FlamesNation Fan Ask – August 16, 2013


It’s no secret that things are slow in the NHL world – that August kind of slow. Most sports fans in Calgary have turned their attention to the thriving Stampeders and any Flames talk was placed in storage for the summer. Anyway, I thought I’d do a little Q&A to mix things up so I asked fans on Twitter and Facebook to send in questions for me to answer and I’ve narrowed it down to 10.

So without further ado…

@randy_foster asks: Name 3 rookies not named Knight or Monahan that could be poised for a solid camp and uproot a veteran?

First and foremost I think is Lance Bouma. Brent Sutter loved him and many believed he was a near lock to make the team out of camp last year. Unfirtunately he broke his leg in Heat training camp and was lost for the year. I imagine he’ll come into camp hungry and with the youth winds sweeping through Calgary, will be given every opportunity to succeed. Mr. McGrattan, Mr. Jackman, I hope you like pressbox popcorn.

You can also mention Carter Bancks in the same breath as Lance Bouma when listing contenders for the 4th line. Management absolutely loves Carters’ work ethic and drive, with Jay Feaster recently saying he "wishes every player in the organization trained as hard as Bancks" in an interview withnthe Fan. I’ve seen Bancks play a couple of times and every time I come away with the same impression: the kid can shoot the puck. Which is always nice for a 4th line guy. A good camp would go a long way towards possibly uprooting face breakers McGrattan or Jackman from one of the 4th line positions.

Guys like Cundari, Horak or Reinhart wouldn’t be massive surprises to make the opening day roster so I decided to go with Chris Breen as the final dark horse candidate. He’s played good hockey in the AHL for the past few years and many have speculated he’s NHL ready now. We’ll have to see how he can handle the speed of the big leagues as the big guy isn’t known for speed.

David asks: Which Flames do you see playing in the Olympics in Sochi next year?

Karri Ramo – provided he establishes himself as an NHL starter – has a shot at going to Sochi. Remember a team can take three goalies, so him being the third string guy isn’t out of the realm of possibility. Jiri Hudler will be there for the Czech’s, maybe even playing with former Flames mega star Roman Cervenka! You could make a case for Mikael Backlund I suppose as a 3rd or 4th line guy for Sweden but other than that, I don’t see any other guys at this point who have legitimate shots at making their respective countries squads. Welcome to the rebuild.

@NhlAndre asks: Who do you see starting and finishing the year in net for the Flames barring injury?

I think the "finishing the year" part of the question is most interesting. Karri Ramo is in my mind the undisputed starter and will take Kiprusoff’s spot in the crease when the first anthem of the Flames season is sung, but I’m not so sure that he finishes the year as the incumbent. If he can’t handle NHL, there’s always Joey MacDonald, Reto Berra or even one of the young bloods, Joni Ortio or Laurent Brossoit, there to take over the rubber stopping duties. So basically, Ramo in game 1, fill in the blank in game 82.

Eric asks: How would you rank Calgary‘s prospect system?

I’m right in line with Corey Pronman’s analysis of Calgary being a Top 10 system in the league. The top end is good, the depth is spectacular and unlike past years, it actually has variety. Not just grinders or silky snipers, it’s a mix of everything which I think is important depth to have. However, say Baertschi, Monahan, Knight and Cundari all graduate this season, the Flames system drops considerably. Maybe even past the league average and into the 20’s. Not to worry though, the 2014 Draft will no doubt resupply it with top talent. Do I hear top 3 pick?

@finleysp asks: If you’re the Flames and are picking 1st overall right now, which of Aaron Ekblad, William Nylander and Sam Reinhart do you take?

All of the above? Seriously though I’d go with the big defenseman, Ekblad. In my eyes all three are at the same level and this upcoming season will go a long way in setting them apart when the final 2014 draft rankings come rolling out. Ekblad would fill a giant hole on defence for the Flames and although at this point I think Nylander has a slightly higher ceiling, Calgary can’t make the same mistake the Oilers did and beef up the forward ranks while leaving their defence in shambles. It’s like when working out, you skip leg day and end up with a killer upper body but havechicken legs. Only half of you will look good and that’s what the Oilers look like right now. Since the skill/potential gap isn’t big, Flames go for need with Ekblad.

Kyle asks: Where do the Flames finish next year in the standings?

Unless they somehow make the playoffs by way of a miracle, I pray it’s a bottom three position. They desperately need a Top 3 pick in next year’s draft and by looks of it right now, the roster is in good shape to provide just that.

@GoslingJon asks: Who is the next Captain of the Calgary Flames?

Mark Giordano has all the intangibles and tools to fill that massive void left by Jarome Iginla. Will he have the same impact as Captain as Jarome did? Probably not. But I think he’s the closest thing to a bonafide leader that the Flames have right now. I’d be more in favour of leaving the captaincy vacant next year though.

@JustinBeatty777 asks: How many points will  SVEN Baertschi get next year?

Well unfortunately I recently broke my crystal ball but if I were to guess, I’d say something around 50 points. It’s a pretty tall order for a sophomore (technically a rookie because of games played) on a crap team but I think a combination of skill and opportunity will make the 50 point plateau a reachable one for Baertschi. I wouldn’t be crushed if he doesn’t reach it but it’d definitely be nice to see.

