As we find ourselves only two days away from Christmas, we at Flames Nation decided to make a few last minute requests to jolly St. Nick to see if there is a chance at some last minute gift ideas that he might be able to sneak under the Calgary Flames Christmas tree.

Feel free to throw in your own Christmas wishes for the Flames in the comments section; after all, it is the most wonderful time of the year!

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Kent Wilson: All I want is a top-10 pick for the club, whether by trade or by finish. I’m aware this is sort of blasphemy amongst fans, but the club’s true deficit is young, elite talent and it’s nearly impossible to rise above the tide without it in the league these days. A top-10 pick is by no means guaranteed to yield an elite player, but it’s the best the Flames have at this point.

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 Ryan Lambert: Since it’s become obvious that the team is neither willing to blow it up and is unlikely to do very well this season, I hope they get some really great amateur scouting reports compiled. That way, they’ll be able to pick a guy at like the No.12 pick or wherever they end up in the middle of the pack and he won’t be bad. Lots of good players go around then. In 2008, Buffalo got Tyler Myers at 12! You’d take that for sure.

 Robert Cleave: There are any number of things the Flames could use from the jolly one, and the short answers for the team might be "better players" or "the Canucks falling into the ocean" or "another 40 games against the Oilers". Beyond the needs of the club in the collective, though, there are a few individuals that might need a special treat this holiday season. Here are some suggestions:

Brent Sutter – More games with performances like last night’s first two periods against the Wings would do just fine. Moss and Giordano getting healthy might be nice as well.
Jay Feaster – A sucker GM to take a contract or two off of his hands. Wonder if Santa could install Mike Milbury somewhere for a few days?
Matt Stajan – Given his penchant for falling down on nearly every shift before he was injured, how about a nice pair of these babies?
Rene Bourque – Daymond Langkow.
T.J. Brodie – The all-clear to buy a house in Calgary.
Anton Babchuk – A plane ticket. Anywhere.
Mikael BacklundSome puck luck.
Jarome Iginla and Miikka Kiprusoff – A time machine to take them back to the spring of ’04. That might solve a few other problems as well, I suppose.

I’m not sure even Santa can pull that last one off, but it never hurts to ask, does it?

Robert Vollman: My first thought was to wish for goaltending. After all, the lack of a decent back-up has cost the Calgary Flames a play-off appearance two years in a row now. And if Miikka Kiprusoff weren’t a highly paid former Vezina winner, would his recent performance really earn him 70 games a season? Then again, Leland Irving’s first start looked promising, and a back-up goalie alone won’t do it for the Flames this year, so I kept thinking.

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My next thought was a young top-six forward who could get one of the league’s worst power plays going and generate the even-strength offense that the Flames desperately need. Unfortunately young, top-six forwards don’t exactly grow on trees, and Calgary’s constant quest for anyone anywhere near top-six forward level is what got them players like Ales Kotalik, Niklas Hagman, Matt Stajan and Rene Bourque, and the risky long-term contracts that came with them. Pass!

I finally settled on wishing for good, solid two-way forwards and defensemen, the kind that can play big minutes and make it easier to continue cycling older, higher-paid players out of the system in return for young talent, prospects and cap space. Then again, players like these, like Lee Stempniak and Blake Comeau, are essentially stocking stuffers to hang over the fireplace, not gifts to wrap and leave under the tree.

In the end I wished for the only real difference between the Calgary Flames and the Minnesota Wild, the one single thing that has kept that comparable team in top spot, and the only thing with even a remote chance of getting the Flames a post-season position of their own: luck.

My wish is for the Flames to ride spikes in the percentages that last from December 25 to season’s end, driving them up the Western Conference standings just like Colorado in 2009-10, Anaheim in 2010-11 and Minnesota in 2011-12. The kind of spike that gets above average goalies into Vezina discussions and gives fairly average talent the only 20-goal or 30-goal seasons of their careers. Ridiculous, odds-defying luck. Someone’s got to have it, they once had it for a couple months in 2004, so let it be Calgary’s again in 2012.

Vintage Flame: I want this team to somehow receive a miracle. Does this team have it in them to somehow replicate what they did last year, with a better result? Yes I believe they do, why not. I don’t believe in the law of averages, whereby, they did it last year so it’s not going to happen again. In the end this team is going to make its own luck and in many ways they will determine their own fate.

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Get into the playoffs, do whatever it takes to get there and somehow find a way to win at least one round. Now here comes the miracle part. Whatever success this team can muster, however far they can drag themselves with the fan-base on their backs, they have to find a way to keep the future in sight. Feaster and Sutter have to find a way that this team can succeed at the expense of the current roster. Make some of these players and their contracts more palatable to a team out there that can make the direction this team needs to go a little easier to navigate.

