FN Weekend Open Thread – Woulda Shoulda Coulda



Although we’re all still waiting for Shane Doan to make up his damn mind and there are suggestions Roberto Luongo will maybe, sorta, kinda be traded, the 2012 summer free agency period is pretty much over. A few more signings will likely trickle in as the season’s start approaches (whenever that will be), but the big boys are all spoken for at this point.

The Flames were somewhat busy this off-season. Although they didn’t make many major alterations to the existing players, Feaster and company added Dennis Wideman, Jiri Hudler, Roman Cervenka and re-upped Cory Sarich, Mikael Backlund, Blake Comeau, Blair Jones, Lee Stempniak and Leland Irving. Lost to free agency were Scott Hannan, David Moss, Tom Kostopolous and Olli Jokinen.

So now it’s time for some serious armchair GMing…what would you have done in the big chair?

My Own Summer

Truth be told, it wasn’t the best UFA crop in the world this year. The number of difference makers was small, so the options for everyone apparently not named the Minnesota Wild were few.

Still, I would have done a few things differently…

Let’s first establish that I would have aggressively shopped by Iginla and Kipper, although any subsequent moves in that direction would have been entriely dependent on the packages on offer. Because we can’t realistically forecast those, I will leave player swaps out of my hypothetical GMing here*.

*(which isn’t to say I endorse the full tear down model. Only that I think it’s entirely possible for the club to potentially trade Iginla and Kipper at this point and at least remain as competitive as they currently are, assuming the pair dealt for some magic beans and a collection of bottlecaps from the Toronto Maple Leafs.)

Signing #1 – Alex Semin, three years at $5.5M

Semin lingered for a long time on the market and eventually inked a one year deal with the Carolina Hurricanes. The per year dollar amount I have here is lower than what he went for ($7M), but I assume a longer term commitment to the player would have deflated his single season demands somewhat.

Semin is derided as enigmatic, lazy and selfish. And maybe he is. but his results over the last five years are some of the best in the league, offense wise. So whatever his personal flaws, he still managed to put together nice numbers, both counting and advanced. He was probably the best pure offensive guy on the market aside from Parise, but the NHL’s grown man gossip sunk his stock, making him a good "buy low" candidate.

The three year term would have taken Semin just into his 30’s, minimizing risk of eventual drop-off.

Signing #2 – Daniel Winnik, 3 years at $1.0M 2.0M

One of the Flames most underrated losses this summer was David Moss. Although I also would have let Moss walk owing to his on-going and persistant injury problems, he nevertheless represented a rare strength in the Flames area of weakness – possession.

Few players were as consistently good at moving the puck forward and keeping it in the offensive zone as Moss. Calgary struggled mightily in this area of the game last year and none of the actual signings did much to address this issue.

Enter Daniel Winnik. Like Moss, he doesn’t have the greatest hands in the world and probably isn’t going to dazzle anyone with big scoring numbers. But for the last three or four seasons, Winnik has been a guy who quietly plays in tough circumstances and outchances the bad guys. Remember that list of players who skated against Jarome Iginla for more than 30 minutes last year and outshot him soundly? It was mostly a bunch of other first liners…and Winnik. The Avs outshot Calgary to the tune of 31-17 when Winnik’s line faced Iginla last year, and the dude was available for near relatively cheap.

Winnik is 27, so the 3 years would have taken him to about 30 years old. The dollars are small enough to not be an issue. Winnik could have provided some sure footing for a potential shut-down line and PK presence, which is what he’ll be doing for Anaheim instead.

Signing #3 – Jason Garrison, 6 years at $5.0M

Garrison was my favored target over Dennis Wideman for a couple of reasons: he’s marginally younger and had better underlying numbers (positive possession) in tougher circumstances (top-two in quality of competition). Wideman’s gross offensive production have been better for longer, but when it comes to defenders I always prefer the ability to play against tough competition to goals and assists (although Garrison has a howitzer of a shot and scored 16 times last year).

