Kipper Staying in Calgary Highlights Flames Failures



pic via Cats Five

TSN reporting this morning that Kiprusoff has opted to remain in calgary for the rest of the season and will likely retire in the off-season.

It’s a disappointing end to the Kipper saga, even if we assume the return from Toronto was going to be marginal. When I was penning "trade Kipper" articles in the past, this was my ultimate fear – that the team would hang on until the asset was drained of all value. I’m not going to begrudge Kiprusoff this final stand, but it’s astonishing how completely the Flames former cornerstones have crumbled with almost nothing to show for it. Right now, the best return for a former core player (aside from a couple of first round picks) is…Lee Stempniak.

Since 2010, the Calgary organization has shed Dion Phaneuf, Robyn Regher, Daymond Langkow, Jarome Iginla, Jay Bouwmeester and (soon) Miikka Kiprusoff and all they have to show for that collection of formerly high priced, high-valued players is a collection of middling prospects, the aforementioned picks, Lee Stempniak, Chris Butler and Matt Stajan. What a disaster.

The Flames inability to draft and groom their own players internally is a big reason they stand on the percipience of the abyss currently, but make no mistake – the club’s almost total failure to appropriately leverage their high-end pieces is another big issue.

  • bruins2011

    Why is there not a push to get Ken King out? He allowed Sutter to run a dictatorship and continue this awful legacy of drafting and developing. He’s not a hockey guy, yet he’s got his hands in everything. He brought in Feaster and the continuation of this mediocrity and lies. As president he is responsible for the hockey department and everything it entails. With these deals, I would have much preferred a quality prospect from another organization that was being developed since the Flames have not been able to draft or develop anyone of note in over 20 years. Obviously the ownership plays a huge part in this debacle also. Its a total mismanagement of assets. Even the Niuewendyk/Iggy deal was poor. All they got was a prospect and Corey Millen for one of the top players in the league. There was no guarantee Iggy would turn out the way he did. They’ve taken advantage of the fans for years. The whole young guns scenario was a fiasco because they just had to work hard and get out of the bottom 5 teams, even though they still missed the playoffs anyway. Even now, where are their European scouts? Does anyone scout the Q? I’m tired of the WHL and western mentality that they would be proud to wear the sweater and represent the city. Do they look like they have pride? Did they the last few years? Ownership should apologize for lying and King should be fired for incompetence. Sorry for the rant, but its been building for a while and I think fans are being fleeced, while being partly responsible for not standing up to the farce this organization has become.

  • Michael

    The problem is that pretty well everyone outside the organization say this train wreck coming years ago. I’m at a loss to explain why the Flames front office buried their head’s in the sand and did nothing for years. The buck stops on the GM desk, this is Feasters third trade deadline, so he is ultimately responsible. While their is plenty of blame to be shared (King, Sutter etc) Feaster is the GM in charge, this mess falls squarely on his shoulders.

    What is even more appalling, is the hit that the organization has taken to its reputation. Feaster has dithered and bungled his tenure as GM. The conclusion to me is obvious….

    • the forgotten man

      The funniest part is that Feaster yesterday on the Fan960 issued a mea culpa for his last 3 years here…”no intellectual honesty”…”had a bad read on state of team”.

      One can not even make this stuff up if they tried…it sounded exactly like a guy who knew he would never get another sniff of the NHL once his gig in Calgary is up. The smell of desperation. He is apparently heading our rebuild….thanks Murray.

  • the forgotten man

    So far this is miles from a “rebuild” this is a tear down. I’m yet to see one real building block coming back other than the picks. Kipper is just icing on the cake, how fitting… all of our best cards have been played other than maybe Glencross and we have almost nothing to show for it.

    What’s the point in firing Feaster and King? Edwards will just bring in two more puppets.

    I’m teetering on the edge as a Flames fan. I’ve just about had enough…

  • BurningSensation

    I say the Flames do 1 of 2 things with Kipper…

    1. SIT THE BUM…let him ride the pine the rest of the year…maybe even HEALTHY SCRATCH him the rest of the year.

    Or…even better…

    2. Put him on Waivers…when no one claims him assign him to Abbotsford…when he doesn’t report…SUSPEND HIM!

    GOOD RIDDANCE…nice loyalty to the team that grabbed you off the scrap heap in San Jose and gave you a career. Good to see you win ZILCH in Calgary. GOOD RIDDANCE! #CLASSLESS #OVERRATED

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    Can you imagine if we traded him last season?

