Flames 2011-2012 Bright Spots



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There’s just one game left in what will prove to be the Flames worst regular season since 2002-03. This off-season will no doubt be filled with tough questions, doubts and multiple post-mortems to be sure. Picking through the wreckage and attempting to define a new path forward has become one of my favorite summer acitivities.

All that said, not everything was bad news this season. A few bright spots emerged from the gloom that are worth mentioning

The Silver Linings

The Kipper Rebound

After perhaps his second worst season in Flames colors in 2010-11 (2008-09 stands alone at the bottom), Miikka Kiprusoff had a fine bounce back season that saw him float the team for a two month stretch while they battled incessant injuries. If Kipper doesn’t play like a Vezina candidate through January and February, the Flames aren’t battling for a playoff spot come March.

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While those heroics now seem somewhat fruitless (and perhaps pragmatically counterproductive since a higher draft pick would be preferable at this point), his renaissance means he has reinvigorated his value on the trade market at just the right time for the organization.

This summer, Miikka’s NTC goes away and his real salary (versus his cap hit) begins to drop. He’ll be paid $5M next year and then just $1.5M the season. His cap hit will remain at $5.83M, but the reduction in real cash salary and the erasure of his NTC means he can be traded to just about anyone, and his contract is less risky.

The question of whether to deal Kipper at all is another matter, but the good news is it has now a more attractive option after such a quality performance.

Flames win the Regehr trade

I’ll admit I was fairly underwhelmed by the return for former stalwart Robyn Regehr when Feaster moved him (and Kotalik + a second) for Chris Butler and Paul Byron. I’m still not thrilled a second round pick was included and I find Byron to be a completely middling prospect, but in the end I have to give the edge to the Flames anyways.

For two reasons: firstly, Butler is a young, functional top-four defender whose cap hit is incredibly reasonable (1.25M). The 26-year old caught a lot of flack this year for his occasional struggles, but the truth is he was technically playing way over his head on a top-pairing, shut-down tandem. He finished the year with the second highest average even strength ice time per game for the Flames and third most per game short-handed ice. That’s a tough row to hoe for a guy who wasn’t even a regular for the Sabres the year previous. So while he didn’t exactly excel in his vastly tougher assignment, he was good enough for the Flames to assume they have a competent top-four guy on a cheap ticket going forward.

Reggie, on the other hand, had a terrible year. His addition has been roundly panned by Sabres writers and fans. Initially paired with sophomore Tyler Myers to start the year, the duo got their heads beat it in as the Sabres shut-down pairing. After 75 games, Regehr’s even strength ice time has sunk to 15:54 per game – good for 6th amongst regular Sabre defenders.

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Regehr is just 31-years old, but he’s never been overly mobile or good with the puck. He’s battled chronic knee issues for years and it looks like his strengths are starting to overwhelm his weaknesses. The Flames got out of that $4.02M/year contract at just the right time.

Backlund Gets Better at the Tough Stuff

This one will be controversial because Backlund’s season was a disaster by most conventional measures. He battled injuries, bad bounces and lackluster output all season, so many are prepared to declare him a bust. The truth is, the kid managed to prove he can drive the play, even in tough circumstances.

Thanks to injuries and dearth of other options, Backlund frequently played against top-six opposition when he was healthy. He also started 44.6% of his shifts in the defensive end (only Tom Kostopolous had  a lower ratio). Despite all that, the Flames out-shot the bad guys when Backlund was on the ice this year.

