FlamesNation year-end Awards – Results



The polls are closed and the results are in! On Monday, FN contributors shared their votes and rationale for the Flames 2013 award winners, but we left the ultimate decision up to FN readers. Today, we reveal the big winners (and one loser) as chosen by the FN community.

Team MVP

Winner: TJ Brodie

With 32% of the vote, the young blueliner narrowly edged out the contributors choice Lee Stempniak (30%). Mikael Backlund came in second at 20%.

Brodie began the year as a healthy scratch, but eventually rocketed up the depth chart once Bob Hartley gave him a chance. The coach recently said Brodie was the most pleasant surprise of the season for him.

"He’s been unbelievable for us."

We’ve been raving about Brodie for awhile around here and I predicted he’d be a bright spot leading into the season after watching him dominate the AHL for the Heat. Still, even I was surprised by his rapid ascension in the shortened season. Seems the readers here were suitably impressed as well.

Best Defenseman

Winner: TJ Brodie

Duh. The team MVP swept this one in a landslide with 86% of the vote. Bouwmeester and Wideman were a distant 2nd and 3rd on this one.

Best Forward

Winner: Mikael Backlund

A bit of a darkhorse since he missed half the season (and played through injury down the stretch), Backlund nevertheless took this one with 37% of the vote, just 5% clear of second-placed Glencross.

Backlund found the back of the net a bit more frequently this season, which helped folks see just how effective he is at other parts of the game as well. Backlund drove possession and scoring chance differential better than any Flame forward this season and his two-way game (which was always decent) took a solid step forward after a strong start to things in Sweden this year.

Backlund will probably never lead the team in scoring, but he’s the kind of pivot who makes his linemates better and the job of guys elsewhere on the roster easier.

Unsung Hero

Winner: Matt Stajan

The readers and contributors agreed on this one. Former pariah Matt Stajan resurrected his career with a very capable performance for Bob Hartley in tough circumstances this season. As a result, he crushed the vote with 73% of readers picking him over second placed Jiri Hudler (13%) and other options.

Stajan is a good bet to stick around for the final season of his contract now, rather than facing a buy-out and potential exit from the NHL altogether. He’s probably not your ideal first line center on a good team, but it’s clear he can still contribute at this level.

Top Rookie

Winner: Sven Baertschi

Although there were a few good arguments made for Roman Cervenka in the comments section of the original awards piece, Sven Baertschi nevertheless took this one in a walk with 89% of the votes. Like Brodie, Baertschi finished the season very strong which has vastly increased his stock in the hearts and minds of the faithful. Of course, he’s also the best prospect in the organization, so he is a symbol of new hope and a fresh start in the wake of the Iginla/Kippe era.

Cervenka, on the other hand, was hurt by his age (26) and expectations of stepping into a top-6 role for the team right out of Europe. Unlike Sven, Cervenka began the season well but quickly petered out and became a bit of goat for the coaching staff, who mostly sat him or played him in a bottom-6 role for the rest of the season.

Cervenka has some offensive skills and an accurate shot, so there’s something there. His lackluster conditioning and defensive game hurt him in the eyes of the bench bosses, though, as well as the readers apparently.

The Goat

Winner: Jay Feaster

This was a two horse race, with the organization’s general manager (39%) winning by a nose over its former cornerstone starter, Mikka Kiprusoff (35%).

I made my case for Kipper as the goat in the original post, but it seems Feaster’s penchant to make big promises but inability to deliver on them gave him the edge, I imagine there’s also enough folks who were unhappy with this trade deadline work to add fuel to that fire as well.


Thanks to those for who participated and we’re looking forward to doing this again next season. Hopefully the pickins’ won’t be a slim next time.

Next up, we have a FN roundtable to wrap things and I will post a season in review as well. This month we will move on to discussing the organizations current top-15 prospects as well as potential targets for the Flames in the first round of the draft, ranging from their first pick (6th) to their third (29?).

