Flames lock up Blair Jones and Lee Stempniak for two years



On the heels of the Sarich re-signing, the Flames announced a new deal with center Blair Jones this afternoon. The contract is for two years with a cap hit of $650,000. In addition, the re-signed RW Lee Stempniak for $2.5M per year for two years.

The deal for Jones is a good one. He’s a player who has mostly been a ‘tweener during his career, but last year showed the potential to be a capable third or fourth line defensive type pivot. Even if he doesn’t take that next step and prove to be an everday NHLer, at just 650k Jones is as cheap a contract you can find in the NHL. If, however, he manages to develop into a guy who can take on reasonable tough competition semi-regularly, Flames have a bargain on their hands.

On Stempniak, the Flames get a 20-goal, 40-point type third liner who can move up the depth chart in a pinch. Stempniak moved the puck north pretty well last year and brings some depth to the wings. At $2.5M and two years, his deal is another good gamble by the organization.

Thumbs up all around.

  • RKD

    so erm. The roster’s finished apparently.
    Tanguay – Cammalleri – Iginla /
    Glencross – Cervenka – Stempniak /
    Baertschi – Backlund – Comeau /
    Bouma – Jones – Jackman /
    Stajan, Nemisz, Horak, Kolanos

    Does Feaster realize that?

    personally, I don’t buy the “Jankowski would be a top 5 pick in 2013 if he had been born 2 days later”. That would mean he’d have to beat out at least one of Nathan MacKinnon, Alex Barkov, Seth Jones, Hunter Shinkaruk, or Sean Monahan. Yeah. I doubt it.

  • @Canadian Maniac – not all of us want to avoid a rebuild.

    Ok, our 1st round draft is moving from a league below junior B to a league on par with the Alberta Junior Hockey League, my mistake. My point was, we are in this so called win now mode yet instead of moving up to take the Russian or someone else who could help now, we take a guy who has no chance of helping. How does that make any sense? I am all for these types of moves if we are rebuilding and I have heard that Jankowski may turn out quite good but shouldn’t we be getting that 1st line center, hard hitting defenseman, etc while we go for it?

    • I'm Just Sayin'

      The USHL is not on par with the AJHL. Did you see how many first round picks and draft picks overall came from that league?
      The competitive balance in that league is going to be significant in Mark’s development and I can’t wait to see him dominate it and quiet the naysayers.
      When he comes to the development camp next month, he will be one of the best players there.

  • RKD

    ok guys. heres the skinny. feater and his band of snake oil salesman are a bunch of slick 1950 s door to door salesman. the jankowski affair, best in 10 prediction, garabage. the wideman signing was good, but please open your eyes flames land.

    feaster and his crew are selling a pail of blue air. there are no upgrades with the exception of wideman. sarich please, stemp castoff from brian burke, jones at best career minor leaguer.

    after july 1 and ollie is re signed you have basically the same flat tires as the previous year.

    there is no new plan nor direction. its all smoke and mirrors.

    and by the way, i asked a few of my pals out east how janko was as a minor midget before he bolted to stanstead, the answer was unnoticable. the reason the kid went prep was he was too soft for the ontario junior loops.

  • @clyde….Again, as an Oiler fan, I have reason to be cautiously optimistic. Comparing the Oilers rebuild to the Islanders etc., shows a lack of research, if nothing else. The Islanders are still on the hook for Yashin for three more seasons ($2.2m)and DiPietro until 2021($4.5m). $10% of the cap for non-producing players. And they are a team unable to spend to the cap. By the way, L.A. and Chicago both built their teams with high draft picks from finishing out of the playoffs. They made deadline deals for prospects and draft picks. It wasn’t just the Penguins.

    The Flames had 31 different skaters play at least one game last season and only Iggy and Joker, played every game. That means a lot of your players dealt with injuries, and may well be injured in to the future. So, really? Our young stars have been injured. That’s the best you’ve got?

    From your standpoint the Oilers can’t win. If they play lousy, they’re sucking on purpose to get draft picks. When they can’t recruit UFA’s, wel it’s because the management sucks. If they do become a contender, it won’t count because they got gifted their best players.

