Jay Feaster has no idea what he’s doing

 

 

I have already been critical of the whole Jay Feaster situation, and vociferously so. I don’t think he’s the right guy for the job and I don’t think the Flames looked hard enough to find someone who would be. They simply picked the closest guy with experience, etc.

But now I’m really worried, because he might be worse than I thought.

There can, to be fair, be very little assailing of the No. 13 pick being used on Sven Bartschi (or is it Baertschi?), except that I have referred to him as Sven Butenschon several times, which in and of itself is borderline unforgivable. But he’s a good player who was projected to go right around when the Flames took him, and that’s all well and good. I don’t know if we should necessarily be thanking our lucky stars that this selection was made, but it’s good enough, and given Feaster’s drafting record (see also: horrifying) it’s gotta be considered a win.

But the rest of the weekend was a… hmm, what’s the term? A series of missteps? A slew of disasters? A fiery pit of eternal torment untouched by human reason or sentient thought?

Yes, that last one will do nicely. Honestly, what in the bleeding hell was that?

The best place to start, one supposes, is with the apparent intent of the Flames’ strategy this weekend. The plan, maybe, was threefold: to shed salary, get younger and keep Jarome Iginla happy.

So let’s look at the way Feaster felt he should start shedding salary commitments. He traded Robyn Regehr, which is a thing that I’m theoretically cool with. After all, he’s over 31, not quite the same player he used to be and signed for the next two seasons at $4ish million per. If you’re going to start a rebuild, that’s the kind of player you ship out. He has some perceived value and likely wouldn’t be around for when the crop of prospects the Flames want to stockpile really come into their own. That’s fine then.

But when I heard Feaster had asked him to waive his no-movement clause to go to Buffalo, I was a little perplexed. Surely the Flames wouldn’t be able to wrangle a strong roster player from them for Regehr, given that there aren’t many you’d want to start a rebuild around (at least not that they’d part with). Ditto the farm system. What, many wondered, could the return possibly be?

We soon had our answer, but with even more good news: Feaster had convinced the Sabres to also take Ales Kotalik off their hands (based on Darcy Regier’s laughable idea that the forward could contribute in any meaningful way at the NHL level). Good news! A little over $7 million in salary moved out of town.

Oh but what’s that? He had to throw in a 2012 second-round pick to get the Kotalik portion pushed through? Well that’s odd. Calgary, if it really wants to rebuild, should be getting a whole bunch of those, not giving them away, especially because it is very likely to be a pick that’s fairly high. What a strange decision.

And what of the return? Surely with all that included, it would be substantial, right? Wrong again. Chris Butler, a 24-year-old who spent much of last season as a healthy scratch behind Craig Rivet and Mike Weber, and Paul Byron, who is 22 and a little underwhelming, but who the organization expects is close to being able to contribute at the NHL. Butler, by the way, is an as-yet-unsigned restricted free agent.

But hey, at least they’re younger.

If you do want to go with a youth movemen, and maybe this is just me talking crazy, how, exactly, does it behoove you to sign a 31-year-old guy with an injury history to a five-year deal that comes with — YOU GUESSED IT — a no-movement clause?

The Tanguay contract is at least in some way an attempt to keep Jarome Iginla from hanging himself when the team has 13 wins in December, but really Jay, a no-movement clause? Didn’t we learn a horrible lesson about those in any of the previous 10 the organization has given out like Halloween candy to anyone who’s scored more than two goals for the team? No, apparently not.

But fine, Iginla seems to have forged some sort of Conroy-esque chemistry with Tanguay who’s got loads more skill on his worst day than Connie ever did. And the cap hit is not unreasonable, at least based on this past year.

Cap flexibility, all of a sudden, has understandly become the name of the game, and the Flames have a little of it, with which Feaster says he will address "the team’s needs."

The problem with this is that it’s a tacit endorsement of the team as one that doesn’t REALLY need a rebuild. If you’re spending to the cap, which is something Calgary clearly plans to do, then you’re aiming to make the playoffs, which is not in any way conducive to getting younger, rebuilding the system and planning to make things really start to happen in three or four years. I think I might’ve said before that the post-Christmas run this team went on was maybe the worst thing that could have happened to it, both because it pushed them to 13th in the draft instead of what could have easily been a top-10 pick, and because it deluded people into thinking, as Alex Tanguay told Steinberg yesterday, they could have really competed in the playoffs, if only they’d made it.

