Prophecies of an Anonymous Oilers Fan

Centre ice-man

pic via Gary Blaney

 (I was sent this yesterday from an Oilers fan who wanted to remain nameless. It details, from experience, our suffering to come)

Flames fans, I come in peace to tell you in detail what awaits you in coming years. Not just tales of the agony of losing and repeat humiliations over the course of a season with only a single day in June to truly look forward to – you know that already. The smart ones among you have known the day of reckoning was set in motion, that pieces of the future were dealt for last, desperate gasps at a playoff spot. I also bring prophecy of what you do not yet know – the hopes, the fears, the over-analysis, the fretting about events out of not just your control but the team’s. And, in some cases, explanations for what you consider inexplicable.

For starters, you have to wonder where along the rebuild schedule you may be. Edmonton may not have admitted to its rebuild until 2010, but it arguably started with the Gagner draft and continued with the selections of Eberle and Paajarvi in subsequent years. All three have taken their time developing and still have lots to learn. Gagner and Paajarvi were relatively easy picks, but we got lucky with Eberle at 22. How has your drafting been? You may not know for several years – at least six if you’ve followed Gagner’s gradual improvements until his explosion this year. Is Baertschi your Eberle? Or is he the Riley Nash in your system? The Jankowski pick could be a bust like Jesse Niinimaaki or a successful reach.

Prophecy One: You know not the name of thy savior

Most first overalls are the best players in their draft, especially since the mid-2000s and the salary cap, when teams realized they couldn’t just outbid for the best players in free agency with no consequences. Ovechkin, Crosby, Kane, Stamkos, Tavares, and Hall. Those second overalls aren’t that bad, either – Malkin, Doughty and Seguin make good consolation prizes. They’re not the top talent as often though, and while you may get the best player in the draft with any pick, the odds steeply decrease with each step down within the top 5, and then fall off a cliff after that.

Prophecy Two: The gods are whimsical with their cruelty, and April 29th shall precipitate a hasty retreat of thine manly bits

So when that draft day lottery comes, your guts are going to be rumbling and that fog of beer that was hitting you so hard an hour ago suddenly clears up. You will lose your appetite for wings as the NHL taunts you, on live TV, with a mockery, a hideous and downright evil spectacle in which the fate of your team is being decided by a bunch of bouncing balls.

Yet you continue to stare, and then it comes – the Gutshot. You were last, you suffered most, you endured the most humiliation and defeats, drinking $10 beer after $10 beer to choke the pain down. But at 5th overall, the expected Senators weren’t there. That can only mean one thing – they won, they’re moving up from 5th to 1st. You lose, you draft second. Your scouts can’t pick the best player, so the GM picks for need. A wasted year! You won James van Riemsdyk instead of Patrick Kane, Victor Hedman instead of John Tavares. Oh no, what if – WHAT IF … oh no … you know, you just *know* those damn Avs are going to get the first overall. Another team in your division stacking up on primo talent!

… but wait! Drafting fourth are the Devils, instead of drafting eighth! They moved up from eighth to fourth in the lottery, so you get to keep the pick – well, not quite. You see, the Oilers lost in 2011 lottery, and the fans watched that happen. The bar went dead quiet once everyone realized what happened with the Senators being bumped.

Statistically, after the Oilers, the second-last team had the best odds of winning, then the third-last, and fourth-last, fifth-last… and any of them could win the first overall. But back then, teams drafting 6th or higher could move up only 5 spots. For you guys, if another team wins the lottery – any team – they get the first overall. This works for you as well, but by being down so low in the standings, you have more to lose under the system – not just losing first overall to potentially the 9th-worst team in the league, but being bumped from second to third and so on. Or hey, you know how you’re cheering for us to fall short of the playoffs? Just imagine, you get your wish, we don’t make The Show and then, just for kicks, Lady Luck… nah, it wouldn’t happen, would it?

Enjoy April 29th.

Prophecy Three: Blameless is the Prophet, as is thine coach and stars, yet they shall suffer

Bob Hartley’s only sin was signing on as coach this year. The Flames’ prognosis from the hockey media community – and we mocked their predictions too – was 11th-14th in the West. Neither Bob Hartley, Brent Sutter, nor the Most Revered One, Scotty Bowman himself, could have done much to avert that fate. The only thing Curtis Glencross did wrong was be young, skilled, and affordable enough to keep. The only thing Mike Cammalleri did wrong was to be expensive enough, young enough, and not worth enough back in a trade to act as a veteran presence and a cap floor cushion.

Yes, I know it’s difficult to believe judging by the Coyotes and Islanders, but teams do have to spend a minimum amount per season, and it’s substantial – $44m. Dennis Wideman, Jiri Hudler and Roman Cervenka only committed the sins of greed and pride.

Despite all this, heaps of abuse will rain down upon them all, completely unwarranted on your stars and coach, and in amounts far too severe for the free agents who chose money over a good team, or chose to believe they are good enough to turn the TiFlamic around. They are not to blame for your woes in coming years. Ultimately, what you will hate them for is for not being good enough to carry the team, yet you will never consider that the team will no longer be built to win.

