Flames Random Thoughts – Feb. 13



 It’s time for another random thoughts article. The Flames unlikely run has made things more interesting these days, in ways beyond simply battling for a playoff spot down the stretch.

Glencross And Bourque…Decisions, Decisions

– The most contentious issue currently is the contract status of one Curtis Glencross. After a rough patch earlier this year in November, Glencross has been quality since, driving things from where ever he’s landed in the line-up. Usually that’s meant in a 2nd or 3rd line role with David Moss, but Sutter elevated him to Jarome Iginla’s unit last night against the Canucks and it was a pretty fruitful coupling. Glencross is the hottest Flame going right now with goals in four straight games. His ice time also crept up over 20 minutes in each of the last two contests, which is likely a first for the formerly undrafted winger. 

Naturally all this stuff makes his pending UFA status a bit of a problem. The unfortunate catch-22 of a run like this is the more Glencross seems indispensible, the higher his asking price climbs in the off-season. At 28-years old with numerous seasons of relative obscurity and bargain basement salaries, this summer will likely be Glencross’ best opportunity to cash in as a professional hockey player. As such, the Flames shouldn’t expect him to take a hair-cut to stay in town, even if this is the franchise that sparked his rise to prominence.

There’s no question that Glencross is a useful player. He crushes other third liners in terms of possession, he can play at ES and on both special teams and he can skate with the best of them. Of course, what we’re seeing right now is probably the absolute apex of his abilities and there’s a chance you’ll be paying him too much in the latter half of any long-term contract. Also, despite his recent success at the top-end of the rotation, Glencross doesn’t have a history of skating against other top-sixers and the list of NHLers who suddenly become heavy lifters is an incredibly short one. If Feaster signs Glencross now with the assumption that his current outburst will be typical going forward, he’s probably in for a surprise. And I haven’t even mentioned the career high 17.0 SH% the dude is riding currently. 

I’m a fan of Glencross. A big fan. But the Flames have to proceed with caution here. As Rene Bourque can attest to this season, exectations and responsbilities rise with an increased cap hit accordingly.

– Related: Rene Bourque continues to fight things. I’m hoping one of our credentialed brethren sits down with Bourque at some point in the near future and has the temerity to ask the guy if somethings up, because he’s not the player he once was for whatever reason. Bourque was never a complete player as compared to your Sidney Crosbys and such, but there were a few things one used to be able to count on from him in the past: winning puck races and puck battles chief amongst them. Bourque also used to drag the puck through coverage into the scoring area with aplomb. Almost none of these things happen with him anymore. He’s weak and ineffectual along the boards, his speed is usually a non-factor and the puck seems to turn into a tennis ball on his stick.

Like Glencross, the team may have to make a decision on Bourque sooner rather than later. If his malaise is temporary, then he could be a pretty useful guy going forward. If whatever ails him continues indefinitely, however, his contract will rapidly become an albatross.

Kipper: To Play or Not To Play…

– The whens and whys to play Kiprusoff are surfacing again. As usual, the Flames are in a dog fight for the last playoff spot heading down the stretch, so there never seems an opportune time to play the back-up (this year, amicabaly played by Henrik Karlsson!). I don’t know where I fall in this debate because, frankly, I’ve never seen any evidence that goalie fatigue predficts a downturn in performance. On the other hand, aside from the 9-0-1 run recently, Kipper hasn’t exactly been knocking the ball out of the park this year anyways, so the difference between him and the Calgary Tower when it comes to a single night here and there is probably negilible. That said, I’m guessing Kipper will be the starter indefinitely until the post-season is secured or lost for good.

Trade Deadline Countdown

– We’ll be gearing up for the trade deadline around here pretty soon (suggestions and such for the big day welcome in the comments BTW), but it’s unlikely things will be as…interesting as they might have been absent the big run. In fact, it’s entirely possible the club won’t do anything at all, prefering to preserve what depth they have now and seeking out real changes in he off-season when the new GM is crowned (be it Feaster for good, or whoever the ownership is holding out for).  

If you’re curious about the Flames various pending UFA’s, check out NHL numbers. I’d say the only guys that will draw any interst at all are Anton Babchuk, Curtis Glencross (naturally) and Brendan Morrison. Question is…wil Feaster have any interest at all in moving those guys with the team in the middle of a dog fight for the final playoff spot? My inclination is "no".

