The Weekly Ignition: November 11 2013



First off, everyone here at FlamesNation hopes that you all have an excellent Remembrance Day (or Veteran’s Day for our American pals). As is the tradition, there was an awful lot of ice hockey played over the past three days as it was a long weekend throughout North America.

Let’s get ready for the upcoming week of hockey with a look around at what transpired in the past seven days.


The Calgary Flames concluded their four-game road trip with three game over the past week. Things did not go amazingly well.

On Tuesday night, the game got away from them, and the Flames lost a 5-1 rout in St. Paul to the Minnesota Wild. Jiri Hudler had the lone goal for the Flames. Reto Berra got tagged with the loss. To add insult to injury, Curtis Glencross left the game with an MCL injury. [Post Game]

On Thursday, the Flames had a much better effort in St. Louis. After digging a 3-0 hole for themselves at one point, the team roared back and nearly tied things up. They ended up losing 3-2. Tim Jackman and Mike Cammalleri scored, while Berra started against the team that traded him. [Post Game

On Friday, the Flames had another slow start in Denver against the red-hot Colorado Avalanche. Despite dominating play throughout the second and third periods, they ended up dropping a 4-2 decision. Mike Cammalleri had a pair of goals and Karri Ramo ended up with the loss. [Post Game]

Prior to Friday’s game, the Flames made a rare trade with the hated Edmonton Oilers. Roman Horak and Laurent Brossoit are off to the Oilers farm team in Oklahoma City, while goalie Olivier Roy is headed to the ECHL’s Alaska Aces and Ladislav Smid is the newest Flame. He’ll wear #3.

In other roster shuffling, Max Reinhart was recalled to the Flames to take Glencross’ roster spot while Chad Billins was returned to the AHL on Saturday following Smid’s acquisition.



The Flames went winless, but Jiri Hudler continued to be awesome. Mike Cammalleri scored many goals and Mikael Backlund went from being on the fourth line to being a key player in that last game against Colorado.

In the AHL, the Abbotsford Heat continue to be really good. As in first in the AHL. They won all four games this week, despite the constant roster shuffling (Joey MacDonald in, Reto Berra out, Max Reinhart out, Chad Billins in, Roman Horak and Laurent Brossoit out). They beat San Antonio twice (2-1 and 3-2) and the Toronto Marlies twice (4-3 and 6-3). Ortio and MacDonald each got two starts and two wins. Markus Granlund scored three goals in four games, as did Michael Ferland. In related news, Abbotsford native (and former Edmonton Oiler) Dean Arsene was named team captain. In the ECHL, Alaska won two of three in Idaho and no Flames properties did anything of note.

Once again, my prospect Three Stars includes five players. Morgan Klimchuk had an excellent week, with a hat trick (featuring goals at even-strength, the power play and on the penalty kill) and six points overall.

He was outdone, however, by Johnny “Please Turn Pro Already” Gaudreau, who had seven points in two games, including game-winning goals in both games. Teammate Bill Arnold had “just” six points (slacker), while Emile Poirier had five points and Jon Gillies had a shutout and two wins. Johnny Gaudreau now has 18 points in just 9 games and is already a cealr front runner for the Hobey Baker award.


The Flames play three times this week, all at home, against the Sharks (Tuesday), Stars (Thursday) and Oilers (Saturday). Both Lee Stempniak and Chris Breen skated with the main group on Sunday. Stempniak may be available for Tuesday’s game. The roster is at 22 healthy bodies and four on the IR (Stempniak, Breen, Curtis Glencross and Mark Giordano), so Stempniak can be activated without making a roster move. If they need to do one, though, expect Max Reinhart to return to the Heat.

The Heat head way down south this week for three games. They play the Texas Stars in Cedar Park on Wednesday, then head to Oklahoma City to visit Roman Horak and the Barons on Friday and Saturday. That’s right, folks, Saturday will feature both an NHL Battle of Alberta and the AHL Battle of Alberta Farm Teams. Elsewhere, the Alaska Aces host the Las Vegas Wranglers for three games in less than 72 hours on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, so expect Olivier Roy to get a start somewhere in there. The Aces continue to be a great ECHL team, despite losing a game this weekend.

And Coda Gordon’s Swift Current Broncos head to the Saddledome to face the Hitmen on Friday night. Tickets are still available.

    • Craig

      Every goal he is in on is a thing of beauty he’s so creative. I wonder if he’s bulked up at all this year? if he’s put on a little weight, and cn move like that than he’s ready for the NHL.

    • True but does he play well in all three zones? You better bet Gaudreau and his advisors are watching how the Flames are treating Sven. Offensive talent needs to be responsible defensively but they also need to confidently apply their God given skills which can’t be taught. I don’t think Gaudreau signing with the Flames is in the bag.