Above all, most of you will not appreciate the shelter that these overpaid or not-quite-good-enough star players will provide to your rookies and prospects. The Oilers were a hollow shell without "third liner $7m captain Horcoff" this year, and are a competitive team with him. During the rebuild Horcoff provided shelter for both Hall (centering his line) and Nuge (by taking on the top competition and letting Nuge play second-tier opponents.)

Horcoff was the goat, the shield against the flame that was the fan’s scorn that might have turned on Gagner or other prospects. Horcoff, Hemsky, and to a lesser extent Penner and Whitney weren’t the bums who couldn’t win, they were the shelter in the storm for the growing youth movement. After the collapse in 2009-2010, the team was no longer built to win. The burden is unfair. Yet you shall deny and denounce your stars and veterans nevertheless.

Prophecy Four: The grass is greener on the wrong side of the railroad tracks

Your fanbase will split and argue pettily as never before. It will fragment and isolate into echo-chamber cells. "We’re not big enough!", "This team sucks, might as well play the prospects more!", "We need veterans and depth!", "We need to tank more!", "If we lose any more, we’ll develop a permanent losing culture like Florida, Atlanta, or the Islanders!"

The ideas will split and multiply and become like venomous, spitting hydras – you cut one yapping head down and two more appear – and all shall advocate their Golden Path to success, and they will keep their faith strong by repeating what they believe and reading things that support what they believe. They will point to Holmgren in Philadelphia and his quick rebuild a few years ago, or Brian Burke’s somewhat surprising success in Toronto this year, or the remarkable turnaround of Montreal. There will be those who point North with envy in their hearts but the belief that ours was indeed the Golden Path. Yet others will pray at the altars of Bowman or Shero.

Yet ultimately all those arguments is pointless, because your path will be your path. The Gods of Odds laid their blessings upon the Oilers – to win our three lotteries in a row (ranking 1st, 1st, and 2nd in odds – and yes, you will soon too count standings in draft positions – like 1st, 2nd, 3rd…) – the Oilers had 48.2% chances to win in their first two years (25% + the combined 23.2% chance of the teams that couldn’t win first overall) and an 18.8% chance to win last year. That’s a 4.37% chance of winning the lottery all three years combined – just under 1 in 25. With the current odds, if the Flames finished last three years in a row, the odds of winning would be 1 in 64, or 1.56%.

Your path shall be unique. And not as lucky.

Prophecy Five: Thou art heretics, and thou shall burn and Fail in the same flames thou adorn thyselves with

Ultimately, the reason it has been revealed to me that you will fail is because your owner runs CNRL and thought it was a good idea to build a plant from parts made in one country by one people, send to be assembled by mostly by different temporary foreign wage depressor people from three different countries, in a fourth country, with the permission and encouragement of the former Calgarian mayor and premier*. That kind of mentality leads to parts of your plant burning down and trading Sven Baertschi or Mark Jankowski for picks and pucks the draft before they’re in the Calder running.

Blue collar city Union Pride, Flamers.

  • Going to be very interesting to see if Calgary sells out the building for the next 4 to 5 years the way the Oilers did through their lean years. Somehow I just do not see it happening. The crowds were absolutely dead in Calgary prior to their 2004 Stanley Cup run. Then came the bandwagon jumping with flames jerseys everywhere in the stands. Over the past year and a half I’ve noticed a significant decrease in the amount of flames jerseys in the stands. And even in the first period of Wednesday nights game, it appeared to be many empty seats. This is not mudslinging, just an observation that the Oilers fans stuck with it and sold out every single game during their rebuild.

    • Jeff Lebowski

      To be fair, the Oilers’ attendance was pitiful too before their Stanley Cup run.

      These days, having Flames tickets is more of a status symbol than actually caring about the team’s success, or even having any sort of general hockey knowledge. I don’t know why people attend Oilers games – probably to compare mullet styles while absorbing the stench of week-old unwashed vajajays.

      We’re Toronto West, except we’re much nicer to the team. No one’s going to be wearing paper bags over their heads here mocking the team.

      • Jeff Lebowski

        The Oilers attendance only sucked in the mid 90s when Pocklington ran the team into the ground.

        In the early 2000s when the Oilers sucked, just like our Flames, they sold out.

        I suspect our fanbase will be just as “sheepish” as Edmonton and show up. It is easy to say we should, but if I could afford more than 5 games a year I would…

      • ChinookArchYYC

        Soon enough having Flames tickets will not be a status symbol. I still believe the Saddledome will be sold out (or at least virtually) for most games with more and more empty seats each year. Most corporations and small business will likely stay the course for a few years, and there is a plethora of people waiting on reserve for their turn at seasons tickets. This all but guarantees a full arena. I see that as good news by the way, it will be nice to weed out soft bandwagon 2004 fans from the rest of us that suffered from the ‘young guns’ era, and couldn’t get a shot a seasons tickets.

