Hey, Mikey

The fanbase seems to be split over the deal made last night that sent Rene Bourque, Patrick Holland and a 2013 2nd rounder to Montreal in exchange for Mike Cammalleri, Karri Ramo and a 2012 5th Rounder. I get why people might be against it, but I’m not sure I agree.

Cammalleri’s a Better Player

Looking at the advanced stats, it appears that even though Cammalleri has been unluckier then Bourque, he’s been more effective in driving play north against better players-while scoring at a better rate at even strength, even though he’s almost 4% lower then his career SH%. He does seem to be getting a better Zone Start then Bourque did, but I put more stock into the quality of player he’s facing off against. I don’t think Cammalleri will be facing as tough of competition in Calgary as he was in Montreal, and his luck should get better-so don’t be surprised if he finishes with as many as 25 goals due to a correction in luck and shooting percentage. Gabe Desjardins thinks that Cammalleri is worth at least a win more then Bourque based on Corsi alone.

A 2nd Rounder isn’t Worth Much

The 2nd round pick has a 15% chance of becoming a successful pick, according to the research done by Scott Reynolds over at The Copper and Blue:

I’ve set the criteria for a “successful pick” in these drafts as any player who has played a minimum of 200 NHL games and has scored a minimum of 0.5 points per game.

 So there’s a 15% chance that the draft pick might become Matt Stajan? Whoopdie-do, Basil. (There’s other good stuff in that article that you should check out, too.)

Patrick Holland’s Not a Big Deal

As fans, we always overrate our prospects. But a guy like Corey Pronman, who evaluates prospects for Hockey Prospectus, is impartial. Here’s what he had to say about Holland: 

Talked to scouts about Patrick Holland earlier this week. Consensus was career minor leaguer fringe 4th liner. I think could be [an average] 4th.

He adds:

Holland is a decent skater who works hard and can bring solid PK/defensive value, but not much talent to speak of.

Guys like that are easily replaceable via free agency. The reality is that the Flames-and for that matter, every team-have limited resources when it comes to developing prospects; there is an argument to say those resources shouldn’t be used on a guy who might be Tom Kostopoulos in a few years.

Karri Ramo Might Actually Be Good

Ramo Already has NHL experience with the Tampa Bay Lightning. While the results from that ~20 game stretch were a bit underwhelming, his recent years in the KHL have been pretty good-an average of 2.00 GAA and a .922SV% over the past three seasons. I’m not sure what happens to Kiprusoff in the next couple of years, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the dudes in Hockey Operations saw Ramo as a potential replacement. I’m not personally sure that’s accurate, however.

What’s 2.5 Million?

While there is definitely a concern when it comes to extra cap space being eaten up, you have to take into account the length of the deal. Cammalleri will be 32 at the end of the 2014 season, when his deal expires. Bourque? 35 when his deal expires in 2016. With the amount of contacts coming off the books this year that won’t be resigned, the extra 2.5 million shouldn’t hinder the Flames’ negotiating abilities when free agency hits. I think it’s too far in the future to consider how this effects the summer of 2013, especially taking into account that a new CBA has to be constructed this summer.

Are There Really Cap Concerns?

Over the life of the contracts, the Flames will spend about 10 grand more for Cammalleri against the cap then they would for Bourque. In real money, it’ll be a lot more, but who cares. We’re not the ones writing the cheque, right? In terms of this year, the Flames still have quite a bit of breathing room when it comes to the cap. Many people don’t know that the cap is calculated based not on total salaries, but rather on the active players each day during the season-that means every day a player is in Abbotsford or on LTIR, his salary for that day doesn’t count against the cap. Right now the Flames have some money to work with on LTIR, but the equivalent of about 2.5 million will have to be cleared if everyone gets healthy, which is a big “if”. Not too much of a concern, though, since the Flames currently have 9 two-way contracts on their rosters. I realize that doesn’t mean it’s as simple as saying “abracadabra ABBOTSFORD!”, but Feaster has some breathing room.

