Flames Deadline Reactions

While various voices of the Nation have weighed on Sutter’s deadline deals recently, here’s a sampling of other reactions from around the blogosphere.

First, Arik of 4th line blog is unimpressed:

It boggles my mind how awful this year has been for the Flames.  Did Ken King kill a puppy and this is karma?  Did Jarome Iginla build a house over a Native Canadian (that’s what they’re called right? If not, don’t correct me) burial ground? Does someone on the Flames enjoy George Michael?

You know a guy is mad when he invokes puppycide and George Michael in a single paragraph.

The frank dudes at Domebeers also had some harsh words for Darryl Sutter:

But looking at the numbers, and the paralysis that this franchise could be stuck with, it makes you think that some of the haters are right; It makes you think that GM Sutter really never passed grade 2, and hence, really does not grasp this whole ‘addition’ thing.

Duncan of the long-standing HIt the Post had his doubts about the Flames mangement re-affirmed by Sutter’s deadline activities:

I don’t care how many get-rid-of-Vandermeer secret deals Darryl Sutter has in the hopper, today was a joke. And I wish it was the final indication that I was right about the guy but, obviously, things were clear well before the Lombo+1st for Jokinen deal (which is about when WI got over him).

Moving outside the Flames-centric circle of fanship, Scott Reynolds of the Copper ‘ Blue was…"unimpressed" by Calgary’s trio of swaps:

Three of these four deals are very bad and the one that isn’t is the least consequential.

Giving up Boyd for a fourth round pick seems awful since he’s an RFA and you should be able to get at least a third round pick so long as you’re willing to qualify him at $715,000.  I guess the Flames didn’t want to.

That’s right folks. the Flames could have held on to Boyd for the remainder of the year, not qualified him in the summer, and they would have recieved a superior return in the form of compesation than what they got for him out of the Preds.

Jonathan Willis, another Edmonton OIler fan and writer for the Score.com adds to the pile of disapproval. Like me, he reserves the majority of his contempt for the Staios trade:

Sutter saved his worst move for last, however. His divisional rivals in Edmonton have spent a ton of money on some questionable veterans, and one of them was Steve Staios.  I like Staios as much as I like any current NHL player; he works hard, he gives his all, and he doesn’t cut any corners.  Unfortunately, he’s (at best) a third pairing defenceman at this stage of his career, and his cap hit is $2.7 million both this year and next season as well.  Sutter valued him highly enough to surrender a dirt cheap pending free agent in Aaron Johnson along with a third round pick, helping Steve Tambellini salvage what had to that point been a highly disappointing day.

Finally, perhaps the best overall assessment I’ve come across yet was this one by my former blogmate Robert Cleave of Matchsticks and Gasoline. It’s balanced and fair, but also rightly critical. His take on the Boyd swap in particular is right on the money:

I use the phrase asset management a lot, and when situations like the Boyd deal arise, I begin to question whether Sutter, and other GMs of his ilk, actually understand how hard it is to acquire a NHL player from a middle round draft pick. For a player picked in the 4th round, the historical percentage of that pick turning into a big-leaguer is around 9%. Whatever people might think of Dustin Boyd, the Flames traded a player who had beaten the odds in his own way.

So, you have a salary-controlled player at the bottom of the roster who wasn’t that bad at actually playing hockey. He was cheap, would likely continue to be so, and you would own his rights for the next several years. What do you do? I could think of many useful things, even if the team wanted to move him along, but selling him for a low-chance lottery ticket wouldn’t be any of them.

Overall, I think we can safely say the reaction has been mixed. And by "mixed", I of course mean almost completely and uniformly negative. Darryl Sutter, for perhaps the very first time in his tenure here, is fighting an uphill PR battle and it’s one that will be won or lost in the next few weeks. 

  • Thanks for throwing all the opinions together Kent.

    I fail to catch up on some of what my bookmarks folder considers perimeter blogs at times – and it's nice to see I'm not the only one who feels this way.

    Overall, I believe negative is a good reaction compared to what we really should be seeing. Not only do the moves lock in a mediocre set of players that we didn't need for the remainder of the season, but it locked in several more for NEXT season.

    This all stems directly from picking up Jokinen last season. Sutter can tell the press an unlimited number of times that Jokinen was not there to replace Cammalleri, that it was Bouwmeester who replaced Cammalleri, but it's all garbage. Jokinen's contract, position and intended line-mates directly affected Calgary's decision to let the squid walk.

    Another big thing I'd like to point out, is Sutter is NEVER truthful with the media. In the future, I'd like to see him take a "no comment" approach. Honesty is the best policy, and so far we've seen zero of that from him. It's always a guessing game of what he really means, and as a fan, I'm tired of it. I definitely see a serious need for a higher-ups clear-out to get things moving in the right direction.

    I live and work in Vancouver, and let me tell you, it's awful nice to see fans content with their GM and coaching staff. Seems like a dream I'd like to see come true.

    • Fair enough, although I found Wysh's analysis so facile as to be next to worthless. He looked at Staios' qualities (heart and soul guy!), none of his faults and failed to consider the potential cap implications for the club going forward.

