Five things: Odds and ends

Ryan Lambert
June 05 2014 11:00AM

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1. Still thinking about Cammalleri

With so little going on in Flames land these days, there's been a lot of time to kick around some other sites and see what's being said about Calgary's club as well. As you might expect, there really isn't a lot to be said, but one name that's come up fairly often in the last week or so is Mike Cammalleri's status as a free agent.

All indications are that he's going to test the free agent market but is not averse to returning to Calgary, which is a nice thing to say but probably not what's going to happen in reality. You have to imagine that unless the Flames really blow him away with money or term — and they really have no reason to do either — then he's better off going to a team that will actually be competitive next season.

The team that comes up more and more often in connection with Cammalleri is, weirdly, Detroit. It's not weird that the Red Wings would want Cammalleri, mind you, but rather that it's the fans banging the drum for the acquisition as though they've learned nothing at all from the Stephen Weiss debacle, which might be one of the worst contracts in the salary cap era as of right now.

Weiss really did drop off a cliff, and one might have thought that would've been enough to put fans off getting 30-plus second-line forwards, which is all Cammalleri would be, but then again they (and a lot of other teams) probably can't be choosers and beggars both. It'll be interesting to see where he goes, but moreover what Calgary does to replace him. If they're really committed to "rebuilding on the fly" — and they seem to be — then they can't just replace him with nothing, and there's really not a lot out there. But because of that latter fact, they might be forced to use a rookie or sophomore in his place, because the line to play for Calgary isn't going to be deep, and why sign a middling free agent for too much money or too many years when you can put a kid who might have earned a bigger role last year there instead?

2. Sam Bennett's pull-ups

When I read that thing about how Sam Bennett couldn't complete a single pull-up at the draft combine this weekend, my first thought was, "Well Calgary's definitely not drafting him now."

It seems like there's a pretty good chance he'll be there at No. 4, and the good news is he only turns 18 a week before the draft, which might portend well for his future development; not a lot of people who spend their entire pre-draft season as a 17-year-old put up 91 points in 57 games for an only-okay team that scored its way to third in the conference. (Think the kid with 91 points helped there? I dunno.)

He's only six feet tall, and he only weighs 180 pounds, and no he couldn't do a pull-up that one day, but the arguments in his favor seem to me — as someone who couldn't watch a ton of OHL games this season — to be about the same as those for Sean Monahan, other than "he's big." Bennett had 91 points in just 57 games, plus nine more in seven playoff games, and the next-closest guy on the team in scoring was 21 points behind him. He made that team go.

Not that I'm married to the idea of "The Flames Should Draft Him" because there's so much chaos in the top 3 that any one of a few guys could be taken, and also because they probably won't draft a kid that reedy under Burke. But teams are likely to pass on him because of that failed fitness test, and that's a shame. Not fair to the kid at all.

3. Fare thee well to Coda Gordon

The Flames announced the other day that Coda Gordon, a person whose name you would swear was made up, will have his name go back into the draft this year. He was originally a sixth-round pick in 2012, and did pretty well as a 19-year-old in the WHL this season (26-45-71 in 59 games).

Now, I don't know anything about this kid. Never saw his Swift Current team play a single game in his career. All I have are the stats and the stats say he was fine. No contract for him, which is fine because he doesn't look very much like a future contributor at the NHL level, and those are decent enough numbers that he'll catch on with an ECHL team or something.

But the reason I bring this up is that I don't really recall seeing this kind of thing happen as much as it used to. Maybe I'm wrong about this, because it's really hard to verify who has and hasn't been drafted twice in any manner that's quick or easy. Pension Plan Puppets did some work with it a few years back and there are a few decent enough names on the list (Craig Anderson, Tim Brent, Matt Lombardi, Jarret Stoll, and Nick Boynton — Boynton is interesting because he's gotta be the only guy drafted in the first round twice in league history, at No. 9 overall by Washington and then No. 21 by Boston two years later). This was apparently a pretty big thing back in the late 90s and early 2000s. It really must not happen very much any more, huh? Maybe teams are more protective of their assets in general given the way the salary cap has changed things.

