What’s to Be Done With Alex Tanguay?



As the Flames roll along on the wave of their on-going hot streak, the question of player valuation has become a hot topic, particularly around pending UFA’s Curtis Glencross, Anton Babchuk and Alex Tanguay. The latter has experienced something of renaissance as a Flame after several straight seasons of lackluster results, particularly the horrendous 10-goal, 37-point season he had in Tampa Bay last year.

Despite his poor trend-line, I was a fan of the Tanguay re-signing this past summer, mostly because a one-year, $1.7M deal represented next to no risk. He was also a guy who was relatively effective in his first tour of duty in Calgary and the chance of of him re-discovering his form in town was a worthwhile gamble at that price.

The gamble paid off, insofar as Tanguay’s output has returned to career norms. He currently has 18 goals and 54 points in 65 games, a pace that would see him finish around 70 points over a full 82 game schedule. After experiencing a shooting percentage drop to 11.1% in Tampa, he has jumped back up to 19.1% this year for Calgary. Normally that would be a red-flag, but Tanguay is actually one of the most efficient shooters in the NHL with a career average of 18.9% (!!), so that’s not an aberrant rate for him. There’s also no denying his effect on the team – due to his unique ability to see plays develop and find holes in coverage, Tanguay brings the club’s IQ and puck distribution up considerably.

All that said, the results aren’t all pointing in one direction for Tanguay, so the question fo whether to re-sign him – and at what price – is a murky one. As Lawrence pointed out in my post on Jokinen and Babchuk, Tanguay hasn’t moved the needle in terms of possession when it comes to the the Flames first line. The Iginla, Tanguay combo have faced a lot of second lines and such this year and have started out more often in the offensive zone (zone start = 55%), but are hovering around the .500 mark in terms of corsi nonetheless. So although they are being put into a position to succeed, Tanguay’s possession rates are marginal. 

This means his production is far more reliant on a team high on-ice shooting percentage of 12.19% at ES, which tends to be untenable over the long-term in the current NHL. There’s some suggestion in Tanguay’s past that hes a guy who can shift a team’s SH% to the good to a small degree (likely owing to his own high SH% and ability to set up others for quality chances), but even with that in mind, 12.19% is the highest ES SH% Tanguay has seen over the last four seasons. That means there is a good chance his his on-ice SH% will regress downwards going forward which is a problem given his lackluster possession rates. A good percentage can float a player even when he’s under water in terms of corsi, but things can get ugly awfully quick when the frequency rate sinks.   

Tanguay is also 32 years-old next November and has battled shoulder problems the last few years. Considering those factors in concert with his so-so corsi rate and high on-ice SH%, it’s entirely possible that he won’t replicate his 70 point pace going forward. Tanguay is still clearly a skilled offensive player and he tends to be a capable foil for Jarome Iginla, but there’s no shortage of risks involved with signing him to a bigger deal at the conclusion of this season.

It’s an open question to what degree Tanguay will value staying in Calgary over seeking to leverage his revival for another big pay day. If it’s more the former, maybe the club can lessen their exposure to risk by signing him to another sweetheart deal. If it’s more the latter and Tanguay pursues a "market-appropriate" contract for a 70-point forward, then the Flames will have to consider letting him walk.

  • It’s a nice problem to have.

    I’m personally happy for Tanguay, since he got a bum’s rush from Iron Mike.

    And unlike Babchuk, there’s no “this is all we got for Dion?” feelings.

    I’m in favour of resigning him, either to the aforementioned sweetheart deal or to a shorter (2 year?) contract. Preferrably both.

    But if it’s a fat, long term contract, I’d be happier to see a rehabilitated Tanguay go bloat a competitor’s payroll rather than stay.

  • clib542

    i think that every play wants to play and play with success. When Tanguay was in Tampa, he wasnt playing top 6 minutes, he wasnt with Stamkos, St Louis or Vinny. He had linemates of Downie and Halpren. He averaged under 16 minutes a game for Tampa. For Calgary he has only play 2 games where he got less than 16 minutes in a game.

