Weekend Open Thread – To Tank Or Not To Tank?

(courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Well, the Calgary Flames lost last night to their most (or second-most) bitter rivals, the Edmonton Oilers. The loss was Calgary’s 87th against the Oilers, 35th in Calgary against them, and the first time they’ve been shut out at home against the Oilers.

And you know what? That may be just fine.

In the 2014 Draft Lottery Dive, the Flames sit with 34 points in 38 games (with a 14-18-6 record), which puts them a whopping 10 points ahead of Edmonton. Prior to Friday night, the Flames had played maybe two or three stinkers in their prior 37 games. Three of the four teams below Calgary in the standings are from the Eastern Conference, which gives those teams the advantage of playing more games against arguably worse teams than the Flames do. If the Flames have a snowball’s chance of getting a crack at Aaron Ekblad or Sam Reinhart in this year’s draft – and their best shot may be winning the draft lottery at the end of the season – they need to take advantage of their chances to come up short against teams like Edmonton.

In all seriousness, a rational observer should look at Calgary’s 2-0 loss last night with a bewildered shrug and then move on. It was a home game after a three-day break with no practices. Players were surrounded by family members and presents (and food) for three days. The post-Christmas stumble is not a rarity in hockey, but hopefully this just lasts this game. And it’s not like there aren’t any positives to take out of the game, as Reto Berra was fairly solid, and Paul Byron and Mikael Backlund continued to play well. And Sean Monahan played well enough to get off of the fourth line. All in all, Calgary’s ability to make lemonade out of their lemons this year roster-wise – face it, they’re no world-beaters on paper – has to be one of the most interesting stories of 2013-14. But it’s frustratingly (for the club’s futures) arguably driving them further and further away from a great draft selection. But what’s the alternative? Tanking? As we’ve seen up north, that’s no guarantee of success.

For those looking for something to do on Monday night, the Kootenay Ice are visiting the Calgary Hitmen – albeit without Sam Reinhart, which is a bit like Garfield Without Garfield. But it’s also a good chance to see how the Hitmen are playing. Jake Virtanen, Radel Fazleev and Ben Thomas are all 2014 Draft eligible players who are garnering attention and, from a Flames perspective, Virtanen is almost the personification of "truculence" on the ice. Either way, puck drops at 7pm down at the Saddledome.

What’s your take? Are you more excited about this year’s on-ice efforts or worried about the draft? Or are you somewhere in the middle?

  • ChinookArchYYC

    The tank will take care of itself with a couple of key trades (one of which is likely Cammalerri). The western conference continues getting tighter and every team except Calgary and Edmonton have a chance at a playoff birth, meaning IMO more losses are coming.

  • The Flames are going to be a bottom-five team whatever they decide this year. So the question is whether they try to keep guys like Stemps and Stajan or not.

    Even that might not be up to them. If both guys decide the grasss would be greener elsewhere, the club will have to trade them.

  • Derzie

    Scouting and drafting smart will go a lot further than tanking and picking who Bob McKenzie thinks is great. The value of not sucking far outweighs the value of tanking for picks. Valuing truculence over skill is exactly the opposite of what is needed. Crosby, Kane, Backstrom, Steen, Ovechkin, Sharp vs Getzlaf and Thornton. Top scorers right now are on the skill side of the ledger. Let’s see Burke get started but I see we are here (out of the playoffs) for a few years to come. Oh and he may want to call Nonis and get a goalie. 2 of the top 5 goalies statistically are recent ex-Leafs. Scrivens, Rask.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    The Flames will not need to intentionally tank but the Western conference and the trades of the UFA’s will work towards it. The question is once the UFA’s are traded who will the Flames bring up, will it be the the young guys who are playing well or will it be the more veteran AHL players. Will Burke try and add NHL players in trades or more prospects and draft choices. I took a look at the possible UFA’s at the end of the season and found that there are 25 forwards under 29 that are possible UFA’s and 15 Dmen in the same category. personally I would not look at any UFA’s any older than that. The rebuild needs to look at the current prospects currently in the system and the kids in the NCAA and CHL.

  • BurningSensation

    I get the argument for tanking, but I have very serious doubts about how sound a strategy it is.

