Weekend Open Thread: Race to The Cap Floor

Ryan Pike
May 10 2014 09:15AM

A good many people, myself included, have spent the first part of spring actively contemplating the future of Dennis Wideman.

It's no small wonder. To be charitable, he didn't have a good season. To be blunt, he wasn't very good at all. We'll dig into the team-wide possession stats a bit next week, but let me spoil it for you: however you slice it, Wideman wildly under-performed.

He's also making more than any Flame not named Mike Cammalleri, and he's on the richest deal on the books for next season. He's been floated out there as a prime compliance buyout candidate, as who wants a third-pairing blueliner making $5.25 million on the books?

Well, probably these guys might.

THE CAP

The salary cap is projected to be somewhere in the neighbourhood of $68 to $71 million next season, depending on the impact of the fluctuating Canadian dollar. That would place the cap floor between $52 and $55 million.

MONEY ALREADY SPENT

If you look at one-way deals and players that are virtually guaranteed to be on the NHL roster next season, here's how Calgary's roster works out.

Goalies: $2.75m (1 body) - Karri Ramo $2.75m

Blueline: $17.495m (5 bodies) - Dennis Wideman $5.25m, Mark Giordano $4.020m, Ladislav Smid $3.5m, T.J. Brodie $2.125m, Kris Russell $2.6m

Forwards: $17.7m (7 bodies) - Jiri Hudler $4m, David Jones $4m, Matt Stajan $3.125m, Curtis Glencross $2.55m, Mikael Backlund $1.5m, Sean Monahan $1.775m, Brian McGrattan $0.750m

If you add that up, you get approximately $37.945 million committed to 13 players, leaving 10 roster spots needed to be filled with between $14 and $17 million needed to be spent to hit the floor.

Okay, let's go one step further.

If you look at Calgary's many, many restricted free agents, there are three players that have basically forced Brad Treliving's hand - Joe Colborne, Lance Bouma and Paul Byron. While I can't figure out precisely how much they'll each make individually, let's operate under the not-so-terrible assumption that the three of them combined will earn around $4.5 million.

That gives the Flames 1 goalie, 5 defensemen, 10 forwards and 7 roster spots to fill with between $9 and $12 million left to hit the floor. If you presume they bury Shane O'Brien's contract in the AHL again (I think they buy him out), knock off another million. The three most likely bubble players to make the team - Tyler Wotherspoon ($925k), Max Reinhart ($878k) and Markus Granlund ($925k) all have cap-friendly deals.

And even with those three (or their equivalents) in the NHL, you still need to fill four NHL roster spots and spend a minimum of between $6.25 and $9.25 million to hit the bare minimum of NHL payroll.

SO?

Can you fathom this ownership group (1) paying Dennis Wideman his money owed to play elsewhere and then (2) having to probably wildly, wildly over-spend to hit the cap-floor?

Even without buying out Wideman, it'll be incredibly difficult for the Flames to hit the cap floor without going out of their way to add salary from somewhere or to really, really encourage some of their rookies with incentive-laden deals (like Sven Baertschi, Corban Knight or Johnny Gaudreau) to spend time in the NHL to take advantage of their resultant cap hits.

In short: Dennis Wideman has a bad, bad deal for what he brings to the table, or at least for what he brought to it last year. But I cannot foresee a buy-out in his near-future for the simple logistical reason that I can't see how the Flames can manage the cap situation a compliance buy-out would produce.

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Ryan Pike is a Calgary native and FlamesNation's managing editor. He's covered the Flames and the NHL since 2010. His work can also be found at The Hockey Writers and The Wrestling Observer.
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#1 beloch
May 10 2014, 03:05PM
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I'm not sure how many people tuned in to the team USA game today, given that Canada was also playing. Gaudreau may not have picked up any points today, but he played well and he played a lot (The time-sheets have not yet been updated to include the third period, so I can't say what his total TOI was yet). He was a great possession player for the whole game.

One thing that stood out to me was how he creates time and space for himself. He's really good at zone-entries. There was one where two defenders were ahead of him and two forwards were closing in on him from behind, but none of his team-mates had entered the zone yet. A lot of players would chip and chase or just try to run around the defenders and get squeezed off the puck. He somehow knew where all his opponents were and slowed down just enough to maximize the time before anyone could reach him, which was just enough for another US player to enter the zone and receive a nice pass right on the tape.

Gaudreau does the little, smart things consistently. That's so rare to see in a rookie that it's probably even more impressive than watching him "dance" around other players with the puck (The words "dancing" and "Gaudreau" seemed to be on the lips of the announcers a disproportionate number of times). He uses his small size to his advantage. He nearly beat Berra with a shot that I wouldn't have believed possible to get off in the space he had.

I strongly urge Flames fans to tune into a team USA game if you haven't done so yet. Johnny Hockey is insanely fun to watch.

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#2 T&A4Flames
May 10 2014, 10:51AM
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Thank you, finally it's been said. Buying out Wideman would make absolutely zero sense! Keep his cap hit and hope for a rebound season. If we end up trading him, retain some salary.

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#3 Dc
May 11 2014, 01:50PM
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@Rockmorton65

Boooo terrible ideas

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#4 ???
May 10 2014, 10:15AM
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My impression of Wideman's season was:

1) Out of the gates, he wasn't just good, he was really good - playing huge minutes, hitting guys hard and putting up points, getting compliments from Coach Bob.

2) Then he got hurt, and after that he wasn't good. At all.

As far as getting to the salary cap floor, you'd have to think that Treliving's at least going to consider taking another team's bad contract for a pick or two at the draft table. I know Lambert's guaranteeing 3 years of UFA Heatley at 5 mill, but really, doesn't it make more sense to get real assets when you HAVE TO throw away big money?

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#5 Primo
May 11 2014, 06:41PM
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@Rockmorton65

@Rockmorton.....

