August 20 2013 05:12PM
A fun summer time thought experiment.
It wasn't the strongest UFA crop the NHL has ever seen this off-season, which is why guys like David Clarkson were cashing in with major long-term contracts. Complicating matters is a dropping salary cap that has caused a few teams to buy-out NHLers and a few others not to shop too seriously for bodies.
As a result, even though there wasn't a lot of elite talent available, there is actully more than a few useful NHLers still looking for work. There's so many, in fact, that you could probably build a whole team out of them that could at least compete on a nightly basis. Take a gander:
August 19 2013 11:03AM
It's assumed by almost everyone heading into 2013-14 that Miikka Kiprusoff will opt out of the final year of his contract and head back to Finland to fish and be revered as demi-god by his countrymen. The soon-to-be 37 year old netminder suffered through the worst stretch of his Flames tenure in the lock-out shortened season, struggles that were compounded by injury. His below replacement level performance, mixed with the organization's lackluster redundancy in net, resulted in the club's plunge down to the bottom of the Western Conference and kick-started the rebuild. Kipper himself would have been one of the assets moved at the deadline along with Iginla and Bouwmeester, but he leveraged the threat of retiring to short circuit a move to Toronto.
August 15 2013 02:33PM
I didn't get to see any of the Flames kids at the recent WJC development camp tournament, but Hockey Prospectus' Corey Pronman took in every second of play (or close anyways). So in oreder to buttress Christian's insights from earlier today, I contacted Pronman and asked him to weigh on how the Calgary kids performed.
August 13 2013 02:36PM
On paper, the Calgary Flames are one of the worst teams in the NHL heading into 2013-14. They have veterans who want to be traded as soon as possible, question marks in key areas (*cough* goaltending *cough*) and not a single elite player at any position. The roster certainly isn't "Edmonton over the last 5 years" bad, but Calgary is certainly one of the favorites to draft inside the top five next June.
However, the Flames aren't alone at the bottom of the barrel. Here are some teams whose fans could also spend the last three months of the regular season looking forward to the entry draft.
August 12 2013 09:45AM
When Jay Feaster said his marching orders were "to make the playoffs next year" in a season ending press conference, there were fears the club would go out and splash the cash in an ill-fated attempt to climb back up the Western Conference ladder. Of course, for all we know they tried that are we rebuked by everyone they talked to.
Still, it's worth wondering what a different, "competitive" Flames roster would look like in an alternate universe. Here's what I would have done in Feaster's shoes and Murray Edwards breathing down my neck.