FN Weekend OPen Thread – Flames Roster in Three Years



One of the potential risks of the looming lock-out for the Flames (both team and fans) is the possibility Jarome Iginla’s final season in town will either be severely shortened or wiped out entirely. The club could eliminate that risk by re-signing the captain sooner rather than later, but that causes the org to step into a whole new minefield given his age and the uncertainty surrounding a new CBA.

Of course, we also don’t know if Iginla is even willing to re-sign in Calgary at this point.

With his career nearing its sunset, the team around him faltering and fresh uncertainties facing him about the labor agreement, Iginla may choose to wait things out and see what a new horizon brings come summer 2013. If the season is wiped out or, alternatively, if the Flames again fail to make the dance, Iginla would be entirely justified in looking beyond the borders of the only NHL team he’s ever known to experience life elsewhere as the inspirational vet or solid support player – and perhaps get a chance to win before he finally hangs up the skates.

With that in mind and considering the age of many of the club’s other money players, I began to wonder recently what the club’s roster would look like 3 years down the road. At that point, it’s entirely possible Iginla and Kipper will be gone, while 35 year old Alex Tanguay will start to slow down significantly. Jay Bouwmeester will likely be gone by then as well, which is either a good or bad thing depending on where you stand on the player.

The Flames only have 4 current major leaguers signed until 2014-15: Jiri Hudler, Dennis Wideman, Mark Giordano and Tanguay. Sven Baerstchi should be at least a sophomore by then and Mikael Backlund will be 25-26 and either a key cog on the team or traded. In net, it could be a combination of Karri Ramo and Leland Irving (or neither, because who knows with goalies). By then, Lance Bouma will probably be a regular 4th liner and Greg Nemisz…probably the same. Maybe Johnny Gaudreau or Mark Jankowski will be making a debut that year as well. Roman Cervenka might still be around if he manages to translate his game in North America. etc.

So get out your crystal balls Flames fans. Who sticks and is around in 3 years? Who are the club’s big guns? Who anchors the blueline? Who is stopping pucks?


  • RexLibris

    Regarding Iggy resigning an extension this summer; if I’m his agent, I tell him to wait and see what Shane Doan signs for and use that as a comparable.

    Wasn’t it Buffalo that offered Doan 4 years at $30M? If I’m Iggy, and Doan signs for anywhere near those dollars and term, I’m laughing all the way to the bank. You gotta think that if Doan gets $7.5M per year, Iggy is worth as much, if not more!

  • PrairieStew

    So much depends on who develops in to NHL players. If you could develop on average just 2 players per season from your draft picks or amateur free agent signings you could have a team nearly full of guys in their 20’s

    Who you sign as UFA’s or resign among your own players is predicated on who develops.. The way the Flames look currently, they had better develop closer to 3 guys per year, otherwise they will be filling holes in the expensive UFA market

    This past year Brodie and Bouma (not Horak) were the 2 guys that made the jump. This year the expectation will be that the 2 will be Irving and Baertschi. In 13-14 they need to resign both Butler and Brodie – and it would be good to see either Breen or Brady Lamb make the jump and be D 7. At forward either Horak or Nemisz needs to make the jump as 3rd line players.

    In 14-15, that’s where 3 or 4 players need to develop. You need a goalie ( probably Ramo), a defenceman – maybe John Ramage and at least 2 forwards, let’s say Reinhart and Gaudreau.

    In the fall of 15-16 Markus Granlund and Mark Jankowski make the team as does Tyler Wotherspoon on defence.

    So Oct 1 2015 – 3 years from now:

    In goal : Irving and Ramo

    On Defence Wideman and Gio, Butler and Brodie, Lamb, Ramage and Wotherspoon – with one mid level UFA

    At forward : Hudler, Tanguay and a cheaper Iginla

    Backlund Baertschi Granlund

    Horak Bouma Gaudreau

    Reinhart Jankowski and 2 other players either resigned ( Glencross, Cervanka) or UFA’s acquired.