I can’t say whether the White Rock native could have been swayed to join the Flames over the Canucks given Vancouver’s proximity to his home town and their superiority as a club overall, but that’s why I matched the real contract length and bumped the per season cap hit to $5M.

Other changes – Assuming the above, I would not have signed Jiri Hudler, Dennis Wideman or Cory Sarich.

Moves Retained – Like Feaster, I would have re-upped Stempniak, Backlund, Comeau, Jones and Irving and allowed Kostopolous, Jokinen and Moss to walk.

ArmChair Line-up

Here’s how the resultant depth chart would sort out:

  • Tanguay – Cammalleri – Semin
  • Baertschi/Stempniak – Cervenka – Iginla
  • Glencross – Backlund – Winnik
  • Comeau/Baertschi – Jones – Jackman
  • Bouma/Stajan
  • Bouwmeester – Garrison
  • Giordano – Butler
  • Brodie – Smith
  • Babchuk


The Flames top-six gets one more heavy hitter who can potentially bump Iginla down the depth chart, giving him easier minutes. The putative shut-down line featuring Glencross and Backlund gets another guy who push the play forward and make life easier for the rest of the group.

The Flames back-end adds another the top-2 defender who can face the other teams big guns. This pushes Butler down to a more reasonable second pairing role with Giordano.

This scenario doesn’t do much to fix the Flames obvious center problem, but there wasn’t a solution to that conundrum in this summer’s free agency pool. It will take a big trade, Mikael Backlund taking 3 steps forward offensively or Mark Jankowski skipping about 10 developmental steps for the club to make progress on that front.

My preferred changes don’t automatically make the Flames a contender or anything – the team needs fundamental alterations for that to occur. Still, I think they address some of the club’s true issues a little better and represent a few more solid bets overall.

That’s how would have run things anyways. Your turn.

  • Truculence

    While shoppin iggy and kipper (silently at least, getting feelers) I would shop Jaybo. While he eats minutes he is not the dman u want up front. He’s not physical and seems complacent to loosing. He has no fire, there he’s gone. I would risk on wideman, hudler or cervenka. The team needs to be tougher to play. Unfortunately the feast and master wiesbrod (no history of hockey success but given the reigns) believe smaller is better. I would love to take a stab at coliacovo and other forwards who are winners and give 100% 100% of the time. I’d go trade root and draft that way, not takin a guy who led his hs gym class. Talking draft I would have looked to move up not down, try to get in top 5.

    • The Last Big Bear

      From nolan moore:
      “While [Jaybo] eats minutes he is not the dman u want up front.”

      To paraphrase commissioner James Gordon:

      Jay Bouwmeester is the #1 defenceman Calgary deserves, not the one it needs right now. So we’ll rag on him. Because he can take it. Because he’s not a #1 defenceman. He’s a silent defender, a smooth-skating iron man. He is… a whipping boy.

  • PrairieStew

    I would have been shopping Kiprusoff as well and would have been willing to include a left shooting defenceman (Butler or Smith) to mitigate the salary cap affect on the other team in order to increase the return or from said team ( say Reimer and Cody Franson from Toronto) . Franson was one of the Leafs best in relative terms, and would allow Jaybo to move back to the left side.

    I might also be willing to explore acquiring Steve Mason from Columbus if he can be had for a low price ( say Karlsson, Paul Byron and a late round pick). He’s the same age as Irving and despite his struggles on a really bad team, he is more of a proven commodity.

    I agree with the acquisition of Wideman over Garrison. The lineup you have iced are all left shooters and I think that is just asking for struggles. I would have probably targeted PA Parenteau, but Hudler came in at the same price so call it even.

    I would have given it a game effort to try to bring back Brandon Prust, passed on Sarich and brought in Carlo Coliacavo.

