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.

3d3f7758adff5b9b9ead81bf00567345
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
Avatar
#1 Jeff Lebowski
March 09 2014, 11:48AM
Trash it!
37
trashes
Props
17
props

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.

Avatar
#2 Glenn
March 09 2014, 10:48AM
Trash it!
29
trashes
Props
55
props

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!

Avatar
#3 jonahgo
March 09 2014, 11:54AM
Trash it!
25
trashes
Props
13
props

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.

Avatar
#4 Jeff Lebowski
March 09 2014, 12:09PM
Trash it!
23
trashes
Props
9
props
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?

Avatar
#5 Kent Wilson
March 09 2014, 12:33PM
Trash it!
19
trashes
Props
23
props
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.

Avatar
#6 Walter White
March 09 2014, 12:46PM
Trash it!
15
trashes
Props
27
props

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

Avatar
#7 theartfuldodger
March 09 2014, 11:28AM
Trash it!
14
trashes
Props
33
props

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.

Avatar
#8 BurningSensation
March 09 2014, 05:14PM
Trash it!
13
trashes
Props
6
props
? wrote:

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

Of these 'many capable veterans', how many are 1st line RW?

Avatar
#9 Justin Azevedo
March 09 2014, 08:22PM
Trash it!
12
trashes
Props
10
props

@Skuehler

exactly. there's three possible outcomes here:

-burke trades cammalleri at the draft -cammalleri signs here again -cammalleri signs somewhere else

the flames get no assets if the third happens, will likely be stuck with a large contract for a poor asset if the second happens and the flames will likely get a reduced asset (compared to a potential deadline deal) if the first happens. there's not many positives there; unless you're hoping that he nets 30 next season and you can deal him for a better return than this year; but i find that unlikely to happen.

i feel like burke really screwed the pooch

Avatar
#10 Subversive
March 09 2014, 12:02PM
Trash it!
11
trashes
Props
19
props
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.

Avatar
#11 suba steve
March 09 2014, 12:15PM
Trash it!
11
trashes
Props
8
props

@Jeff Lebowski

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

Avatar
#12 BurningSensation
March 09 2014, 01:23PM
Trash it!
10
trashes
Props
20
props

@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.

Avatar
#13 MontanaMan
March 09 2014, 05:43PM
Trash it!
10
trashes
Props
11
props
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.

I totally agree with this statement. We can't judge Burke's decision until this all plays out. If he gets a decent return at the draft or signs Cammy to a good contract, it's a win. If he walks for free, it's a loss. I don't buy this "reputation" ploy. A GM's role is to maximize the return on an asset thoughout the year, not just at the trade deadline. If Burke got squeezed due to Vanek, Moulson and others, he misread the market and over estimated Cammy's value and should have moved him earlier. Many on this site have hammered Vancouver's management team for their handling of Luongo but maybe they were never offered full vaule and didn't want to impact their reputation as tough negotiators.

Avatar
#14 suba steve
March 09 2014, 12:03PM
Trash it!
9
trashes
Props
21
props

@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.

Avatar
#15 BurningSensation
March 09 2014, 09:18PM
Trash it!
9
trashes
Props
11
props
Skuehler wrote:

Your math is logical but it's not the main issue here. When you bring in a guy like Burke, create a position for him and he fires the GM for his low returns on trades than their are high expectations you will do much better. Burke didn't have the hammer in negotiating with other GMs. He doesn't have the hammer now dealing with Cammi. This could have all been anticipated and if it was going to be a buyers market, Burke should've signed Cammi. That's why he is here. Feasted would've got a low return on Cammi dealing from a weak position, he would've been criticized for it but h would've got something. If Cammi walks it is a big fail for Burke. He can't do a sell job and paint it any other way

A. Has Burke indicated that he fired Feaster for any specific reason? I know the chattering masses like to suggest this, but for all I know Feaster looked at Burke's daughter the wrong way.

B. It is ALL ABOUT THE MATH. There is no point in trading Cammalleri for a 7th rnd pick, even if you are 99% certain he won't resign. Why? Because the chance of that 7th round pick becoming a player is way, way, way, less than 1%, and therefore you have a better chance holding on to Cammy than letting him go. That's it.

C. I don't want my GM 'selling me' anything. I want him to improve the team by taking reasonable risks. I liked Feaster for his moves, but hated him for always trying to 'sell' me on them (best player outside...., Janko will one day be among the best of this draft class, etc.). I liked the moves he made just fine, it was the inept attempt at a 'sales job' that always made me want to throw something at him after a presser.

D. 'If Cammy walks it is a big fail for Burke'. Yeah, no. It would be a missed opportunity at landing a 3rd rnd pick in a weak draft. I've tried to see how this could possibly be portrayed as a 'big fail', but it simply isn't.

Avatar
#16 BurningSensation
March 09 2014, 12:15PM
Trash it!
8
trashes
Props
50
props

@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.