4. Quick goalie update (not Jonathan)

I was looking at some stuff about the ECHL championship and saw that Olivier Roy, the Flames prospect who came to the organization in the Ladislav Smid trade, was on the Alaska Aces, who I'd forgotten about (it's hard to keep track of who's on what team in the ECHL).

Seems he had a pretty good season for Alaska this year, with a .922 save percentage in 20 games. He's probably done for the playoffs, having suffered a lower-body injury after just seven appearances, but his EC numbers have always been very good over the last three seasons. Of course, when he's been called up to the AHL, he has mostly been bad (about .900 this year between Abbotsford and OKC, and .902 in 22 appearances last season), but it's interesting to me that he's a little better than Laurent Brossoit at least.

Calgary really does have a pretty decent collection of goaltending prospects in Roy, Jon Gillies, and Joni Ortio. It doesn't seem all that long ago it was a wasteland.

5. Interesting from Bettman

Finally, as I was writing this, Gary Bettman was holding his annual state of the league press conference with reporters ahead of Game 1 of the Cup Final. All the usual stuff was said: "Season like no other," "most successful in NHL history," etc. etc. but when the subject of head injuries came up, things actually got interesting.

Bettman said that the number of man-games lost to concussions was down double-digits in terms of percentage, meaning that the league might indeed be doing a better job of policing things. It's pretty easy to be skeptical of that kind of thing, though. Obviously, teams fudge the protocols a lot (see: The Habs in the playoffs), BUT WAIT: Bettman also says the NHL actually came down on players and teams who tried that kind of thing. Retroactively, of course, and unspecified, but it's not nothing. Weird to see the league actually take concussion rules seriously after only paying them lip service, but encouraging.

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Yer ol' buddy Lambert is handsome and great and everyone loves him. Also you can visit his regular blog at The Two-Line Pass or follow him on Twitter. Lucky you!
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#1 Stubblejumper
June 05 2014, 12:19PM
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STRAW POLL TIME

Most mock draft talk to date has speculated the Flames will either be left with either Bennett or Draisaitl.

If we leave aside the more recent emergence of Dal Colle, Ritchie or Virtanen for a future Straw Poll, it would be nice to get a read on where Flamesnation readers are at on Draft Day minus 3 weeks.

So if you were faced with the choice of drafting Bennett or Draisaitl who would you choose:

TRASH to vote for Bennett;

PROPS to vote for Draisaitl.

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#2 BurningSensation
June 05 2014, 11:44AM
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"You have to imagine that unless the Flames really blow him away with money or term — and they really have no reason to do either — then he's better off going to a team that will actually be competitive next season."

I would say the exact opposite. The one team that needs a #1 RW, and can well afford to overpay him in both term and $ is Calgary.

Overpaying Cammalleri by 1M$ a year, or for an extra year won't cap the Flames out, but it would give us a goalscoring vet to play on the top line and push the kids down to proper levels.

The extra money and/or term simply won't be a factor for Calgary as; A. we are currently well below the cap floor, B., a flood of cheap youth is on its way, C., by the time the Flames are paying the new core Taylor Hall money Cammalleri will be at the very tail end of his deal, or already working in management.

For a guy who craps on Flames mgt like clockwork for keeping Monahan up for the year instead of returning him to junior, for you to suggest that Calgary's best path is to let Cammalleri go and promote some unspecified RW prospect (I presume either Poirier or a converted to wing Reinhart), is a bit contradictory don't you think?

Having vets to cushion the kids is both smart, and worth the overpay. It's not just a luxury we can afford, its necessary to avoid becoming a train wreck of despair like Edmonton.

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#3 Howie Meeker
June 05 2014, 12:54PM
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Is there the potential to trade cammy's rights and a late second (Colorado's) to New York for Nash? We need a big #1 RW and if he's not bought out maybe he would welcome a new home in Calgary.