Is Cammalleri Injury-Prone?

Here’s the injury report for Cammalleri since the start of the 2008-2009 season:

Nov 13th, 2008-missed 1 game due to flu. March 24, 2010-missed 17 games due to leg injury. January 15th, 2011-missed 2 games due to flu. February 20th, 2011-missed 12 games due to shoulder injury. October 20, 2011-missed three games due to laceration. November 16th, 2011-missed 2 games due to infection.

So basically he had one freak leg injury and got sick, as humans are wont to do. I guess he had a boo-boo in there as well. The only injury there is a shoulder injury. The guy has been legitimately hurt once in the past four seasons-that doesn’t exactly scream “injury-prone” to me. Fun fact: Mark Giordano, who no one would ever call “injury-prone” because of his “grit” and “toughness”, has missed 47 games during that same span; or, 10 games more then Cammalleri.

Bourque Has… Issues

I don’t put much stock into things like “laziness” or “heart”, etc. because we’re not in the dressing room (well, most of us) so it’s unfair to evaluate a player based on that. But-it’s not unfair for us to evaluate what we see on the ice, and what has been seen on the ice this year has been crap. 7 games missed due to suspensions, undisciplined play and streakiness-all of those things just make him extremely frustrating.

In Conclusion…

The fact that this trade has been made demonstrates to me that ownership and management still don’t want to rebuild-thus, making the playoffs is the goal here. There has been no paradigm shift. Whether we agree with that or not, it seems to be a reality and it makes sense that the team would continue down the path they believe in. Most of the opposition to this trade comes in the form of the move potentially being a harbinger of things to come, and I don’t get that. Dismissing a move that seems to be wholly positive because of a trade that might happen in the future because it might not fit with our accepted reality is too far of a stretch for me.

I don’t see this as the first stepping stone to “future-mortgaging” trades because I don’t believe the Flames gave up much. The pure economics and pure talent level in the deal both seem to swing Calgary’s way, so I’m happy about it.

  • beloch

    I’m amazed that anyone can find fault with this trade. Cammalleri in a *slump* puts up about the same number of points that Bourque does at his *best* against inferior competition. Cammy has never scored less than 47 points in a full NHL season, while Bourque has broken 50 just twice! Cammy takes fewer penalties and is a year younger to boot!

    We just got a legitimate, albeit slumping, top 3 forward for a guy who is top 6 material only when he’s hot, and he’s often not. This trade was an absolute no-brainer. Feaster would have been an idiot not to take it even if he was determined to have a fire sale at the trade deadline. Even in a slump, Cammelleri will bring a greater return than Bourque would have.

    However, let’s not forget the reason why Bourque seemed destined to be traded this season. The Flames had too many second-line LW’s. Glencross, Bourque (when he’s hot), Comeau, and Tanguay can all play top 6 minutes, but top 3 is sometimes a stretch for all of them. If we have to trade one of those players to free up cap space, we’ll have effectively traded two second liners for a first-liner and whatever additional return we get from that second trade.

    Going forward, Cammalleri is young enough to be a part of the core the team rebuilds around. I’m also a bit excited to see Iginla, Cammalleri and Jokinen on powerplays together. That could be a very dangerous line!

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Justin, I’ve come to like this deal better after sleeping on it and having more time to examine it. My initial dissatisfaction was the loss of the 2nd round pick in 2013, it smacked of D. Sutter giving away picks for today. In fact, I would now argue that this is deal is part of a Flames rebuild, instead of the win-now (at any cost) mentality. I made that arguement in a post in the last article (from Kent), so I’ll spare you the details here.

    I still don’t agree with your position trading away a 2nd rounder for a 5th. I read Scott Reynolds article last summer (by the way it’s a great piece with some good analysis of a large amount of data). No one should question that a second rounder has about a 1 in 7 chance of becoming an NHLer so we agree here. The trouble is after the second round the statistics are lottery-like, and the further a pick is from the first round, the less likely they to ever seeing an NHL contract. In other words, a 5th rounder has a very unlikely chance at craking the big leagues. Giving this 1 in 7 sounds like excellent odds.

