Five thoughts: They wouldn’t, would they?

1. I’ve seen everything. I’ve seen it all.

Darren Dreger has a habit of dropping bombshell shockers this time of year (see also: that hilarious Ondrej Pavelec contract demand) but one of particular interest to Flames fans this week was the revelation that the Flames would be open to trading Jay Bouwmeester and Mikael Backlund.

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I’m sorry, what?

I think everyone here would be fine if the Flames offloaded a guy like Bouwmeester because, despite the fact that he eats minutes and is generally given a pretty rough go of things matchups-wise, he simply doesn’t play the kind of hockey commensurate to his fourth-among-defensemen cap hit. It would be a tough sell to get someone to take his deal, admittedly.

And that, I imagine, is why Backlund has been lumped into the mix. The only thing I can think of for why this team would trade Backlund — which by the way would be the very definition of selling low given he scored four goals thanks to some truly terrible luck and was hurt all season — is that he is intended to lure teams into taking the Bouwmeester contract off Jay Feaster’s hands. Don’t know how well it will work, obviously, but do know for sure it would be a very shortsighted solution to a two-year problem.

Backlund appears to at least be a developing top-six center, which is what the Flames are seeking, again, in their transparent and ill-advised attempt to squeeze into the playoffs so they can say they accomplished something. It’s all rubbish.

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2. Draft strategy?

Not surprisingly, Feaster was more than a little non-commital earlier this week when quizzed about whether the team would be willing to move in one direction or another from the No. 14 pick in Friday’s first round.

The team would be willing to do either, and would be perfectly happy to stand pat. A good answer. If they feel like they could jump up a spot or two to get a guy they really like, I’m for it. If the feel of the room leads them to believe they’d get their guy a few spots lower, that’s fine too. Flexibility is good, especially because you’re probably not going to get game-breaking NHL talent at the No. 14 spot, at least statistically. At least the team isn’t committed to going off on some half-crazed wild goose chase like they are in their pursuit of the mythical No. 1 center that will magically turn Jarome Iginla into a 27-year-old again.

I’m for that. 

3. No wonder the Sabres were so mad at Lucic



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Well then. This might be my favorite revelation of the last decade. Imagine how terrible that deal would have been for Anaheim. Just a terrible turn of events. Giving up a 40-goal scorer and an All-Star goaltender who, admittedly, started out the year terribly, for an in-decline Ryan Miller? I’d be pissed too.

But beyond breaking the Sabres’ psyche, Lucic did his own organization a huge favor by 86ing the deal altogether. Saves them the headache of facing Hiller and Ryan six times a season for the next decade.

And by the way, Bobby Ryan is back on the market for who knows what reason. Bob McKenzie noted last night that if the team were to move Ryan now, and by all indications, they very well might, they would do so for building-block type pieces that won’t increase their payroll. It’s like they’re actively trying to be worse.

4. Gelinas returns

Because no Flames-related thing these days could ever happen without some sort of reference to 2004, look, it’s Martin Gelinas.

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Honestly, it’s tough to get all vitriolic about anything to do with an assistant coach, but coaches and players alike seem to like him and he will have the respect in the room that comes with having played with Iginla and Kiprusoff before (it still shocks me that they’re the only remaining holdovers from that team given how much everyone in Calgary acts like that entire group should be brought back every offseason).

It was an easy, PR-friendly decision, and that’s not the worst thing in the world.

5. Let’s talk about that Karlsson

Closing out today’s column, that Erik Karlsson deal is something else, isn’t it? They’re basically expecting him to continue this type of production, and that’ll take some significant doin’.

Karlsson was used masterfully by Paul MacLean, starting 57 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone, mostly with the Senators’ best offensive players. If you think that’s a thing that can happen forever, well then, okay, give him that money. But if you think, on the other hand, that you can’t let a defenseman in which you just invested  $44.5 million play that kind of soft minutes against so-so competition, then maybe you’re asking a little too much.

Which, by the way, is just what that contract is: A little too much. Given what Sergei Gonchar is pulling from the team, he’s probably right about where he should be paid, relatively, but in the grand scheme of things, I’d be worried if I was a Sens fan. The guy got a fat seven-year deal and it takes a very rare talent indeed to replicate 70 or more points over that span of time. In fact, only two defensemen in league history have scored that many that often: Ray Bourque and Paul Coffey. They had the benefit of playing in an era that was very much unlike this one, and it seems unlikely that Karlsson does the same.

Let’s put in the simplest way possible: How do you give that much to a guy you don’t trust in his own zone?

  • I have a really hard time believing that Miller-to ANA trade scenario was a real one. Aside from his post-vertigo blip, Hiller has been as good or better than Miller since he’s been in the league. And Ryan is a legit 30+ goal scorer even playing against other top lines. That’s a nonsense flip from Anaheim’s perspective.