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#4 kittensandcookies
June 05 2014, 11:18AM
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Cammy's rights + 4th to Florida for their 1st.

Problem solved :)

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#5 CDB
June 05 2014, 03:15PM
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I agree Bennett's lack of pullups probably pulls him off the Brian Burke run team draft list, but I almost view it as a positive. The guy was able to put up those kinds of numbers as a 17 yr old, with the upper body strength of an overweight middle aged woman. If he doesn't come within 100 feet of a gym he's going to get stronger just by virtue of maturity. Scary to think how good he could be when he actually has some muscle on him.

I think too often teams write off kids who don't have strenght at this young age. It's impossible to project how they'll develop, but they're bound to develop somewhat. If a fully physically developed 18 year old with similar point totals to Bennett camein and ripped off 20 pullups, I'd be more partial to drafting Bennett. The other guy is probably not going to get a lot stronger, which is the main developable asset, and needed that strength to put up the same numbers as a player that did as many pull ups as Michael Moore can.

Being "a man against boys" in junior too often translates into bust when the prospect makes the transition to grown men who are as big and strong as he is.

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#6 RKD
June 05 2014, 11:08AM
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The Flames didn't trade Cammy at the deadline, so why not ask him or his agent where he is most apt to sign then trade him to that team for exclusive negotiating rights at the draft. To let an asset walk away on July 1st for nothing is not smart. Halak got traded to the Isles, the Caps got a fourth round pick back and Halak ended up signing with the Isles. Surely the Flames would get a lot better than a fourth for Cammy.

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#7 BurningSensation
June 05 2014, 12:55PM
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There is a weird strain of thought that because Bennett was so successful despite being unable to do a chin up, that when his 'man strength' arrives he will be a beast.

Based on something Bob MacKenzie said, I think if Calgary might have Draisatl after Dal Colle on their list. If Ekblad and the Sam's go ahead of us, we might be looking at the big scoring winger as our pick.

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#8 Baalzamon
June 05 2014, 11:16AM
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Regarding point 2: Burke explicitly said--today, no less--that he doesn't care if Bennett can do pullups or not. Very, very ironic that your article--where you say there's no way the Flames would take him under Burke--would be posted literally HOURS after Burke himself said something that directly contradicts it.

I understand the thinking, I just thought the timing of the post getting published was amusing.

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#9 Baalzamon
June 05 2014, 11:59AM
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@wot96

He says it twice.

Here:

... my first thought was, "Well Calgary's definitely not drafting him now."

And here:

... and also because they probably won't draft a kid that reedy under Burke.

You will notice that in my original comment I never directly quoted anything Lambert said--or claimed to.

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#10 BurningSensation
June 05 2014, 03:09PM
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the-wolf wrote:

You're probably trying to make a point here, but I don't get it. Increased strength will help any prospect.

I really hope we don't take Ritchie at #4.

The point (as poorly expressed as it was), was that Bennett's weakness in doing chinups may weirdly elevate his status at the draft because he can be projected to add so much more power as he gets older.

Compared to say, Griffin Reinhart, a player who dominates at the lower levels by virtue of being bigger and stronger than his peers. Once that advantage is nullified (by playing against men in the NHL), his overall value is lowered.

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#11 BurningSensation
June 05 2014, 12:06PM
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"Roger Millions @RogMillions Burke "Poirier just had shoulder surgery. Won't see him next season right away. That's a blow. Thought Poirier would have a chance in camp."

Googled 'Poirier surgery' and that was what popped up.

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#12 piscera.infada
June 05 2014, 12:09PM
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@BurningSensation

Yah, that's definitely the extent of what I can find. I'd be interested to know what kind of surgery it is so that we know whether there could be any longer-term issues and how long the typical rehab is. I just hope it's nothing too crazy.

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#13 wot96
June 05 2014, 12:50PM
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@Baalzamon

Lambert can defend himself, or not, and I don't care what he does because it's just about the clicks, which is why this will be my last comment on the subject in this post.

