Weekend Open Thread: Two Weeks Out

Ryan Pike
August 30 2014 09:15AM

Well, as the expected date of the beginning of rookie camp - September 11 - inches closer and closer, the Calgary Flames have continued to add older bodies, inviting defenseman Sheldon Brookbank to training camp.

Looking at the past few months 'round these parts, adding Brookbank isn't an unexpected addition. I mean, the club has added a lot of veterans: Jonas Hiller, Deryk Engelland, Mason Raymond, Brandon Bollig and Devin Setoguchi all fit that mold. None of them are small men. All of them are experienced. Heck, Bollig and Brookbank have Stanley Cup rings.

But at the same time, these guys are taking spots that could be filled by, say, (off the top of my head) Joni Ortio, Tyler Wotherspoon, Mark Cundari, Markus Granlund, Max Reinhart or someone else of that ilk.

So what's your take on the veteran-ing of the 2014-15 Flames? Are you apprehensive about young'uns being "buried"? Would you rather Calgary's young core spend some time in Adriondack, giving the Baby Flames a potential murderer's row of strong forward prospects? Is the argument somewhat moot because the inevitable slew of injuries will give these youngsters a chance to play in the NHL anyhow?

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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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#51 RealMcHockeyReturns
August 31 2014, 05:06PM
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coachedpotatoe wrote:

Boston had no cap room to sign Guchi. I also thought I indicated (probably just in my mind that this would be part of a package. Boston wants/needs to sign Krug and the Schultz deal probably has driven the price up. By moving Boychuk they will find cap space for Krug. LTIR for Savard will not be enough to sign Krug.

Yes correct. We already assume as much :)

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#52 RealMcHockeyReturns
August 31 2014, 05:13PM
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Kevin R wrote:

I don't think so. His numbers are excellent. He's 30 & he logs a lot of minutes on a Stanley Cup contender. Lot of teams would be in on this. His situation is similar to Gio & I don't think a career AHLer & a 3rd round pick will pry Gio out of Calgary. Boychuks value is going to be somewhere in between. A team like Dallas would give their 2015 1st for Boychuk in a heartbeat. Hell, I bet the Oilers would give their 2015 1st for him. Flames have the pieces of what it would take, but I doubt we would ever give them up for a 1 year potential UFA Dman. Although he could probably match up on a 2nd pairing with Brodie. If we knew we could get an extension from him, I'd give Sven & a 2015 2nd for him. We'd have 3 of our top 4 dmen sewed. But that shortens the clock having your #1 & #3 dmen aged 30. We would still have too many gaps & unknowns to be a real contender. The rebuild train is already too far from the station & now we have to be patient & get a Gormerly, Mcabe or Zadorov type of young guys, unproven but huge potentials. The cost would be steep, youth for youth but at least we are getting youth back, not a 30 year old. Real tough call on that one.

Well I did say Seto, Cundari, and 3rd...you forgot Seto who Boston could really use. And you are not evaluating the leverage properly and other Boston concerns in trading a decent but not great player! Boston has little leverage when in a salary cap jam and teams will wait them out until end of pre-season. They are desperate, not Flames or other teams. And Dallas is a real contender who Boston could meet in Cup Final so may not trade with them or other contending Western teams for that reason (helping Cup foe). They are more likely to trade with low-contending, non-Eastern teams because the Eastern ones are likely playoff foes for Bruins so don't want to help them either. So Bruins are low on leverage and quite likely to trade with teams like Flames, Jets, or maybe Oilers.

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#53 coachedpotatoe
August 31 2014, 05:45PM
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Great discussion as we wait for the season to start.

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#54 EugeneV
August 31 2014, 06:17PM
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If you look at Detroit you will see that their young guys are playing at least 100 games in the AHL to learn the way the game is played "the pro way". I know that they have a strong team which makes it harder for the young guys to break into the lineup, but I think that what the Flames will hopefully do is give most of their guys at least 100 games in the AHL regardless of if they are NHL ready "and not just Flames NHL ready" I want them learning the game away from the NHL where they can have some success and "get it".

AHL Stats NHL Stats

Detroit Age GP G A Pts GP G A Pts

Gustav Nyquist 25 137 53 90 143 97 32 29 61

Tomas Jurco 21 106 27 33 60 36 8 7 15

Riley Sheahan 22 110 25 31 56 44 9 15 24

Tomas Tatar 23 265 87 109 196 100 24 23 47

Calgary

Lance Bouma 24 95 16 11 27 121 6 13 19

Joe Colborne 24 211 50 75 125 96 11 23 34

Sven Bartschi 21 73 23 32 55 51 8 16 24

Markus Granlund 21 52 25 21 44 7 2 1 3

Max Reinhart 22 134 30 56 86 19 1 4 5

Michael Ferland 22 32 6 12 18

I really think it will do them a world of good to have our young guys spend 100 games or so in the AHL. Maybe 50 AHL and 30 NHL for Gaudreau though.

Someone above says it is stupid to make Sven go back to the "minors", well what IS stupid is to put these kids in a situation they aren't ready for. What is wrong with developing them where they can play in the appropriate situations for their skill sets? ie first line or PP etc...

