Flames 2011-12 Year End Roundtable

 

 

Instead of a few individual posts on what went wrong this year and what the future may hold, I collected a few chaps from around here (Justin Azevedo, Ryan Lambert, Vintage Flame and Rob Vollman) and invited M&G editor Arik Knapp to discuss a few key points. In this year in review round table, I asked the guys about Brent Sutter, the Flames strengths and weaknesses and what they would like to see done this off-season.

1. Another season, another year out of the playoffs. That makes three straight. If you could pick one direction (stay the course, retool, blow it up) what would it be?

Rob Vollman: The Flames are still within a stones throw of the playoffs. Unfortunately, the additions they need to make in order to get over the hump (quality top-6 forwards) are difficult to find. If the club is unable to shore up it’s singificant weaknesses this summer, they will be forced to consider a blow-up.

Justin Azevedo: Re-tool. "Blowing it up" results in Edmonton-like levels of suckage. Now, that doesn’t mean that there are players I wouldn’t be willing to move, but just trading everyone for magic beans is a notion I find idiotic. No one is untouchable, unless it’s Sidney Crosby and it’s foolish to think otherwise.

Ryan Lambert: Blow it up, obviously. Retooling implies that there are tools worth a damn available but just not being put to their best use, and I’m not sure that’s accurate. The Flames of the past three seasons performed probably just about as well as they possibly could have, give or take a few points over that time. Maybe a couple breaks go their way and they sneak in one of these years, but probably not, and even then, it doesn’t actually do much good. This is as much as anyone could have expected.

Staying the course would be foolhardy. So the only solution is blow it up, because it can’t be any less productive than what’s happening now.

Vintage Flame: There is no way that the team can "stay the course" and I’m not convinced they can "blow it up", I just don’t think they have enough interest from around the league in enough of their players; so I guess that leaves a "re-tool".

I thought at the beginning of the year, they were going to have to be very smart with the deals they made regarding their UFA’s. I still believe that and I think that’s what Feaster will try to do. At trade deadline, Jay mentioned that he had some deals that were appealing to other teams, but they wanted to wait until the season was over. Well it’s over now, so I’m interested to see what those deals were/are and if they still come to fruition. If they can keep nostalgia out of the UFA process and they can make a few smart moves, then they can probably call it a successful start to a re-tool.

Arik Knapp: As I’ve been preaching for two years – blow it up, blow it up, blow it up. There is no singular issue with the Flames. There is no quick and easy fix for this team. It is poorly constructed from the ground up. The cap space is poorly invested, the wrong players are on the wrong side of 30, and the philosophy that initially went into player selection is ideal for a style of hockey hasn’t been effective since the year the Flames lost the Stanley Cup.

With issues like that- you’re left with little choice but to blow it up; a poor foundation can’t be fixed with new drywall- you need to tear the foundations out and relay the cement.

2. Would you re-sign Brent Sutter? (Question asked before the news yesterday. Answers retained for interests sake)

RV: No, but things could easily have turned out differently. During his three seasons Calgary was the league’s top non-playoff team (if not for 1 point to Dallas in 2010-11), and he could just as easily have been sitting on three straight post-season appearances, and possibly one lucky run.

The team seems to be leaning instead towards Craig Hartsburg, who didn’t have much success in Chicago, Anaheim or Ottawa. In that case they might as well stick with Brent Sutter until someone better comes along, much like Anaheim or St. Louis did.

JA: No. Absolutely not. I’m not convinced another coach can cure the team’s ills, but it’s extremely frustrating to watch Sutter’s deployment of players and I feel as though that’s a large part of the team’s failures this year.

RL: I would, they won’t. He’s a good coach with a team not built to be competitive in the NHL today. You can see that this bad roster and the two that preceded it were simply not good enough, but given that I think the organization probably believes in its heart of hearts that this team could make the playoffs, they must also feel that Brent let them down. So, good-bye.

But for me, the question is, "who replaces him?" Can’t imagine there’s a line of great candidates around the block to take this job. 

VF: This is a tough call for me. There are a lot of mitigating circumstances that would determine my final decision. Brent is a good coach with young players, but as we all saw, struggles with dealing with the vets.

In his media scrum on Tuesday, he said that if the Flames bring him back, he will do things differently. I’m not sure what that means; if he is talking about how he deploys lines or specifically how he deploys the top line, then I’m interested. I think the crux of the matter comes down to Iginla. If they keep Iggy, then I think they can’t bring back Sutter. If they decide to deal the captain and go forward with a more youthful movement, then Sutter probably gets the call. After all we don’t exactly know who is available out there to coach, and if they are…would they want to come to Calgary?

AK: It depends: do the Flames blow up the team over the summer? If so, why not? He can probably be had at little expense to the owners (and yes, despite the fact that coaches salaries don’t affect the cap, it does affect owner spending), given how few teams will likely want to take a chance on him in any capacity.

If the Flames decide to give the old Iginla-Jokinen truck one more spin then get rid of him. Sutter has shown himself to be unaware of how to use those two whatsoever – whether together or apart.

