Cleaning Up

The 2010/2011 edition of the Calgary Flames went their seperate ways on Monday afternoon after a second straight season out of the postseason.  The team fulfilled their final media obligations, met with the coaching staff for the final time and, of course, cleaned out their lockers.  Here are some observations from a day the that came too early for the Flames.

The Unknowns

We heard from Alex Tanguay early on Monday, and the most telling answer he gave came on a question we were all asking in our heads.  Tanguay was asked “would you forgo more money for stability and this situation” and the first word out of his mouth, without hesitation, was “absolutely”.   It’s very clear Tanguay wants to be here, and he made that very clear once again, and his admission that a “home town discount”, or something similar, would be in the cards made many people happy.  I’d be shocked if Tanguay wasn’t back with the Flames next season.

Brendan Morrison will have surgery Tuesday morning on an ACL injury he suffered early in March against the Blackhawks.  He revealed the recovery time will be between four and six months, but said he’ll be able to be back skating within three months…the longer time period refers to taking contact.  Brendan was very adamant that he wanted to continue playing, and wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the game, and was quick to say he’d like to be back with the Flames.  With a number of centers already under contract, I’d be surprised if Morrison was back; but I think he’s earned another contract after the season he had.

Curtis Glencross is another high profile free agent, and coming off a career high in goals, Glencross also said he’d love to be back with the Flames next season.  Just like Tanguay, Glencross hinted that maybe a longer term would be more desirable as opposed to a higher cap hit or annual salary.  I’m not as negative about the possibility of Curtis returning next year, as I think it’s fully possible Calgary will look to make moves to free up flexibility this summer.  That said, a huge offer on the market might make it difficult for the Flames to resign him.

Positive Thinking

Even though names like Giordano, Bouwmeester, Tanguay, Iginla and Glencross will not be representing Canada at the World Championships in Sweden, the Flames will have at least one representative there.  Mikael Backlund will suit up in the blue and yellow for Team Sweden for the first time at the World’s.  Hey, why not?  Backlund really progressed at the NHL level, which Head Coach Brent Sutter said was because he earned more and more ice time.  The fact he did progress at the top level was something I took value from, and it should be cool to see him in Slovakia.

Jarome Iginla was all about positivity on Monday, talking in glowing terms about his running mate all season long in Alex Tanguay.  Again, if Iginla is here going forward, which I believe he will be; so is Tanguay.  It just makes sense.  Iginla also had some really great things to say about the powerplay and the play of Mark Giordano and Anton Babchuk.  It’s funny; last year on this day, all the talk was about Iginla being traded or going elsewhere.  This year, it was all about the great season he put together, with a 43 goal season in the books.

Not So Positive

Rene Bourque was asked about a possible invite to the World’s and said he hadn’t been asked as of yet by Hockey Canada.  And I don’t really expect him to be asked.  Bourque had an inconsistent season where he was very frustrating to watch at times.  You know why it’s so frustrating?  Because even with a season where he took weeks and, sometimes, months off at a time…he still put up 27 goals.  Imagine what he could do without those annoying drop offs in play.

And Matt Stajan talked about really lacking confidence throughout the entire season.  The guy had a rough season, partly by his own doing, and a little because things just didn’t go his way.  I think the guy has some nice attributes, but he was far too soft this season, and he says he’s going to have to work hard this summer to correct some of the things that went wrong this year.

Overall…there are some positives heading into next season, and it would be inaccurate to say there wasn’t.  But it’s also a second straight year out of the playoffs, so even with a nice finish to the season, the team can’t remain in tact.  It just can’t, so changes have to be made this offseason.


    I thought an there was an interesting discussion regarding Matt Stajan between Brent Sutter and Rob Kerr on the fan. (I’m sure it’s on the web-site)

    Sutter basically said Stajan just isn’t fit/strong enough. Should be an an interesting (and important) off season for Matt.

    have to wonder what kind of impact having a Bourque/Langkow pairing back together can do for the team and Bourque’s personal numbers…..