    Here how I break down the trade:

    Bourque for Cammalleri – WIN FLAMES

    Capology – Win Montreal

    Ramo for Holland – WIN FLAMES

    5th for a 2nd – win Montreal

  • Emir

    Good article Justin.

    People who don’t like this deal should give their head a shake. Those is the first trade since kipper that we didn’t get hosed. Lets hope feaster & co. Have more up their sleeve.

  • Subversive

    As much as I’ve been an advocate for the Flames to tank this season, I can’t come up with a reason to hate this trade. The only downside is giving up the 2nd round pick, I don’t even think the cap issues are that serious. For next season it’s a non-issue, and for this year there’s less than half a season left so we’re talking ~1.25 million cap difference.

    The fact is, this is exactly the kind of move a smart GM makes; Pounce on an undervalued asset at it’s lowest, and get rid of someone you don’t want anymore in the deal. Well done, Mr. Feaster.

  • everton fc

    Justin, I’m not sure how accurate your statement is that the fanbase seems to be split on this trade. I am at the Dome for every Flames game and the crowd was buzzing about this trade before it was officially announced…and by buzzing I mean they were happy. Of the dozens of people I talked to only ONE was upset about Bourque leaving. No one seemed too upset over losing the 2nd rounder next year and no one really new who Ramo was…all they knew was that Cammy was coming home and they were excited about it.

  • everton fc

    The Flames didn’t get hosed. Not in terms of personnel here.

    The contract is a potential albatross, similar to the one Feaster was set to give an aging Brad Richards. That’s what scares me.

    Look at Lecavalier’s contract for reference. Feaster, to me, doesn’t have issues throwing out the big contract.

    If we want to sign people like Parise, Boychuck, Weber/Suter, and so forth… Where’s the $$$? The possible moves to make some room here:

    Sarich now. He’s been playing well. Teams in the East could use his grit. Trouble is, he’s our only shutdown guy. Even in the pipeline, he’s it. Poor planning, perhaps?

    JBo. With the emergence of Brodie, and the return of Gio, if you could move JBo for someone w/the stay-home “grit” as Beauchemin, in addition to adding a prospect or pick… I’d consider this…

    Kipper. If Ramo is “real” (33-6 with a .925 Save Percentage w/Omsk, 2010-2011) could the Flames be “comfortable” moving Kipper at the deadline if they are out of contention, to give the tandem of Ramo and Irving a chance? Darryl rolled the dice with an unproven Kiprusoff some years ago… and it worked. Of course, Ramo had a fair amount of games in Tampa and never breached the .900 save percentage.

    Babchuk – there are teams in need of this type of player. Take a pick in return.

    Brendan Morrison – Hasn’t played in a while. Where does he fit? Could help a team in the top of the standings. Good in the room.

    Moss – Love him, but he oft-injured and will be 32 next season. Would be great going home to Michigan, as a Wing.

    I’d like to see Comeau and Jones get some time with Cammy. I know Backlund will, which will really give us a sense if Backlund is indeed a potential #2 centre. I like him, but have my doubts. We shall soon see, me thinks.

    And I still think Butler’s a 5-6 d-man. Long-term.

  • Sarich now. He’s been playing well. Teams in the East could use his grit. Trouble is, he’s our only shutdown guy. Even in the pipeline, he’s it. Poor planning, perhaps?

    Sarich isn’t a shut-down guy. He’s an immobile third pairing defender who is effective if he doesn’t do too much and plays with someone who can skate.

    The NHL is moving away from the lumbering, one-dimensional defensemen and has been since the lock-out.

    • Kent is right about Sarich. He’s not a shutdown guy at all – look at the OZQoC charts we post in the weekly Black Box, he plays against third lines only and doesn’t kill penalties. Does that sound like a shut-down guy?

      The only defensemen who kill penalties and play against top-six forwards are Jay Bouwmeester, Chris Butler, Scott Hannan and Mark Giordano.

