2nd for Berra), the reaction is always that somehow they must be screwing it up (this is essentially the gist of every Ryan Lambert column).

It's getting very tiresome.

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#14 MacG84
March 09 2014, 12:15PM
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I have no issue with Burke passing on a 3rd (or similarly low offer) in order to strengthen his position going forward. Much like at the poker table, your image matters when it comes to negotiating.

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#15 BurningSensation
March 09 2014, 12:18PM
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Graham wrote:

I'm kind of with Burke on this one, I wouldn't have traded Cammy for a third rounder. This team is stuffed full of mid tier prospects, and at best, a third rounder would have added more of the same. Take the time and try to sign Cammy, don't overpay or go to long, and think of the lost third rounder as the cost of buying this time. If Cammy walks he walks, and we free up more cap space for Burkes / new GM upcoming buying spree.

Exactly. This.

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#16 Sincity1976
March 09 2014, 12:22PM
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Burke got a second rounder for Berra because he is Burke. If he took a third rounder for Cammalleri he would fail to be Burke.

Getting out of shape over not under selling an asset for a third round pick seems silly.

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#17 Jeff Lebowski
March 09 2014, 12:22PM
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suba steve wrote:

No, you reely smart, me no follow you intilect.

hey that's dynamite!

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#18 Kent Wilson
March 09 2014, 12:33PM
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theartfuldodger wrote:

I also am a little tired of the We know better attitude. Much more enjoyable when a more journalistic approach is taken rather than some dudes opinion.

That's just, like, your opinion man.

Anyways Burke will be judged on the Cammy thing based on what happens next. If he signs him to a beneficial contract or moves him at the entry draft, it's probably no big deal.

If Cammalleri walks for nothing in the summer, though, then it's a failure, regardless of how many other middle tier assets the team might have. It's not a giant failure, but a third round pick is greater than nothing at all.

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#19 Walter White
March 09 2014, 12:46PM
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Does anyone here actually know what the best offer was that Burke received for Cammi?

If not; what are you all BS-ing about......?

WW

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#20 BurningSensation
March 09 2014, 12:47PM
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@Kent Wilson

"Don't worry Donny, they're just nihlists"

Kent, would you put Burke's chances of signing Cammalleri above 10%? If you do, then the odds of signing Cammalleri are better than the odds whatever 3rd rnd pick we got will be an actual NHL player, and basic math suggests Burke's better keeping Cammalleri and trying to sign him (or trade him prior to the draft) than it is to trade him.

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#21 Kent Wilson
March 09 2014, 01:11PM
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@BurningSensation

I can't speak to the Flames odds of re-signing him. There's other considerations when it comes to that part of the equation because Cammalleri can be signed to a bad contract as well, which could convert him into a negative asset.

Given the Flames huge amount of cap room, the fact that they will likely need to err "motivate" Cammalleri to stick here through a painful rebuild and fact the org might have to scramble to make the cap floor next year, I'd say it's a non-trivial concern. Especially now that Burke wasn't able to move him at the deadline; the optics will almost demand he retain him now.

"Flames re-sign Cammalleri for 5 years at $5.25M" is actually the main concern I have about this situation now.

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#22 RexLibris
March 09 2014, 01:18PM
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@BurningSensation

Literally?

Or figuratively?

Because if the former, maybe check around for frayed or overhead wires. Safety first.

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#23 BurningSensation
March 09 2014, 01:23PM
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@Kent Wilson

"Flames re-sign Cammalleri for 5 years at $5.25M" is actually the main concern I have about this situation now.

"Hey Man, I've got a beverage here!"

Except that unlike 5 years ago, the Flames are no longer a cap-team, and will have to work hard to reach the floor with all the cheap youth incoming

Factor in that the cap is going to keep going up (that's all it does), and that year 5 of the deal you describe would likely coincide with the Flames being playoff competitors, and I don't see a problem.

Cammalleri likes it here, and from all appearances has been a good soldier. I have no problem with him being rewarded with an overpay to stay and guide the puppies.

Lastly, if we don't sign guys like Cammalleri to overpay contracts, we won't have enough vets to cushion the kids. If there is one thing we can learn from Edmonton it is that throwing your youth movement into the furnace is a bad way to develop them.