    He was by far our most valuable asset last season….

    It doesn’t overly matter now cause we wouldnt have gotten much for him today.

    I think he has some mental hurdles to overcome this year (heard there were medical problems with his wife..?) and he wasnt able to overcome it.

    I know the Flames havent played well in front of him this year but Kipper has continuously rotated a good year followed by a bad year.

    It sucks that Kipper and Iggy were wasted assets, to a certain extent, but the new era of Flames has begun…

  • BurningSensation

    My quibble is with including the sins of the past regime in with the issues of the current.

    Without a doubt the Phaneuf trade is one of the all-time worst trades in Flames history (up with Brett Hull for Walmsley and Ramage – and without the mitigation of a cup win), but that is hardly fair to smear Feaster with.

    The Langkow trade isn’t one that bothers me all that much. His value was in decline for sure, but we traded him after a catastrophic injury, and got a useful piece back. I think most reasonable people would call the return we got for him under those circumstances to be more than adequate.

    Likewise, the NMC of J-Bo and Iggy are part of what hamstrung their trade value. That said, from the look of things so far this year the only team to land 1st rnd picks in deadline deals is…us. So I’m not exactly outraged by the return.

    Lastly, the dearth of prospects and their development is directly tied to the former regime and not the current one. I would think that even the harshest critics of Feaster (of which there are no shortage around here) would concede that if he has done nothing else he has rebuilt the talent procurement side of the team, and had three solid to excellent drafts in a row. This is reason #1 that I am bullish on the returns we received for JBo and Iggy – the one thing our current regime has going for it is that they have been able to work the draft to produce quality prospects in a way that the previous regime never did.

    • the forgotten man

      What sort of cosmic bunny hole do you live in? Previous regime???? Last I looked, Ken King has been President through this whole debacle along with Tod(d) Button as head of scouting and for that matter Feaster has been an executive with he Org for almost 3 years. Your cognitive dissonance on this one is astounding.

    • The state of the organization is tied to both regimes. Sutter screwed up the Phaneuf trade and drafting stunk in his epoch, but Feaster came in and opted to run Iginla, Kipper into the ground, moved Regehr for not all that much and recently rushed to trade Bouwmeester when he had a lot more time and leverage to maximize the return.

      The Langkow trade ends up as the only win and even then Calgary didn’t add a single future asset in that deal.

      The disaster is culminating on Feaster’s watch and it’s not ALL his fault, but it’s not like he’s done anything to mitigate it.

      • BurningSensation

        I guess I see things differently on a couple of points;

        – The Regehr trade netted us not just assets, but rid us of one of the most toxic contracts in the league, and Regehr hasn’t been worth all that much in any way since we let him go. It was the first step away from the Sutter regime IMO (a conclusion reinforced by the fact it is Sutter’s team that just took him on).

        – I think the ‘rush’ on dealing JBo is totally justified. If we don’t deal him now then the pressure of making the playoffs and doing well is alleviated, and every GM’s primary concern becomes ‘how do I get under the new cap’. Waiting to trade JBo would have seen his value decrease, rather than increase (I note here that he has garnered arguably the best return of any trade made near the deadline, with the chief competition for top spot being what Iginla brought in)

        – I don’t think Feaster opted to ‘run Iginla and Kipper into the ground’, I think that was ownerships call. I have said before that I thought Feaster was engaging in a slow-motion rebuild. Getting rid of bad contracts (Kotalik, Regehr, etc.), being more judicial with picks (he has used more 2nd rounders than Sutter did in his entire time here), and generally trying to clean up the mess that Sutter left in his wake – while at the same time trying to satsify ownership’s desire to not do a full-scale meltdown.

        I’d also argue that but for some bad luck (injuries mostly), he almost made it work.

        – In terms of Feaster’s priorities, I think he has them exactly right (where I thought Sutter had them exactly wrong). The Flames talent pipeline HAD TO BE FIXED for any long term success to ever happen. The ‘rebuild’ that everyone called for would go nowhere fast if the basic foundation of the team isn’t solid (see: Edmonton – the high-end kids are fine, it’s everywhere else that is in trouble). Sutter had obliterated the base of the team by jettisoning 2nd rnd picks in bad trades, and blowing his 1sts on ‘farmer strong’ kids who nevertheless couldn’t skate. Feaster has completely retooled the system for talent aquisition – and it is from that base that any future success for the team is going to come.