Avatar
#17 BurningSensation
March 09 2014, 12:47PM
Trash it!
8
trashes
Props
11
props

@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.

Avatar
#18 seve927
March 09 2014, 02:18PM
Trash it!
8
trashes
Props
8
props

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%.

Avatar
#19 BurningSensation
March 09 2014, 02:28PM
Trash it!
8
trashes
Props
9
props
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.

Avatar
#20 Graham
March 09 2014, 11:49AM
Trash it!
7
trashes
Props
32
props

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.

Avatar
#21 Kent Wilson
March 09 2014, 01:11PM
Trash it!
7
trashes
Props
20
props

@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.

Avatar
#22 RexLibris
March 09 2014, 01:32PM
Trash it!
7
trashes
Props
15
props
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.

Avatar
#23 Jeff Lebowski
March 09 2014, 02:31PM
Trash it!
7
trashes
Props
10
props
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.

Avatar
#24 chillout
March 09 2014, 07:30PM
Trash it!
7
trashes
Props
15
props

I love how the only explanation most people have for a trade involving cammi not happening is Burke's ego.

That is idiotic. Who knows what was going on and who was talking to who.

It wasn't just Burke waiting till the end of the deadline to make deals. It was all the players in the bigger names. It could be Burke almost had a deal but maybe it was complex and they just ran out of time. These things happen when the player you are offering isn't one of the top rentals. Everybody is in the hunt for the other guys and time just runs out when those options disappear.

Just love how the armchair GM's would just order another team to give up assets for our guy. No idea there are things called negotiations and calling back and forth between other gm's to see if they are still in the running for this guy or that guy and more back and forth. You guys have no clue what goes on.

Avatar
#25 suba steve
March 09 2014, 11:21AM
Trash it!
6
trashes
Props
15
props

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.

Avatar
#26 Veggie Dog
March 09 2014, 12:04PM
Trash it!
6
trashes
Props
21
props
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.

Avatar
#27 FlamesFan1489
March 09 2014, 09:08PM
Trash it!
6
trashes
Props
8
props

I think people are way overrating Cammalleri and the return we "should have". I think I'm one of the only ones who thinks Stempniak would give us a much better return than Cammi. Outside of a playoff run 4 years ago, Cammi hasn't necessarily been a game changer. This year he also got a nasty concussion and outside of that, his numbers are underwhelming. If I was a playoff team, I don't think I would offer much for an undersized player who hasn't shown much finish in the last 2-3 years, especially for a cap hit that could hinder callups if the team falls into a situation like we did in 2009. Not just looking at his +/- but he really doesn't lend to a 200 foot game either. I think Flames fans and the media might be guilty of the same thing as Oilers fans brewing up fantasy trades for Hemsky and Gagner (a 3rd and a 5th could have even been an overpayment for Hemsky as well if he doesn't re-sign).

I'm not surprised that Cammi wasn't dealt. I think I would have been upset if Stempniak wasn't dealt however. Much more consistent numbers. And getting a 45-50 pick for Berra was a steal.

Avatar
#28 Skuehler
March 09 2014, 11:52PM
Trash it!
6
trashes
Props
3
props
FlamesFan1489 wrote:

I think people are way overrating Cammalleri and the return we "should have". I think I'm one of the only ones who thinks Stempniak would give us a much better return than Cammi. Outside of a playoff run 4 years ago, Cammi hasn't necessarily been a game changer. This year he also got a nasty concussion and outside of that, his numbers are underwhelming. If I was a playoff team, I don't think I would offer much for an undersized player who hasn't shown much finish in the last 2-3 years, especially for a cap hit that could hinder callups if the team falls into a situation like we did in 2009. Not just looking at his +/- but he really doesn't lend to a 200 foot game either. I think Flames fans and the media might be guilty of the same thing as Oilers fans brewing up fantasy trades for Hemsky and Gagner (a 3rd and a 5th could have even been an overpayment for Hemsky as well if he doesn't re-sign).

I'm not surprised that Cammi wasn't dealt. I think I would have been upset if Stempniak wasn't dealt however. Much more consistent numbers. And getting a 45-50 pick for Berra was a steal.

This isn't really about Cammi and any specific return. It's about Burke - his experience, reputation, expectations, organizational objectives, actions so far here in Calgary, the less than spectacular results so far and the disconnect between these aspects.

Avatar
#29 MacG84
March 09 2014, 12:15PM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Props
23
props

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.

Avatar
#30 BurningSensation
March 09 2014, 12:18PM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Props
15
props
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.

Avatar
#31 Sincity1976
March 09 2014, 12:22PM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Props
18
props

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.

Avatar
#32 Justin Azevedo
March 09 2014, 02:56PM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Props
14
props

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.

Avatar
#33 ?
March 09 2014, 03:18PM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Props
2
props

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?

