Flames do-over

Mulligan (from Wikipedia): A mulligan, in a game, happens when a player (or General Manager) gets a second chance to perform a certain move or action. The practice is also sometimes referred to as a "do-over".

ICE-HOCKE-48375WORLD.jpg Jason Spezza image by jjgordo3

With the torch and pitchfork crowd in full effect here at FlamesNation lately, I decided to try and lighten things up; have some fun. OR… maybe even further enrage the masses. Let’s  pretend the deal’s the Flames made last winter were never made. Let’s give them a mulligan on the Phaneuf deal, the Kotalik deal, the Staios deal & the Boyd deal.

With recent news of Jason Spezza possibly being available, and given the obvious need (in my opinion) for the Flames to add a gifted play-making center, what if the Flames still had Dion Phaneuf (and his cap money to spend) as bait. Would the Sens bite? I’d have to think so.

So let’s forget about Matt Stajan, Niklas Hagman, Ian White, Jamal Mayers, Ales Kotalik, Chrisopher Higgins & Steve Staios for a second (if only it were that easy), and let’s assume they still have Dustin Boyd, Keith Aulie, Brandon Prust, the 3rd rounder they GAVE to the Oilers, Olli Jokinen’s cap space, and of course, Neon Dion himself. Let’s escape the reality of the Flames plight and drift off into fantasy land. What would you do given these circumstance this off-season?

Here’s What I’d Do

  • Dion Phaneuf & Dustin Boyd to the Sens for Jason Spezza & Brian Lee
  • Brandon Prust, Keith Aulie & 3rd round pick to the Leafs for Niklas Hagman
  • Sign UFA defenceman (Dan Hamhuis) with Jokinen’s $
  • Worry about moving ONE bad contract – Cory Sarich (instead of 2 or 3 – Sarich/Kotalik/Satios) to make room for Rene Bourque’s new deal
  • Go to the beach

Wouldn’t this have been a far more productive way of doing things?

Back to Reality


While some in Ottawa believe Trading Spezza would be a disaster for the Senators, I think it would be an obvious coup for the Flames if they were able to land him. Money aside, he’s everything they Flames have needed for the past 5 years – a set-up man for Iginla. And with Iginla’s (supposed?) decline, he needs the help now more than ever. Imagine having Spezza-Iginla eating up the mid-tier competition while Langkow-Bourque do the heavy lifting.

So is there any way they could make this happen now? Doubtful, at best. For starters, Matt Stajan’s $3.5M would have to head the other way. And perhaps even Ian White, but as a RFA looking for north of $3M, would the Sens be willing to spend Spezza’s money on Stajan & White? I doubt it. Perhaps Mark Giordano’s cap friendly (for one more year) contract of $891,667 would be of more interest to the Sens. But unless the Sens took back another (bigger) contract, the Flames would have to shed even more salary than they currently have to. Also, we know they lack the necessary draft picks to include in such a deal, and they’re not exactly stacked with prospects, but would you be willing to offer up Greg Nemisz as part of the deal?

So how ’bout it Nation… given the current condition of the Flames, would you pick up Spezza and his 5 remaining years at $7M if the money worked? Or is that simply just too much money to spend on one player for this organization given the other big money, long-term deal’s already in place? Up north in Edmonton, they’re already floating rumours of  "big game hunting", with a recycled offer from last summer’s Heatley fiasco of Dustin Penner, Andrew Cogliano & Ladislav Smid for Spezza. 

I know its wishful thinking, but what if Daz still has some magic left?

Another Random Thought

I wonder if it may be in the Flames best interest to re-sign Eric Nystrom. I may be a tad biased, as I’m a fan of Nyzerman, but say you give him the  $1.5M he’s looking for, and then look at moving Curtis Glencross (maybe to move up a bit in this year’s draft). Although I’m also a fan of Glencross, he only has one year remaining at $1.2M. What will he want after that? The way I see it, if you re-sign Nystrom and trade Glencross for an asset, then you’re ahead of the game (as opposed to losing Nystrom for nothing and then possibly losing Glencross next summer anyways). Maybe I’m out to lunch… what do you’s figure?

  • I don’t think I like Spezza. He is the type of player that you see give back a lot the other way. He’s got pimp numbers but he plays with frickin’ Daniel Alfredsson who is a beast (and many alternate universes, Iginla ends his career being as effective as Alfredsson).

    Rich man’s Jokinen IMO.

  • jeremywilhelm

    Also, what’s with trading guys with one year left on their contract for “return”?

    The return is the one year on their contract. Glencross and his one year of service owed to the Flames is worth more than any realistic trade would give back.

    • I guess what I’m trying to say is that I would rather have Nystrom & an asset (from trading Glencross) than just having Glencross & losing Nystrom… especially in a year already light on draft picks.

  • I wouldn’t. Nystrom can’t play above the fourth line, and what’s this mysthical “asset” that can help the Flames in a more meaningful way than Glencross?

    Glencross is a damn good forward who can comfortably dominate weaker opposition or slot in the top 6 with other good players and tread water or better against similar top 6 opposition. This is the kind of player every team needs more of, not less.

    The obsession with “asset management” is insane. Just build the damn teams to win games.

  • Balthazar

    Interesting dream, RossCreek, but a dream nonetheless.

    Spezza would be a fine addition to fit with Iggy – I think- so a decent trade for Phanuef if your hot tub time machine worked, but I don’t think the Flames have the assets to move for him now.

    I like Nystrom, but he’s as good as gone. A 4th liner, even one with a lot of heart and character, does’t get 1.5. Or shouldn’t.

    GlenX is a far superior player worth keeping and using as a great 3rd liner or a decent substitute 2nd liner.