    Tanguay – Cammaleri – Iginla

    Glencross – Backlund – Prust

    Baertschi – Hudler – Cervanka

    Comeau – Stajan – Stempniak

    Jackman – Jones

    Bouwmeester – Franson

    Giordano – Wideman

    Brodie – Coliacovo

    Smith – Babchuk



  • Robert Cleave

    Far be it from me to suggest the boss has slipped a cog 😉 but there are a few things that I have questions about. Let’s go from back to front:

    Winnik signed for 3.6 million over 2 years. Why would he sign for 3 million over 3? More to the point, Anaheim’s bottom six is a disgrace, so he’ll play a ton, and frankly, if you’re going to play on a team that has issues, choosing a place with less potential playing time and worse weather for less money doesn’t quite seem to make sense. Nice player, though.

    Garrison would have been excellent, agreed, but I think you’re underestimating the money per year involved. I think Carle (6×5.5) or the Enstrom extension (5×5.75) would have been the minimum target figures for a guy to come to a middling team that wasn’t his home. Besides home cooking, the other only reason to take a discount is if you think you can win. Vancouver offered that chance. Calgary, not so much, unfortunately. They might have had to go to 6x6m to get his attention.

    Semin might have bit on that deal, and I think 3x6m would have been absolutely been enough from a cash POV, but again, if you’re Semin, would 3x6m be better than 1x7m and a chance to play with Staal or Staal as your center? I don’t know.

    All of those guys are good, of course. The one other move I might have considered, if he was healthy after the Brown hit, was Rozsival instead of Sarich. He’s a better player than Sarich, would have been a good right shooting partner for Brodie to learn from, and he’s still an acceptable short term option to slide into the top 4 on nights where a guy like Wideman struggles at EV.

    • Ahh, I missed the true Winnik deal numbers. I would at least match those to grab him still.

      For the other stuff, for all we know the Flames called all these players and were rebuffed for various reasons – that’s the fun of being an armchair GM though; you get to pretend everyone says yes and all things go according to plan.

  • Austin L

    Geez Kent I completely agree with all of that. Maybe there simply wasn’t the interest to sign in Calgary, because Garrison’s hometown is Toronto, and I can’t really see Semin as being a Calgary boy. I’d like to see him in a cowboy hat, that’d be a few good laughs.

    The line up you put it out actually looks quite good, with the easier minutes going to the Semin and Iginla line. But I think you should still keep Tanguay with Iginla. He’ll probably have better prodution if he stays on that line. Then Baertschi is still with two very offensive minded players (Cammy, Semin). Woulda coulda shoulda…..

    Feaster NEEDS to start seeing what he can get for Kipper and Iggy. Seriously.

  • RexLibris

    Not a bad roster, certainly one that I’d take over the present one any day of the week.

    It doesn’t really sound like a tear-it-down rebuild though.

    From where I sit, moving Iginla and Kiprusoff is past due. Moving them wouldn’t be a complete rebuild because I think that you have shown that Iginla has less impact on the game than he used to. Kiprusoff is still the glue that holds the team together, but from everything that I have read here it would seem to imply that he’d be just as happy to retire than to move on. That’s me reading between the lines though, so I could very well be wrong.

    If the Flames want to tear it down why has nobody mentioned Tanguay? The point of starting over is to evaluate the value of your assets internally versus externally, and sell or retain based on the highest values. If the cultural leaders of the club happen to be second-liners like a Glencross, then keep him. If fist-line players like Tanguay produce more in limited areas of the on-ice product but don’t help to elevate the team as a whole, then trade them.

    I might also focus on a different quality in my free agents. Semin looks good, but if there are work issues, then I would look elsewhere and surround players like Baertschi and Backlund with other, more constructive role-models. I don’t have specific names, but I’m sure they could have been available.

    Retaining a player like Stempniak makes sense as he could essentially be fed to the wolves by the coach so as to shelter any younger players and help their confidence grow.

    I guess I wouldn’t be going after free agents this summer because I’d be trying to plan to acquire as many draft picks for the 2013 and 2014 years as I could. Unless they were one-year deals with the intention of playing the market on deadline day (a little mercenary perhaps, but this is make-believe), then it would seem counter-productive to sign the production player like Semin while essentially admitting that a lower finish would be the most beneficial to the team.

    On the bright side, at least Feaster didn’t go whale-hunting this summer. That could have been disastrous.