3. What is the Flames biggest weakness?

RV: Their top players can’t compete with other team’s top players – they’re losing the puck possession battle by a longshot. They need a top-six up front and a front-four on the blue line that can at least play even with their opponents.

JA: A lack of possession-driving players, especially on the front-end. Teams that are routinely out-shot don’t typically win the majority of their games.

RL: They are old, slow, loaded with bad contracts that carry no-trade and no-movement clauses, have little in the way of strong prospects, are completely directionless, and seem unwilling to budge from their directionless-ness.

Oh did you only want one?

VF: They need a bonafide #1 Center, we all know that so no point getting into specifics. The biggest problem they have is on defense. If the team is smart, they let Sarich and Hannan walk in the off-season because they are position fillers and not solutions. They already have Babchuk to be stuck with in that regard.

Calgary needs a #2 D-man to play with Bouwmeester. Yes Butler served well in the spot considering he played way over his head, but if they could move him to the 3-4 pairing with Gio, and find a legit #2, then they would be a lot further ahead.

AK: Management? I kid I kid.

Mobility. I know this isn’t a specific position, but it’s the issue the Flames have with all their positions. Only about half of the defensemen can skate well enough for post-lockout offense: Bouwmeester, Giordano, and Brodie (Smith could get there, but he’s not going to improve a lot defensively regardless. I have mild mild hopes for Butler).

Iginla’s still in shape and has speed, but he’s simply not as agile as he needs to be. The same can be said for most of the bottom lines. Cammalleri was a refreshing bit of actual skating talent (as is Backlund when he isn’t injured). Still, the Flames are simply immobile. Both on and off the ice. *ZING*

4. Does Calgary have any notable strengths?

RV: Absolutely – lots of money, a tremendous fan base and easy access to a great deal of hockey expertise. Lots of teams would trade places with Calgary in a heartbeat. On the ice there’s a little less to be excited about, but they do have great depth up front.

JA: Calgary has a true #1 defenseman and a couple of guys who could be considered elite shooting talent. Past that, though, I feel as though every other way you could measure the team would result in an average or below-average grade.

RL: They have a good coach. OH WAIT.

VF: Apart from Curtis Glencross, the Flames are probably pleasantly surprised by the play and development of their youth. TJ Brodie was less than impressive in training camp but once called up, he was pretty damn good. He’s definitely solidified his spot on the roster. Derek Smith seemed to go the other way – he was good until he got injured and then just looked like he struggled a lot when he got back. Despite that, Calgary is probably more optimistic about his play prior to the injuries.

I’m also going to include Troy Ward as a notable strength. He seems to have the developmental side down to a science in Abbotsford. You look what he’s done with Krys Kolanos and Ben Walter and you can’t help but dream of what he can do with more talented players like Ferland, Reinhart, Ramage, Arnold and Gaudreau. While up with the Flames, Akim Aliu said that Ward "saved his career".

AK: A WHOLE LOTTA CAP SPACE.

I get that’s not an innate strength of the players who will necessarily be on the team after July first, but it’s absolutely a strength of the Flames going into this off-season, and it’s a very good strength to have. In the salary cap era, how much you’re allowed to spend is huge – the Flames could make significant changes due to that flexibility that other teams could only dream of.

5. What are you looking forward to most this off-season?

RV: July 1st should be exciting. I assume they’ll re-sign Olli Jokinen, but for how much and for how long? It will also be interesting if they make any big moves, or just continue the gradual phasing-out of older, higher-priced players for younger and less expensive players that they began last year. I wouldn’t expect any dramatic moves, like trading Jarome Iginla or Miikka Kiprusoff, but the suspense will keep things exciting.

JA: I look forward to seeing the development of the young kids – Max Reinhart, Michael Ferland, John Gaudreau, etc. Should be interesting to see how they’ve progressed year-over year at Rookie Camp. I am also excited for free agency, although that excitement could taper off quite quickly.

RL: The unloading of players they should have unloaded last summer, but perhaps I’m just deluding myself.

VF: I’m looking forward to seeing just how serious Feaster was in his declarations on Tuesday. Many of the handcuffs are now off and this is the first off-season that he has been able to pretty much do what ever he wants, so it will be interrsting to see how far is willing to push the envelope now.

In his press conference, he stated that there is no interference from King or ownership. Now while I don’t believe that’s true, going on what Jay said, he should be able to make significant changes in the summer. There is little doubt that Feaster is about to put his mark on this organization, whether the fans give it the seal approval or brand him with the Scarlett letter remains to be seen.

AK: Related to the last question and my answer therein: FREE AGENTS. It’s silly, I know. It’s media hype, sure. But with this cap space and flexibility – it’s a thing of terror and beauty.

What absurd amount will Calgary offer to Suter? WHO KNOWS?! Parise? ANYONE’S GUESS! Carle? Dunno, BUT I CAN’T WAIT TO FIND OUT.