        Remember the old joke: I couldn’t go the the Flames game tonight, so I put a pair of tickets with a “FREE” sign on my windshield, when I went to the liquor store. I came back out and someone left me 4 tickets, but the sign was gone. That joke will be funny again.

        • Derzie

          Heh, I used to get tickets by waiting around the LRT station until the scalpers finally gave up trying to sell their tickets and just gave them away for free. Good times.

    • SmellOfVictory

      Oilers marketing a very good job of selling the rebuild. Flames marketing could possibly do the same, and it’s actually one reason they might pick a forward over Jones if they’re first overall (that aside from that fact that it may just be a better idea to begin with); high-end forwards are much easier to sell to fans than high-end defencemen, for the most part (Erik Karlsson notwithstanding).

      • They did a good job of selling the re-build three years after it started.

        Sadly, the most inept management in the league (a title which may be taken from Tamblowe by Feaster and Co.) wasn’t even sure it was happening and continued to whale hunt. Leading to a last place finish (by accident) followed by a last place finish (on purpose) followed by a 2nd last place finish (thinking they were better than they were).

        Even though it looks like the Oil might be trending towards the sunny side of the street now I’m still paralyzed with fear that these idiots won’t know what to do with what they have. Their actions thus far and inability to address the holes that any casual hockey fan can see scare the hell out of me.

        I lived through the hell that lead us to the top notch talent that we have on the front end and I want my candy damnit!

        It almost makes me feel sorry for the Flames but then I remember what cocky bastards the fans where as the Oilers were mired in the outhouse for so long.

        Slow clap for the article.

  • Kevin R

    To Unknown Oiler Fan:

    In the end 29 teams all go through a path to Hell and walk down a cold dark back alley knowing there is no warmth or comfort. Just missed opportunity and search for any street light. The difference of those 29 poor souls is the looks of that sinister hooker that lured you down that dark alley.

    And now a reminder from ones that were there to you who hath forgotten because of the nightmare you have finally awoken from:
    “The Curse of Expectation” This curse pushes the norepinephrin through neurons at the start of each season, only to find that feeling of missed opportunity to be as low as the high of the expectation. Remember, once the window is opened, and my Oiler friend, that window hath now opened in the season of 2013, it only begins to close as missed opportunity slowly brings it down. “But this is different” you Oilers cry. “We’ve been through the pits of Hades & shook off the lost souls in darkness, that wont happen again” Then you suddenly look up & the Captain that delivered you to the abyss is still driving the ship.

    • MC Hockey

      I second the above thoughts, which were very well put in the biblical-like prose of the original author, nice job. Oh, and on a less “prosey” note, my friend in California who works on a certain very well-known prime-time cartoon TV show has also chimed in with a note from one of his characters, which succinctly said “HA HA Oilers”. Bonus points if you name that character!

  • Jeff Lebowski

    It’s corporate seats that are empty and corporate seats make a big part of Calgary season ticket base. In Edmonton, the corporate factor is not to same degree. The bandwagon jumping or more die hard fans up north is just myth. Nice try at a dig but fail.

    In the o&g industry, Flames games are the only thing to do (when too cold to golf). High levels of corporate seats will always be the case here. However, if the Flames are sucking white collar slaves will just pass. They will go home to their wives instead. Hence the empty seats.

    oiler fans like to talk about their year with 3 first rounders. The Rikey Nash year. Yes, you did suck at drafting but 2007 was a relatively terrible draft class. There certainly wasn’t the hype 2013 has for depth. Essentially the difference is we have 3 firsts in a deep draft where the coil had 3 firsts in a weak draft. Big difference.

    Also, the talk I heard is that 2013 is similar to 2003. Look at the quality players drafted at even low spots in ’03. If course there are risks for picking a bust but with 3 picks (potentially) you get to hedge against that. Or you can trade one if those picks for a prospect and let some other GM, caught by the allure of a deep draft, to pick the bust.

    What I’m essentially saying is screw you anonymous coiler fan. For the most part of your lean years you were horrible, then you got 3 first overalls and lucky with Eberle. It won’t happen that way for us. For all of people’s complaints about Feaster his draft record here has been quite good.

    Also Calgary is an infinitely better city then d’edmonton. In every way possible. Player wives will not refuse to come here like they do to your blighted, run down, frozen city. Once the contracts are all due your prized kids will leave piece by piece. All it takes is one leaving before the others realize how much it sucks to live in edm. Just look at the migration of regular folk out of that sh$thole.

    Suck it assho!e.