Avatar
#34 chillout
March 09 2014, 03:28PM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Props
7
props

@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.

Avatar
#35 ultrathinzigzags
March 10 2014, 03:32AM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Props
12
props

this is NOT a massive failure in not dealing Cammi. Geez, boohoo we don't have an extra 3rd rounder oh the failings of Burke! Leaving the franchise teetering on a bottomless abyss pffff

Avatar
#36 sb
March 09 2014, 11:26AM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Props
8
props

@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.

Avatar
#37 SmellOfVictory
March 09 2014, 02:05PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Props
3
props
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.

Avatar
#38 Primo
March 09 2014, 02:23PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Props
6
props
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.

Avatar
#39 loudogYYC
March 09 2014, 02:55PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Props
13
props

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.

Avatar
#40 the-wolf
March 10 2014, 11:56AM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Props
10
props

I agree with Burke over the writer of the article. Cammi is not worth so much that the Flames couldn't afford to lose him vs coming across as a pushover. More trades for futures will come, the team can't just take the best offer and call it a day.

It was one of Feaster's faults. He was seen as an easy mark. You cant play hardball and then cave in to market pressure. Or else people will stop believing you will hold the line and wont take negotiations seriously.

Avatar
#41 RexLibris
March 09 2014, 01:18PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Props
6
props

@BurningSensation

Literally?

Or figuratively?

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

Avatar
#42 BurningSensation
March 09 2014, 01:26PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Props
1
props
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'.

Avatar
#43 Sincity1976
March 09 2014, 01:29PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Props
19
props
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.

Avatar
#44 ?
March 09 2014, 03:12PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Props
4
props

@BurningSensation

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

Avatar
#45 ?
March 09 2014, 03:17PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Props
8
props

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?

Avatar
#46 Skuehler
March 09 2014, 08:16PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Props
6
props
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.

Your math is logical but it's not the main issue here. When you bring in a guy like Burke, create a position for him and he fires the GM for his low returns on trades than their are high expectations you will do much better. Burke didn't have the hammer in negotiating with other GMs. He doesn't have the hammer now dealing with Cammi. This could have all been anticipated and if it was going to be a buyers market, Burke should've signed Cammi. That's why he is here. Feasted would've got a low return on Cammi dealing from a weak position, he would've been criticized for it but h would've got something. If Cammi walks it is a big fail for Burke. He can't do a sell job and paint it any other way

Avatar
#47 Skuehler
March 09 2014, 11:56PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Props
5
props
BurningSensation wrote:

A. Has Burke indicated that he fired Feaster for any specific reason? I know the chattering masses like to suggest this, but for all I know Feaster looked at Burke's daughter the wrong way.

B. It is ALL ABOUT THE MATH. There is no point in trading Cammalleri for a 7th rnd pick, even if you are 99% certain he won't resign. Why? Because the chance of that 7th round pick becoming a player is way, way, way, less than 1%, and therefore you have a better chance holding on to Cammy than letting him go. That's it.

C. I don't want my GM 'selling me' anything. I want him to improve the team by taking reasonable risks. I liked Feaster for his moves, but hated him for always trying to 'sell' me on them (best player outside...., Janko will one day be among the best of this draft class, etc.). I liked the moves he made just fine, it was the inept attempt at a 'sales job' that always made me want to throw something at him after a presser.

D. 'If Cammy walks it is a big fail for Burke'. Yeah, no. It would be a missed opportunity at landing a 3rd rnd pick in a weak draft. I've tried to see how this could possibly be portrayed as a 'big fail', but it simply isn't.

I'm just guessing here but I don't think Feaster was fired for his and his depts drafting. We all know he wasn't able to get huge returns for Jbo/Iggy/Kipper and the ROR almost disaster. So he had issues with negotiating high value for assets. Burke should be a clear improvement. I don't see it.

Avatar
#48 Parallex
March 10 2014, 10:06AM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Props
3
props

@piscera.infada

"I'm not sure we as a fanbase could have been satiated by a third round pick."

Given how the market shaked out I think getting that third would have fallen under the catagory of "understandable". It would have demonstated that Burke isn't the "wizard of trades" that his more ardent boosters try to make him out as (but then failing to trade Cammy demonstrates that anyways).

Something is better then nothing. The only way this isn't a fail on Burke's part is if he somehow manages to resign Cammy to a short-term deal (Two or Less Years) prior to Free Agent Frenzy.

Also: I would like to add my name to those extending their deepest condolances to the whole Stajan family. That is such heartbreaking news.

Avatar
#49 Jeff Lebowski
March 09 2014, 12:22PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Props
9
props
suba steve wrote:

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

hey that's dynamite!

Avatar
#50 BurningSensation
March 09 2014, 01:23PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Props
3
props
RexLibris wrote:

Literally?

Or figuratively?

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

You've lost me.

Comments are closed for this article.