    It seems to me there are three kinds of teams that end up with a high pick;

    1. Disastrously bad teams that lack skill at most or all positions. Think Columbus, Florida, Edmonton, expansion teams, etc.

    2. Mediocre teams that for whatever reason (injuries, bad luck, etc.) go from playoff contenders to non-factors in a given season. LA, Anaheim, New Jersey, Carolina, etc. are all examples of teams that are normally pretty competitive but who end up with a high pick as the result of a lost season.

    3. An excellent or very good team that as a result of injuries or terrific bad luck end up with a high pick in a given year, only to rebound immediately after. Philly seems to do this every few years (JVR being their latest high pick).

    Here’s the thing, the expansion teams are those trapped in a perpetual rebuild. Florida, Columbus, Edmonton, and the Islanders have been atrocious for the best part of a decade with no end in sight. Why?

    In part because the process of ‘tanking’ involves stripping down the roster of useful vets in order to bring in more youth and picks. Eventually, all you have are youth and picks and no vets who can drive the play.

    I’m OK with the Flames fighting hard every night – and losing – with the end goal of another high pick being the ‘prize’.

    What concerns me is the chorus of voices insisting that ‘everything must go’, Cammalleri, Hudler, Stajan, Gio, etc. shipped out for picks and prospects. This concerns me because I believe it is a total mistake to believe that carving a team back to the bone is the way to make it stronger. Sure eventually, in a decade or so, you might reap the benefits, but that is a long long time to wander in the wilderness eating berries.

    I’d rather keep most of the vets (that said, Cammalleri is almost certainly a goner IMO), especially hard to find types like Stajan (2way C) and Hudler (scoring winger) who are on reasonable contracts, so that they can cushion the incoming kids as the team is retooled. Yes, this will mean we likely never fully ‘bottom out’ for the top pick, but it also means we are that much closer to being pretty good. Assuming the kids in the pipeline are eventually good NHL talents (a decent bet for several of them), their addition to a mediocre roster would be enough to bring the Flames back into the playoff picture.

    • supra steve

      I hear what you are saying and I don’t disagree….but if the Flames plan to keep most of these pending UFAs, they need to get them signed.

      Trading ALL the vets for youth would be a mistake, but letting all the UFAs go for no return would be an even bigger error.

      Cammi is probably gone before the trade deadline as word is he wants a chance to win. Great.

      What about Stajan, Stemp, Russell, Butler, etc? If the team can’t get extensions signed, those players all need to be moved. Move them at the deadline for picks or lose them in the summer for no return.

      And for those worried about the Flames reaching the cap floor, get over it. NHL teams are quite capable of spending lots of money on players.

      • BurningSensation

        Of the vets;

        Hudler: Keep. The guy has been a total professional, leads the team in scoring, never bitches, and has been awesome with the kids. His contract is reasonable, and while he is flawed, the Hobbit has the right stuff to shepherd a rebuild. The only flies in the ointment are; he might want to leave (don’t blame him), or, we might get an offer for him that can’t be turned down.

        Stajan: Keep. His toolkit is really, really hard to duplicate on the open market as 2way C’s are just not that easy to come by. He’s the prototype C you want taking hard minutes away from the kids.

        Russell: Keep. He’s the perfect age for the rebuild, and the fact he’s taken his game up a level since he arrived makes him one of the guys you definitely want around. Also, I’d say he’s earned his new paycheck.

        Butler: Trade. For whatever. For giggles let’s send him to Edmonton.

        Stempniak: Trade, preferably at the deadline when his value is maxed out. I like the guy a ton, but we have lots of wingers bubbling under (including Baertschi), and the need for a vet to guide things is capably handled by Glen-X.

        Cammalleri: Trade (though I would prefer to re-sign him at a lower $ value contract with term). A. He’s earned a shot at the title. B. He’s likely to get a big pay day after this year beyond his production., and C. He’ll bring the most in return.

        • EugeneV

          Stajan = Backlund, so not too hard to replace.

          Stempniak: Keep if we can resign him before the deadline

          Russell: Keep if we can resign him before the deadline

          Hudler: Keep

          Cammy: Trade as there is no way he will resign here anyway.

          Wides: Keep

          Berra: Trade, It is obvious that he is playing so much in order for not only the Flames to get a handle on him, but also to establish any trade value he may have.