      • piscera.infada

        I think you’re grossly overreacting. And honestly, if he’s not going to sign here because he won’t be coddled and/or he’ll have to play defense, then good riddance.

        Every time I’ve hear Gaureau speak he seems to be a good kid with the right priorities. He certainly doesn’t come across as the prima-donna-diva-superstar (surrounded by greedy, flithy, Calgary hating ‘advisors’) you make him out to be.

        • piscera.infada

          Yeah good riddance because we have so much elite offensive talent. Name the last elite offensive talent we have drafted and groomed properly – Hull, St. Louis and Savard were all “good riddance” moves. How did those work out?

          • loudogYYC

            Relax, dude. The treatment Sven has been getting lately is hardly unwarranted.

            You really think Gaudreau wants to go to a team that doesn’t keep their players accountable instead of signing here?

          • piscera.infada

            Because that’s exactly the point…

            Look at Yakupov’s statements from a couple weeks back: “I really don’t like skating all the time, and fore-checking… …it’s not really my game” – well, you sir, may have picked the wrong sport and the wrong league. I’m not saying I don’t want John Gaudreau on the team, in fact, I’m saying the exact opposite. However, if, as your suggesting, he’s so pampered, entitled, self-righteous, egocentric (should I continue?), that he would chose to go elsewhere, because he doesn’t want to play a “team game” – which, if you read my comment again, I thought was pure rubbish with absolutely no basis in reality – then yes, good riddance to him.

            And, by the way, if you are trying to say that either St. Louis, Hull, or Savard only played an “offensive game” that would have been hampered by defensive responsibility, then you must smoking what Rob Ford is smoking because that statement is almost as ridiculous as the tie Ford was wearing when he made his “apology”.

          • EugeneV

            Kenta is saying that the Flames let those guys (Hull, Savard, St. Louis) go, and they came back to bite us on the ass.

            Not about how they “only play an offensive game” as you put it.

            Meaning we can’t afford to let ANY MORE of our offensively gifted players leave.

          • McRib

            The Flames traded away Brett Hall in 1988, Martin St. Louis in 2000 it’s time to move on, also Marc Savard didn’t even want to play here and we have had a half dozen or so GMs since then. Johnny Gaudreau has never said anything except wanting to go back for his junior season to suggest he is not dedicated to the Flames. He is 5’07” frankly it would be rather foolish for him to not at least play three years in college and finish his degree in the summer. The only top prospects in decades to walk away from the team that drafted them after four years at NCAA are Justin Schultz and Blake Wheeler. It rarely happens and if not for the Schultz situation this would not even be a topic of conversation. Looking at Justin Schultz I think he is a self entitled lazy offensive defender that has never been willing to work on his defensive game and really is overvalued by Edmonton because he can score on the power play. Johnny Gaudreau doesn’t seem like a kid that abandons weaknesses and the same leadership group that drafted him (Jay Feaster) unlike what happened with Wheeler in Phoneix the GM that drafted Gaudreau is still around. If you hadn’t noticed the Flames are quietly assembly one of the top prospect pools of any NHL team in the league. We can trade away guys like Roman Horak because players like Ferland & Granlund need more ice time anyway. Why would Gaudreau not want to be a part of that?!?!? The only other team I could fathom him leaving us for is Boston who he frankly would not be able to make for at least two years longer than us, due to their Stanley Cup contending depth. It’s a non issue for me. Look on Johnny Gaudreaus twitter he has Calgary Flames prospect over His current Boston College team.

          • piscera.infada

            I agree that letting those guys go was a mistake (I don’t think anyone will argue that, hindsight being 20/20 and all). I’m simply saying that we can’t sit here today and say “oh, Baertschi sitting – Gaudreau must think we don’t want his offensive skills”.

            If Gaudreau doesn’t want to sign here, it’s because he doesn’t want to sign here – and there’s not much the organization can really do about that. I’m simply stating that if his reason for not signing in Calgary, is because the Flames may or may not sit him as a function of his development, then is that a kid that we really want?

            Again, I’m NOT SAYING UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES that the organization should give up on Gaudreau. No, never, they should keep him and develop him, and let him play to his abilities. I like the player, and I’m really excited to see him play in Flames’ silks. If he decides not to sign here, I’ll be crushed. But, if his goal isn’t to be a better hockey player, then tough titties, we move on.

        • please cancel acct

          I think Gadreau is a good kid too with the right priorities. I think that you exaggerate your position assuming doubters believe he is a prima-donna -diva superstar-greedy filthy on and on jerk.

          There is a loophole in the system that every college kid is aware of.There agents and parents are also very aware. They would be preaching patience to these kids, especially highly touted ones. Bottom line is he hasn’t signed ,and if he does,nt sign this year ,there’s a good chance he won’t sign with Calgary at all.

