Flames Fan Ask – November 23, 2013


It’s time for another round of Fan Ask. Go Dinos.

Q: If Backlund does get traded, to where and what kind of a return could we possibly see?

A: At this point, I’m thinking like St. Louis or Detroit would be the two teams most likely to be interested. The issue with trading Backlund – other than the fact that you’re getting rid of your second best centre – is that you’re not going to get anywhere near fair value in return for what he brings a team.

He out-possesses top-6 players. Theoretically, that makes him a top-6 player. The going return for that type of player is a 2nd or 1st round pick. I’ll say at absolute best he’d bring back a second, but it would likely be something along the lines of a 3rd and a middling prospect. Not worth it. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure a Backlund trade is inevitable now, so resign yourself to the fact that they won’t get fair value. I’m pretty sure this is the next move to go down. 

Q: What the hell happened to Janko?

A: Jankowski’s current scoring struggles were talked about in the last edition of our NHLE updates, and what I said at the time is that he needed to increase his shots per game. If he was averaging 3 shots per, the scoring struggles wouldn’t be an issue.

Unfortunately, he isn’t really even close to that marker. Janko’s now dropped back almost to where he was last season (~1.7 SH/G) and is only averaging ~1.9 SH/G. He’s still shooting 30%, too. Because of his talent we might not see that drop below 15% but that still indicates he’s been twice as lucky as he should’ve been. The assists – or lack there of – are starting to worry me as well. The NCAA is 1/4 of the way through their season too, and even though Jankowski is getting PP time and Providence has scored 44 goals, he still only has the one assist. I’m still willing to chalk that up to bad luck but if he can’t get assists long-term it suggests he’s just a peripheral player.

So, in short, nothing “happened” to Jankowski, but he isn’t doing the things he needs to be doing right now.

Q: Chances Monahan goes to the WJC?

A: I can’t see them releasing Monahan to the WJC. It’s painfully obvious that the people around the team expect them to stay as competitive as possible. You’re not going to send away one of your best-scoring forwards if that’s the case. Plus, he’d likely have to go to orientation camp, which is even more time spent where he’s not on the roster.

I would send him to the WJC for sure, but I’m not the one in charge.

Q: Why are fans of the Flames franchise so defensive of Face Punchers, or make excuses for them when they are visibly and quantifiably bad?

A: I don’t think that the love for goons is simply a Calgary thing. The reason people love goons is because, at some primal level, most people enjoy bloodsport. The goods provide.

They’re uniformly terrible at hockey, though, so I wouldn’t want them on my team. I don’t buy that there’s a tangible impact on a game after a fight, but some do.

Q: Why is Sven sitting at all?

A: See the two above answers. Sven makes mistakes (because he’s 21 and he’s supposed to) but in the minds of the Flames brain trust a competitive team can’t make those mistakes. He really should have just played all of these past two seasons in Abbotsford.

Q: I have been curious what is up with Sieloff. How is the development of guys down in Abby, like Granlund, going? Also, what you think is going to happen with all our college prospects this season?

Sieloff is still recovering from surgery on his broken face. There is an infection and he’s out indefinitely until everything is completely clean and healed up. In terms of the guys in Abby, I update the prospects NHLE here every couple of days. Granlund is producing a lot of shots, which is good. Knight has been the best prospect in Abbotsford thus far. Reinhart’s scoring will get up to a PPG at some point so that’s really good too.

Arnold and Agostino are the two seniors we really have to worry about. Neither really have the cache needed to be guys that are lured away. In saying that, Arnold is scoring at a really good pace right now and I’ve considered him to be a guy with 3rd line potential for years – so hopefully that contract comes soon after BC is done for the year. Gilmour has had a really good start, too. I wouldn’t be surprised if all of the rest of them went back for one more year, including Gaudreau. 

Q: @thefanblogger was saying that Baertschi is on the block and will be traded before Christmas. Who do you think he’ll be traded to and for who?‎

If they trade him now, they’re just as bad as the Oilers are. With that caveat in mind, any trade that doesn’t have, at the very least, a first-round pick plus more coming back is simply a massive waste of an asset. I just can’t think of a single compelling reason for the Flames to trade him – which means that of course he’ll be moved. All of this is thanks to Burke.

Q: How much wood would a Klimchuk chuck if a Klimchuk could chuck wood?

A: Probably 16.

  • Michael

    Bluntly, Backlund is NOT a top six forward, he has simply not shown over his 190 odd NHL games, anything like the goal scoring needed to rate that high. He is a defensive minded, possession driving third liner, who has adds value to the bottom six. For a defensive minded third line center he needs to improve in the face off circle. I wouldn’t trade him, but you have to question whether Backlund himself is happy with the way he is being used, and whether we can resign him once his RFA status expires.