    So this assumes some failures as well. One of either Horak or Nemisz fails to make it; ditto for Breen and Lamb. Ryan Howse does not make the club making the entire 2009 draft a strikeout and Roman Cervanka ends up back in Europe. Neither Blair Jones nor Blake Comeau are long term solutions and Paul Byron goes missing in a corn maze during a team building event at a training camp.

    • seve927

      Good analysis. The only thing I’d say about it, is that you almost never see completely home grown talent, so some of these players will probably be playing on other teams, and vice versa.

      Also, it may be optimistic to think our 2013-2014 first rounders won’t be playing 😉

      • PrairieStew

        Agreed – you almost never see a team with completely home grown talent, but if you did then that means they have drafted well. Ideally the Flames should be stocked with players taken from 2001 -2009 as those guys are now 21 -30.

        2001 Kobasew and Moss

        2002 Nystrom, Lombardi, Mcelhinney

        2003 Phaneuf

        2004 Prust and Pardy

        2005 Nothing !

        2006 Irving

        2007 Backlund and Aulie

        2008 Brodie Bouma and Nemisz

        2009 Erixon

        Not a pretty picture only one real impact player drafted.

        • RexLibris

          I was going to say that based on your earlier lineup, the team would likely still likely be slotted at or near their current level.

          While the team would be younger and likely more affordable, they might still be lacking some of the higher-end talent that it would take to raise them to the next level or to attract at least one key free agent to do the same.

          Without a doubt it would be more well-constructed, more balanced team, but unless Baertschi, Gaudreau and Jankowski can become something like Spezza-Heatley-Alfredsson I just see a collection of 2nd line players that can find success through depth of above-average players.

          I could be wrong, we’re talking hypothetical roster spots for players in NCAA and only just turned 18, so this is hardly a scientific debate.

          BTW, when I looked into it, I think the 2006 draft was worse than 2005 for the Flames. Only Irving remains from that entire draft class and his status as a potential starter is still a topic of open debate (allowing for the fact that goalies often take longer to develop). From what I could tell, of the other players chosen not a single one is still with the team and none have registered even one NHL game played.

          Is it a coincidence that four years later (when drafted players often begin to impact the NHL roster and a dearth of prospects could force a team to make desperate trades) Darryl Sutter lost his job?

    • MC Hockey

      Good analysis but you seem to have excluded Camalleri and I think he may just be slotted in place of Tanguay in your projected lineup as maybe Tangs retires even while Iggy stays on longer. And if Iggy stays on, I fear in 3 years that he plays like an overmatched Modano in his year in Detroit.

      • PrairieStew

        No, I think once his contract expires Cammaleri will again be gone. Not unlike the decision made on Jokinen I would not support the team committing big dollars to guys over 31.

  • Old Soldier

    Every fan of every team over values the quality of their individual players. So to be as objective as possible when it comes to the Flames system and their prospects and where they will be 3 years from now, I defer to the experts.

    THN Yearbook 2012/13 Flames prospects and depth rated 29th out of the 30 teams. The only player in the system rated as a possible to play in the NHL in the next 2 years is Baertschi, with Irving a distant possible as a backup. The rest of the prospects are not considered as pro-prospects until at least 2015.

    By the way, they had the Oilers rated 1st, Montreal is 28th, Ottawa is 5th, Toronto is 20th, Vancouver is 27th and Winnipeg is 9th.

    Calgary is also predicted to finish 12th in the West

    Hockeys Future 2012/2013 has the Flames prospects rated 23rd overall. Once again, Baertschi is rated as the only prospect ready to step in, with Nemisz as a possible bottom 6.

    ESPN 2012/2013 has the Flames prospects ranked 28th and once again Baertschi is listed as the only realistic future NHLer.

    TSN 2012/2013 rankings has the Flames prospect pool rated 27th. Leading the pack is Sven Baertschi, who TSN Scout Craig Button believes could end up being one the five best players to come out of the class of 2011, but with little else of substance in the system.