  • Canucks Suck

    An intense summer workout can never hurt either. Look at Stamkos after his rookie season he had an intense summer training and came back as an elite player during his sophomore season. Matt Stajan is no Stamkos but I think Stamkos is a testament to how much good intense summer training can do.

  • Canucks Suck

    I felt that Morrison’s comments showed he is prepared to not be back next season, even though I did believe that he would like to come back, he is aware of the business restrictions that could be stopping that from happening.

    I agree with those that think Bourque could be more consistent if lined with Langkow. The question will be to see how the summer treats Langkow and if he can completely return as the player that he was before the injury.

    Will a good summer of extra training and added muscle be enough for Backlund to come back as the #1 centre we’re hoping for?

    I thought the interview with Staois was basically him saying good-bye. He said all the right things but is very aware that with his age and his limited ice time this year he could need to spend the summer weighing options for a post hockey future.

    I think everyone is of the opinion that we’d have no problem saying good-bye to Stajan, Hagman, Kotalik and Jokinen. But who’s going to take them? Just to get them off the books I’d be happy with a 6th or 7th rounder, but I can’t help but wonder if Feaster already tried for that at the trade deadline. I like Sarich but can’t justify the paycheque for what he offers.

    I will be interested to see if Feaster can be creative to free up space to sign some of the UFA’s that most people think should stay, or if we have a similar team (against the cap) as other years with no room for the likes of Brodie or Bouma on the roster or under the cap!

    • SmellOfVictory

      Backlund has been relatively slow to show his offensive abilities; partially I think due to the defensive focus he’s been learning under (not the worst thing in the world). I personally think he might end up being a #1C (I may be in the minority on this one), but it’s unlikely he’ll be that until he’s been in the NHL a couple more seasons.

  • Canucks Suck

    Tangay is gone.

    He will want 4 million and a team like nyi or the thrashers or avalanche will pay it. Flames have too many needs. You guys are absolutely delusional to think he will take a home team discount lol. You didn’t not make the playoffs… Retards.

    Flames fans are retarded. All I heard was thanks media I want to get the eff out of Calgary now. Ava will sign him.

    You won’t make the playlets for 4 years now. Great draft position cock

    • SmellOfVictory

      Totally agree with u bro…

      Flames are crazy to think tangy will stay for a discount. Some team will offer him 3 or 4 a year for 3 years…

      Sorry shames… No one wants to be here. Edmonton will soon put u back under that pile of horseshit u were founded on

  • Sworkhard

    I think Tanguay will end up staying, but Glencross won’t. I hope his cap number will be around 3.5 (very reasonable for what he brings). I won’t complain if it’s 4 million though if it’s a shorter term as he can play in every situation.

    As for Backlund, he seems to have the smarts to play as a #1 center, and the passing ability, but could use a bit of work on his shooting accuracy. If he works hard this off-season, he just might start next season on the top line (note, I never said he was our #1 center, but if he fits on the top line, and it produces, then that’s all that matters). If he struggles, there are plenty of center’s ready to step in for him on the team.

  • Tanguay is going to be re-signed. He had great success this year with Iggy. His stops in MTL & TB weren’t great, that’s why we had him so cheap this year & why he’ll be signed here. He wants to play where he can have success.

    Probably some teams going after GlenX, wouldn’t mind him staying around but don’t think he’ll be here next year.

    Jokenin in a minimized role will work.

    1. Tanguay/Backlund/Iggy 2. Bourque/Langkow/FILL 3. Moss/Jokenin/Jackman 4. Kostopolous/Stajan/Rookie

    1. JBo/Reggie 2. Giordano/Brodie 3. Babchuk/?

  • febreze

    1. I remember when Kotalik first got sent down he mentioned that he might be in Europe next year. I hope he’s still thinking that and can go over as a loan and get him off our books. That would allow Hagman to be our token underachieving demotion.