I'd also like to see them send Monahan down at some point, although not if he is struggling. I think it would give him a mental break to send him to Addy to play first line minutes with Johnny at some stage. If he is playing ok then they can reinforce with him that it is "a break/holiday" without him feeling like he has been SENT DOWN. Like being sent down is something to sulk about like Sven did.

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#55 EugeneV
August 31 2014, 06:43PM
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BurningSensation wrote:

Let's be real. Sheldon Brookbank isn't going to cockblock any of; Bennett, Granlund, Gaudreau, or Baertschi from making this team.

Also, I'm not convinced based on the evidence last year with Monahan, that Bennett is going to be limited to just 9 games. If he is tearing the doors off the way Monahan was early last year, he'll stick with the team.

But he's going to have to earn it.

That was a Feaster decision (?)

I personally wish they had sent him back, so hoping the same with Bennett.

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#56 EugeneV
August 31 2014, 07:37PM
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cccsberg wrote:

Jeff, Excellent posting and I would agree is probably the closest we've come yet to what's actually happening. It would just be nice if that was admitted rather than making it appear that something else is happening (i.e. earn it=get it). Also I completely agree re: Baertschi, he definitely seemed to have an attitude issue last summer going to the Penticton tournament.

Get real. Can you imagine a Pro sports team sending out a press release like this:

We, the Calgary Flames would like its fans to know that for the next 2 years we will be blah, blah, blah in order to blah, blah, blah which will allow us to finally challenge for a spot in the playoffs after we have not done our level best to put the best possible team on the ice for the last 2 years. Thank you in advance for your understanding.

I think Bettman et al may not appreciate this.

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#57 coachedpotatoe
August 31 2014, 07:52PM
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EugeneV wrote:

If you look at Detroit you will see that their young guys are playing at least 100 games in the AHL to learn the way the game is played "the pro way". I know that they have a strong team which makes it harder for the young guys to break into the lineup, but I think that what the Flames will hopefully do is give most of their guys at least 100 games in the AHL regardless of if they are NHL ready "and not just Flames NHL ready" I want them learning the game away from the NHL where they can have some success and "get it".

AHL Stats NHL Stats

Detroit Age GP G A Pts GP G A Pts

Gustav Nyquist 25 137 53 90 143 97 32 29 61

Tomas Jurco 21 106 27 33 60 36 8 7 15

Riley Sheahan 22 110 25 31 56 44 9 15 24

Tomas Tatar 23 265 87 109 196 100 24 23 47

Calgary

Lance Bouma 24 95 16 11 27 121 6 13 19

Joe Colborne 24 211 50 75 125 96 11 23 34

Sven Bartschi 21 73 23 32 55 51 8 16 24

Markus Granlund 21 52 25 21 44 7 2 1 3

Max Reinhart 22 134 30 56 86 19 1 4 5

Michael Ferland 22 32 6 12 18

I really think it will do them a world of good to have our young guys spend 100 games or so in the AHL. Maybe 50 AHL and 30 NHL for Gaudreau though.

Someone above says it is stupid to make Sven go back to the "minors", well what IS stupid is to put these kids in a situation they aren't ready for. What is wrong with developing them where they can play in the appropriate situations for their skill sets? ie first line or PP etc...

I'd also like to see them send Monahan down at some point, although not if he is struggling. I think it would give him a mental break to send him to Addy to play first line minutes with Johnny at some stage. If he is playing ok then they can reinforce with him that it is "a break/holiday" without him feeling like he has been SENT DOWN. Like being sent down is something to sulk about like Sven did.

While this is a great idea we have to remember the high end and elite players that Detroit had for many of these years, we don't have them on our big club. Once they became successful it also made it easier to get top UFA's to sign allowing the prospects to develop. Our prospects are likely the ones who reach high end once we have that core then things change. How many AHL games did Stevie Y play? Zetterburg?

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#58 cccserg
August 31 2014, 11:51PM
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EugeneV wrote:

Get real. Can you imagine a Pro sports team sending out a press release like this:

We, the Calgary Flames would like its fans to know that for the next 2 years we will be blah, blah, blah in order to blah, blah, blah which will allow us to finally challenge for a spot in the playoffs after we have not done our level best to put the best possible team on the ice for the last 2 years. Thank you in advance for your understanding.

I think Bettman et al may not appreciate this.

Eugene, really? It is a far different thing saying you are putting your players in the best possible situation to individually succeed, to better develop and build a wining ethic and confidence than guaranteeing you will ice the best possible team(i.e. all near-term) even if its to the detriment of some players(and their LT potential).

And really, its totally clear that teams have intentionally dumped their vets, dropping lower in the standings in order to get better prospects and draft choices. Look no further that the Flames, Oilers, Buffalo... the list goes on.