  • RexLibris

    I do like the idea of finding a way to start Jerome on the 2nd line, really never thought that would be possible here in Calgary. I love the idea of playing Baers with Cerevenka & Iggy. Iggy chance to tutor the kids & maybe put a little excitement in his own game. With Tanguay, Cammi & Semin, it does have some credibility of being a #1 line that would attract the shutdown lines. Then wham, you throw a Baers, Cerevenka Iggy line in a greater sheltered role & the opposing coaches are suddenly trying to deal with 2 potentially lethal scoring lines. Just love the Winnik, Backlund Glencross possession line & see how they fair against the top lines. Too many 4th line pieces, but they all have the depth to move up in case of injuries, Comeau/Jones/Bouma/Stajan/Jackman. The D, yeah, we can debate Wideman, but I’m OK with him. I’m OK with keeping JBO if we cant get the return(overpayment) we want as well. JBO/Wideman, GIO/Butler, Smith/Brodie–Babpuke7th. Kipper/Irving in net.

    So in short, I wouldnt have resigned Stempniak 2.5Mill/ passed on Hudler 4.0mill & gave Semin 3 years at $17.5mill 5.83cap) & Winnik 3 years for 6.0Mill. Not sure how easy it will be to trade the likes of Kipper & Iggy & JBO (the big tickets) with a labour dispute forthcoming. Guys like Babchuk/Stajan are probably easier to trade, not from an interest point of view but from a financial impact point of view. We are still a few mill under the cap with a number of options to gain more cap space with a little luck. Agree, its not a world burning lineup, but it would be competitive & would fit the appeared direction Feaster is going.

  • BurningSensation

    Interesting that the guys you wanted in FA got better coin or term than you were looking to sign them for.

    I too would have liked Semin over Hudler, but at the price of a $7M one year deal? No. A 3 year deal @ $6.5 per would have been my offer (likely turned down).

    I prefer Wideman, who has a track record of offense and PP production, over one-hit wonder Garrisson, and I’m on record as LOVING the Cervenka signing.

    IF there is a JBo or Giordano deal that would land a grade ‘A’ offensive prospect/player I would have pulled the trigger.

    I’d actively have shopped Kipper, but would not risk alienating the captain by openly investigating deals for him. If he wants out, I look, but otherwise he is the franchise (if I get offered something stupid for him – like Malkin – it’s a different story).

    So not much for me looks different from how things actually played out.

  • BurningSensation

    I am firmly in the rebuild mode but understand that this is about pretending to stay competitive so I will go with that. First, I would explore trading Kipper and try to help the rebuild while following the mandate. I would explore a Kipper plus deal to Chicago. Kipper, Nemeitz, Smith for Saad, Crawford, Hjarmason and a 1st.
    I would still, like Kent, rather of had Garrison but am ok with Wideman. Winnick for sure too. I would have gone 3 years for Semin and traded J-Bo, Jackman for Cole and Reaves plus a first.

    My team:
    Line 1: Cammy, Semin, Iggy
    Line2: Cerv, Glenx, Tanguay
    Line 3:Backlund, Winnick, Sven
    Line4: Jones, Reaves, Saad

    Def: Gio, Wideman, Hjarmalson, Cole, Butler, Brodie, Babchuckles

    Goal: Crawford, Irving

    Not perfect but if Ken King would allow me to trade Iggy and Tanguay, it would look better.

  • the forgotten man

    Dear Mr. Feaster,

    You appear to be a man (like many) who can appreciate a moist, hot out of the oven doughnut. Visualizing this succulent and tasty doughnut Jay, think of your Calgary Flames…both have a gaping, massive hole up the middle.

    Therefore, your job is to find the right “Timbit” that is needed to fill that gaping hole in your “doughnut” and make it whole again. If you can plug your “doughnut” hole, as a bonus, you can then fill it with jelly or pudding thereafter!

    Godspeed Jay…Godspeed.

  • The Last Big Bear

    My two cents –

    1) Keeping Jarome Iginla was the right move. The only alternative of be interested in would be a Tkachuk-style rental, and the looming lockout makes that difficult.