This is, obviously, not the case. It’s just not realistic.

Then of course there’s the absolutely, positively insane mindset that went into pursuing but thankfully not (yet) acquiring Ryan Smyth. I don’t feel as though I need to explain to you how phenomenally stupid such a move would be, because there’s no way that acquiring Smyth does anything to address the team’s supposed needs. Of which it has become clear that no one quite knows what they are.

It’s been very odd watching Feaster operate since taking over as GM. He says he doesn’t want to give out NMCs any more, but he’s 2 for 2 now. He says he doesn’t want to trade away picks any more, but he just dumped a second rounder rather than sit on a bad contract for a single season.

Therefore, we can surmise that Feaster either isn’t allowed or doesn’t know what he wants to do. And that’s no way to run a franchise.

The Feater Era is in full swing, and so far it’s been a complete dud.

  • everton fc

    @Vintage Flame

    Good point. Troy Brouwer was worth a 1st round pick. So was Regehr. Or so it seems…

    Sutter would not have moved Regehr at all, but if he did, he’d have received more back than Feaster. Like I’ve said a few times on some other threads – Sutter got more for White than Feaster did for Regehr.

    This is a far worse trade than the Phaneuf deal. Far worse… Again, Freddie Modin was the first sign…

    I don’t mind the Tanguay deal as much as others, though 5 years is a bundle.

    Feaster won’t survive more than a year. That’s my prediction. King needs to go. First. Fans have no confidence in this duo. This is far more critical to the team’s success than people may think; what players will want to come here, with this tandem handling the daily affairs of the organization?

    As for the draft… I would have liked to have gotten big, fast forwards, like McNeil. We have picked up some rather smallish players. I don’t like that. Size and speed, if you can find it. Always…

    As for how the other GMs valued Regehr… It would have been nice to find out.

    Here’s hoping we can somehow pick up Paul Stastny and Shea Weber, after Feaster dumps the combined salaries of Hagman, Stajan, Sarich and Bouwmeester. . One can dream, of course… and must, in such abysmal situations…

    • Vintage Flame

      Shea Webber will not be coming here. I was JUST talking with IceDawg about it. He is an RFA and going to probably get in the neighborhood of 6 Mil. It won’t be here. Nashville is not going to let go of an Olympian that are building their entire team around. We’d have a better shot at Ryan Suter if he was available.

      I don’t think I would like to see Stastny here either. The size of his contract and the amount of time he misses due to injury, scares me me away from him.

  • Vintage Flame

    I think Mr. Lambert needs to relax. Darryl left a lot of immovable objects in the roster. Jay just pried two loose. I commend him for that. Tanguay is pretty decent value for money and the NTC still allows 10 teams so not quite as bad. The Smyth thing might have just been used as a bluff in the negotiations with Tanguay. This is going to take some time for more opportunities like Buffalo to make room for quality prospects/nhlers and get rid of other “hope like hell” signings Darryl made. I understand this team is really a B, sometimes C, team but I would rather not suck as hard as the Oil in order to replenish the cupboards. It is more fun watching a team compete for playoffs and I don’t think the only way to the cup is a complete rebuild. It can be done incrementally. The Canucks for one have shown that.

    • icedawg_42

      The big difference between the Canucks and the Flames, is that the Canucks were built largely through the draft, and the Flames completely ignored the value of youth, and valued veteran free agents at the cost of the future. Tangs cap hit isnt bad at all…the term is not good. that puts him at 37 I believe? I dont know how his NTC works – if he drops 10 names at the beginning of the season and a potential deal comes up, is he OBLIGATED to agree???

      • Vintage Flame

        Yes he would, when he submits his list of teams, Feast is allowed to trade him to anyone of those teams until his next list is submitted.

        Like how Savards NTC clause worked, in the contracts second year he could only go to Ottawa or Toronto I believe than the next year it opened to 4 teams and then more from there. Or T. Kaberles NTC, if the Leafs failed to make the playoffs Burke had a limited window to trade him but only in that time, if not in that time, NTC kicked back in and Kaberle could veto any trade again.