The free agent class this year might not be "excellent" in the sense it is a lot of years, and I don’t think the Flames will land any huge fish, but just the reports we’ll get from the Flames brass of "We offered more money than anyone to anyone and therefore we rule!" will make July 1 the best day ever.

6. If the Flames change direction, are you confident in the current management group to make the right decisions?

RV: I don’t know a great deal about what really goes on behind closed doors, but Calgary does have the 11th best record since the lock-out – 9th best in regulation-time losses, and goals against. Perhaps some people would prefer tanking in order to get the blue chip prospects needed to bust into the top-third of the league, but there’s something to be said for playing meaningful hockey in March this past decade instead.

JA: Honestly, no. But I don’t think Jay Feaster’s the problem; it’s the higher-ups. King needs to go and Edwards needs to let the people he pays to make decisions make decisions.

RL: No, but then to say that the team would "change direction" is to imply that there is one now, and there isn’t. So any direction, even one with some bad decisions is better in the end than the current one, which is no direction with some bad decisions.

VF: For me, this question ties back to the previous one. I am confident right now, because management has not given me a reason not to be. My confidence comes by default if the Flames change direction, because that’s what they need to do. Where my confidence would be shaken is if the Flames decided not to change directions and just stay the course. If that happens, I’ll start to worry because it tells me they still don’t recognize that there are issues, or if they do, they don’t care or know how to rectify them.

AK: No, but admittedly I’m not confident in 90% of the management groups in the NHL to make good decisions. Still, I think Jay Feaster is better at his job than most give him credit for, and certainly better than many management groups. To name a few:

Edmonton, Columbus, Cirque du Solei (Montreal because they’re a circus, get it?), Toronto, Washington (Washington? Really? – ed.), Florida, Minnesota, Buffalo, Islanders, Dallas, Tampa Bay (yeah I said it and I fully expect to see a burning Maple Leaf in my yard tomorrow as retribution for sacrilege against Canada’s favorite son), Carolina, Winnipeg.

Okay, so being better at your job than about two fifths of the league isn’t really a bragging point, but it’s better than being one of those two fifths – especially if you trade with one of them (and especially since the Flames management recently was among the worst in the league).

7. Look into your crystal ball and name the Flames top three forwards and top defense pairing come October. Also, who is the starter?

RV: It’ll probably be Jarome Iginla, Alex Tanguay, Mike Cammalleri, Jay Bouwmeester, Mark Giordano and Miikka Kiprusoff yet again.

Hopefully Kipper’s great season will get the Flames some great offers, and it’ll be Leland Irving, Henrik Karlsson or Karri Ramo in nets instead (one of whom will hopefully be next year’s Mike Smith or Brian Elliott), and hopefully the aforementioned front trio will be Calgary’s sheltered Sedin-like line because they spent the off-seasion putting together a tough-minutes Malhotra-like line.

JA: Tanguay, Cammalleri, Iginla. Bouwmeester, Giordano. Irving.

RL: Cammalleri-Tanguay-Jokinen (he’s back!!!), Bouwmeester-Giordano, Kiprusoff.

VF: If I’m going to hold true to my belief that the gloves are off now and we see a sweeping change, I can see 2 significant additions.

First, Paul Stastny is a target since Colorado decided to bring back Joe Sacco. He and Matt Duschene are not a fit in Sacco’s system and I believe they can be pried out of Denver. Calgary doesn’t have the assets to acquire Duschene, but the size of the Stastny contract might make him more attainable. So I could see Calgary’s top three looking like this:

Alex Tanguay – Paul Stastny – Mike Cammalleri

Matt Carle is a UFA this summer and the Flyers are already up against the cap. They are probably going to be on the hunt for a replacement for Pronger, which means they are going to have to pay for it. I see Carle being available and the Flames won’t have to pay Bouwmeester type money to get him. That being said, he’ll play with Jay in the top pairing.

Even though I think it’s a mistake, the Flames aren’t going to go into full cardiac arrest in their first kick at this, so if Iggy is moved, then expect Kiprusoff to stay. Look for him to man the crease once again as the Starter.

AK: Black crystal ball of despair (worst case scenario): Iginla, Jokinen, Cammalleri Bouwmeester, Butler Kiprusoff

Clear crystal ball (most realistic scenario): Tanguay, Cammalleri, Glencross Bouwmeester, Butler, Kiprusoff (Yes, I do in fact believe Iginla will be traded this summer. No, I don’t believe Kiprusoff will)

Rose tinted crystal ball (a nice mix of what I’d like to see and could realistically happen): Baertschi, Cammalleri, Stoll, Bouwmeester, Carle Harding

Red marble crystal ball (I can dream, right?) Parise, Baertschi, Semin, Bouwmeester, Suter Harding

  • ncomas

    VF becomes my favourite writer on the site. I was betting on the Statsny and Carle being Flames as well. Even without trading Iggy or Kipper we could fit both in under the cap this offseason. Carle could play in the #2 position or could play #3 with Butler to put Bouwmeester with Gio as 1/2. And Smith/Brodie as the 5/6 unit. Hell of a lot better than this previous years defensive pairings thats for sure.

