Five things: Oh I don’t know

1. The Flames’ draft strategy

So the NHL’s website has been talking to various teams’ officials in recent weeks and talking about the strategies those organizations will employ once the draft rolls around. Earlier this week, they talked to John Weisbrod about what the Flames plan to do.

And hey, look, I don’t want to make it out like I’m immediately dismissive of their strategy late next month, but when he got right down to things, ideas like "drafting for need" came up. Which obviously infuriated me for different reasons.

"Once you get to the later rounds, drafting out of need becomes dangerous because you’re talking about longer-term development projects and the immediate needs of your team from what the needs are going to be in two to three years," Weisbrod told NHL.com.

This obviously ignores the fact that this is the case, you know, with the guy they picked in the first round last year. In the case of most drafts, I think, once you get out of the first five picks, or even 10 at the very outside, you’re waiting two or three years at least for prospects to develop into NHL-ready players, and that means that drafting for need is — you guessed it — stupid as hell. The idea that the Flames might get an NHL-ready guy at No. 6 (or slightly higher if they trade up) is a nice one, but even in deep drafts, how many guys taken outside the top 5 are that ready every year?

Weisbrod says that the draft is deepest at forward and he is of course right about that 100 percent. It just so happens the Flames’ biggest need is at forward, any position, so whoever they get at No. 6 is likely to fit their need, but if that’s the draft philosophy at 22 or 27-30, then this team is in deeper trouble than I thought.

2. Germane to that discussion

Another thing Weisbrod brought up, and it’s one that I honestly hadn’t considered, is the idea of trading some of their picks for roster help now. When I read that, I just started laughing.

I don’t know who they’d target and I don’t know why they’d do it, other than the fact that as Weisbrod says, they simply don’t have the warm bodies to fill out an NHL roster this season. I think this probably goes back to the absurd mandate that the team must make the playoffs next season or heads will roll. It’s an idea I think Flames fans should find distasteful, because it once again involves the acknowledgement of a need to rebuild without the actual desire to commit to it.

Who do they target on the trade market that’s young enough to be impactful for several years while the team rebuilds and also can be had for a reasonable asking price that doesn’t involve No. 6 overall? You have to think that list is extremely short.

3. Adios to Babchuk

So Anton Babchuk is joining short-term teammate Roman Cervenka in returning to the KHL, which is just about right. The Flames won’t miss these guys more than they’d miss any other NHL-replacement-level AHLers, and maybe they’ll be even happier because they won’t have to pay them a combined $6.275 million against the cap (which, holy hell).

That got me thinking about just how bad the KHL must be if they’ll welcome these guys with open arms after they flamed out so badly (no pun intended) with Calgary. They were both abjectly awful for the club, and this was one that had a lot of holes to fill and few options to fill them. When they couldn’t hack it with the Calgary f’n Flames, the fact that anyone would take them at all should tell you everything you need to know about the quality of that league.

Hopefully for the Flames, this discourages Jay Feaster from ever wading back into that water in search of a high-quality player again. Honestly, can you think of any NHL players who were superstars in that Russian league who wound up being of even passable quality in the NHL? I’m having difficulty, and I think that’s a good enough indicator that the well there should be considered extremely dry.

Yes, I know. Karri Ramo. We’ll see how that goes. Don’t expect it to go well.

4. TSN’s offseason plans

Much like NHL.com doing a draft preview, TSN fantasy guru Scott Cullen is previewing the offseason plans of the various teams that didn’t make the playoffs. As you might imagine, that stuff about the mandate to make the playoffs came up, which in turn prompted him to note two things:

1) That they might have been in the conversation at least if they got slightly-better-than-average goaltending, instead of substantially-below-average goaltending this year.

2) That there is a significant need to acquire high-quality players.

"Feaster’s challenge is acquiring top-end talent, whether through draft, trades or free agent signings. While the Flames have solid pros scattered throughout the roster, they don’t have guys at the top end of the talent scale," he wrote.