        Thats why I don’t mind Tanguays limited No trade clause, he’s not gonna put garbage teams like the coyotes or panthers or Isles on there, so if we do go down the toilet, chances are we can still swing him to a good team for a decent return if he stays decent at least. And if its to a team on the list, its like Pre-Agreeing to that trade rather than the scenario where we had to wait for Regehr to agree to waive.

        • icedawg_42

          Hmmmm – kinda dont mind that then! As far as Butler goes – I sure hope he was ok in a 5/6 role, cause I bet he’s about to be thrown into a 3/4! As far as Bryon goes – he has a 3rd line ceiling, and we’ve already got 6 of those guys-I’ll be really surprised to see him in Calgary for any other reason than to stick it to Hagman or anyone else who’s draggin ass and sitting in the press box. Let me be clear here – I think Tanguay is the most talented foreward I’ve seen on the Flames in a long long time, but the fact that he’s the 12th NMC makes me sick, in light of Feasters soapbox speech. Even if it’s “limited”

          • Vintage Flame

            Butler was averaging 23 minutes of Ice Time in Buffalos opening round playoff loss. If he can translate those kinda minutes to the flames I can see him as a #4 guy, moves ahead of Carson, and probably deserves a better shot at 4.

  • icedawg_42

    Like it or not Jbo is our #1 man going forward – whether Gio is ready or not. Grit/heart wise, Gio is the Flames next captain, plain and simple. Anyhoo….I really feel the Kotalik issue REALLY diluted Reggie’s trade value – so much that I would probably preferred to have Kotalik on the active roster at 3Mil for 1 more year, and taken the high pick Reggie would have brought (Adam or Kassian -you can argue but you wont convince me). Stastny is a long shot, and Weber is a guy I’d build a team around, so I wouldnt count on seeing them in calgary unless Iginla was on the way out…and given Tanguay was just extended 5 years, neither are going anywhere. Guys, this is a case of Iggy, Tanguay, Gio, Jbo and Kipper are the core, and pieces around them might move.

  • icedawg_42

    You guys are the advanced stat experts. And I could be out to lunch. But Butler seems okay based on my review of it.

    Even in a 5/6 roll he seemed to be in similar circumstances to Sarich and Gio. Unlike Calgary who pretty much buried Bou/Regher BUF seems to share the load across their D.

    (Aside: I wonder if Sutter will do the same with Regher out. I also wonder if that will help Bouwmeester’s offence)

    He seemed to do decent enough given his circumstances.

    The most telling stat to me was that he moved from 5/6 minutes regular season to pretty much leading BUF in minutes played EV and short handed in the playoffs. He was right with Myers in minutes played, and ahead of everyone else.

    Some of that has to do with the lack of depth on the BUF blue line. But he had clearly earned some trust there. BUF has a pretty decent PK as well.

    Can’t say much about Byron except that he managed some pretty decent scoring at a pro-level despite his small size. Much better scoring then any other Flames prospect in the AHL, though Byron was on a high powered team.

    The point? Is the return as bad as we are making it out to be? The number 2 pick had nothing to do with Regher. That was about Kotalik. It was Regher for Butler, Byron, and a few million in cap space. Is that really that bad?

    Better yet, is a young NHL ready d-man and a proven pro scoring prospect (both with potential) any worse then getting a number one pick that could turn into nothing in? We might be being a bit harsh on the return.

  • Derzie

    I couldn’t agree more. The last few days were baffling beyond belief. Kotalik was already buried and Robyn is worth his salary. You trade him to get ahead not to shed salary. We picked up 2 nobododies and gave up what’s surely to be a 31st pick next to do it. AND we hear the 35 year old has been Ryan Smyth is in the mix for $6 bazillion a year. This is really really bad. I’m stunned with how dumb these transactions are.

  • Vintage Flame

    Im finding it hard to be content as a flames fan these days with all this “die hard” nay saying. prior to the regehr trade the flames potential for this year was… expletive. now that we have traded rigs and got what can only be described as maybes, has our situation worsened significantly? yes there is sentiment and yes rigs is a good guy with a certain amount of skill, but if anyone wants to argue that he was going to make or break this franchise they are 6 years out of touch. Im not happy about the pick going the other way, but thats what happens when you have a bunch of lack lustre players you need to get off contract. this is the same flames faithful that cried “blow it up” less then a month a go. these are the brokes kids, get used to it. hopefully with some time and posturing the drafts and prospects get better. Until then id rather be last then battle for 9th every year.

