1. The latest Bouwmeester rumors
Okay so now the rumor kicking around about Jay Bouwmeester — if he’s traded, and he will be, maybe, but probably he will, except not unless the team is bowled over by an offer, which it won’t be, because his salary is too high, but teams are desperate so they might trade for him, if Calgary is willing, which it’s unclear if they are — is that his most likely destination is Detroit (unless it isn.. forget it). And the potential return from the Red Wings?
Rumors out of Detroit, citing rumors out of Calgary, which seem to have been entirely made up, is that the Flames would be willing to swap out Bouwmeester for Valtteri Filppula (the long-coveted top-six forward that will surely propel Calgary to wherever the hell it is people in the front office think it can go, or whatever), Jonathan Ericsson, and a prospect.
The only thing anyone on Earth should be allowed to think about that supposed trade which will never happen is: "I hope that prospect is Seth Jones."
The ludicrous aspects of this proposal are several: First, Filppula is 28 years old, and guys in their late 20s isn’t exactly what Calgary needs these days. Further, he’s an unrestricted free agent after next season, and who knows how much of that season anyone even gets to play. He was a minus-7.5 in corsi relative last season (23rd on the Wings) despite starting nearly 54 percent of his shifts in the attacking zone (and finishing fewer than half there). That’s after playing much of the season with Henrik Zetterberg, whose relative corsi was 6.1. Now granted, he scored 66 points last season, but that’s with a shooting percentage of 16. Among Wings, only Hudler’s was higher. And by the way, moving a player who scored 66 points as a 28-year-old but had only broken 40 once in his career prior to that would be the very definition of Detroit selling high.
How about Ericsson, then? Another player who was negative in relative corsi, but only just at minus-0.1. He wasn’t exactly saddled with world-beating partners (Jakub Kindl and Mike Commodore were his most common), but y’know, generally isn’t very good. Calgary would be taking a huge step back in terms of defensive quality and oh by the way they were terrible defensively last season. This is simply not a good fit unless there’s something in the pipeline.
But there couldn’t be something else on the pipeline, at least, nothing momentous. That’s because while Calgary would technically be shedding salary, it wouldn’t be a whole lot. Bouwmeester is at $6.68 million, Ericsson and Filppula combined cost $6.25 million. That’s an awful big downgrade in defensive quality for a minimal upgrade in offense, and gives you the team an additional $0.43 million in additional cap space. That’s not even enough to sign someone to a league-minimum deal.
So yeah, that prospect better be really good.
2. Is there really any sort of goaltending controversy?
Read something by Steinberg yesterday about how the Flames have five goalies on AHL-or-NHL deals and only four spots. Barry Brust and Danny Taylor in Abbotsford, and Miikka Kiprusoff, Leland Irving and Henrik Karlsson in Calgary.
Who, oh who, do we choose to not be with the team any more?
The case for Irving: He’s still a former first-round pick who has had good professional seasons in North America and for better or worse seems to be the franchise’s heir apparent to Kiprusoff’s job barring a return to these shores by Karri Ramo after this coming season (which admittedly could happen). He’s cheaper than Karlsson.
The case against Irving: He lost his starting job in the AHL last year, and didn’t post great stats in his seven brief appearances with the big club. He looked like a total nerd on his draft day.
The case for Karlsson: He’s signed to a one-way deal paying him more than $862,000, which is a lot of money to stash away somewhere.
The case against Karlsson: He pretty much sucks.
So there you have it.
3. Buying cap space seems like an okay idea
Wow cool the NHLPA’s proposal allows teams to trade cap space so that it gives bigger-market clubs the chance to spend more money if they want while also benefiting the smaller teams who won’t be paying out the money anyway?
Oh wait this only lets you do that if you’re in severe financial distress, and it can only be for a maximum of $4 million one way or the other. That’s too bad.
IN THEORY, trading cap space works for everyone. Avaricious owners who believe in winning at all costs get to pay more to players, and those who prefer to stay on the cheap side for whatever reason get to bolster their teams. But in actual practice, this plan seems like a dud to me, and that sucks. Wouldn’t it be great to see more trades? Imagine the anticipation of "The Flyers just got $3 million in cap space from Phoenix! Who are they gonna go after?"
4. Let’s dial it back everyone
I admit to getting a little too excited about the players’ association’s proposal Tuesday. Finally, something about which we could be positive after a month of pretty much just waiting on a lockout.
But then Gary Bettman came out today and pretty much squashed that saying lots of stuff about different views on the world and how the NFL and NBA’s collective bargaining agreements were the benchmarks here. Disheartening is what it was, and I have learned my lesson.
From now on, until this CBA is signed, I’m not going to get too mad at the owners, and I’m not going to get too excited about the PA’s various offers and counter-offers and counter-counter-offers. None of it is in any way helpful.
5. Begin again
Wow Steve Begin! Whoa! A tryout with the Flames? Christ, he might make the team.
This Flames side isn’t exactly the team it was when million-year-old Theo Fleury gave it another go (largely for old times’ sake and to sell preseason tickets), and a guy coming off an entire season missed due to hip surgery making the latest iteration would be, well, not surprising at this point, I guess.
Steve Begin. Honestly.