          • BurningSensation

            “Stajan = Backlund, so not too hard to replace”

            They may be similar players, but keeping Stajan to do the heavy lifting will give Backlund a better chance at reaching his full potentiial, as well as providing shelter for Monahan.

            Stajan is the kind of vet who remains useful even as he is pushed down the roster. Barring a killer offer for him, I would definitely re-sign him.

            Also, Backlund may already be odd man out. Because truculence.

    • MichaelD

      Agree with basically everything you said, especially the part about hanging onto some of the vets and not shipping them all out

      When/if some of these guys in the pipeline are fully ready to be everyday NHLers, (guys like Reinhart, Arnold, Gaudreau, Granlund, Ortio, Klimchuk, Roy, Wotherspoon, Poirier, etc.), I really don’t want the Flames throwing them to the wolves like what has happened in EDM. One could argue that the Oilers have held onto too few vets during their still ongoing rebuild, and that most of the ones that they kept/brought in were considerably past their prime, and were therefore no longer useful to the team, except as dressing room leaders (Smyth, Strudwick, Belanger, Sutton).

      The Flames have some guys who are in their 30s, (Stemps, GlenX, Cammi, Wideman, Gio, Stajan), but the difference between the Flames and Oilers, at least for me, is the fact that the Flames veterans are still relatively young and useful (all in their early 30s) whereas the Oilers brought in guys who were/are reaching the twilight’s of their respective careers and weren’t fully capable of helping the Oilers young team. 3 of the 4 guys I named as Oilers veterans are no longer playing in the NHL (although Smyth still pissed me off last night lol).

      If the Flames were to keep any of the 6 that I mentioned, I’d ideally like to see Matty Franchise and Gio stay, simply because centre ice is a very difficult position and I don’t want to see Monahan and company play against the very best in the NHL (especially important if Backs gets traded as well, but that talk seems to have cooled down). Gio for the reason that he’s the captain, and while he would arguably garner the biggest return, we all saw what happened to the Flames D when he was injured. Paper-thin.

      So I think the Flames should deal some guys at the deadline, as guys like Hudler, Gio, and the rest are playing some decent hockey, but they can’t be prepared to simply sell of everyone in the hopes of picking 15 times in the 2014 draft.

    • loudogYYC

      My question is “How many vets do you keep?”

      If you keep too many is it a rebuild? Or is it something else? ie This year we have allowed 3/4 forwards to really play in the NHL (Monahan, Bouma, Colbourne and to a lesser extent Sven). Lately Byron an experienced AHLer has been given a chance as has BJones. So do we keep 8/9 vets next year all between the age of 28-32? in the forward ranks.

      On D we acquired Russell in the off seaason and he became the 2nd youngest man on our D. TLB is a now a young vet. So we currently have 4 NHL veteran Dmen on contracts for next year(I have not included O’B as he would not fit into my plans)plus three NHL vets entering UFA status; Russell, Butler and Smith. I would only keep Russell. We basically have done no NHL development of Dmen this year.

      So again how many vets would you carry into next year. I would carry 6/7 of the 25-32 year olds, 3-4 of the 22-25 and 2-3 of the newer crew in the forward ranks. On D I would keep the 4 vets wee have, resign Russell and allow 2 young guys to develop at the NHL level. The following year I would reduce the number of veteran forwards by 1 or 2(25-32 year olds) and try a upgrade the D core.

      • BurningSensation

        “My question is “How many vets do you keep?”

        I think that is the wrong question, because the answer is totally dependent on what offers you can get for the vets you have. If Edm offers up Yakupov for Gio and a late pick, or Pittsburgh discovers a burning interest in Stempniak, the calculation of who stays/goes is completely altered.

        “If you keep too many is it a rebuild”?

        Rebuild. Re-tool. Whatever. The team has been steadily changing it’s core pieces since Dutter was fired and Feaster was promoted to the GM spot, and I’ve argued that we’ve been ‘rebuilding’ since then (as opposed to Glenn Healy who insists the rebuild only started with Jarome being dealt).

        “So again, how many vets would you carry for next year?”