Not sure how long you have been a Flames fan but your proposals resemble the Darryl Sutter hockey model. Sorry we are not pissing away the few high end draft choices that we have ever had for some over paid players that are hockey stars in your mind and will immediately bring us into the playoffs. Sorry been there done that. You can have your Staal brothers!

We continue on current track of developing our young hockey players and solidifying our culture of hard work and positive attitude. If it means we finish 30th overall and secure a generational player that may never come our way again then so be it!

Finishing 23, 20, 18 overall next year gets you absolutely nothing in a rebuild year. Gunning for the playoffs next year is ridiculous!

2015/16 makes more sense!

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#6 redhot1
May 10 2014, 02:58PM
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@BurningSensation

I wouldn't really want to go after Staal or Spezza. We have a logjam of centres at the moment that need playing time, along with a couple of them fighting for a roster spot. If you were to go after a big name player, make it RWer, like Voracek

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#7 T&A4Flames
May 10 2014, 12:39PM
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BurningSensation wrote:

I think this is on the money.

I can see Burke offering a contract that is both fat and lengthy to Cammalleri to get him to stay. Why bother asking him for a home-town discount when you have the money to burn?

This strikes me as way more reasonable than paying Heatley to be a powerplay spot-up-shooter who otherwise can't ger around the rink fast enough to make any kind of difference.

That said, I think the real targets are Eric Staal or Jason Spezza. Both have big ticket contracts their current teams aren't keen on having to pay, both are legit #1 Cs entering the tail end of their prime, and both could likely be had for prospects/picks without big contracts going back because their current teams have cap issues and are looking to hit the reset button.

I know it isn't a popular line of reasoning as most of the fanbase is with Lambert in thinking we should be tank-city for the next decade until we luck into a generational talent (the hockey equivalent of investing your paycheck in lottery tickets as a retirement plan), that it is highly unlikely to be Burke's way of doing things.

If we added a Staal/Spezza to fill out the top line, the Flames would be instantly more; balanced, competitive, and would have our young players slotted more appropriately (i.e Monahan wouldn't have to play above his head). I also believe we'd be knocking on the door for the playoffs.

If we also added a #3 Defender (likely by trade, I can't see us outbidding everyone for Niskanen), we might be even better than that.

Sorry BS, but I in no way advocate moves like these. Removing some of the prospect depth we just spent the last few years on rebuilding for expensive vets. If they could be had on the cheap, sure, but the cost to acquire those players would ruin what we have just built up and have neede for a long time. I would offer a sizeable contract to Mark Fayne to strengthen our D, especially on the right side. That costs only money and a contract spot, not our youth.

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#8 Chewbacca
May 11 2014, 09:54AM
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BurningSensation wrote:

I think you overstate the dynamic at play in terms of strategies available for BB and BT to pursue.

1. Embrace the suck. Deal away any vet of any talent for picks. Take a hammer to Ramo's kneecap so that he misses a ton of time Play the hell out of Joey MacDonald. Play Smid on the top D-man unit. Let Monahan have the #1C duties. Finish last. Draft MacDavid or Eichel.

2. Steady as she goes. Keep hoarding draft picks, developing players slowly, etc. Eventually something good will emerge. In 3-6 years or so.

3. 'Accelerated rebuild'. Add a couple of missing pieces for prospects/picks/and taking back bad contracts. Add a Spezza/Staal and a D-man to round out the lineup. Keep the kids at a level where they can be successful until they push someone out of the lineup ahead of them. (this is my preference)

4. 'Win at all costs now'. Flip our best picks and prospects for immediate help. Sign expensive RFAs to long term deals. Go after; Joe Thornton, Thomas Vanek, and Dan Boyle to upgrade with vets throughout the lineup. Spend to the cap.

Lambert and the fanbase seem to be sold on #1 or #2. I'm firmly in the #3 camp. #4 is so unrealistic I think it is virtually impossible to occur.

BS..you state you are an advocate of an "Accelerated Rebuild" strategy, trading for Spezza/Staal/Top D-man.

To do this you will need to trade high picks and very good prospects and receive in return post-apex players, not unlike Iginla whom we just traded away for the very same reasons that OTT and CAR want to now trade their post-apex stars.

I can't agree with this approach at all and feel it is counter-intuitive. While we might(?) see 2-3 years of elite play, this would barely bring us up to playoff contention (and mid-teens drafting) and arguably prevent the Flames from becoming a bona-fide Cup contender.

Also your example of BOS as an Accelerated Rebuild belies the facts. Boston is much more an example of a Patient Development approach where they have drafted and developed a majority of their current roster players, perhaps more so than any other team.

Per Bader's article 3 elite players were drafted and developed (Bergeron, Kessel, Seguin...who were then converted to include Hamilton, Ericsson, Reilly Smith, Fraser, Morrow etc).

On top of this most of the rest of the team was drafted by BOS as 2nd and 3rd rounders including Lucic, Kreijci, Marchand, Soderberg, Boychuk, McQuaid, Spooner, Others include Krug & Miller (undrafted) and Warsofsky (1st rnd).

In short Boston has up to 16 drafted and developed players on its roster on any one night with more on the way (Khoklachev, Subban, Camara etc). They signed Chara & Iginla as UFAs, and acquired through trade fourth liners Campbell/Kelly/Paille and Seidenberg.

The facts are that Boston clearly is a team built through drafting well, particularly their 1st-3rd rounders, have never traded away their 1st round picks and rarely their 2nd or 3rd rounders. They patiently developed their prospects to become the Top 6 contending team they are today.

You diminish drafting & developing as a high-risk prayer that will see something emerge in 3-6 years, and instead promote trading your way to success by giving away Granlund and 1st rounders for 30 plus post apex has beens.

I will just politely close by saying I am completely and vehemently opposed to your approach.

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#9 BobbyO
May 11 2014, 04:09PM
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@Rockmorton65

Yikes...aweful ideas. Glad your not my GM! Take up curling.

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#10 Aoak
May 10 2014, 10:22AM
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Broken rib for Sven. Backlund with 2 goals so far, one set up by Erixon of all people.

