Another week, another round of fan questions. If you want to submit a question that will appear in this weekly feature, submit something here. This week, we talk about rebuild models, future offer sheets, over/under on Sven Baertschi’s season and how many goals Brian McGrattan will manage this year.
We’ll start with the longest question/answer…
Why do people assume that the Edmonton model for rebuild is the only good one? Ottawa Rebuilt while remaining competitive, while Oilers intentionally tanked (at the Management level) and lost lots . is it wrong to believe Flames can win more than they lose while building, make Flames a desirable destination.
First, I’ll say I haven’t talked to anyone who thinks the Oilers is the ideal rebuild model. In fact, it’s a misnomer to call Edmonton’s activities a "model". For much of the last seven or so years, the Oilers management wasn’t actively trying to actually lose; they did so because they were completely incompetent. It was only the last few years under Steve Tambellini, when it became clear that the team was going to be terrible regardless of their efforts, that the club "embraced" the rebuild.
So that’s not a model or tactic. It’s just idiocy.
It is definitely possible to stay competitive while rebuilding. In fact, this is what good management does at all stages of their club’s cycle – they manage team attrition and player career arcs and replenish appropriately via the draft, trades and free agency. Unfortunately for the Flames, they weren’t really able to do this successfully. They were the worst drafting team in the league through most of Sutter’s tenure and they clung to failing former cornerstones like Iginla and Kipper for too long, which stunted to the club’s ability to leverage them for good returns and also to move on philosophically from the "Iginla era".
As such, it’s going to be highly difficult for the Flames to both stay out of the basement while the rebuild and/or grab the necessary elite level talent they’ll need to finally move beyond the middle of the pack in the west. One of the reasons OTT is not a good comparable for CGY is the Sens had a guy like Jason Spezza who was still in his prime and then had Eric Karlsson suddenly develop into one the elite defenders in the league. Calgary doesn’t have pieces like that.
With the Flames budget and cap space, they could probably go out and spend a bunch of money next summer in free agency and cobble together a roster that is at least a playoff threat, but that might also push them back into the Sisyphean cycle of finishing somewhere between 7-10 in the West every year.
The best thing the team can do is allow the rebuild to be "organic": patiently develop their internal assets, sell off maturing, pending UFA’s, do as well as they can at the draft and then look for opportunities to add under valued guys like Joe Colborne. That strikes me as the best path forward.
Will the flames look to trade or offer sheet another rfa in the off season to speed up the rebuild?
With all their cap space and with Burke in the organization, a trade wouldn’t surprise me. Probably not an offer sheet though – the team is likely still smarting from the O’Reilly fiasco.
What is a reasonable and likely return for the Flames pending free agents this year? (Stajan, Cammy, Stemp, Butler (ha) etc.
It will depend highly on their performance. Of those guys, probably only Cammalleri gets you first round pick back. If Stempniak continues to be top-notch, he might get you a couple of 2nds or something. Butler and $2.00 gets you a coffee at Starbucks.
Could the Flames, due to Burke’s Involvement, be looking to Poach from TML? such as Phaneuf, JVR, or JMLiles?
They could get Liles very easily because the Leafs want to get rid of him. JVR I doubt is up for grabs and Phaneuf will only go if they can’t re-sign him.
Over under on svens pts this year 45?
That’s optimistic I’d say. I’d put it at 30.
Will big ern get more that 3 goals?
Probably not. He’s only scored 3 goals at the NHL level once (ast year!), let alone more than 3. If he does, let’s hope they all come against the Oilers.