    What I was saying about the Flames, and Detroit, for that matter, is that you have to have bargaining chips. Detroit had a long run of success and Lidstrom. This is how they attracted free agents(’cause it sure ain’t the city). At one time the chance to play with Iginla and Kiprusoff was a good way to attract free agents. Now? Your other bargaining chips are draft picks and prospects. The Oilers are now in the position of being able to use these bargaining chips. With the top end talent at forward, the Oilers could make a move on an RFA and give up two or three draft picks next year. Could the Flames afford to do that? Certainly not now.

    I really don’t like the moves Feaster has made for your team, but what has he got for bargaining chips? Funny, though, I remember the Flames sucking in the 90’s and they sent away Nieuwendyk at the trade deadline. Who came back, the other way?

    • “That means a lot of your players dealt with injuries, and may well be injured in to the future.”

      The Oilers player have just as much of a risk of injury as Flames players, so that makes no sense.

  • I'm Just Sayin'

    I did not like sarich at 2 years 2 mil maybe with free agent pool 1 or 2 years 1 mil would be better or no signing at all but the jones signing has great value and you won’t pick up a rw 20 goal scorer for less then 2.5 on the open market so that’s good too plus comaeu has great potential for a comeback even 15 goals for a 3rd line regular there is no way backlund will be as bad as last year and maybe just maybe if he is still here Stajan found his touch and will
    Continue like the end of last year. At least all minus Stajan shouldn’t be that hard to trade but this free agent pool has kind of put Feaster in a bad spot over half if not more free agents are 33 plus all like joker looking for term and bucks at the last kick at the can. Please keep JBO or we are screwed there is no one available to replace him if someone can think of an actual player who will actually sign or we can realistically trade for I’m all ears I’m having trouble thinking of someone.

  • Good signings. These were necessary signings for the Flames, to ensure that they have enough depth going into next season. Jones played very well in his time with the Flames, and allowed Brent Sutter to match Iggy and Co. against some lesser opponents. Stempniak is a 20 goal scorer, and a guy that gives the Flames some more offensive punch in the top 6.

    It’ll be interesting to see where this team goes with free agency.

  • @ Old Chester…..It was a reply to Clyde. He was waxing poetic about the injuries to Eberle, Hall, and RNH. I was replying that injuries can and have happened to Flames players. In the context of a reply to his post, it made pleny of sense. Go and re-read post #29.

    • No, because you were referring to the general number of Flames and Oilers players. He was referring to how Hall and Co. are injured so often. That’s fair. Hall and Eberle have both missed significant amounts of time over 2 seasons, and the “Nuge” was injured badly last year. You pointed out how the Flames’ players didn’t play every game last year, save Iggy and Joker. First off that’s plain WRONG, because how could Bouwmeester be the NHL’s ironman and have missed a game last year? So your basically arguing how: Oilers players that are hurt alot (key ones) = Flames players that are hurt sometimes (guys like Moss, Backlund, Jones, etc.)

      Like I said, made no sense dude

      • I'm Just Sayin'

        to be fair, Baertschi spent a fair amount of time injured last season. And it really hurt his play too–before the injuries struck, he was scoring at a BETTER than 2.0/game pace =D

  • @ I’m Just Saying,
    If the US league is as good as that, then great and I hope he turns out.Not helping us win now though.

    @Old Hippy,
    Chicago did their free agent over paying before having to re up their young stars and look at the tiny window they had. They also had 3 stud defensemen. The Isles did and do have some bad contracts as do the Oilers. The Isles also have Tavares who continues to develop but have rushed Bailey, Niedereiter and perhaps even Okposo much like the Oilers have with their guys and things are looking a little grim for them. Florida, Columbus, Atlanta/Winn, etc have all had high picks too, the list goes on. The injuries to these 18-20 year old players is very significant as these guys are put out against men, get fatigued and ultimately get hurt. Look at Hemsky. Many thought he would be great but in my opinion was rushed and is now made of Glass. Hall is already made of glass. C’mon, a 32 year old suffering that significant of an injury due to wear and tear is understandable but this is shoulder reconstruction for a 20 year old? This injury was from numerous hits, not one impact. So, people say that he will need to change his game. If he does that, he is not what you drafted and as a straight ahead power player who plays with his head down, I don’t know if he can change his game. As you have probably researched and know already better than I would, these youngsters need time to develop not just in the area of skill but need to ensure that they have developed enough to withstand the rigor of battling mature adults. Imagine if they ever make the playoffs when hitting occurs. Once you start getting banged around, as you already know, psychologically it can have a big effect as you have witnessed with your Swedish phenom whose name I won’t even attempt. The Oilers may develop and I wish the Flames had some of that young talent. My gosh, they have had their pick of the litter for a number of years, they should but remember, the same guys that created your mess, are still in charge.