    Even Kevin Lowe laughs at that deal.

  • But if you think, on the other hand, that you can’t let a defenseman in which you just invested $44.5 million play that kind of soft minutes against so-so competition, then maybe you’re asking a little too much.

    Karlsson last year:

    QualComp 2/6
    RelCor QC 2/6
    CorQC 1/6

    He did get 57% ZS, but to call it against so-so competition and soft is incorrect.

    He had a slightly lucky year (PDO of 1013 is a little high, but not crazy high) driven by a ONSH% of 9.58, which will probably regress a bit.

    McLean deployed a PvP strategy with Kuba and Karlsson behind Spezza’s line, coupled with big Ozone starts (but not Sedin level OZ starts)

    If McLean stays with that strategy and Spezza continues to produce, its not unreasonable to think Karlsson will be 50+pts vs tough comp.

    I think Spezza was driving the bus and Karlsson benefited greatly from it, but they did it against the toughest comp, which is pretty damn good.

  • Colin.S

    Does anyone remember what the blackhawks got in return for Brian Campbell(going to be a similar trade to Bouwmeester)?

    Rostislav Olesz, thats it and thats all. So for anyone saying “lets wait on a return before we abandon all hope for next season” No, we can abandon all hope the second the trade is announced. We can all then collectively laugh at ourselves when feaster throws out a 10 year deal at 8M per for Suter and he turns us down for a team with an actual future. But hey, LOTTERY PICK NEXT YEAR, OH YEAH!!! WE FUTURE OILERS NOW!

    By throwing in backlund, instead of JUST getting Marty Reasoner, we might get Marty Reasoner AND a 3rd round pick. I can’t wait for us to then NOT sign him because we have intellectual honesty about our players.

    And even though we are totally intellectually honest with ourselves, we totaly believe we are going to the playoffs with a core of Iggy, Kipper, some guy from Russia and another older guy that use to play in Russia thats like his buddy or something.

  • Colin.S


    Unlike the Flames management I seem to possess some actual intelectual honest. Is Bouwmeester overpaid, yup sure is. Are you going to be able to replace him this summer, Nope, you sure as hell are not. The best of the UFA D are Suter, Garrison and Carle, and what exactly could the Flames offer those three that other better teams couldn’t, other than a gross overpayment, OH WAIT WE ALREADY HAVE ONE OF THOSE GUYS!!!

    As for trying to acquire a cheaper as good defenceman. With what assests? To get someone as good as Bouwmeester but at half the salary is going to cost you so much more than what you are going to get in return for Bouwmeester, you might as well pencil us in for worse than Oiler level medocrity in 3-4 years.

    At this point in time the only plan these guys have is to trade Bouwmeester for Cap space we don’t need and hope that Hartley can Coach Babchuk to play better.

  • Colin.S

    @ Colin: Dude you need to get yourself a bottle of Crown Black. Too tense. Cant compare trading JBO to Campbell. When Campbell was traded last year he had, countem, 5 years at 7.1Mill. If he had only 2 years Chicago would have gottem way more for him. He still anchored the Florida power play & played huge minutes. Seeing Florida made the playoffs, I think they feel they stole that trade. Dont sell us short with JBO.

    As for Karlsson, I’m surprised. $6.5 mill isnt a bad number, for a 2-3 year deal, the kid deserves it. Personally I would have been happier with a 5 year deal & man, at 7 years you would have thought that cap hit would have come down to like 5.8mill. 40 mill over 7 sounds a lot more reasonable.

    Cant trade down, if Grigorenko falls to 14th we will never forgive ourselves & Feaster will be just torched on this site. We need to focus on acquiring an extra 1st rounder. Do we dare to help the Oilers & consider a deal of the likes of Parjarvi, Omark & their 2nd? I would put Omark ahead of Byron, but not by much. Would hate to put a missing piece on the Oilers lap.

  • Graham

    In order to move JBo, or more accurately his contract ($6.7 million cap hit for 3 years)its likely the Flames will need to either take back equally bad contracts, or throw in something of fairly significant value. It essentially cost us a second rounder to move Kotalik and a one year three million dollar contract….

    I don’t see the point in bringing back bad contracts, so if Feaster is serious about moving JBo, its JBo plus something of value (Backlund, prospect/s picks) for a no name prospect / bag of pucks.

    The real question, what is Feaster’s plan behind moving JBo? If the plan is to move JBo freeing up cap room for a big name signing / trade, a JBo plus value for a bag of pucks trade might make sense. (depending on who the Flames add with the cap space). If the plan is to free up salaries (Millions below cap theory)
    a JBo trade plus Backlund would be miserable for the fans. It would be worse than Sutters mortaging the future for now concept.