    I doubt you want to take that chance and go back to a situation like that.

    I expect him to resign

  • icedawg_42

    Unless you can rid yourself of a couple more ugly contracts *cough cough* Hagman, *cough cough gasp hack gag* Stajan, then signing Tanguay will probably come at the cost of losing Glencross as well – put them side by side and at the same price I’d take Tanguay over the short term, still, makes it a tougher pill to swallow. Glencross will probably be fishing for the kind of money I would offer Tangs short term….I think 2 years at 2.75 is reasonable – Boomer on Fan960 suggested offering Tanguay a REAL haircut at 1.8 for one more year to “wait and see, and we’ll take care of you after that”…but I cant see Tanguay taking that kind of risk, what’s in it for him? On the flip-side Playing top line minutes, PP time, and with Iggy in Calgary would be a motivating factor, one would think..It’s pretty much proven that “it works” for him here..this is a guy who had become so disenchanted that he reportedly thought about quitting the game….He may well be able to fish a longer term deal and more money, say above 3 million, elsewhere, but in the interests of the team’s future, I dont think Feaster can match that.

  • Upkeeper

    If the Flames want to be a team that can rebuild as you go then older stars need to take less money to be secondary scoring as younger stars emerge. His signing will be very crutial for the upcoming years. Will the Flames lock in major dollars with a 30+? Or, will the 30+ take less money to help the team grow? We all know what Darryl’s philosophy was,(lock in as much experience for as long as possible…aka 30+ for lots of dollars) now it will be time to see what the new brass desides.
    I think Tanguay will continue to take the discount to play with Iggy. I hope he signs between 1.5-2.5. I think he learned his lesson the first time leaving.

  • everton fc

    I believe all three have earned the chance to be re-signed if they want to stay here. I think Tanguay wants to be here. Not sure about Glencross, but I’ll assume he does, too. As for Babchuk, who knows?

    If we bring Erixon and Brodie on the roster next year, is Babchuk expendable? Perhaps…

    But I think we do what we can to reward Tanguay and Glencross. I’d support that. As a fan, I think it’s the right thing to do. And I think Feaster is the type of GM who rewqrds for effort. At least that’s how he speaks…

    As for Hagman and Stajan… Good point by icedawg. But moving at least one after the season is over will be easier than at the trade deadline. Hagman may be worth a 3rd/4th/5th round pick to someone this summer particularly if he closes the season strong and a good playoff run. Stajan I think we are stuck with, but I also think he will not duplicate his pathetic showing this year, next season.

    Being hopeful, of course!

  • Upkeeper

    If we bring up the likes of Erixon and Brodie, then I would think that makes Babchuk expendable, or atleast makes Staios expendable.

    I would prefer to see this team be somewhat competent next year, offensively speaking, So if we are going to bring up a couple AHLers’ to play for the flames, we will need some consistent veterans to guide this team. Thats why I think we need guys like Tanguay and Glencross next year, hopefully in 2-3 years are youth have begun to take over and our veterans won’t need to be relied upon as they currently do.

    • everton fc

      Staois will not be re-signed.

      Sarich should be our #5 d-man. With Erixon and Brodie in the wings… Perhaps Babchuk remains the #6 d-man, if Brodie and Erixon can play 3-4 minutes…

      Could they? I don’t know. Could either Erixon or Brodie play with Gio in the #4 slot next season? I don’t know. Erixon, from what I hear, needs to bulk up. I wonder if Brodie could handle #4 d-man minutes next season?

  • Vintage Flame

    I was listening to the Fan this morning and Boomer was talking about signing Tangs. The consensus seems to be that the market offers for Tanguay will be about 3 Mil per year over 3 years. Calgary probably wants to sign him to a 2 year deal for about 2.25 Mil per. Most say that prices us out of Glencross.

    I have NO problem giving Tanguay 2.25-3 Mil but the Flames are going to have to be creative about it. We are close to the Cap already for next year, assuming Langkow comes back. Solution?

    What if BOTH Tanguay and GlenX take a leap of faith with the Flames as the Flames did with them, bringing them here?

