Flames Say Good-bye to Pelech, Armstrong



Today was the deadline for tendering qualifying offers for RFA’s. As reported by Vicki Hall on twitter, the Flames did not qualify a whole heap of their standing restricted free agents, including former first round pick Matt Pelech as well as Gord Baldwin, John Armstrong and Josh Meyers.  

Matt Pelech was picked in 2005 and his development has been glacial ever since he turned pro. Constantly battling injury woes, Pelech never seemed able to really press for a roster spot on the big club, although certain segments of the Flames fanbase were prepared to give the big, defensive rearguard at least another year to try to make the leap. Pat and I discused Pelech during Flamesnation radio this weekend and I shared the fact that I’d heard Calgary had classified Pelech "NP" (non prospect) recently. Looks like that is the case.

Pat also tried to make a case for Gord Baldwin during the same conversation, but I’ve always been skeptical myself. Baldwin was also picked in 2005, but has bounced around the ECHL and AHL during his pro career. In my live viewings of Baldwin, his skating and mobility has always struck me as well below NHL-grade, so it comes as no surprise to me personally to see Baldwin cut loose.

John Armstrong may come as a surprise to some folks, especially because of how much the prior regime seemed to like the player. I never understood the love myself – aside from a nice showing during a single pre-season, Armstrong never showed anything to indicate he’d be an NHLer. The guy had some tools, but could never put them together to form a compelling package. And he was always injured to boot.

As for Josh Meyers, he was always a bit of tweener, even at the AHL level. He’s 26 years-old and his ceiling is AHL vet at best.

None of the non-signings are overly impactful on the organization, although it’s notable to see Feaster cutting ties with a number of former Sutter first rounders and projects. The Flames offseason face-lift continues.

  • Vintage Flame

    Is it me or does Jay Feaster sound like a kid in puberty? His voice cracks more than McLovin’s. I think with these two guys are an example of a bad development organization. Button needs to go too.

  • No big loss. Cut the dead weight and hope they don’t become superstars (doubtful that will happen, but hey, Kotalik might score 30 goals this year, YOU NEVER KNOW!)

    As for new pickups, looks like both Anton Stralman ($1.95M last season) and Niclas Bergfors ($900K season) have been cut loose. Considering we have about $6.8M left to the cap, we might consider picking them up (Bergfors mentioned in a previous article). Fairly low risk, potentially high reward (at least on Bergfors) and I liked Stralman in the brief time he was here. Depth defender.

    Say we brought up Brodie (that is included in the $6.8M cap space) and Babchuk got a raise to $2-2.5M, and Pardy stuck around at ~$700K (he is NOT in line for a raise whatsoever), we would have about $3.6M left in cap space with 8 defenders. If Babchuk doesn’t re-up, just go with Stralman and have something like $4.8M left in cap space.

    That’s enough to sign, say, Scottie Upshall at $2.25M (mentioned in a previous article’s comments) and still have room to flex.

    Just a thought.

  • PDumes

    Any chance for Brooks Laich, probably a long shot as he’s looking for around 4.0-4.5 money.

    Not saying the Flames are going to make a major splash on Friday but if we let Babchuk and Staios go we’re down to 3 NHL DMen under contract (JBou, Gio and Sarich) you’d expect Pardy to be here, Butler to resign and Brodie to make the team, but that bottom four doesn’t strike too much fear in anyone.


    Maybe we trade Sarich to a team that needs to reach the Cap Floor? So my defenseman wishlist would go as follows.

    Wisniewski, Hannan, Hejda and to a lesser extent Joni Pitkanen as his dollars may be too much.

    • For the love of god, I hope the Flames do not try to sign Scott Hannan. Watching him play for the Avalanche and then the Capitals was painful. Useless for the Avs. As a Cap, he made several poor decisions that lead to goals against the Caps in their round against the Rangers. He is old and slow.

      Why get rid of Regehr, a much more useful player, and then sign Hannan?

  • Michael

    The Flames ran up against the contract cap last year, so it is not surprising to see the team ‘trim the herd’ this year.
    None of these guys look liked they would develop into NHL’ers, so no real surprises in the list.
    At one point I thought Pelech might make it, but he never really developed past a minor league guy.
    One more failed first round pick…

  • Bergfors (whom Charron writes about in the post below) and Stralman are worthwhile targets I think. I’m going to have something on Stralman for the Score tomorrow.

