Five things: The waiting game

1. Things are about to get crazy

Now that the playoffs are over, it’s about to be the most hectic week in hockey in quite some time. Buyouts, signings, trades, the draft, and whatever front office moves get made in the next seven-plus days ahead of the July 5 free agency day are going to be insane. And then there’s free agency!

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It’s been interesting to see how teams are preparing for the new, lower cap environment, because lots will have some very difficult decisions to make. In general, I think you might see a little more distribution of good-ish (if overpaid) UFAs and perhaps even difficult-to-sign RFAs throughout the league as teams scramble to get under the cap and get value at the same time. Smaller market teams might necessarily become their "choice" destinations simply because more competitive teams likely won’t have the wiggle room, and I think that’ll be interesting. It probably lends itself to the "parity" Gary Bettman is always going on about.

From talking to a couple people about it, you’re probably going to see things go absolutely bonkers a day or two before the draft as picks are more likely to be sought-after as a means of getting value on cap-clearing deals. Case in point: Elliotte Friedman reporting that Tampa is offering up a draft pick to anyone dumb enough to take on Ryan Malone’s contract, which has two years left at a $4.5M cap hit (but just $2.5M per year in terms of actual salary). No word on exactly how high, but you’d think "fairly" is the category into which it would fall. Something for the Flames – who have tons of cap space – to keep in mind.

Speaking of which…

2. A Carolina jubilee

The pick that everyone seems to be talking about most is Carolina’s at No. 5. It’s available for the right price, but only if the guy they want there — Nichushkin or Barkov, you’d think — is gone. In return they’d like another first-round pick and a top-4 defenseman. That D would also probably have to be relatively cheap and, preferably, pretty young. (Say, how does Chris Butler sound?)

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Of course, there are teams that would probably give the right arms of at least two goaltenders in their systems to get into that spot, so you’d also have to imagine there would be a considerable bidding war among those teams, which kind of sucks for Calgary (although the Flames are the only club who can offer two first rounders).

Do you really want to give up a potentially good piece and the No. 6 to move up one spot? You have to imagine they wouldn’t go for even a combination of the two later picks and a Butler type, but then I guess that’s The Romance Of The Draft for you. One never knows what will happen, particularly where Calgary is concerned. I remember vividly the "WHAT" reaction I felt when they moved for Alex Tanguay, and it would take the same level maneuver to elicit that from me again. Getting the No. 5 without giving up the No. 6 certainly fits that theoretical bill, not that I’m holding my breath.

3. Here’s what I don’t get about the Kiprusoff hullabaloo

So Miikka Kiprusoff "announced" he was retiring through the backest of back channels earlier this week and kicked up a whole big controversy about Doesn’t He Owe The People Of This Town Something? This was most notably heard from Eric Francis, who is obviously one to write something this dumb and bad, but echoed from others around town as well.

But here’s the thing, right? Didn’t we all know he was retiring? There was that thing Mike Keenan said about the understanding he wouldn’t play the final year of his contract (still waiting for the NHL sanctions on that one, by the way). There was the little farewell game he got. There was the stuff Jay Feaster said about him at the deadline and then after the regular season. There was the fact that he got on a plane to Finland so fast after the season that there was a Kiprusoff-shaped hole in a cloud above Calgary. There was the fact that the Flames signed 14 goalies for next season.

If you didn’t know Kiprusoff wasn’t coming back, you don’t deserve the good bye because you don’t understand anything. And what would be the point? "Hey Miikka, get on a plane and fly across an ocean and half a continent to go to a 20-minute press conference and answer boring questions for no reason and oh by the way the whole city’s underwater." It would serve no purpose, really.

Calgary fans got to say good bye in that final Saddledome game. That’s plenty. Leave the guy alone.

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4. Harvey the Hound

I’ve obviously watched with horror from afar at all the devastation Calgary has gone through since the flooding started and honestly, if there was going to be one indelible image from the whole tragic event, it’s the idea of Harvey the Hound’s head bobbing around sadly in a flooded, pitch-black Saddledome. Man, I’m never going to be able to look at that dumb dog the same again, remembering only his creep eyes peering out filthily from that mask of grime. Just horrible stuff.

I am, however, glad to see the city, and indeed the entire country, come together as it apparently has to support those affected by the floods. It reminded me a lot of what happened immediately after the marathon bombing here in Boston; everyone was so supportive, giving what they could in any way, and I’m glad to see it. I’ve been thinking about you guys a lot.