I’ll put this in context that is easy to understand. In my piece the other day on why the Flames’ scoring fell off, I noted the team just didn’t generate enough shots this year. With that in mind, here are the shots for and shots against (per 60 minutes of ice) for the Flames regular forwards at even strength this season:

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Player SF/60 SA/60 Diff/60
DAVIDMOSS 30.5 26.1 4.4
LEESTEMPNIAK 27.3 28.1 -0.8
TIMJACKMAN 26.1 25 1.1
TOMKOSTOPOULOS 25.6 27.8 -2.2
BLAIRJONES 25.5 25.3 0.2
BLAKECOMEAU 25.5 27.5 -2
MATTSTAJAN 25.2 26 -0.8
OLLIJOKINEN 25.1 31 -5.9
JAROMEIGINLA 24 30.5 -6.5
ALEXTANGUAY 23.6 29.2 -5.6
ROMANHORAK 21.3 26.8 -5.5

The Flames didn’t finish very often when he was on the ice this year and Backlund himself needs to figure out how to put the puck in the ocean a bit more often, but he took a step this season that a huge majority of kids never take: keeping the puck moving the right way. Moving the play north was one of the Flames biggest weaknesses this season (check out all the top line players above), but it looks like Backlund, at 23-years old, has arrived as a functional NHLer who is better than average in terms of possession. Even if he only settles in as a 35-40 point centerman, the fact that the team outshoots the bad guys with him on the ice is a boon.

On top of all that, his rough season means the Flames should be able to re-sign the pending RFA at a very reasonable number this summer. I have had a number of opposition team fans inquire about the Flames potentially dealing Backs this summer for these reasons. Hopefully Cakgary does the opposite and inks him for several years at a bargain price.

The Return of Cammalleri (and the exit of Bourque)

Feaster’s biggest "win" so far as the Flames GM is the Cammalleri/Bourque swap. Whatever malady that infected Bourque after he was re-signed by Calgary followed him to Montreal. He’s been a disaster for the Habs, garnering five goals, eights points and a -17 rating in just 37 games. His contract extends for another 3 years after this one and it wouldn’t surprise me if he gets bought out or demoted to the minors before it ends.

Cammalleri didn’t turn the Flames around or anything, but he proved to be a far more useful piece than Rene. His underlying numbers were relatively strong down the stretch and he played well when asked to move from wing to center. Even with his early season struggles and fighting through injury, Cammalleri finished the year with 20 goals and 40 points in 65 games.

MC is overpaid at $6M/year, but his deal ends one season earlier than Rene and he is, by far, the more useful player at this point. He is a player the team can hang on to as they find a new path or a decent trade asset to flip for futures down the road.

The KIds are Alright

Calgary Flames prospects collectively had one of the best seasons I can personally recall. Not only did Sven Baertschi emerge as one of the best picks of his draft class (and the most exciting forward prospect in town for two decades), but numerous other youngsters met or exceeded expectations this year as well.

I was intrigued when the Flames drafted John Gaudreau in the fourth round last June, but by no means did I expect him to become a high impact player in college at just 18-years old. Calgary’s most diminuitive draft pick ever scored 20-goals and 43-points in 43 games for Boston College this season, second only to 20-year old, former first rounder Chris Kreider (45 points). He was named the MVP of the Beatpot tournament and his club is considered the favorite to win the frozen four. It;s hard to ask for a better freshman season.

Former Calgary third rounder Bill Arnold is also a Boston College Eagle and a significant contributor. He doesn’t have the offensive ceiling of Gaudreau, but it was another firm step in the right direction.

Max Reinhart led the Kootenay ice in scoring with 78-points in just 61-games played. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but the Ice were one of the lowest scoring clubs in the league. HIs 16-year old brother Sam was second on the club with just 62-points. Only one other guy (Ismond) managed more than 50.By alla ccounts, Max was by far the club’s most dominant forward in all situations. He will be turning pro, likely with the Heat, this coming October. Reinhart teammate and Flames third rounder Joey Leach was named the Ice’s MVP during their brief playoff run as well.

Markus Granlund, brother of top-flight prospect Michael Granlund, was picked in the second round with one of two assets acquired in the Tim Erixon deal. There were some questions about the younger Granlund heading into the season, specifically his size and compete level, but he managed to stick HIFK Helsinki if the Finnish Elite League (SM-liiga) despite being only 18-years old. He scored 15-goals and 34 points in 47 games, a healthy number for a teen in a pro league. He also made the Fins WJC squad.