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#59 RKD
August 31 2014, 11:53PM
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I'm not too concerned, people maybe overreacting a bit. I like the Raymond and Hiller additions more than I like the Engelland, Bollig, Setoguchi and Brookbank ones. They aren't going to ice a lineup of kids. Sure it would be nice to see guys like Wotherspoon, Ortio, Reinhart be in the lineup but it should be earned. No one should be given a roster spot for the sake of being a young player. Nothing should be handed to our players, people behave due to incentives. If they have no incentive they would not bother trying hard to compete for a spot at training camp. Once that compete mentality instilled in them then everything else will fall in place. I believe at some point everyone will get an audition in the lineup one way or another.

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#60 coachedpotatoe
September 01 2014, 07:26AM
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Having a spot on your roster for a prospect as part of your plan if and when they earn it is a much better plan than they will get called up when injuries happen or after the trade deadline. Our top 3/4 forward prospects have earned the right to be in the conversation about making the team, that does not mean they have a right to be on the team, they need to earn it at camp and in the preseason. But that should also hold true for Guchi, Bouma, Colborne and Byron as well all for different reasons. Vets should not be grandfathered in.

I have been a big supporter of the rebuild and giving the prospects a shot, more so than many and was not overly happy with the Guchi signing as I think 9 established NHL vets none of whom are high end and 4 emerging NHL forwards all of whom have lots of room for growth is too many if you want to continue the development and assessment of your prospects. However the more I think about it the addition of Guchi, Raymond and Bollig have filled and organizational need created by the Sutter era and that is the age demographic, we need some younger NHL established player between 27-30 to act as mentors for the young guys. So that has been accomplished.

As far as BT/BB announcing their plan I'm not sure anyone here has really called for that, however they should have a plan. Supporters who follow the team should be able to discern the plan based upon both their words and their actions, so far I'm not clear as to the plan(like many here I suspect what we do hear and see does not fit our plan).BT earlier in the offseason said there was plenty of opportunity here and filled some of those spots with NHL vets a somewhat confusing message of words and actions. Somewhere along the way he said we need to upgrade or D and the only signings of note are Eng's and Sena neither of whom IMO are upgrades on the guys who left. Again inconsistent. I have to be fair as I do believe they tried to upgrade and it is early in his tenure but as most fans it is hard to be patient in the offseason.

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#61 coachedpotatoe
September 01 2014, 07:42AM
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Happy Sept, just 11 more sleeps until the Young Stars tourney, those of you who get the chance to go, have fun.( I believe the flames radio crew is going to broadcast the games) I have seen on some of the other NHL sites that teams mostly in the east have announced their rosters for their young stars or prospects tournies. Wondering when we do so? Also do any of of our FN started to see the guys trickle in and getting ready for camp hopefully some of the prospects have arrived to get used to the altitude.

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#62 coachedpotatoe
September 01 2014, 08:26AM
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Actually it's 10 more sleeps, my apologizes.

Looking forward to camp and the battles for positions, so the question is what positions are really up for grabs.

Lets start today with center. I doubt any would disagree that the there are 3 centers that will make the team those being Stajan, Backs and Monahan(listed by age not role)

Stajan brings years of experience and can to a certain extant play what ever role a team needs. His biggest draw back is he is not going to light it up.

Backs while younger brings lots of NHL experience and his play the last 2/3 of the season was quite hopeful to the Flames nation. As the top possession forward on the team and improved offensive stats he is the Flames best overall center.

Monahan was a rookie last year and scored over 20 goals so we know he is probably the best natural offensive center the Flames have. He possession numbers were poor and he was rather sheltered last year. However late in the season he started to get better in these areas and we should expect improvement this year.Expect lots of OZ starts.

So who is number 4 on the depth chart? Players who were on the big club last year who played some center were Colborne, Bouma and Byron(others may have played a few shifts but not enough to matter)

Colborne's experience as a center was to be kind bad. Once he ws moved to the wing he began to flourish so I don't expect Hartley to go back to that experiment.

Bouma may be the best bet here but again I think his best work last year was as winger. If you want to have a 4th line as an energy line then he is a good bet.

Byron played some center but the biggest drawback for him in this position is his size, at 5'7"/5'8" being an NHL center on a nightly basis will be hard on his body.

So for me the 4th center position is still open; what about the prospects?

Bennett: 4th over all draft pick with a lot of potential; I could see him getting a 9 game look see but unless he is clearly NHL ready it is most likley BB sends him back to the CHL.

Granlund: Was the Heats rookie of the year and made everyone he played with better as the season went one. He can both score and set up others, I thought his 7 game cup of coffee that he did not look totally out of place and was making progress. Like Byron is rather small more weight than height and the nightly pounding might be to much for him. If you are looking for more offence in this position then he should be the best option.

Knight: Second best center on the heat last year and his size is more suited for the traditional 4th line center role. He does have some offensive upside as a playmaker he helped Sven make progress late in the season.

Arnold: will need time in the AHL to develop.

Jooris: was a sound find for the AHL club but is not likely to climb past the guys ahead of him.

So as a coach do you go with an NHL from last year who is better suited to play the wing or a guy who is probably more likely to be an NHL center.(For those who are wondering why no Rhino, he has played wing for almost 2 seasons in the AHL and the experiment as pro center is probably over)

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