        Ideally I’d like a vet in every roster spot so that any rookie breaking into the team has to be better than a current NHL calibre player. If not, back to the farm/Juniors. That way if a kid struggles you haven’t committed a roster spot to them for a whole year, and have a readily available replacement to fill in.

        • Brent G.

          Burning Sensation: In your earlier post you said you would ” keep most of the vets” so I was trying to see how far apart our ideas of the rebuild would be. I have given a pretty detailed accounting of what I think we should do, but I’m not sure what yours would be. I agree that the restocking began after Sutter left but the real white flag of if we just add one more piece began last year. Teams make the mistake of trying chase the cup ( we did that from the cup run until last year) rather than build from within and allow the cup to come to you. I believe that is what makes a rebuild successful; ie Chicago and maybe St louis this year. I believe there will be teams chasing the cup or the playoffs this year that will see Cammi as the missing piece.

          By calling Granlund up we will get to see a bit of the rebuild.

          • BurningSensation

            If you go back to post #16 I detailed most of whom I think we should move on/keep.

            I agree that there are likely to be teams that see Cammalleri as the missing piece (though I would think the East is more likely a destination than eithes St Louis or Chicago), but in truth I would still be reasonably happy if he signs an extension and stays on thru the rebuild.

            Cammo is a legit 30-30 guy, and they don’t grow on trees. His age is a concern, but if the contract and $s were structured correctly the seasons where his wheels start to go should also be the time his cap-hit drops.

            However, if it is Cammalleri who stays I’d say that makes Hudler (and Stempniak) expendable.

            Yes, the Jarome trade was the bat-signal that the Flames were ‘going in a new direction’, but that is only the case if you ignore managements moves for the year+ prior.

            I use the Dutter firing/Feaster hiring as my benchmark because it was shortly after Feaster arrived the first piece of the old core was (finally) moved out – Regehr.

            All of the deals since then were to make us younger, cheaper and to collect assets – pretty much the definition of ‘rebuilding’.

            Granlund’s arrival is a nice sign. He impressed the hell out of me in pre-season tournaments, and there is a good chance there is a real NHL calibre player there. I’d always thought his future would be on the wing at the NHL level, but he looks like a very competent center prospect after all. And those are always nice.

          • beloch

            I think you misunderstood my reference to Chicago and StL; I do not see them as a fit for Cammi, rather as teams that have allowed the chance of the cup to come to them rather than chasing it. I think Cammi ends up on a team that is chasing the cup and I would prefer him to be out east. Teams I suspect that are not chasing the cup but letting it come to them include Chicago, St L, Boston and Pittsburg,(3 of the 4 gave up a first rounder last year and I doubt they would again) leaving a number pf teams that might be chasing it(either at the end of the cycle like Detroit or a bit to early) then there are the teams that think they have a playoff chance ie Toronto.

        • ChinookArchYYC

          If I put a list together of most useless hockey personalities in the NHL, Glen Healy would top the list. That said, building around an aging post apex Jarome Iginla can’t be considered a rebuild, so regrettably Healy probably has a better demarcation point. Feaster attempted to fix big problems with the organization (the farm team, cap jail etc.), but I don’t personally consider that the point when the rebuild started.

          • piscera.infada

            While I agree with you about the “start” of the rebuild, I don’t think you can overlook the work Feaster did as a factor in rebuilding. Typically the “start of a rebuild” is a function of having absolutely nothing left in the organization. Like him or not, Feaster actually put the team in a situation where once the rebuild was truly embraced, there was something to work with. As such, I don’t see the job that needs to be done by Burke and his new GM as being a “total rebuild”. Yes, they need to value draft picks – not trading them away on quick fixes, but also making deft choices at the draft. That said, there is a situation where this rebuild doesn’t have to take 5 years of sitting around hoping against hope.

            The problem with the rhetoric surrounding a “rebuild” is that people get too hung up on timelines – when it started so we can accurately put ‘x’ number of years towards it’s completion. That’s not the correct way to look at it though, as you get locked into rebuilding in perpetuity. Obviously things need to change, new talent needs to come in, and a system has to be cultivated, but I think when we talk about “rebuilding” in absolute terms we lose sight of what the goal should be – creating a new team. That (at least in my mind) is moreso a product of opportunity and skill in management/coaching, than simply sitting back and “allowing the ‘rebuild’ to happen”.