      As much as I would love to see them move his contract, they have no one to replace Jay Bouwmeester – their TRUE lone shut-down guy.

  • Justin, a 2nd rounder isn’t nothing.

    Use this link, but switch to some random year. Look at the 2nd round and see how many guys are useful. For example, 2004.


    You’ve got Dave Bolland, Blake Comeau, David Booth, Niklas Grossman, Brandon Dubinsky, Alex Goligoski and David Krejci. Also Brian Bickell, Enver Lisin, Victor Oreskovich.

    So that’s 7/30 chance of a solid NHL player, and an additional 10% chance of a 4th liner (ok – big deal).

    That’s the (only) part of the deal I dislike.

  • I’m glad you weren’t distracted by Cammalleri’s $6 million cap hit.

    While that is excessive, it’s also for only two more years after this, whereas Bourque’s $3.33 is for twice as long.

    Contract-wise it’s short-term pain for long-term gain.

    The fact that it’s a virtual certainty that Cammalleri will outperform Bourque on the ice is a plus.

    Moral of the Story: Long-term contracts are risky, stop handing them out! (Unless you get outrageous discounts).

  • BobB

    1. if a 2nd rounder is bad, a fifth is worse.

    2. there are more good NHL goalies around than there are jobs for them, Ramo isn’t even on that list. Sure, he may be great, but so was Karlsson supposed to be. I don’t over-value Holland, but at least he has value.

    3. Cammalleri for Bourque is problems for problems. He’s not going to help us in 4-6 years. He’s overpaid.

    Pat’s right on. Sure, Cammy may be, MAY be better than Bourque, and another 2.5million $ player (for the pay diff.), but I doubt it. Even so, how does it fit in any plan?

    How is this different than the Sutter moves we all hated?

    It’s problems for problems, it’s win now, not later and we’re not a playoff team right now.

    People are saying “It’s great that Bourque is gone… he was a problem.” Fair enough, but please bring a long term solution back in return.

    • SickFloBro

      1. I agree…but it’s a pick nonetheless.

      2. Better to have to much than too little.

      3. I don’t disagree, but I also feel as though that particular perspective is extremely pessimistic. You could argue that with ANY trade, really. GM’s don’t make trades based on that mentality…”I have these problems…want to trade me some of yours for mine?” That’s ridiculous.

      Cammalleri’s contract is up before Bourque’s, and though it may be more per year, we get a better player in return…and something we need: skill. Yeah, the guy’s had a tough go this year in Montreal…but that whole team has as well.

      What kind of long term solution would you hope for in return? Subban? Price? How much do you think Bourque, Holland, and a 2nd rounder are REALLY worth? On paper, this is a trade that the Flames definitely won. The true test will be on the ice…but that sort of pessimism is useless.

      • BobB

        How is it pessimism? It’s realism.

        Go to Calgary Flames.com and listen to Feaster.

        He says:
        “This [trade] isn’t something that’s done future looking, we want to win right now, we want to be a playoff team. In terms of our playoff push, we think this is a jump start.”

        Now go back and read the last 24 months of Flames fans comments which range from:

        “Blow it up now… scorched earth and tank”
        “Rebuild meticulously for the future, getting younger, faster and better long term for the next wave of competitiveness”

        This is what everyone was critical of with Sutter. Trading problems for problems.

        Call me a pessimist, but thinking the Flames can “win now” is asinine and delusional.

        Plan the cup parade… Cammy is coming ‘home’

        • everton fc


          Probably didn’t articulate correctly my views on Sarich. Fumbled that one. Let me try again; I think he is someone a playoff team could use. And I think a team would take his salary to sure up their defence for a Cup run. I may be wrong… wouldn’t be the first time.

          He’s a gritty, hard working defender. Agreed that he needs to be a 5-6 guy, paired w/a good skater. Agreed.

