Random Thoughts – May 6, 2013, Flames Kids and Captains



– Consensus around town is that Mark Giordano is the front-runner for the captaincy. He fits the bill. He’s the active leader in games-played and plays a heart-and-soul style of game that likely inspires his teammates. He’s also generally pretty good with the media, usually shooting straight and not dodging questions. He’ll be 30 when the season starts, which is roughly the same age most Flames captains have been when they don the C – Lanny McDonald and the late Brad McCrimmon were both that age. The four youngest Flame captains were Brad Marsh (22), Todd Simpson, Tom Lysiak and Jim Peplinski (all 24). The worst captain was Todd Simpson. Period.

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– For the curious, Alex Tanguay is the current active all-time Flames scorer with 284 points – approximately 811 points behind Jarome Iginla’s 1095 points wearing the Flaming C. Curtis Glencross is the active goal-scoring leader with 93, well behind Iginla’s 525. Suffice it to say that the majority of franchise records held by Iginla and Miikka Kiprusoff should be safe for quite awhile.

– Speaking of Kiprusoff, don’t expect any news on his status until early June. The buyout window will open on June 15, so the Flames will likely want to know if his $5.833 million cap hit will still be on the books when the season begins. If Kiprusoff elects to retire, his deal will come off the books and Calgary’s plans may change. Either way, the first week of June will probably hold news of one kind or another.

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– In terms of their picks in the latter part of the first round, I’ve watched a lot of junior hockey this year. I’ll go into a bit more detail in the next few weeks, but players I would hope the Flames get include Team USA World Junior standout Ryan Hartman (he’s a pain in the ass to play against), Rimouski defenseman Samuel Morin (he’s six-foot-seven!) and Edmonton Oil Kings center Curtis Lazar.

– Another name to keep in mind is University of New Hampshire defenseman Brett Pesce. He’s ranked 40th by Central Scouting, he’s big (six-foot-three) but a bit lean, but he’s American. He played with Connor Hardowa, who was invited to the Flames development camp last summer and played in a pair of games on an amateur try-out in Abbotsford following the completion of his senior year at UNH.

– Flames prospects are still involved in playoffs. Portland’s Tyler Wotherspoon and Edmonton’s Laurent Brossoit, coincidentally old pals that have both recently signed pro deals with the Flames and are likely in their last junior year, are playing in the WHL Finals. The teams split the pair of games in Portland and will renew acquaintances on Tuesday night in Edmonton. If you’re in Shelbyville, tickets are still available, while the rest of us will have to watch on Shaw TV starting at 7pm. The winning team moves on to Saskatoon for the Memorial Cup at the end of the month.

– The Saskatoon Blades host this year’s Memorial Cup, so Michael Ferland will suit up for his second trip to the big dance. The other two teams will be decided soon. In the OHL, the Barrie Colts are leading the powerhouse London Knights 1-0. Over the in the QMJHL, the Halifax Mooseheads are already up 2-0 on the Baie-Comeau Drakkar and haven’t lost a game in the playoffs yet. The Mooseheads have Nate MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin, the Colts have a more veteran-laden team with Anthony Camara and Mark Scheifele, but they also have 2014 NHL Draft hopeful Aaron Ekblad, who’s just amazing.

 – Reto Berra (Switzerland), Joni Ortio (Finland), T.J. Brodie (Canada), Jiri Hudler (Czech Republic) and Chris Butler (USA) are all at the World Hockey Championship in Helinski and Stockholm for the next week or two. This year’s tournament is, to be blunt, a bit meaningless in the grand scheme of things, as the seedings for the 2014 Olympics have already been set and teams are just playing to figure out who’ll be on their Olympic rosters. Despite missing the tournament with a groin injury, I’d expect Sven Baertschi to get consideration for the Swiss Olympic team. 

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  • RedMan

    I’m a Hartman fan to and have recently been reading more and more good things about Morin. All the more reason for CGY to use all their picks and possibly acquire more. I’m not a fan of packaging STL and PITT picks to move up. We have too many needs…

  • RedMan

    I’m a Hartman fan to and have recently been reading more and more good things about Morin. All the more reason for CGY to use all their picks and possibly acquire more. I’m not a fan of packaging STL and PITT picks to move up. We have too many needs…

    • Robear

      I flip and flop on this subject. Most scouting project that the top 4 kids are elite, with a drop to the next 8 or 10. with all the needs we have it would be great to instantly improve the depth of the organization by getting 3 1st rounders. Or we can try and go with trading up into that top echelon with a package approach.