    I think it is fairly reasonable to say, based on expert opinion, and comparables, and using Feasters statements of “no rebuild”, that in 3 years, both Iggy and Kipper retire (or close to it) as Flames, the core continues to age with minimal support (Baertschi) from the system, and to try and be positive, hopefully the Flames have scouted and drafted much better than in the past and people will be talking about their prospects as the Oilers do now.

  • McRib

    @Old Soldier

    This year’s flames draft was ranked in most experts Top 10, but none of these players were included in the long term prospect rankings at Hockey Future/TSN as people think they were good value picks however need to prove themselves.

    Also Hockey Future still has Ryan Howse ahead of John Gaudreau & Michael Ferland as flames left wingers, makes me question their rankings. Ferland is a power forward who showed huge offensive upside after scoring 94 points last year. Gaudreau is going to be on team USAs first line at the world juniors and will most likely be a top 10 candidate for the Hoby Baker, he may be small but his offensive talents are undeniable.

  • McRib

    @Old Soldier

    “Vancouver is 27th “

    Personally think if Vancouver doesn’t win a Stanley Cup in the next couple seasons they are in serious trouble as Mike Gillis has shown he is absolutely incapable on draft day.

    Mike Gillis has been GM of Vancouver since 2008, and has failed to draft an impact player outside of Cody Hodgson who they traded last season and was a lock at 10th.

    Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, Kevin Bieksa, Ryan Kesler, Cory Schneider, Alexander Edler, Jannik Hansen, Mason Raymond, Alexandre Burrows were all in the Canucks organization when Gillis took the helm, he basically inherited a winner. They are more like 29th in my eyes for prospects think the flames at 23 have three times the prospects that Vancouver does. Just don’t agree with Hockey Future/TSN’s rankings of the Flames think they are seriously discouting some players that the flames have.

    • McRib

      I agree the Flames prospects are a little underrated. I think that will start to change a bit this year, as I think part of it is just carryover from the Sutter era. If more than just Baertschi can get some NHL time this year, and the 2012 draft picks show well in junior, perception could change pretty quickly.

  • McRib


    Honestly by no means do I think we are near the top 5, but after the last two drafts we are in a lot better shape than 23rd. Actually was shocked when I saw Hockey Future’s rankings.

    Personally think Max Reinhart & Micheal Ferland could be on the big club by seasons end and no one even mentions Bill Arnold when ranking the flames prospects, yet when I watched him at the world juniors was probably top 3 for me of the US players. Hockey Future has Mitch Wahl, Markus Granlund, Paul Byron and Roman Horak ahead of Bill Arnold in terms of centre prospects and for me its not even a question that Bill Arnold is second only to Max Reinhart in that area.

    The flames are weak for top end defensive prospects but considering the recent graduation of Brodie and young guys Butler, Smith and Brett Carson, think its not an area we need to immediatly address as outside of Saarich no defender is over 30. Perfer to continue to focus on bringing in skilled Top Six potential forwards.

    My Flames Top 10: 1. Sven Baertschi 2. Max Reinhart 3. Michael Ferland 4. John Gaudreau 5. Bill Arnold 6. Leland Irving 7. Laurent Brossoit 8. Tyler Wotherspoon 9. Markus Granlund 10. Brady Lamb

    • McRib

      I can’t say I’m not concerned about the lack of top tier D. I was happy to see 3 dmen drafted this year. It will always depend on the quality available, but I would put a little more emphasis on getting that one true stud dman into the system.

      I think I’m in complete agreement on your top 10 except for maybe Irving. I don’t hold out much hope for his ever being an NHL goaltender.

      Haven’t seen enough of the 2012 class yet to project anything for them, but the year after they’re drafted is usually a better indicator.

  • MC Hockey

    My timeline says 2012/2013 will be the last season the team is competitive before the team falls right over the edge. Hard to say what ownership does at that point. FA aren’t eager to come here any more and Iginla, Tanguay and Cammi will be reduced to mere shadows of their former selves.

    3 years from now….hmmmm….I think they hope Baertschi replaces Iginla as the team superstar so that can continue to bring in band-aids. If Baertschi looks like he’ll never get near 40 goals, let alone 50, who knows what ownership does. Right now the Flames are built squarely on a foundation of hope.