          @Rain Dogs
          Good post. Feaster seems to be doing what Darryl did – go for the playoffs now. Give up a pick or two for experienced bodies. A 2nd round pick in next year’s draft is like a first round pick – the consensus is that this summer’s draft is the deepest in years. Robert’s breakdown of 2nd round picks from the class of ’04. Brodie was a 4th round pick. Ferland a 5th (if he pans out, which I think we are all in agreement is likely). Holland was a 7th round pick. And so on.

          Cammy was a second round pick. And I agree – he’s not necessarily a problem player, though he is one to shoot off at the mouth, potentially. He’s certainly a good interview!

          How is this “win now” philosophy of Feaster’s… any different than Darryl’s? And by reaquiring guys Darryl originally brought here?

          Seems Warrener was sort fo defending Darryl’s handling of the Cammy affair this morning on the drive into work. Said Darryl wanted Cammy at 4.2mill/5yrs. Hindsight being 20/20… Darryl may have pegged this one, as Cammy was never worth $6mill.

          But you take what you can get as a player. I get that.

          One positive – Cammy is excited to be here. Like Tanguay and Jokinen were. And the latter two have produced. Here’s hoping Cammy does, too, for if he doesn’t… Feaster may pay for it.

          If we could mvoe JBo for a potential shut-down guy… or a proven shut-down guy a step below JBo in pay and play… It’d free up some serious cash.

          I’d look into this. But if we want to “win now”… JBo stays. Not to say he is a key to “winning now”.

  • the forgotten man

    Flames won this deal in the short term for sure. Management obviously feels this team can make a run for the Cup as roughly constructed…only time will tell. At least it puts to rest any talk of the flames being sellers at the trade deadline and talk of any rebuilding for 2 more seasons.

    Should be a ring a dong dandy race to the playoffs now!!

  • BobB

    I believe this was a win any way butI I think this trade is a win no questions asked If we make the playoffs. I can’t wait to see cammi on the ice Calgary was in desperate need of a player with poise and purpose that has skill. It seems no one has mentioned we got rid of a marked man any suspicions hit would end with longer and longer suspensions. Because of how far we
    Would have to fall to be a bottom team I hope we can find away to climb the ladder so other players may want to come to Calgary this summer. We need Tangs back in the line up now.

  • Subversive

    Hey Rain Dogs, I can see your perspective, however I think where many people are disagreeing with you is in the perception of Cammy as a “problem”. He’s a talented player who we got in exchange for a less talented player. I don’t think you all of a sudden vault the Flames to the top of any contender lists, but if you can upgrade your team why not do it? You can’t argue that this gives the Flames a better chance to make the playoffs than they would have with Bourque. As much as I want the Flames to be Detroit, I know that’s hardly realistic. Making the playoffs is certainly a more enjoyable path as a fan than to follow the Oilers way of doing things.

    • BobB

      It’s not even about the fact Bourque went, it’s that a 6mil $ cap hit, soon to be 30yr old Cammy came back. I can put together a good arguement that having Cammy vs Bourque + 2.5million dollar other player makes the Flames chances worse.

      Fortunately, I don’t have to! The Flames are NOT making the playoffs! We’re 2 points ahead of where we were last year at the same time:

      11-12: GP 45 PTS 47

      10-11: GP 45 PTS 45

      09-10: GP 45 PTS 57

      We didn’t make the playoffs the last two years. Last year, from game 46-61 (15 games… we lost only twice). Our longest losing streak for the rest of the 10/11 season was 3 games. We played .755 hockey and we still didn’t make the playoffs.

      We’ve played the most games in the WC this year to date 45. We’re still 3 pts out. Other teams have from 1 to 5! games in hand. That’s 2 to 10 potential points (likely 2-6)!

      There are 7 teams fighting for 3 spots and we’re in the worst position.

      Thinking adding one 6 million dollar player is going to change the team completely is what got us into this mess in the first place. If Sutter made this trade it’d be “Brutal! More of the same. First Joker, Now Cammy?”

      Like I said… delusional.

      If Cammy comes in and we play .750-.800 hockey for the rest of the season… sure… it’s genius. But I’m taking bets on that actually happening.

