Flames News and Notes, April 9


Tom Benjamin and I look at the Flames cap troubles during the stretch drive. While the sudden injuries to Regehr, Sarich, Aucoin, Roy etc are certainly tough to put on Sutter, the fact that the Flames have been battling the cap ceiling all year – an issue that was exacerbated by the Jokinen trade – is all Sutter’s doing. While playing a man down for the last week or so may or may not have significant ramifications on the Flames season, Sutter should be embarrassed by this issue either way.

– Speaking of injuries, word is both Regehr and Sarich are down for the count: Reggie with an MCL sprain and Sarich with a broken foot. That’s some terrible news for a team that has struggled to be defensively responsible all season. Calgary has the highest GA/G average of any play-off team in the NHL and they probably just lost their two best defensive blueliners for at least the first round. Yikes.

– And speaking of the Jokinen trade, that particular swap is starting to feel an awful lot like the ill-fated Brad Stuart trade of two seasons ago.  That year, the Flames were in need of a top 4 defenseman and Sutter moved two cheap, capable players in Andrew Ference and Chuck Kobasew for Stuart and Wayne Primeau. The move backfired as the Flames limped into the post season anyways and then were summarily dismissed by the vastly superior Detroit Red Wings. That summer, Stuart bolted for free agency and Sutter, obviously not wanting to come away from the deal empty handed, re-signed Wayne Primeau to a contract that has hampered the team ever since. In the meantime, both Kobasew and Ference have been relatively effective pieces for the Bruins.

This year, a “legitimate #1 center” was on the Flames shopping list, so Sutter moved Prust, Lombardi and a first round pick for Olli Jokinen. Since then, the Flames fortunes have gone in the toilet, with Jokinen not even out-performing Lombardi over intervening stretch. Obviously, Sutter will be judged by how Jokinen performs in the play-offs and next season, but the early returns are hardly encouraging. Calgary not only sacrificed a couple of roster players (one of whom had greater untility and was handily outperforming his 1.8M contract), but also cap space and a chance to re-sign Mike Cammalleri next season.  If things don’t improve for Jokinen here (and the team in general), this could turn out to be one of Sutter most significant missteps as the Flames GM. I was wary of the trade when it occured and have some serious doubts in light of the results and my qualitative observations of Jokinen’s play since he arrived. Here’s hoping I’m wrong.

– While there isn’t a ton of good news in Flamesland out there right now, consider that the Flames can still win their division with a couple of victories over the woeful Edmonton Oilers this weekend. With their season winding down, the Oil will be resting some of their battle-scarred vets, including goalie Dwayne Roloson. Meaning mediocre rookie tender JDD will be in net for both Friday and Satruday night. Meaning, aside from playing, say, the NYI in the final two games, the Flames probably couldn’t ask for a better match-up.

– Other good news: with Moss’ 20th goal versus the Kings, the Flames became one of the few teams in the league to boast six 20 goal scorers. The club  has 12 guys with 10+ goals as well.

  • This club can't buy a goddamn break right now. Here's hoping that this trend doesn't continue into the playoffs (obviously that's the gambler's fallacy but one can still irrationaly hope, no?)

    Is it just me or does Regehr get injured a lot?

  • dustin timberlake wrote:

    It doesn’t seem like he does, despite the punishing style he is famous for. Maybe I’m mistaken though.
    Any word on Bourque?

    I went over to Wiki to check my impression (which is probably clouded by both time and not having seen every game in seasons past). He played 68 games in 05/06, missed all but 1 game of the 06/07 series but was fully healthy last season. This season, didn't he miss some games in November? And now he is injured.

    So from that he is fairly durable but this injury could not have come at any worse timing. I would have rather lost that Dallas game and the division.

  • Now lets not all start hating on the Jokinen deal so fast. Not to try and take you down Kent but I'm pretty sure it was you who said shortly before the deadline that Lombardi is clearly a failed experiment in Calgary. So why all of a sudden do you think he outperformed his 1.8M contract? I guess in comparison to say Primeu, but really? I'm happy with Jokinen right now especially since our whole defense is royally screwed for the first round. If Jokinen plays the way he did against Vancouver against any other goalie he should get some results soon. I hope…

  • I think said as much about Lombardi earlier in the year. Post New Years though, Lombardi had turned his game around and was easily out-performing his 1.8M. His ESP/60 rate was over 2, he was the best PKer on the club by the results and he was a plus player at ES.

    To be fair, Jokinen has a lot of time to get things done. I was talking about "arrows" (ie; trends) in this post more than anything. Meaning: if things don't improve, this will end up a shitty deal.

  • Sutter will be judged on the team's results in the post-season, not on his cap management, public speaking, or his ability to make a ham sandwich. Playoff results are paramount.

    I doubt fans would be grumbling about having 11 forwards for a half dozen REGULAR SEASON games if the club succeeds in the REAL season. Same goes for Jokinen, Iginla, Phaneuf, the Beer Guy, and every other Flames employee.

    It's not as if a San Jose-esqe year (great cap #, regular season wins, post-season flop) is what 'Flames Nation' has been yearning for.

    Go Fire!

  • one thing about stuart.. at least he gave a huge effort in his tenure as a flame, was our best performer in the short playoffs and was noticed. As noted by whos jersey he wears now.

    the reggie injury is massive but also a built in excuse, the boys gotta get beyond that… their ability to do so shall become apparent shortly.

  • "Meaning mediocre rookie tender JDD will be in net for both Friday and Satruday night. Meaning, aside from playing, say, the NYI in the final two games, the Flames probably couldn’t ask for a better match-up."

    lol. Did you watch the game last night? What a homer!!!