The other question, of course, is whether Feaster will seek to add to the roster rather than subtract. That may be true, although the Flames dearth of draft assets (no second or third rounder this summer), prospects (Nemisz, Erixon, Brodie and er…Howse?) and need to retain anyone useful for the stretch drive might make it hard to close any deals. 

Other Stuff

– Pat’s going to continue to add audio to the site when and if at all possible. Flattery and gifts might help get things rolling, so feel free to send him finery and poems (because I hear he likes that kind of stuff).

– In lieu of the now-dead Comment of the Week Contest (RIP) A new, twitter-based Hudsons contest will be coming in the next week or so. I’ll announce it here and via twitter when everything is ready to go.

  • SmellOfVictory

    My take on Glencross: unless Feaster can resign him to something under 2 m, trade him. Given his sometimes-tumultuous relationship with management and the timing of this little run, he’s probably going to be expensive – and I would bet money that he doesn’t live up to whatever contract he signs.

    If he does get traded at the deadline (I don’t think it’s unreasonable to predict that the Flames will be at the tail end of the playoff race by then), I would honestly not be surprised if Glencross fetches a pretty hefty price from a contender. He’s reasonably well-rounded, and with the numbers he has put up, I think it’s conceivable that someone (Phi, Pit, for example) trades a 1st for him.

  • wattree

    My only beef with Glencross is he seems to have a brain cramp about every 12 minutes of ice time. The soft backhand clear up the middle one the PK seems to be his favorite. The hook on Perry the other night was in there too. 2-2.5 tops for what he does. Much more than that and you’re really rolling the dice to get good ROI.

    I wonder if Bourque is a little gun shy after the concussion earlier in the year. It’s not like it’s his first. And maybe he hasn’t fully recovered. It’s one thing to pass some tests, something else to be feel like yourself.

  • SmellOfVictory

    According to Capgeek.com Flames have room to add up to $4 million at the trade deadline.

    If you are making the run for the playoffs, you keep Bourque and Glencross.

    When comparing the two, Glencross has been more valuable.

    When Glencross scores Flames are 10-2-3 while when Bourque scores, 6-4-4. Flames also average nearly 1 more goal per game when Glencross scores than when Bourque does.

    Without giving up prospects or the first round pick, there are really only 2 players Id think you would trade without having to ask players to waive no trade clauses.

    First would be Hagman.

    Hagman has one more year left after this year at 3mill. He has 9 goals and 24 points this year. Calgary obviously isnt for him. Even though he is having a rough season, I still think he has trade value. In the Olympics last year he had 4 goals and 6 points in 6 games for Finland.

    The next player is Staios.

    Trading Staois would be interesting as the Flames traded for him to help get into the playoffs last year. In 18 games this year he is neither a plus or minus player whether the Flames win or not. He is in his final year of his contract so that would be attractive to other teams who need help on defense. Once Pardy is back, Staois would return to being a healthy scratch.

    Whoever they acquire, they are likely won’t be a rental player. If you look at players where their contracts end this year, there isnt much to pick from. Either they are overpaid with little return or they are on current teams fighting for a playoff spot.

    There are only 2 players with expiring contracts over $2mill Id think would be worth acquiring for this Flames team.

    First is Cory Stillman. Florida again won’t make the playoffs. Stillman is in his 15th year and has been to two Stanley Cup Finals. His production this year is comparable to Hagman but I know who Id rather have on my team when it comes down to every game. It would be nice to see Stillman back in Calgary too.

    The other player may be a long shot but if Colorado keeps on struggling, the right trade might have him packing his bags. Milan Hejduk is having a pretty good year with 17 goals and almost a point a game. 10 of his 12 years he has gone to the playoffs and would help any team. Even with Colorado being a division rival, it hasnt stopped the two teams from making deals with big names. Fleury, Drury, Morris, Tanguay, Leopold. So its not out of the question it could happen.

  • marty

    kent, i believe that if hagman can be moved that keeping glenny is a good possibility and would help the team going forward no matter which way the flames decide to go. One other thing that makes me ponder is this rumoured riff between the coach and the player. If feaster and sutter are in this for the long haul i feel that this player will be moved at the deadline and the reasoning will be for the re acquisition of 2nd or 3rd rounders, which in theory is good and makes sense but i would like to see gcross here going forward.

  • SmellOfVictory

    Id trade Bourque. Any chance he gets shipped to Montreal or Pittsburgh? Montreal doesnt have a deep forward ranks, and they might find it useful playing Plekanec with Bourque. With Bouque, in terms of the Pens, hes signed for the next few years. If Crosby doesnt come back this year, theyll have a useful forward in Bourque waiting for him in 2012.

