Raised Expectations

The contract signed by Calgary’s Curtis Glencross Monday turns out to be a decent cap hit over a four year term, working out to $2.55 million per season.  In his three seasons with the Flames, Curtis has been a valuable depth forward for the team, doing his job well in a "setup role", if you will.  His contributions were great on his last contract, but long term stability and a $1.3 million raise will hold Glencross to a different standard.

Last season had it’s very good ups for Curtis, but also had a far-too-long span of infuriating invisibility, lasting longer than a month.  So while his career high 24 goals and 43 points were great value for his $1.2 million cap hit, a similar disappearing act in the next four years goes from very frustrating to unacceptable.  However, that Harry Potter like cloak of invisibility has really only happened once, and it’s not as if he’s alone among NHL players or even teammates, so I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt here.

The reason I’m willing to do that is his high, high value on this team in a variety of different roles.  First off, his point production has been just fine in his time here, putitng up career numbers twice with increased ice time and responsibility.  But Glencross is more than just goals and points, starting with his possession ability.  As a third line forward, Curtis destroys the opposition on a regular basis, going against the same depth on the other side, which is valuable in itself.  When you add what he’s done in much more difficult circumstances, it becomes more impressive.

Two seasons ago, Glencross put up ridiculous possession numbers while playing mostly with the similarly valuable Craig Conroy and David Moss.  While being utilized against pretty good players on the other side, the trio did exactly what they were asked to do, and did it very well: get the puck to the offensive end, and keep it there, limiting the effectiveness of who they were out against, and making circumstances easier for the next line over the boards.

After a decent 2009-10 campaign, something similar was found once again this year with Curtis again finding himself on a line with David Moss, this time with Olli Jokinen.  While Olli did contribute to that line, it’s still my belief that it was the two wingers driving the bus, and for a good span of time, those three went out and wreaked havoc on opposition top lines.  They put up some decent numbers together, but it was the "setup" mentality that won me over most.  They were only broken up when Brendan Morrison was injured, elevating Moss to the top unit before David suffered a season ending injury of his own.

The other large area of value for Glencross comes shorthanded, where he has proven to be more than capable in his time with the Flames.  He typically is near the top when it comes to penalty kill time-on-ice among forwards, and for good reason, because he’s one of the best on the team at doing it.  Add in his six shorthanded goals in his three seasons here, and you get the idea.

I’m a huge Curtis Glencross fan, but I’m worried a four year contract may be more conducive to complacency as opposed to, say, a two year deal at the same terms.  However, with the player entering unrestricted free agency poised for a big payday, a two year deal at a relatively affordable price wasn’t really realistic, so some concessions had to be made by the Flames.  I’ll take Glencross at that cap number, but there is an inherent expectation now: that he’ll be, at the very least, the same player he’s been on a very regular basis.  He’s being paid like a top six forward, and he’ll need to perform like one (independent of counting numbers) night in and night out, which he’s done for the most part minus last season.

As for the no-trade/no-movement clause, I don’t like it, but it’s more of an issue that would fall under an article about management, as opposed to the player itself.  While I think it’s silly another NTC had to be added to this teams roster, it doesn’t diminish what Glencross should be able to do on this team.

  • icedawg_42

    I think this is bang on: “that he’ll be, at the very least, the same player he’s been on a very regular basis”. Having watched a gaggle of 3M players do nothing this year (aka Kotalik, Hagman, Stajafail) – maybe the expectations would be tempered a bit. Heres hoping that Scoreface wants and takes on the mantle of top 6 forward for good.

    • Although expectations shouldn’t be tempered. Hagman, Stajan, Kotalik all have expectations put on them when signing their contracts, and all three of them vastly underperformed. Similarly, Glencross will be expected to do certain things on this four year deal, and if he doesn’t, it’ll be a disappointment.

      • Harry Patrick

        Its great that, The Flames were able to resign Curtis Glencross. Ever since he became a Flame.,With or without the puck. He has been been one of Our Best Players game in game out!I’m hopeful we can resign Alex Tanguay as well. And trade Matt Stajan. Buyout Niklas Hagman. It would be great to trade Bouwmeester too much money involved. Not very likely. It was very wise of the Flames to make Jay Fester the G.M. He knows how to build a winner.

  • icedawg_42

    I guess what I should have said is: “that he’ll be, at the very least, the same player he’s been on a very regular basis”. — and for that money I dont expect him to reinvent the wheel, if he can stay at the level he played this year I’ll be a happy camper.

  • Michael

    I guess the no movement clause is the part of the price you have to pay for the ‘home town discount’
    of $2.55 million per season…

    The increased expectation comments are interesting. At $1.3 million he was a solid value on the third line, but at $2.55 million I’m not sure where he fits in… Based on his record he is going to have trouble night in night out on the second line (lack of consistancy), and he is now overpaid as a pure third line guy. At the moment, he looks like a very good third line guy with benefits (special teams), but I think he is going to have trouble living up to the new contract…

  • Michael

    He was realistically a 2nd line winger last season anyway, so I think that’s where we can expect him to slot in henceforth. 2.5 for a solid 2nd liner is decent value despite GlenX’s fairly low point totals on average.