Michael Ferland was a guy who stood out to me during Calgary’s pre-season last summer. A big guy who moved well and seemed to think the game at a good pace, I nevertheless could not have predicted his sudden outburst this season – the 19-year old went from a point-per-game player in 2010-11 to scoring 47 goals and 96-points in just 68 games this year. He finished second on the Brandon Wheat Kings in scoring to Mark Stone and 9th in the WHL.  That’s an incredible year for a guy who was picked in the 5th round, and mostly because he was willing to muck in the corners and drop the gloves now and then.

TJ Brodie Emerges

Finally, the organization saw TJ Brodie take the step from "promising youngster" to "full time NHLer" this year. The 21-year old acquitted himself well on most nights, due to his combination fo mobility and vision. Although not very big, Brodie held his own in the corners and in front of the net most nights and, aside from Mark Giordano, is one of the few guys on the Flames back-end who can either pass or skate the puck out of trouble.

Brodie was sheltered by Sutter this year, but he excelled in that role which is the critical first step for any young defender. He is poised to be a fixture on Calgary’s blueline for years to come.

  • RKD

    I agree with regards to Chris Butler. Butler is not a top 2 defenceman. He still has a lot learning to do and way playing against the top forwards in the NHL.

    I like the fact the Flames got younger by bringing in Butler and Byron and were able to shed some payroll.

    Say what you want about Reggie’s lack of mobility, knee issues, he is a tough guy to play against. Other team’s forwards didn’t like going into the corners or behind the net with Reggie bearing down.

    Even though Jay-Bo and Butler play top minutes, this is the softest top 2 pairing in the NHL. Not statistically based but physicality based, neither guy pushes any forward out of they way. I understand this isn’t their style, but for one puck possession, offensive d-man should always if possible be countered by a physical, defensive,and mobile partner.

    I do believe Backlund will rebound, the injury at the beginning of the season really hindered his progress. I am looking forward to Baertschi, he’s ready to step into the NHL and will help this team offensively. The Cammalleri deal I also like but I hope he can stay injury free and become more consistent.

  • Mitch2

    I love positive / optimistic articles and am glad to see you sign off on the Regehr trade at last.

    I was pretty lonely on being ok on that one last off-season, mainly because cutting bait early, before a player enters that clear drop off year is imperative and in my view – Regehr had clearly lost a step in his final season in Calgary.

    I still will stand outside the tent on Backlund though. I have my concerns that he has no scoring touch and is injury prone at this point. Hopefully under a new coach he can emerge into the type of C the Flames have hoped for.

  • Get The Puck Outta Here

    After such almost a repeat of last year, I was somewhat dissapointed that we didn’t make the playoffs and now we might even win our last game against Anaheim to put us in 12th or 13th. Personally I’d rather have us win our last game to end the season on a decent note but who knows.

    I know Ferland exceeded expectations but I only see his ceiling being top 9 and same for Reinhart.

    I think Backlund should be re-signed but I don’t think he’s earned anything higher than 2.5 or 2M$ per season. I’d also like to see Jones re-signed as well, I’ve liked his play tons and he’s not a detriment to us, still reasonably young so I think there is value there.

      • T&A4Flames

        That’s fair if he is going to put up the same numbers as he did this year. I just factored in the fact that his shooting % has to improve somewhat. If Babchuk can make 2.5$ than what is Backlund really worth. Just jokes, just jokes.

        How have Moss’ advanced stats looked so far this year? I’ve considered him a non-factor this year I barely ever notice him but I suppose that might be a good thing as well. I see Moss as an anchor to a solid third line with guys like Jones and Stempniak.

  • Greg

    There’s more positives there then I realized an it seems like Feaster is doin ok… Won his two biggest trades and had a very solid first draft. I hope he reads the tea leaves right and moves Kipper in July. I could see a budget team like Columbus wanting that contract and being willing to part with a pick and a prospect for the bump up the standings he’d likely bring them.

  • Kipper should be traded, there is no reason to suspect that he is going to do this all over again next year. His resurgence has given us value to move him, last year we probably wouldn’t have got much at all for him, this year we should get something decent.