        Is Feaster totally blameless? No. I can’t stand how he deals with the media, I have issues with the Wideman contract, and I’m still not sold on Hartley as coach (though I like him much more than Butter), but I think he has decided to turn into the skid and is getting the team back on track.

        • I think you are giving Feaster a bit too much credit in many areas but let’s start with the draft.
          In the mid 1990 through 2002,s primarily Craig Button regime Calgary had a period of unprecendented high picks due to poor season results;
          1996-7 5th
          1997-8 5th
          1998-9 8th
          1999-0 6th
          2000-1 11th
          2001-2 9th

          Sutter regime started with 1 high pick which yielded a very good player in Phaneuf and then due season successes resulted in 5 years of low draft positions.
          2002-3 9th Phaneuf
          2003-4 24th Prust-in 2nd,Boyd-3rd, Pardy 6th round.
          2004-5 26th
          2005-6 26th Irving
          2006-7 24th Backlund,4th round Aulie,5th round Renaud-Windsor team captain and leader with upside-died tragically.
          2007-8 25th 3rd round Bouma,4th round TJ Brodie playing 20+ minutes as a 22 yearold-college senior age.
          2008-9 23rd Erixon
          2009-10 no 1st or 2nd rounder Reinhart-3rd round,Ramage 4th, Arnold 4th,Ferland 5th and Holland 7th round.

          Credit must also be given for Giordano as he was signed as a free agent out of Junior.

          Some picks were traded to get back playing assets to satisfy Flames ownership directive to win every year.
          Another misconception was that Sutter only drafted WCHL players. Looking at the list is a healthy dose of Swedes, US College players.

          Feaster era so far has had the benefit of very high picks due to mediocre results which have declined year over year to the present sad state.
          2010-11 13th
          2011-12 21st traded down from 14.

          Everyone knows the chances of success are very high with the 1-5 pick overall and dropping off incrementally with each group of 10 thereafter.

          The Sutter are was defined by 1st round picks which cannot be compared with the mid teen picks. The one top 10 pick was very solid with a high end NHL player chosen

          The draft record was not stellar however the Flames during that period had the lowest overall picks on average due to on ice success.

          I thought I would provide the summary to provide some balance to the referral of the bleak period. Some good pieces were added with liely some more to come.

          BTW the same scouting staff remains largely in place today.

          Now if you want to analyze Craig Button’s use of top 10 draft picks that is enirely another discussion and was nearly a complete waste leaving Sutter with not much on the shelves upon his arrival.However he didn’t complain about his predessor but got to work.

          I suggest it is time for Feaster to do the same!

          • supra steve

            “I think you are giving Feaster a bit too much credit in many areas but let’s start with the draft. In the mid 1990 through 2002,s primarily Craig Button regime Calgary had a period of unprecendented high picks due to poor season results; 1996-7 5th 1997-8 5th 1998-9 8th 1999-0 6th 2000-1 11th 2001-2 9th”

            I know Flames have never drafted higher then 6th. In checking your info on Flame draft position from ’97 to 2002, you had them all wrong, every single one. Thanks for coming out.

          • Scary Gary

            Took the info from Flames website and should be directionally correct. That period was undoubtedly the toughest in Falmes history.

            if you are disputing someone else’s info please I challenge you to provide your own research to dispute it.

            I know it takes a bit more time than throwing out 1 liners.

          • supra steve

            Thanks for the invitation to correct your work, but…no thanks. VD (unfortunate initials) already did it for us. Thanks VD.

            Sorry, didn’t intend to be snide, but I always make an effort to provide factual info (when I provide info), and expect the same of others. I’m sure you have valid opinions, but when providing info, make efforts to ensure the info is correct, or your readers will lose interest/not take you seriously.

          • Derzie

            1996-13th D. Morris
            1997-6th D Tzachuk
            1998-6th Rico Fata (barf)
            1999-11th Oleg Saprykin
            2000- 9th Brent Krahn
            2001- 14th Chuck Kobasew
            2002- 10th Eric Nystrom
            2003- 9th Dion Phaneuf
            2004- 24th Kris Chucko

        • BurningSensation

          – Regehr netted 2 2nd rounders 2 years after we moved him. We moved Regehr WITH a 2nd round pick. Would it not have been wiser to merely eat the last year of that Kotalik contract? I say yes.