@mlamb07 asks: Does the Flames’ goaltending prospect pool actually have the potential to yield a starter?

Short Answer: Yes. Excluding Karri Ramo and Reto Berra because they’re established pros, the Flames goaltending depth looks very good. I’d go as far as saying if the stars align, all 3 of Laurent Brossoit, Joni Ortio and Jon Gillies could be stopping NHL puck as starters.

At this point Gillies the most likely of the group to realize that potential as he’s the youngest and has already played excellent hockey at the NCAA level, but the other two have shots as well. The key I think is they all have the tools and have shown flashes of brilliance and it now comes down to properly developing and cultivating them so that they can translate all that to consistent, high level goaltending. Easier said then done but the potential is there.

@Arrrrik asks: Would Backstreet Boys, N’Sync, 98 Degrees or O-Town be better for the Flames goal song?

Backstreet Boys – Quit Playing Games With My Heart or Enrique Iglesias’ Finally Found You are my nominations.

Editors Note – If everyone likes this feature, we make it a weekly thing.

Recently on FlamesNation

  • BurningSensation

    If Sven gets 50 he is a Calder candidate. Your discussion on Bouma and Bancks makes the McGrattan signing seem meaningless. The one question not asked that matters for the rebuild is “which UFA’s will be traded and what do you think the assets would be as we start the season?”

  • BurningSensation

    “@Arrrrik asks: Would Backstreet Boys, N’Sync, 98 Degrees or O-Town be better for the Flames goal song?

    Roatis: Backstreet Boys – Quit Playing Games With My Heart or Enrique Iglesias’ Finally Found You are my nominations.”

    Please tell me this is some kind of sick joke being played on everyone born before 1980.

  • BitGeek

    Here’s another couple of questions for you, who would you bring in to update the flames development program? What components are essential for a good development program?

  • BurningSensation

    “All of the above? Seriously though I’d go with the big defenseman, Ekblad.”

    I knew I liked you.

    My suggestion for the goal song was “Through the Fire and Flames” by Dragonforce. If I have to explain why…

  • BurningSensation

    I still haven’t worked out what the goal song should be (though I’m partial to ‘Inside a Fireball’ by Hunters and Collectors), but I definitely think the Flames should roll on to the ice to Ministry’s ‘Burning Inside’ (the live version with full sirens effects);



    With Keegan Kanzig being the first guy on the ice, as our own Boagrius.

  • BurningSensation

    Also, when Jankowski makes the show and has his first goal I’d like the arena to play ‘How you like me now’ by The Heavy and dedicate it to Ryan Lambert .

  • BurningSensation

    Along with the goal song theme what is going to be the “I made an absolutely rediculous save” song. Should we even consider having one? I dont think you can keep the same song now that Kipper has officially unofficially retired.

  • Parallex


    “However, say Baertschi, Monahan, Knight and Cundari all graduate this season”

    What about if you say just Baertschi & Knight (under the assumption that Monahan get’s 9 games of less and Cundari is top pair on the Heat)?

    On a hypothetical #1 pick… I’m not sure I could pick Ekblad over Reinhart. I’d probably have Ekblad as my #2 pick. I do agree that the Flames need to devote more draft resources towards the blueline though. I’m kind of thinking that the Flames ought to devote if not their 1st pick then at least their 2nd round pick alongside whatever they can get for The Leftovers (Which is now my collective name for Cammy, Stempniak, and Stajan) to defense.

    Sven getting 50 seems pretty optimistic… I’m curious, Assuming the roster doesn’t change (and Monahan goes back to the OHL) How would you roll out the forward lines? Me personally I’d go… Cammy-Stajan-Stempniak (All upcoming free agents, done by design so I can use circumstances to up their counting stats for future trades not to Sedin like levels but lots of PP time and most post-oppo icing faceoffs), Glencross-Backlund-Jones (they’ll take the mildly harder minutes that you have to have in order for the trade bait to get better minutes), then Sven-Knight-Hudler (Straight 3rd line PvP and icetime), Galiardi, Bouma, Jackman, and Dancing bear can all share 4th line duties.

    • BurningSensation

      I’m not sure about playing Sven on a third line. But then again my plan would be to build 4 lines and roll them out and hide no one. Find out who can play in every situation. It’s not as if we are a team that will contend this year.

      Also after the big three names (draft class 2014)are there any others we should be watching for?

      • Parallex

        I’d rather try to increase the trade value of the upcoming free agents (and in the process make them more expensive for other teams as free agents). No harm in having Sven play on the third line… he’s getting quality linemates and he’d be facing decent competition (to say nothing of the fact that he’d only be a “3rd line” player until the deadline… after that he’d get bumped to fill the void left by the departed trade pieces.

        2014 Names to watch outside the big three (IMO)…

        Nick Ritchie, Nikolay Goldobin, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan MacInnis (Son of Al,) Nick Schmaltz, Roland McKeown.