      Lets see… how has picking first overall helped NHL organizations recently…

    • seve927

      I get a definite feeling at least one of those picks will be moved, and not to move up but for immediate help. I wouldn’t disagree with the approach either. Of course it would depend on what you get, but I definitely think there’s some NHL talent playing in the AHL right now. I would have to think that teams with that luxury and cap space/internal budget issues would prefer to trade some salary, or an RFA that doesn’t want to resign to be an AHLer, for a future asset.

  • RedMan

    I don’t think Hartman will be available for the STL or the PIT pick. I suspect he’ll be gone. I personally am not a fan of Lazar. Just don’t think he’s got any potential to be more than a 3rd line NHL player but that’s just my perspective.

    I do think we need to pick up at least one defenceman with those later picks. WIth Wisebrods penitence for USHL and NCAA players i could see them drafting Ian McCoshen at 25-30 with one of those picks. I believe Ian will be a top 4 defenceman in the NHL and he’s probably only 2-3 years away from that maybe sooner. He’s a big determined kid, great first pass puck mover and tough to play against in the defensive zone which is exactly the kind of DMAN we need.

    As for the second pick I am open to pretty much anyone. My cousin played against Klimchuk in Bantom and Midget the past few years. The kid has some brains but he’s small. I was originally thinking I’d like to see us draft him. But, after additional thought I think that’s not a wise idea. Reminds me a lot of Paul Byron, which we don’t need any more Paul Byrons.

    So I dunno. I wouldn’t mind using the third first round pick and maybe Tanguay and others to try and bring in a UFA but the player has to be the right player. Teams are going to need to offload some guys with the lowered cap.

  • seve927

    We need as many 1st rounders as possible. We especially need to get 2 in the top 12. If we can package anything off our roster to acquire the extra pick, do it. Otherwise if we can give another asset + the Pitt pick + even eating a bad contract to get that 2nd top 10 pick, I would do it. Our #6 overall has to be a centre, whoever drops to us from Monohan, Linholm or Barkov. Any of the three & Im happy.

    • T&A4Flames

      I absolutely agree. We still have players we can move to create space for the Baertschi’s and, Horak’s and Reinhart’s coming up. I would love to add a 4th 1st rounder but the more I think about it, the more I would be ok with trading the STL and PIT picks to get into top 12. We could get a top C with out 1st pick and a top D with another top 12 pick.

      I would also consider trading our lowest 1st rounder (STL or PIT) depending on where it ends up (I expect 29-30) for 2 2nd rounders as long as 1 is in the top 45.

      Anyone know who has multiple 2nd rounders?

      • seve927

        San Jose traded for two at the deadline, so they’ve got 3. Jets have 3.

        After watching the World U18, I’d really like to see us draft Santini. I also really like Dillon Heatherington in the 3 or 4 times I saw Swift Current this year, and they were bragging him up pretty good at the U18’s as well. His stock has probably risen to where we wouldn’t get him with our 3rd rounder, so I’d like to see us pick up a couple of seconds to get both of these guys.

      • OilLeak

        Well it was interesting Rex commenting that maybe if the Oilers want Monohan so bad they would give their 7th & a 2nd for our 6th. I see the Flames doing that one if Linholm & Monohan are both available at our pick. If Barkov is there, then forget it.

    • Jeff Lebowski

      With their first pick (wherever it may be – staying or trading up) I think Calgary needs highest offensive ceiling. Not the two way safe pick. We need more high end skill. What I’m saying is, not a comparable to Couturier. So if a guy like Nichushkin is there as well as Monahan you take Nichushkin.

      I haven’t seen Monahan play so I hope I’m not downgrading his offense but I’ve heard two way and Couturier mentioned about him. I mean if he’s more Toews than grab him but Nichushkin seems to be a game breaker. I don’t care if he’s not a natural centre.

      The next picks should be guys with + size and + skating who fill the roster needs ie centre, d

      • T&A4Flames

        I won’t change my opinion on this, I am not interested in Nichushkin with our 6th overall. Yes, it’s 99% the “russian factor.” That “factor” goes beyond the basic fact that he has not played in NA or that Russians, more than any other European nation, are a threat to not come to play in NA. It’s stereotypical, I know, but they generally seem to lose interest in the NHL after a few years. Obviously there are exceptions. It just seems to me that the risks of getting a failed draft pick, for whatever reason, are greater with the Russians.