    What if the Flames give Tangs 2 Mil next year and then 4 in the 2nd year. He gets his 6 mil over 2 years and the Flames are spared the Cap hit.
    GlenX could do the same. Take 2-2.5 Mil next year and then back end load his 2nd and 3rd and perhaps his 4th to compensate.

    The Flames have about 25 Mil come off their books at the end of next year. It is workable but there needs to be that commitment between team and player? I believe these guys know that the Flames, to a degree, have already shown that level of dedication to them, Will they repay the Flames with a short term “home town discount”?

    • T&A4Flames

      Are you suggesting 2 seperate contracts for these guys? Giving Tangs 2mil 1 year and then 4mil the next on 1 contract is still a $3mil annual cap hit. I’m not sure you could get Tangs and expecially GlenX to accept 1 year deals and risk losing out on a bigger pay day.

    • icedawg_42

      Cap will average over the term of the contract, so unfortunately you cant “rear load it” for cap space…you could only do that with cash. To sign both GlenX and Tangs is going to be very tricky with Stajan and Hagman still on the books – and it gets even worse if Langkow comes back. The only way around it might be a “gentleman’s agreement” to tell both guys, we’ll sign you to a 1 yr NTC for your 2.5 and then we PROMISE to sign you to another contract for more term and money..honest…scout’s honor.

  • T&A4Flames

    Idealy I would like to give Tangs a 2 year deal at around $2.75 per. That would extend him through until Iggy’s contract is over. They obviously have good chemistry and friendship which could help each other out. It would be nice if we had some young guys take over the 1st line duties by the last year but I don’t see that happening at this point.

    • Vintage Flame

      I agree and I think Tanguay would take that too. I might have “fan blindness”, but I think Tangs would take that too. I think he remembers all too well what it was like the last time left. I understand it was for different reasons before, but Boomer talked about that too. Do you want to take 2 Mil and play on the top line and get top minutes with the guy you have like as much as Sakic? Or do you take the 3 Mil and play somewhere where you just don’t know what your time is like or who you play with?

      … And I don’t think GlenX is in much of a different situation. I heard a while back that a lot of these guys’ agents are advising them differently now. You might want to take less money to play in a market you like and know you can excel in. I’m not pretending to know what is going on inside ol’ scoreface’s mind, but I thin he has to take a look at where he would go and who he would play with to get these same results. Never in his career has he had this kind of success and really what are his conceivable options.

      Most of the top end teams are looking at Cap restrictions as much as Calgary is. Even if he went to LA or something, they are below in the standings and I don’t think he has a legit chance to sign with a contender and expect the money everyone thinks he may get. Does he want to move down in the standings to get more money?

  • T&A4Flames

    Do you wanna… do do you wanna know, I think we need to re-sign Tanguay. The guy has shown chemistry with Iginla and I we all know that has been lacking. I think that he would take a discount, simply because I don’t think anyone would’ve given him the chance and he said leaving Calgary the first time was the biggest mistake he’s made. If we can get him in the 2-3 million range, sign him.

    It may be hard to re-sign Glencross but if he walks, so be it. Someone in an earlier thread I believe mentioned how Nik Hagman scored 27 in a contract year. If you can sign Glencross for 2 million maybe 2.5, take him but if he asks for at least over 3 million, let him walk.

    Babchuk should only be resigned if we can get him a 1 million or there around. He’s good on the power play but he’s not worth over that price. I have a feeling a GM who looks just at points (Sather) may sign him for big bucks, hopefully Feaster isn’t one of those guys.

    If we can deal Hagman somehow for a draft pick, 5th rounder or so, we should take it. I don’t think anyone will take Stajan but for a bag of pucks, we should accept the deal 🙂

  • Much like Glencross, I can’t see Tanguay signing for less than double what he (they) is (are) currently getting, at least before July 1st – that’s Glencross @ $2.4M & Tanguay @ $3.4M.

    If neither are willing to take the “hometown discount” (which is slightly less than market value, NOT way less than market value), then see ya.

