Weisbrod Recognizes the Flames Roster Hole



Earlier this off-season, I noted the Flames had a rather grim future because their roster featured next to no players in their prime years. Of the regular skaters who played for Calgary last year, the 28 and over demographic scored 83% of the points while accounting for 73% of the cap budget and more than 70% of the ice time.

The good news is, the Calgary Flames are apparently well aware of this issue.

“One of the things we talked about during the year is that we have quite a gap in our age and the balance of our lineup. We have all these 33-, 34-, 35-year-old players, then we’ve got some young bucks we really like, 19-, 20-, 21-year-olds. So we’re really missing that middle gap that sort of drives the train.”

That’s John Weisbrod explaining the decision to walk away from Joey Leach this morning. Clearly, the Flames want to give precedence to either guys with higher ceilings than Leach, or guys who are closer to that sweet spot between 23 and 27. Weisbrod notes that Calgary has a lot of pro contracts in the organization already, so the club is down to prioritizing certain players over others. 

I find his explanation satisfactory for the decision. Further, it’s nice to know the Flames are fully aware of the unbalanced nature of their roster and are taking steps to correct it. The challenge, of course, is to do something about it.

Quick Hit(s)

Some other interesting items from Vicki Hall’s story:

– "There is simmering discontent about the (high) US content of the Flames front office."

This is news to me, but I suppose silly nationalistic sentiments aren’t unknown in the game. And to those grumbling about Americans in the Flames front office I say: stop being ridiculous. Feel free to criticize the decision makers when they do something wrong or engage in sophistry, but I think we should be past the point where we inspect a guys birth certificate as a way to determine if he is capable or worthy of the position.

  • On the topic of Americans… first of all, who cares? I’ll critique on performance not birthplace.

    And, I’ve been thinking about this a little bit lately only because my favorite players have tended to be Canadian in the past, nationalistic pride or whatever, I can’t really explain it.

    But today, my favorite players in no particular order are Ryan Callahan, David Backes, Zach Parise and Anze Kopitar. Three Americans and a Slovenian. Surprised even myself with that.

  • Oyo

    I starting to love Gabriel landeskog. Watched him play the flames and his all-round game is unreal. A swede!

    Weisbrod is looking like a great hire. Believe it or not I have a lot of faith in our management right now and this offseason will prove a lot in the direction of their long time plan

  • Agree about that US content bull crap. Do a great job & I dont care if you’re from down under. Interesting session with King & Feaster last night. Despite King making a joke about the JD rumours, he did insinuate a different corporate structure that give legs to the rumour.Also interesting was that they didnt defend & in fact avoided expounding on any Iggy criticism. What was also noteworthy was they feel this draft is weaker & think next year will be much deeper. That kind of tells me not to expect any major trades prior to the draft & probably more next year(to acquire premium draft picks). Feaster also came out and said they are getting a feel for the market value of their assets & if it improves the team, the asset will be moved. As vague as they were being, it was sure a different tune than last year. For all the advanced stats fans, Feaster believes & uses them & the new coach will need to fit a kind of mold that utilizes all the tools to coaching the team. Imust say, it is a refreshing approach from the DSutter days.

  • Tach

    Never said anything about Americans running the team just that they arent the brightest. Would really love to have one Canuck guy in the front office. They way i look at it, running a team takes brains and heart. What i mean from heart is you truly have to be a fan of the team. I could never be in the front office of the Rangers or Kings, never liked them, couldnt do my best. If i was at the head of the Leafs or Flames, I’d do everything possible.
    My problem is Feaster is hiring guys with little proven hockey background, especially in scouting and management. Weisbrod did some years ago but has spent the last number of years in the NBA and Conny while we all love him, he’s just starting out so cant’ give him too much at the start.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    I’m a little disappointed you would link to a really bad article (the one about Don Cherry). The fact that half of the article is written about how Don Cherry thinks non-North American players play without “heart and character” is a waste of time, considering that’s not true. If the guy is going to judge a 78-year old man who’s been in hockey since the 50s on a few words, then I don’t know why someone like that would have a job (other than the fact to circlejerk and get attention).

    Without a doubt, Don Cherry is biased towards Canadian players. Without a doubt, he thinks they’re better than Russians, Finnish, or Swedish players. But I don’t think I’ve ever heard a Coach’s Corner where he’s talking about Ovechkin and he adds the tagline, “one of the best player’s playing today.”

    Cherry actually does come from a time when European players WERE softer than they are know, so that memory is going to bleed in to his thinking, but if you’ve seen his Coach’s Corner from the 80s and compare it the, say, last five years, his rhetoric and tone has changed, but trying to erase an impression practically all his life isn’t hard to do.

    About the apparent “front office filled with Americans,” I would PREFER Canadians, but honestly I’d take Jay Feaster over Sutter any day, or John Tortorella over Barry Melrose, or Mike Modano over Sean Avery (no kidding).

  • MC Hockey

    Hey Nolan, Ummm….Weisbrod has not been in the NBA lately, perhaps check your facts. And, as an advanced stats fan (but not a guru), you have to look at the roots of the reasons for change in management types for hockey.

    The general idea of advanced stats to analyze hockey players came from Major League Baseball and if you have not seen or heard of “Moneyball” and how different, more scientific, and methodical thinking in building sports teams can make you more successful, then you need to catch up! Not all teams get Sidney Crosby or Johnathan Toews in the draft so advanced stats in scouting for players in junior leagues, college, overseas, other teams is required in this “ultra competitive NHL” with so much parity.

  • Greg

    I can’t believe anyone is concerned over something as inconsequential as the number of Americans in our front office. I mean, come on! It’s not like they are Russians.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    And we make fun of Canadiens fans for insisting on francophone coaches. Really what’s the freaking differnce.

    @ Nolan
    Do you really believe Americans are dumb? Seriously? Really? Come on man – that’s just dumb.