Well, there’s that…

                                               I'm baaaaaaaaaack. Did you miss me? I missed you.

Look, I’m not going to try to put any lipstick on this pig. Olli Jokinen’s tenure in Calgary was a complete failure, full stop. His acquisition and subsequent trade bookended a period that one might hope had cured Darryl Sutter from making any rash moves.

With that in mind, his relatively inexpensive acquisition of Alex Tanguay earlier this afternoon made a bit of sense, especially since his initial move away from Calgary was driven by factors other than his actual performance.

This move, however, really defies description. So, is there any reason to hope? After the jump, I’ll try to make some sense of it all.

I’d be the first person to say that I was pretty uncomfortable with Mikael Backlund as a stand-alone 3C, since he needed some very sheltered minutes to compete at the NHL level last year. Matt Stajan seems like a tweener 2/3C, and Daymond Langkow is still very useful, but he’s no kid and is coming off a fairly major neck injury.

So I do understand that the team might have felt that their center ice position was looked a bit thin. I don’t worship the cult of the "first-line center" as ardently as some, but the better teams in the conference (DET and CHI in particular) are three deep in the middle with some nice players. 

My question would be, "Is there any evidence that Olli Jokinen any kind of solution to that problem?" The answer is a very slight chance of "maybe", but with a ton of qualifiers, none of which I’d expect the Flames to adhere to. First, Olli Jokinen has exactly zero historical evidence in his favour suggesting he can play against good players.

That means that if the club expects success from the return of the Wild Card, he has to play against soft competition, with a nice heaping of PP work. If the Flames have the wit to give him Hagman/GlenX and Moss for linemates versus third liners, he might manage to out-shoot and out-score. Olli Jokinen did have some poor shooting luck in terms of percentages, but his possession numbers were shabby enough versus top players to convince me that he wasn’t merely unlucky. 

Second, for the love of (insert the deity of your choice), keep him away from Jarome Iginla. Those two were the Toxic Twins last year, and I don’t see how a brief interregnum will have solved their utter inability to make a go of matters.

I don’t doubt that Alex Tanguay, if healthy, would be the kind of nice passer that might help both of them, but if that line runs PvP next year, their shifts will replace staged fights as my cue to head for the fridge or the can, because I won’t want to watch that crap. I’m not the type to rubber-neck at car crashes, y’know? My concern is that Sutter and Sutter won’t be able to resist.

I’m not going to belabor this much more. Olli Jokinen isn’t the anti-christ, and as a small point in his favour, I do remember his surprisingly poignant presser the night he was traded where he took responsibility for the disappointing turn of events.

It was actually difficult to listen to, especially given that he and Brandon Prust clearly played that game under duress, since they were obviously headed to New York before the game started. So I try not to be too harsh toward a player that was a poor fit under the circumstances. 

The guy who pulled the trigger? Well, I’ll have a few words to say about him soon enough, if the authorities don’t detain him for his own safety first. I think the mood might be a bit foul around Calgary for the near term, at least.

  • Nystrom got 17% more money than Glencross despite the 10/11 cap being less than 5% more than 08/09.

    Their track records were similar at the point of singing, though Glencross has been such a terrific depth forward in his tenure here that he must’ve been the same before as a Jacket/Oiler, a smart GM with keen eye could have spotted the difference.

    I’m glad Sutter didn’t get in on that action.

  • If ever there was a time id be inclined to make a comment, i guess today is the day. I honestly have a gut feeling this day may not be what FlamesNation was hoping for but i am interested enough in these moves for Tanguay and Ollie. I doubt Sutter has shown all his cards on the 1st day of the free agent frenzy so to all you that feel this is the worst day since the Gilmour Trade… Relax, wait for the next 90 days play out and see what lineup Brent has to play with.

  • iAlberta

    Bah, Higgins is getting courted heavily according to Dreger.

    I still think he’d be a better centre than Stajan (he has played centre before IIRC) and would cost, what, $3M at the top end right? And realistically you could probably get it done for 1/3 to 2/3 of Stajan’s cap hit.

    Bah.

  • Uhh…are the reports the Flames signed Jackman and Ivanans right? Because, if so, the Flames now have Backlund slated to play with two guys who can’t play hockey at the NHL level (but they’re tough!).

    Depressing.

  • Olli on the Fan:

    Shocked that the first guy to call was Darryl jumped on the offer, knows he didn’t play as well as expected, glad to be back… liked the team & coaches, thinks that he can play like he did the first 10 games he arrived all season long and that he should, doesn’t want to hit the post like he did all last year, says that Brent was a great coach had an emotional talk with him after the trade (Brent was apparently surprised), says he treats everybody the same and will be happy to play for them again, says that the team is strong and that they have to bounce back, he’s happy that he still has a lot of his stuff in Calgary or in boxes (jokingly).

  • Tanguay – Langkow – Iginla
    Hagman – Stajan – Bourque
    Glencross – Jokinen – Moss

    I’m not the happiest with this potential depth chart. The centres behind Langkow really cannot drive possession, though the wingers are pretty good. It would have been nice if Higgins could come in here and take one of those slots away.

    Still, there is some potential PVP action with that top line. Iginla really scares me now and Tanguay’s been verifiably injured (as opposed to Iggy where it’s just me who thinks he’s played hurt) but now at least the individual elements of the line all have track records of difference-making.

    But you just know Lanks is not going to play in that spot. We’re going to spend 60 games “figuring” out that Langkow is the best centre on the team. Again.

    • Sonch

      I think a better team make up would presently be:

      Tanguay – Langkow – Iggy

      Higgins – Stajan – Bourque

      Hagman – Jokinen – Glencross

      I dont know but I would hope they can still find a deal for Higgins and White. The $$$ are there they just need to move Staios, Kotalik (prolly already gone), and Sarich. If Jokinen is treated as a 3rd line center this move might not be terrible. I wouldnt put money on him treated as a 3rd liner though. Maybe they would be better to treat jokinen as a winger but there again we all know that wont happen.