The Calgary Flames and the 2012 Free Agent Market

 

 

With the draft in the rearview mirror, the fun and horror of the 2012 free agent season awaits. Starting this upcoming Sunday, GM’s will fight with each to other to make their teams better (or, in may cases, make terrible errors they will spend the next few years trying to undo).

Going Shopping

Calgary has needs everywhere, but the market is relatively limited. Ideally, the Flames could use at least one more top-4 defender (two more, if they decide to trade Bouwmeester) and as many forwards who can efficiently drive the play north as possible. The Flames were one of the worst possession teams in the league last year and one of the reasons is pretty much every top-six guy on the team was well underwater in terms of possession measures. If the wish to contend for a playoff spot isn’t merely lip service, Jay Feaster will have to find a way to get this club on the positive side of possession somehow.

(aside – for those who continue to wonder why shot metrics are important, Eric T of NHLNumbers published an article on the relationship between corsi/fenwick and scoring chances today).

The good news is – Calgary has almost $20M in cap space to work with (assuming the team will continue to spend to the cap, which isn’t completely certain at this time). That number will be lessened once we know how much RFA’s Jones and Backlund are making. Also, the Flames may choose to retain some of their own pending free agents, including Blake Comeau who will likely be re-upped on a lesser ticket. 

For now, let’s assume the Flames have about $15M to play with. That would be enough to conceivably add at least one high-end free agent in the Parise/Suter mold and then at least one ot two more from the second tier.

Challenges

Of course, Calgary’s problem this summer isn’t really money or cap space – it’s the relatively shallow UFA pool and the difficulty they will have convincing high-end free agents to commit to the Flames. The club hasn’t made the dance since 2008-09, hasn’t won it’s division since 2005-06 and hasn’t won a playoff serie since 2003-04. Calgary’s core including, Kipper and Iginla, is storied, but aging. The cache of playing with a guy like Jarome is slowly dissolving with his advancing years and the team’s inability to scramble out of the lower-middle class of the league.

So while Feaster can offer the dollars, his team will be a tough sell to any high-end FA who is interested in winning sooner rather than later. The unfortunate catch-22 of mediocre or worse teams is that they need to add better players in order to improve – but quality free agents are often attracted to good teams that are already winning.

The Options

This week, FlamesNation will continue to profile the Flames own pending UFA’s. In addition, we will start to look at general options from the UFA pool. For now, here is a list at some of the interesting names:

Forwards

  • PA Parenteau
  • Zach Parise
  • Brad Boyes
  • Alex Semin
  • Ryan Smyth
  • Shane Doan
  • Jaromir Jagr
  • Jiri Hudler
  • Paul Gaustad
  • Alexei Ponkarovski
  • Daniel Winnik
  • Brandon Prust

Defensemen

  • Ryan Suter
  • Dennis Wideman
  • Matt Carle
  • Jason Garrison
  • Carlo Colaiacovo
  • Michal Rozsival
  • Justin Schultz

We plan to profile some of these guys in detail prior to July 1, while others will be given the "brief blurb" treatment. Let us know which ones interest you in particular (or if you would add any other names to this list) and we’ll see what we can do.

  • RKD

    @ Ed Ward: Yeah, I think Edmonton & Calgary could get into a bidding war where you can only pump up the contract like we did with Cerevenka. We would need to sell the City. If we arent trading Iggy, maybe Iggy can buy him a place next door to him in Kelowna. 🙂

    I know I’ll get roasted for my suggestion, I blame all the friggin rain man, makes the brain neurons fire eratically. But what if we send Stajan & Karlsson to Vancouver for Luongo & then sell Kipper to the likes of the Leafs or Islanders & hope like hell Luongo plays decently for the next 5 years. You know Leiland would get his 20 games in next year for sure. Ok i’ll shut up about that one.

  • everton fc

    @Jacob

    I’m with you on Tootoo. He can put the puck in the net, can add assists… Comes to play. I know a lot of fans hate him. But I think he adds value.

  • RKD

    Personally, I don’t think the Flames stand a chance to land either Parise or Suter. Brad Richards turned down more money here to go to N.Y.

    Parise wants to win a Stanley Cup, he also wants to stay in the Eastern conference. Parise is good friends with Crosby, so there’s a strong chance he could land with the Pens. I’ve also heard Minnesota is going to go hard after Zach on July 1st.

    I think Detroit will be after Suter heavily. If Detroit doesn’t land him, maybe they will go after Jay-Bo after Philly just acquired Schenn.

    I think the Flames could go for Brad Boyes, or Parenteau. Semin has talent but declining goal totals, similar salary to Jay-Bo and his effort is seriously questionable.

    The Flames have to add to their defence, adding Coliacovo, Carle, Wideman is more realistic.
    Lastly, I think Jagr either goes to Montreal to play with Pleks or comes here to play with Roman.

  • everton fc

    @Canucks

    Yep. Tootoo’s no Avery. He’s seems to be a decent guy in the room. Plays hard and can produce points.