  • Colin.S

    @ Graham: Sorry but JBO only has 2 more years left on his contract not 3. He is still a top 4 dmen on a good team & a top 2 dman on a not so good team. You will get value back. Read about a suggestion that Calgary do a flip of JBO 2 years @ 6.68mil for Briere who has 3 years @ 6.5 mill left. Deal would fit the win now mindset of Feaster & King & get Iggy that top centre for his last year as a Flame. Fills each teams needs for the same money.

  • xis10ce

    Couldn’t agree more with # 1, why are they jumping all over themselves to unload JayBo’s overpriced contract for essentially peanuts when as you put it so well, it’s only an issue for two more years, we’re not talking Bobby Lu years here, and given that the salary cap is expected to raise to 70mil or so next year?

  • Colin.S

    @Kevin R

    Theres more differences to the trades as well, the GM of Florida WANTED to acquire Campbell, while on the other hand Feaster WANTS to offload Bouwmeester for whatever reason.

    And the 2 vs 5 years doesn’t make much of difference, you are still acquiring what a lot of people are deeming over priced, underperforming help.

    When JayBo seems to be inevitably traded at the draft, the return is going to be so disappointing. None of this Moving up into the top 10 people are talking about, or using him in a cornerstone to get Staal or anything. Nope he’s gonna get us a later round pick probably and a decent mid tier defender(not like we don’t have plenty of those) or a second/third line player, maybe a prospect that a team wants off its 50 contract limit.

    • The return for Campbell was predicated on the Hawks desperately needing to unload salary while the Panthers desperately needed to add it. It was almost a pure salary-swap, particularly aided by the fact that Tallon was the Hawks former GM, friendly to the org and to the player.

      So while I agree Bouwmeester’s contract is probably unseemly to may teams, I think the environment in which the Flames are (hypothetically) shopping him is different. The team doesn’t need to move him and the UFA class is so weak his stock could improve due to the dearth of options.

  • everton fc

    Could JBo get a top 10 pick? Probably not. Not by himself

    Say we moved JBo and Backlund to Columbus. Or the Islanders. Or Carolina. Or Montreal. What could we get back?

    Could we get one of these picks in the top 10?

    Could we get a prospect and a pick later in the 1st round??


    The more I think about it, if we keep JBo, it’d be nice to have a later 1st round pick, or high 2nd, to grab someone like Tom Wilson, if he were available. The more talk about JBO, the more I lean on the “keep him” fence. But my gut says move him now, as part of a rebuild. But I certainly don’t see anyoen taking JBOs minutes unless we sign Suter, which is highly unlikely.

  • Colin.S


    Not a chance Backlund + JayBo gets us into the top 10, maybe in a package with out 14 sure, but not those two by themselves.


    I know Chicago wanted to lose salary badly, but isn’t that the same as what the Jaybo trade would be, trying to get salary out, even though we have 20 million in cap space? To me the tades are going to be very similar, a lot of the teams in the top 10 or so of cap spending are NOT going to want a JayBo unless we take back some terrible contract or something, and no cap floor team is going to give us anything of substance for him either.

  • everton fc


    Meant JBO/Backlund/14th. Into the top 10, part of a package (Carolina? Columbus?? Islanders???)

    Then… Trade to get into the lower end of the 1st/top of the 2nd. I’d like to get Tom Wilson. How did he interview yesterday afternoon on the FAN? Missed that…

    I think Kipper and JBO may be of higher value than many here think.

    Back to Moss… Not to mention Kipper and JBO… Think possible lockout. All these guys become one year older. Something to consider.

  • Colin.S

    Yeah I agree Jaybo and Backlund plus out 14th is easily enough to get us into the top 10, where in the top 10 is another matter entirely.

    but if you trade Jaybo/Backlund to get into the top 10, what else do you have left to get into the bottom of the 1st or top of the 2nd, pretty well zip.

    I think very highly of JayBo, which is why I’m PISSED that they are more than likely trading him(haven’t heard trade rumors ever this strong that haven’t turned out). The problem is that Feaster isn’t trying to trade JayBo in a position of strength, its’ one of weakness. I believe Jay has a NTC as well, so it’s not like we can just dump him on the Isle anyways, he’d had to sign off on it.

    This is going to be a VERY VERY bad trade for the next season no matter how it shapes up. If Feaster trades Jay and gets a lot for the future, well getting to the lottery next year plus other young assests is never a bad thing.

  • Colin.S

    come on trading JayBo will not hurt this team and opening up cap space can only help.He is better suited for the eastern conference and would probably thrive over there. Giordano can take over his minutes and we can set out to get a good shot blocking d-man or two if you notice the devils and kings were great shot blocking teams…and whats wrong with signing Jagr didn’t anyone hear how the players in philly loved him all of them want him back if he brought 50 points for 3 mil whats the problem plus what if his presence gets even 15 more points out of cervenka and a line of Baertchi,cervenka and jagr doesn’t sound that bad to me