    The problem is that I HIGHLY DOUBT Carle want’s to come to the Flames.

  • Matty Franchise Jr

    That was a fun read. I agree with:

    1-RL

    2-AK

    3-RV & RL

    4-RV & AK

    5-All

    6-VF

    7-I think RV is right on this one and we don’t see any significant changes on the bench, but I hope that isn’t the case.

    RV is the WINNER! Way to go Robert!

  • BobB

    1. Retool.

    A true first liner, a top pairing defender and a future #1 are needed. (at least)

    2. Nope.

    Love it or hate it, it’ll be Troy Ward, and a “mix-of-youth-and-vets-development-agenda”

    3. Denial, Dellusion, Poor assessment

    4. Yes.

    Iginla’s reputation, Elite #1 goalie, Good forward depth. Re-focused development agenda in college and the AHL.

    5. Change

    …if it happens. I see no need to bring back ANY of the UFA contracts. Iggy, Stajan and Babchuk could all be traded at benefit to the Flames. Kipper may land a good return, but with the goalie market, his contract and age, I don’t see it. I also doubt that both Jarome and Kipper are traded. It’ll be one or none.

    6. NO

    Are you kidding? Why would we be?

    7. Meh.

    ??? Cammy. XXX. XXX. JBO. XXX. Kipper. Tangs-Bärtschi/Backlund-GlenX, Gio, Butler, Irving (2nd line.)

    How you deal with Kipper is: Keep him. Play Irving 32 games (no compromise, unless he’s hurt, whether you win 32 or lose 32.) Kipper’s role over the next two years is, “face-to-the-fans” but more importantly, mentor to Irving (which is worth 5mil on a losing team with a full cap budget.) Whatever you think of Kiprusoff, he’s played more games, without getting hurt, at a .925evsv% level (define that how you will compared to other goalies) over 8 seasons in Calgary. More shots, more saves than any other goalie since the lockout. .924evsv% last 3 years on a crap team. Those are facts. That level (whether it’s elite, or just above average), takes incredible preparation, and discipline. Irving learning that could be the difference between a good future #1, and Trevor Kidd.

    My fear is Kipper is traded for the sake of change, and they get nothing significant for him, Irving gets shelled next year on a shitty, losing team, and turns into Steve Mason.

    • More shots, more saves than any other goalie since the lockout. Those are facts.

      The lock-out was 8 years ago. Kipper was an elite, 30-year old goaltender heading into 2005-06. His performance in that season is almost totally irrelevant when projecting him forward as a 36-year old goaltender now. The lock-out is a convenient end-point, but it’s not a meaningful one.

      I agree with you otherwise – Kipper is still highly durable and hasn’t fallen off a cliff yet. There’s some value there. The question is if that value exceeds what could be had via trade. I hope the Flames investigate at the very least.

      • BobB

        I never said anything about the 05-06 season.

        I’m saying that Kipper has averaged 1375 evshots against and 1271 evsaves since the lockout per year until today.

        Next on that list is Ryan Miller 1281/1182… about 100 shots/saves less, when the average spread between goalies is 3 or 4 shots. (Third on the list is Lunqvist 1271/1179, 4th – Lou-1268/1179)

        Point is, that durability, that number of minutes and saves on a bad team, for so many years takes the highest level of preparation/professionalism/work ethic. Kipper gives us stability.

        Those things may not be able to be learned completely, but those “intangibles” are very important for a developing goalie like Irving. Irving coming into a brutal team and losing more than winning isn’t going to help his development (it may not hinder it, but it could.)

        This isn’t a question of trade Kipper or not. Trade him for good return(definitely explore it) but don’t underestimate his value. If he got more than the equivalent of a 2nd rounder (or 1st rounder late pick) I’d be surprised, and that would be a shame of a trade to make.

        Granted, it would be equally a mistake to play him for 70 games again. IF they keep Kipper, he should play no more than 50 games, or it’s a waste. That’s the change in goal needed – Irving playing 32+ games this year, 41 next year. Unless someone offers Brent Seabrook or Jack Johnson… or a 1st and a prospect/young NHL’r, none of which are going to happen or even be close to happening.

  • NHL93

    This article encapsulates everything I love about this site; good questions and solid answers are backed up with good reason and judgment. Keep up the great work.

  • NHL93

    So some of you believe they’ll actually trade Iggy this summer eh…. I’m still skeptical over that. Kipper is a more likely trade target I believe because Calgary does have Irving and possibly Ramo. The thing Feaster may look at is who do they have to replace Iggy? If I’m reading into Feaster’s comments correctly, he is saying they need to change but they need to remain competitive. In that case you need someone to score goals. Who’s gonna do that this year without Iggy? I know Glencross had 28 this year but he had a ludicrous SH% and is probably a 20 goal guy. Cammy might get to 30 but he only had 20 this year (but was injured). SVEN may in due time be a high profile goal scorer but remember he’s only 19. That’s some pretty large expectations. The Flames know that they’ll probably get another 30 goal season from Iggy so I’m not sold on them wanting to trade him. I guess we’ll begin to find out near the Draft what’s gonna happen.

