June 09 2010 01:27PM
While I've seen and heard many folks hope for a Toskala signing this off-season, I personally count the news of his imminent departure in the "plus" column. He had a spotty record with the Flames (a couple good games, one miserable one) during his brief stint in town, but the truth is Toskala has been one of the worst puck-stoppers in the league over the last 3 seasons. He may be a veteran, he may have been good once upon a time, and he may in fact be Kipper's best buddy, but just about any other available NHL goaltender is a better option.
June 09 2010 10:55AM
Behind Mikael Backlund, Matt Pelech is the Flames prospect closest to make the leap to the big leagues. In fact, some could argue after three years in the minors, Pelech is closer to NHL ready than the young Swede. A first round choice from Calgary's disastrous 2005 draft, Pelech has been held back by depth and injuries. He'll turn 23 years old this September and is nearing the critical point when a prospect goes from "viable future NHLer" to "fringe player". The obstacles facing him at this point, however, aren't trivial.
June 08 2010 09:39AM
A common refrain around town is that Darryl Sutter had to rebuild the Flames prospect pool from scratch when he took over in 2003-04. The perception, I think, comes from the messainistic glow that infuses Sutter's tenure, specifically when it comes to the early years. The truth of the matter is the Flames prospect pool wasn't totally absent talent and, in fact, has yet to markedly improved.
June 07 2010 05:26PM
What a wonderful hockey match last night. Hat tip to Ross Creek for the photograph suggestion.
June 07 2010 10:37AM
If I was asked to identify a sleeper prospect in the Flames organization, I'd probably choose T.J. Brodie. A fourth round pick in 2008, I knew next to nothing about Brodie before watching him in his first Flames rookie training camp (one that featured a rookie tounament between Oilers, Canucks and Flames kids).To tell the truth, I wasn't even really looking for him on the ice when camp began.
He managed to impress the hell out of me during that limited viewing. Highly mobile, Smart and poised with the puck, Brodie stood out almost every every shift of the exhibition games I saw. He instantly jumped to the head of the line of Flames prospects, at least in my estimation. He justified my admiration the very next season, scoring 12 goals and 50 points in just 63 games for the Saginaw Spirit, a 20 point improvement over his draft season.