You overstated it.

Lambert qualifies his first statement by saying "my first thought was...". By necessary implication he thought further on the subject and, once one reads on, apparently changed his mind.

Lambert's second statement is qualified by stating "they probably won't..."

Probably won't draft that kid is a long way from no way will they draft that kid.

Frankly, if Bennett falls to the Flames at 4, I hope that Lambert is dead ass wrong.

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#14 T&A4Flames
June 05 2014, 02:00PM
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Howie Meeker wrote:

Is there the potential to trade cammy's rights and a late second (Colorado's) to New York for Nash? We need a big #1 RW and if he's not bought out maybe he would welcome a new home in Calgary.

Re: a team like DET wanting Cammi, would a team inquire about having the Flames resign him (both to the team and the agent) and then trade him while retaining salary. Thus removing some risk (like Weiss) and providing an asset in return for sharing the risk. It still seems like a win, win, win scenario for both teams and player.

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#15 piscera.infada
June 05 2014, 11:48AM
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@BurningSensation

Not really on topic, but I hear Poirier just had shoulder surgery, and is very unlikely to be ready to push for the bigs immediately next year. Anyone with more information on this?

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#16 gussey
June 05 2014, 12:08PM
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I can't say I disagree with lambert on anything in this article. Weird. If bennett falls to 4 because he can't do a chinup, that would be both hilarious and awesome.

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#17 wot96
June 05 2014, 11:45AM
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@Baalzamon

I can't believe I'm going to defend RL and say this...but he doesn't actually say "there's no way the Flames would take him under Burke". Unless it has been edited or something, those words are not in this article.

I fell dirty now; like I have propped WW or something.

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#18 piscera.infada
June 05 2014, 03:11PM
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@BurningSensation

"Compared to say, Griffin Reinhart, a player who dominates at the lower levels by virtue of being bigger and stronger than his peers. Once that advantage is nullified (by playing against men in the NHL), his overall value is lowered."

Kind of sounds a lot like someone else I've heard about lately...

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#19 T&A4Flames
June 05 2014, 04:48PM
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CDB wrote:

I agree Bennett's lack of pullups probably pulls him off the Brian Burke run team draft list, but I almost view it as a positive. The guy was able to put up those kinds of numbers as a 17 yr old, with the upper body strength of an overweight middle aged woman. If he doesn't come within 100 feet of a gym he's going to get stronger just by virtue of maturity. Scary to think how good he could be when he actually has some muscle on him.

I think too often teams write off kids who don't have strenght at this young age. It's impossible to project how they'll develop, but they're bound to develop somewhat. If a fully physically developed 18 year old with similar point totals to Bennett camein and ripped off 20 pullups, I'd be more partial to drafting Bennett. The other guy is probably not going to get a lot stronger, which is the main developable asset, and needed that strength to put up the same numbers as a player that did as many pull ups as Michael Moore can.

Being "a man against boys" in junior too often translates into bust when the prospect makes the transition to grown men who are as big and strong as he is.

I don't think any respectable GM would simply write this kid off because he can't do a pull up. It' she reason behind it that would matter. Something that would come to light hopefully in the interview process. Is he just a kid that loves to play and can't be bothered to put time in after the games and practices are over? Or is it simply that his body hasn't matured enough to be able to add that strength.

If it's the former, I seriously question taking him because his approach to the future may become an issue. That said the embarrassment he took from that silly incident may just be enough motivation to become gym junkie an ultimately learn that it takes as much work off the ice, even more at his age, to keep playing at the highest levels.

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#20 DragonFlame
June 05 2014, 05:16PM
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As I was googling whether or not Sam Bennett had a shoulder injury, I came across this:

http://www.barstoolsports.com/boston/super-page/youll-never-guess-how-many-pull-ups-a-top-nhl-prospect-did-at-the-combine-hint-zero/

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#21 Burnward
June 05 2014, 07:01PM
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@Howie Meeker

Loves it.