    At this stage of his career, I wonder if he slots onto a 3rd line, or a 4th? He’s a RW, so if he slots on the 4th line, Jackman’s gotta go. Tootoo had 30 points last year. 24 assists. Jackman may never crack 10 points again.

    Bouma/Jones/Tootoo would be a heck of a 4th line.

    Can you imagine Prust/Jones/Tootoo?

    As for Suter, I bet he stays in Nashville if he can. Detroit also makes sense. He’ll never be a Flame.

    Parenteau took a long time to come around. He may indeed be a product of Taveres. I’d avoid Boyes. Guys like him end up scoring less than 40 points here.

  • Canucks Suck

    throw an offer at kulemin, can’t hurt. as for tootoo he is hated throughout the league because of his cheapshot artist rep. as for in the room, he has a history of substance abuse and being a circus sideshow. you dont want to have to employ a babysitter for a 4th liner.

  • everton fc

    He’s conquered his substance abuse issues, apparently. Tootoo, that is. I heard he’s cleaned up his act.

    I’d rather have Dorsett, of course. Really would.

  • everton fc

    @nucks suck. meant to type 14 dont know why i typed 12 th. but anyways, call me in 10 years pal. when numerous picks 14th and beyond are enjoying solid careers and you are still waiting for the steal of 2012 to arrive.

  • jeremywilhelm

    There isn’t a single top 6 Forward or Top 4 Defense that the Flames can pick up outside of PArise or Suter that are gonna make them an effective team this year.

    Sadly, this off season is gonna be a real dissapointment.

  • Schultz will not be coming to Calgary. He didn’t want to play in Anaheim, and they have players like Getzlaf, Ryan, Selanne and Hiller. Why would he want to come to Calgary? He’s from Kelowna (BC yo, they don’t like Alberta unless it’s for PST-free shopping) and it looks like he’s being hardcore courted by the Oilers. Personal meeting with management and owners very soon and all that jazz. I’ll bet he is an Oiler by next week – “young and upcoming” players needing a top-4 D-man to anchor the blueline. Sounds like he is a better fit in Edmonton.

    No Mueller. Mile High Hockey wrote a decent piece about his decline in play and PPG stats that match those of, among other powerhouse forwards, Marek Svatos, Wojtek Wolski, and Tyler Arnason. He wasn’t really that good to begin with, but getting 2 bad concussions made it worse. Article found here:

    http://www.milehighhockey.com/2012/6/25/3117479/mulling-mueller

    No Tootoo. Yes, he’s a pest and he’s good at it, but as stated by others, the drug and alcohol problems might be of a concern. Yes he’s done rehab, yes he might have cleaned up, but so did Fleury. And then he relapsed. It happens. I would rather not have Tootoo relapsing and taking Backlund out for a nice night of Jaeger shots and ketamine snorting.

    Suter might come here, simply because of ties to his dad and the fact that he’d be top bean (especially if we moved JBo). If he’s more inclined towards a boatload of money, relative anonymity, or even big city life, he won’t be here.

    Parise won’t come here. Not even if you kidnapped and brainwashed him, he’d still leave for another team.

    Just blow it up. Trade anyone not named GlenX, Backlund, Brodie, Baertschi, Reinhart, Gio, and Cammalleri. Fleece some stupid GM out of a good player for Krys Kolanos. Burn down the Saddledome and demand an extra first round pick for emotional and mental damages. Whatever it takes to right the ship.

  • Franko J

    @ jeremy wilhelm

    Yes so far this off season has been Ho-Hum from a Flames standpoint.

    At the draft I was looking for some more trade activity from the team. What I heard from Tod Button was Calgary wanted at least a second round pick which they got. However Calgary wanted to trade for next years draft and very few GM’s were willing to trade picks for the draft in 2013.

    With free agency looming on July 1st, the pool of talent is very shallow. Like you
    said there is not enough talent available to help fill the void in their lineup for next year.

    What actually will be disappointing to me is if they sign mediocre talent for big money. Not only would this set the team back to “CAP JAIL”, but make it tougher to sign other players because there will be not enough contracts to offer more valued players down the road.

  • Franko J

    Subnote:
    What Calgary is lacking on their roster is skill and talent from the age group of 25 to 28. Whether it is a top 4 pairing dman or top six forward, to assist this team I find that most teams have either resigned players in that age range or are RFA’s.

    For instance, who can on this team step up and fill the void if there is injuries to the big four players on this team? Or if they are traded for future assists? Where is the depth at D if this team suffers injuries like last season?

  • Parallex

    Hmmm, Don Mahoney says Shane Doan will test free agency… I didn’t include him on my list since I had thought that there was zero chance that he’d sign elsewhere but if it’s in the news maybe there’s more of a possibility.

    He’s an Alberta boy and aren’t him and Iginla buddies?
    ‎

  • Parallex

    Kent,

    Is there any possibility that the new building could be build on a rotating platform so that the ability to drive the play in a specific direction becomes a less important issue in the future?