  • Regarding Nikita Filatov:

    There was a news article from a Columbus news paper at least a week or two ago that stated Filatov could “probably” be had for a 3rd or 4th-round pick. If Feaster didn’t know this leading up to and going into the draft, he screwed up big time. Taking a shot on such a young player, throwing him out there for bottom six minutes a la Backlund, might have been worth that 2nd or 3rd rounder we could’ve offered.

    Filatov is young, fast, and could have potentially provided secondary offense. Top line player? That has yet to be seen, and it will certainly never be seen with him in a Flames uniform.

  • Dr. Nick

    @icedawg_42

    I don’t think Bouwmeester’s contract is as hard to move as Stajan, because more teams need a Bouwmeester than they do a Stajan. Bouwmeester has a hefty salary but that is why I mentioned Florida who has to have a couple of higher salaries to reach the cap floor because adding prospects @ 1 mill each won’t cut it.

    As for pairings, I would separate JBo and Gio for 5 on 5 and PK, but maybe put them together on the PP. I don’t think putting our two most mobile experienced defensemen on the same unit would help the team out over the long haul, plus they’re both left shots. So if I was to put on my armchair GM hat, I would try to sign a good free agent defenseman with a right shot for the top pair with Gio or JBo. As for our younger defensemen like Carson, Mikkelson, Brodie and now Butler, the only way they will prove themselves is if the coaches give them a chance. So pair them up with an experienced D and let them try.

    Example Pairings

    Giordano- Free Agent Right Shot (with hopefully no NMC),

    Bouwmeester-Carson (who is a right shot),

    Brodie or Mikkelson or Butler (all left shots)-Sarich

    Any Defensemen for the 7th

    I think having a set-up like this will give us an experienced top pair, a left and right shot on each pair plus it gives the kids a chance to learn at the same time have a vet who can try and cover some mistakes. Even if you put Gio and Bouwmeester together all the time, they may play 25 mins a game, but that leaves at least 35 min for the lower class to screw things up. Either way how good Calgary’s defensive game is is going to be exposed, and in my opinion… exploded.

  • joey joe joe jr shabadoo

    Ryan,

    honest question;

    how do you expect Jay Feaster/the Flames not to give out a NMC to any free agent of consequence? After all, lets not pretend it is anything it is not, this is Calgary Alberta. It is not Chicago, LA, SJ, one of three teams in NY, Montreal, or any other cosmopolitan city…..it is a prarie town in the middle of Canada with harsh winters and a dormant urban life. Unfortunatley NTC/NMC’s are and will be the norm for this organization moving forward. like it or not, the NMC ship has sailed. If you expect the Flames to suddenly change that philosophy, they would have to go scorched earth. And considering the Flames have a roster full of NMC’s that would be about a 1/2 decade long pursuit, at least.

    also, what exactly did you expect the Flames would recieve in a trade where they were able to move out 7 million & two players with NMC’s? Please, I would like to know what Feaster ‘should’ have done.

    It would seem to me that the Flames are headed in another direction, which to my memory is what flames fans were clamoring for, and unfortunatley the reality is, it is not going to all be pretty. The flames are going to have to concentrate on moving undesirable contracts and relying on their ‘ahem’ scouting staff to find a player or two every year to fill the voids.

    Also, I’m sure if Feaster was able to convince Dave Tallon to take RR for the No 3 pick overall it would’ve happened. Unfortunately that didn’t happen, niether did any of the other fantasy’s flames fans ussualy dream up.

    If you expect a change in the organization’s philosophy (which I think most do)…..buckle up, it might take a few years. So please save the unecessary whinning for Calgary Puck. Feaster’s been on the job for (6?) monthes he deserves a little more than that before the lynch mob starts forming.

    • Captain Ron

      Joe Joe I couldn’t have said it better myself. Sadly there are always people commenting here think they are so much smarter than those who in charge of this team. Most of these same people have never had to negotiate much more than a used car deal, if even that. They get these great one sided (for the home team) ideas in their head and can’t understand why the people in charge never thought of it or don’t make it happen.

