So, after two days of drafting in Los Angeles, the weekend comes to an end without a "big move" from GM Darryl Sutter and the Calgary Flames. They made one deal and drafted six players, but the feedback I’m getting seems to point to a little disappointment.
Kent put together a review of the six Flames players drafted, along with goaltender Henrik Karlsson, whom Calgary acquired from the San Jose Sharks. But I guess we shouldn’t be all that surprised that nothing substantial happened trade-wise. Darryl said on Thursday he wasn’t anticipating much movement or action, and to be honest, talking to other GM’s around the NHL, most were surprised that there wasn’t a ton of movement.
Sutter said he was kicking tires and seeing what was out there, but in the end, there wasn’t a ton of interest for players, especially if multiple picks were going to involved. That was from all teams, not just the Flames, but Sutter acknowledged his team could have acquired a first or second round pick, but Darryl wasn’t willing to make two-for-one or three-for-one deals. He pointed to a draft where similar caliber guys could be had in the second round and the third round.
I understand how you could be a little disappointed with no moves player-wise, and no jump ahead in the draft order, but I guess we can’t be ticked if Sutter did what he said he was going to do (or not going to do). The one thing I think isn’t being taken into acccount, at least with some, is the fact the draft isn’t the only place for deals to happen. Yes, if you want to use picks in a deal, then the draft is a perfect place to do it. But there is still a good window between the end of the picks to the opening of the free agency period on July 1st.
I’m not saying the Flames are going to go out and make five trades on Tuesday. But if they were working on something, maybe the draft was a good place to start preliminary talks. It’s one of the only times during the calendar year when every GM is in the same building focusing solely on their hockey teams. Two managers may start talks and finish them down the road when there is a little more time to get things done. Oilers GM Steve Tambellini told the media that it was almost too busy to even think about trading on day two in LA, because things go so quickly that it’s tough to iron out anything. I can attest to the pace of round two through seven; it went by in around the same time frame as the first round.
Sutter said Thursday his first priority is to focus on their own team, signing RFA’s and UFA’s, before going out and adding players to his team. With that being said, Sutter told the media today that he’s talked to all of his pending free agents except one. The only reason that player (who Sutter wouldn’t name) hasn’t been contacted is because the Flames are waiting to see what happens elsewhere. My guess would be that player is Craig Conroy, just because of the circumstances of his situation, but that’s purely a spitballing guess. He’s the type of guy that you might sign if you have the room after exploring other avenues, because as I’ve said before, he does have value.
On the goaltender acquired on Saturday, it seems as if Henrik Karlsson will be expected to come in and battle for the backup spot at training camp. I’m not sure if that excludes them from doing anything else on the backup goalie watch, in fact, I would assume it doesn’t; but at the very least, it’s a move addressing a weakness on the team the past few seasons.