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 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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#2 BurningSensation
May 10 2014, 12:44PM
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T&A4Flames wrote:

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.

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.

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#3 gussey
May 10 2014, 08:51PM
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Is one of the staals available as burning sensation says.. if so, I'd say absolutely do what you can to get him.

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#4 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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#5 Rockmorton65
May 11 2014, 05:48PM
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@McRib

When did Bennett & Draisatl suddenly become franchise players?

Okay, maybe not those players I mentioned specifically, but the idea of making bold moves to improve our team now AND in the future makes a lot more sense to me than pissing away another year for a long shot at McDavid. If tanking meant McDavid was guaranteed, I'd at least listen. But, with the odds of getting him being horrendous, I'll take my chances with proven entities, provided they meet certain criteria. Under 25, proven first line players who can take this team to the next level.

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#6 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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#7 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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#8 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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#9 ChinookArch
May 10 2014, 06:10PM
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@clyde

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.

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#10 Stubblejumper
May 10 2014, 11:40AM
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Thanks Ryan...appreciate knowing where the Flames are at in terms of making the floor.

It provides me with comfort that the Flames don't need to do anything if they are going to pursue a "patient organizational development" strategy for 2014-15 as they will make the cap floor without requiring any expensive UFA additions nor blockbuster trade for high-priced veteran talent.

Pursuing a strategy of patient organizational development would see further resources put in to scouting and minor league training, strategic redesign of consistent minor & NHL team play and coaching concepts, aligning drafting and development to fit required player profiles, and long-range planning of prospect development by position and financial cap management.

With Patient Development the 2014-15 team would see gradual replacement/trading of 1-2 more vets over 26 yrs this year, leaving 1-2 veterans to provide long-term leadership. Most of the year would be focused on additional prospect development of those players just coming up or with less than 2 years NHL experience, with a high focus on team identity/culture formation that we saw this past year.

This would then see the team have a positive year in terms of player development but also position the team for one more elite pick in the 2015 draft before then looking to ascend the ranks in 2015-16.

Pursuing this strategy incurs little financial risk but has higher customer/fan risk so care is required to send out proper messaging and expectations to the fan base so they remain supportive and patient for another year without significant backlash as has been seen in other cities e.g. BUF, EDM.

On the other hand the alternate strategy for BT/BB to pursue in 2014-15 would be to "win now at all costs". This would focus on making the playoffs this year, require spending big $$$ on high-priced UFAs, trading away picks & prospects for older more expensive veteran talent, and buying out underperforming assets eg. Wideman ($5M x 3 yrs), DJones ($4M x 2 yrs), O'Brien ($2M x 1 yr).

If this "win now" strategy is pursued it will require large $$$ expenditures and cost lost future prospect opportunity. The benefit will be to immediately upgrade current roster talent and skip 1-2 years of rebuilding time.

Pursuing the Win Now strategy will incur high financial risk but would likely receive positive fan support with several new signings, trades and roster moves, creating short-term excitement amongst the fan base (akin to some of the roster moves made during the Sutter GM era).

By jump-starting the rebuild while there may be short-term improvements this strategy will incur higher longer-term team risk by trading away high picks & prospects, losing out on another Top 5 elite/generational talent in the 2015 draft, and a reduced opportunity to develop a Top 6 Cup Contending team for the next decade.

In summary:

- the Patient Development strategy will see a one year delay in team performance in return for significantly improving prospect development, along with getting another Top 5 elite/generational talent...in return for a decade-long run of being a new Cup contender.

- the WIN NOW strategy will see faster short-term improvement but lower long-term ceiling, likely topping out at becoming a lower echelon but consistent playoff contender.

So the question is...what is the strategy that Edwards, Burke and Treliving going to pursue?

And are the Flames brain trust going to trust the Flames fan base by conveying their vision so we can all be engaged to support their vision?

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#11 BurningSensation
May 10 2014, 01:56PM
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beloch wrote:

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.

On the one hand, I agree completely that UFAs offer no extra value. But that is not the same as 'having no value'. David Clarkson's contract is a good example, he still has value as a player who can contribute to a teams success on the ice, but there is no 'extra value' to his contributions vs what he is (over)paid.

It's a function of how the NHL has set up the market for player services. As young players on ELCs and 2nd contracts, they often provide tons of 'extra value' because they are contributing way above what they are being paid for. In essence, these players are being 'robbed' of what they deserve (fair pay for their contributions) so that veteran players can be overpaid for the contributions they provide when they hit the open market.

Pittsburgh got amazing value out of both Malkin and Crosby for the first 5 yrs of their deals, value that was then redistributed to other veteran players (Hossa, Gonchar) brought in to help bring them over the top. Now that Crosby and Malkin are being more fairly paid (they still aren't being fairly paid, even at their current contracts because in an open market without a cap they would command up to twice or more than what they currently get) the team has less value to redistribute to other vets.