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#24 BurningSensation
March 09 2014, 01:23PM
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RexLibris wrote:

Literally?

Or figuratively?

Because if the former, maybe check around for frayed or overhead wires. Safety first.

You've lost me.

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#25 BurningSensation
March 09 2014, 01:26PM
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RexLibris wrote:

Literally?

Or figuratively?

Because if the former, maybe check around for frayed or overhead wires. Safety first.

Oh, now I get it.

'Figuratively'.

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#26 Pizzaman
March 09 2014, 01:26PM
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BB lives to fight another day on Cammi. Signing him is an option clearly but at what price? If he is signed he can still be a tradeable asset. Let's face it Cammi's performance, injuries and inability to be traded at the deadline mean he should be a bargain for the flames.

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#27 ianberg1
March 09 2014, 01:27PM
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If he's gone after the season then I hope Cammallerri signs elsewhere for way more than the Flames were willing to pay. I'm looking for something, anything that justifies not signing him here for 2014-15

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#28 Sincity1976
March 09 2014, 01:29PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

That's just, like, your opinion man.

Anyways Burke will be judged on the Cammy thing based on what happens next. If he signs him to a beneficial contract or moves him at the entry draft, it's probably no big deal.

If Cammalleri walks for nothing in the summer, though, then it's a failure, regardless of how many other middle tier assets the team might have. It's not a giant failure, but a third round pick is greater than nothing at all.

Its already a failure. Burke wanted to move Cammalleri for assets at the deadline and he failed to do so.

The point is that fans oversimplify things. We have some picture in our heads of a Cammalleri offer on the table and Burke walking away based on principle.

The reality was Burke attempted to get maximum value for Cammalleri. He felt that waiting until Vanek and Moulson were off the table was the best way to do that. Unfortunately Snow waited so long that the market came crashing down and there was no time to make a legitimate deal.

Feaster would probably have dealt Cammalleri for middling value before the Olympic deadline. Personally, I prefer a GM that takes a few risks and swings for the fences. Especially when it is a GM like Burke that connects so often.

But you can't whine about every occasional miss. Either that or you can't whine about middling value. Burke got a second for Berra and a third for Stempniak. Given our limited assets and the buyers market created by Snow I think we made out pretty well.

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#29 Kent Wilson
March 09 2014, 01:31PM
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@BurningSensation

Bad contracts are bad contracts. It's never a good idea to sign them.

That said, Burke hasn't done that yet. The ideal situation is Cammy re-ups for a year to try re-invigorate his value across the league so he can sign that last, big deal with a contender after that. That way the Flames get another year of his services and another chance to flip him at the deadline.

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#30 RexLibris
March 09 2014, 01:32PM
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BurningSensation wrote:

"Don't worry Donny, they're just nihlists"

Kent, would you put Burke's chances of signing Cammalleri above 10%? If you do, then the odds of signing Cammalleri are better than the odds whatever 3rd rnd pick we got will be an actual NHL player, and basic math suggests Burke's better keeping Cammalleri and trying to sign him (or trade him prior to the draft) than it is to trade him.

This is apples and oranges.

The chances of turning a 3rd round pick into an NHL player does not directly compare to the chances of re-signing Cammalleri, an actual, later-stage career, NHL foward.

And as Kent has noted above, the contract that Cammalleri could possibly sign with the Flames could have significant impact on his value. A Wideman contract makes him a likely albatross within two years. A Glencross contract is far more palatable.

Given Cammalleri's career situation (30, hasn't won a championship, perhaps looking for term for security) those priorities don't mesh with what the Flames can reasonably offer.

This isn't to say that re-signing Cammalleri would necessarily be a mistake, the RW is a roster weakness. But the prudent thing to do would have been to trade Cammalleri for what was on offer - for the sake of argument let's imagine it was a deal in the Hemsky range.

What MacFarlane suggests is that Burke believes that his pride, and reputation is an extension of pride, has more value in the long-term than making a deal that has the highest chance of improving the franchise, that is a deal for an asset in a draft pick than taking a chance that a player will leave for free-agency.