          • BurningSensation

            A. I TOTALLY agree with you about Healy. I absolutely cannot stand him. I practically cheer everytime the camera pans away from him to Elliotte Friedman so we can get an actual intelligent opinion about something.

            B. ‘Rebuild’ is a massively loaded term, especially when you are using it with your favourite team. For me, a ‘rebuild’ is what you do when you are;

            – changing the ‘core’ of your team
            – making large adjustments to your farm system/talent procurement (ie. new AHL coaches/mgt, new scouting dept., new fancy-stats guys, etc.)

            Up until Dutter was turfed, Flames mgt insisted on moving the pieces on the peripherary around without impacting the core. Once Feaster took over we saw both an overhaul of the Flames talent pipeline (long overdue), and the first of the core players moved out. I can’t see how you don’t start the ‘rebuild clock’ with Feaster’s ascension.

            C. Once Feaster was in charge, I think it was clear there was a plan (especially in hindsight) to let Iginla get to the end of his contract before flipping him, and to let Kipprusoff play out the string, accept a trade, or retire, as he saw fit. I suspect strongly both were KK directives. That said, even though the team was letting both ride it out, that is not an indication the Flames were still ‘trying to build around’ them.

  • It’s going to be hard to trade all the vets with the cap floor going up. You can’t be a team of plugs all making league minimum unfortunately. SOMEONE has to take up salary space.

    That said, tank baby tank. Every time they lose, I can just picture Murray or King reaching for the trade phone, ready to make some stupid decisions. Hopefully Burke is bringing some sense to the room.

    Watching the CAN/CZE U20 game… man, we could use that Ekblad kid. Scored a big SHG.

  • Burnward

    I hate the word tank because any pro worth his salt will never lose on purpose.

    What they will do is identify the veterans they want to keep moving forward and move the rest.

    I think we need to keep Stemps, Hudler, GlenX…and trade Cammi, Butler and Stajan.

    After that’s done, bring Sven back up once there’s room in the top six and see how he fares.

  • RKD

    Tanking isn’t the always the answer. The Oilers are living proof that a series of #1 draft picks doesn’t guarantee you anything. The Flames will still probably be able to pick in the top 5-7 spot. I’m sure they will be able to draft a talented player. A guy like Ekblad would be great to build around. Next year, a chance at a guy like McDavid could be a franchise changer. I also get the impression a lot of season ticket holders think we should be accelerating the rebuild and one guy said the Flames have been rebuilding since 1994, not sure which team he has been watching. Having top picks doesn’t a)put you in a playoff spot or b)make you a Stanley Cup contender. The Flames should strive to be a the latter not the former.

  • MichaelD

    As a few others have mentioned, I think the flames will pick around the 5 spot. I also really think we should draft a highly talented defenceman this year, and if Ekblad turns out to be out of reach, what other D’s are there this year?

    • BurningSensation

      The other two ‘big’ names on D for the 2014 draft are Haydn Fleury and Roland McKeown.

      Both are ranked towards the bottom of the top 10 and would likely be available with a pick at #5-9.

      That said, I ‘m not a big fan of trying to fix roster holes at the draft. If the Flames have the #6 overall pick (for example), and a guy like Draisitl, Nylander or Bennett is still on the board, it only makes sense to take them.

  • BurningSensation

    For me tanking means the intentional decision to lose games so that the team can draft higher; if that’s the definition being used here then I am against it as an intentional aspect of the rebuild. However I do believe that the business of dealing with UFA’s and the difficult Western division will make the actions that Burke needs to do seem like a tank job.

    We have 6 UFA’s that have some NHL upside and oter teams may covet. Cammi is the number one name on that list and is likely to be traded at some point. Both Stemp and Stajan have demonstrated that they could help with rebuild but the question becomes how many vets do you keep. If you resign one or both of them then you probably need to move DJones and/or TJG. I think you can get a better return for either Stemps or Stajan than the other two. BJones is also a UFA as I believe Byron may be; based upon what we have seen I would try and keep Byron as BJones seems not to be in Hartley’s plans. That leaves us with the following veteran fowards; GlenX and his no trade clause. Hudler who seems like the ideal mentor and teammate(yes his trade value may never be higher),Backs, McG. THe Flames currently hhave three young NHL pros, Colbert, Monahan and Bouma whom all have proven that they can be part of the rebuild in various roles. We have the best prospect list that we have had in years either playing in the AHL or looking to turn pro at the end of this season; these include Granlund, Knight, Ferland, Hankowski(many here don’t think we can skate at the NHL level but he is demonstrating he might be able to score at this level), Sven, and Rhino. Add to that list Poirier, Johny G, Agostino, Arnold, and even Klimchuk and the Flames some intersting choices to make next year. Personally I would like to see them have 4/5 veteran forwards, the 3/4 new NHLers and 3/4 prospects next year.

