Flames Fan Ask – September 28, 2013



We rounded up a few more fan ask questoins via Ask FM this week. Watch for the call-out on twitter around Thursday or Friday of every week if you have something you’d like FN writers to talk about. Alternatively, you can email me (kent.wilson@gmail.com). This week we look at Burke’s future, share some observations on Kris Russel and discuss a potential rule change

1.) Do you think Brian Burke will be our full time GM at some point?

I think it’s a distinct possibility. During rebuilds, a lot of bodies tend to fall along the way, especially if they get long or messy. Just look up north and count how many coaching and executive changes the Oilers have made since Kevin Lowe ran the good ship Oilers agroundsome some 7 odd-years ago.

If Feaster can conduct a quick turn around, he’ll be fine. If this thing gets ugly and the masses start assembling pitchforks, he’ll be one of the first guys torn down to appease them. In that case, Burke likely takes over.

2.) What are your thoughts on Kris Russell?

I haven’t seen him much this pre-season, but based on his career so far he’s not a really compelling player. Russell’s results since he broke into the league are consistently mediocre, both from an underlying and counting numbers perspective. He’s a guy who seems like he could be another "Dan Boyle" type of defender: undersized, but strong enough offesensively to be a difference maker. He’s never made that leap though.

In terms of scouting, so far I like Russell’s mobility, but he seems to get pushed around and overwhelmed in his own end a lot. He strikes me as a guy who could probably work on the third pairing in an ideal situation.

3.) When will the NHL implement a rule punishing players for carelessly/ on purpose kicking their skate up in the air as they are going down after a hit? Some player will get seriously hurt by this! A player should be held responsible for damage their skate does, just like their stick, don’t you think?

The NHL’s issue when it comes to this sort of discipline isn’t implementing rules, it’s enforcing them. Slashing another player with a skate could easily fall under some of the exisiting ordinance (roughing, intent to injure, etc.), but the league tends to struggle to apply consistent discipline, particularly when mens rea (intention) is involved. Aside from acts like McSorley on Brashear and Bertuzzi on Moore, it’s often very difficult to prove intent on the part of the accused in hockey.

4.) To date, how would you compare Monahan to the other top picks?

If you mean from his draft class, we don’t have enough information. If you mean from other, recent drafts….we don’t have enough information. Sean Monahan hasn’t played a single regular season NHL game yet. We have no real idea how good he’ll be.

From what we’ve seen, Monahan looks like the guy who was described in every scouting report we read though – a smart, savvy center who plays a highly developed game for his age. There are similarly glowing reports about most of the kids picked at the top of the rotation this years as well – Seth Jones is going to make the Preds out of camp. Ditto Jonathan Drouin, Aleksandr Barkov and Nathan MacKinnon in their respective markets. Valery Nichuskin is piling up highlight reel goals in Dallas, Darnell Nurse was outstanding in Edmonton and Elias Lindholm is forcing the Hurricanes to consider holding onto him. Heck, Hunter SHinkaruk and Bo Horvat are going to get at least 9 games in Vancouver to start the year as well.

The 2013 draft was considered one of the most talent dense in recent memory and the early returns seem to be justifying those projections. That said, it will take a least 3 years before we can really start comparing these kids.

5.) Realistically speaking when will the flames be competitive again?

At best, the Flames may start worrying other clubs again in three seasons. Realistically, it will probably take five before they are anything more than plucky basement dwellers. The rebuild can be hastened by a kid or two exceeding expectations or the club pulling a miracle trade, but those are long-shots.

6.) What is the scope (sic) on Hudler, I have not noticed him much this preseason?

I’ll assume you meant "scoop". Hudler has been injured for almost the entire preseason, so he hasn’t had much of a chance to make an impression.

Of course, Hudler is a completely known commodity so it’s not like the exhibition round was going to change anything. A capable middle rotation 40-45 point guy, Hulder probably isn’t in the long-term plans of the team at this point. My guess is he’d like to get out and move to a contender sooner rather than later, but for that to happen he’ll have to play hard and demonstrate his worth to pontential trade partners while the club finds its way.

With three seasons left $4M per year, he may have to play out at least 2013-14 before he garners significant interest around the league.