      • Jeff Lebowski

        No I’m not. I know the Flames are going to be bad but it doesn’t necessarily mean it will be as bad as the coilers or other desert wanderers (it might be though). And given a three firsts, potentially, and a deep draft it could speed up the process quite a bit. Look at 2003:

        1 Marc-Andre Fleury (Goaltender) Canada Pittsburgh Penguins
        (from Florida) Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (QMJHL)
        2 Eric Staal (Centre) Canada Carolina Hurricanes Peterborough Petes (OHL)
        3 Nathan Horton (Right Wing) Canada Florida Panthers
        (from Pittsburgh) Oshawa Generals (OHL)
        4 Nikolai Zherdev (Right Wing) Russia Columbus Blue Jackets CSKA Moscow (Russia)
        5 Thomas Vanek (Left Wing) Austria Buffalo Sabres University of Minnesota (NCAA)
        6 Milan Michalek (Left Wing) Czech Republic San Jose Sharks HC České Budějovice (Czech Republic)
        7 Ryan Suter (Defence) United States Nashville Predators U.S. National Team Development Program (NAHL)
        8 Braydon Coburn (Defence) Canada Atlanta Thrashers Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
        9 Dion Phaneuf (Defence) Canada Calgary Flames Red Deer Rebels (WHL)
        10 Andrei Kostitsyn (Right Wing) Belarus Montreal Canadiens CSKA Moscow (Russia)
        11 Jeff Carter (Centre) Canada Philadelphia Flyers
        (from Phoenix) Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)
        12 Hugh Jessiman (Right Wing) United States New York Rangers Dartmouth College (NCAA)
        13 Dustin Brown (Right Wing) United States Los Angeles Kings Guelph Storm (OHL)
        14 Brent Seabrook (Defence) Canada Chicago Blackhawks Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL)
        15 Robert Nilsson (Right Wing) Sweden New York Islanders Leksands IF (Sweden)
        16 Steve Bernier (Right Wing) Canada San Jose Sharks
        (from Boston) Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL)
        17 Zach Parise (Centre) United States New Jersey Devils
        (from Edmonton) University of North Dakota (NCAA)
        18 Eric Fehr (Right Wing) Canada Washington Capitals Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
        19 Ryan Getzlaf (Centre) Canada Mighty Ducks of Anaheim Calgary Hitmen (WHL)
        20 Brent Burns (Right wing) Canada Minnesota Wild Brampton Battalion (OHL)
        21 Mark Stuart (Defence) United States Boston Bruins
        (from Toronto via San Jose) Colorado College (NCAA)
        22 Marc-Antoine Pouliot (Centre) Canada Edmonton Oilers
        (from St. Louis via New Jersey) Rimouski Océanic (QMJHL)
        23 Ryan Kesler (Centre) United States Vancouver Canucks Ohio State University (NCAA)
        24 Mike Richards (Centre) Canada Philadelphia Flyers Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
        25 Anthony Stewart (Right Wing) Canada Florida Panthers
        (from Tampa Bay) Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)
        26 Brian Boyle (Centre) United States Los Angeles Kings
        (from Colorado) Saint Sebastian’s School (USHS-MA)
        27 Jeff Tambellini (Left Wing) Canada Los Angeles Kings
        (from Detroit) University of Michigan (NCAA)
        28 Corey Perry (Right Wing) Canada Mighty Ducks of Anaheim
        (from Dallas) London Knights (OHL)
        29 Patrick Eaves (Right Wing) United States Ottawa Senators Boston College (NCAA)
        30 Shawn Belle (Defence) Canada St. Louis Blues
        (from New Jersey) Tri-City Americans (WHL)

        Yes there will be dissent and hard times but the length of these hard times is not pre determined.

        What happend elsewhere does not necessarily predict what will happen here.

        Hard to predict the future is, always moving.

        Also more points for coiler fans:

        Most youth rebuilds have the day of reckoning with maturing contracts. It’s happened everywhere because you can’t pay everyone. However moving forward that window has likely closed a little more due to the new salary cap. The coil rushed to sign Hall and Eberle before the lockout, without knowing what the new rules will be.

        So you better make it now cause your team will look different a lot quicker than say CHI or PITT did.
        The CNRL thing is quite a weak dig but if true reprehensible. At least our owners haven’t contacted other cities to look at relocating the team. Nor have they threatened the city with demands for paying for a new arena that will spark some renaissance of the city (by demanding the city break it’s own rules and force municipal workers to move to a building on your development. That is beyond shady. Yes, the future is bright in d’edmonton

    • Wow. Way to keep some perspective.

      Feaster’s draft record has been quite good?

      Look at Jankowski’s stat line:

      2012-13 Providence College H-East 34 7 11 18 10 0

      A real physical presence at 175 lbs. Taken about two rounds before anyone else might have thought about taking him. Well played good sir.

      • supra steve

        Flames admitted at the draft, Janko was going to take time (3 to 5 years) to fully develop. Judging his progress after one year as one of the youngest players in NCAA hockey…maybe just a little unfair.

        • You don’t use first round picks on a project with potential. I guess that is unless you have traded all of your other picks away. They could have traded down easily if they really wanted him.

          Lots of kids his age playing junior with much more upside.

          All I’m saying is let’s not congratulate Feaster on his drafting prowess just yet.

          • Jeff Lebowski

            You are an idiot. You don’t use first round picks on projects with potential. All first round picks are projects with potential.