    We have plenty of veteran leadership on the back end with 5 probable returning NHL defenders; Gio, Wides, TJB, Smid and Russell(I am assuming they will resign him, I would. That leaves Butler, Smith and Breen as either UFA’s or RFA that they should move for whatever they can get. While many of do not like Butler I suspect the Flames will get a fair return for him as teams will be looking to add NHL defensemen for the playoffs.On the prospects list this is where I think we might not be as good as hoped for; we have the following: Billins,Cundari, Ramage, Spoon, Sieloff(once he gets healthy) in the AHL and I ask myself are any of them ready, then their are the CHL players Kanzig, Culkan and Roy are any of them readt; again I don’t think so. However because of the veteran leadership on the backend I would be prepared to roll them through the NHL line up based upon merit.

    We probably need to add 1-3 NHL UFA’s next year and I would only go for guys younger that or own 3(Stajan, Cammi and Stemp.

    The issue in the nest will need at least until the end of the season to work itself out so I won’t add to that debate.

    So to summerize I don’t believe in tanking intentionally, I believe there is a value in having the right vets for year 2 of the rebuild but I also believe we have good prospects that need to be given an NHL experience next year,

  • RedMan


    “TO TANK” is a statement that seems to confuse some people…

    this does NOT mean that somebody goes into the dressing room and says,

    “OK, listen boys; i want you get out there and not hustle! don’t get to the puck first, and try not to block any shots! Just screen ’em so the goalie can’t see ’em. Cause, you see, we are planning on and trying our best not to win this game or any game. Boys – if you win a game, there will be bag skates and community appearances every day. now get out there and lose!”

    What DOES “tank now” mean? easy:
    Trade Iggy for drafts and prospects,
    trade J-Bow and Kipper (we wish),
    trade Cami.
    trade Stemps and maybe even Stajan & Wideman.
    DO NOT Spend big bucks and/or trade draft picks for ANY 30-35 year old free agents in any position.

    Instead of trying to turn our assets into cup victories now, “to tank” means to create a strategy that sees the team be the best they can be now with a goal of peaking at 3 to 5 years down the road instead of trying to peak now. Maybe, hopefully, planning on, the peak in 3 to 5 years being better then the pathetic “peak” we experienced with the recent bunch of vets.

    from now on guys, please do not start a “anti-tank” argument with any “lose on purpose” or “pros won’t purposely throw a game” or “you cant try to be bad then hope to be good later – see Edmonton” arguments. these are just Straw Men arguments because nobody is suggesting this.

    Thank you, now back to the regularly scheduled program.

  • beloch

    First off, the UFA’s that Burke wants to hang onto should be signed to new contracts before the trade deadline. The rest should be traded. Players who aren’t willing to sign before the deadline are probably not going to stick around, so you might as well get a bag of hockey pucks for them.

    Cammalleri: Trade, obviously. He’s playing well, his value is high, and he’s post-apex.
    Stajan: Trade. Value high/post-apex. Bill Arnold will likely come to Calgary after his final college season is over, so trading Stajan means he’ll have a chance to crack the lineup.
    Stempniak: He’s unlikely to bring back a huge return, but really shores up the team. This is the kind of veteran you can hang onto in a rebuild, provided he’ll sign.
    Blair Jones: There’s still a lot of upside and he’ll probably sign for cheap, so I’d keep him.
    Chris Butler: He’s showing signs of competence this season, so his value is probably massively inflated. Trade!
    Derek Smith: Trade for pucks or re-sign, just don’t play him above the third pairing.
    Kris Russel: He’s having a breakout season and is just 26. This guy’s a keeper.
    Berra: The season is halfway over and it’s still hard to say if he’s going to be a competent NHL backup. Both Ramo and Berra are looking decent now that the Flames have abandoned playing offensive high-event hockey. One thing is certain though, the Flames should get rid of one of Ramo or Berra. Ortio is going to be looking to play NHL games next season and Gillies might cut his college career short, so making room for him in the AHL would also be good.
    MacDonald: Hey, remember that guy? He’s still under contract and it’s one-way to boot! Getting anything for this guy would be impressive.
    Ben Street: He’s still a useful AHL veteran, but he doesn’t have much chance of making it in the NHL with the Flames at this point. It’s not impossible he could make it with another team though. Trade or keep, depending on how the Heat’s center depth-chart looks.