          – Teams can sort out their cap spaces far better in the off-season. So why not wait? Even if you wanted to move him now, why not wait until today for the best offer? Why 2 days ago? And why not hold back salary for a better return? A 4M JBo, not dealt until today would’ve commanded a far better return as more teams would’ve been in it and more desperation accumualted.

          – Feaster now admits he wasn’t “intellectually honest.” In other words, he told ownership what they wanted to hear in order to get the job. And it wasn’t like other sources weren’t telling the Flames it was time to rebuild. It wasn’t some secret or anything. After missing the playoffs for the 3rd time last season, that should’ve been the last straw, but Feaster thought he was smarter than everyone else. Arrogance.

          – Every team has bad luck and injuries. Ottawa is managing.

          – Talent is collateral. The Oil can do any number of things now to fill in their holes BECAUSE they have star power.

          • icedawg_42

            – Teams can sort out their cap spaces far better in the off-season. So why not wait? Even if you wanted to move him now, why not wait until today for the best offer? Why 2 days ago? And why not hold back salary for a better return? A 4M JBo, not dealt until today would’ve commanded a far better return as more teams would’ve been in it and more desperation accumualted. – yes! this!

      • Derzie

        Totally agree Kent. I would like to add that if things appear to be better at the draft table with Feaster as many feel and I hope, when will we see even 1 of his drafts become a regular on the team? They have to start making it next year as we have no other options.

  • Colin.S

    I said it in the other thread, if he wants to stay here, let him stay, but keep him on the bench, the management NEEDS to send a message.

    With giving Iggy full run to decide what and where he wants to go that was acceptable but again shows management bending over to players.

    In the Bouwmeester trade I listened to Overtime on the Fan for all of 5 secs before I had to turn it off, but Steinberg mentioned that the reason they traded Bouwmeester now rather than the offseason was cause he wasn’t HAPPY here. Really, now we are just trading assests for marginal return cause they are a little unhappy?

    And now we are not putting the foot to the floor and telling Kipper he has over a year left on his deal and he can be traded, if he doesn’t like it Retire.

    I say sit Kipper, bench him, give him the last home game of the season. If he feels like he doesn’t want to compete or go to a team that really wants to acquire him, I don’t want to see him getting starts here either. I want the team to ice the best possible team it can, if Kipper’s family is most important to him, good let the other goalies that want to play, play.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    With this rebuild starting too late to even get 1 prospect with a chance of playing next year, we are going to see some hockey over the next 5 years that makes us long for the Young Guns era. What a mess this organization is in.

  • icedawg_42

    Agreed on the management failure part. I’ve accepted it wholeheartedly though. I don’t know how anyone can really still believe this is going to be a 2-3 year “retool”…by the time the smoke clears, this will look more and more like an Oilers style demolition and reset from scratch.

    That said – I don’t understand the surprise, or the hostility towards Kipper. This guy has hidden so many holes in this roster for a long time. His numbers may have been sketchy, but I believe a lot of that was from playing behind a poor/shoddy team. I think if the guy wants to quietly ride off into the sunset, let him be.

    That said, it would be really cool of him to honor that last year and backup/mentor whoever the next guy turns out to be.

    • SmellOfVictory

      May be quicker than theirs, though. The Flames have a better supporting cast than the Oil have had over the past six seasons, and they have three, currently, first round picks in the 2013 draft as opposed to Edmonton’s one pick in the 2010 draft.

      As long as the Flames don’t entirely crap the bed from a drafting perspective with a bunch of off-board picks (which is my greatest fear), they’ve got a good jump start to things.

    • I haven’t seen much hostility to Kipper personally. I don’t feel any. But for me seeing the former giants fall for next to nothing is disconcerting, especially since this was fairly predictable as far back as 3 or 4 years ago.


  • Bean-counting cowboy

    They *REALLY* should have traded him when his NMC expired. We all knew it and ownership really dropped the ball. I don’t begrudge him for retiring. That has always been the plan.

  • jakeryley

    I love Kipper, and Iggy – but the last few weeks show just how poorly managed the Flames have been.

    Miikka and Jarome had become “bigger” than the team. Even in small ways like Jarome having his own specific goal celebration on the big screen.

    Miikka and Jarome had become the “brand”, rather than the Flaming C – and this happened because of management’s complete incompetence in bringing along other stars (which is also why the team failed on the ice).

    Lots of respect for Miikka, but I sincerely hope he retires at the end of the season so that this disaster of an era can end.