  • BobB

    Reading through again the only other question I would have like to have seen is “What UFA/RFAs from the Calgary Flames would you re-sign and who would you let walk?”.

    • BobB

      Yes, this is a good question. Part of talking these things out in this forum, and each player in isolation is that it’s missing the whole “vision”. Everyone says “re-tool”

      I wouldn’t re-sign a single UFA.

      I would re-sign Backlund.

      I would re-sign Comeau as a lower priority.

      So, if Sarich, Hannan, Jokinen, Kosto, Moss, maybe Stemp and Comeau aren’t coming back…. that’s 7. Most seems to agree that Babs and Stajan could be traded for any useable pieces. That’s 9.

      AND a huge population want Kipper AND Iggy traded!

      That’s 11 and the two franchise faces! That’s not a “Blow-It-Up?”If we have 11 new players next year on our roster, I will “eat my sock”. Yeah right. Not going to happen.

      So, who stays, who goes? What’s enough changes?

      At the same time, I don’t see a UFA I feel the “need” to bring back. Maybe Comeau (RFA) or Stemp. But really? Are they so valuable?

    • Vintage Flame

      The obvious choices to let walk are Sarich and Hannan, I even mentioned that in my answer to question #3. In addition I would let Kostopoulos and Jokinen walk. Even though Olli had a pretty good year [excluding the ending], his situation just seems impassable to me. At 33 years old next year, he’s going to be looking for a 4 to 5 year deal; regardless on what dollar figure the two sides could agree on, the term aspect just can’t be acceptable to the organization. On those grounds, I would let Jokinen walk.

      David Moss and Lee Stempniak sort of go hand in hand to me. I think if you sign one, you let the other go. I’ve always been a big fan of Moss and he has done well with Jokinen and Glencross on the OMG line… when he’s been healthy. Moss seems to be injury prone and Stempniak in a year younger; and a better skater.

      Especially if they let Jokinen go and I’m forced to pick between the two, I probably lean towards keeping Stemper.

      As far as the RFA’s go…

      I definitely sign Backlund and Blair Jones. There is no way on God’s green earth I even think of qualifying Comeau, but if they can sign him for no more than a Million, say? Then he probably get re-signed as well.

      Feaster has already said they will qualify all RFA’s, except Comeau’s current deal. Aliu doesn’t factor much into it as he will be in Abbotsford anyways.

      I think it’s a no-brainer for them to sign Irving and Byron.. don’t you?

      • loudogYYC

        Jokinen – Let Go
        Comeau – Let Go, maybe re-sign at less than 1m
        Stempniak – Resign, Moss – Walks
        Backlund – Resign
        Kotso – Let Go
        Aliu – Resign, assign to Abby, callup
        Jones – Resign
        Sarich – Let Go
        Hannan – Let Go
        MacMillan – Let Go
        Irving – Resign
        Henry – Let Go
        Ivanans – Let Go
        Byron – Resign, assign to Abby, Callup
        Grantham – Let Go
        Connelly – Resign, Assign to Abby
        PL3 – Let Go
        Desbiens – Let Go
        Meyer – Let Go

      • Matty Franchise Jr

        Sorry for the crappy formatting, try that again.

        Let go: Jokinen, Moss, Kosto, Sarich, Hannan, MacMillan, J. Henry, Ivnanans, Grantham, PL3, Desbiens, Meyer.

        Resign and Assign to Abby(Possible Call-Ups): Aliu, Byron, Connelly.

        Resign to Flames: Stempniak, Backlund, Jones, Irving.

        On the Fence: Comeau(Maybe for less than 1m).

  • BobB

    Curious how you define “re-tool” versus “blow it up”. I’m on record as not liking “blow it up” but by that I mean getting rid of everything you’ve got, trying to get 2-3 years of top 3 picks – I maintain that is not a model for success, it’s a hope and a prayer. I saw a commenter write that the Young Guns era was better than the last few years becuase there was hope building for the future – that is an absolute rose-colored glasses memory of those miserable years, there was no hope until half way through 03-04 and quite frankly Kipper had as much to do with that as anybody. Sure, it was great to have a young Iggy, but noone can seriously romanticize those years.

    Got off topic…I favor a re-tool, but my definition includes trading Iggy, seriously shopping (and perhaps trading) Kipper, not resigning any restricted free agents except maybe Moss because he can still be had for cheap as lower level depth, and he’s still valuable at a cheap rate, injuries and all. Maybe Stempniak depending upon rate. For RFA, obviously Backlund stays, perhaps Jones. Add youth (any that is realistically ready) and some parts via free agency. Is that a “blow up”? It’s a pretty significant change but if you do that and by some miracle find a top-6 forward to come to Calgary, I still believe that’s a reasonable foundation for success next year and beyond.

    Following on this “plan”:
    Forwards
    Tanguay
    Cammalleri
    Backlund
    Glencross
    Baertschi
    Jackman
    Bouma
    Moss/Stempniak/Jones?