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#11 McRib
May 11 2014, 04:39PM
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@Rockmorton65

This is insane!?!?!? Trade our next two top 5 picks for Evander Kane (entitled/lazy) and Bogosian (injury prone/awful defensively)... Both of these players could hardly help Winnipeg finish ahead of us in the standings with a much better team!!! The only Winnipeg Jet I would trade this years 4th pick is for Trouba and that ain't happening for a number of reasons. Both Bennett and Draisitl have a great chance of not only being much better than Kane who was a 4th overall pick in a terrible draft year, but they may even be better as early as next year. Evander Kane would be lucky to be a Top. 10 this season. Lets not even get started on where a Zach Bogosian would go in next years draft he would be lucky to be a Top. 20 with how strong it is. Miss out on a Bennett/Draisitl and McDavid/Echel two potential franchise players for Two of the biggest disappointment Top. 5 picks in years...... Yikes!!!!!!

Honestly Lindholm for Sven.... We couldn't even get Lindholm for Gaudreau and a first he is one of the top up and coming defenseman in the league period. Also Can Ward is a horrendous goaltender he got hot for one playoff run. Joni Ortio is a better goaltender than him already Karri Ramo is significantly better!!! Carolina started to win when Ward was injured. I actually think this would make us a worse team than not doing anything for next year and a much worse team for oh about a decade.

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#12 T&A4Flames
May 11 2014, 12:30PM
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beloch wrote:

There are two things a lot of people posting here seem to think that I just don't understand.

1) The team must either make the playoffs or tank for McDavid. Anything else is a failure.

If the team "succeeds" in sucking more than any other NHL team, the odds are still 75% against the Flames picking first. McDavid might be a generational player, but the odds that he'll be a bust are not negligible. Is it really worth stalling the progress of a club for an entire season for such a meager payoff? Make no mistake, there is a heavy price to pay for deliberately tanking. The feel-good end to this season, both for players and fans, is absolutely aberrant. I guarantee you that nobody in Calgary will be happy to finish fifth last in the league again for a very long time. On the other hand, going from fifth last to the playoffs in one season is exceptionally difficult. A return to mediocrity is likely a necessary intermediate step.

2) This team must trade rookies for veterans to improve.

The Flames still have a handful of quality veterans who are unlikely to last through the rebuild. Glencross and Stajan are both likely to bring a decent return and, believe it or not, left wing and center are currently positions of depth for the Flames (Note how many natural centers have switched to the wing for a chance to play with the NHL club). Glencross/Stajan would be missed, but both would bring back a quality return, potentially in a position the Flames are currently short on. Trading Glencross for a quality second-pairing defender seems like a smart move in particular, especially with Gaudreau demonstrating that he can look damned good playing 16-17 minutes a night against World Cup caliber competition.

The Flames would likely finish higher next season than they did this season if Burke/Treliving spent the summer trout fishing. They're not going to do that. They will make what Burke has called "hockey trades", and they will probably spend a little on UFA's too. Brace yourself for mediocrity fans. Just remember that it won't be the same kind of mediocrity that was a symptom of delaying the rebuild. It will be the kind that comes between sucking and rocking.

I'm not saying I'm hoping for a tank season but, regarding point #1, finishing worst in the league may only give a 75% chance of McDavid, but it does give a 100% chance of either McDavid or Eichel. Just think like you're garaunteed Crosby or Malkin.

Just sayin'

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#13 redhot1
May 10 2014, 02:54PM
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The Flames are in a unique position. A team at the moment struggling to make the cap floor, but with the financial backing to spend to the celling. I can't think of too many teams that have ever been in this kind of organizational limbo. At the moment, Flames have no massive contracts that will hinder them for the forseeable future (hello Maple Leafs). Brad Treliving has alot of options (and challenges) in his first year as a GM, and it should be really interesting to see how he uses the amount of cap space we have. Or, by extension, how he doesn't use the cap space, which is a very reasonable option right now. Personally, I'd like to see this team hover around the lower end of the cap for the next couple seasons, then spend away when we have a more developed (better) team. Really excited to see how the Flames shape up over the next few years.

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#14 loudogYYC
May 10 2014, 08:15PM
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ChinookArch wrote:

Interesting thought. They're moving to a new market in Brooklyn, so it's the kind of publicity that they might want to latch onto. Since, It's Snow I'd aim for Calgary native Thomas Hickey and the Islanders 2014 5th overall pick.

If a waiver pick up like Hickey and 5th overall is all Treliving can get for Max and 4th overall, we may as well have kept Feaster around.

Considering Snow is behind the 8-ball with no 1st rounder next season, I'd ask for Pulock, 5th overall, a 2014 2nd and 3rd rounder for 4th overall, Max Reinhart and a 2014 6th rd pick.

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#15 Tommynotsohuge
May 11 2014, 12:01AM
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Man am I ever glad none of you are GMs. To give up Sam for anybody would be silly. We are rebuilding. Trading these crucial picks would be so counter productive we might as well hire Darryl Sutter back.

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#16 Dave
May 11 2014, 02:47PM
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@T&A4Flames

Just remember that the team with Malkin & Crosby has one cup since acquiring them. It's not the only way to do things. Ovechkin doesn't have a cup either. Generational talent is not the only recipe for success.

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#17 T&A4Flames
May 11 2014, 11:08PM
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Rockmorton65 wrote:

"Secure a generational player". That's what my problem is. There is absolutely no guarantee of either McSaviour or Eichel. The only way to get one of them is to finish dead last in the league. Are you proposing we aim to be worse than Buffalo was this year? That would require a huge step back. If Monahan hits 50 points, Johnny G scores 40 goals and wins the Calder and we draft 10th overall...that's a GOOD thing.

If we could use this years or next years first to get a 20-25 yr old d man who can play in the NHL with the potential to be top 4, I say we look at it. I'm not saying trade our picks for a 32 year old top 4 D in decline. But if you can add a Paul Stastny for a 2nd round pick, you do it. What I'm hearing is " don't do it or we won't get McDavid!" If you can improve your team smartly, you do it.

