Flames GM and Random Thoughts – April 15

 

 

The Flames season is over in early April for the second year in a row. Lots of questions heading into the summer, including most importantly who is going to run this thing now that Darryl is out the door.

– "Jay Feaster" remains the popular answer to that question, but I still have some lingering doubts. The team let him twist in the wind as the "acting" GM for the final three months of the season and are still very careful about having that label attached to his role. Despite how adamantly Feaster assured everyone in the recent presser that "his hands aren’t tied", there must be a reason the org continues to insist on not embossing his office door with "general manager".

As I’ve speculated previously, the only reason I can guess for this drawn out process is the owners are waiting to approach and interview a couple of guys who are currently under contract elsewhere in the league. Robert listed some potential candidates back when Darryl was canned (err, "quit"), ranging from the Coyotes Preds Paul Fenton to the Kings Ron Hextall. If the Flames upper management has their eye on someone from that list, it’s entirely possible they would have to wait for the off-season in order to approach him about jumping aboard. And despite some of the criticism I hear directed at the Flames for the perceived awkwardness of the current situation, I’m not sure they’d be doing their jobs if they didn’t fully explore all avenues to fill the big chair.

My shaky prediction is that the franchise will keep Feaster on in this capacity until they have finished courting a few other guys on their list. If they get shot-down, he’ll be granted the position permanently. If not, then not.

– Which isn’t to say Feaster will given a pink slip. Despite the doubts expressed above, I also get the sense the Flames brass likes Feaster and he’s here to stay in one capacity or another. From a fans perspective, his poise and candor with the media is highly refreshing relative to Darryl’s years of obfuscation and condescension. Feaster manages to erudite, self-deprecating and relatively open in contrast. I don’t always agree with his expressed opinions on players or strategies, but at least I get the sense from him that he’s willing to engage in a little introspection once in awhile. 

– The one drawback to the infered GM search above is the potential for the process to drag on into June. Two of the most active days for an NHL general manager occur in rapid succession at the onset of summer: the entry draft and free agency. That said, having Feaster around and properly acclimated to the team and organization would probably help smooth over the rough patches for the new guy.

– FlamesNation has a lot of post-mortem material in the hopper, including some player grades by the always sunny and optimistic Ryan Lambert as well as team and player-by-player overviews. You can bet we’ll also be taking a close look at the Flames cap situation as well as potential free agents for the club to target. We’ll also be fairly active at the draft this year even though the Flames have just one pick inside the top-100.

We also plan to run another photoshop contest this summer. Olli Jokinen would probably be a good topic for the next one, although I’m willing to accept other ideas.

  • Robert Cleave

    Fenton’s actually with the Preds, but of course they’re also in the post-season, as are the teams that employ David McNab and Jim Nill, so your point regarding the team having to wait things out still holds if the guys that I mentioned are in the running.

    As for the cap situation, I’m not sure we’ll precisely know how the club plans to proceed until July 1 even if they don’t trade a few of the iffy contracts. There’s a decent chance that the club is planning for a 61-62M team with both of Kotalik and Hagman in Abby or Europe. Feaster’s presser did give me the impression that they’d bury a guy or two to make things work, so if they resign Tanguay and/or Glencross or make some other move where there’s no apparent cap room, we’ll know that’s what they have in mind.

      • Robert Cleave

        For the last time, people, it’s the Winnipeg Giant Goddamn Mosquitoes. Get it straight 😉

        I haven’t received a ticket solicitation from the fine folks at True North as of yet, although given the news over the last day or so, I suspect that might change in short order.

        That noted, what a complete fiasco this entire Phoenix situation has turned out to be. The league might not have wanted to deal with Balsillie, and for justifiable reasons, but his 200M bid for the franchise and the 50M he offered Glendale for a break up fee would have far outstripped anything the league or city will get from this deal, and they might have to go through this BS again in Atlanta shortly. Quality work, boys.

        • Vintage Flame

          Regarding Phoenix to Winnipeg.. I read in the Winnipeg Free Press that True North, to show it’s commitment to the NHL, is going to ask season ticket holders to show THEIR commitment, by committing to a 3 year season ticket deal?

          What’s your take?

          • Robert Cleave

            Matt Fenwick and I had a little back and forth on that very subject last night on Twitter, and I don’t feel any differently today. The NHL has two franchises that are failures in their market and might need to be relocated on short notice. There’s only one market that’s ready to take a team on short notice. That sounds like leverage to me, so I wouldn’t be quite as quick to let the league dictate every last term. It’s certainly a lot to ask fans in any market, and it’s well beyond what the league has demanded from other cities in the past, so it does smack of being slightly unfair.