    I still don’t know if we “win” the Regehr trade, but we did make out all right. Hopefully we can sign a Grossman or someone else this offseason and partner him with Butler so he is not playing top 2 D minutes. I like Butler as a good 3/4 option, that can spot time as a 2 guy.

    Trading Backlund would just show the rest of the league that King is running this team and has no idea what he is doing. Backlund can be a perfectly fine 2/3 center with more potential. He was probably our best Two Way center and had low percentages scoring wise, once the percentages even out, he’s going to prove a lot of Haters wrong(*COUGH* fan960 morning show *COUGH*).

    We have some decent kids, not enough of the sure fire, can’t miss kind like Backlund, but we do have something, which is better than the previous NOTHING we had. For me I’d like to see a line of Baertschi – Backlund – Aliu next year as our third. A pure young, fast and energtic line, something I don’t think we’ve ever seen in Calgary in a long long time.

    • T&A4Flames

      That last line suggestion sounds good, actually. 2 playmakers in Baertschi & Backlund, one of which has shown excellent scoring ability, coupled with a big, strong physical guy who seems to have good enough wheels & hands to play with the other 2. I would still like to see Baertschi play in the A for a season , though with call ups.

      Ferland and Reinhart could work well as a future 2nd line. If we could find a playmaking type for the RW to pair with them, that might work. We really lack RW prospects. Nemisz is the only I can think of.

      • BobB

        I would have never thought of Aliu before last nights game, but listening to everything all the coaches had to say, what Aliu had to say and most importantly what Troy Ward had to say. The guy seems to have turned a corner. I don’t think he’s gonna be a guy who scores 25-30 a year, but he could be a good depth guy(on the 3rd) giving speed and an edge to a Backlund/Baertschi combo. As well Ward has been using him as a shutdown defender as well, combine that with Backlunds team best possesion numbers and Baertschi offensive flair(and according to Portland he’s no defensive liabilty either) it could be a very interesting line, and work VERY well as a third line and give us depth scoring.

        That could give all three NHL experience and depending on the learning curve they could move up the line up as well.

  • Mitch2


    On the Regehr trade, I always liked it. In the beginning all that it hinged on for me was Butler becoming a legitimate and solid top 4 D. If he didn’t the trade was a loss.

    Moving Kotalik sucks because it brought in the negative value but the 2nd rounder and Kotalik cancel each other out, it is a win going forward and always was to me.

    Regehr’s age in his case was deceptive. In his final year and especially at the end of his final season in Calgary he was getting beat bad to the outside, the tunnel of death was closed.

    At that point his biggest asset is gone and he is rapidly depreciating. Moving him during this season or this off-season would have been impossible. Due to his contract he probably has negative value of close to it.

    So now just one year out the Sabres have two players with negative value – Kotalik and Regehr and the Flames have one for sure who is on great value and filling a role in the top 4 D.

    It was always a clear win for me, as long as Butler became that legtimate top 4 D, which he has…

  • Mitch2

    Thanks Kent, decent not scorch the earth post on the Flames. We’ll be seeing more doom & gloom about the Flames than there will be on Dec 21 2012.
    1/ Kipper- I agree, Kipper is our best bet to get excited at this years draft & create dominos for this team. He has value, his NTC is gone & his actual $$$ become very attractive for some teams. I see serious interest from Tampa & Chicago & it would be really interesting to see how desperate Burke gets this June. Tired of arguing about potential value of the likes of Kipper & Iggy, bottom line is that there is value & its up to Feaster to maximize that value with teams that are more desperate than us (always more desperation when you are on the cusp of winning versus falling in Flames)

    2/Regehr Trade- I for one thought we could have gotten a 1st rounder out of Wash or Detroit last draft for RR. but he was used for a larger salary dump which this team desperately needed. Byron, meh, who knows, I was hoping it would have been Adams instead, so I was ticked at the time. Butler is an excellent 5-6 dman & paid like one. He also has shown he can be a serviceable 3-4 pairing, that was unexpected. Problem is we have too many Dmen that play Butlers style. We sorely lack the mean nasty SOB’s on the blueline. Brodie looks great but he doesnt fit that nasty profile, he looks more like a future Mike Green. That should be on Feasters number one docket via trade or free agency.

