The Matt Pelech Situation

CALGARY, CANADA - SEPTEMBER 15: Matt Pelech #56 of the Calgary Flames battles with Jean-Francois Jacques #22 of the Edmonton Oilers in the third period of the pre-season NHL game on September 15, 2009 at the Pengrowth Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Mike Ridewood/Getty Images)


We recently discussed the TJ Brodie issue, but there’s no question that Matt Pelech is probably an even more pressing situation due to his age and waiver eligibility. Whats more, his performance in training camp has further muddied the waters.

It’s no secret that I wasn’t a fan of Pelech’s play against the Islanders in Saskatoon. To reiterate, Pelech played a limited role and was nevertheless shakey at times despite being relatively sheltered. At 23 and with several pro seasons under his belt, my expectations were higher for Pelech. I’ve been hopeful all summer that the kid would have progressed enough to convince the decision makers to waive and demote Stevet Staios, but if Wednesday night is a true indication of his current abilities, then Pelech is actually further away from that goal than I thought.

It’s entirely possible, of course, that his most recent performance was not actually indicative of his level of abilities. After all, players have bad games all the time. The primary inherent flaw in trying to judge guys during preseason is not just the lackluster AHL-esque competition, but the size of the sample, which is fairly tiny.  

If the injuries to Langkow and Stajan truly grants the team a stay of execution in regards to their cap problems, there’s a chance they could in fact enter the regular season with eight defenders (as mentioned by Sutter recently) with the goal of swapping in Pelech now and then to see how he fares over a longer period against better opponents. If he continues to struggle, the club can try to waive or trade him. If he finds his feet and usurps Staios, the Flames can demote Steady Steve when one of Stajan or Langkow is ready to return.

  • Oyo

    i was wondering about that actually. obviously im not an expert on anything regarding CBA or LTIR, so my question is.. the players we choose to keep now on the big club now due to numerous injuries (see pelech?, backlund perhaps), what happens when that 7.5 mill comes back into play on the team??

    do we have to waive them or because of the LTIR do they bypass the waiver and we can send them down without worrying about being picked up??

    just curious

  • CitizenFlame

    Yes, I would say that it’s almost assured that Pelech breaks camp with the big club. Why would they waive Kronwall, who makes NHL money regardless of where he plays, before Pelech if the intention wasn’t to have him with the Flames going into the regular season.

    • Kronwall’s fate isn’t any sort of indication one way or the other. He was signed last year as an AHLer/injury replacement guy and that’s just what he is. I don’t know what compelled Sutter to give him a one-way contract at the time and it’s something that still baffles me.

      That said, Kronwall was always going to be waived and sent down at this point in the proceedings, regardless of what Pelech or Brodie did.

  • PrairieStew

    The morning Cap geek fix :

    FORWARDS Alex Tanguay ($1.700m) / Olli Jokinen ($3.000m) / Jarome Iginla ($7.000m) Niklas Hagman ($3.000m) / Mikael Backlund ($1.270m) / Rene Bourque ($3.333m) Curtis Glencross ($1.200m) / David Moss ($1.300m) / Ales Kotalik ($3.000m) Tim Jackman ($0.550m) / Craig Conroy ($0.500m) / Raitis Ivanans ($0.600m) / Matthew Stajan ($3.500m) / Stefan Meyer ($0.512m) / Daymond Langkow ($4.500m)

    DEFENSEMEN Jay Bouwmeester ($6.680m) / Robyn Regehr ($4.020m) Cory Sarich ($3.600m) / Ian White ($2.999m) Steve Staios ($2.700m) / Mark Giordano ($0.891m) Adam Pardy ($0.700m) / Staffan Kronwall ($0.500m)

    GOALTENDERS Miikka Kiprusoff ($5.833m) /Henrik Karlsson ($0.500m)

    BUYOUTS: Nigel Dawes ($0.141m)

    CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS (follow @capgeek on Twitter) (these totals are compiled using the bonus cushion) SALARY CAP: $59,400,000; CAP PAYROLL: $63,533,328; BONUSES: $425,000 CAP SPACE (25-man roster): -$3,708,328

    Backlund and S Meyer at forward replacing the injured centres. Kronwall or Pelech as #8 d man makes only $100k diff. $3.7 over the cap with Kronwall. On the return of either Stajan or Langkow you can send your #8 defense or any of your forwards down and you’d be as much as $3.2 over(still less than Stajans salary so permissible) ; however I would prefer you get that number to $2.7 so Staios could be the solution. So if Stajan comes back first – because the amount you are over is less than Langkow’s salary – you actually would not have to make a roster move, and there is no salary cap benefit to sending a guy down.

  • BobB

    I know this is stupid, but allow me…

    I looks at that list of defenders and dollars and think:

    1.Jbo – 6.68
    2.Gio – 0.891
    3.Regehr – 4.02
    4.White – 2.99
    5.Phaneuf – 6.5
    6.Pardy/Brodie/X – ~.700

    It’s effectively the same money minus Staios and Sarich (6.3). Now, I know depth is important, which we have. I know Phaneuf isn’t worth 6.5. I know Gio needs to be re-upped. Heck, it doesn’t even have to be Phaneuf (although I still like him)

    But YOU all know what my point is. Somewhere, a few things went sideways with our defenders and acquisitions.