            That said, if you want to join the club badly enough, you have to go along at some point. There are ways to be creative about the request, though, so if the demand is legitimately there, the tickets will get sold. I’ll also add that it’s not completely unreasonable to get a more concrete assessment of demand. It’s easy to say “Of course I’ll buy tickets” when there’s no live prospect of having to do so. When a proper request for support gets made, we’ll see how serious the corporate community and the wealthier members of the potential fan base really are.

  • Gange

    I don’t think I’d “hate” Feaster as the GM but I do think he’d be a better AGM to a more hockey guy. That said, I think it’s the organization doing it’s due diligence to ensure they have the right person occupying that spot. Yes, they definitely are waiting until after the SC presentation to do some interviewing.

    In spite of the current state of the team I would imagine this is a highly desirable position for many GM’s. Ownership that is willing to spend and President that is willing to let you run the team.

    The future honestly could look very bright after the summer.

    We’ll see though.

    • Matty Franchise Jr

      Is the president willing to let the GM run the team?

      King was interviewed by Bob McCown on Sportsnet last week (I think), and said on more than one occasion that things were run by consensus. I don’t recall his exact words, but basically it is an ownership-president-GM committee. He also said that he thinks most or all orgs are run that way. Obviously, I don’t know if he’s right or not.

      • Gange

        Well I think that most organizations have some sort of approval process for spending millions of dollars.

        I can’t envision a team that doesn’t at least have a review.

        That being said, I think the proof is in the pudding Darryl acquired Jokinen, Stajan, Kotalik, and Hagman without much hassle. It shows they, at the very least, gave him the leeway to run things as he saw fit.

        I’m pretty sure they didn’t do that because of his charming personality.

      • Gange

        What I mean is not that it currently does but with the amount of contracts coming off, a GM that possibly does value scouting and drafting, and the chance to get some decently high draft picks there is a chance that in a couple years the fortunes of this team could change dramatically.

  • Jay Feaster is refreshing. More so than Darryl… but also, more so than Ken King.

    Relieve King from his duties with the club, promote Feaster to the President’s chair, and hire a new GM – Ron Hextall gets my vote, although I’m open to other (good) options.

    Oh… and give Tod Button his walking papers too.

    • Vintage Flame

      That would be interesting to see if they moved Feaster into King’s position. He definitely has the right attitude towards it.. in the limited capacity we have seen. And by attitude I mean his outlook on long term deals, the salary cap and draft picks.

      Which brings me to the scouting. I agree whole-heartedly about giving Button the Axe. Our scouting and drafting has been pitiful and down right pathetic. I think it will be better with Goulet on staff. From what I hear he will give us some great exposure to the Eastern leagues.. Since Darryl was so tunnel-visioned on the WHL.

      Good suggestions RCN.

  • Scott

    In regards to Jay, I’m not ready to so willingly accept his “GM-speak” as real and truthful. As a guy well versed in talking to the media, he is simply saying what we all want to hear. And this brings to mind the “to good to be true” addage.

    I’m not saying i’d get rid of him, but like any good politician, he don’t listen to a word he says, but instead follow his actions.

    The comment by RCN of moving Feaster up to the Presidents chair might be a good notion, and then bring in pure hockey guys to run the hockey team.

      • Scott

        Agreed,

        I have just been a bit surprised at the number of people jumping on board with Feaster, and becoming believers after his latest press conference. To a lesser extent, it is reminiscent of Obama being elected (all the hype, with little to no action).

        I have changed my tune abit as of late, and IF he sticks to his word, it certainly sounds promising.

        As an aside, would love to see an Olli Jokinen photoshop contest over the summer. Laughs and Good Times had by all!!

  • Scott

    apply feasters lingo and use intellectual honesty when filling the gm chair. anyone other than darryll sinatra was refreshing. sinatra as in we do it my way…..

  • A thought just occurred to me:

    If Feaster were to become President & had free reign to hire his own GM, which would be very likely, would he hire Michel Goulet as GM? Would this be good, bad, or meh?

    I’d be ok with Goulet as AGM, but then that means you’re bringing in a new GM who has to be on the same page as President Feaster, Coach Sutter, and be willing to employ ‘Feaster guys’ (Goulet & perhaps Tim Taylor). Not exactly an inviting gig.

  • Matty Franchise Jr

    I cannot believe Sarich is not tradeable. He’s likely paid about $1 million more than he is really worth but still had a pretty good year by his standards. Sure the return wont be great but really, lets tell it like it is, the Flames are far fetched to make the play offs next year so they might as well look to infuse some youth on the back end now to go through those growing pains. I seriously hope they trade Buowmester too. Surely there is the market for this guy. He is a good enough player but again a little bit over paid. I think the biggest knock on him is seriously just how he has never played in the post season. We can say he played on some bad teams but really hes a key contributor and should be able to push a team there. Without Sarich and Buowmester our backend would look like:

    Regher – Erixson
    Giordano – Carson/UFA
    Pardy – Brodie/Pelech/Carson/UFA

    Nothing too outstanding but good enough suppose.