  • Balthazar

    I’d probably avoid Spezza like the plague if I were the Flames. Injury problems, inconsistent, on-dimensional, pretty soft, bad contact, etc. I don’t understand any of this “trade Glencross” talk. I love Nystrom, but Glencross is a far superior player. If I have to choose between the two, I’ll take him. If the Flames can’t come to terms with Nystrom, maybe they could try shipping him out for “assets?”

  • Let me clarify a few things:

    I like Glencross. I’m not saying ‘get rid of the bum’. I’m thinking that if I look at the roster – that if I look at the players & their contracts – Glencross would be of some appeal to other teams. I also think Nystrom & Glencross are closer than most (as I said above, I may be a tad biased because I’m a Nystrom fan). Now, if I’m overestimating Glencross’ trade value and you’re not going to get anything for him, I admit why follow through on a move. Also, what is Glencross going to want next summer? Will the Flames be able to afford him by then, or are they in such a bind that they’re forced to let him walk?

    In other words, if they could sign Nystrom cheaper this summer than they’ll be able to sign Glencross next summer, if Glencross can bring them an asset that a UFA Nystrom obviously cannot, then its worth a look, isn’t it? Maybe I’m way off base. Maybe 1 year of Glencross is worth more than several years of Nystrom plus a draft pick.

    But hey… at least I got you guys to stop beating a near-dead horse (D-Sutz) for a second or two 😉

  • dustin642

    Suppose GM Brian Murray would love to get his hands on Matt Stajan, Cory Sarich, and David Moss/Adam Pardy (Really doubt it, but isn’t this the “dream” post?) Would you do that deal? Spezza for Stajan, Sarich, and Moss/Pardy? Heres another fun question? Who’s ugly $3M salary would you rather have on your team? Kotalik or Cheechoo? Because my guess is that is the only player that we could really trade Kotalik for.

  • jeremywilhelm

    RC: Glencross dominates third liners, Nystrom is competent against fourth liners. Glencross is also more likley to take a hometown discount as he loves being close to home (see:chuckwagons), and less likley to get big offers from other teams. Add in the fact that Nystrom’s salary is going to be inflated due to his “leadership”, and I know who I would rather spend the 1-1.5 million on.

  • Balthazar

    1) I think you are overvaluing Spezza. Ottawa isn’t going to have a line up of suiters if Spezza does want out. And if he doesn’t they aren’t trading him.

    I think Backlund and Regher would be enough, with some peices thrown in to make the salaries work.

    2) There are a few players that can play the third line. Moss, Dawes, and Glencross are already signed. Nystrom and Higgens are UFA.

    None are going to get you any major returns so I would put the best line on the ice that you can within salary constraints.

    I am perfectly happy with a third line of Backlund, Glencross, and Dawes. I see no reason to trade Glencross to make room for Nystrom, even if he won’t trade next year (which my all indications he will).

  • dustin642

    I think you’d be looking for more than Phaneuf/Boyd for Spezza/Lee. Probably have to add a pick or prospect on Calgary’s side of things.

    I think such a trade is possible now and I think it could be done. As of now, Ottawa is going to have to stock up on defensive defencemen, of which Calgary have many. Also, Ottawa needs a 2nd/3rd line center and a scoring Top-6 winger (things Calgary also have plenty of). So, I propose:

    To CAL: Jason Spezza, Pick
    To OTT: Cory Sarich, Matt Stajan, David Moss, Prospect

  • dustin642

    In other words, if they could sign Nystrom cheaper this summer than they’ll be able to sign Glencross next summer, if Glencross can bring them an asset that a UFA Nystrom obviously cannot, then its worth a look, isn’t it?

    Building a good NHL team is not complicated. Good teams need good players.

    (note: “not complicated” is not the same as “easy”)

    1.) Glencross is an NHL player, quite a nice one at that.
    2.) Nystrom is just about replacement level, he’s on the borderline of “flat-out bad”.
    3.) Draft picks in the 2nd round and lower are below 50/50 gambles at real NHL players.

    I don’t understand why #2 and #3 have value over #1.

    Let’s not complicate this business of building hockey teams. Good teams need good players. Everything else is junk.

  • dustin642

    I don’t know if this is just a rumor or what but I heard Nystrom claimed to be playing the first half of the season with a groin injury which was detrimental to his play. He did have a career season too which means he probably will get better barring no injuries next season. I also really like glencross and would like to see the team keep both players

    • That’s accurate…on green garbage bag day, Nystrom admitted to injuring his groin on the Halloween game against Detroit. He played through it from November through to the Olympic break.

      He credited the Olympic break as the turning point for him, as he felt a whole lot better from March on.

  • He did have a career season too which means he probably will get better barring no injuries next season

    He’s 27, he is who he is. That’s a fourth liner, with zero offensive potential in a role with actual icetime and responsibilities. Groin injury or no groin injury.

    They don’t call them career seasons for nothing.

  • I think the flames should try and ship out David Moss at the draft for a draft pick (preferably 2nd rounder). Sutter could probably swing the deal, with Moss having scored 20 goals before. The reason I think the FLames should trade him is simple. Get rid of Moss’s $1.3 million salary and you’ll have enough room to resign Eric Nystrom.

    • To me, I kind of look at in a “is there someone else that can do what Nystrom does for cheaper?”

      The answer is yes, unfortunately.

      Nystrom is a likeable guy, but I don’t know if he should be a high priority in terms of being re-signed.

  • …Jokienen and Phaneuf (even Staios) trades were ok. He’s a good GM that isn’t afraid to make some ballsie trades. Just can’t get my head around why he trades for players and lets them go during free agency (ie. Cammy, Huselius, and possibly Higgins). You’ve GOT TO FIND A WAY to keep your goal scorers, even if it means putting contracts down into the minors (ie. Sarich @ 3.5 million). Those 3 guys will put up a combined 60-90 goals per season.