Bob Murray is a very good GM. Smart and observant. Did he show weakness when he moved Dustin Penner for a 4th round pick?

Burke has a management style and his refusal to move Cammalleri for less than his expected value is in part the cost of that style.

Perhaps he makes it up this summer with a strong trade or signing, but as of today, the Flames are in a worse position for his decision.

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#31 jonahgo
March 09 2014, 01:32PM
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@BurningSensation

I'm not sure I would characterize my stance as whining--I was pointing out that Burke's argument for not trading Cammalleri is based on a flawed premise. If he's making personnel decisions based on this type of logic, then that is problematic. If this stuff is just posturing for the media, then whatever, but he wasted an opportunity to get something for Cammalleri.

As for the Pavlovian reaction bit... in fairness to us fans, this organization has been poorly operated for many, many years. We have very good reason for skepticism.

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#32 SmellOfVictory
March 09 2014, 02:05PM
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Subversive wrote:

TJ Brodie was a 4th round pick. So was John Gaudreau. Any pick is better than letting him walk away for nothing.

I understand both sides, but given Burke's trade history I'm siding with him as well. The number of GMs/franchises in the NHL is small, and I'm sure (based on the larceny that certain guys regularly engage in, e.g. Sather, Burke) that much of the negotiations are predicated to some degree on reputation. The Flames got a decent pick return at the deadline, and if sticking to his guns meant that Burke forfeited a 3rd or 4th rounder from a contender for Cammalleri, the price may have been worth it.

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#33 seve927
March 09 2014, 02:18PM
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So what do you think the original low-ball offers would have been for Cammalleri, Stempniak and Berra? Total of a 4th, a 5th and a 6th? Should Burke have taken that and run? Would that have been a big win? He got rid of Cammalleri! He wins! He forced everything down to the last minute, he got a 2nd and a 3rd and now probably still has a better chance to re-sign or get further return for Cammalleri after the season.

The argument that he did a bad job at the deadline because he didn't move Cammalleri is flawed. And fearing that they're going to give him a bad contract isn't a reason to claim they should have traded him for nothing + 10%.

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#34 Primo
March 09 2014, 02:23PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

I can't speak to the Flames odds of re-signing him. There's other considerations when it comes to that part of the equation because Cammalleri can be signed to a bad contract as well, which could convert him into a negative asset.

Given the Flames huge amount of cap room, the fact that they will likely need to err "motivate" Cammalleri to stick here through a painful rebuild and fact the org might have to scramble to make the cap floor next year, I'd say it's a non-trivial concern. Especially now that Burke wasn't able to move him at the deadline; the optics will almost demand he retain him now.

"Flames re-sign Cammalleri for 5 years at $5.25M" is actually the main concern I have about this situation now.

Kent..I like your numbers on Cammy other than the term... 4 years at $5.25 would do it for me. Having a guy like Cammy around is critical in supporting the young talent we have coming up, lessons learned from the Oiler model of rebuild! I'm also willing to give Burke the next 3 months to try and deliver on his strategy. If he does not sign him then so be it! I value the credibility factor that he mentioned and what he was able to obtain for Berra and Stempniak.

Going forward not all his decisions that he makes will be popular but I'm good with Burke pulling the trigger on future trades rather than Feaster, Lowe, MacT, Gillies etc etc.

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#35 BurningSensation
March 09 2014, 02:28PM
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RexLibris wrote:

This is apples and oranges.

The chances of turning a 3rd round pick into an NHL player does not directly compare to the chances of re-signing Cammalleri, an actual, later-stage career, NHL foward.

And as Kent has noted above, the contract that Cammalleri could possibly sign with the Flames could have significant impact on his value. A Wideman contract makes him a likely albatross within two years. A Glencross contract is far more palatable.

Given Cammalleri's career situation (30, hasn't won a championship, perhaps looking for term for security) those priorities don't mesh with what the Flames can reasonably offer.

This isn't to say that re-signing Cammalleri would necessarily be a mistake, the RW is a roster weakness. But the prudent thing to do would have been to trade Cammalleri for what was on offer - for the sake of argument let's imagine it was a deal in the Hemsky range.