    I expect the Flames could get a second rounder for Bourque

  • Some random ideas…

    Matt Stajan, Matt Pelech & ’11 1st round pick for Stephen Weiss, Kenndal McArdle & ’11 2nd round pick. (Weiss, an upgrade on Stajan, gives the Flames a tough min C with offensive potential, thus finally replacing the injured Langkow; rids organization of soft Stajan while exercising Phaneuf-trade ‘demons’; also, at 27, he helps crack the Flames ‘window to win’ back open again; only way 1st rounder goes is if they get 2nd rounder back; swap former 1st round picks that have yet to make an impact.)

    Niklas Hagman & ’12 2nd rounder for Brad Boyes & a ’11 3rd rounder. (Doug Armstrong brought Hagman to Dallas from Florida; Boyes makes $1M more, so maybe unstable Blues willing to swap; regain 3rd rounder this year; continue exercising Phaneuf-trade ‘demons’.)

    Curtis Glencross for Scottie Upshall. (UFA for UFA).

    ’11 4th round pick for Chuck Kobasew. (Re-acquire former Flame & pending UFA for depth purposes)

    Adam Pardy & ’11 6th rounder for Steve Montador. (Upgrade depth by re-acquiring former Flame; UFA for UFA.)

    Steve Staios for a ’11 6th rounder.

  • Arik

    As I argued in the last episode of Matchsticks and Microphones, Staios isn’t getting traded. There’s no way any team has any interest in taking him on. Sutter trading for him last year (when he was still a regular contributor, albeit for the Oil) was absurd enough- this year when he’s been injured and/or scratched half the year?

    Not happening, not unless it’s part of a massive multi-player deal in which the other team absolutely needs a defenseman to fill space. Just waive the guy and get it over with.

  • Arik

    This current hot streak the Flames are on right now couldn’t come at a better time.. NOW is the time to cash in on all your UFA’s.

    I know that making the playoffs is priority for this team right now, but if you are a wise GM; I think you would see this as a perfect oppurtunity to move a guy like Glencross, Babchuck, Staios and Morrison get the most for them. The risk of having these guys walk at the end of the year, and missing the playoffs to boot would be really unfortunate.

    I think a positive change for this team this year would be to acquire some assets instead of the short term goal of adding depth for a dog fight into the playoffs; especially when we would have to give up Backlund, a first, or both to add any real impact. However, can they afford not to make the playoffs this year?

    The moves I would like to see if buyers are(Sign of the Cross);
    Hagman + Staios -> Montador + 3rd
    Backlund + 1st(’12) -> Stephen Weiss

  • Arik

    …trade Borque, Stajan, and Glencross either separately or packaged to the Penguins and/or Rangers. Shiro desperately needs help up front and Sather doesn’t even try anymore. Could definitely get a few top 60 picks and some prospects. Would enable Backlund to move into the 3rd centre position and would make room for Hagman to get back on the 2nd line. Recall Kotalik and put him with Backlund and Jackman. Recall Meyer and trade Staios for a 4th line centre.

  • Arik

    …try and re-up Tanguay (3m), Morrison (2.5m), Babchuck (2m), and Pardy (1.5m) for a couple years each.

    …try and get Kotalik going so we can at least trade him or someone will pick him up on waivers.

  • TheGirlOutWest

    “…try and get Kotalik going so we can at least trade him or someone will pick him up on waivers”

    He’s not *going* for the Heat. Dead issue…let him go back to Europe!

  • TheGirlOutWest

    Excited by the run by the Flames!

    I hope Feaster is making overtures now to get the desired UFAs under contract. If they refuse to commit prior to the deadline then they are fair game for a trade. Include players with a year remaining if the right deal comes along.

    Losing any of them would hurt but I would rather Feaster be straight up and say this is to ensure we get an asset in return. Existing players will quite possibly step-up to fill the void and that has to be a reasonable expectation.

    Not that we draft strong (a seperate issue) but we need to draft and develop prospects and the more picks we have the better.

    No hard feelings Jay if you trade away any of them, even if it hinders playoff chances. I want a competitive team at all times so short term pain for long term gain.

    ps Jay: please get an improved crew to help with scouting and development. Has been a bust to date and stop playing Backlund 6-7 mins a game. Send him to the minors to play 18+ and actually develop some skills besides how to be a spectator.

    Go Flames!