Stay tuned.

Also, make sure to check out Streakcred. Many of FN and the Nations writers are playing and the prizes are amazing. Unlike more fantasy games, you don’t have to join right away to have a chance to win. You can start a new streak pretty much any time and pick and choose the games to bet on. So get it going and maybe win a trip to Germany, a 52" TV or an iPad 4S.

Other Nation Year-end Awards

  • Jeff Lebowski

    I took the goat to mean scapegoat meaning the person who received the most blame for the team’s performance unfairly.

    That to me was Feaster. A lot of people want to crucify him but I’m still giving him some leash. Whether he hangs himself with it will be known (to me) by what he does with this draft.

    Short of trading the kids in the system, Calgary has to get into the top four or die trying.

    I think he’s made mistakes (his pronouncements, the ROR deal) but the organization as a whole sucks and has for a long time. Hard for me to pin it all on one guy – who hasn’t been here that long. Feaster has had a LOT of unwinding to do.

    I’ll be honest, his comments about wanting to rebuild fast are a little disconcerting. I want to see the kids play a full season (those who legitimately deserve to be in the NHL anyway).

    There is great opportunity for the Flames to really acquire exceptional young players to be a team that is fun to watch-for years to come.

    I was not rooting for the rebuild in the past. Now that it’s here I’m hoping they don’t take the shortcuts.

  • MC Hockey

    First, a QUESTION: Everyone says “Ramo is coming” in the fall, but I think he is unsigned for 2013-14. Anyone confirm?

    Comments: I am in agreement with most of the awards, but a bit surprised Brodie won best D and MVP. However, nobody else was as outstanding overall, and it’s hard to call JayBo best D-man when he’s not here anymore.

    I agree with comment #1 in that Feaster deserves some leash and had a big mess (lots of unwinding to do) given Dutter’s penchant for long-term contracts to arguably undeserving players.

    As for the goat, sorry I actually must say Kipper for being himself…evasive and indecisive…which ultimately hurt Flames chance of getting even more prospects or even moving forward with new goalies.

    • Vintage Flame

      First, a QUESTION: Everyone says “Ramo is coming” in the fall, but I think he is unsigned for 2013-14. Anyone confirm?

      Ramo’s contract ended yesterday with the KHL. I would have to assume someone is on a plane as we speak to see what the deal is.

      I am in agreement with most of the awards, but a bit surprised Brodie won best D and MVP. However, nobody else was as outstanding overall, and it’s hard to call JayBo best D-man when he’s not here anymore.

      I thought about the idea of going with JBo for best D-Man, because well, he was. I ended up going with Brodie because of what he showed over the year and hisability to maintain that level when JBo left.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    I mentioned this before, but if Anton Babchuk were a candidate it would have been a closer Goat Race. I gave Feaster my vote for signing Babchuk.

    Regardless it was a fun exercise!

  • Ramo’s numbers have been pretty good the last number of years in the KHL – but his play in North America…..not so much.

    Is there an NHL equiv for goalies?

    Wonder what his recent numbers would convert to in the NHL.

  • beloch

    Ramo has managed a far better (and far more consistent) sv% in a tougher league than Irving or Berra have. With Kipper almost certainly retiring and MacBackup unsuitable for duty as a NHL starter, the big job is Ramo’s to lose.

    The opportunity for Ramo goes beyond merely playing the NHL. Calgary fans have practically worshiped a single goalie for almost a decade. This season, the Flames were sunk by bad goal-tending and would have easily been a bubble-team had they received league-average goal-tending. If Ramo can match a league-average sv% in the NHL he will be received as both a hero and savior.

    Put simply, Ramo doesn’t just have the chance to get back into the NHL. He has a chance to become an instant superstar!

  • I missed the voting but if there was a skater-goat category my vote is for Giordano. He really hurt his chances of becoming the team captain with the quality of his play this season. This lead directly to the team’s goals-against woes.