  • BobB

    This doesn’t ruin any plans for a re-tool. Just makes the team more competitive in the process. Cammalleri is 29, and last I checked that’s the prime of a player’s career. I was more concerned about Bourque’s contract (the extra year especially) than I am Cammo’s. There are still a lot of pieces around here that could be dealt for picks at the deadline. Maybe more 3-4th round picks than 2nds, but the future isn’t destroyed because of the lost 2nd round pick.

    Oh yeah: And pro hockey is about entertainment. I LOVE watching Mike Cammalleri play hockey.

  • Subversive

    Not my point, Rain Dogs. My point is it’s a low downside, high upside move. It makes the team better, and unless you’re willing to name your imaginary $2.5m player who, alongside Bourque, would make us better than Cammy, it’s a non-argument. Also, if you could explain how you think the Flames might acquire said player, then I might be willing to consider it.

    No, I don’t think this move turns the Flames into a cup contender. Yes, I do think it’s a good move. Basically what Graham said a couple posts above is spot on the money. Doesn’t hurt the retool and makes us better in the process.

    • BobB

      1. It reinforces the “win-now” attitude, making the dealing of our current older and high-paid “core” less likely. In fact, he IS core. What’s the vision? What year are we going to be truly competitive?

      2. Very likely, this year is a playoff write-off. Cammy maybe further ensures we pick 13th – 15th again.

      3. Next year we HAD ~20million in cap space. Now we have 2.7million less. That cap space was flexibility we no longer have.

      And that’s just Cammy vs Bourque. I understand he was a fan favourite. But it’s not a good strategic return for what we need.

      I see very little upside in having another overpaid 30+ yr old, with a modified NMC on the team next year. Especially if it just further solidifies another year of mediocrity, 9th-11th place and 1st rounders outside the top ten. Our core is older than Vancouver, Boston, Chicago, Pittsburgh…and they’re competitive/winning cups now! We’re adding to a losing formula.

  • Derzie

    “The fanbase seems to be split over the deal made last night”
    81% approval is a split? Remember, it takes less effort to complain but complainers can be the ‘sweaky wheel’ to give the illusion of a fanbase split. This is a good deal. Well done Feaster to cash in on the Gauthier disaster era in Montreal.

    • Captain Ron

      Your bang on Derzie. The only people calling this a split are those on the wrong side of the equation. This is a good deal for us no question. Nice work by those I refer to as the management group since Jay Feaster makes it clear in his comments that he needed to get clearance before pulling the trigger on this one. Further proof to the fact that he does not operate with autonomy as I have always stated. As a fan paying to see the games at home I’m much more enthusiastic to go to the game now than I was before this trade. At least Cammy plays with passion and heart a hell of a lot more often than the guy who is leaving.

      @everton fc Your estimatation that a second round pick this year is as good as a first is just a little ambitious don’t you think. Yes I know its a deeper than usual draft this summer and if your referring to the second rounder moved in this trade it is from the 2013 draft. It is of course possible for us to get that one back in a future deal.

      As long as he is playing well and healthy Cammy could bring a future first round pick easily if he were traded again. If that bum Penner brought that much Cammy’s a no brainer.

  • everton fc

    Thing is to remember, so we keep to a 8th -10th club this year & maybe next if things arent blown up, we can probably get at least that 2nd back for Cammi in 2 years at the trade deadline, especially if his numbers stay in the 25 goal range & 60-70 points. So that 2nd we gave away is really gone, its just been differed so to speak.

  • RKD

    As long as Cammy outscores Bourque, doesn’t take bad penalties and stays healthy it’s a win for the Flames.

    I like the inclusion of Ramo, he’s 25 played some NHL games. Getting overseas action in the KHL. He gives us another option in addition to Irving.

    Sucks to give up a second rounder, but Feaster is insistent on getting those back so there maybe more moves coming.

    As for Holland, he’s no Bartschi or Reinhardt so I can live with that.