  • RexLibris

    @clyde and old hippy

    I have a post on the Islanders’, Blue Jackets’ and Kings’ rebuilds coming.

    Clyde is partially correct in that there are failed rebuilds just as there are successful ones. However, I will pose this question: the Oilers tried the method that the Flames are currently pursuing. It failed. What other method would Flames fans suggest the Oilers attempt? Free agency? Trade?

    I don’t entirely have a problem with Feaster’s moves, although the Wideman contract is one I think they will come to regret. My issue is that Feaster is selling one thing and delivering another.

    To be perfectly frank, I don’t really care if he drives the Flames off a cliff. It isn’t my team. But I think the online acquaintances I have made here, and the fans of the team, deserve better.

    • I'm Just Sayin'

      Believe me, I am not happy with what Calgary is doing and have been doing for too long. The Oilers have decided that they are going to do the BPA thing and hope for the best but to say these guys have a plan that ensures their success would be a little far fetched.
      I completely agree with your statement about Feaster selling one thing and delivering another.

      • RexLibris

        I actually do think they have a plan. I don’t think it is as highly detailed as most analysts and critics would generally think, but I believe it centres around drafting skill at the best available positions, complimenting that young talent with character and leadership, and creating a culture of expectation to win and succeed at every level.

        That doesn’t happen immediately, obviously, and it is being grown internally.

        The Flames have their plan as well. Arguably it is a more transparent plan than the Oilers, but that isn’t to say that Tambellini didn’t set out with a direction in mind. Feaster is just more demonstrative about his intentions, bombastic even.

        Yeah, I’ve taken note of your preferences for the Flames’ future. You and everton fc have my sympathies because I honestly believe that the team will come around to what you’d prefer but only after a long, perhaps painful, process.

  • RexLibris

    Wonder if they are planning on Comeau on the 4 line. That puts Glencross-Backlund-Stempniak and Bouma-Jones-Couma as your bottom 6. With Jackman as the 13 forward when you need a bit of muscle.

    I don’t mind that bottom 6. They can take on the heavy’s and still produce.

    Means we need another top 6 though.

  • RexLibris

    @clyde The Oilers have one buy-out that expires this season. They have Khabi’s bad contract and that expires this season. That leaves Horcoff’s bad contract. Much the way Jay Bo’s contract has looked less horrible after the free agent signings, so too, does Horcoff’s. A veteran checking center is probably a $3.5m contract in today’s market. So a $2m overpay going forward. I don’t see any other bad contracts. Definitely better off than the Islanders.

    Hemskey has had his shoulder rebuilt. Having had a severe shoulder injury myself, I know, even with hard training, it takes a year to feel normal. And a shoulder injury is not career threatening. I doubt it will end Hemskey’s career. He was a much improved player near the end of the season. In your post you make the prospects out to be walking wounded.Halls big injury was a freak warm-up injury. Eberle had a sprained ankle. RNH caught a rut and fell awkwardly in to the boards.None of these injuries have anything to do with being young or being rushed. None of these injuries are career threatening.

    Yeah, rushing Magnus Pajaarvi-Svenson was not helpful to his development, but what could the Oilers have done different.. They had injuries and little depth. This is the old argument about developing young talent in the A.(like Detroit). Hard to do when you don’t have veterans to hold the roster spot until the rookies develop. And seriously, if the Flames had Hall or RNH or MPS do you think they would have sent them back to junior after making the team at training camp? What will you say if Baertschi makes the Flames out of training camp? He’s not big. Will he play on the 2nd line?

    The thing you miss, as well, is that RNH, MPS, and Hall, all played sheltered minutes. More O-zone starts. As much as Horcoff is ridiculed, he played all the tough minutes.