5. I know you probably don’t need the reminder, but…

As always, if you have the ability to make a financial donation to the Canadian Red Cross’s Alberta flood relief efforts, it would be really great if you would. Click here to do that. Thank you.

  • aloudoun

    I have to think that Giordano might be a defenseman that could get the Canes to move #5. He is a player that will be post-apex by the time the Flames get any kind of lift in this rebuild.

    To the Hurricanes:




    To the Flames:



    Flames then would be able to draft both Lindholm and Monahan giving them lots of future options for middle slots with Lindholm having the flexibility to play on the wing in a top six role as well.

    The #35 pick provides the Flames with one of the top 40 prospects and is probably somebody that they would have looked at with #28.

    Gives the Canes two first round picks and defenseman that is comfortably a #3 and can play in the top two with the right partner.

    Flames then look at UFA defensemen like Ferance to help fill in the gaps. No true top pairing defense on the back end but they should be able to put together a group of four 3/4 defensemen that with a more defensively structured system could keep them from getting blown out every night if they get average to good goaltending.

    • aloudoun

      Im hoping that someone is going to draft Nichushkin or Nurse in the top four. That means at 5 you get one of Drouin or Barkov. Then draft Lindholm or Monahan at 6. That would make me ecstatic.

    • aloudoun

      Don’t think they can afford Gio’s contract. Malone deal wouldn’t be bad if you can get a 2nd, but I’m pretty sure he has a no movement clause and wants Tampa or Pittsburgh.

    • piscera.infada

      I’ve been big on the whole Gio to Carolina thing for some time now. I think it’s definitely do-able. They can, in fact, afford his cap hit (and who cares? If you need to eat a ‘cool’ million, you do it for #5).

      But I’m more of the mind that you take Lindholm/Monahan and then Nichuskin. With two picks of that ilk, suddenly Nich doesn’t become as much of a risky pick – at least for the amount of upside he has. If someone takes Nichuskin, then you likely have Barkov, Drouin, or Jones to choose from – something I would take a million times, if I could.

      In short, this Carolina opportunity needs to be pushed hard by Feaster and Co. I know the optics maybe aren’t as nice as getting into the top 2 or 3, but I firmly believe having 5 and 6 would be better for this franchise.

    • everton fc

      I like this deal. I happen to think Gio’s a good d-man, but a smidge over-rated. Just a smidge. And he’s on the cusp of 30. I’d like to see Ference back here. What an improvement over Butler, who should be shopped for a 3rd/4th round pick.

      And then you might be able to take the Ryan Malone contract, and another pick. Again, good thinking. Malone’s a decent addition. At 33, not yet a geezer. A big body who’s not afrad to throw his body around, who’ll drop the mitts for his teammates. He’ll give you some scoring. I’m trying to think who’s currently on the left-side; Baertschi/Tanguay/Glencross/Begin… Horak shoots left, does he not? Where would Malone fit? Would he be a better fit than Tanguay? Is he still a top 6 forward? He’s certainly a power forward. Interesting discussion.

      As for Gilbert, I don’t mind that idea, either. Could he play 5/6? That’d be safer.

      I say we continue to stockpile picks.

      • piscera.infada

        Just have to disagree a little bit with you. I don’t think Giordano is overrated at all. I just think he’s a 3/4 Dman, being asked to do too much here. The guy is a solid (and I mean solid) 3 who can move up or down the lineup a little bit – if needed due to injury. He is not an every-night top pairing, big minute guy. But I feel he’d be extremely valuable come playoff time, as he plays that no-fear-shot-blocking style. Thus, he’s one of the few guys I don’t think we (as fans) overvalue on the Flames roster – he’s just not able to do things we may have expected at one point.

  • aloudoun

    Then I take the Ryan Malone contract from the Lightning along with pick #33 and #124 for picks #157 and #211. Malone has a high cap and low salary which makes it perfect for a rebuilding team and if he is healthy has enough jam to fill the toughness quotient that Feaster is looking for.

    • everton fc

      Love your thinking on this. You could even consider buying him out which may help him decide to allow a trade to the Flames. I think Gio may be the one D to keep, he’s been here a long time & has the potential C on his jersey. The guy I would look at maybe biting 1.5 mill of the contract to Carolina would be Wideman. So Wideman at 3.7mill + #22 & #28 for #5 & #35. They are in bad need for a cheap #3 centre, maybe throw in Horak to sweeten the deal.