    Janko, is beginning to fade into obscurity…
    he was a pick that the Flames simply couldn’t afford to make.

    Monahan, forget short term team needs, he needs to go the WJC to continue his development. We just need to look at Sven to see what happens when you take developmental short cuts. You get some short term gain in return for long term losses.

    I wonder if the owners really have the stomach for this version of the Feaster rebuild. Things aren’t off to a great start, the goal tending is sub par, the d corp is weak, development is questionable for Backlund, Sven and Monahan, and with vets like Cammy likely to be traded, things are only going to get worse. Feaster isn’t the man for the job, and does not survive the season as GM.

    • TheoForever

      Janko is not fading into obscurity, he his improving although perhaps not as fast as some would want, a project right.

      How Is Monahan development being jeopardized? Sending him to WJC is optional, it would be nice if he went, although not necessary for his continued development which is just fine.

      Benching of Sven and applying different measuring stick was a head scratcher, but the fact he is getting better and competing more in the last few games, so perhaps he is on track as well.

      We knew goaltending would suck. Having said so, there is Ortio and Gillies on horizon. Berra is showing flashes but has a way to go. If you going to go out and get a goaltender then after this season there will be lots of them around as free agents.

      Defensive corps is what it should be at the start of a rebuild. Giordano return will help, Russell was a great addition, same goes for Smid. I got no problems with Wideman and Brodie is a good young player. We have several young Dmen that are promising. Top paring defensemen don’t grow on trees.

      If Flames didn’t have problems they would not be rebuilding.

    • RedMan

      they arent off to a good start????

      I disagree… I mean, yes, they are not batting 1000, but they’ve done exceptionally well at addressing the depth of this team and getting rid of a bunch of tired vets with little resale value and bad contracts.

      Sure, they swung for the fence with Janko, but so what. Sure, many of us outsiders are perplexed over the treatment of Backlund and Sven. So what?

      For your information many of us fans are happier with what we are watching on and off the ice then we have been in 4 years… yes they have laid a couple of eggs but they have also had many games where they gave it 110%, left it all on the ice, got off to a good start, etc etc 🙂

  • please cancel acct

    Janko’s potential is dwindling away.It sure would be nice to be talking about Olli Maata instead of Janko right now.

    Intelluctual honesty required

    • please cancel acct

      One day when Sieloff is delivering thunderous hits on the backend for the Flames you’ll forget about Maata.

      It was a 2 NHL prospects for 1 deal. When talking about it you have to consider Sieloff.

      The Flames were so high on Sieloff they would have drafted him if Janko was taken.

      Give the kids time to develop before you judge this deal.

      At the 2012 draft it was clearly stated that the picks were about the long term future and not the immediate.

      I know Hertl and Maata look good but give it some time before you judge.

      Sieloff has had an infection and hasn’t played. But when he finally gets back and establishes himself in the organization I think it will lighten the blow of Janko not being ready as early as many hoped.

      • please cancel acct

        They could have taken Matta with the 21 pick and still had Seiloff.

        I actually didn’t mind them taking a swing at Janko,and yea, he may still be valuable down the road,but another part of me feel’s you should take the best player when drafting on a rebuild.

        • loudogYYC

          Jankowski was labelled a project from day 1, I don’t see how that kind of label can change in a matter of 17 months. If he ends up surprising and starts developing at a faster pace, then awesome but personally, I’m not concerned about Jankowski until his senior year in 2016.

          I still think picking a “project player” in the 1st round is a bad idea, but it’s done now so whatever, let the kid develop.

    • redricardo

      I would not hire you as my GM…giving up on a 20 year old for no apparent reason. I admire your patience and ability to manage player development of young players….Intellectual Honesty!

  • RKD

    Dreger along with LeBrun and Bobby Mac are top insiders. If he said 4-5 teams are kicking the tires on Backlund and the Flames are ready to move him then there’s a good chance it will happen. Trading Sven would be a mistake, look at what happened to Monahan when they started Baertschi. Sean started going cold, he has chemistry with Barts. You shouldn’t trade away chemistry. I feel bad for Backs he’s had some injury issues in the past and that’s hindered some of his progress. Trading away a centre isn’t a good idea when the organization doesn’t have depth there anyways.

    • piscera.infada

      If you think Backlund is a #1 or #2 centre, then yes, trading him away is a bad call because we don’t have depth there. I don’t think he is a top-six centre, as such you’re trading away a #3 or #4 centre – something that this team actually does have depth at, in terms of prospects who are ready to make the jump very soon or have made the jump (ie: Knight, Colborne, etc.), and guys on the way (ie: Arnold, Granlund (although some might say his ceiling is higher – which would be great), etc.). Therefore, I’ll say again, if he doesn’t fit in to what the “plan” is, then you have to trade him.