  • T&A4Flames

    Good deal. My hope is that GlenX could fill in as the 2nd line LW, behind Tanguay. Then we can trade Bourque and his 5 more years in a package for a good young top 6 forward (a center or a RW to play behind Iggy). How about Bourque + one of our poor contracts (Stajan/Hagman) and a 3rd and say maybe Mikkleson for Statsny… something like that. Maybe Oshie?

  • First Name Unidentified

    @ T&A4Flames – you’re dreaming! Both of the players you mentioned are franchise players. Also, Mikkelson is RFA, not sure how that would form a reasonable piece of a trade where you’re looking to dump Stajan and Bourque for Oshie. I don’t care too much about Stastny and his $6.6 million contract – out of the 5 seasons he’s played in the NHL, only 2 where he wasn’t hurt.

    Anyway, back to the topic. I agree with the majority that this (Glencross) is a good contract for us. I was really hoping they don’t throw something like $3.2 mill at this guy. If he has bought into Butter’s system and plays like he did in the 2nd half of the season, he’ll be a good 2nd line player with speed, grit and PK abilities. My only complaint about the guy is that he takes too many dumb penalties at crucial stages of a game. Let’s hope he has learned and matured.

    On the back end, I would be happy if they can get Carson back, I think he really has great potential and will come in cheap. I would also like to see Erixon come in as a regular in the lineup, so that when Sarich’s contract is done next year, Erixon can step into that role. Maybe
    have Brodie as the 7th guy.


    I think that’s a fine looking D

  • At least it’s a NMC, not NTC. People over at TSN and elsewhere are all up in arms about how stupid it was to give him this. However, in reality, it simply means (from my understanding) that he cannot be demoted to the AHL, and cannot be traded without asking him where he would like to go.

    If some sort of deal came along that would send him to say, Pittsburgh or Washington, I find it hard to believe he would turn it down.

    Now, we only have to worry about where Kotalik/Hagman/Stajan want to go – KHL or AHL.

  • From what I read now about NMC and NTC, NMC is being made out to be the worst of the two, except it allows for buyouts? I doubt the Flames will be buying out GlenX anytime soon though.

    Buying a player out seems like a terrible option in most cases, especially when they have 2 or 3 years left, and end up getting paid by another team as well. If we say, bought out Kotalik or Hagman this off-season, it wouldn’t be as harsh on our cap, considering they come off next year anyway. My vote is still to ship them off to a Siberian gulag in return for whatever coal they are able to mine in 2011-2012.

  • SmellOfVictory

    Yes, NMC is worse. An NTC just means a player can’t be traded (sometimes only to specific teams) without consenting to it; an NMC includes that, and means you can’t even bury the player in the AHL if it’s necessary for cap reasons.

  • Bob Cobb

    Talk about a massive overpayment, one word, overrated comes to mind when you think of Glencross. Fernando Pisani got paid for one good spring in ’06 and never produced, I would be suprised If Glencross replicated the numbers he put up this year again. Talk about a great way for the Peter Griffin GM era to start off in Calgary, you guys are screwed, and whats up with all the NMC’s? Just keep on handcuffing yourself.

    • SmellOfVictory

      Given the circumstances, it’s a discount. Given what I think Glencross is actually worth long-term, I think it’s about fair market value. With the NMC he got I’d have preferred to see something closer to the 2 million dollar mark, but there are worse contracts to hand out.

    • Bob Cobb

      I’m pretty sure the microstats suggest that Glencross has been pretty consistent the last few years: shooting %, goals/60min, that sort of thing.

      I’m an Oiler fan, and I’ll say when I heard this news I was disapointed. Here is a guy that was playing in the Alberta Junior Hockey League for the awful BROOKS BANDITS when he was 18 for crying out loud. I know a guy that played with him in Brooks, and he said Curtis was determined to make the NHL even though everyone else playing on that team (and most of the people playing in that league) had long since given up the dream. The guy worked out like crazy, practiced all the time, and was finally signed as an undrafted player by Anaheim when he was 22.

      The guy is nothing short of an inspiration. You won’t find many players with that kind of character, that kind of drive. To lock this guy up for his prime (age 28 to 32) for only 2.5million is a fantastic signing, and should be considered a major win for your organization.

      Lastly, 2.5 million for a quality 3rd liner is not an overpay, especially if he’s your best penalty killer.

  • Bob Cobb

    Listening to him today on the Fan, he needs to get some thick skin. He lost alot of respect from me. To say, “I wont sign unless I get a NMC” I would have said, Thanks for everything. Call us if you dont get any offers. He’s an average to above average player, streaky too. He definately doesnt deserve a NMC. NMC should only be held granted to star players who are irreplaceable. Methinks players like Glencross are a dime a dozen. Just wait a couple years when he’s playing on the third line, soaking up $2.5m and people are crying for him to leave.