    2. How much is Babchuk going to cost us? Will a Sarich buyout be what facilitates the re-signing of Babchuk?

    3. Should we re-sign Pardy or has Carson impressed enough in his absence? I think other teams will be looking at Pardy for a depth D-man with a bit of experience.

    4. Karlsson for one more year or do we pay a bit more for someone we trust so we can finally give Kipper some rest?

    • Matty Franchise Jr

      Kotalik in the EU would be awesome. I hope he takes Hags with him.

      I’m not a big fan of buyouts, especially for guys with only 1 more year on their contract. Sarich might prove to be useful trade bait as a guy with lots of experience and only 1 year left – he does have a Ring.

      If Iggy is endorsing him, they can’t not bring back Babs. Well… Darryl would, I odn’t know about the new GM.

      I think Killer earned another year as backup. I’d certainly like to see him get more starts – at least 15.

    • everton fc

      I think we re-sign Babchuk. While I liek Pardy, I believe he is injury prone. That shoulder of his seems “habitual”. If Sarich is our 5th dman, and we bring up Brodie, and Erixon can stick… We should hold Carson. Pardy is not a 7th d-man when healthy. He deserves #6 minutes, when healthy.

      Karlsson earned another year. And more starts. Hagman should be waived again. Kotalik should be pushed towards Europe. I still think Stajan bounces back, albeit in a much more limited role.

      I’ll say it again – we are not far off.

  • Sworkhard

    Time for Flames ownership to step up and flip the bill for Calgary to be a contender.

    1st order of Business: Find a real GM. Nil or Hextall rank high on anyone’s list.

    2) Kotalik, Hagman, Stajan, Staios, all off the books. Whats that 12 million?

    3)Sign Tanguay, Glencross, Babchuck, Karlsson,

    4) Get the red carpet out for Brad Richards. If you still can’t fit him, move Bouwmeester.

    Look at the star make-up of other cap teams that are true contenders:

    Pens: Crosby, Malkin, Stall, Fleury.
    Sharks: Thornton, Heatley, Marleau,
    Ducks: Getzlaf, Perry, Ryan
    Wings: Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Franzen

    Flames: Iginla, Kiprusoff

    Clearly Bouw is not the Paul Coffey everyone hoped for so he’s gotta go. I know he logs huge minutes and skates like a gazele but he looks like a deer in headlights in the offensive zone. Sorry. Not for 6.8.

    This starting line up looks like it can contend:

    Tanguay Richards Iginla
    Glencross Backlund Bourque
    Moss Jokinen Jackman
    Kostopoulos Langkow Nemisz/Bouma

    Regher Giordano
    Babchuk Brodie
    (NewVet/Sarich, (Erixxon Carson, Pelech, Negrin, other)

    If the rookie contracts allow you to keep bouwmeester, he still makes this team better. He can be traded in the regular season if need be when another teams’ Dmen start showing fatigue due to a vet getting injured. Prospect(s), draft pick(s)

    You look at our top 2 centers now, Richards and Backs can flip flop until the chemistry is found. With two natural scorers in Glenny and Bork, Richards could compliment them just fine too. Bourque is a 40 goal man and Glenx is a 30 goal man with Richards. Thats all the scoring depth you need.

    Now Murray, Mr. Edwards, can we swing it? He’s the closest thing you’re gonna find to a modern day Sakic. Only difference is Joe never went on the market. If he wants 8-9 million, find a way..

    In Richards’ mind is it plausible? Sure its a payday, but when you consider playing with Iginla and Tanguay your job might be easier than the hard road travelled through Dallas. You can contribute to Iggy’s first 60 goal campaign, and be in the running for a scoring title. If that doesn’t pan out you’re still in the top 10 with Glenny & Bourque on your flanks.

    I think this is the only way we get the most out of the good years Jarome has left. You owe it to him. If not, do him a favor and send him, Kipper & Reg to LA and stop pretending.