      Not that I want him traded, I just don’t see it being as brutal an idea as a lot of people seem to suggest. Trade Backlund, bring up Knight – see what he can do.

      And for all the talk of “bad asset management” – which is ludicrous, because we have no idea what the asking price even is – I’m not sure you understand that this team has a finite number of spots open to develop young players. You can’t just keep claiming “bring up the young guys, give them a shot”, when there aren’t any spots for them to play in.

      • jonahgo

        “And for all the talk of “bad asset management” – which is ludicrous, because we have no idea what the asking price even is – I’m not sure you understand that this team has a finite number of spots open to develop young players.”

        the point is that backlund’s value right now is low relative to what it was last season and at the start of the season. the team can affect his value by putting him in a position to succeed, to score more, to demonstrate that he can hold his own in a top-6 role. based on the way they are currently deploying him, they are demonstrating that they do not value him highly. this should affect the types of offers they will receive.

        teams are likely trying to trade for backlund right now precisely because there appears to be a major disconnect between how the flames view backlund’s value as a hockey player and what that value actually is.

  • RedMan

    If they in fact trade Backlund in the near future, I will be thoroughly disgusted in this team. Talk about bad “asset management”. This would remind me a little bit of the Marc Savard fiasco (albeit to a much lesser extent) – allow the coach to completely diminish the value of the player, then trade him. If Backlund is to be traded, then at least give him a chance to improve his offensive numbers (ie powerplay time and top 2 line time) before you do.

  • RexLibris

    So let me pose a question to Flames fans here: Assuming that Backlund is traded, which package would you prefer –

    a.) 2nd round draft pick in 2014
    b.) an NHL player in a similar situation, limited ceiling but stagnant under current administration
    c.) veteran player with expiring contract who could be flipped for a pick or prospect at the deadline
    d.) double-down and move Backlund and another prospect or 2nd round pick for a player in the range of a decent 2nd or very good 3rd line center or 2nd pairing defenseman.

    I’m not saying that these are the only options that are out there right now, but if they were, which direction would you rather see the team move towards?

    Best case scenario, in my mind, would be option #2 if Burke somehow was able to pull another rabbit out of his hat and trade Backlund (and probably a draft pick) for Brayden Schenn.

    • piscera.infada

      Best case scenario, in my mind, would be option #2 if Burke somehow was able to pull another rabbit out of his hat and trade Backlund (and probably a draft pick) for Brayden Schenn.

      That’s actually been something I’ve been thinking could happen. Apparently both Schenn’s are on the block. So maybe you say B. Schenn & and eat L. Schenn contract for Backlund and a Second. It alleviates a little over 3 million for Philly, and we can play L. Schenn this year, and buy him out if necessary. The only drawback I can see is, B. Schenn is a leftwing, IIRC. So there’s that. But, you likely re-coup the second round pick in a later trade (ie: Cammy), thus not a huge deal – if you felt it necessary maybe you ask Philly for a 3rd or 4th as compensation for the 2nd.

      A little pie in the sky sure, but I dunno, just spit-ballling. Not that I think this deal get’s done, but I think if the Flames are going to trade Backlund, that’s the kind of thing you’re going to see. They’re not going to trade him straight-up for a pick.

      • loudogYYC

        Schenn is a center. He may be playing wing right now, but at worst the team could convert him to the right side and move Jones back to the middle. Or maybe call up Knight.

        I don’t know why the Flyers would move him, to be honest. He’s second on the team in points.

        • piscera.infada

          Totally agree, I don’t know why either. It has however, been discussed. I can’t remember whether it was Dreger, Le Brun, or Mackenzie that was saying that B. Schenn is on the table if there is a package to take some salary, and send back a young roster player.

          …And thanks for the heads up on him being a centre. I remember him playing centre when he was in Junior, but I just kind of assumed it didn’t work out, or whatever in the show.

      • RexLibris

        Both Schenn’s were 5th overall picks and one was recently had for a 2nd overall pick, so I’m not sure you get one for Backlund and a 2nd rounder.

        I think even Holmgren would tell you you’re crazy there.

        That being said, targeting both might be something Burke would consider. If it meant moving both Backlund and Baertschi and getting a pick outside the 1st round in return as well as the Schenns perhaps the two sides could find something in the middle that worked.

        Luke is a blueliner that hasn’t lived up to expectations but is still young and often these players take a great deal of time to become something resembling what everyone believe they could be. Brayden has been playing wing but I think if they could move him to RW to complement the growing number of LW prospects they have.

        I know some fans are going to hate the mere mention of moving both Backlund and Baertschi, but I only mention it because I’m lead to believe that Burke is orchestrating things to some extent and is not a big fan of either player.