    2) Address the desperately/laughably/shockingly weak centre position. Specifically, matching the offers for either Jokinen or Roy. Jokinen signed for a reasonable (and more importantly SHORT) contract. And Buffalo needed a shake up and moved Roy for a middle-6 checking centre. The Flames might not have been able to offer an asset for that exact role, but should have been able to offer a more valuable package depending on Buffalo’s needs. If a deal can’t be swung for Roy, sign Jokinen.

    3) Signing Wideman: not great, but man this team needed a top-4 defenceman in the worst way.

    4) Signing Cervenka: great move, full stop.

    5) Signing Hudler: reasonable value contract for a top-6 NHLer.

    6) Only deal Kipper if someone knocks your socks off with an offer.

    Projected lineup:

    Glencross – Cammalleri/Roy- Iginla

    Cervenka – Roy/Cammalleri – Hudler

    Baertschi – Backlund – Comeau

    Bouma – Stajan – Jackman

    Giordano – Wideman

    Bouwmeester – Butler

    Brodie – Sarich

    • Tommynotsohuge

      Couldn’t agree more. Apart from maybe excluding Tanguay, but I suppose someone had to be sacrificed for Roy. I was totally hoping we could have landed him. Let’s all hope Cervenka can fill in the #2 center role and Cammy can become a bonafide. #1 center. Nervous.

  • The Last Big Bear

    1 – Garrison same price you listed him and same reasons

    #2 – Mat Carle 4 mill 3 years – great young guy plays top for mins played

    #3 – cam barker 2 mill 1 year- signed with oilers last year for around the same amount, is in feasters age range and has fallen a bit change of scenery could benefit

    #4 – peter mueller 2 years 2 mill – potential top 3 forward great upside despite previous injuries worth the gamble

    #5- major gamble! Angelo esposito if you could somehow get this guy to play to potential and make him into the guy he was suppose to be would be a sweet.

    Glencross – Cammalleri – Iginla

    baetshchi – cervenka – mueller

    stempniak – backlund – Comeau

    Bouma – stajan – Jackman

    Giordano – carle

    Bouwmeester – garrison

    Brodie – barker

    subs (butler, horak, aliu)

    • RexLibris

      #3 hee hee hee, yes, the Flames should totally sign Mr. Barker. What? No! I’m not being sarcastic at all. Not even a little bit. hee hee hee

      Seriously though, I was thinking he’d be a worthwhile defender last summer. I mean, he couldn’t be that bad, could he?

      Yes, yes he is. Scott Hannan would be a better use of resources. Heck, you’ve got Babchuk and Sarich already. Adding Barker would mean having the perfect trifecta of abhorrent defensive options. Hartley might consider dressing an extra forward and having Iginla play the blueline rather than Barker.

  • Not being more aggressive on Semin was one of the biggest failures this summer by the team. I liked what they did at the draft (after some time to reflect, anyway), but Hudler was a question mark, and Sarich was mind boggling. That money combined could have been used to pursue Semin.

    Obviously no guarantee that he says yes, and they say he’s enigmatic. Well Jeff Carter is enigmatic and he just won a Stanley Cup. Offense is offense. If you can get it, you get it.

  • RexLibris

    I think Feaster missed the boat on not dealing for Carter. If it took a conditional first round pick and a defenseman the Flames could probably have matched or beaten that offer (their drafting position was likely to be higher than the Kings, and so would have more value). They could have offered a 1st in either 2013 or 2014 (Flames choice), and perhaps Giordano or a two of Reinhart, Backlund, and Brodie.

    They would have finally acquired a first line center at an affordable price and whose contract, going into a new CBA, may only become more affordable/expendable if there is an eventual amnesty clause (don’t waste it on Stajan).

    Howson couldn’t have been asking that much if all he eventually got was Johnson and a conditional 1st (now 2013).

    Here’s a what-if scenario for Flames fans: what if (and it will require a significant suspension of disbelief) Feaster could have swung a deal that would send Baertschi, Reinhart, Ferland, Stajan and Brodie for Nash and Carter and a 2013 2nd round pick? Assuming that Howson slips some rohypnol in Nash’s gatorade to get him to waive the NTC, of course.