    Defence
    Jay-Bo
    Butler
    Gio
    Brodie
    Smith
    Babchuk (hold nose)

    I refuse to believe this is a rotten foundation.

  • loudogYYC

    Iggy’s gotta go.

    I actually believe they’ll trade both. Kipper cuz they want to and Iggy cuz he wants to go win somewhere. Can’t blame him.

    Feaster mentioned that he had discussions about the goalie at the draft last year and then he went and acquired Kari Ramo this year. Seems pretty clear to me that he’s preparing to move the #1 guy.

    Regarding Iggy’s 30+ goals, it’s not as if they were enough to get the team into the playoffs this year, so trying to make up his 30 next year just won’t be enough.
    These guys are right, not enough possession to generate enough shots to score enough goals. It’s not a problem solved by keeping Iginla or bringing in Parise, it’s a collective problem that requires a larger solution.

    I’d start with an identity. F*ck trying to win on will, get with the times and become an offensive minded team with strong fundamental defense. You already have Bouwmeester and Butler that when played right, provide solid defense. You have Brodie who will have to be your offensive, risk taking dman and you have Giordano as your all-around. Go after Carle to complete the group or dream a little and chase Suter. (Smith/Babchuk/Prospect as #6)

    I agree with Vollman who mentioned Malhotra as the tough minutes Centreman that allows the Sisters and Kesler to play to their strengths. Since top 6 forwards will be harder to come by, work with what you got and build the best possible bottom 6 you can. That probably means signing Stoll or Gaustad and not re-signing Jokinen.

    Find an offensive coach who understands the concept of managing minutes (Eakins, right J.A?) and give him everything you can muster for top 6. Right now I can only count Cammalleri, Tanguay, maybe Glencross and hopefully Backlund & Baertschi.

    In the end, this has to be the summer the team becomes Feasters team. If it’s not, I’m gonna have to become a hardcore NFL/NBA fan or just leave the country for 6 months. I can’t put up with another year of hopeful mediocrity.

  • Bikeit

    Keys to next year.

    1. Find a #2 defenseman and a good #6 (Foot speed and good first outlet pass is key) A number 2 defenseman is wishful but that is what i feel they should go after in the UFA or trade.
    2. Assess offers for Iginla or Kipper. If they are too good to pass up then do it. If not keep them. Need to trust management on this one. Get at least a good prospect from this.
    3. Keep their good draft assets in Abbotsford and give them at least a year to mature. If they start picking their top drafts for the team next year look out this is usually a recipe for disaster. Liked Horak this year but being in Calgary did not help him as much as abbotsford would have.
    4. Depending on 2 try to bring a good young forward player that covers at least 20 of Iginla’s goals.
    5. Fill in the rest the best you can.
    6. Hope and Pray and oh well if we get a top 5 pick next year that will not hurt.

    Not a rebuild not a patch job. Just reality

    Saw Bartchi play Wed and while he was good (finds soft spots in the offensive zone) it almost looked like he was cocky or bored. Sort of had that look like i have been in the show and should not be here. Playoff game and other players were working much harder than him. I may be wrong but i hope he keeps his head on straight and realizes it is still a long climb to be good in the show. Derek pouliot looked very good. Hint Flames!!

  • everton fc

    Listen to this interview w/Ward. What he says about not playing Kolanos and Walter much in this game. I like this.

    http://www.abbotsfordheat.com/mediaPortal/player.dbml?&db_oem_id=23800&id=859061&ATCLID=&DB_MENU_ID=&SPSID=&SPID=&DB_LANG=C&DB_OEM_ID=23800

    As for who I’d resign:

    I would re-sign Jokinen.

    Comeau – no

    Stempniak – maybe

    Moss – maybe (as 4th liner, though. 4th line centre)

    Kostp – Like him, but he’ll be gone.

    Backlund – re-sign

    Jones – re-sign

    Aliu – re-sign

    Hannan – let go

    Sarich – re-sign cheap, as a 6th man, or 7th man.

    MacMillan/Henry/Ivanans – Let go.

    Byron – re-sign

    Desbiens – re-sign (team played well when he was up – he gave good minutes)

    Grantham – let go

    Connelly – re-sign

    PL3/Meyer – let go.

    Irving – re-sign one-way.

    Taylor (Abby backup) – sign.

    Karlsson – let go.

  • RexLibris

    1. Another season, another year out of the playoffs. That makes three straight. If you could pick one direction (stay the course, retool, blow it up) what would it be?

    I won’t offer an opinion on which way they should go because, being that I’m not a fan I don’t think it’s my place to say. However, I will say that if the Flames choose to stay the course or re-tool on the fly that would suit most Oiler fans just fine. Take that for what it’s worth.

    2. Would you re-sign Brent Sutter? (Question asked before the news yesterday. Answers retained for interests sake)

    I would have said no, except then I would be in agreement with Feaster and I don’t know that I can face that.