    • loudogYYC

      I’d prefer a package that included Sean Couturier coming to Calgary, but that’s not likely.

      I can see the B. Schenn scenario working, specially cause I think Philly would also like to dump some salary and that won’t come cheap. I can see B. Schenn + L. Schenn for Backlund and 2015 5th. This would free up $3M for Philadelphia moving forward.

      No matter what trade happens, I wouldn’t move the 2014 2nd as it’s gonna be awfully close to the 1st round this next draft. Flames will likely pick in the top 4 which would mean the 2nd is at least 33rd overall because of NJD forfeiting their 1st.

      • RexLibris

        Couturier is Holmgren’s ace card. He isn’t trading that for a handful of 7s and 8s.

        When the Yakupov to Philly rumours were flying the discussions were Yakupov and a 1st for Couturier and maybe, perhaps, Coburn.

        I don’t think Backlund gets you there. It’d be nice, but unless you’ve got something to slip in Holmgren’s drink before the negotiations start…

        Just to confirm, you are suggesting that both Schenns could be had for Backlund and a 5th round pick next year?

        Actually, if the Flames were being aggressive they might be able to offer their 2nd round pick to the Devils in exchange for a young player or prospect. It reduces the development time for the Flames and provides a more tangible asset than a draft selection.

        That or explore trading a supposed second 1st round pick in this year’s draft from the presumed trade of Cammalleri for a prospect or player. Outside of Henrique, Schneider, Zajac, Elias, Larsson and Merrill, I’m not sure if anyone there is really unattainable at that price.

        • loudogYYC

          It’s kinda what I’m suggesting I guess. A little lopsided for sure, but Philly’s also in a really tight cap position for the next few years with B. Schenn and Gustafsson needing an extension/raise next summer and more holes to fill in the lineup.

          Even if you balance that trade out, it can’t be much more than both Brayden & Luke Schenn for Backlund + Butler + a 2015 5th. Cap space is king!

          I like the idea of extracting a prospect out of the NJD system at next years draft, but I don’t think the Devils are deep enough in any position at the prospect level. If anything, Pittsburgh may be without a pick in the top 60 next draft and they have a nice pool of D prospects that could be used to get into the 1st or 2nd.

  • redricardo


    By far B. Brayden Schenn would be awesome.

    As I said in my previous post, the leaugue is littered with young players that were either given up on or misused by the previous team. If he is traded, Backlund will be one of those too.

    Getting one back is best case scenario. Asset for asset. If we’re selling low, find someone else who’s selling low.

  • TheoForever

    Don’t like a trade involving Baerrtschi period.
    Luke absolutely sucks.
    It would be nice to have his brother but don’t like the price.

    Trading Backlund at this time is sort of stupid in general.
    Never deal from position of weakness.
    In general I would let go of Backlund as he simply doesn’t fit in long term.
    Not enough offensive upside for top 6 and not tough enough for the bottom 6.
    I would like to see him on the wing, he had success playing the wing during the lockout if I’m not mistaken.

  • SoCalFlamesFan

    I have to agree with the article and I’ve posted the same a couple of times previously.

    Backlund is worth more to the team than he is as a trade asset. I just can’t see equal value coming back.

    As for his potential, he’s a 3rd line center as far as offense goes, I agree, but he has enough offensive smarts that along with his ability to drive possession, he could be a very useful 2nd line center if playing between 2 skilled wingers. The defensive conscience of the line, so to speak.

    Moving Baertschi at this stage is stupid. Plain and simple. Hartley so obviously plays favorites it’s sickening. People like to say, “you don’t know what’s going on in practices” and crap like that, but that’s exactly what that is, ‘crap.’

    1) The person saying that doesn’t know what goes on in practices either.

    2) Baertschi was praised by Flames management for his work ethic and we were told glorious stories of him riding the bike hard after games and practices, etc. Now suddenly that’s changed?

    Monahan and Colborne get all the time, linemates and circumstances to work through their struggles (as they should) while Backlund and Baertschi are nailed to the bench for every slight offence. It kills a player’s ability to perform when you’re constantly worried about being punished for the slightest error.

    The Flames suck. The Flames should suck. They’re in a rebuild. Fans who thought the Flames rebuild was going to put the Oilers rebuild to shame and that it would all be over in 2 seasons are deluded.

    Develop the kids. That’s done by playing them. Move Stajan to clear up the logjam at center. That means Colborne, Backlund and Monahan can all receive substantial ice time, you juggle their line status based on who’s hot that night.

    Harltey needs to realize he’s not coaching a Cup cotnender here and ownership nees to realize the Flames are a sports franchsie, not an oil company.