            You are also a moron or borderline retarded if this is your reasoning.

          • supra steve

            “You don’t use first round picks on a project with potential. I guess that is unless you have traded all of your other picks away. They could have traded down easily if they really wanted him.”

            Why don’t you go back and read your own words. Then look at what happened on the day the Flames made that pick.

            Janko was listed as an early 2nd rounder by The Hockey News, having climbed from much lower on their rankings earlier in the year. It is not unusual at all for such a prospect to be selected in the later part of round one. He may be the second coming of Joe Nieuwendyk or he could be the next Scott Allison (Oilers 17th overall, 1990). That’s how the draft works, every year. Enjoy the weekend.

          • My point was that if Janko was the guy they wanted and projected as an early second rounder they probably could have traded down a few more spots, still got the guy they wanted and got another asset. That’s all.

            The pick was a surprise to most. Most of the pundits thought he would have gone later. He may well turn out to be something in a few years. There are always diamonds in the rough. Again, I’m not the one touting Feaster as some kind of draft superstar. I know you aren’t either but that’s where my initial comment comes from.

            Enjoy the weekend too!

          • Well, like you are saying that its too early to call Feaster a drafting guru, it’s also too early to diss the picks he’s made. Jankowski was a very debatable step out, wont argue, but he also scored that 2nd of which a dman by the name of Seiloff was available, who also played on the USA world jr team last December. So Janko & Seiloff I dont think warrants some of the criticism you are directing here. In 2 years, maybe it will. Janko has been projected to be a 1st rounder this year had he slipped thru last years draft. When you are drafting from 14th to 22nd, it the ole throw the dart & hope you hit. Its top 10 picks that cant be screwed up or speculated with. Your expert analysis on Gaudreau can be almost misconstrued as trolling when you say he will very unlikely make the NHL due to size. He did seem to fair pretty darn good at the world jr’s in December playing against big future NHL stars in the same age group. His size is no more of a deterent than that of Eberle or Nugent Hopkins. Kids with the great skills & huge hockey IQ on the ice have a very good chance of adapting to the NHL game. I put Eberle in that category, his on ice IQ far exceeds Taylor Halls & I think Eberle is going to have a much healthier career than Hall. Nuge seems to have contracted the Hemsky virus of fragility. JMO.

          • Fair enough. Not intending to be trolling but I do think that his size will be an issue for him.

            I just think of Gaudreau of someone more along the lines of Brandon Kozen. He is a guy that lit up the WHL and played very well at the World Jr.s and hasn’t had much of a shot at the show yet. Granted he is in the Kings system which has an impact on his ability to move up but nobody has been trying to pry him away from them either.

            Kozen’s point production against men in the AHL has been less than overwhelming. If you are a little guy you really need to be able to bring it offensively because it is pretty tough to be a shut-down defender or play a great two way game. Kozen was a beast in the WHL but can’t seem to bring it in the AHL. I think Johnny will have the same problem.

            Kozen is 5’9″ and 162 lbs

            Gaudreau is 5’6″ and 150 lbs

            Gaudreau is younger and can fill out a bit but he isn’t going to grow that much. For World Junior comparisons, Kozen scored 7 points in 6 games and Gaudreau scored 9 in 7.

            Hockey prospects rates Gaureau as a “D” for probabilities of success. See here.

            Nuge is 6’1″ and 185 lbs

            Eberle is 5’11” and 184 lbs.

            Neither of them are real comparables.

          • DieHard

            Eberle is 5′ 11″; RNH is 6″ 1″; Gaudreau is 5′ 6″.

            There are some quality small players but are far and few between. Really do wish him luck though.

          • piscera.infada

            Patrick Kane 5’10”, 181 lbs.
            It can be done.

            I understand 5’7″ (Gaudreau) isn’t quite 5’10”, but the kid can really play. And his two more years in college will help that – physically, and (more important) mentally.

          • SmellOfVictory

            It’s been discussed ad nauseum amongst Flames fans that there were a couple of teams who would have taken Jankowski in the first round if Calgary hadn’t; Phx allegedly tried to swap picks with Calgary in order to grab him. I don’t think they could have dropped any lower.

            And in terms of projects, everyone in the bottom half of the first round last season was a project, essentially. The only forward worth looking at outside of Jankowski was Teravainen, and he’s quite small (certainly no guarantee for the NHL), and then there were Ceci and Maatta on the back end, who are decent but not great d prospects.

          • supra steve

            How do you know that? Flames had a different opinion on that and they were where? Oh yeah, they were in PITT at the draft. Incidentally, they also went to Quebec and watched the kid play. If you want to stay on the non A-hole list you gotta admit:

            1. the Flames did indeed trade down and got an extra asset as well as Janko at #21. That DID happen. (guess you did finally admit that one)

            2. Had they traded down lower, they MAY have missed the chance to draft their player.

          • @ SmellOfVictory

            It is possible. I acknowledge that. I don’t know that they could have traded down more to get him. Obviously this is just my opinion like it is yours that Janko was coveted by others and it wasn’t that much of a stretch to pick him where he was picked. They did move down. They might have missed out on him if they didn’t take him. I don’t think so but I can acknowledge the possibility.