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#22 SmellOfVictory
June 05 2014, 11:48AM
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#3: I think a lot of guys still re-enter the draft after having been drafted once before, or have the option of doing so. It just happens that a lot of them are washouts (it's pretty unlikely that Gordon gets drafted a second time, in my estimation).

Also, the Lombardi/Stoll thing I believe was a result of the players refusing to sign with their original drafting team, rather than the team choosing not to sign the players, which is fairly unique for CHLers.

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#23 the-wolf
June 05 2014, 01:29PM
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BurningSensation wrote:

There is a weird strain of thought that because Bennett was so successful despite being unable to do a chin up, that when his 'man strength' arrives he will be a beast.

Based on something Bob MacKenzie said, I think if Calgary might have Draisatl after Dal Colle on their list. If Ekblad and the Sam's go ahead of us, we might be looking at the big scoring winger as our pick.

You're probably trying to make a point here, but I don't get it. Increased strength will help any prospect.

I really hope we don't take Ritchie at #4.

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#24 Parallex
June 05 2014, 02:43PM
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T&A4Flames wrote:

Re: a team like DET wanting Cammi, would a team inquire about having the Flames resign him (both to the team and the agent) and then trade him while retaining salary. Thus removing some risk (like Weiss) and providing an asset in return for sharing the risk. It still seems like a win, win, win scenario for both teams and player.

It's a nice thought but then you get into the murky business of trying to put a dollar sign on that risk aversion.

If we assume that Cammy is going to want a 4-5 year deal (which seems like a safe assumption) and further assume that he's going to want somewhere in the vacinity of $5M per (which again seems like a reasonable number). Then for assuming 25% of his contract you're taking on 5-6M dollars... so then what is the asset valuation of 5 or 6 million dollars and would Detroit be interested in paying it?

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#25 Kevin R
June 05 2014, 03:07PM
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T&A4Flames wrote:

Re: a team like DET wanting Cammi, would a team inquire about having the Flames resign him (both to the team and the agent) and then trade him while retaining salary. Thus removing some risk (like Weiss) and providing an asset in return for sharing the risk. It still seems like a win, win, win scenario for both teams and player.

Seeing San Jose got a conditional 5th for Boyle that would be a 4th if the Islanders sign him, maybe we can get a conditional 4th for Cammi & if Detroit sign him it flips to a 3rd. Probably best scenario.

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#26 The Last Big Bear
June 05 2014, 03:18PM
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WHO ARE YOU, AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH THE REAL RYAN LAMBERT??!

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#27 DragonFlame
June 05 2014, 04:41PM
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I would be more interested in what Bennett's results were in the Wingate and VO2max tests.

Shane Gersich (who is ranked 132nd overall for North American skaters) finished in the top ten in five of the thirteen tests at the combine (and first overall in three of those five events). It doesn't mean he'll play in the NHL, however, just as a failure to do a pull up doesn't mean Bennett won't succeed at the NHL level.

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#28 Skuehler
June 05 2014, 08:23PM
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I REALLY feel the need to rip off at least one pull up right now

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#29 coachedpotatoe
June 05 2014, 08:49PM
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piscera.infada wrote:

Not really on topic, but I hear Poirier just had shoulder surgery, and is very unlikely to be ready to push for the bigs immediately next year. Anyone with more information on this?

Burke was at the chamber of commerce and said Poirier had shoulder surgery and will likely be out until November and that he had been playing hurt for most of the season. Imagine the season he might have had if he had been healthy. He also had positive things to say about Klimchuk but that he would be going back to juniors. He also comments about moving up and he basically said that they had discussed it and if the price was not to high they would consider it. He also said not to expect too much via freeagency.

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#30 CTibs
June 05 2014, 10:42PM
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Despite what you think, Burke is positive on Bennett.

https://twitter.com/theryanleslie/status/474551240097931264

I've heard him compare Bennett to Doug Gilmour, but I may be mixing up sources.

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