What MacFarlane suggests is that Burke believes that his pride, and reputation is an extension of pride, has more value in the long-term than making a deal that has the highest chance of improving the franchise, that is a deal for an asset in a draft pick than taking a chance that a player will leave for free-agency.

Bob Murray is a very good GM. Smart and observant. Did he show weakness when he moved Dustin Penner for a 4th round pick?

Burke has a management style and his refusal to move Cammalleri for less than his expected value is in part the cost of that style.

Perhaps he makes it up this summer with a strong trade or signing, but as of today, the Flames are in a worse position for his decision.

I am going to argue that even if Calgary re-signs Cammalleri at the contract Kent suggested, Calgary retains his 'value'.

The only time you should worry about overpaying a veteran is when you have a verteran laden team at the cap.

Calgary though doesn't have that problem. Quite the opposite. We now have a tone of relatively cheap labor in the form of young players and a few mid-range contracts with term (Wideman, Hudler, etc.). Calgary can more than afford to 'overpay' Cammalleri to keep him here. He fits a gaping hole in the roster. He can play tough minutes. He's a good leader. Etc.

Whats more, assuming he leaves, who takes his role? A free agent signing is just as likely to require an overpay as Cammalleri will, if not moreso. In that regard, Cammalleri is the bird in the hand.

Kent suggested that 'a bad contract is a bad contract'. Fair enough. At year 4 or 5 we might be looking at it as an albatross, but my bet is that the cap will have risen between 10 and 15% by then, and if he has performed well and we are finally ready to make some playoff noise those years of his deal aren't likely to be horrific. Was Hemsky's contract an 'albatross' for the team vs his value in Edmonton? The very thing that makes it a mistake for Edmonton to deal him away for pocket change is why Calgary should keep Cammon on board.

The meta-point I want to make is that Cammalleri is exactly what Calgary needs (a vet #1RW who can do all the captainy things we need for the kids), and he costs the one thing we have in abundance - cash/cap space.

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#36 Jeff Lebowski
March 09 2014, 02:31PM
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RexLibris wrote:

This is apples and oranges.

The chances of turning a 3rd round pick into an NHL player does not directly compare to the chances of re-signing Cammalleri, an actual, later-stage career, NHL foward.

And as Kent has noted above, the contract that Cammalleri could possibly sign with the Flames could have significant impact on his value. A Wideman contract makes him a likely albatross within two years. A Glencross contract is far more palatable.

Given Cammalleri's career situation (30, hasn't won a championship, perhaps looking for term for security) those priorities don't mesh with what the Flames can reasonably offer.

This isn't to say that re-signing Cammalleri would necessarily be a mistake, the RW is a roster weakness. But the prudent thing to do would have been to trade Cammalleri for what was on offer - for the sake of argument let's imagine it was a deal in the Hemsky range.

What MacFarlane suggests is that Burke believes that his pride, and reputation is an extension of pride, has more value in the long-term than making a deal that has the highest chance of improving the franchise, that is a deal for an asset in a draft pick than taking a chance that a player will leave for free-agency.

Bob Murray is a very good GM. Smart and observant. Did he show weakness when he moved Dustin Penner for a 4th round pick?

Burke has a management style and his refusal to move Cammalleri for less than his expected value is in part the cost of that style.

Perhaps he makes it up this summer with a strong trade or signing, but as of today, the Flames are in a worse position for his decision.

Well said. MacFarlane details exactly what's wrong and why (given Burke's own admission as to what is of value, cap space, draft picks etc)

Calgary is in build mode. Is it better to build with some thing or nothing (reputation)?

The return for Cammy doesn't have to be fully realized in that returned pick. That pick can be leveraged other ways (trade down with it, trade up - trade it for a player, trade it for a a player and a pick next year etc). Without the pick you have nothing to leverage, nothing to build with.

"Reputation screams down the wing and let's loose a heavy slapper" said no one ever.

'I don't know Brian, you need to throw something extra in here to make this deal work'

'OK how about I add in some reputation?'

Of course if Cammy re signs then Burke will be justified. If not he rightly deserves to be pilliored. Calgary has holes. In order to fix those holes Calgary needs assets, whether it's Cammy or Cammy's return. To get nothing is inexcusable.