            Apparently some of the pundits who were following the draft thought the same thing as I did as the pick was considered to be by many a little bit out of nowhere.

            I don’t really think that there was the kind of demand for him that you suggest. You guys say there was. Obviously we disagree on this.

            Keep in mind, like I have been saying all through this thread, I’m responding to the comment that someone made suggesting that Feaster is a “good” drafter. I’m not saying he’s terrible at drafting (although I do think he is a terrible GM and these picks may well turn out to be terrible).

            His picks may work out. I’ve been saying that there isn’t sufficient evidence to support the theory that he’s “good”. People that are saying that Jankowski, Gaudreau etc. are evidence of him being “good” at the draft are relying on a bit of smoke and mirrors at this point.

      • Jeff Lebowski

        Look at the Jankowski’s teammates and the leading scorers on his team. Consider he was 17 and still growing. The team did not score a lot. He was a freshman… Not to mention Baertschi, Gaudreau, Wotherspoon, Gilles etc. Or did you conveniently forget those? Clearly you looked him up hockeydb, just click on providence college to see how the rest of the team did.

        Why don’t you try thinking things through, then get back to us.

        • If Johnny G makes the NHL I’ll be surprised. Scoring lots in NCAA as a little guy doesn’t make me consider him to be a top prospect.

          Baertschi really lit it up while he was here didn’t he? Lots of room on the top six up here now to give him real minutes at the NHL but he’s still down in Abbotsford. I think he shows quite a bit of promise, but one pick that high in the draft does not drafting acumen make.

          I guess we’ll wait and see on Wotherspoon and Gilles. I know everyone tends to overvalue their own prospects but I just recall back when everyone was saying Backlund was going to be the number one centre and we all see just how well that worked out.

          Then again, I’m not the one touting Feaster as some kind of draft guru am I?

          I’ve thought things through. All I’m saying is that it is pretty early to start referring to someone as having a good drafting record with the limited data that you have.

    • Keyser Soze


      D elusional.
      U neducated.
      P athetic.
      E motional.
      D esperate.

      Me: schadenfreude (You’ll probably have to google that)

      PS Iggy couldn’t get on a plane out of Calgary fast enough.

  • SmellOfVictory

    well written (especially for someone from edmonton). I do, however, think the Oilers/Flames rebuild ‘similarity’ is just a big ‘ol lazy narrative. Yeah, sure, the Flames could end up sucking for 5+ years and garner a lot of high picks, and the results would be the same. But things could also go any number of other ways as well.

    I think the Oilers’ biggest failing (so far) has been not being able to secure a solid goaltender. In fairness, they tried with the Bulin ‘wall’… But look at how successful Ottawa, Montreal and even Columbus have been. I think a lot of that can be attributed to getting solid goaltending (something the flames haven’t really been getting either…)

  • SmellOfVictory

    On the bright side, Gaudreau was on the Fan this morning and it sounds like he wants to play at higher level next season. Also a finalist for The Hobey Baker.

  • Scary Gary

    Why do oiler fans so desperately want to liken our rebuild to theirs? Is it sympathy or do they want us to suck for as long as they did?

    Maybe the rebuilds will be the same but I doubt they will be. Are any two rebuilds the same?

  • beloch

    I honestly hope there is an alternative to following the oiler’s wasteland tour.

    Arguably, the oiler’s aren’t out of the wasteland yet and, despite having some elite talent, may never be more than a bubble team unless their management improves drastically.

    Great team’s are often great because they’re getting high performance/dollar ratios from elite prospects signed to cheap ELC’s. The Oilers have wasted most of theirs. Hall and Eberle’s cap-hits jump up to $6M next season. (Sidenote: I’m not convinced Hall will even make it to 30 the way he plays, so the clock is ticking especially fast for him!) As the Oiler’s scoring leader, Gagner is going to demand similar cash. That’s $10M more to keep just those three players next season! The year after that Schultz and the Nuge are going to be demanding big raises too, plus there are a lot of expensive UFA contract’s expiring in the next two years. With the cap coming down, the Oilers are headed straight for cap-hell. They might manage to keep all their stars, but they’re going to have very limited cash to spend on the supporting cast.

    Put simply, the Oiler’s luck at the draft hasn’t solved all their problems. Some very big ones remain, and Steve Tambellini has to be replaced or magically develop an IQ higher than that of a bag of hockey pucks for those problems to be solved.

    I’m not saying Feaster is smarter than Tambellini. I would not dare say something like that after the Bouwmeester trade! I actually think it’s time to start calling for Feaster’s head. He might redeem himself this summer, but it’s probably not worth taking the risk. As much as landing a new star rookie would help the Flames, landing a good GM is the single most crucial thing to avoiding the oiler’s fate!