    With your Flames, I see Edmonton four or five years ago. Chasing free agents. Trading draft picks and prospects to try and make the play-offs. Eventually you go in to the draft and realize you don’t have all your draft picks. You are drafting so far back, you are lucky(Eberle) to get a difference maker. Your farm team’s best players are all older and doubtful to crack the big club.

    Now fast forward to the Oilers of today. They have half a dozen quality forwards under 24. They have at least five quality defensive prospects developing in the A, university,and overseas. This is from prospect ratings services, and not just my opinion.And they have had all of their draft picks for the last three seasons(and more)

    In short(oh yeah, I’m brief) the Oilers are in way better shape now then at any point in the last 8 years.They have bargaining chips for trades. Are they guaranteed to win the cup. Hell no. But I believe they will be one of the more fun teams to watch this season.

    • RexLibris

      Good points. Fair enough. I am a former teammate of a close friend of Hall’s dad who was with them at the draft and believe me, this was not a one time injury. Shoulder injuries can and do end injuries or stunt productivity. Shane Doan has been a much different player over the past 4 years because of shoulder issues as an example.Your other points are fine other than about rushing the kids. We won’t agree there and that is ok. I don’t see a spot for Sven as the roster sits now unless we are planning on being even softer to play against. Unfortunately you are right about the Oilers having good prospects much like Florida and the Isles and they may just luck their way to respectability. I am a Pens fan so I know that lightening can strike. Sometimes even twice.

    • beloch

      Eberle and Hall are RFA’s next year, and Nuge the year after. This is possibly the biggest “bargain” year the Oilers are going to have (unless they keep getting lottery picks). They also have $26M in cap space to spend.

      The Oilers aren’t a team whose rebuild is coming along nicely with all the time in the world. It’s peaking. It’s only going to get harder to assemble a competitive team when their #1 picks start sucking up all the cap space. Edmonton fans really ought to be feeling a sense of urgency right now, not good natured patience and faith in eventual success.

  • T&A4Flames

    Just once, I’d like to see the Flames give a rookie a legitimate chance to play. I’d be a heck of a lot happier with either Piskula, Smith or Clay Wilson taking a regula shift on the 3rd D line than watching Sarich get worked every night. The young guys can learn and move forward. The only thing Sarich is moving towards is retirement.

  • beloch

    @beloch and all the math challenged. Eberle had a heck of a season and should expect a healthy raise. Hall is already making close to $4m and unless he puts up 40 goals, his raise will only amount to a million maybe a little more. Remember he and RNH were first overall picks and started at close to $4m, so unless they are in Tavares/Stamkos territory this season, I doubt the raises will amount to more than $2m each. So all told, the raises two years out will not amount to a combined $8m over what the three make now. This pricing them out of town is a red herring and is the last desperate cry of fans in cities other than Edmonton. Try to remember the 4th line on a real good team, will be made up of hungry prospects or eager veterans. The combined salary of the 4th line will probably be $3m. Same for the 5/6/7Defencemen.

    @Clyde…I doubt they will luck their way to respectibility. They will do it by having quality players in place, and having enough prospect depth that they can move picks/prospects to compliment their core. The Oilers may not make all the right moves, but how many teams do? L.A. won the cup and were not even on the radar at the start of the season. How different would their season have been if they traded Doughty rather than pay him a ton of money. Or didn’t hire Sutter, or , or, or…..And rushing the rookies in Edmonton, if you were the G.M. what would you have done different. It’s one thing to critique, it’s another to have better plan in place. Also…. drafting first over-all, one team must finish last. Does that mean they will finish last forever? The Devils and the Redwings were perrenial losers in the 80’s and in to the 90’s. Guess what, they will suck again. And so will L.A.

    As for you Pens, wow, big gamble trading away Staal and bigger signing Crosby for the rest of his career. I hope he plays until the end of it, but a long concussion disability is much more debilitating than a shoulder injury.

  • T&A4Flames

    The recent signings may end up playing next year at a reduced salary or may be traded in the coming weeks for other options.I have a gut feeling 3 or 4 of the recent Flames will be traded in a multi swap deal

  • Franko J

    “We want players who are time and space eliminators”.