Edmonton's problem is that aside from their core of players drafted 1st overall, the team is filled with horrible players who aren't delivering value for their deals (Gagner, Ference, etc.).

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#12 MontanaMan
May 10 2014, 09:11PM
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Any talk with the Islanders needs to involve Travis Hamonic, one of the future stars in the league. He's endured the tough first few years as a defenceman entering the NHL and has recently shown his upside and potential. The asking price will be high but if it costs you your first round pick, his value is much higher than any d-man in the draft.

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#13 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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#14 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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#15 MontanaMan
May 11 2014, 08:22PM
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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!

Disagree with the mentality "we won't trade our draft picks".

No guarantee on draft picks - go through the past five years of first round picks and find out how many have made a real impact. Not many. Now drafting in the top 4 is a good position to be in but you need to be realistic and compare the draft possibility with the existing player reality. In my mind, a Travis Hamonic for a first rounder is worth considering. He's proven, he's young, he's light years ahead of a first year pro and you've got him for almost as long. No you don't want to trade all of your picks and I'm dead against trading them for 30 year olds but if a good young player is offered, I would consider it.

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#16 Rockmorton65
May 11 2014, 08:35PM
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@coachedpotatoe

Trading for a Sheldon Souray in a run for the playoffs is a "Sutter" move. If we can get a young player who can grow with our existing core and contribute to this team for the next decade is something else. It's not "haphazard" as you suggest. It's very calculated. When I talk of moving this years first, I'm talking about for a 20-25 year old player who can play on our top two lines right now and has something approaching elite potential. Maybe Bogosian was a bad example. I was thinking he was a very good, young d man with top 2 potential, who is locked up long term.

You don't move that pick for a bag of spare parts, you move it to get an elite or soon to be elite player that you can lock up long term. I would in no way, shape or form advocate a "Sutter" rebuild just to get into the playoffs.

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#17 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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#18 BobbyO
May 11 2014, 08:44PM
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MontanaMan wrote:

Disagree with the mentality "we won't trade our draft picks".

No guarantee on draft picks - go through the past five years of first round picks and find out how many have made a real impact. Not many. Now drafting in the top 4 is a good position to be in but you need to be realistic and compare the draft possibility with the existing player reality. In my mind, a Travis Hamonic for a first rounder is worth considering. He's proven, he's young, he's light years ahead of a first year pro and you've got him for almost as long. No you don't want to trade all of your picks and I'm dead against trading them for 30 year olds but if a good young player is offered, I would consider it.

Darryl..that's you isn't it?

Should you not be preparing for a game against the Ducks tomorrow evening rather that writing in on Flamesnation??

Shame shame...

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#19 MontanaMan
May 12 2014, 08:33AM
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BobbyO wrote:

Darryl..that's you isn't it?

Should you not be preparing for a game against the Ducks tomorrow evening rather that writing in on Flamesnation??

Shame shame...

It's worked so well for the Oilers hasn't it Bobby O. But our management and scouting group is superior to the Oilers? Check out our first round picks in the past 10 years and tell me how that's worked out. And we still have Button leading the scouting group.

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#20 PrairieStew
May 12 2014, 11:04AM
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Sorry I missed this thread.

Last week I proposed taking on a contract in order to both meet the floor and gain further assets. Instead of overspending on UFA's ( "We as a group of GM's make more mistakes on July 1 than any other day " - B. Burke) why not profit from other people's mistakes ? Would Toronto give up their 2015 first round pick to rid themselves of Clarkson ?

I would want assets in exchange for Cam Ward too.

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#21 BJ
May 10 2014, 09:40AM
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Yes, much better to hope he has a bounce back season.

As the cap rises over the next couple of seasons his deal won't look so bad.

I think his performance this season is somewhat (who knows really) attributed to injuries and to that he had to carry the second pairing all of the time when healthy. In reality he is a decent #3/4 puck mover who can play the powerplay at an acceptable level. To get the most out of him he needs a better partner:

So, if you keep Brodie with Gio, then that second pairing will still be a weakness. Russell and Smid would be a good 3rd pairing I think. None of our prospects are ready so if we want to get the most out of Wideman we have to fill that #3 D spot.

Can this spot be filled best via Free Agency or trade.

Who are our FA candidates?

Who are our trade chips that have actual value?

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#22 clyde
May 10 2014, 05:36PM
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A What If for you. What if Reinhart slips to 4 and the Islanders want all the brothers for not only their ability but to help market the team. Should the Flames trade the brothers and if so, for what return? Keep in mind that Garth Snow is their gm.