We can call it whatever we want, a rebuild, a re-tooling, or just outright change, but this team cannot go into next season with the same look they have had over the last few years. The upcoming draft has to be one that leaves other teams and analysts around the league saying, “Wow, can you believe the Calgary Flames actually pulled that off?” And it can’t be something that was said once or as a joke.

I know this is a complete ‘have your cake and eat it to’ attitude, but let’s face it, that’s the sort of gift from Santa, that they really need. To somehow appease the masses but quell the critics with something that is going to rattle the foundation of the organization, while the fans say, “yeah, but look what they did in spite of everything.”

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I want Santa to bring Feaster vindication for his comments made to the fan-base and to the public during the Flames town hall meeting. Is there a miracle that big out there? Maybe not, but if the Flames can play enough kids onto Santa’s nice list, then maybe, just maybe, hockey people across the NHL will be writing, “Yes Jay Feaster, there is a Santa Claus.”


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Merry Christmas everyone…

    • Vintage Flame

      If recent precedent is any guide, this could work out.

      The trick would be to fire yourself only as a writer, but stay on as managing editor. Then for the next 4 years trade any young promising writer’s around here for aging decrepit rehab projects (maybe Damien Cox is available?). Perhaps misunderstand the budgeting procedure so that you can’t get enough writers on staff.

      Then get fired from that position. About a year later something for a writer in Los Angeles should open up and you are lauging all the way from the farm.

  • icedawg_42

    I am fully in agreement with Kent and Mr. Cleave – as for you Mr. Vintage, your wish is exactly what I don’t want. A playoff appearance however brief, would probably have this management team clamoring to ink every last pending UFA, and screaming “FOUR MORE YEARS” – look what happened last season, where out of the blue we “Owed” it to the team NOT to expect any changes. I have to admit I like this roster more right now than I did before the season came – but as Mr. Vollman said – the things I like are stocking stuffers, not prime time big shiny box and bow presents. MY Christmas wish for this team is a LEGIT exciting, creative top line, be that through the draft (probably) or free agency (yea right).

    Robert, if you’re going to impersonate Olli, you’re REALLY gonna have to dumb it down a bit.

    Santa – are you listening? ELITE TOP LINE …STAT! I don’t mind throwing you an ass whoopin- even in front of kids.

    Im warnin’ ya http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHn3hYZGzTw

  • Graham

    Lets be honest, the Flames have been in a rut for 20 years, we have not fielded an elite team since the late 1980’s… We have seen poor asset management, dismal drafting, and an appaling lack of a long term vision.

    Kings vision of keeping the club competitive (ie bums in the seats), with twenty years of below average GM hirings, has doomed the club to year after year of ‘averageness’.

    My wish for Christmas, the Flames need a true #1 center. The middle of our line up is fine, we have a number of above average 2nd, 3rd and even 4th line forwards, but no real first line.

    I’m not sure the Flames have the assets to trade for a #1, and I think they would find it very hard to attract one in free agency, so we will have to find one in the draft.

    Dare I say it, maybe my wish for Christmas, should be a long losing streak. The best way out of the current rut is to land a top draft pick, and build around a young center.

  • Bleed the Red

    Dear Santa,

    If you could find it yout heart this Christmas, I would really appreciate a true # 1 Center, say like Malkin or even Carter. We have plenty of Centers to give in return. They just cant win faceoffs.

    I know the Malkin will never work as long as Crosby is under the weather,but we should go after a team who is in serious trouble. A team like Montreal(dying to do something), and I would love to see MC back! A team like Carolina who just cant seem to do anything right. We could trade for their top Center in Staal, but we would need to move out some serious salary too!(and, at what expense of decent quality?)

    I guess what I really want Santa, is some kind of hope for the future of this Club without having to go through XX amount of years to get it.



  • RCN

    -Top. Five. Pick.

    -Future cap relief in the form of trading any (or ALL) of: Tangauy/Stajan/Bourque/Babchuk.

    -Two more picks inside the top-60 to go along with the ONE they currently have.

    -With the possible exception of Lee Stempniak, a cleansing of all impending UFA’s.

  • RexLibris

    I know I put this on Lambert’s article yesterday but I jumped the gun on that one, so here it is again:

    Kent, I wouldn’t call that half-assed, but rather “less is more”. I can empathize with Kent’s wish. A top 10 pick, basically coming away from day one of the draft with a Nick Ebert, or a Brendan Gaunce, or even a Matt Dumba, would go a long way to helping the Flames impove in the long run.

