Flames Waive Blair Jones – UPDATE, Flames demote Irving as well

As per Darren Dreger today, the Flames have waived fourth line center Blair Jones, likely with the intention of sending him to the minors. 

This is a fairly surprising move. Jones is one of only two natural, NHL-ready centers currrently on the active roster (Stajan is the other). And while he hasn’t put up any points, the former Lightning has been capable enough in a support role. His on-ice SH% of 2.27% probably makes him seem worse than he is, but then the Flames also have Blake Comeau who is at 3.03% but also a team worst -19.20 corsi/60 (Jones is even with a 45% zone start). 

This sort of suggests Sven Baertschi is ready to return, but then I don’t know why they’d chose to demote Jones in response. Steve Begin (frequent healthy scratch) and the aforementioned Blake Comeau (who has been simply bad) are more natural candidates to sit on the waiver wire. Heck, Baertschi himself would be more suited to a plane ride to Abbotesford, either for a conditioning stint or because he was only playing 5 minutes a night when he was in the line-up anyways.

The other possibility is this is some sort of paper transaction, enacted due to some vague rule in the CBA. Even then, I don’t know why it would be Blair Jones the team would choose to expose and not, you know, 34-year old free agent, no one will pick him up anyways, Steve Begin.

Anyways, let’s see how this plays out. 

UPDATE – Flames announce Leland Irving has been re-assigned to Abbotsford today with Danny Taylor being recalled in his place. As predicted, last night pretty much killed any hopes Irving had of being an NHL goalie here in Calgary.

  • Franko J

    Good luck Jones, hopefully you are picked up by a team and organization that believes in the value of meritocracy. Another head shaker from the Flames.
    Moves likes this just baffle me. No wonder this team is going nowhere but down.

  • Colin.S

    I just have a fear that if its a trade it’s going to be a VERY bad trade to try and win this year, most likely involving this years first, which as we stand would be a VERY VERY high pick.

    At this point, there isn’t ANYTHING the Flames are going to do to save the season, even with a fully healthy lineup this team was almost destined to a top 5 pick, or at best, just miss the playoffs……again.

    I just don’t get it, Jones is the better player, but still we added Begin, wasting more contract space. MacDonald isn’t a good goalie, but we never have addressed our goalie situation in the last 3-4 years so management thought to waste another spot. There are a lot of wasted contracts, **COUGH** KOLANOS **COUGH** on the Flames, and now it costs us an actual NHL player, a guy who held his own for the role he has, not many guys on our lineup can say that.

    Theres been things this management group has done that has been likeable, passing on Jokinen again, trading Regehr, drafting guys like Baertschi and Gaudreau, but then they bring out moves like this that just scream they are making it up as they go and are just getting lucky for the most part.

    • RexLibris

      Interesting thought, but given how close the teams are, I don’t see anything happening. The one and only trade that has ever happened was when the two were going in opposite directions and ended up being a pretty minor deal (conditional 3rd).

      But the question has been posed on ON, would Jones be an improvement over Vande Velde? Not sure.

  • Veggie Dog

    I have been visiting this site for a long time, but I just signed up to say how ticked I am at this. There better be something in the works that makes this make sense.

  • Scary Gary

    This just ticks me off. I dont know what is going on with this team anymore or what direction they are trying to go. All the questionable moves have been little moves, Sarich, Babchuk, Macdonald, Begin. But they are starting to add up to royally burn my butt. We have no sandpaper on this team, & the ones we do have are unfortunately 4th line, Jones Jackman type players. We have so many soft players Royale may need to come up with a Flame Brand toilet paper.

  • Colin.S

    This might be a little off topic, but I am hearing that J Bo is being shopped.. is there any merit to those rumors? I could see Sens, Blues, Philly or Kings being interested…

    • Colin.S

      If they arent, then they should be. He’s been playing better than he has in the last 2-3 years. Brodie has stepped up huge & Wideman should be the only offensive dman in your top 4 rotation. At 6.68mill, too much $$ for the same type of dman we get from Brodie/Wideman. We need a young Regehr type playing with Gio. Nasty hitting blueliner that has world class skills. Interesting that Buffalo have been sour on Tyler Myers(until last night anyway), I wonder if he could be had & if JBO is moved, would be the perfect fit in our top4 rotation.

  • RexLibris

    There better be a trade in place. Comeau is practicing on a line with Iginla and Glencross. Comeau has only won 32 faceoffs in the last 85 games.

    Must be prospects involved as well. who aren’t currently under contract. I would say, generally when you give up 1 player to get back 2, you aren’t getting the best player in the deal. Also if this player, who they should be getting, is playing with Iginla and Glencross then it better be a legit top 6.

  • RexLibris

    Agreed. This does seem like a very peculiar move. I wonder if they have some sort of deal in place that would require more contract room and they are hoping that Jones gets picked up?

    Waiving Begin would have been a better move, in my opinion. The Flames would appear to need Jones’ versatility and effort on most nights.

  • loudogYYC

    Man this news put me in a foul mood, Jones is no point producer but he plays his role well. I’m starting to really doubt management with the calls they’ve made lately.

  • SmellOfVictory

    If they needed contract space maybe they shouldn’t have frigging picked up Old MacDonald off waivers.

    See ya, Jones. You were my favourite 4th liner.

  • Colin.S

    I’ve put a lot of faith in the Flames brass because they’ve done some really good things thus far. But this one throws me for a loop.. I really like Jones I think he brings a tonne of energy and as Kent says there are way better candidates for demotion.

    But the most concerning to me is BookofLoob being put on suicide watch. Stay strong BoL.

  • Colin.S

    I pointed this out in the post game thread but will do so here for people not reading the comments on post game.

    They did this to free up a contract, simple as that, Jones WILL get picked up, don’t know why they couldn’t trade him….. They are at 49 contracts, 5, yes FIVE of those are goalie deals(Kipper, Irvine, MacDonald, Taylor and Orito), what a freaking mess of goalie deals. My guess is that there is a deal in the works, some sort of trade where we trade 1 for 2 or something of that sort.

    Other than free up a contract on the 50 man list this makes NO sense period, Comeau is bad, Begin is bad, why wave a NATURAL center, who last night won 70%+ of his faceoffs.

    • Colin.S

      I agree that is likely the reason. They have reasons for a lot of things. They picked up MacDonald because they don’t trust Irving or Taylor and wanted more depth. They are waiving Jones to make room (possibly for Baertschi) and possibly to free up a contract. They refuse to trade Iginla because ownership wants him to retire a Flame. Etc.

      They always have a reason. But it doesn’t make things make anymore sense.

      If they aren’t comfortable at 49-contracts then they didn’t have the luxury of picking up Begin or MacDonald. If they need to make roster space there are better candidates for a demotion.

      Waiving Jones makes zero sense. He is one of our only natural centre’s left on the roster. He is one of the few players that can play big and still play hockey. He is good on the face offs. He is strong defensively. And he generates chances from the fourth line. Plus, he is a 26-year old on a great contract.

      It isn’t a big enough move to get all worked up about. But the little trust I held for this management group is slipping away as they desperately cling to false strands of hope.

      The Flames are a middle age man signing up for MMA and skydiving lessons because they refuse to admit reality. A Phaneuf/Stajan/Hagman/Kotalik/Jokinen/Staios/White desperation move can’t be too far behind.

  • RKD

    I though Blair was a character guy, blocked shots, killed penalties and was pretty effective in his role.

    Comeau is atrocious, his 24 goal season will never be matched or even come close to that.

    Hope Baertschi can give the Flames some spark after that St. Louis beatdown.