    3/Backlund & Cammie- Backlund just had a rough year & to label him as injury prone is foolish after one full year. Do Oilers label Hall as injury prone & jettison him out after “2” years of injury filled seasons. Dont think so. Give him a chance & let him play and grow with eye of the tiger young guys like Baertsche. I dont mind putting a thug like Aliu with these two kids. Maybe we can develop him into a Steve Ott type of player, who can antagonize & create space & opportunities for our young more skilled players on this team. I like it.
    Cammi was a kick ass win win deal for us. He had a real tough year & still had 20 goals. He doesnt need Iggy to do this. I truly expect 25-30 goals from him next year.

    4/ The rest of the Kids- Well even if we only get 1 or 2 pleasant suprises from lets say Reinhart or Ferland or someone else from system, thats OK. As pleaseant as it was to see the fresh young faces having success this year, there were by far too many Abbotsford players on this team at times this year. Hopefully next year we will be a little heathier & this trend doesnt repeat.

    Sorry for the long post, I get excited with the thought & hope that the team does the right things and makes intelligent decisions.

  • RKD

    Here isn’t a bright spot, with Buffalo losing last night Florida clinches a playoff spot.

    Which now means Jay Bouwmeester now surpassed Florida’s Stephen Weiss, who was drafted in 2001 for longest active player with most NHL regular season games without a post-season appearance.

  • RKD

    Kent, not sure if you were listening in on my phone call with my brother last evening – it’s more likely my thinking is influenced a bit by your writing! – but our conversation matched your article nearly word for word. And yes, we were focusing on the silver linings! I agree nearly unconditionally with everything you wrote.

  • BobB

    1. Completely agree. Whether Kipper is traded or not, this past year has been a good thing for the Flames.

    2. I can’t fully commit to an opinion of Regehr because I’d like to have seen more of him. He faced the toughest QualComp of any “D” and had the second roughest zone start. Good QcompCorsi too. He’s never going to score a lot and he lead the team in hits and was a close second in blocked shots.

    You know what you’re going to get with Reggie.

    If…IF shedding salary for Reggie is the big benefit, then see point #4.

    We faired better with Butler than I thought, but he’s worth the 2nd rounder in that deal. Kotalik is a non factor. I still don’t think we won that trade, as it was lateral at best.

    3. Mikael Backlund’s season was a near disaster. 41 games. Injured. 11 pts. -13! You yourself point this out. If his slight gains are a “silver lining” on a list of only 5 items…. damn that’s depressing.

    4. Cammy is too damn expensive. If getting rid of Regehr for salary was a positive…. getting Cammy is a negative. We now have the worst value top line in the league.

    13million cap hit on 106pts and -22. Yikes. We aren’t going anywhere but down with those two anchors. And that’s without advanced stats. Brutal!

    Rene had a tough time in MTL, but this was hardly a “biggest win”. It was problems for problems and more of the same Ken King recipe from the last 3 years.

    5. Totally agree.

    • ChinookArchYYC

      I liked your take on this list, except for your opinion of the Cammi trade. Yes, he is way too expensive and the Flames did trade a problem for problem, but I’d rather have Cammalleri over Borque period. His contact also expires the season before, so for me the cap hit is a wash, compared to Borque. It’s not really fair to compare Reggie’s contract with Cammelleri’s.

      • T&A4Flames

        Everyone keeps saying that Cammi’s contract is over the year before Bourque’s. Cammi’s contract is actually over 2 years before Bourque’s. So, that makes the trade seem even better, doesn’t it. I feel bad for the Habs, 4 more years of Bourque.

  • jeremywilhelm

    Butler is only 25 there Kent, doesn’t turn 26 till October this next season. The fact that he is a top pairing Dman (of course, that label is questionable) is a testament to how good he actually is progressing.