    For some reason I really don’t see Sarich as that type of player. Nice guy, great for the community, yet with his lack of foot speed, I don’t know how he will fit into Hartley’s plan. I guess the signing of Sarich is for some muscle on the backend. Outside of Giordano, there are no other “bangers and crashers” so I understand the signing. As well, it only proves how bad this years free agent crop is.

    As for Stempniak and Jones, good signings. Good value. Again with these signings let see if they will step up their game next season. I really think that Feaster is hoping that under Hartley this team {players} will not be under acheviers like they were last season. Only with time . . . . Feaster will find out how good these signings were.

  • I'm Just Sayin'

    Criticizing players and management is one thing, but stooping to name-calling is not only juvenile, it shows a complete lack of any intelligent thought.
    I’m pretty sure the next time a customer goes into McDonald’s and criticizes your coke dispensing skills, you won’t be at all offended, right?

  • Ken V.

    What is the definition of insanity? Can’t wait till Feaster is fired. He’s an idiot. Jones is okay but Stemp is a worthless. . . Only plays hard on contract years.

    • RexLibris

      That isn’t the technical definition. Actually it was an off-hand comment by Einstein ridiculing some aspects of the scientific community (and human nature in general) at the time.

      Updating that comment for this situation specifically, I think I would put it as “repeating the same action and expecting a different outcome is the definition of denial/avoidance.”

      There is one aspect of Feaster’s actions that could come into play. With the shallow free agent pool this year, there is a slim, very slim, chance that Feaster is locking up a few assets so that once camp breaks, if need be, he could potentially trade an extra body here or there for a depth draft pick.

      Like I said, it is an extremely remote possibility. Trades after camp and in the pre-season are very rare and usually only return a few cents on the dollar, but if I try to look for a positive…

  • everton fc

    @sin city

    The 4th line should be Bouma-Jones-Comeau

    I’d actually like to see us get someone a little tougher than Bouma. Prust comes to mind. But even with Bouma, that’s a decent 4th line.

    Glencross-Backlund-Stempniak is a decent thirs line, though I get a strange feeling Backlund could be moved. We still have Stajan. Who would want him? That said, Glencross-Stajan-Stempniak is also a pretty decen third line.

    Hate to say it, but a second line of Baertschi-Cervenka-Semin would be an interesting one, though one with absolutely zero grit. Jagr on this line is also intriguing.

    Even with Jackman, we lack toughness. Still important.

    Wonder if they are planning on Comeau on the 4 line. That puts Glencross-Backlund-Stempniak and Bouma-Jones-Couma as your bottom 6. With Jackman as the 13 forward when you need a bit of muscle.

    I don’t mind that bottom 6. They can take on the heavy’s and still produce.

    Means we need another top 6 though.

    • I'm Just Sayin'

      Wouldn’t surprise me to see them go after Gaustad. He is a guy I don’t mind overpaying for. 4M x 3 or something.

      Glencross-Gaustad-Stempniak as a third line looks good to me.

      I like Bouma. Though I wouldn’t be upset to have Prust back (again).

      Prust-Jones-Comeau is a solid fourth.

  • Cervenka? Left-handed centre.
    Cammalleri? Left-handed centre.
    Stajan? Left-handed centre.
    Backlund? Left-handed centre.
    Byron? Left-handed centre.

    The only righties in the organization at present are Jones, Kolanos and Mitch Wahl.

    So they probably really like Blair Jones.

  • RexLibris

    @beloch, old hippy and clyde

    I had a close look at point production relative to draft position over the past six years and compared that to second contracts. Hall, Eberle and Nugent Hopkins fall somewhere in the $5 to 5.5 million range for their second contracts. Nugent Hopkins might garner $6 million based on position and special teams impact as well as perceived ceilings. Either way, I suspect that length of term and NMCs will bring that number into the more affordable $5.5 range for all three.

    Paajarvi is likely going to have several contracts in the Sam Gagner range while Petry’s next contract will probably replace Tom Gilbert’s dollars.

    While the Oilers haven’t drafted a generational talent in their first overall picks (some suggest Nugent Hopkins could be one, but we still have to give him time to develop) they have drafted enough of them that they will have some affordable high-end talent to provide depth and an enviable level of positional redundancy for at least a few years.