      Cant believe Tampa are buying out Vinny. That’s a lot of $$$ for that team.

  • Graham

    The Flames should only move up to 5 if one of Barkov or Drouin are on the board. The Flames need to draft a quality center, and both these guys seem to be a cut above Lindholm or Monahan. I would puck Lindhoim or Monahan above Nichushkin or Nurse at six. At this stage the Flames can’t afford the risk with Nichuskin, love Nurse, but we need a center over a d man.
    Trading up for a pick in the 10-15 range might be worth a look, that could be an interesting part of the draft, as teams start to deviate from the script. Likely someone will fall from the top 10 into that area.
    I know we are getting the ‘best player’ mantra from Feaster, but please no goalie with a first round pick.

  • piscera.infada

    Right now Minnesota is sitting with $3M in cap space and cannot buy out Heatley due to injury concerns. Heard something that they might be looking to trade or buyout Gilbert instead.

    Gilbert makes $4M for one more year and is an average defenseman but would be a good addition with Ference to help fill the middle of the defense roster if we move Giordano.

    Played right we could bring in Gilbert along with #46 and #107 for #67.

    Lots of salary to bring in for Gilbert and Malone but the extra picks would definitely make it worth it.

  • piscera.infada

    Tampa just bought out Lecavalier. I wonder if Feaster offered to take him off their hands if they swapped their first rounder for our two later rounders. That would have been a good use of Flames’ money.

    • Why would Feaster do that? Now the Flames can sign him as a UFA and they don’t owe Tampa Bay anything. They bought him out because they didn’t want to pay him $7.5M per year until he’s 40, doubt it was because of some backdoor deal with Feaster.

      I think he’s going to be signed by CGY. Lecavalier/Stajan/Backlund/Knight might well be our C on opening night, barring any major trade (Vinny/Backs/Knight is more likely).

      I can only imagine that teams know Feaster is desperate and willing to take bad deals. I can picture Carolina being called to pick, slowly getting up, waiting for that call, then smiling and laughing to themselves when Feaster calls and offers everything for their pick. People know he’s a desperate GM.

  • everton fc

    If Knight’s the 4th line centre, I’d like to see Horak on the left wing. I like Jackman, and perhaps with these two they can generate some offence.

    Then again, I’m not as convinced as everyone else Knight’s on the opening-day roster.

  • Burnward

    Here is my full master plan:

    To Hurricanes: Giordano, #22, and #28
    To Calgary: #5 and #35

    To Lightning: #157 and #211
    To Calgary: Ryan Malone, #33 and #124

    To Minnesota: #124 and #135
    To Calgary: Tom Gilbert and #46

    To Toronto: Mike Cammalleri and #67
    To Calgary: #21

    To Colorado: Alex Tanguay
    To Calgary: #63

    To Philadelphia: Chris Butler
    To Calgary: #72

    Calgary would have the following draft picks:
    #5 – Drouin
    #6 – Lindholm
    #21 – Zykov
    #33 – De La Rose
    #35 – Heatherington
    #46 – Wheaton
    #63 – Cammarata
    #72 – Tambellini
    #157 – Bartosak
    #187 – Lees

    Expected draft picks to start first round:
    #1 – MacKinnon
    #2 – Jones
    #3 – Barkov
    #4 – Nichushkin

    Sign Andrew Ferance as a UFA in the summer (1 year deal max @ $1.5M).
    Sign PM Bouchard as a UFA in the summer (2 year deal max @ $3M).

  • BurningSensation

    I just read an entire Lambert column and didn’t feel my eyes squirt blood even once…

    More perplexing;

    ” This was most notably heard from Eric Francis, who is obviously one to write something this dumb and bad, but echoed from others around town as well.”

    …is completely on the nose.

    Who are you and what have you done with Ryan Lambert?

  • aloudoun

    Feaster would only be that desperate for the 5th pick if Barkov was still available, and I doubt carolina would even be willing to trade their pick if he was still on the board.

    If barkov is gone, I’d be completely fine if we traded our 2 later picks and either Gio/wideman for their 5th and grab either both lindholm/monahan, or one of them and nichkunin

  • icedawg_42

    Jay Feaster should be on here taking notes 😛 but then he might get the idea to make a good move and we all know that won’t happen. Tis’ the life of a flames fan…