    • Matty Franchise Jr

      Richards is not worth 8-9 million dollars. He shouldn’t even be a target for the Flames at this point. 2+ years ago? Sure. He would’ve been worth the cap hit and been on a team that could make decent use of him. Now he’d just be another old guy with a bloated contract.

      • icedawg_42

        Before he was injured, he was in the top 10 in league scoring. Anyone on that list should be making upwards of 6mil. Plus he’s 30. That’s not old.

        If they want to contend right now, they need top line talent is all I’m sayin. With all the shooters on this team, Richards is a prime candidate no matter how you look at it.

    • Gange

      I’m almost 100% in disagreement with you.

      Although I would love to see Jim Nil in the organization the interview I heard with him was that he’s not looking to leave the Detroit area until his kids are older.

      So I’m pretty sure that’s out.

      • icedawg_42

        Differing opinions matter to keep this blog colorful although I’d respect your opinion if you provided backup. I often find myself in 100% disagreement with myself but that’s learning.

        Re: Nil… I’d expect the org to find someone of the ilk.

  • Gange

    The two contracts in my opinion that have to come off the books are… Stajan and Bouwmeester.

    They make a combined 10.1 Mill a season and both are taking up roster spots that can easily be replaced by cheaper, better talent. They are both soft, underacheiveing players that do little to improve this team.

    Bouwmeester I’ll admit is an Iron Man defenseman that takes a lot of ice time… but not worth 6.6 Mill. Sorry. It’s time to give guys like Erixon and Brody a shot.

    • icedawg_42

      Going to be very very hard pressed to move either of those contracts. Not so sure you should move JBo anyway – yeah, ugly cap hit but you arent going to pry the guys who are “better” 1/2 guys out of their current homes – sorry!

      Staios, Pardy and Babchuck are all UFA. There’s really no reason in my opinion not to let them walk, and give Erixon and Brody more of a look. I know i’m going to get hazed on mentioning Babchuck, but really unless you can move Sarich and clear up some space then the roster spot is better served getting a good look at these guys -otherwise no reason one of both of these guys couldnt be a 7th D man call up or just depth. We’ll see more of them next year for sure.

  • icedawg_42

    Tanguay and his agent both on record saying he’ll stay for a discount – so if he walks, it’s a big fail on management’s part – if there is no GM in place before these guys walk, then Ken King has to be the next out the door.

    As much as i’d like to see at least 3 of our ugly contracts gone, there’s no way management is going to choke down 12 million, for really no reason other than to make some of us happy. If they can do a bit of housecleaning and find a way to sign both Tangs and Glenx, they’ll “challenge” for a playoff spot again, and that will be enough to keep the majority happy. (I dont necessarily lump the people who post here in the ‘majority’)

    Stajan needs to be on the phone with Gary Roberts like YESTERDAY! And while you’re at it, Gary, see if you can teach him how to play a little less like a roll of pillowy-soft purex!

    Great point on the Fan yesterday about the teams who have recently moved a major piece for ‘the future’, and having none pay out, consider what you are losing and only having a gamble on getting something worthwile in return. Iginla is a first ballot HHoF’er – you’ll be hard pressed to replace him, I dont care who you get back. All said, im very interested and curious to see what happens in the coming weeks – the Flames MUST get the GM situation ironed out ASAP, so that they can turn their attention to all these critical roster matters.

  • Gange

    Massive changes are not in the cards for this team this year. There just aren’t enough assets or cap space. There is a bunch of turd polishing that is going to happen and this team should be finishing about the same place as it did this year.

    I don’t see Glencross resigning.
    Tanguay will likely resign
    All other UFA’s can and probably will go. Sadly the UFA market is thin again this year so don’t expect any incoming gems.

    We should be looking forward to the next trade deadline. THAT is when it gets really interesting.

  • everton fc

    I’d like to see Moss as our #1 centre. At least I’d like to see that in training camp. But with Backlund looking okay… He’ll stay on the wing.

    Backlund centering the first line? I’d rather see Langkow, if healthy, or Moss.

