Five things: Guesswork

1. Nothing happening

Apart from introducing Roman Cervenka yesterday, and revealing that the organization considers him a center for some reason, and also admitting that they’re closing in on the 50-contract limit for some reason I can’t understand, the Flames have absolutely nothing going on. It’s all very quiet.

That is probably a good thing. Not that the team has much wiggle-room to go out and sign anyone anyway, but after the contracts to you-know-who on defense and you-also-know-who up front I’m not exactly eager to go out there and pursue any more free agents.

Our own Ryan Pike did note that the Flames were waiting for other teams to start trading (perhaps as a means of offloading Jay Bouwmeester or, more optimistically, either or both of Anton Babchuk and Matt Stajan (not that I’m holding out hope)), which one suspects is being delayed by two things.

a) The Shane Doan and Alex Semin sagas

Neither is signed. Neither appears to be close to signing any time soon. Word is it could take Doan another few weeks at least to make up his mind. As for Semin, well, who knows if he’ll even sign here. But both would command sizeable salaries and therefore teams cannot go around shuffling the deck chairs by taking on Calgary’s — or indeed, anyone else’s — bad contracts just yet. Deadspin had a thing the other day saying Doan has been linked with something like two dozen NHL teams. Even if only half or so have their Doan Dollars hypothetically committed, spoken-for at the very least, and that’s going to gum up the works.

b) Rick Nash and Bobby Ryan

One imagines that the glut of teams rumored to be in discussions for these players might be more active trade participants when they eventually lose out on them. Only two teams are going to get them in the end, and given the sheer number of teams involved in those talks to varying degrees, that’s another thing that will only hold up a broader trade market for similar reasons.

2. But…

When — if? — these dams break, Calgary will likely be active again, though being so close to the NHL contract limit, coupled with Feaster’s expressed desire to lose between two and three deals before the start of the season, one has to wonder what the approach is. Obviously they’ll be looking to get little more than a draft pick, probably a late one, from someone dumb enough to take Stajan or Babchuk off their hands, but one wonders how they might approach a hypothetical Bouwmeester deal.

Now granted, it’s been said repeatedly that the organization would be perfectly fine entering next season with Bouwmeester still on the roster, but the rumors persist and at some point, fire must logically follow all this smoke. It was less than a week ago, after all, that the Fourth Period reported St. Louis, Detroit, Philadelphia and Carolina all had interest.

But for much of that, we must return to Nash and Ryan. St. Louis has no reported connection to either, but all have been connected with at leat one, and in Philadelphia’s case, both. Further, Detroit was reported to be in a holding pattern until Doan makes his decision.

Obviously Feaster couldn’t go around asking for Nash- or Ryan-sized returns for Bouwmeester. The asked-for return for Nash has been better-publicized than that for Ryan, but a combination of young NHLers, high-quality prospects and maybe picks seems likely for either.

3. Which means…

As long as I’m unabashedly offering nothing but conjecture, let’s keep in mind the team’s newly-stated desire to shed contracts. It seems unlikely, unless Bouwmeester is packaged with someone (Mikael Backlund, as was rumored weeks ago?), that the Flames would be looking to take on NHL-level talent at any position unless it was a bowl-over type of offer, which it probably wouldn’t be.

So, picks and prospects, then? Or are we still all pretending this isn’t a blowup?

I don’t know. Again, this is just me thinking about the team out loud since they’re not giving me anything else to talk about. Think Bouwmeester gets dealt? What would you hope for the return, especially given the team’s current contract-limit situation?

4. Nice to see

Yesterday the NHL owners and Players’ Association wrapped another negotiation session yesterday.

Despite all the hellfire and brimstone rained on the owners by various members of the press who have a particularly large axe to grind against ownership (and I don’t really blame them; I’m just baffled by the ferocity with which they did it), the players seemed pretty level-headed about the whole thing, and said negotiations haven’t even been contentious.

They told reporters after that they knew the proposal, deemed a "Declaration of War" by Larry Brooks, was part of what would be a long process. Sure the original offer was insulting, and it was designed to be, but that’s, like, how negotiations of things like this pretty much work. No need to get hysterical.

5. Speaking of CBA posturing…

The Sharks are saying they lost $15 million last season despite selling every ticket to every one of their 41 home dates, and, presumably, two home dates. Never mind the unnecessarily provocative "Should Sharks owners be allowed to profit?" headline.

Oh and by the way, Sharks ticket prices are going up 6.5 percent on average next season.