    3. What is the Flames biggest weakness?

    Normally I’d agree with Arik and say management. But to be honest I think the biggest weakness for the Flames is that they are currently haunted by the spectre of their brush with greatness. Iginla and Kiprusoff are held in such high regard that it seems like the team can’t move on, as though for many fans, and maybe also management, there is this cognitive dissonance where they know that it is 2012, but in their minds it’s still 2004.

    4. Does Calgary have any notable strengths?

    They have two assets that could be moved to restart a new roster, and a scouting staff that seems to be starting in the right direction. After that, I can’t really say they have a whole lot. Even Baertschi, while a great prospect, is only one player and not enough around which one could build a new team.

    5. 5. What are you looking forward to most this off-season?

    Feaster’s fits of rationalizing his decisions and covering his mistakes under the heading “meant to do that all along”. Not as entertaining as Brian Burke, but a close second.

    6. If the Flames change direction, are you confident in the current management group to make the right decisions?

    I said it when Feaster was made GM, that if and when the time comes to trade Iginla he is one of the last people working in the NHL today that I would want in those negotiations. So that would be a no.

    7. Look into your crystal ball and name the Flames top three forwards and top defense pairing come October. Also, who is the starter?

    Iginla, Tanguay and Baertschi. Bouwmeester and a free agent, and Irving. And that is giving Feaster the benefit of the doubt that he will actually have a coach and a philosophy that involves making hard decisions and incorporating youth.

    I would also like to add that, if the article’s headline photo remains for the next round of these, then I insist that all the panel members “speak” in the Malory-esque Romantic Arthurian style in their responses.

    Especially Vintage.

  • Bob Cobb

    Here is my plan for the Flames this summer

    1) Recognize that the ownership does not want a rebuilding program and wants a team that will make the playoffs this coming year.

    2) Trade Kiprusoff to Toronto for Carter Ashton and 2012 second round pick

    3) Trade Iginla to Detroit for 2012 first round pick, Tomas Tatar, and Xavier Ouellet

    4) Trade Detroit’s 2012 first round pick and Tyler Wotherspoon to Buffalo for Derek Roy

    5) Based on Button’s mock draft – Flames draft Radek Faksa (I would be willing to trade down with Anaheim for a chance at Galchenyuk and even Faksa)

    6) Free agent offer to Barett Jackman – Matt Carle is my second choice for free agency

    7) Free agent offer to Juri Hudler – second line centerman giving Backlund more time to develop

    8) Offer Cammalleri and Roy three year contract extensions (Cammalleri for no more than $5.25M; Roy for no more than the current $4M) – If they are unwilling to sign extensions before Christmas they will get traded at the trade deadline regardless of where the team is in the standings

    9) Make whatever offers is needed to have Ramo come over this year from the KHL. Run with three goalies alternating for the first 30 games and then keep the top two and let them alternate for the balance of the year

    Ramo

    Irving

    Karlsson

    Bouwmeester Butler

    Giordano Jackman

    Brodie Smith

    Babchuk

    Tanguay Roy Glencross

    Cammalleri Hudler Tatar

    Baertschi Backlund Ashton

    Nemisz Bouma Aliu

    Byron Stajan Jackman

  • Bob Cobb

    I’m delusional? You think there would be more interest in coaching the Flames over the Oilers. Look at both teams players and take into account what both could become, you still think I’m delusional?

    • T&A4Flames

      I think you’re an idiot for trolling. You can think what you want about your team, I’ll think what I want about my team. Unless you have anything useful to ad, just stay away. Oh, and yes, you are just another delusional Oiler fan as well. Keep drinking the kool-aid!

  • Graham

    Before you make any changes the Flames need to answer some basic questions, and use these answers to guide future decisions…

    1. How has the game changed since the Flames took a run at the cup?

    2. Given #1, what style of play, what type of team does management want to develop… (do we want a hard nosed defensive minded group, a run and gun offense……?)

    3. Given #1 and #2, find the best coach that fits this team philosophy

    4. Review the teams current UFA crop.
    How do they fit into this philosophy? eg: Does Jokinen fit?, if yes, can I resign him at a dollar / contract that makes sense, or is their another UFA that is a better fit for the same or less money? Let the guys that don’t fit walk.

    5. Review the teams current RFA crop
    Repeat #4. eg. If you want a team of 6 ft 5 inch slow moving centers who can’t move the puck, Backlund does not fit. Recognize this, resign him to keep his contract, and trade him for another prospect that does fit. Be willing to let guys with little or no value go to free up contract spots.

    6. Review the signed players. Who fits, who does not… this one is a little more tricky…
    can you trade the guys who do not fit, or do you have to wait and let the contracts come of the books? Move who you can… Apply the same logic to the entire team, no exceptions, no favourites, its a business.

    7. Review 4,5,6, how close are you to obtaining your team philosophy? eg. we can begin making changes now, but we are realistically two years away from completing the makeover…. COMMUNICATE THIS TO THE FANS

    8. Realistically, how close are you to making the playoffs? how close are you to being a top 10? or top 5 team? COMMUNICATE THIS TO THE FANS

    9. Reorganize the farm team to fit this philosophy

    10. Reorganize the back office, scouting staff front office to fit this philosophy. Draft and sign players, hire and fire staff accordingly.