  • Keyser Soze

    Is it just me or is FN starting to devolve a little bit? Seriously, what’s with all the name calling? This used to be a place for intelligent debate where people could argue any and all sides without personal attacks or trash talk.

    • SmellOfVictory

      Not to be a website hipster, but the discussion devolved because the userbase grew. It used to be a very niche kind of community that a very specific type of person frequented, and it has since expanded; entirely expected, I’d say.

      • I hope you aren’t referring to me. I’m happy to have reasonable discussion with people and enjoy some spirited debate. I don’t like it when it devolves into name calling and don’t engage in that.

        If by “THEM” you are referring to fans of other teams take a look at the gems put out by Jeff Lebowski (an apparent flames fan)

        Comment #27 “Moron” “borderline retarded”

        #28 “dick”

        #30 “retarded glue sniffer”

        I’m not sure why people can’t disagree with one another and not devolve into name calling.

        • supra steve

          Nope, not referring to you RT. Have seen your posts often enough to know you are not an A-hole (not any more often then I am, at least). I lived in EDM for school and loved it, and Oil fans are just good fans. But as you said, some bad apples in every bag.


          Oops, that just slipped out.

  • Purple Hazze

    I’d have to say that the Flames appear to be in a much better position than the Oilers were when they “officially” started their re-build in 2010.

    You had Gagner drafted at the time, we have Backlund, both will be great 2nd line centres. I would say Magnus is comparable to Sven.

    Thats about where the comparison ends in my mind. We still have assets on the team in Glencross, Stempniak, Cammilari, Hudler, and Gio. Other than Hemsky and Horcoff the Oil didn’t have much else on their roster.

    In the farm we have some great d-men prospects in Brodie, Wotherspoon, Sieloff, and Culkin. We have couple of great goalies in the system in Brossoit and Gilles. Oilers were lacking in both of these categories, and if wasn’t for Shultz signing I’d say the blueline would still be looking pretty weak for them.

    What will slow our rebuild the most is that we won’t win the lottery 3 years in a row, we might not even win it once, which is why it still might take us anywhere from 3-5 years to get out of the dessert.

  • Purple Hazze


    When The Hockey News did a re-draft of the 2012 draft last month they had Jankowski rated at 25 … we grabbed him at 23 along with picking up Sieloff in trading down… not a bad move in my opinion.

  • RexLibris

    With regards to this rebuild and the common belief that Oilers fans, all Oilers fans that is, are telling the Flames that they just need to do it the same way but can’t because their GM is a dottering fool and they couldn’t hit a prospect at the draft if they were the only team picking (gasp for air)…

    That is not necessarily the case.

    Many of us have mentioned over and over and over again that each rebuild is different, and carried forth by its own set of historical, cultural, and financial circumstances. Two of the success stories won the draft lottery to take phenomenal players in Crosby and Kane. Another recent one spent the better part of a decade slowly, gradually building up players.

    Meanwhile, the Oilers have taken what fate gave them, applied a general development strategy and relied heavily on drafting rather than trades. Heaven knows if this thing will work, but good god you know it’ll be a whole lot better than what they started out with.

  • RexLibris

    Now, with regards to the growing theme that this draft year is just like 2003, this is a fallacy.

    People want to believe it because the first round has a number of highly coveted players. Those players are coveted largely because the best players in this year’s draft play a coveted position: centre. Any draft deep in potential first or second line centres is going to get some attention.

    Also, I think there is a belief fallacy embedded in cyclical thinking here, 2003 – 2013, surely there must be some connection.

    Let’s look at some of the evidence surrounding us to determine the likely strength of this draft, and keeping in mind that one usually has to wait five years on from a draft year to begin to make any definitive statements.

    First off, we need to acknowledge that GMs and scouts have access to far more information than you, me, or anyone involved in this forum.

    There weren’t many 1st round picks being traded in this year’s draft, yet some teams were willing to part with a pick if they knew that they were likely to be in the playoffs.

    This would seem to indicate that GMs are leery of giving up a draft pick if it falls outside the playoff cut line and is therefore eligible for the “all-in” lottery for teams 17 through 30. Makes sense.

    Then let’s look at the number of 2nd round picks that were being tossed around like croutons on a salad just this week and last. If GMs really feel that there is a deep draft this year, then why forego those depth picks?

    It would seem that GMs feel, or have been informed by their scouts, that after the top ten picks the quality drops off, then drops again after the approximate playoff cutoff line, between 17 and 20. It would also stand to reason that the 2nd round is considered nothing extraordinary and that teams with prospect depth could safely forfeit those selections in order increase their chances of winning now.

    So, based on that evidence, and given the possibility of the Flames having three 1st round picks this year, I think expectations should be moderated away from believing that in one year they will be able to select a future Getzlaf, Giroux and Suter.

    I would probably expect them to find a good player who could potentially play right away (but probably shouldn’t), another with strong skills or size needing development, and perhaps a third player who has skill or ability but is considered raw or undersized at this stage. Either way, probably best if all three were at least one to three years away from the NHL roster.