    • RexLibris

      Play both with Iggy so he has company out at center while the puck is in our end. I would rather have those young guys and start developing a group that grow together through the system.

  • SmellOfVictory

    Semin was the only UFA I’m really sad the Flames missed out on (Winnik a little as well, but Flames already have tons of wingers incl 3 decent/good possession guys who can play bottom 6). I’d have been okay with 6-6.5 for 3-4 years on Semin. I’d that had worked out, only other definite changes would’ve been no Hudler, no Sarich.

    In terms of UFA defencemen my order of preference (Suter notwithstanding) would be Garrison, Carle, Wideman.

  • SmellOfVictory

    > we’re all still waiting for Shane Doan to make up his damn mind

    At this point, he’s going to wait. Why? Because he wants to play in Phoenix, and not in Quebec.

    Everyone knows that pigheaded Bettman and pigheaded Fehr will put the league into an extended labour dispute. So Doan has time on his side. By the time there’s a new CBA — maybe about the time the NFL regular season ends and most U.S. teams get their fans back — the Phoenix situation will have been resolved one way or the other, and Doan will know where to sign.

    Doan’s playing his cards right. Clever guy.

  • Danger


    I don’t think I could swallow that deal with the inclusion of Baertschi. I understand that he’s the piece that makes the deal slightly less terrible for CBJ, but (HERESY ALERT) I’d rather send them Iggy than Sven at this point.

    • RexLibris

      I agree with you, but the fact remains that Feaster, apparently under orders from ownership, has outright refused to trade Iginla.

      My point in asking the question was “would that have been a better move than what Feaster has done otherwise in the opinion of Flames fans?”

      In other words, who would you rather start at center this year: Cervenka or Carter?

      Fans interested in tanking it in the hopes that the team will then somehow realize the depth of problems facing them would probably say Cervenka, but for the team that keeps saying they are going to try and stay competitive, it seems hard to believe that they wouldn’t rather have Carter.

  • Reidja

    Why do people still insist that Iggy “is the franchise” and that we shouldn’t trade him? The franchise has a bad team… I’m inclined to think that this team will finish in one of the bottom 3 spots in the west this season. Why the hell would we hold on to two 35 year olds because they “are the franchise”… they are the crappy franchise.

    Therefore, the only moves that I will propose are trading our two most overrated players. Kipper and Iggy. Trade them for picks and prospects because I don’t think you can make this team competitive with the players you would get coming back. We are past the point where Kipper and Iggy will get us multiple solid pieces, because the teams that would trade for either of them are not looking to lose assets that are currently producing. These teams would see Iggy as a one dimensional winger, an old support player that cannot play in all situations – think Heatly. And Kipper as a goalie with hopefully one or two more playoff-runs in him. Teams requiring these sorts of assets are not looking to lose on-ice assets because they are currently in the hunt.

    I seem to remember a rumour a couple of seasons ago that LA would have traded Schenn and Simmonds for Iggy. Imagine Iggy winning a cup with LA… Now imagine the Flames winning a trade… Anyways, I’ll try not to mention this rumour anymore because there is no way on God’s green earth that Iggy is worth anything equivalent to that return now.

    • Bean-counting cowboy

      Great post. About as realistic as you can get. Probably why I was intrigued that had we signed Semin instead of Hudler & resigning Sarich, those same $$$ could have have possibly allowed us to do what everyone has been saying for the last year, Iggy’s role must change & is a more sheltered 2nd line offensive winger. If we cant get the return or dont want to trade him, then we have to play to his strengths instead of trying to build around him in a role he’s no longer suited for. Right now, a deal like Rattie, Stewart & a 1st from st Louis for Iggy & a 3rd would be an absolute steal. Rattie & a 1st for Iggy straight up may be all we can get. Then does keeping Iggy to possibly play a 2nd line role, tutor the young players & probably not win a cup in his remaining playing days desirable enough for him to sign a home town discounted contract?