    That being said, I think Ryan Lambert’s wish is the most realistic and achievable. Making sure that the Flames get the right player when they likely pick in the that 12 to 17 range will be vital. Baertschi looks good and was an astute pick at that spot, very similar to when the Oilers drafted Hemsky 13th overall in 2001. Like the Oilers, the Flames can’t afford to follow that pick up with a Jesse Niinimaki (15th overall) the next year.

    Good luck against the Army of Darkness tonight. Hopefully someone can lay out Kesler again and put a can of whoop-ass in his stocking.

  • RexLibris

    I agree with KE, Graham and Icedawg.

    Somehow we need young talent or we’ll be doomed to 20 more years of ‘hope.’

    ‘Hope’fully management doesnt think they owe the team anything this year.

    C’mon Iggy, 3 more so we can get on with some big moves.

    @VF – I think you are asking for your cake and to eat it too. No one wants to see a massive culture change on that team than myself, but that means moving Kipper & Iggy. I say both because IMO if you move one you pretty much have to move the other.

    • Vintage Flame

      @VF – I think you are asking for your cake and to eat it too. No one wants to see a massive culture change on that team than myself, but that means moving Kipper & Iggy. I say both because IMO if you move one you pretty much have to move the other.

      Yup I am, I even said that, but then again it’s a Christmas wish right? 😉

      I’m okay with moving Kipper and Iginla.. I’m not sure how many times I have said that. What I want is to get the MOST out what we have now and then at the end of the season, bring on the wholesale changes. I think the Flames [re: Feaster] has a plan for this team, and my wish was based on NO MATTER HOW THIS TEAM FINISHES, that they need to stick to that plan.

      Whether they are first or last in the division, will be determined on the ice. What they do after the season should already be determined and one cannot affect the other.

      • Vintage Flame

        Yes, but do you wai tuntil the season is over or just for the trade deadline?

        And if the team is close, then what?

        That’s why last year scares me. Because Calgary will probably be close to the playoffs again next season too, especially if the kids improve.

        But is that a good thing? Because eventually Iginla will erode past usefulness or leave.

        But I get what you’re saying.

  • Super_Gio

    Dear Santa,

    Please give Mr. Feaster and every member of flames management an XBOX 360 with two games, Call of Duty and NHL.

    I would hope they would become familiar with the term “grenata!” as well other explosives and then apply that to the organization. Then they could play NHL and understand the moves they are currently thinking are utterly stupid in the long term, this way they can screw up in a game and learn from their mistakes so they don’t actually go ahead with that garbage in real life.

    Thank you Santa,
    – Emir

    PS – Please leave my resume in Feaster’s briefcase.

  • icedawg_42

    ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS (is my two front teeth?)

    Anyways, I would personally like the Flames to make the playoffs this season, but still manage to get a top 10 pick in the draft. This obviously means a trade must be made, (at the draft?). I don’t know if they can make a deal like that, but Santa can make miracles happen, right? I want the Flames to not be fooled by a playoff appearance, and continue to trend into a younger team. THEY DO NOT NEED TO BLOW IT UP!As long as they draft properly and make smart trades, they will be fine.

    Merry Christmas to everyone at the Nations! Talk to ya’ll tonight at the live chat.

  • Vintage Flame

    Well, if it is Christmas wishes here we go…

    George McPhee decides he needs to go for it this season. After getting his 500th goal, Iginla gets traded to Washington for Semin and two first rounders. Dale Hunter plus Iginla’s leadership turns around Washington’s mediocre play. They go 40-10 over the last 50 games of the season and cakewalk their way through the first three rounds of the playoffs. In the conference final against Boston, Lucic takes a run at someone and Iginla rag dolls him with one punch and Lucic is so frightened of playing that he can’t get back on the ice for the rest of his career.

    At the same time, Columbus, Chicago or St. Louis or somebody decide they need to shore up their goaltending and trade for Kiprusoff. They give Calgary a ridiculous package of picks and prospects.

    Whichever team acquires Kiprsusoff meets Washington and Iginla in the most memorable final in recent years. We get to see a Flames legend win a Ray Bourque cup.

    In the meantime, all the Flames prospects and picks in the system play over their heads to make this club competitive this year – and all the new picks and prospects turn Calgary into a legit contender for the next 10 years after this one.

    And peace on earth and goodwill towards men.

  • Vintage Flame

    My Christmas wish is for everyone in Flames Nation to get their wish this Christmas!
    My other mini wish is to hope you all continue to put up with all my dumb mispelled posts in 2012:)
    Most importantly, dont drink & drive & keep safe during the Holiday season.