You're putting too much stock in this last season. For all intents and purposes it was a successful season and an no enjoyable one. CGY was able to establish an identity of hard work and never give up attitutude. There was some individual success as well. But there is still so much to do. If we trade our 1sts, it can only be for young guys between 20-25at the oldest. If we can move vets for slightly younger vets, that is possible. But you're talking about trading futures for a player that maybe makes us better now and maybe for a few more years.

Every successful team these days need to have good youth on ELC's. You start trading 1sts too early in the rebuild, you're giving up that opportunity.

With 2 more successful drafts with high picks, we are on track with a flow of youth going through the system. Then you can look at trading 1st and 2nds to add pricy vets.

I'm blown away by this talk of trading youth and picks for vets. We just....began....moving...away...from....that. The very thing that put us in the position to NEED to start a rebuild.

I'm not sure of anyone else, but when this rebuild was declared, I strapped in for a few years of suck. Yes this past season was very encouraging but we need to add quite a few more high end prospects to make this rebuild last for more than a decade.

So please stop looking at the short term excitement and think long term.

"If you can improve your team smartly, you do it." Agreed, but maybe we need to discuss what "smartly" is.

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#18 beloch
May 10 2014, 02:31PM
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@BurningSensation

To make matters worse for the Oilers, they've been overpaying their rookies too.

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#19 Skuehler
May 10 2014, 03:11PM
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BurningSensation wrote:

For me it depends on what the assets being moved out are.

If the Flames dealt their 2015 1st rnd pick and Granlund to Carolina for Staal, I'd be totally OK with that. It wouldn't hurt our C depth (it would improve it substantially), and we would be a considerably better team.

For me, the assets I wouldn't move under just about any circumstances (unless Malkin becomes available), are; Johnny G, Monahan, Gillies, and Brodie. The rest I would happily consider (including either this years or next years 1st - but not both).

I like your idea of going after Mark Fayne, but don't see him being a realistic signing.

I think Granlunds gonna be a stud for a long time. And he costs very little. And he's ready to step up and take a spot next season. Why trade that?

If I'm NY I take that deal everyday and twice on Sunday. 1st round pick (top 10), Gralund and cap relief to sign other players?! Why trade away a pre-apex solid high end prospect on the cheap for an expensive post apex player??

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#20 redhot1
May 10 2014, 03:18PM
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@beloch

The thing that stood out for me is his ability to enter the zone with the puck on his stick, and keep it. Not many players can do that consistently. Very Patrick Kane like.

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#21 Stubblejumper
May 11 2014, 11:43AM
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Jeremy wrote:

Getting to the cap floor won't be too tough. The team needs to spend a few bucks in FA but with perfect talents like the D-man from Pittsburgh Niskanen available, yeah they'd overpay for him, and the oppertunity to sign a couple players on 1 year deals who the team can ship out at the deadline who cares. The rebuild plan for me is 1 more year of development and then enter the accelerated program. The reward is really great for rebuilding patiently right now.After the 2015 draft where hopefully we get a shot at McDavid or Eichel then start to sign some high end players, or trade for such.

Completely agree with the timing.

One more year of patient prospect development, get a shot at McDavid/Eichel/Hanifin(?), and late in the year organize the pieces (deadline trades, 1 key acquisition?) then look to become a playoff & cup contender starting in 2015-16.

Trying to trade (using high picks & good prospect depth) to move up this year is too early and a mistake that will negatively damage the team for years to come compared to where we could be.

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#22 beloch
May 10 2014, 01:38PM
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All NHL teams want and need players who offer high performance/cap-hit ratios (i.e. high value players). What many people don't appreciate is that players become unsigned UFA's primarily by failing to do this.

Those who espouse rebuild plan #1 often think that their club can suck for years and, when the lottery picks mature, suddenly turn everything around by signing the right UFA's. The UFA market does not offer value. It only offers expensive patches to slap over gaping holes, like bondo on a car. The Oilers are what happens when you try to make a car that's half bondo by volume.

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#23 ChinookArch
May 10 2014, 04:34PM
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And speaking of Johnny Hockey . . . I received my Gaudfather t-shirt, and I'm very happy.

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#24 Howie Meeker
May 11 2014, 06:59AM
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@beloch

Isn't it a nice change to enjoy watching the IIHF tournament when it wasn't all that long ago all we had to look forward was the draft. Although Feaster did make some bone head moves (I don't know any GM that hasn't shaken the dice with trades and lost) the organizations philosophy changed and the Flames started to building within, draft wisely and now are building a stronger farm team/system to develope NHL ready players. This is going to take sometime however remember our last cup win was in 89 and it took 3 years of domanence to reach that plateau. There is no quick fix here but at least for now we have some special players on the horizon so to trade any of the first 3 round picks for the next 5 years or so is stepping backwards.

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#25 loudogYYC
May 11 2014, 11:44PM
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@Rockmorton65

It's gonna take a Phaneuf-like contract of $7Mx7 to sign Stastny; plus Kane's $5.25M, Bogo's $5.1M, a likely $3.5M for Vrbata and Ward's $6.3M and then you'd still have huge holes at 1RW and 4D with now limited cap space and 4 of your best trade assets gone in 2 top 5 picks, Hudler and Baertschi.

I'm sorry but that's a terrible proposition for a team that still wouldn't make the playoffs. There's a very good reason the Hurricanes are looking to move Ward and it's not cuz he's an all-star goalie. All the other players are useful but not worthy of top 5 picks or their bloated salaries, relatively speaking.

The Flames won't be a playoff threat until at LEAST 2016, so until then there's no need or benefit to trading picks for problems.

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#26 BurningSensation
May 10 2014, 12:01PM
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??? wrote:

My impression of Wideman's season was:

1) Out of the gates, he wasn't just good, he was really good - playing huge minutes, hitting guys hard and putting up points, getting compliments from Coach Bob.