          • piscera.infada

            That’s reasonable. I’m saying, if he isn’t going to sign here, he isn’t going to sign here. I doubt the treatment of Baertschi is really going to play that much into it, nor do I think his reluctance to play responsible hockey will. Why? Because I don’t think that he thinks that way (I don’t know, but I don’t see him being Radulov 2.0).

            That said, if he decides that what Calgary is offering (opportunity to play on a young a team and potentially be part of something) is so horrible, then yes, screw him, and I’ll personally organize the boo-birds every time he comes.

          • please cancel acct

            If he doesn’t sign in Calgary, it will P Off a lot of us.My guess it won’t be so much about Calgary and more about wanting to play close to home.Like Shultz he will take advantage of loophole.Hard to argue with with that logic when owner,s and manager;s would take advantage of any loopholes as well.

  • Nighteyes

    3 games this week. SJ another tough opponent. Dallas a chance for redemption perhaps. Finally another team playing from the outside looking in, the dreaded Oilers. A chance to see where we fit in against another team in a rebuild (seems like theirs has been going on forever), a chance to see first hand which is better a team full of highly regarded youngsters (by many out there) or team being noted for it’s work ethic.

    I’m looking forward to see the progress of Ramo and Berra. Also to see where Smid fits in and to see if the progress shown by Backs and Sven were one offs are something to build on.

  • Nighteyes

    Just checked out the projected lines for tomorrow. Phew, Backs is back on the second line centering Cammy and Huds, hope they can keep the chemistry going that they developed during the game against the Avs. I am also interested to see how the kid line of Monohan, Reinhart and Sven works against the Sharks. I have an inkling feeling that Hartley is not going to give them much ice time..

  • piscera.infada

    We’ve continued to hear about Johnny Hockey at BC and his linemate Bill Arnold. As well, Jon Gillies continues to impress with his development as a sophomore.

    But what about Ken Agostino at Yale? It looks like he is surrounded by a lot of freshmen and sophomores on a dramatically weakened Bulldog squad.

    What are the reports? Is it just that those around him aren’t of the same talent level as those from prior years? Or is he struggling?

  • Derzie

    It’s clear that Calgary values blue collar and veteran over skill and youth. Guys like Sven, Backlund and Gaudreau will eat lots of popcorn under this regime. And that’s garbage.

  • piscera.infada

    I would also just like to add re: sitting young players. I was watching the Lightning-Bruins game today on the CSN-Lightning feed, and the color guys were talking about the numerous times Stamkos was press-boxed in his first year, for many of the same reasons that Baertschi is currently getting the treatment. I’m not proclaiming this necessarily proves that it’s the right move for the Flames (and I definitely understand the backlash for doing so), but I’m not sold on the idea that it hurts his development. Obviously a player is going to be angry about it happening, but it doesn’t mean they’re going to submarine the organization. There are several reasons to bench a player, and it isn’t always about punishment – I think we can view Stamkos and Baertschi in this light. Baertschi isn’t Stamkos, but all players – especially young ones – should always be willing to learn and improve their game.

    Sorry for soap-boxing everyone tonight. It’s not my intention, I just don’t like the ‘doomsday theories’ that surround some aspects of this team – although I guess it’s part and parcel of a rebuild.

    • mattyc

      I agree re: the doomsday theories. It’s exasperating to listen to. I’m also skeptical that a player’s development is stunted or hindered by being sat a couple games. Sure not playing all year isn’t great, but a game here or there… Moreover, the goal is to make them a good (better) player, not have them pad their stat lines. While having Baertschi play nothing but sheltered minutes all the time may make it easier for him to score, it’s only going to make him seem like he’s further ahead, and won’t be actively improving the weaker areas in his game.

    • It depends on the player and the situation. Elias Lindholm got sat and then demoted already this year and one only need to glance at his numbers to understand that the move makes sense. He’s just not ready for the show.

      As for Stamkos, not only was he 18 when he was getting that treatment, but it was mostly by Barry Melrose, who didn’t even last much more than a month in Tampa. When he left, Stamkos started to figure things out. Who knows if it would have been different had he stuck around. Course, Stamkos is a sublime talent, so it may not have mattered.

      I’m not really worried about development per se, but I don’t like sitting Baertschi for the simple reason that he doesn’t seem to warrant the treatment. He’s not perfect, but he’s an NHLer for sure and he’s better than some of the guys Hartley has chosen to skate in his stead. That reads as overly punitive and not conducive to a good relationship or environment.

      Anyways, I have more on this topic tomorrow.

  • Burnward

    Re: Gaudreau

    Now that Burke is on board, I think it is probably less likely that Gaudreau simply walks away and signs with an East coast team, as accusations of meddling by the other GMs will be flying out of Burke’s mouth…..having said that; now that Burke is on board it is probably more likely that Gaudreau gets traded. If Gaudreau does not want to play in Calgary, East coast teams are better off trading for his rights to avoid the rath of Burke and potentially the league with draft pick penalties. We would unfortunately not be dealing from a position of strength. In addition; I’m not sure if Gaudreau is Burke’s type of player to start with, 5’7 and all…….