      Ryan the title of this article is an absolute disgrace to Mr Jay Feaster who has just taken over a hockey team with several albatross’s hanging around his neck and at least one hand tied behind his back. At the very least your condemnation of the mans work is very premature. Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain about another mans work. The way I see it right now Ryan you are a fool and a great deal of your article is uncalled for at this point. When you inherit a fixer upper its bound to look like hell for a while until its ready to have the family over for dinner, drive to the show and shine or whatever might apply. Thankfully there are a great many of us who appear to be a little more sensible and are willing to wait for the final product before we judge whether or not we can live with it.

  • the jury seems to be out on feaster. this weekends activities makes little or no sense. if the flames are beginning a rebuild, then the returns should have been greater. eating kotilacks contract and moving rags for a higher return thereby retaining the second rounder would have made sense. shipping the toronto rubbish to florida for perhaps a david booth type and promoting some farmhands to the bigs would have been a step forward. this weekend is a step backwards.

  • Derzie

    Do this math:

    I’ll give you an upper 1/3 in the league shutdown guy and an all-star AHL player AND my early 2nd round pick next year for 2 guys that probably will never play in the NHL. Does this make any sense at all from a hockey perspective? No! So this is strictly a money deal. Great. So now try this: I have age problems and I’m up against the cap. I’ve already given up an early 2nd rounder and now I spend most of my new found cap space on securing a guy who ONLY plays well when paired with our Hall of Fame winger and is worth a whole lot less anywhere else. Oh and with the rest of the money we are looking at a retirement age hero of our provincial rival who should retire but wants somebody to pay his salary when he comes back home. This my friends is DISASTROUS. No other way to look at it.

  • Derzie

    Do this math:

    I’ll give you an upper 1/3 in the league shutdown guy and an all-star AHL player AND my early 2nd round pick next year for 2 guys that probably will never play in the NHL. Does this make any sense at all from a hockey perspective? No! So this is strictly a money deal. Great. So now try this: I have age problems and I’m up against the cap. I’ve already given up an early 2nd rounder and now I spend most of my new found cap space on securing a guy who ONLY plays well when paired with our Hall of Fame winger and is worth a whole lot less anywhere else. Oh and with the rest of the money we are looking at a retirement age hero of our provincial rival who should retire but want somebody to pay his salary when he comes back home. This my friends is a DISASTROUS. No other way to look at it.

    • First Name Unidentified

      Really? Regher is an upper 1/3 shut down guy? Not anymore. He can still play the tough minutes, but not to the same effect as he once could.

      Kotalik and his 3-million dollar contract is an all-star AHL player now? Wow, didn’t know. Now I am really annoyed we trade Alice Fricken Kotalik.

      2 guys that will never play in the NHL? Considering both already have, with one playing most of the past 2-seasons in the NHL that seems a bit of a stretch

      Tanguay only plays well with Iginla? The guy had one bad season in Tampa. He has played well in Montreal, Colorado, and Calgary. Which is every other team he has ever played for.

      And we aren’t signing Smyth.

      Less coffee, more soak time.

  • Subversive

    I tend to agree with pretty much all of this, except what seems to be your assumption that you need to plan to suck for 3-4 years while you “rebuild”. I think that is just plain wrong.

    One thing everyone seems to be overlooking is that the Flames will presumably have a full year of Daymond Langkow healthy this season, and that makes them a hell of a lot better instantly. If they make any decent FA signings this year (I’m thinking players like the Nigel Dawes signing from a couple years back, low cost, high upside) I actually think a playoff berth is not out of the question this coming season.

  • RKD

    Don’t be arrogant Lambert, you have no idea if Kotalik will remerge with a change of scenery. Just look at Tanguay. Had Kotalik not been injured right from the start, he might have been more productive.

    We will have to give Feaster more time, sure Butler and Byron are no Kassian or Luke Adam. The Flames did get younger and maybe these players can do something for us.

    Maybe this was the best out there for Regehr. Maybe teams don’t want him. If he was so valued why wouldn’t a team like Washington be knocking down the Flames door with a better offer?

  • RKD

    Don’t be arrogant Lambert, you have no idea if Kotalik will remerge with a change of scenery. Just look at Tanguay. Had Kotalik not been injured right from the start, he might have been more productive.