2) Then he got hurt, and after that he wasn't good. At all.

As far as getting to the salary cap floor, you'd have to think that Treliving's at least going to consider taking another team's bad contract for a pick or two at the draft table. I know Lambert's guaranteeing 3 years of UFA Heatley at 5 mill, but really, doesn't it make more sense to get real assets when you HAVE TO throw away big money?

I think this is on the money.

I can see Burke offering a contract that is both fat and lengthy to Cammalleri to get him to stay. Why bother asking him for a home-town discount when you have the money to burn?

This strikes me as way more reasonable than paying Heatley to be a powerplay spot-up-shooter who otherwise can't ger around the rink fast enough to make any kind of difference.

That said, I think the real targets are Eric Staal or Jason Spezza. Both have big ticket contracts their current teams aren't keen on having to pay, both are legit #1 Cs entering the tail end of their prime, and both could likely be had for prospects/picks without big contracts going back because their current teams have cap issues and are looking to hit the reset button.

I know it isn't a popular line of reasoning as most of the fanbase is with Lambert in thinking we should be tank-city for the next decade until we luck into a generational talent (the hockey equivalent of investing your paycheck in lottery tickets as a retirement plan), that it is highly unlikely to be Burke's way of doing things.

If we added a Staal/Spezza to fill out the top line, the Flames would be instantly more; balanced, competitive, and would have our young players slotted more appropriately (i.e Monahan wouldn't have to play above his head). I also believe we'd be knocking on the door for the playoffs.

If we also added a #3 Defender (likely by trade, I can't see us outbidding everyone for Niskanen), we might be even better than that.

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#27 beloch
May 11 2014, 12:06AM
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@prendrefeu

There are two things a lot of people posting here seem to think that I just don't understand.

1) The team must either make the playoffs or tank for McDavid. Anything else is a failure.

If the team "succeeds" in sucking more than any other NHL team, the odds are still 75% against the Flames picking first. McDavid might be a generational player, but the odds that he'll be a bust are not negligible. Is it really worth stalling the progress of a club for an entire season for such a meager payoff? Make no mistake, there is a heavy price to pay for deliberately tanking. The feel-good end to this season, both for players and fans, is absolutely aberrant. I guarantee you that nobody in Calgary will be happy to finish fifth last in the league again for a very long time. On the other hand, going from fifth last to the playoffs in one season is exceptionally difficult. A return to mediocrity is likely a necessary intermediate step.

2) This team must trade rookies for veterans to improve.

The Flames still have a handful of quality veterans who are unlikely to last through the rebuild. Glencross and Stajan are both likely to bring a decent return and, believe it or not, left wing and center are currently positions of depth for the Flames (Note how many natural centers have switched to the wing for a chance to play with the NHL club). Glencross/Stajan would be missed, but both would bring back a quality return, potentially in a position the Flames are currently short on. Trading Glencross for a quality second-pairing defender seems like a smart move in particular, especially with Gaudreau demonstrating that he can look damned good playing 16-17 minutes a night against World Cup caliber competition.

The Flames would likely finish higher next season than they did this season if Burke/Treliving spent the summer trout fishing. They're not going to do that. They will make what Burke has called "hockey trades", and they will probably spend a little on UFA's too. Brace yourself for mediocrity fans. Just remember that it won't be the same kind of mediocrity that was a symptom of delaying the rebuild. It will be the kind that comes between sucking and rocking.

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#28 coachedpotatoe
May 11 2014, 05:23PM
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Rockmorton65 wrote:

There's a way to rebuild without taking 5-10 years, and without mortgaging the future. This off season provides a unique opportunity to the Flames, they just need to get a little aggressive. Smart, but aggressive.

1. Ask the Avalanche for permission to speak with Paul Stastny, on the condition of trading for his rights. If a deal can be worked out, trade Colorado their 2nd back to them for his rights. A 2nd is a bit high for a UFA's rights, but its good karma. We wont be drafting a guy like Stastny in the 2nd round. Plus, then we can say we turned Berra into Stastny.

2. At the draft, offer the 4th overall pick for a guy like Zach Bogosian. If Winnipeg agrees, it solidifies our 2nd pair for a long time.

3. I agree with the idea that we should also see if we could get Evander Kane for our 2015 first. With Stastny, it gives us 2/3 of a legitimate top line for the first time in a long while. 4. With Kane and Stasty in the fold, bringing Cammy back shouldnt be too difficult. Instead of asking him for a "hometown discount", give him a "loyalty raise". Again, good karma.

5. The acquisition of Kane makes Baertchi expendable. I would contact a team with a few solid D prospects looking for a good winger prospect. I'd inquire about the likes of Lindholm in Anaheim, Larsson in NJ or Sustr in TB.

6. To further address the getting bigger issue, a free agent I'd pursue aggressively is Vrbata. Provides many of the same things Hudler does, but is bigger and stronger.

7. As has been mentioned repeatedly, Im in favor of trading Hudler and Wideman, once their roles have been upgraded. Prospects preferably, but adding picks for future drafts could work well too.

8. See if the rumors are true about Carolina looking to trade Cam Ward. Cant imagine it would require much if he is available. He seems like an ideal "change of scenery" player. If he doesnt take the starters job from Ramo, he would make an ideal backup.

With these moves, heres what we go into the season with:

Kane-Stastny-Cammy Glencross-Backlund-Vrbata Gaudreau-Monahan-Poirier Bouma-Stajan-Colborne

Giordano-Brodie Russell-Bogosian Smid-Wotherspoon

Ramo Ward

Players can move up or down the roster as their performance dictates, not because they are the only option. Kids are allowed to develop on the third line until they are ready to move up. And we have two solid lines to carry the mail until they are ready.

In: Kane, Stastny, Vrbata, Bogosian, Ward Out: two 1sts, Baertchi, Hudler, Wideman

Not only is this a playoff team, thats a team that can play with the Hawks & Kings in the playoffs. It is also a team that has prospects that can grow in an unrushed system.

