FN Mailbag - February 29, 2016

Kent Wilson
February 29 2016 09:00AM


Welp it's trade deadline day and the Flames have already taken care of a big piece of business, moving JIri Hudler to the Panthers for a second rounder (2016) and fourth rounder (2018??).

The return isn't a bad one, but it also shows how wacky the deadline market can be. Over the last handful of years the Flames have put Mike Cammalleri, Curtis Glencross and Jiri Hudler on the auction block at the end of February. Cammalleri was a proven 20-30 goal scorer, Jiri Hudler was one season removed from leading the league in even strength points and Glencross... was a solid third line winger on the decline. For some reason, the Flames got the biggest return for Curtis Glencross (second + third round picks).

Which is to say it's really hard to predict the market. Sometimes good players get peanuts or don't move at all. And sometimes you trade Doug Murray for not one but two second round picks. Or you trade former top-11 pick Filip Forsberg for Martin Erat (??).

So strap in folks. The only thing we can say with any certainty is that Kris Russell will move today. Other than that, it's an open table. 

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A conversation on Kris Russell

Kent Wilson
February 27 2016 02:30PM

As many Calgary residents and Flames fans know, Kris Russell has been a controversial topic in town recently. Colleagues at the FAN960 have been at each other's throats owing to a disagreement between qualitative and quantitate evaluation of Kris Russell's play.

We've been clear about where we stand on the Russell divide over the last few years, but I wanted to fully explicate the dastardly "analytics" side of the debate for the purposes of clarity. What follows is how I would respond to the main talking points that tend to crop up in this ongoing argument.

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A closer look at Hunter Shinkaruk

Kent Wilson
February 23 2016 10:00AM

The Flames acquired local boy Hunter Shinkaruk yesterday, a player who was within their grasp during the 2013 entry draft. The club went with Sean Monahan (sixth) and Emile Poirier (22nd) with their first two picks instead, leaving Shinkaruk to fall to the hated Canucks at 24th overall. 

The decision set up the potential for an ongoing debate between Poirier and Shinkaruk, but that dichotomy is now moot with Calgary acquiring the 21-year-old winger for Markus Granlund. So how is it Shinkaruk came home to the Flames by such a circuitous route?

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FN Mailbag - February 22, 2016

Kent Wilson
February 22 2016 02:00PM


With the playoffs now a distant dream, the rest of the Flames season becomes about other priorities. Aside from trying to leverage a handful of assets at the deadline, the club has the final quarter of the season to gather some intel for next year.

The experiments have already begun with Sam Bennett being moved back to center. We already know he's a pretty good left wing, so now the decision makers will get a chunk of games to see if he can drive play as a pivot as well. Guys like Jakub Nakladal, Tyler Wotherspoon and Joni Ortio might also get some longer looks than otherwise would have been possible if the team was "going for it."

Discovering if any of the club's hopefuls have NHL upside is especially important for the Flames as they move into rough budgetary waters this offseason. 

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FN Mailbag - February 15, 2016

Kent Wilson
February 15 2016 08:00AM


We're two weeks away from the trade deadline. The Flames have won more than they've lost recently (despite mostly questionable performances), but the club remains eight points out of a the final wild card spot in the West. 

The players and coach will remain committed to "playoffs or bust!", but the management team should start putting its key trade assets on the auction block this week. Though Calgary has more than a few guys they could sell off, Brad Treliving's primary goal should be getting the most he possibly can for the club's two main assets: Kris Russell and Jiri Hudler. 

In Hudler's case, the Flames may face another Cammalleri situation, where the player's sub-par pre-deadline performance might undermine his perceived value. That said, the org must commit to one of two things if that's case: 1.) trade the player for the best offer available, even if it's something nominal like a third round pick, or 2.) re-sign him. Letting him walk in the off-season shouldn't be a consideration. 

As for Russell, he needs to go no matter what. The club can't afford to re-sign him and his stock will never be higher. Re-signing him shouldn't even be part of the conversation, meaning he should walk even if the club can't (or won't) move him.

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