    We will have to give Feaster more time, sure Butler and Byron are no Kassian or Luke Adam. The Flames did get younger and maybe these players can do something for us.

    Maybe this was the best out there for Regehr. Maybe teams don’t want him. If he was so valued why wouldn’t a team like Washington be knocking down the Flames door with a better offer?

  • Derzie

    Sincity1976 wrote:
    Really? Regher is an upper 1/3 shut down guy? Not anymore. He can still play the tough minutes, but not to the same effect as he once could.

    Kotalik and his 3-million dollar contract is an all-star AHL player now? Wow, didn’t know. Now I am really annoyed we trade Alice Fricken Kotalik.

    2 guys that will never play in the NHL? Considering both already have, with one playing most of the past 2-seasons in the NHL that seems a bit of a stretch

    Tanguay only plays well with Iginla? The guy had one bad season in Tampa. He has played well in Montreal, Colorado, and Calgary. Which is every other team he has ever played for.

    And we aren’t signing Smyth.

    Less coffee, more soak time.

    So you are twisting nuances of what I said to say what? That maybe there is exaggeration? Or that Feaster is doing a good job? He is not. There is no evidence to suggest otherwise. The team is less good, the money has been mostly respent and we are a small bit younger (although trading away a 2nd round pick is hardly heading in that direction). Smyth is not in Calgary because of Edmonton, not because of Feaster. He was dumb enough to even consider him. I like my coffee black and strong, no extra soak required.

  • Jarom

    I hate that we sent a 2nd with this trade. I think we gave up to much to move salary. Is it possible the ownership pushed for this? Maybe it wasn’t Feaster’s call?

  • Michael

    To think that Feaster was actively in the hunt for Ryan Smyth, 35 with a $6.2 million cap hit…

    Good grief, as bad as this weekend was for Flames fans, it could have been a whole lot worse.

    Feaster joined the organization under Sutter, and boy does it show. The Regehr for no name prospects, the 2nd round pick to dump Kotalik,
    the attempted Smyth trade, a FIVE year contract for Tanquay, and yes, two more no movement clauses (Glencross and Tanquay… these are all classic Sutter moves.

  • MC Hockey

    Derzie – you are contradicting yourself so go away. Everyone else, read up a bit on the 2 new guys as they have true value and also admit that Regerh and/or Kotalik could totally suck in Buffalo and retire soon. Then post something meaningful. Oh yeah, learn that hockey is a business and wait till about August 15 when the Flames are done signing guys.

  • Vintage Flame

    One question for all the ‘this-team -never-does-anything-wrong’ homers: compare the Regehr trade with the Brent Burns trade and then tell me that Calgary did OK.

    Pathetic.

    RL, you’re bang-on.

    • Captain Ron

      So your comparing Brent burns to Regehr? What part of this deal do you not understand? If the Wild were dumping a lame duck boat anchor salary along with Burns who by the way is much more valuable and arguably a better player right now….then you could make a fair comparison. Your value of Reggie is a lot greater than that of the other 29 GM’s in the league. Your thinking is really shallow and is only feeding your I want an excuse to hate the GM fire. I’m not a homer and have no trouble bringing blame where necessary. All I’m suggesting is that we let this play out. If it turns out to be a disaster then we can bring the heat. Until I see these new players actually play I’ll do the mature thing and give it a chance. Why is it that you don’t think this is the best deal available at the time? Who are we to say lets dump 3 mill into the AHL and forget about it. Don’t forget that the owners of this team are the real bosses and if King and Feaster were told to make Kotalik’s salary disappear then thats what they had to do. The chain of command in big business wotks that way. Thats why the rich owners rarely ever take the heat. They pay guys like King and Feaster big $$$ to do it for them so they come out smellin like a rose. I also suggest that there is a bigger plan in place that includes other moves and signings that were previously impossible to do because we were up against the cap. Additionally Jay Feaster does not have autonomy with the Flames. He does however have the unenviable position of taking the heat for the unpopular decisions he and his management staff will be forced to make in the name of improvement moving forward. There are going to be ups and downs with the process and to micro manage the GM at this point is far too premature. RL’s take on this is a self serving disgrace.