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.