    But after signing for $1.7M, I can’t see Tanguay taking any less than $2.7M.

    Does this work? 3 yr deal (I’d prefer 2):
    yr 1 – double current salary = $3.4M
    yr 2 – average of current salary & yr 1 = $2.55M
    yr 3 – same as yr 2 = $2.55M
    cap hit = $2.833M ($8.5M/3yrs)

    • T&A4Flames

      I don’t mind that deal; hopefully Tangs would say the same thing. As for GlenX, if we could sign him at or under $3mil, could that render Bourque expendable? If Glennie can score 20-25 a year on the 2nd line, we could probably get a nice return on Bourque and not worry about a somewhat injury prone guy for 5 more years.

      • Vintage Flame

        highly improbable for glenx to repeat this seasons performance. 2 year deal at 2 mill. as for tangs also a 2 year deal at 2.75. the flames cannot foolishly believe that glenx will remain immortal for much longer.

        • CitizenFlame

          I think Tanguay could be signed for hometown discount but it will take security and probably some term. 3 years and a NTC and I think he’d sign in the range that everyone is hoping for. He knows he has a good thing here, but if people (Boomer) thinks the guys is going to sign for 1.8 they’re nuts. This could be his last chance at bigger payday and he’d be stupid to sign for that low just because he likes it here.

  • everton fc

    I don’t think Tanguay will play hardball with the organization. He wants to be here. His family wants to be here. He respects the organization for bringing him back, giving him another chance. He’s a class act, a man of character. He’ll come to an agreement with the Flames that will benefit the organization. Who knows, he may have found a home here, a career, like Conroy.

    As for Glencross… If he and his agent play hardball, Feaster will let him go. Nystrom made the same mistake. I bet he regrets it. He’s nothing in Minnesota like he was here.

    If we can keep Glencross, I’d do everyhting possible to make that happen. Babchuk at $1mill for 2 years… at his age… I’d take that, too. Who knows – if Sutter can teach Glencross consistency and make a legitimnate third line winger out of Jackman… Who’s to say he can’t make a defenceman out of Babchuk?!

    • MC Hockey

      I hope you are right about Tangs not playing hardball but I am not sure now given his great season. We need to afford him but pay hime somewhat fairly right? Perhaps a long-term contract averaging down to 2.8 million cap hit would work if we think he will play well here for 5-6 years as I bet Iggy re-signs for 3-4 more later. As for Glencross, let’s hope the lesson from Nystrom (he has what 2 goalsin Minny?) is not lost on him. I think folks are under-rating Babchuk a bit (big shot, blocks shots, decent D play) and he will look for bigger bucks like $2.5M and probably leave but hope we can get him at $2.0M or less and bring in cheap young D guys (say keep Carson and/or Mikkelson with tiny raises, and add Brodie).

  • Quicksilver ballet

    After extensive hours of crunching numbers into the brand new Flametron5000 computer system (located in the palatial Flamesnation studios) we could find no other alternative ending to the Flames season. It all comes to an end with a fiery crash with two weeks left in the season, no playoff dreams this year flame fans.

    ….any thoughts to the new computer system Flamesnation?

  • icedawg_42

    Oilers need to SERIOUSLY shore up their defense and then find a solid elite veteran to bring their kids along – then maybe I’ll buy that they’re 17.4 months away from being a contender. As far as “not worst in the league” – I think most of us thought that would be this year…I’ll wait and see with them. They’ve got themselves some impressive youth, but im still not 100% sold on their overall formula.

    • SmellOfVictory

      You don’t really need elite players to bring up the kids. You need responsible players who know how to play solidly and can shoulder some of the responsibility; I think Horcoff and Hemsky are pretty good in that respect.

  • BobB

    Totally agree. Tanguay has been very good, bordering on excellent for his current value. He seems to have lost a little on the defensive end of things to my eye, but perhaps I’m imagining that.

    2007 CorsiOn was 5.84, 1.042 RelComp, PDO of 102.8 with an on-ice sh% of 10.7.

    Those are compared to today:

    CorsiOn: -0.92, 0.840 RelComp, PDO 101.4, on-icesh% as Kent mentioned of 12.2.