Ina=sanity someone else said, boy they are right. Stastny is a fee agent and if he would like to come here all it would cost is money. Kane no thanks I think we have some guys who will be better in a couple of years. Lose the next two first rounders (have you been drinking Sutters koolaid?) Others have suggested Spezza and I said this is crazy, so Kane would even be more insane. We are better off pursueing UFA's than any of your trades. Again if we can move Hudler, Glenx, or Wides for younger versions @5-28 year olds fine but don't sell the draft picks and the prospects. Ward might be fine and would be an upgrade over Joey teh Goalie but the long term picture features Ortio and Gilles.

Please don't try and rush this rebuild with crazy ideas.

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#29 Kevin R
May 11 2014, 07:17PM
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Trying to give Rockmorton the benefit of the doubt, in that, any trading of our 1st rounders have to be for 22-25 year old players that have a very good probability of being future core players for the Flames. Not Spezzas or Staals. That being said. We have both feet in bed with this rebuild, no point rushing out half cocked. My opinion is the exact opposite, I think we give up more, veteran & one of our hopeful prospects for another top 5 pick, even top 9 if we can get Ritchie. We have something really good going here with youth, lets keep it going.

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#30 flamesAustria
May 10 2014, 10:27AM
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off topic:

backlund scorded two at the worlds against denmark. besides baertschi it looks great so far for flames players in the tournament.

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#31 BurningSensation
May 10 2014, 12:32PM
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@Stubblejumper

I think you overstate the dynamic at play in terms of strategies available for BB and BT to pursue.

1. Embrace the suck. Deal away any vet of any talent for picks. Take a hammer to Ramo's kneecap so that he misses a ton of time Play the hell out of Joey MacDonald. Play Smid on the top D-man unit. Let Monahan have the #1C duties. Finish last. Draft MacDavid or Eichel.

2. Steady as she goes. Keep hoarding draft picks, developing players slowly, etc. Eventually something good will emerge. In 3-6 years or so.

3. 'Accelerated rebuild'. Add a couple of missing pieces for prospects/picks/and taking back bad contracts. Add a Spezza/Staal and a D-man to round out the lineup. Keep the kids at a level where they can be successful until they push someone out of the lineup ahead of them. (this is my preference)

4. 'Win at all costs now'. Flip our best picks and prospects for immediate help. Sign expensive RFAs to long term deals. Go after; Joe Thornton, Thomas Vanek, and Dan Boyle to upgrade with vets throughout the lineup. Spend to the cap.

Lambert and the fanbase seem to be sold on #1 or #2. I'm firmly in the #3 camp. #4 is so unrealistic I think it is virtually impossible to occur.

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#32 coachedpotatoe
May 10 2014, 10:33PM
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Really will not be hard to hit the floor, you need a back up goalie $1-2 million, plus Ortio for the Heat, an extra defence man $1-3 million(or more if you go high end), plus some insurance in the AHL, and 1 NHL forward at $1.5-$3million(heck that doesn't even include the possibility of resigning TJG). Plus you have to have room to give MB and TJB raises. Don't worry they will hit the floor without having to go crazy.

Also if the do sign Cammi IMO they will move one of Hudler or GlenX. Trevling will have his hands full.

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#33 prendrefeu
May 10 2014, 11:17PM
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At this point, if we aren't raising the Cup in about 13 months, we should just scuttle the ship completely and riot.

/sarcasm

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#34 suba steve
May 11 2014, 07:45PM
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Primo wrote:

You lost me at "trading of our 1st rounders....

That is a non-starter for me! It is proven trading 1st rounders for established veterans has a high probability of failure on a long term basis. That has been tried here in the past and we have lessons learned by simply looking at where we have finished in the standings the last couple of years!

Also, looking at Burke's history with trading away first rounders for a young "star" to make his team better immediately, but not quite good enough to be a playoff team...it would take some pretty huge balls for him to go back to that strategy again. I'm counting on him having learned from past mistakes.

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#35 Baalzamon
May 10 2014, 10:48PM
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@clyde

Honestly I think I'd rather just draft Sam.

Although, if the talks involve Hamonic... well, that's definitely a player the Flames should be interested in.

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#36 BJ
May 11 2014, 04:42PM
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@Rockmorton65

Unfortunayely what you suggest does kind of mortgage the future.

Also The Jets want players not picks. If we are improving their is no way they trade Kane for what could be a mid round pick as you suggest.

Here is my alternative:

Packkage Baertshi with Glencross or Hudler for Kane. Keep our 1st round picks

Sign younger UFAs like Kulemin to hiigher dollar short term deals.

I agree we should be aggressive on all fronts... but we need to keep drafting and developing.

Your Stastny idea isnt bad but I doubt he comes here and I think Cammy goes...

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#37 coachedpotatoe
May 11 2014, 07:06PM
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Primo wrote:

@Rockmorton.....

Not sure how long you have been a Flames fan but your proposals resemble the Darryl Sutter hockey model. Sorry we are not pissing away the few high end draft choices that we have ever had for some over paid players that are hockey stars in your mind and will immediately bring us into the playoffs. Sorry been there done that. You can have your Staal brothers!

We continue on current track of developing our young hockey players and solidifying our culture of hard work and positive attitude. If it means we finish 30th overall and secure a generational player that may never come our way again then so be it!

Finishing 23, 20, 18 overall next year gets you absolutely nothing in a rebuild year. Gunning for the playoffs next year is ridiculous!

2015/16 makes more sense!

Primo: We actually agree on something. Rockmorton65 proposal would be abandoning the rebuild not just trying to accelerate it.

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#38 Rockmorton65
May 11 2014, 07:31PM
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@Primo

"Secure a generational player". That's what my problem is. There is absolutely no guarantee of either McSaviour or Eichel. The only way to get one of them is to finish dead last in the league. Are you proposing we aim to be worse than Buffalo was this year? That would require a huge step back. If Monahan hits 50 points, Johnny G scores 40 goals and wins the Calder and we draft 10th overall...that's a GOOD thing.