      If anyone can find an in-depth probe that is positive, feel free to throw up a link in the comments. I think the best defense I've seen thus far is Steinberg's below with his "I'm going to wait and see" approach.

  • That's right folks. the Flames could have held on to Boyd for the remainder of the year, not qualified him in the summer, and they would have recieved a superior return in the form of compesation than what they got for him out of the Preds.

    I need a bit of clarification about this. From what I've read there's an expiry date on how long you can hold on to your RFA's rights without signing them, right? Like if he qualified Boyd but he refused to sign, does he go UFA after the season begins?

    In any case it doesn't really matter because the marginal difference between Boyd and Backlund for the next twenty games + postseason is worth more than the fourth rounder in my mind. In most universes that fourth rounder becomes a career minor leaguer. The only reason at all I can think of that the Flames could use the fourth rounder is to facilitate salary dumps (an idea that RCleave espouses) but then they completely screwed the pooch by sending our THIRD rounder in the Staois deal.

    • Robert Cleave

      They still would have his rights into the season. Think about the Kessel situation. They traded his rights after the season started to Toronto, and then the Leafs negotiated a contract with him.

  • Robert Cleave

    Re: the Boyd deal

    I also really did not like to see Boyd move on, but I don't think where he is drafted has any relevance in valuing him as an asset at this point. I think this ceiling and basement had been established at this point and the only other relevant parameters were his contract situation and his cap hit. By analogy, the fact that Zetterberg was a late round draft pick does not make him any more valuable than he already is given his contract value for performance.

    As for the actual return, I was ready to breathe fire and brimstone over the ridiculousness of this trade. However, I saw D. Sutter's Sportsnet interview during the Minnesota game and his reasoning was that Dustin had been moved down the depth chart by other acquisitions and Backlund's performance to the point where he was unlikely to get real playing time and Sutter wanted to find a place where Boyd could play. I think this is the real reason for the move, that Darryl didn't want to bury him back in Abbotsford or the press box and wanted him to move on. We are often quick to lament Darryl's lack of class from time to time (see Ference, Andrew; Prust, Brandon and Jokinen, Olli) but I think this was an honest answer as to why he moved him and given the inherent difference in value between a 3rd rounder and a 4th rounder (2-3% chance at a marginal NHLer I am guessing?) I am willing to let it go.

  • Robert Cleave

    However, I saw D. Sutter's Sportsnet interview during the Minnesota game and his reasoning was that Dustin had been moved down the depth chart by other acquisitions and Backlund's performance to the point where he was unlikely to get real playing time and Sutter wanted to find a place where Boyd could play.

    With due respect, Sutter's feeding a line of BS there. Backlund did not play his way onto this roster, he's getting fed soft minutes and he's struggling big time. Have you seen some of the boneheaded decisions he's made on the rush? The shots from 60 feet out when he's got about 40 feet of space and no one's closing in on him? The constant swimming on the forecheck?

    There is no reason to have Backlund above Boyd on the depth chart, in fact there is no reason to have Backlund on the big league roster at all, from the standpoint of winning games.

  • Even if Backlund had been knocking it out of the park for 10 games, the size of the sample is too small to consider him a shoe-in to replace anyone on the roster. Aside from his most recent outburst, Backlund wasn't even dominating the AHL this year.

    I haven't had any real complaints about Backlund's performance in the NHL thus far, given his age and experience level. But I have no idea what convinced Sutter that Backlund is suddenly not only Boyd's equal, but his superior.

  • I'm ready to tune all the "numbers" guys out and just sit back and watch from here on in. Hell, at this point, that's all one can do. I KNOW there are NO numbers that can put a positive spin on some of these deals. But that doesn't mean that there's no chance in hell they can have a positive effect.

    I'm hopeful Staios fits in. I'm hopeful Toskala can stop a puck. I'm hopeful things work out for Darryl AND the Flames. In theory, I don't necessarily understand everything thats gone on lately, but I defer to Darryl. I choose to believe that he know what he's doing. I DON'T CARE WHAT LOGIC SUGGESTS!!

    I'm not all that mad at the acquisition of Staios, I just don't like the price they paid. While Boyd didn't HAVE to be moved, his loss doesn't make the club any worse, at least ON the ice. Jamal Mayers DOES have a role. So does Nystrom. And Dustin Boyd couldn't play THAT role. So Darryl found him a new home.


    You know what… I'm gonna go on record… the Flames WILL make the playoffs… and the deals made over the past 6 weeks or so WILL help this club. Oh… and Darryl WILL rectify any cap concerns in the summer.

    You guys go ahead and have your whine… I'll be here eating this cheese all to myself. Now pass me the Kool-Aid.

  • In the interests of fairness you should probably post one of the non-negative reviews. Puck Daddy gave his day a B-. I'd tend to lean more towards the negative end myself but still.

    puck daddy also duly retracted that B- the following day, admitting that he may have too quickly jumped on the "staios is a great dude" bandwagon, leaving his stats/abilities behind in his analysis.

  • I'm ready to tune all the "numbers" guys

    Who are these "numbers" guys? Most casual fans are more hardcore numbers guys than I will ever be, they'll pore over reams and reams of counting numbers.

    I think you mean "reality" people, as in people who pay attention to how the game's actually played on the ice.