  • Here’s a good question: where in the HELL has Backlund been? Did they shut him down for the season? There’s been no news on him since his injury, which seems worrisome.

    As far as “winning” the Regehr trade, he really screwed the Flames on his way out. If the original rumours of a 1st rounder and Gragniani/someone else good were true, we got boned by Regehr refusing to waive his NTC (to the tune of a 2nd rounder). Good to see him getting roasted by the Buffalo media – his time here was done. Feaster made a good choice ridding ourselves of that pylon.

    I’m a big advocate of a mini-rebuild. I don’t think we’re as bad as the Oilers were when they began. I would be sad to see Kipper or Iginla traded, but it’s time to pass the torch (you’re too old, no more rockin’ for youuuuu) and I think we can still get something of worth for them to bolster our upcoming kids.

    Despite what these BS prospect writers have to say, I think there are some good players on the way up. Baertschi, Backlund, Brodie (why are they all Bs?), Gaudreau, Granland, Arnold, Ferland, Reinhart – all looking good, and hopefully the Flames don’t mess up their development when they jump to the AHL/NHL.

  • Oh, also.

    It’s been said by others before, but I think we need a new culture in this organization. Considering many of the scouts and whatnot are leftovers from the 90s and early 00s, it would be nice to see a new crew, one with a mentality and history of winning.

    If that means kidnapping someone like Yzerman and brainwashing him into being our GM, I’m all for it. I don’t think Feaster is the right man, and Sutter hasn’t been the right coach. We need SOMEONE who has won SOMETHING in professional hockey. I hope to hell that Hartsburg doesn’t get promoted to head coach, the Senators were terrible under him. There’s a reason he was fired.

    • Bikeit

      Feaster hands were tied with Sutter contracts until January of this year. Even now he still has Sutter’s name on half the players. He’s just barely starting to shape the team into how he wants it to look. He’s WAY better at the draft, better with the media and other than Babchuk I don’t have a problem with him.

      Give him a chance. I agree though, I don’t want to see Hartsburgh as coach. I don’t even want to see Brent fired. It’s just that the fans are calling for his head so management will unfortunately have to let him go. Also, I don’t even think BSutter wants to be back with the Flames. Too much grief.

      It may be time to say goodbye to one of Iginla or Kipper this season (obviously not both but I think you might see one go).

      • I concur with you re: Feaster + management/owners. It’s like Kent said in his previous post (perhaps the Keenan interview?), where management and owners have their hands too deep into this mess of a team. Feaster just seems like the easiest target because he is the face of the Flames upper level bureaucracy.

        I think another bright spot in the 11-12 season for the Flames has been Derek Smith. A cheap d-man who has been actually quite good. He doesn’t score that much but seems to have a good handle on what’s happening on the ice, especially before he was injured. It was a WTF moment when he was signed, but he’s definitely a very capable bottom 4 defenceman.

        • The owners/King need to keep making disgusting amounts of money without holding Feaster’s hand/gun to his head as he is on the phone with other GM’s discussing offers.

          The problem is even if they give Feaster 100% control on the hockey side, Iginla has a NTC, and unless he has finally realized he isn’t going to win a Stanley Cup in Calgary, he’ll never agree to be moved anywhere. I find it very interesting that Kipper NTC expires, what would he be worth at the draft? At least a 1st round pick? Also on the same note, if Kipper was dealt, this would solve our netminder issue. Irving steps in and Karlsson stays as backup, but you say a more even split like 50-30 as Irving gets eased in perhaps? This is all theoritical unless Kipper stays.

          I agree, Derek Smith was an awesome signing. His best month was definately the end of December. Once he returned from his injury though I didn’t notice him too much. I’d like to see a pairing of Brodie-Smith maybe as a bottom four option as well. Hopefully Brodie can make the jump to top 4 defenseman next year although that’s probably hoping for a bit too much.

  • SmellOfVictory

    I love it! One thing on the Regehr section, though: his weaknesses have begun to overcome his strengths, not the other way around. 😉

    Nice summary, and it’s good to see a stamp put on the Regehr trade.