If we could use this years or next years first to get a 20-25 yr old d man who can play in the NHL with the potential to be top 4, I say we look at it. I'm not saying trade our picks for a 32 year old top 4 D in decline. But if you can add a Paul Stastny for a 2nd round pick, you do it. What I'm hearing is " don't do it or we won't get McDavid!" If you can improve your team smartly, you do it.

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#39 Primo
May 11 2014, 07:54PM
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Rockmorton65 wrote:

"Secure a generational player". That's what my problem is. There is absolutely no guarantee of either McSaviour or Eichel. The only way to get one of them is to finish dead last in the league. Are you proposing we aim to be worse than Buffalo was this year? That would require a huge step back. If Monahan hits 50 points, Johnny G scores 40 goals and wins the Calder and we draft 10th overall...that's a GOOD thing.

If we could use this years or next years first to get a 20-25 yr old d man who can play in the NHL with the potential to be top 4, I say we look at it. I'm not saying trade our picks for a 32 year old top 4 D in decline. But if you can add a Paul Stastny for a 2nd round pick, you do it. What I'm hearing is " don't do it or we won't get McDavid!" If you can improve your team smartly, you do it.

Can you guarantee that Paul Stasny or the Staal brothers etc will be huge contributors and instantly make the Flames winners and take you deep into the playoffs???

There are no guarantees but I can tell you 30 NHL teams pay millions of $$ to have scouts and systems in place. McDavid & Eichel are the real meal deal and have been evaluated and analyzed by 30 teams for over a decade! They have the same read as a Gretzky, Crosby and Lemieux.

Of course there are no guarantees and no one is suggesting we throw the season. Flames continue on current course. They are only in year 2 of a rebuild and have a really solid foundation of young players who are no where near being ready for the NHL as solid contributors. Let's learn from the Red Wing model of showing patience and developing young talent. Flames must continue to fill the cupboards with young elite stars just like the Penquins and Blackhawks did and where are those teams today?

A generational player like McDavid/Eichel will enhance the development of Johnnie, Arnold, Sven, Reinhart, Poirier etc but making all the players around them better. That is what generational players like Crosby do.

If we can secure one of those guys without impeding our rebuild progress then let's do it!!

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#40 Kevin R
May 10 2014, 02:12PM
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BurningSensation wrote:

For me it depends on what the assets being moved out are.

If the Flames dealt their 2015 1st rnd pick and Granlund to Carolina for Staal, I'd be totally OK with that. It wouldn't hurt our C depth (it would improve it substantially), and we would be a considerably better team.

For me, the assets I wouldn't move under just about any circumstances (unless Malkin becomes available), are; Johnny G, Monahan, Gillies, and Brodie. The rest I would happily consider (including either this years or next years 1st - but not both).

I like your idea of going after Mark Fayne, but don't see him being a realistic signing.

I think I would prefer to be somewhere in the middle. Doesn't make sense to trade a 2014 or 2015 1st that will be top 5 picks for players like Spezza or Staal. If we part with any of our 1st in the next 2 years, it will be for either ROR or Kane or some mid 20's up & coming core player. Colorado needed defence you have to wonder if Wideman & our #4 pick & a prospect, can get us ROR.

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#41 loudogYYC
May 11 2014, 12:23AM
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@Tommynotsohuge

Odds of Sam Reinhart being available at 4 are pretty slim, so don't worry too much about it.

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#42 coachedpotatoe
May 11 2014, 07:03AM
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beloch wrote:

There are two things a lot of people posting here seem to think that I just don't understand.

1) The team must either make the playoffs or tank for McDavid. Anything else is a failure.

If the team "succeeds" in sucking more than any other NHL team, the odds are still 75% against the Flames picking first. McDavid might be a generational player, but the odds that he'll be a bust are not negligible. Is it really worth stalling the progress of a club for an entire season for such a meager payoff? Make no mistake, there is a heavy price to pay for deliberately tanking. The feel-good end to this season, both for players and fans, is absolutely aberrant. I guarantee you that nobody in Calgary will be happy to finish fifth last in the league again for a very long time. On the other hand, going from fifth last to the playoffs in one season is exceptionally difficult. A return to mediocrity is likely a necessary intermediate step.

2) This team must trade rookies for veterans to improve.

The Flames still have a handful of quality veterans who are unlikely to last through the rebuild. Glencross and Stajan are both likely to bring a decent return and, believe it or not, left wing and center are currently positions of depth for the Flames (Note how many natural centers have switched to the wing for a chance to play with the NHL club). Glencross/Stajan would be missed, but both would bring back a quality return, potentially in a position the Flames are currently short on. Trading Glencross for a quality second-pairing defender seems like a smart move in particular, especially with Gaudreau demonstrating that he can look damned good playing 16-17 minutes a night against World Cup caliber competition.

The Flames would likely finish higher next season than they did this season if Burke/Treliving spent the summer trout fishing. They're not going to do that. They will make what Burke has called "hockey trades", and they will probably spend a little on UFA's too. Brace yourself for mediocrity fans. Just remember that it won't be the same kind of mediocrity that was a symptom of delaying the rebuild. It will be the kind that comes between sucking and rocking.

1. I'm not a fan of intentionally tanking but it does seem that next years draft classes top end have a higher ceiling than this years. If any of us approach this year thinking this team is playoff bound we will sadly disappointed(I doubt we are Colorado) and there is even a chance we regress points wise but make real progress developmentally.

2. I agree that our veterans are fine for our current situation, upfront we are missing some of 25-28 forwards that will help us through the next phase and personally I would like to see us acquire 1 maybe 2 in that age range over the next 2 seasons and preferably via UFA signings rather than trade our prospects; I would be okay of we traded our vets for this type of player. Because of our perceived depth on the LW and center position we need to give those young guys time to develop and be assessed at the AHL/NHL level. We do need to add some talent on the backend, the difference between our top pairing and the 2nd and 3rd is quite telling and there appears to be little immediate help on the farm.