    11. Communicate, communicate, communicate…

    • RexLibris

      Whoa whoa whoa, settle down there one second. Are you….applying logic and methodical objective reasoning to this whole thing? That hardly seems sporting.

      It’s funny reading this though. Your plan reads like the recipe from another rebuilding team recently. Especially the emphasized COMMUNICATE THIS TO FANS bit.

      I know that the Flames have season ticket holder’s meeting, but at the Oiler’s one in 2010 management asked for input and the fans overwhelming response was “we’re okay if you tear this thing down and rebuild it, just do it right” (echoing the inimitable Mike Holmes). Would Flames fans send the same message?

  • RexLibris

    Trade Iggy to Buffalo for Roy & rights to Boyes before before draft day, plus conditional pick if Boyes doesn’t sign by draft day. Resign Stempniak over Moss due to scoring ability. Moss may be a positive possession player but can’t put the puck in the net, and also north of 30.

    My starting line up in October:

    #1 line: Baertschi, Backlund, Cammy, JBo, Carle, Kipper
    #2 line: Tanguay, D. Roy, Glencross, Gio, Brodie
    #3 line: Stempniak, Stajan (under contract), B. Boyes, Butler, Smith
    #4 line: Jackman, Horak (Reinhart), Bouma
    Back up tender: Irving

    New captain – Gio
    New A-Cs: Cammy, GlenX

    Start the youth movement by annointing a new number 1 line with your two best prospects and a skilled-vet with speed to keep up and compliment them. Guys on the number 2&3 lines are interchangeable. Only constant on the 4th line is Jackman because he is signed. Not sure if the Reinhart, Gaudreau, etc., are ready for big time but maybe one will surprise at camp. Ideally, we get rid of Stajan and Boyes can play centre on the 3rd line with another young winger. I’m not sure if Stempniak and Boyes played together much when they were with the Blues.

    Like Comeau’s size and speed, but only resign to be depth forward at a very cheap price ($1M per).

    This rids the team of the slow and immobile D-corp (corpses – Sarich & Hannan) with much youth and speed.

    Overall team skill and speed should be better, but still not a contender.

  • Jano

    Why do people want Derek Roy for Iginla? Roy is only signed for 1 more season, then a UFA who is about to enter his 30’s. We would very possibly be in a situation where we are left with nothing for Iginla once the 12-13 season is finished. I’m not saying we could pry away a young star for him, but maybe a solid prospect or two, even a good draft pick/s who could help us down the road.

  • I will be absolutely stunned if our first line is Tanguay, Iginla and Jokkinen next year. I will stop watching the team.

    They all have to go. They couldn’t get it done the past 3 years…they are the core, they are the problem.

    Lines should read:

    Baertschi – Backlund – Cammy

    GlenX – Stajan – ?

    ? – Jones/Horak – ?

    Aliu – Bouma – Jackman

    We do not re-sign jokkinen, moss, comeau, hannan, tk.

    We have 5 centre’s at the moment between Cammy, Stajan, Backlund, Jones & Horak. Maybe you shift cammy over to the right wing and dump Horak/Backlund/Stajan up on the 1st line.

    I would consider keeping only Sarich or Stemps depending on what they would take. If we can land a #1 defencemen like Suter then we don’t keep sarich and our defence looks like:

    Bou – Suter
    Gio – Brodie
    Butler – Babchuk/Wilson

    7th Smith/Breen/Connelly

    We trade Iggy, Kipper, Tanguay (trade or buy out), Jokkinen and rebuild this team. Hope and pray that Ferland, Reinhart, Gaudreau and Aliu can step up…maybe even Nemisz.

    Put Karlsson and Irving in net if Ramo isn’t available yet.

    I’m disgusted with the 1st responder…he basically wants the same team back next year.

  • Depending on the way management is going our lineup could look very similar or VERY different.

    Here is my take on the similar lineup if Management and Ownership decides to take one last kick at the can this year and and mortgages the future to do it.

    Tanguay – Statsny – Iginla
    GlennX – Stajan – Camm
    Baertschi – Backlund – Stempniak
    Bouma – Jones – Jackman

    Bouwmeester – Giordano
    Carle – Butler
    Brodie – Smith

    Kipper

    That fits under the currently salary cap with about 2 mil to spare if Backlund is making 1.5m, Stemps at 2.5m, Jones at about 1m and Carle 5.5m. Statsny is acquired with this years 1st round pick, it’s high enough to get good return on it, it’s high enough the prospect you draft may barely be good enough to crack your top 9, so if Management goes for it, trading for someone that can play top line center would be nice. Looking back since 2004 draft, there has been some big booms and busts right around 14th, trading it for a proven commodity is an idea.

    I think its a bit of an upgrade over this current years roster, not by much, but it all depends on how the lineup is utilized by the incoming coach.