7. Last year and the year before Floob had #GOBLAIRJONES and hi Brust Army. With Brust gone and GoBlairJones likely to be stuck in Abby all year.. whose should Floob’s new awesome Flame be? (No Matty Franchise is not acceptable as answer)?

I will let BofL answer that in the comments.

Around the Nation

  • Well first off, I’m going to spend a lot of time ragging on Brian McGrattan, because obviously we have to.

    Blair Jones will still be a favourite, even if it is in Abby all year (hey, it worked out that way last season as well), and the Brussian Army will never die.

    As for this season, I don’t have anyone tapped yet, but someone should emerge as a contender pretty quick. Early contenders are Dennis Wideman, Kris Russell (they’ve been great together in the offensive zone in the preseason), and hey Sven always has a shot. I wouldn’t even be surprised if Monahan becomes the guy if he sticks around (though he shouldn’t)

    I’ll tell you what though, I’ll be looking hard at Lance Bouma to be my new Blair Jones. Lot of hashtag potential there.

    And also, it’s too early, but I’ve developed a fondness for Tim Harrison, because I don’t think he exists, and that is a gold mine for me.

  • Oh, don’t get me wrong, if that nine game tryout goes by and Monahan is still on the team, I’m fully on the bandwagon. I think the kid is good enough to play there now, I just don’t think it’s good asset management for him to be there this year.

    But if he is, I’m #TeamSeanahan

    • Rockmorton65

      I think if he’s ready, he’s ready. If the benefits of him going back to jr outweigh the benefits of him staying, send him down. Seems pretty straight forward.

      With all due respect, I think it’s bad asset management to bury a future impact center in junior because you don’t want to pay him until you absolutely have to. If, in three years he’s one of the top 10 centers in the league, open up the vault and give him what he’s worth.

  • RedMan

    I enjoy a dose of good trivia, such as this found on the net today:

    “When Finn Miikka Kiprusoff made his Flames debut in November 2003, he was a relatively unknown 27-year-old with 47 games worth of NHL experience. When relatively unknown Finn Karri Ramo mans Calgary’s crease for the first time, he’ll be 27 with 48 NHL contests under his belt.”


  • beloch

    I’m fine with Monahan staying as long as the decision prioritizes his future ceiling above all else. I don’t know enough about player development to say if playing in the NHL at age 18 is the best thing for him. I’m not sure anyone does, but I’ll admit Flames staff probably know more than me.

    I also hope Monahan never runs into any disciplinary trouble with the league, just so we can avoid headlines like, “Shannahan bans Sean Monahan!”. (Say that out loud five times fast!)

    • Agree 100% (except for Shanahan/Monahan headlines – those would be incredible.) If the team bases the decision entirely on Monahan’s future, then he can play in outerspace for all I care. The decision becomes suspect though, if you think the he’ll be generating new revenue or conveniently diverting headlines from a flailing management team – not that I do necessarily, but motives should be questioned.

  • The Last Big Bear

    1) God I hope Burke becomes the GM soon. Feaster is very nearly as bad as this blog makes him out to be.

    2) Kris Russel is a significant downgrade from Ian White. Probably a downgrade from Anton Babchuk.

    3) Your question inspired me to re-watch the Clint Malarchuk video. Awesome.

    4) Monahan’s hair has the most Dragonball-Z power of any first rounder this season. And he’s improved dramatically, he looks at good against mostly-NHLers in the pre-season as he did against mostly-CHLers in the rookie tournament.

    5) 2016-17.

    6) Hudler is a relatively skilled and soft middle-6 scoring winger. He can put up 25-ish goals in the NHL (and also did very well in the KHL). He makes about 25% more money than he’s worth, because Jay Feaster (see Question 1). He should be on the auction block, but he’s unlikely to generate much interest.

    7) Karri Ramo for UN Secretary General.

    • ChinookArchYYC

      “2) Kris Russel is a significant downgrade from Ian White. Probably a downgrade from Anton Babchuk.”

      Um… No. I don’t think there’s any such thing as a downgrade from Babchuk. More to the point, Butler is better than Babchuk, and Russell is better than Butler. Seems pretty clear-cut to me.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    I really can’t wait till the Monahan NHL vs. Junior debate is over. Of course I’ll be the first guy on the bandwagon, if he makes the team. Until then I’ll keep upsetting the legions of FN fans and hope he gets sent down..