  • loudogYYC

    All this babble about whether Johny G will sign somewhere else because of something that happened before many in Flames nation were born is such silliness, much like watching a dog chasing his tail; it just goes round and round.

    All this talk of the Flames never developing a player into an elite player is also garbage. It hasn’t happened lately in part because we did not draft anyone who had the talent. I can remember a wee sprite of a lad that we showed patience on and he became an elite player, wait what was his name; Theo I think. Then there was this other kid out of Junior who was quite a hot shot but struggled a bit his first year and considered becoming a checker; what was his name; Iggie I think. Prior to that I remember a couple of young guys who turned out all right; Newy and Roberts.

    Who knows what this rebuild will bring? We need to be patient. This goes for prospects and wins losses both. The discussion should be about the prospects is that there is some real potential for the first time in years. With Sven and Monahan we have some higher end potential than we have had for years. We have some good prospect in the AHL, I’m not convinced any of them are really high end. Below that we have the list of prospects that have many of us being hopeful.

    • loudogYYC

      I agree with your comments. This whole thing gets blown out of proportion way too often around here.

      I hope everyone knows that the Schultz loophole is very unique and that Johnny G can’t do the same as he’s stayed at the same school since day 1.
      IF the Flames and Gaudreau can’t reach an agreement for some reason by the spring of 2015 then the Flames will have roughly 4 months to trade his rights (Aug 15, 2015 if I’m not mistaken). At this point, Johnny G is Flames asset and management is proving to be very good at asset management.

      Stop worrying so much people.

  • beloch

    Just for fun, I thought I’d look at how Gaudreau’s college numbers compare to Martin St. Louis’s. The rate of scoring has changed a little bit in the last couple of decades. The average goals per game scored in the ECAC over the four years St. Louis was there was 5.35[1] while the average in Hockey East over Gaudreau’s college career so far has been 4.01.

    College Year | MSL (raw) | MSL (adj) | Gaudreau

    ░░░░3░░░░░░2.43░░░░░1.82░░░░░2.00 (so far)

    (all units are points per game)

    Gaudreau is a tiny bit behind St. Louis, but is tracking him very closely when you factor in the change in scoring rate. I think it’s okay to get a little excited!

    However, despite tearing up the NCAA, St. Louis didn’t show up in the NHL ready to be a superstar. He finished his fourth year of college hockey and then spent most of his first two pro seasons in the AHL, where he scored at over 1 ppg. His first 13 games in the NHL with the Flames yielded 11 points! Very nice! The following season he played 56 games for the Flames and scored just 18 points (a 26 point pace for an 82 game season), good for the #12 spot on the 1999 “Young Guns” edition of the Flames. Bear in mind that St. Louis was 24 that season, goals were easier to score back then, and that team got creamed scoring so few. Those were not impressive numbers for a 24 year old! Backlund had 25 points in 2010-2011 as a 22 year old and nobody was impressed! In 20/20 hindsight, trading St. Louis was a huge mistake, but it was understandable based on his numbers that season and, also, the understandable desire to ride as many of the young guns out of town on a rail as possible!

    Gaudreau’s college career is tracking St. Louis’ to a degree that’s almost eerie. However, if Gaudreau continues in St. Louis’ footsteps he might not produce much in the NHL until 2018. Yes, Gaudreau is considering coming to Calgary as early as this season. Yes, the Flames will absolutely give him a cup of coffee. However, he might not accomplish much right away, and that’s okay. He’s still a long-term project player, even if he’s Martin St. Louis 2.0!


    P.S. I would love to see HTML tables allowed in comments!

    • Great work man.

      Also, St. Louis’ journey to the NHL was stacked with obstacles that probably delayed his development. He wasn’t drafted and he was emerging in the NHL around a time that size was far more important and valued than it is today.

      Which isn’t to say Gaudreau won’t be a project (almost all prospects are), but I don’t think St. Louis’ timeline is necessarily indicative.

      Also, St. Louis was never traded by the Flames. They let him walk in the off-season as a free agent. In fact, they bought out his contract for the purpose of releasing him.

      Imagine how different the org would be had that mistake not been made.

  • Remember he is playing in the NCAA, an inferior league. It is not often that a high scoring forward do well in the NHL. Also remember the conference he is in (not a lot of hockey schools). He may come in and play well but his size concerns me. Just don’t get to high on him. I’d prefer to keep expectations low and have him beat them than do what happened with Sven (Calder and numerous art ross). These guys aren’t elite players, they’re good players with other good players around them. Would Gretz done as well if he played for the Leafs in the 80s?