        That said, I would be ok with the Flames picking up one of Zadorov or, preferably, Zykov with one of the later 1sts. They have already made the effort to be in NA so that shows that this is where they likely want to play as well as learning at a younger age, to play on the smaller ice surface.

        Add to that that Nichushkin is not a natural centerman and there are my reasons for a pass.

        • RexLibris

          Arguably the Russian players who lose interest in the NHL after a few years are the exception, rather than the other way around.

          Just looking at some of the better players who could get a king’s ransom (tax-free) by returning to play in Russian, Datsyuk, Malkin, Ovechkin, Kovalchuk, Gonchar, Semin, Markov, and Bryzgalov to name a few.

          Not to mention all those that spent the majority of their careers in North America like Bure.

          I’ll agree that there is some risk because it is a player who has a professional contract in a rival league, but I would weigh that risk, moderate it against his talent level, and then stack it next to the risk of the next-best prospect becoming an NHL player of equal standing.

          All in all, while I don’t think it is the wisest choice for the Flames organization, they’ve taken an equal, or even larger, risk in the past when selecting Jankowski.

          • T&A4Flames

            Re: Jankowski

            I wasn’t to upset with that move to be honest. I was hoping CGY would draft him, but in the 2nd rnd.

            What was available when CGY was set to pick was redundant players to the organization. Small skilled fwd’s and C with 2nd line ceiling at best. Ceci was available and that was the guy I was hoping they would take. However, according to the redo of the 2012 draft that The Hockey News did, Ceci doesn’t even rank in the top 30 and Janko has moved up to 25th. Maybe Feaster et al new something the rest of us didn’t. Bottom line is that Feaster and co. decided thay needed a C that had 1st line potential skills and they reached a bit. It may work out.

            I just don’t see the need to take a player that carries even more risks, IMO. Not when there will be players that have high talent level at positions we really need to stock. BPA is relative to all teams, GM’s and scouts.

            Depending on what’s available, maybe BUF will like to trade up and grab Nichushkin as they are lacking in the wing department. If both of Lindholm and Monahan are still available, trade down to 8th and pick up another asset.

        • BurningSensation

          – But how serious is the ‘threat’ of him not coming over? So far only one player I can think of (Radulov) has outright spurned the NHL to be a star in the KHL. That is not exactly a lot of ‘risk’. Even if you consider Kuznetsov’s stay in the KHL to be troublesome (I sure do, I have had him as a prospect in my pool since he was drafted and time is running out!), it is highly likely he arrives after the Olympics, and you get the KHL to essentially develop your prospect for you.

          – I’ve seen no evidence (either way) that Nichushkin is not a ‘natural’ centerman. All of us saw him play RW at the WJC but that has as much to do with it being a deep squad, and coaching, as to whatever his ‘natural’ position is. If there is evidence that he can’t win a face-off, or is allergic to covering the third man high, Id like to see it.

          • piscera.infada

            I think his three year KHL contract makes the threat serious enough. The last thing you want to start off your rebuild is have your top first round pick decide to go AWOL.

          • T&A4Flames

            The fact that he was recently traded to Dynamo Moscow is a little threatening as well. If I’m getting my KHL right, they have a lot of rubels ($$$$$$$) and will try to offer a crap load of cash to him to stay.

            I agree with piscera.infada, if we already had a strong prospect pool already, you can take the risk. But at this point in a rebuild, it’s just too much risk.

          • T&A4Flames

            I would point out, though, that he used to play for his hometown team, and they traded him after signing him. That might actually make him more willing to come to North America.

            Of course, he still has to fulfill that contract before he can be signed (I believe?)

          • piscera.infada

            If we had the core, the risk is far more worth it. Yet, I don’t think they’ll pull the trigger with any possible risk attached to the player. Yes, I understand all prospects carry inherent risks, but in the beginning of a rebuild it doesn’t make much sense to accrue maximum risk unless you know something everyone else doesn’t.

  • Related to random thoughts…

    I looked up Iginla’s underlying numbers so far in the playoffs. Yiiiikkkees…

    64% ZS, -36.3 relative corsi, -50.48 corsi/60.

    That’s only 2 games worth, but man on man. Those are two BAD games (BTN hasn’t updated since the 3rd game was played yet).

    • RexLibris

      Those numbers are surprisingly bad. I suspect this may work to chip away some of Iginla’s legacy in the eyes of the Eastern media.