    Once Cammalleri and Stajan are gone, the Flames are definitely going to be tanking. However, the other bottom teams in the league will likely be doing the same so it’s probably still going to take extensive AHL call-ups to get the job done. Feaster did this hardcore at the end of last season, but we have yet to see what depths Burke (or the new GM) are willing to go to.

    Personally, I’m amazed at how competitive and entertaining the Flames have been this season while managing to be on pace for a top 5 pick. They haven’t been humiliated on a regular basis, like certain other teams, and are playing with heart even if the talent just isn’t there yet. Somehow, they’re tanking without developing the loser culture that has rotted the bones of the oilers org. If the Flames can pull through this season and maybe the next without losing their work-ethic…

    • BurningSensation

      If the trade deadline was tomorrow; we wouldn’t get a 4 th rounder for Stemp…

      Resign him cheap while we can.

      BTW; all you douche bags who trashed Walter White for calling out that Sutter was the wrong coach for the juniors are puckering up right now……suck it pigs!


  • loudogYYC

    Like someone said above, the drop in standings will come from UFA veterans being shipped out and the pressure falling on less experienced/proven players.

    Cammalleri, Stajan and Butler should be traded, and Stempniak should be held onto at least for 1 more year as depth at RW is an issue for the Flames.

    For those who think Stajan’s skill set is needed here, who’s to say he won’t come back as a UFA in July after you got a 2nd (I hope!) for him.

    Stajan aside, there’s a decent list of comparable or better C’s available in the UFA market: Grabovski, Roy, Legwand, Bolland or Cogliano would be the best fit I think.

    Either way, this team shouldn’t and won’t tank.

  • loudogYYC

    By the way the Heat won again last night and Sven finally scored in the AHL. Granlund as well. Hanowski(I think I finally spelled it correctly got and assist)

  • loudogYYC

    The challenge is keeping the floor on the salary cap. Unfortunately to do that, Burke will need to acquire some overpriced veterans in his trades. It’s a sad day when a team needs to overpay just to reach the floor but if Burke moves Cammy, Wideman, Stajan, Step, etc this very well may be the case. And if that’s the case, he may just choose to keep the overpriced players he has.

    WW – the tournament isn’t over yet so don’t hurt your arm patting yourself on the back. Unlike fair weathered fans only around for the wins, I will cheer for Team Canada and Sutter (win or lose) for the entire tournament.

    • piscera.infada

      Why trade Wideman or Hudler? They are vets playing decently with multi years left on their contracts. Unless you are totally blown away with the offer & like Trav said, you listen to any & all offers, you keep them. You keep your captain. Those 3 guys are 13 mill cap hit & very good vets as we develop our younger players. I see Russell getting Brodie money & he deserves it too. Smid we keep until maybe next year as I am hoping Seiloff & or Tspoon make him expendable.

      Tank is just another word for rebuild. We will suck because we are letting young players get relevant NHL experience. I expect this team to play hard & compete every game. The phrase `Suck with a Purpose` is relevant here.

      I think Reinhart or Knight will be more than adequate replacements for Stajan. We may still have 1 more year to evaluate who we keep between Berra & Ramo, then 1 of the 2 must go.

  • loudogYYC

    The important variable in deciding which vets to keep is the return offered . I think it’s prudent to have a plan but I also think we are wise listen to offers on almost anybody. Look at the Filip Forsberg trade as an example of why our job is to listen to all offers on all players and make smart moves.