    I think Glencross earned a look on the 2nd line. If we keep him, we look good on the left wing, on all four lines.

    A 2nd line of Bourque/Langkow/Moss looks good. A third line of Glencross/Jokinen/?? (Jackman, or Morrison, perhaps) also looks good. Fourth line of Kostopoulos/Stajan/?? Also looks good. A lot of money for a fourth line… But what do you do, with these contracts?

    I’d unload Bouwmeester, Hagmand and Stajan, if at all possible. I do think Stajan will bounce back, though. I really do.

    • Gange

      Stajan will bounce back. It is inconceivable that he could possibly have a worse year. I mean really, how is that possible? He might even have been underwater in the AHL this year.

  • everton fc

    Looks like an Avs’ troll is on this board. Must be really bitter with their season.

    I don’t understand this fascination with Babchuk. He’s at best a 6th or 7th D-man. You don’t pay $2M for a third pairing D-man. If he wants more than $1.5M, let him walk.

    GlenX is 28… he wants a long term deal, ie. 5 years?? Forget it. Offer him 3 years at $10M total. That is probably being generous. I can probably stomach 4 years for $10M.

    I still say keep JBo and get rid of Regehr. Reg’s time has come. He can age like the Adam Foote and Scott Hannah of this world with another team.

    Like every other armchair GM, I just wonder how the hell the Flames are going to get rid of those deadweight contracts. I wonder if their old teams will take them back if we throw in several bags of pucks?

  • Stajan, Hagman, and Kotalik for Colorado’s 1st rounder this draft. Or even a second rounder. Or even a hefty bag of pucks, a carton of smokes for Kipper, and a big batch of juniper berries for Olli’s vodka still.

  • icedawg_42

    I agree on Babs – I think people are overvaluing him for some reason – at 1.5, ok..more than that then he should go. Glencross – I really dont see him signing, but 4 for 10M – I’d take that.. He’d definitely take that term, Im not sure if he’d like that price tag, but that’s pretty much bang on where I’d put him. I’d still give Tangs at 3x 2.5 priority. As for Reggie, yeah, I say move him if you can get some return – to me he’s STILL the most moveable asset. As far as Karlsson goes, I heartily agree with everyone who endorses bringing him back…one of my biggest pet peeves over the years has been a complete lack of a trust worthy backup. Tower has demonstrated he has the ability to come in and battle and give some quality backup level goaltending – not a starter yet and may never be, but that’s not what he’d be used for. My gut on Irving is that for a guy who’s been fighting to make his way out of the ECHL, maybe his strong season was a blip. Im willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, but only insofar as watching another season with the Heat.

  • Jano

    Thinking that someone is going to take one of the bad contracts from the Flames and not give one back is probably just dreaming.

    If we could move either Reg or Sarich for a decent return, I say go for it. There’s some good young d-men ready to crack the roster and we need the low cap hit that comes with them, as well as the invaluable experience that would come with playing on the big team. And don’t re-sign Babchuk. He was used very well by the team, getting the best possible results out of him. That money could and should be used to making sure that Tanguay stays put. Babchuk is EASILY replacable.

  • icedawg_42

    No one is discussing our goaltending cost/benefit. The best stat for goalie performance (although not perfect)is Save Pct.

    I see where Kipper is 54th in league ranking in that regard with Karlson being slightly better. In Calgary there is a perception that this is one of our stregths but I’m not so sure anymore. A friend recently said we have the best in Kipper. When I asked him what he based that on he said the announcers/commentators/media comments.

    Is this an area we should seek to improve possibly by either playing Kipper less so he can improve his performance or by moving him for an asset and going with a combination of Karlson/ Irving or other and freeing up a lot of cap space.

    I remember when Kipper used to steal a lot of games but this year I really only remember the recent Colorado game as being vintage Kipper. On the other hand I rmember his stretch where he was having trouble stopping a beach ball and Karlson came in and stabilized things and salvaged a point or 2. How valuable would those points have been in the quest for the playoffs.

    Curious what others think.