    EDIT – word is Tyler Kennedy didn’t get one from PIT. He’s basically another Moss – third liner who always puts up great possession stats. I’d love to have him on the Flames.

    • Captain Ron

      What is Shero thinking? Why on earth would they not qualify him? His underlying stats I remember were really good and he put up 45 points last year without Crosby or Malkin in the line up for a lot of it.

      I’m thinking this is a big mistake from them.

      I hope on July 1 the Flames go after Kennedy, maybe 1 more defenseman (Hejda is very underrated for what he is and might be cheap), and sign Moss to an extension. That is it.

      I’m thinking Feaster is going to make another trade or two this off season. I would think that is the better route to go to get another defender without giving up all of his cap space. High tier UFA’s almost never turn into anything but an albatros of a contract (someone is going to grossly overpay to get Richards and likely regret it within a year or 2).

    • Vintage Flame

      Wouldn’t mind picking up these 3 at all.
      Kent you have talked about Kennedy quite often. i was surprised that Pitt did not offer a qualifier on him. He would be solid in a Flame uni. And I like the fact that he can play wing or centre.

      Kent correct me if I’m wrong but he had pretty impressive numbers in the circle did he not?

      I’d also like to see the Flames get in on the mix for Brooks Laich. He would cost us more than these guys, but damn I think he’d pay out better than a slot machine on bingo night! [Yeah I have NO IDEA where THAT came from], but I think he would be a good addition.

      I hadn’t thought of Stralman.. What do we think he would be attainable for? I hope they show interest in Wiesnewski.. I don’t they get him, but at least try.

      • Laich is a guy I’d like as well (groan).

        Kennedy was only 45% in the F/O circle this year, although he spent a lot of time on the wing.

        As for Stralman, dude will come really cheap. He’s had rotten percentages the last few years, so his counting numbers haven’t been impressive. His possession stats are solid enough though, indicating he’s not getting run over like other middling defenders tend to. Heck, I’d argue he’s better than Kris Russel from the same team.

        He won’t garner much interest. He’ll probably cost $1M per, give or take a few hundred thousand.

        • Vintage Flame

          Is Stralman a 3-4 Dman though? What do you think were the cause for his rotten percentages? And can they be left behind if he comes here, or will he just bring them with him?

  • Captain Ron

    I would’nt mind having Babchuck back but at the same or less than we paid him last season and for not more than 2 years on a contract. I would also love to see Kennedy here but at the right price.

  • I would love to see Kennedy in Calgary. He would fit in nicely to this team. 2-2.5 million would be bonus

    Babchuk got better as time went on and I think may have played his best hockey at the end the season. He helped our powerplay with that big shot from the point. Not sure who else would fill that role.

    I like the idea of filling the roster with 1-2 million dollar assets.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    I think many fans don’t value players correctly. It’s my opinion in the new NHL you pay for offense. You don’t pay for defense because you can get similar play from league minimum guys. Guys justify their salaries by how many points they put on the board, not how many they keep off. You use combinations of cheaper guys to play defensive grinding hockey. You have to value offense highly because it’s the scarcest thing to have in an organization. Regehr may still be a great shut down guy but you don’t pay him $4M. (How many times did Regehr start a breakout high off the glass or around the boards? For $4M??!!) For Defensemen, anyone making $3.5-4M better be running a powerplay, be really mobile and excel at transition or getting at minimum 30-35 pts. (or have shown potential to produce like that). Defensive guys who make a lot of money do so only because they entered the league pre lockout when there was more of a premium for that skill set given the rules and nature of the game. Through qualification and so on their salaries rose. If you draft skill you can get $4-6M production from guys making half that (Look at Chicago’s rise or that of Pittsburgh before their stars got paid…for offense!) because in this league you have to have good (read: offensive) players on your NHL roster for cheap (entry contracts). Really good defensive players are abundant (or players acquire that skill only with experience). Supply and demand would dictate you don’t pay very much for those services. I’ll give you a perfect example: Team Canada 2010 Olympic Team. Not one player on that roster was strictly a defensive player (aside from goalies). Every member on that team produced offensively (perhaps not first line level but they all could score). Regehr, Phaneuf, Bouwmeester didn’t get a whiff because they couldn’t produce. The Flames, if they want any chance at all at winning need to become a team that can create off the rush. You need players with the requisite skill set. You pay a premium for those players, fill in the rest. Although Boston did win playing a style similar to Calgary and the opposite of what I just typed! Go figure