  • Take your shots while you still can Flames fans.

    These 8-2 drubbings are about to become the norm for your sad sack franchise for the next 5 years or so, and the most important score remains 5 Cups to 1.

    The best athlete who’s ever played in Calgary is a midget QB who couldn’t cut it in the NFL. The best athlete who’s ever played in Edmonton is the greatest hockey player who ever lived!

    And do you know what people say they like about Calgary most? It’s close to the mountains. The best thing about your city is it’s fairly close to a place people actually want to go.

    • Vintage Flame

      These 8-2 drubbings are about to become the norm for your sad sack franchise for the next 5 years or so,

      Hmmm.. You seem pretty sure of your self Mooseknuckle errr mess. Part of the problem is that you Oil fans seem to think this is some mirror image situation, that because the oil sucked for almost a decade, that so will Calgary. Not sure why you think that is a given.

      I’m not saying it won’t happen, but let’s not put the carriage before the horse just yet. I’ll reserve judgement till after the off-season.

      and the most important score remains 5 Cups to 1.

      This is another thing that I don’t know why you guys think you can hold this over our heads. It’s not like the Oilers beat the Flames for those five Cups. Congrats anyways but when you look at the big picture who cares. Montreal has 24 Cups dude. That’s bragging rights.

      • First of all I agree the 5-1 is kind of a useless stat. I prefer to count playoff series won from 2006 onwards.

        24 since 1927 versus 5 since 1979. We had to beat more teams to win most of ours.

        The “decade” we sucked was closer to 5 years. We were just outside the playoffs in 2007. Then we fell off the face of the earth. This year has been not too bad.

        The fact that Edwards keeps saying the goal is to make the playoffs next year is what should concern Flames fans. That type of mentality is what put the Oil into its rebuild in the first place before they even knew it.

        I actually want Calgary to be better. It would be cool for both teams to be relevant at the same time.

        • Captain Ron

          I also want to see both teams become better as in a LOT better and the sooner the better.

          This battle of Alberta has become a pillow fight.

          I want some of that action like what we have seen between Pitt and Philly. The Hawks and Canucks is another example.

          The game between the Hawks and Blues last night was decent too for a regular season tilt.

          Games between the two Alberta teams the last while have been far from battles. Bring on the seven game series with a few slugfests in the mix and that go the distance in overtime to decide the series. That’s what I want to see.

      • stretch14

        Yes, Montreal does have bragging rights….over Toronto. We’re not comparing cups with them; we’re comparing them to our arch-rival (you sad sacks). Not to mention MTL got the majority of their Cups competing in a league with only 5 other teams. 1/6 odds to win the cup each year, not bad. Since the Oilers/flames have entered the league no other team has more Stanley Cups or SCF appearances than the Oilers. Plain and simple.

        1984: Oilers defeat flames in 2nd round en route to 1st Stanley Cup

        1985: Flames lose in 1st round vs Jets. Oilers sweep Jets. Back-to-back Cups

        1987: Flames lose in 1st round vs Jets. Oilers sweep Jets. 3rd Stanley Cup in 4 years

        1988: Oilers sweep flames in 2nd round. Back-to-back Cups…AGAIN! 4th Stanley Cup in 5 years

        1990: Flames lose in 1st round vs. Kings. Oilers sweep Kings. 5th cup in 7 years

        So we did indeed beat you for 2/5 of those cups. As for the other 3 well unfortunately you guys weren’t good enough to make it out of the 1st round but we did make quick work of the teams that knocked you out.

        • Kevin R

          Do you still wear the same underwear you did back then? Probably do, with the little Gretsky face on the front. Get in the now, the 80’s has nothing to do with the games being played today & the ones that will be played.

          • stretch14

            Okay, the now…..a 4-1 and 8-2 sha-lacking! Oilers fans take over the saddledome as u little flamers run out with your tail tucked between your legs in embarrassment. Oilers have won 4 of the last 5 BOA’s. Also if you don’t know how to spell Gretzky you’re an embarrassment to hockey. Although I’m fairly sure u misspelled it on purpose as some “clever” dig. Since you can’t spell Gretzky correctly maybe “The Great One” is easier for you. Oilers legacy: most cups in modern day era, greatest player to ever play the game, 6 HOF’ers. Flames legacy: 1 cup, sammity sam.

  • piscera.infada

    Excellently written. I agree with alot of it even though it scares me. But at the same time, I’ve wanted the Flames to be proactive, and although I don’t think this major sell off fits that bill 100%, its better than nothing. I’ll embrace the rebuild and I’ll embrace the hope, so even though hearing how dark the abyss looks is worriesome, it can’t be too much worse than the perpetual mediocrity and teasing that we’ve come to expect from the current team. Go Flames.

  • Reidja

    Oh god the drama. Teams go through this, it’s a correction put off to long. Life isn’t always roses. What we need is good managment. What I don’t need is to read any more oilers fans bullshit. Sorry nations, the Flames aren’t losing me but you are.