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#37 loudogYYC
March 09 2014, 02:55PM
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Everyone's bent out of shape over a player that wasn't traded. We all know that Burke would have been roasted if he traded Cammalleri for a 3rd and a 'Hanowski' type prospect so in the end, let's look at what messed up this deadline: Gillis and the Canucks.

They let a rumour float around about Kesler, entertained offers left, right and centre and then ownership kiboshed the entire thing at the 11th hour. There's no way MTL & MIN get Vanek and Moulson so cheap if it isn't for the Kesler roadblock.

If Burke re-signs Cammalleri in the summer to a 2 year deal then it's all good. If he doesn't then the loss is minimal. It's not like he traded Phaneuf for Stajan, boys.

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#38 Justin Azevedo
March 09 2014, 02:56PM
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man it would be wonderful if every situation was conducted in a vaccum.

burke failed to get an asset for a player who is now walking into his final free agency period with leverage in the form of an offer from burke. even if burke does get him signed, it will be at the very least market value and market term (i.e. 4-6 years, aav of 4.5+). how useful will a 34 year old cammalleri be on a team that is going to have to offer a new contract to backlund, brodie, giordano and monahan? those four are probably going to cost at least 20 million in 2016. do you really want 5 million dollars of a depreciated asset skating on your third line?

"the cap is going up!"

not as much as you think. right now, based on the canadian dollar - the cap would be about 67 million next year. the 25 billion dollar tv contract is great until you realize that (despite reports to the contrary) it was negotiated in canadian dollars. there isn't as much room to kill as everyone thinks.

tl;dr: the cap is not going up that much and by the time the team is good again cammalleri will likely be playing at the level of a 3rd liner.

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#39 ?
March 09 2014, 03:12PM
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@BurningSensation

Flames already have many capable veterans. Overpaying for Cammaleri won't have much of an impact on the kid's careers.

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#40 negrilcowboy
March 09 2014, 03:14PM
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cammy will be dealt at the draft or he will re-up for 3 years at 3 to 4 mill per. he is a 15 goal guy at this point of his career and is past his shelf life. its been a long time since cammy was a legit threat.

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#41 ?
March 09 2014, 03:17PM
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How come everyone was so against overpaying a little for TJ Brodie in the summer in order to retain him longterm and get this team good value down the road, but is fine paying Cammaleri MUCH more than he is worth just to keep him around?

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#42 ?
March 09 2014, 03:18PM
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Perhaps Burkie can still get something just before the draft for Cammi's rights if he can't sign him, maybe like a 6th rounder?

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#43 Lober
March 09 2014, 03:18PM
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Thoughts and Prayers to the Stajan family. Terrible news.

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#44 Chambers
March 09 2014, 03:26PM
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Lober wrote:

Thoughts and Prayers to the Stajan family. Terrible news.

?

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#45 chillout
March 09 2014, 03:28PM
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@BurningSensation

Wow someone with some common sense on here! I was starting to worry a bit. Seeing all the other comments.

you don't give assets away for nothing. Even if there is a chance said asset will walk in the summer. This is particularly true of mid-upper tier guys like cammi. If we could have gotten a 3rd round pick for him at the deadline, big friggen deal. He's worth way more to this team just being here. If he tells us he won't sign then we see if anyone wants to give us a 4th or 5th for his rights a few weeks before free agency. Not much difference there. A 3rd round pick isn't going to make or break this rebuild. Keeping solid vets around will help the kids grow. Don't want to look stupid like the bums up north.

Also condolences to the Stajans. Keeping them in our thoughts here in this difficult time.

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#46 Lober
March 09 2014, 03:30PM
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@Chambers

His son passed away following birth.

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#47 negrilcowboy
March 09 2014, 03:33PM
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condolences to the stajan's.

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#48 Ted
March 09 2014, 03:43PM
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I'm saddened to hear the new about Matt Stajan's family. All the best... :(

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#49 Carlizzle
March 09 2014, 03:47PM
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Terrible and tragic news, condolences to the Stajan's.

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#50 ?
March 09 2014, 03:55PM
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Terrible news for Matt and his family. Thoughts and prayers are with them.

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