  • Bikeit

    Good Article.

    Forgot to mention Horak, but maybe you didn’t. I know the stats are not really favourable for him, but he is at least a prospect that we found out can play in the NHL and will probably only get better from here. Depending on his development curve he could be anywhere from a 2nd to fourth liner. People forget he came right from Junior and was only 20.

  • Sworkhard


    Is there any chance you could calculate Kipper’s scoring chance save% for this year and last year. I’m curious how much he improved by this metric year over year and how it compares to the change in ES SV%.

  • Get The Puck Outta Here

    If Kipper is traded and Coach is resigned, this team will finish WORSE than they did the last 3 years.

    The ONLY reason this team had a shot at getting to the playoffs this year was Kipper. He single handedly won them at least 30 games this year.

    • Sworkhard

      In other words, if Kipper didnt have a rebound sensational year, we would have had a lottery pick without having to trade Kipper or Iggy. He’s 36 & this team needs to rebuild. Yes we will be worse next year if we trade Kipper, but we will be able to draft some new bright lights. How do you know Irving will be that much worse than Kipper? Trading Kipper can help put hope in truly having a team being able to compete down the road.

  • Franko J

    Baertschi for 5 games was the silver lining for this team. No offense to Iginla, I think with Baertschi he created a buzz and a level of excitement which hasn’t been prevalent with this team for a number of years. Going forward, he could be the new face of this franchise.
    Hopefully, Feaster and company will build the necessary supporting cast to contend once again.

    As for Kipper, to trade or not to trade. The logical choice would be to move him. Trade him at his highest value, however at what cost to the product on the ice. Whether the rumors are true or not, watching Schenn with Philly, I can’t help to think how good he would have been in Flame’s silks. Although trading Kipper would leave a huge void, I believe that Irving is ready to take the next step in his development. With or without Kipper, the Flames chances as a contender for a play-off spot are remote at best.

    As for Regehr, I like that they traded him, however, for the trade itself, I didn’t like the fact another 2nd round pick was going to Buffalo. Getting Butler was an improvement in mobility from the backend, however, far too often, him and JBo provided little resistant to moving bodies in front of Kipper. As well, the pairing of the two seldom resulted in scoring chances. Prior to injuries Brodie and Smith were playing much better.

    Bourque for Cammalleri, I thought was another trade done in desperation, however, I don’t think Feaster could have done better. If Bourque would have still been with the Flames I believe his contract would been harder to sell to other GM’s. Unlike Bourque, at least Cammalleri has some jam to his game. Which leads me to Backlund. Like Cammalleri, Backlund must get past the injury bug from this season. Prior to his injury on his shoulder, I thought Backlund was finding his groove with this team.

    The future may not seem as bleak as the hockey prognosticators predict for the Flames prospect pool. There is a number of young players on the cusp of proving depth in the organization. Yet outside of Sven, there is no other “elite” talent to push the current roster. Feaster has the chance at this years draft to provide further depth, but is he willing to take the chance to make a major
    shake-up with this team? IMO this draft, has a number of sleeper picks, like a Ferland or Brodie to be had, but can the Flames actually draft some more talent?

    Lastly, finally, this organization will rid itself of Sutters. Silver linings – no more SUTTERS. While Brent did a good job with the team this year, again IMO, far too often not one player played beyond expectations on a consistent basis. Jokinen appeared to come around this season, but when the team needed him the most he was in the disguise of Bourque. Sutter responds well to the younger players, however, he couldn’t get the veteran players to buy into his “system”. If the Flames are going to choose to stay the course with Iginla, for Brent’s sanity it would be best he move on as well. Again, maybe it will be refreshing for Iginla and company to have a new and fresh perspective without the same monotone from a Sutter.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    So Kent, what do you think of Jay Feaster? Personally, I’ve liked what he’s done (not only his player moves but who he’s hired.)

    I think he warrants a deeper analysis due to the constant ‘Fire Feaster’ remarks. I’d like to know, based on what?

    Let’s list his pluses and minuses and see the tally.