    So he’s slipping a little, but not a ton, still works well with Iginla and is only 31.

    He scored 58 points in 78 games in 2007 (under control of Mike the Destroyer) and as Kent also mentioned, is on pace for around 65-70 this year.

    Problem is, in 2007 he was making 5 million a year, but had added motivation to leave with the then-existing coaching staff.

    So, the question remains, will he force the Flames hand while looking for a new contract, knowing that last time around luck didn’t shine on him in Montreal and Tampa?

    Or, does he take a “home-town-discount” and sign for a longer term, lower cost value contract going forward.

    With all his risks, injuries and otherwise, I’d be more comfortable with him making Stajan money and Stajan making Tanguay money.

    So, 3.0mil for 3 years? Seems unlikely, but I’d hope.

  • T&A4Flames

    …FYI, there is no way Tanguay signs with a team for less than 3 million per season. I would think that the “home town discount” that would have been in place is gone now since Sutter isn’t there to resign him. My take is that he signs a 2 or 3 year deal for 3 or 4 million per.

  • BobB

    …I don’t know why Morrison isn’t thrown into the UFA conversation more. He’s having a great season and could be valuabe for 2 or 3 more years.

    …IMO, Glencross isn’t worth what he will get on the UFA market. I can see him getting a 4 year deal at 3.5 or 4 million from some poor sap.

    …for a 3rd pairing PP specialist like Babchuck, anything over 3 million is too much. I’d give him a longer term deal (4 years) for 2-2.5 million per, or a shorter deal (2 or 3) for up to 2.5-3 million per.

    • T&A4Flames

      I tend to agree with this. A 1 year deal at that $ value for Glennie to show he can repeat this years performance. Longer term, less $. The problem is, that 1 year deal limits other signings/moves.

      As for Babchuk, I like how he has fit on this team but I wouldn’t want to give him more than 1.8ish and 3 years. He would be good to keep for his shot on the PP until 1 of our rookies can show they can handle that role. Bottom line is that his #s are good but that is largely due to good coaching.

      I too like having Morrison on this team. He has proven to be most versatile in many situations. Someone else suggested keeping him in a Conroy type role. Again, until we develop some young talent that can take over, it couldn’t hurt. But what is his value at this point? How much would he want?

      • T&A4Flames

        …in response to the Babchuck is largely doing well as a result of good coaching. This is true, but is also extremely obvious.

        …I’m not trying to take anything away from this argument or the good coaching of Brent Sutter, but anyone with any hockey sense knows what type of a player Babchuck is and likewise knows his strengths and limitations.

        …this doesn’t negate the fact that Babchuck produces in the role given to him. Every player is given a role, every player needs to succeed in that role in order to remain relevant, and Babchuck is doing a good job. It’s not like this season is an anomaly, he has done it before, Sutter knew exactyl what Babchuck was when he aquired him.

        • BobB


          Finding diamonds in the rough at the depth level was one of Sutter’s most obvious strengths.

          He surely didn’t win ’em all (Kotalik) but he sure won a ton of em.

          Higher up the salary charts is a different story.

          • BobB

            …on a totally different topic Lawrence, why did Kent Wilson lose his mind when he read you post the other day? I’ve challenged him more than a few times and he gets kind of rattled (this board trends toward group-think in a large way, like they are all buddies or something), but didn’t write a page tyrade against my comment. Past history or totally destroying his “objective” opinions?

  • T&A4Flames

    …I’d give Glencross the 3.5-4 million for a one year deal just to see if he can replicate this seasons results. But anything more than one year I wouldn’t go north of 3 million.

  • T&A4Flames

    While on the topic of Fa’s, I would like to see more of this Carson kid. It would be nice if he could slot into the #4 position beside Gio. No offence to Sarich but we need to get more young blood on this team. If Carson is a capable defender with similar characteristics to Sarich, Sarich could play the 3rd pairing and maybe be trade bait come deadline time with only the remainder of the year on his contract.