        • Parallex

          Thanks for the info on other names to watch for, after my querrie I did some looking as well. Your reasoning for the UFA’s makes sense to me but I still believe we have to think outside the traditional thinking of line 1,2,3 and 4 and have the young kids play with vets and in every situation, this would allow us to determine what we need going forward. I’m wondering what you think each of the three UFA’s would bring based upon their history ( we can’t predict their season). Lots of good stuff here.

      • Christian Roatis

        The big 3 at this point present the highest ceiling, after that you leave the realm of “possible All Star” (whereas in 2013 that realm was 8-12 players deep) and into an area of the rankings everyone has differently at this point. Two favourites of mine right now though are Michael Dal Colle and Kasperi Kapanen.

    • Matty Franchise Jr

      I like your plan. Give the trade bait squad lots of ES1 and PP1 time, with plenty of easy minutes (but maybe not to Sedin levels – always playing against the toughs could demoralize the youth on ES2-4 lines). Boost their stats and trade value so the Flames get back as much as possible.

      I’m firmly in the “Take the BPA” camp though. If you end up with all sniper forwards, then trade some for D. Reinhart for Ekblad+ for example. It’s probably a simplistic view, but there you have it.

      • piscera.infada

        “I’m firmly in the “Take the BPA” camp though. If you end up with all sniper forwards, then trade some for D. Reinhart for Ekblad+ for example. It’s probably a simplistic view, but there you have it.”

        So am I. Usually. In this one case, though, I’d make an exception. Ekblad just makes too much sense.

        It’s likely a moot point though, since the chances of the Flames getting the first overall pick are quite bad.

  • Scary Gary

    I thought Bouma was sidelined with a sprained MCL/ACL in his right knee, not a broken leg?

    I personally wouldn’t want to see a Dman taken in the top three unless he’s the next Doughty or Pietrangelo.

  • Prairie Chicken by-the-Sea

    I liked it too – great idea for a weekly feature. Also, I’m beginning to wonder if the upcoming season reveals Jon Gillies as the prospect that gets us the most excited. Fun time to be a Flames fan for a change.

  • Skuehler

    Should we be looking at moving a goalie prospect for 2014 draft pick, a defenseman or an NHL level right winger?

    Why is there such a high valuation on prospects right now? I don’t understand why intentionally sucking is getting everyone so excited about potentially getting a top 6 pick when we got some decent talent this year at the 22 and 28 picks. Granted, not every year is as deep as this past one for draft talent, but missing the playoffs on purpose just to move up a couple of spots is really just going soft on your scouting and development depts no? Yes, it was time for a regime change here but insisting on getting rid of EVERY single asset we have so we can get as many question marks as possible only seems to me like a wholesale rejection of what has happened in the past and not a credible alternative to becoming more competitive than we have been since 2004. We could always apply to step down a league and have the flames play in AHL or something, but we aren’t really putting an NHL team on the ice at this point for 2014. Sure, we all can see its going to be a rough ride and an exciting development year, but why the insistent, strident march toward a long rebuild? Surely there are tools here to enable us to compete. it seems like a polar opposite response to the previous approach of over-valuating veteran free-agents. Wouldn’t a healthy team have an on-going drafting (ie: not trading away 1st and 2nd round draft picks) and development program to challenge the veterans and provide organizational assets that can be used to fill holes, not just saving that mentality for wholesale ‘rebuilds’? Looking for the quick fix – wether through drafting studs or signing free-agent studs is a risky road vs the investments that organizations like the redwings commit to.

    Which free agent will (if any) Feaster actually sign? With a unanimous grim prognosis of a bottom 5 finish, a mandate to make the playoffs, and cap space, surely he has to sign someone?

    Just a few sincere questions…

    • Matty Franchise Jr

      I think you’re missing the fact that the Flames were not competing, and hadn’t for several years. They did not have the tools on the team or on the farm.

      And this is not a road to a quick fix – this is a long haul. The quick fix road included Jarome with the likes of Cammy twice, Tangs twice, and Sex Panther twice – which ever guy was going to set up Jarome so that they could squeek into 8th and thereby have a shot at a cup. The long haul is drafting guys who will be contributing NHLers in a couple of years.

      The Detroit model is fine once you are a good team with good organizational depth. But when you’re Flames league worst (or thereabouts) organizational depth, and a team that isn’t good enough to make the playoffs for several years in a row, you have to do something to get to where Detroit is so that you can then implement their model.

      It seems to me that that “something” they are doing is getting rid of old, average, expensive players and replacing each with 2-3 young prospect and/or draft picks. In a few years that depth will hopefully make for a competative NHL team with continuing organizational depth going forward.

      • Skuehler

        I agree with where you’re coming from but suggesting as many do that Knight, Baertschi, and Monahan will be the difference makers in the short term is quick-fix thinking. Sven hasn’t made a ripple yet in the NHL and people are predicting a 50 point season.
        What is so hard to understand is how they got here and who is accountable for running such a massive business’ product into the ground. How did no one notice that the on ice product was cresting and declining, that there was not legit options coming up, that the cupboards were bear and that draft picks were wasted away?