    Eventually the team will be forced to trade away a young forward (Gagner is always mentioned, but I suspect that Yakupov may end up being the first to leave), but a team that can trade away an affordable under-25 elite talent in order to recoup their own roster needs is in a very good position.

    There are never any guarantees, but this Oilers team offers a lot more to cheer for and about than previous incarnations. Just as there were never any guarantees for the Flames in 2006, 2007, 2008, or 2009, but nevertheless, the team offered something to excite the fans.

  • RexLibris

    @Old Chester….Yes I missed Bouwmeester, but I was looking at forwards and did not make that clear. The reason I was looking at forwards is for comparison sake. Defencemen don’t usually play a significant role at 18, 19, 20. The ages where, according to you and clyde, injuries will stunt the development of a young player.

    The point I was trying to make is that any team, in any given season, can have injury problems. You and clyde have made reference to the injuries occurring because they were young or that being injured before 21? makes your injuries chronic. I really don’t think RNH’s injury was caused by youth. (he caught a rut and fell awkwardly in to the boards) This isn’t like Hemskey’s shoulder injuries which, indeed, become chronic. Eberle’s injury was a spraine ankle, so I doubt that will become significant or chronic.

    So, again I ask, if your Flames were to have acquired any of RNH, Hall, Eberle, or Yakupov, would you have had them play junior for another year and then another year or two in the A? This is what you do with project players, not players talented enough to contribute right away. Having RNH play another year of junior would not have been better for his develpment, nor would it have stopped his fluke injury. As for Hall, the style he plays, he could have had that injury in junior or the NHL. And having Frankenshoulders at a young age might be better than having this done at 28 or 29. He will recoup faster.

    So, to be brief, of these four star players(RNH, Hall, Eberle and Yakupov) I expect that at least three of them will be significant players on the Oilers for the next 8 to 10 years(or longer). We might lose one to acquire a more pressing need. I sincerely doubt we will lose one to a career ending injury or because we can’t afford to keep them all. And that is where you two seem to be headed.

    • Jeff Lebowski

      My answer to RNH especially is, yes, I would have kept him in a developmental situation where he would have had a chance to lead a team in meaningful games. You may not agree but I believe that by bringing a player up too soon, you risk stunting his offensive creativity and development. I believe that is what has happened with Gagner for example. A player like Hall was ready size wise but not physically nor mentally as you see by his serious injuries and constant whining but he was too good for junior due to his physical maturity. I also think that these guys may end up being good but so far, they have just been allowed to skate around, play every powerplay and not be held accountable. Having them in a few more meaningful situations would have been better imo. But, as a Penguin and Flame fan, who cares if they get the crap kicked out of them or form awful habits that will be hard to break.

  • RexLibris

    I don’t get all this “not changing” or “isanity” language. Jones and Stempniak were both brought in last year, neither of them had a full season with the flames, Wideman is brand new to the team, the only player being brought back with extended time on the Flames is Sarich.

    Moss and Jokinen are both being let go, long time Flames, plus a couple smaller other D. Sutter hold overs are gone again.

    The team is more going to resemble plays that Feaster himself has acquired rather than old D. Sutter peices, and it’s only fair to give Feaster that chance this year, this is primarily the team that Feaster has put together, other than a couple of longer term contracts still on the books from D. Sutter most of these guys Feaster has traded for or acquired in his time here.

  • meat1

    Having a hard time getting excited about Stempniak. Or Sarich. I just feel that we have had a busy, but not positive, last two weeks.
    We have done nothing to:
    A) Make ourselves a playoff team, let alone a serious one.
    B) Begin a movement towards a younger, more dynamic team.

    I think either one of the above would have at least given the fans something to get behind.
    I like the Jones signing, but the other ones seem to have holes – either in term, or money, or the player’s value (in Sarich’s case, all three, because you can’t hit what you can’t catch).

    I don’t understand the rush to lock up our own UFA’s at these dollars. I truly believe Sarich could have been signed August 15th for 1 year @ 750k. And if not…oh well, we’ve got 5 other 6-7 dmen to fill the void.