    As far as Feasters status I dont think it matters on the timing. If they hire a new GM in June Feaster likely will still be the key decision maker at the draft and free agency because this new GM wont be equiped to properly make those decisions. If the end result is him calling the shots (really) in either scenario, its pretty irrelevant who is the GM hired in that month. I like Nil and Hextal. I wonder the potential of either of them actually wanting to leave their respective clubs to come to this mess.

    As a third point I dont think the future is as bleak as many like to paint it. Next year is a write off but the year after? I wouldnt be so positive its all over now. They have some solid defensive prospects and some 2nd and 3rd liners in the system. They dont have the top end talent of other teams but thats really just having a really good draft and making smart trades. I would look to a team like Colorado. They dont want Stastny’s contract anymore and need a top end defender. Maybe Bouwmester + a mid lever prospect is enough to attract their interest on the trade. Stastny is the type of player they need exactly.

  • Not a fan of Feaster, as GM (Gainey) or President (Lanny). Not a fan of King, but at least King has the community connections Feaster just wouldn’t.

    I’m posting because of Kents 5th paragraph. Honestly, bull is bull. Feaster is a trained rhetorician; his act in front of the media is just that. I’m happy he at least has the brain to understand that side of things, unlike Darryl, and it works out well for him that he seems to be equiped with the tools and talent to schmooze, but I don’t think we should be using it as an indicator into his personal character.

    In fact, that little quip about how he traded for a broken Modin, of which I suspect this introspection rap is based on, I think you guys are reading wrong. I actually think that was the easiest, and by that I mean cowardly, thing in the world for him to do. Modin was his boy, and he threw his boy under the bus in order to gain some credit with the ink stained. I read that as a lack of character, if anything.

    But whatever, it worked perfectly. It disarmed the media in the room, and I don’t think he took a negative or hostile question after that.

    Shoot, going long, but also, this team was going to hire Bob Nicholson to be the president last year, as well as Yzerman to GM, before Yzerman said no. If the org was going to do that, it spells they aren’t happy with the current front office (ie: King and Darryl). Well, they fired Darryl; but why would they be any happier with Kings performance? Did Brent save Kings job with the run? I think I would still rather Nicholson.

    • I guess I like Feaster’s persona relative to Sutter. He is, quite frankly, an improvement even if it’s surface stuff we’re talking about here. Frankly, we don’t know the degree to which he’s truly self-reflective.

  • Matty Franchise Jr

    The other side of the Modin incident is that people are going to say (have said) that it shows he’s willing to admit his mistakes.

    My view is that your view is right. People that easily and eloquently admit their mistakes do so because they are good at it. Practise makes perfect.

    Feaster might make a good AGM, I think.

  • Vintage Flame

    Lets say that pheonix does move to winnipeg and the Jets are reborn. What becomes of the Manitoba Moose? I’ve heard rumours that they could possibly go to saskatoon? Is there anything to this? does anyone know?

    • Matty Franchise Jr

      AHL commish said that the Moose will relocate to parts unknown if the Jets are reborn. He may know, and the Moose may know, but nobody else does at this point. AHL commish was on Bob McCowns show yesterday.

    • Saskatoon appeared to be an option, but I think they’re unsure the effect that would have on the Blades, or if fans would even choose AHL over WHL. May not be room for 2 there.

      Thunder Bay was the other option I heard mention, and the possibility exists that Glendale would look to bring the “Arizona Desert Dogs” (my name, not theirs) to the AHL. Maybe the rebirth of the Phoenix Roadrunners?

  • Agree with Domebeers about Feaster throwing Modin under the bus. I thought it pathetic.

    I’ve noted before that the media love Feaster because of ho whe interacts with them, just like Iginla. Be the media’s buddy, do good interviews and you’ll get no bad press.

    Had Darryl done everything the exact same except interact better with the media he might still be here, having had more sympathy from the press corps.

    King should run business ops only. He schmoozes the corporate types well and sells jerseys. But he also Ok’ed Darryl’s signings and trades and that proves he knows nothing about hockey.

    Re: Yzerman – my impression was he wanted to come here but got tired of waiting.

    As far as scouting I heard a great argument on the Fan about a week ago – Scouts vs. Darryl’s philosophy. 1) Calgary drafted next to no Europeans so that must be philosophy. 2) Their 2 best prospects are Europeans (Backlund/Erixxon), so that lends more credence to the argument that the scouts did not have a free hand. And considering how Darryl ran everything else, why would anyone think any differently?