  • Michael

    It’s to late in the season to build a competitive team, so tanking for the best possible draft pick is your best option.
    Burke needs to decide which players figure into ‘his’ team next year and sell the rest.
    The rebuild is over after this season, its Burke job to make this team competitive.

    • BurningSensation

      “The rebuild is over after this season, its Burke job to make this team competitive.”

      I can guarantee you that the rebuild is NOT over after this season.

  • beloch

    Great teams usually have at least some elite talent, which the Flames currently do need, but they also usually have very few “holes”. A “hole” is a player that bleeds turnovers, etc. and can be exploited by the other team. The Bruins have very few holes, while half the team up in Shelbyville are holes.

    So, which Flames are holes? Corsi is actually pretty good at showing who they are. Here’s a list of the worst Flames by relative Corsi (I’m leaving out players who are either not regulars or who just haven’t been up in Calgary for quite a while).

    -MacGrattan (-17.8): What a surprise!

    -Smid (-15.5): (see below)
    -Lance Bouma (-12.6)
    -Sean Monahan (-11.1): This is his 18 year old season, so he’s not a hole, just a rookie.
    -Chris Butler (-9.7)
    -Shane O’Brien (-7.8)
    -Chris Breen (-6.7): Not a regular, and probably shouldn’t be. A larger sample size would probably make him look a lot worse.
    -Curtis Glencross (-5.1): Struggling?
    -Sven Baertschi (-3.4): Like Monahan, he’s still figuring the NHL out.
    -David Jones (-2.2)
    -Joe Colborne (-1.0): It’s a pleasant surprise he’s not much higher on this list!

    Regarding Smid:
    He sucks. I’m sorry, but he just does. He’s slow and has hands of stone. He’s a big truculent mofo, but he really is a step too slow for the NHL. He’s getting crushed out there. Initially, I wrote his insanely bad possession stats off as being played in a situation above his ability with crap team-mates in Edmonton, but his Corsi has actually gotten worse in Calgary. Admittedly, he’s been playing against tougher comp here too thanks to all the injuries on the blue-line, but he still sticks out as being remarkably bad. No matter how much Edmonton fans like to point to the Smid trade as evidence that their team is mismanaged, the Oilers might have actually won this trade! Smid is a player we should be looking to move, perhaps to a club that values truculence even more than Burke.

    Key to future success: Plug the holes.
    Monahan and Baertschi are obviously not holes, just rookies. Glencross might just be struggling, but if a good offer comes along… Colborne has taken enough steps forward this season that I’d be fine with giving him another season to prove himself. The rest of these holes have got to go! Smid and MacGrattan are especially bad even though they are poster boys for size and truculence. Will Burke (or his future side-kick) have the intelligence to plug the team’s two biggest holes even if it means losing some truculence?

    Note: Relative Corsi is a measure of players’ possession relative to the rest of their team. Upgrading all players with negative Corsi Rel does not guarantee the team will be good at possession, just better than they are now. A corollary to this is that Flames with negative Corsi Rel aren’t just bad by league standards, but by the standards of one of the bottom five teams in the league. There are no doubt some Flames with positive Corsi Rel that would be holes on a team like the Bruins.

    • piscera.infada

      Does Corsi tell the whole story? Is Bouma as bad as his Corsi suggest or is in part who he has been saddled with. I agree with the need to move on from McG and I would also be prepared to move on from Smid, DJones and Ob if we could,

  • Brent G.

    Tank it?

    Do you really think that Mr. Impatience aka Brian Burke is gonna keep his number one, two or three overall draft pick and wait a few years for it to develop?


    • piscera.infada

      “Do you really think that Mr. Impatience aka Brian Burke is gonna keep his number one, two or three overall draft pick and wait a few years for it to develop?”


  • Byron Bader

    I’m in agreement with the majority here. Deliberately tanking is a recipe for disaster. The convenience tank where a goodish team falls off the map for a year and ends up with a stud to put them over the top tends to be more beneficial. But it’s all a fluke. The Flames will finish bottom 5 the next couple years. If they end up with S. Reinhart, Ekblad or McDavid that would be tremendous. But tanking deliberately to try and get one of them is like spending your rent cheque on lotto tickets. There’s still 29 other teams and a lotto draft. Even if you finish dead last, there’s a 75% you don’t end up with the first overall pick.