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#43 T&A4Flames
May 11 2014, 04:58PM
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@Dave

But they're legitimate Cup contenders year after year. The just haven't found the proper formula more than 1year. A generational talent doesn't win you a cup on its own, but it sure gives you a major push in that direction.

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#44 Primo
May 11 2014, 07:28PM
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Kevin R wrote:

Trying to give Rockmorton the benefit of the doubt, in that, any trading of our 1st rounders have to be for 22-25 year old players that have a very good probability of being future core players for the Flames. Not Spezzas or Staals. That being said. We have both feet in bed with this rebuild, no point rushing out half cocked. My opinion is the exact opposite, I think we give up more, veteran & one of our hopeful prospects for another top 5 pick, even top 9 if we can get Ritchie. We have something really good going here with youth, lets keep it going.

You lost me at "trading of our 1st rounders....

That is a non-starter for me! It is proven trading 1st rounders for established veterans has a high probability of failure on a long term basis. That has been tried here in the past and we have lessons learned by simply looking at where we have finished in the standings the last couple of years!

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#45 Stubblejumper
May 11 2014, 09:23PM
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2014-15 should focus on being the Year of Development...to develop all prospects with less than 200 NHL games experience.

2015-16 should be the Year of Improving to become a Playoff Contender with the goal of positioning the team to be a Cup Contenter by 2017-18.

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#46 BurningSensation
May 10 2014, 12:35PM
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In terms of real life analogs for what I suggested;

1. Edmonton/Islanders

2. St Louis/Columbus

3. Boston

4. Rangers

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#47 MontanaMan
May 10 2014, 07:50PM
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Don't want to turn this into a political forum but it irks me a ton to even consider paying someone an obscene amount of money, even though all would admit he's not worth it, so the organization can make a cap floor under the CBA agreement. How is this good for the team when every club has one or two players grossly overpaid and the club can't do anything about it? Yes, ownership signs the contracts and they have responsibility. But in my business (and every private enterprise organization!) even those who are paid well must produce or they're shown the door. I see VP's and EVP's fired on a regular basis for not performing at the expected level yet we seem fine with paying some slug $5.25 million a year to stink out the joint. Disgusting. Rant over.

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#48 prendrefeu
May 11 2014, 12:14AM
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@beloch

Exactly. I don't understand it either, but on the other hand I'm happy to see that there is a passionate fan base alive and well.

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#49 Rockmorton65
May 11 2014, 01:06PM
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There's a way to rebuild without taking 5-10 years, and without mortgaging the future. This off season provides a unique opportunity to the Flames, they just need to get a little aggressive. Smart, but aggressive.

1. Ask the Avalanche for permission to speak with Paul Stastny, on the condition of trading for his rights. If a deal can be worked out, trade Colorado their 2nd back to them for his rights. A 2nd is a bit high for a UFA's rights, but its good karma. We wont be drafting a guy like Stastny in the 2nd round. Plus, then we can say we turned Berra into Stastny.

2. At the draft, offer the 4th overall pick for a guy like Zach Bogosian. If Winnipeg agrees, it solidifies our 2nd pair for a long time.

3. I agree with the idea that we should also see if we could get Evander Kane for our 2015 first. With Stastny, it gives us 2/3 of a legitimate top line for the first time in a long while. 4. With Kane and Stasty in the fold, bringing Cammy back shouldnt be too difficult. Instead of asking him for a "hometown discount", give him a "loyalty raise". Again, good karma.

5. The acquisition of Kane makes Baertchi expendable. I would contact a team with a few solid D prospects looking for a good winger prospect. I'd inquire about the likes of Lindholm in Anaheim, Larsson in NJ or Sustr in TB.

6. To further address the getting bigger issue, a free agent I'd pursue aggressively is Vrbata. Provides many of the same things Hudler does, but is bigger and stronger.

7. As has been mentioned repeatedly, Im in favor of trading Hudler and Wideman, once their roles have been upgraded. Prospects preferably, but adding picks for future drafts could work well too.

8. See if the rumors are true about Carolina looking to trade Cam Ward. Cant imagine it would require much if he is available. He seems like an ideal "change of scenery" player. If he doesnt take the starters job from Ramo, he would make an ideal backup.

With these moves, heres what we go into the season with:

Kane-Stastny-Cammy Glencross-Backlund-Vrbata Gaudreau-Monahan-Poirier Bouma-Stajan-Colborne

Giordano-Brodie Russell-Bogosian Smid-Wotherspoon

Ramo Ward

Players can move up or down the roster as their performance dictates, not because they are the only option. Kids are allowed to develop on the third line until they are ready to move up. And we have two solid lines to carry the mail until they are ready.

In: Kane, Stastny, Vrbata, Bogosian, Ward Out: two 1sts, Baertchi, Hudler, Wideman

Not only is this a playoff team, thats a team that can play with the Hawks & Kings in the playoffs. It is also a team that has prospects that can grow in an unrushed system.

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#50 Primo
May 11 2014, 07:24PM
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coachedpotatoe wrote:

Ina=sanity someone else said, boy they are right. Stastny is a fee agent and if he would like to come here all it would cost is money. Kane no thanks I think we have some guys who will be better in a couple of years. Lose the next two first rounders (have you been drinking Sutters koolaid?) Others have suggested Spezza and I said this is crazy, so Kane would even be more insane. We are better off pursueing UFA's than any of your trades. Again if we can move Hudler, Glenx, or Wides for younger versions @5-28 year olds fine but don't sell the draft picks and the prospects. Ward might be fine and would be an upgrade over Joey teh Goalie but the long term picture features Ortio and Gilles.

Please don't try and rush this rebuild with crazy ideas.

CP..agree. As talented as Kane is he would be very expensive to acquire and would be nothing but trouble!

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