      Which leads us to the inevitable question: was the Iginla trade fair value for the Penguins? Too soon to really tell, but the early arguments would suggest that it was.

      With regards to that series and draft rankings, fair to say there haven’t been this many Islander fans in Calgary since the Cup finals in 1983 and 1984?

      • schevvy

        I could care less about the difference between 26th and 30th overall picks. I’m cheering for Iggy/Pens. I think I’ve made that pretty clear around here. A lot of people hate me for it 🙂

        • T&A4Flames

          I’m with you on that one Schevvy, I’ve hoped for this from the start of the season. Of course I expected a better return, but whatever.

          It’s a win win really. Pens win we bet to watch Iggy get his cup. They lose out, we get a slightly better draft position.

        • T&A4Flames

          No one hates you for it. As you know I am a Pens fan and would love for Iggy to win with them. But, last year I defended Fleury to no end. Eating crow now.

        • RexLibris

          and Kent,

          I know. I just thought it interesting that some Flames fans could find another reason to cheer for the Islanders.

          On the Penguins, though, while I like their team and the skill they possess, I’m not convinced that pick will be all that low. While he hasn’t collapsed again to the same extent as last year, Fleury really has had some issues in the post-season and I wonder how he’ll do if facing the next opponent.

          • Forget Fleury…the Pens are losing the possession battle to the Islanders handily even with Crosby and Malkin in the line-up. If their PP wasn’t firing at 40%+, they’d be down in the series.

            They might get past NYI but are in trouble if they face anyone better than them in round 2.

          • seve927

            I’ve only watched one game, but the Islanders completely owned them in game 3. Every loose puck belonged to the Isles. Crosby won pretty much every shift by himself, but Malkin wasn’t providing them any relief. I’d love to see the Isles bounce ’em.

          • piscera.infada

            Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see Iginla win his cup, so my cheering for the Isles has nothing to do with Iginla.

            I just happen to like the underdog.

            It seemed like no one gave the Islanders a shot at even winning a game in this series (aside from the playoff primer article posted here). I agreed with that article, and thought it would – at the very least – be a closer series than everyone was predicting.

      • piscera.infada

        The trade was fair value. B-C level prospects along with a very low first pick. I would’ve actually preferred two A level prospects and a high second but what the hell do I know, I’ve only been saying all along that Iginla’s trade value wasn’t all that high. He’s absolutely terrible defensively and loses possession A LOT. He’s still good on the rush but cannot sustain zone pressure not even one iota anymore.

  • RexLibris

    Later picks in the 1st? Zykov!

    I’ll have to look closer at Lazar. It’s not that I don’t ‘like’ the guy per se, but his offensive ceiling seems limited according to a lot of scouting reports.

  • RexLibris

    Iggy is technically tied for 4th in playoff scoring though, and points and goals are ultimately how people form their opinions. His legacy is safe. Plus, he’s older now. People recognize that.

    I’d say Calgary is all aboard on the Pens train! Wasn’t the herald article the other day titled “Iginla and the Pens Lose… blah blah blah”

    I don’t really understand the occasional animosity that I do see towards him from Flames fans. Iggy needs his cup.


  • Jeff Lebowski

    Apparently Nickushkin was not overly engaged at the U18. Maybe he was fighting injury or illness. He did look good at the World Juniors. Maybe we swing some sort of deal with Buffalo and get their number 8. We always seem to trade at draft with them. Then take the Russian and Lindholme. Probably won’t happen. I must say that I have a feeling one of the anointed top 4 is going to be there at 6. A lot of talk that there are 4 guys who may have top 4 value to other teams including the Russian, Nurse, Routselainen and Lindholme. Someone always falls.

  • T&A4Flames

    RE: Nichushkin, everyone is forgetting one extremely important factor: prospect interviews.

    Don’t you think that, after the whole Tim Erixon fiasco, basically the first question asked will be “How do you feel about playing for the Flames?”

  • RexLibris

    I’m with T&A4Flames & for that matter Rex. This 6th overall should not be messed with a swing for a high ceiling kid. I think seeing Ramo isn’t already signed & we took a goalie as part of the JBO deal when we have some very very good young prospects within striking range, KHL has become a league that competes with the NHL & they have NHL type $$$$. Sorry, no thanks. We need a solid next to sure thing blue chip centre & so what he may settle as a 2nd line C. We aint getting the last 7 years of waste back in this draft. I would rather get another very good asset & trade down to 9th or 10th than swing for the fences like we did with Jankowski. That’s just me.