    Feaster is best as AGM. Do contracts and make sure the left hand knows what the right hand is doing and everyone is communciating. I don’t think, however, that similar to King, he has the hockey acumen to override the GM.

  • Michael

    Since the last lockout the game has changed, but the Flames as an organization failed to adapt.
    Feaster and King are great on the business side, but the Flames need to continue cleaning out the organization.
    Whether it is new scouts, a GM or Asst GM, the Flames really need to add top end hockey talent to supplement King and Feaster.

  • Thanks for the info. I just want to say that I’m excited for the offseason. Of course I’d rather be watching the flames in the playoffs but I always enjoy the possibilities of change. who knows what will happen. I don’t really trust Feaster as a GM. He hasen’t really done anything impressive at all. I’m hoping we get someone with a higher profile to do the job. Hextall would be great. Someone with actual hockey experience and know how.

  • thunder freakin bay, ya gotta be joking me. the city is a dump, and has no economic base to support anything other than a great midget program. as for feasta, he is a lawyer thru and thru. what do you want me to tell you kinda guy. intellectual honesty. ha what a farce, loosely translated it means honest smart. barrack feaster, hope salesman. and when he comes up short its not his fault.

  • My take on the GM situation is this; If Feaster was the man for the job he would have had the “acting” portion on his job title taken away by now. I really hope they pick someone decent. I suggested this last summer, what about Mark Messier? Was he not working with the Rangers learning the ropes? I would take Bob Nicholson in a heart beat, Hextall would be another excellent choice. Here’s another shot in the dark- how about Wayne Gretzky? He might have a little pull in getting free agents to sign. Don’t blast me for just throwing out a few names here (I know, I know. Wayne Freakin’ Gretzky? What are you smoking?).

    On the Flames team, while Tanguay, Morrison, and Glenncross played well this season, I want to see a total re-wire of this club. This may not be the summer to do it with all the NTC/NMC, but I don’t want to see the same team back on the ice in October.

    Also, I’ve been hearing Lanny on the radio quite a bit lately. Maybe he takes over for Ken King? Just a thought.

  • holland2k6

    Ok here is the perfect time to rebuild its clear that besides Iggy and Kipper this team doesnt have what it takes and has nothing coming up in the system and pressing the cap. Now as much as it may be painful, is the time to trade off the core and start over with a new GM and Head Coach. Regher ever since his injury last year he seems to be a step slower but still i think could be desirable with a 4 mill salary. J-bow hes been a flop, over paid, logs lots of ice time but nowhere near what we expected out of him. It pains me but Kipper, we have Karlsson and Irving coming up and think between the two of them they can do ok. I live and die for the Flames, but if something isnt done now history is going to repeat itself of the dark 7 year span not to long ago. Mark C is available for a new Head Coach and nothing wrong with Feaster he built the Lightning that won the cup. Regher could get us a first rounder, Kipper will get us a first rounder and so will J-Bow, with these three we could also get some prospects and some holes to fill well under the cap. The only other question is Iggy the Kings want a big name player, Iggy fits the bill any thoughts on Iggy to the Kings for lets say Shenn and a first rounder.

  • Vintage Flame

    I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again. Feaster talks the talk, but cant walk the walk. He did well as an AGM in TB and seemed to do ok here. He’s a media guy and business side. While Darryl was a hockey guy (debatable on that even) and had no business sense. What I am afraid of is that Feaster will be kept as GM, Brent will be kept, King will be kept and its the status quo. “We’re one player away” is the attitude. Look at the beginning of the year, was the team expected to make the playoffs? According to management, YES. Did they meet the minimum expectations? No!

    What I think should happen is Feaster stay on as AGM (give him some other title such as VP of Hockey Ops, just so he feels included) hand it over to a capable young guy, who has the right to run and organize the organization in the right way. Gone will be the other Sutters, Button and a few other scouts. New coach (maybe one of the assistants takes over). I like the Name Gretzky and McDonald. But do they truly have the smarts to run a team?

    Lastly, why does everyone call it a “CLUB”? This is a TEAM, not a CLUB! A team is where people work together for a common goal. A club is a place where people go to lounge, enjoy and be care free. I dont want the Flames to be that!

  • holland2k6

    Here’s another name I just thought of watching the Mon-Bos game. How about Cam Neely as a GM? He’s been learning the ropes through the Boston franchise for quite a few years now. Just a thought.

  • febreze

    WARNING: If Ron Hextall gets the GM job and a former high scoring NHL forward is indeed brought in as his assistant it is NOT recommended you that give Kent Nilsson a call.

  • everton fc

    Fenton’s a great choice. Lanny as President is like bringing back Theo. The fans would love it. And Lanny seems a capable businessman.

    Feaster as an AGM? If he has an ego… He’ll never go for that. Could he be President? I’d rather see Lanny.