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#23 Clyde
May 11 2014, 12:12AM
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Tommynotsohuge wrote:

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.

Even if we could add 2 of lee, dehaan. Hamonic, strome, along with the .5th pick?

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#24 Potlicker
May 12 2014, 10:19AM
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dotfras wrote:

Is it June yet?

Loving the playoffs but just can't wait til the seasons over and we start making moves.

How ironic would it be for Flames to get Phaneuf back for Wideman & unite the last 2 standing of that nostalgic trade? Ha, would that be a resign Jokinen moment?

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#25 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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#26 Clyde
May 10 2014, 06:27PM
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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.

I'd want more for both reinharts. How about adding Lee and dehaan while adding wideman to help with the pp?

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#27 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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#28 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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#29 Dc
May 11 2014, 01:50PM
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@Rockmorton65

Boooo terrible ideas

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#30 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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#31 Rockmorton65
May 11 2014, 08:18PM
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@Primo

You're playing with fire. The ONLY way we can get either one is to finish dead last. To do this, we have to finish worse than at least 2-3 teams who will be intentionally tanking for the same reason. You would have to shift the culture in the dressing room. You would have to make sure that Monny, Johnny G and Ramo don't improve for an entire year. You would need to lie to the players, media and fans that all is good for an entire year.

We could have played Joey Mac for all 82 last year and we would still have finished higher than Buffalo and Edmonton.

I too, think we should build on the gains made this year, which include a rise in the standings. Now if that means trading for young talent that not only improves our future, but also helps us win now (aka improve in the standings), you look at it. If not, improve through drafting. It would be irresponsible of the GM to not look at what teams would offer for the 4th overall, because we secretly want to suck this year.

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#32 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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#33 Clyde
May 10 2014, 11:54PM
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loudogYYC wrote:

The Isles kinda need to start winning now if they want to keep Tavares around. Trading away their #1 Dman for an 18 year old prospect who's another prospects younger brother isn't gonna help them win in short term.

We could add a pp def by the name of wideman

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#34 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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#35 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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#36 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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#37 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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#38 clyde
May 11 2014, 05:31PM
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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.

Interesting ideas. Although, it is not what I hope the Flames do, it would accomplish what you would like to see. Lindholm or Larson would be very good pick ups. Lindholm would be very hard to swing a deal for but it would be nice.

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#39 madjam
May 11 2014, 09:01PM
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How are you going to finish below Oilers and Sabers next season ? If you want to finish that low then do as the Oilers are doing . Get rid of your veterans for peanuts and have your young stars play with half your AHL squad for most of season . New coach each season also helps to confuse/retard the progress of your young stars /players . Oilers plethora of so called generational players is not exactly bringing them positive results . Oilers have very little veteran depth in comparison to most contenders .

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#40 SoCalFlamesFan
May 10 2014, 10:08AM
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Off topic but has anyone heard any update on Sven? (I assume the worst with so little news and think broken neck and stuff.)

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#41 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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#42 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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#43 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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#44 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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#45 ChinookArch
May 10 2014, 06:41PM
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@Clyde

I somehow forgot the trade for Max. I know he's 30 yrs old, but I like Frans Nielsen a lot, he and De Haan, would be good.

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#46 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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#47 loudogYYC
May 10 2014, 11:49PM
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Clyde wrote:

If the isles would overpay,it could be intriguing though. If Hamonic entered the conversation, that would be worth a conversation. No one knows how valuable the reinharts could be to wang so you never know. If draisaults name is called in the top 3, this could become a possibility

The Isles kinda need to start winning now if they want to keep Tavares around. Trading away their #1 Dman for an 18 year old prospect who's another prospects younger brother isn't gonna help them win in short term.

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#48 Clyde
May 10 2014, 11:54PM
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loudogYYC wrote:

The Isles kinda need to start winning now if they want to keep Tavares around. Trading away their #1 Dman for an 18 year old prospect who's another prospects younger brother isn't gonna help them win in short term.

We could add a pp def by the name of wideman

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#49 Jeff In Lethbridge
May 11 2014, 09:06AM
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prendrefeu wrote:

At this point, if we aren't raising the Cup in about 13 months, we should just scuttle the ship completely and riot.

/sarcasm

it's a good thing you added "/sarcasm", otherwide I wouldn't have known what all that dripping was from

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#50 ChinookArch
May 11 2014, 09:14AM
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coachedpotatoe wrote:

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.

I agree with you, my preference is to use veterans where the Flames have (relatively) position strength for younger vets. This is what annoys me about not capitalizing on moving Cammalerri at the trade deadline. The only way this situation improves is signing Cammalerri to a 1-year contract and trying to move him again for an asset.

I do not hold any hope that he will sign another contract in Calgary, even if the offer is for way too much money and term.

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