FN Mailbag - February 8, 2016

Kent Wilson
February 08 2016 08:00AM


The big topic for Flames fans remains the trade deadline. Calgary's players and management are still solely focused on an unlikely playoff drive (chances at about 16% after the win over the Canucks), but pragmatism has begun to sink in for just about everyone else. 

I've actually liked how the Flames have played post-All Star Game. If the team can continue to play at this level, it should result in one of two positive outcomes: either they go on a fantastical run and make the post-season or they fall short and their collection of sellable assets grows in value. 

After this season, Calgary is entering into the "get competitive" phase of any competent rebuild. As such, it may be their final chance to leverage a mass "selloff" at the trade deadline. Here's hoping if the playoff bid falls short they'll be able to collect some noteworthy pieces instead - something they too often failed to do at the onset of the current restructuring project. 

This week in the mailbag we look at what the Flames should be selling and targeting at the deadline. 

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Thinking critically about CalgaryNEXT: What's a CRL?

Kent Wilson
February 02 2016 08:00AM


In the Flames proposed funding model for the CalgaryNEXT arena project, they included a public contribution in the amount of $250 million from a "CRL" or Community Revitalization Levy. Also called Tax Increment Financing (TIF), CRL's are employed by municipalities as a way to finance redevelopment of blighted areas. 

Contrary to what you might hear from the Flames and their boosters, CRL's are not "found money" for a city. In infrastructure funding, as in anything, there's no free lunch. In fact, CRL's are complex long term gambles cities take that come with attendant risks and consequences. 

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FN Mailbag - February 1, 2016

Kent Wilson
February 01 2016 08:00AM


There's about a month left to the trade deadline. That means the Flames have a month, or 13 games, to do one of two things: put themselves firmly back into the playoff race or drum up as much interest as possible in their key UFA assets. 

The former goal is a long shot. Unless Calgary becomes the hottest team in the league over the next dozen or so matches, their dreams of repeating last year's unlikely playoff berth are done.

The second objective will depend on how a handful of players perform - in particular Jiri Hudler, who has the next 30 days to make himself into a hot rental commodity and potentially revive his value as an unrestricted free agent to boot. 

The deadline and the draft dominate this week's edition of the mailbag. We'll talk about the draft lottery, potential trade partners and the potential for moving some of the Flames' less notable trade pieces.

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The Flames deadline strategy

Kent Wilson
January 29 2016 10:00AM

At the start of the new year we really couldn't be sure if the Flames would be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline. We head into the All-Star Break a month later with much more clarity: Calgary sits eight points out of playoff spot but only two points out of last place in the league.

It's not over. But it's over. Absent a miracle, the Flames are going to miss the dance this year.

So sellers it is. The good news is the club has a few UFA's they can put up for auction (and maybe a few RFAs too). The bad news is we can't really be sure what the possible return will be on any of these guys. Or if there will be a return at all. 

In the spirit of this recent JW article at OilersNation, I took a look at who the Flames have available and whether or not the club should look to put them up on the trade block this year. 

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FN Mailbag - January 24, 2016

Kent Wilson
January 25 2016 10:00AM


Jiri Hudler has suddenly become an important topic amongst Flames fans. After scoring the most 5on5 points in the league last year he has completely fallen off a cliff this year, to the degree that the coach doesn't seem to know where to put him in the lineup. 

Heading into the season the question surrounding Hulder was whether the club could afford to re-sign him or if they'd move him for a sizeable return at the deadline. Now, the question is whether they can get anything for him at all.

The situation is reminiscent of Mike Cammalleri's final days as a Calgary Flame. With the organization staring a full tear down and rebuild in the face, Mike Cammalleri seemed like the last, best veteran asset in the cupboard in the wake of the Iginla and Bouwmeester selloffs.

Unfortunately, Cammalleri struggled through a concussion and was completely ineffective in the weeks leading up to the deadline. As a result, Burke only received lowball offers for the winger (third rounder or below) and the taciturn interim GM decided he'd rather keep the player than give him up for a nominal return (a decision I disagreed with). 

Ironically, Cammalleri's game completely turned around after the deadline. He scored 13 goals and 24 points in the final 20 games, meaning he likely would have been one of the best deadline rentals of the season had the Flames traded him.

There's no saying whether that's what will happen with Hudler this year. All we know is he still has time to turn the ship around. Here's hoping he does before the deadline.

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