Well no kidding.

I can’t remember who it was, but someone on Twitter earlier today brought up the idea that the Flames seem like the most likely team to make a run at Valtteri Filppula, and boy doesn’t that sound right/like a bad idea? So of course that’s exactly what’s going to happen.

5. Sorry pardner

Go Pens I guess.

  • Rockmorton65

    What about Vinny and 3rd overall for the StL pick, Ramo and Tanguay? (KIDDING!!!!)

    Seriously, I could see a trade like, Vinny & 3rd overall for the StL pick + a roster player/prospect.

    The question seems to be – would Tampa consider it worthwhile to drop about twenty spots in a good draft to get out of an impending cap hell?

    • icedawg_42

      Really? Where was he wrong? The Flames NHL roster is alarmingly thin right now. The prospect pool isn’t anywhere near as deep as most people seem to want to believe. I will say it’s on the right track (only compared to where it’s been in the recent past) but without some solid draft picks and PATIENCE, the team is nowhere near out of the woods.

      • BurningSensation

        Lambert was wrong;

        – about the Flames draft strategy. Indeed, he went so far as to selectively quote Wiesbrod in order to be that wrong.

        – He was wrong to be snide about trading a 1st for roster help now. There are dozens of guys I would cheerfully deal one of our first round picks for, but Lambert dismisses this possibility out of hand and with a sneer.

        – He’s wrong about the KHL not being home to any good players who might contribute to an NHL team (I note with some irony that Belov was just signed out of the KHL by the Oilers).

        – He’s wrong (at least IMO) that signing Fillpulla would be a bad thing for the Flames. Having a utility knife center who can move up and down the roster as needed, and one who is the right age to grow and mentor the younger players coming on-line is a solid commodity to have. He won’t be a cap buster at $10m a year, but something like the Hudler contract (a guy he used to play with) would be appropriate and help the team avoid developing the ‘abandon all hope ye who play here’ attitude that now defines Oilers hockey.

        Lambert is one of those people openly cheering for the Flames to be brutal for a five year span, and he refuses to believe that there are other ways to rebuild a team.

      • BurningSensation

        BS you beat me to it.

        Weibrod’s quotes were “cherry picked” completely out of context to support his opinions. I love a good debate but don’t misquote someone to validate your arguement. Bash Flame Management for the mistakes they have made… I understand it but don’t take some cliche, mundane, interview comments and try to twist them to discredit Weisbrod …that is weak at best. Also, don’t link an article to your column that contradicts the thesis of said column… honestly I am done commenting on this my rants are giving the “work” more attention and merit than it deserves.

      • BurningSensation

        BS you beat me to it.

        Weibrod’s quotes were “cherry picked” completely out of context to support his opinions. I love a good debate but don’t misquote someone to validate your arguement. Bash Flame Management for the mistakes they have made… I understand it but don’t take some cliche, mundane, interview comments and try to twist them to discredit Weisbrod …that is weak at best. Also, don’t link an article to your column that contradicts the thesis of said column… honestly I am done commenting on this my rants are giving the “work” more attention and merit than it deserves.

  • piscera.infada

    This talk of buying out Vinny is fun and all, but its pure lunacy. Complete and utter lunacy. If Edwards folks over $25+ million REAL DOLLARS I’ll eat my shorts. I honestly will. I’ll post a video on FN.

    Guys like Edwards didn’t get to be gabillionaires by spending money like drunk sailors on what would equate to still a risky move. Remember any draft pick could still flop.

    I’d bet Edwards would laugh in you face if you asked him about this scenario…. This guy is hell bent on making the playoffs EVERY year (for $$ reasons, not because being a bubbling team gives you any chance at being a stanley cup contender). They refused to trade Iggy because he sells so many jerseys, even though it contributed to driving the team into the ditch and losing any trade value.

    We’ve complained for YEARS about the never ending list of things this organization has done that appear to be almost entirely $$ driven. Now fans suddenly think Edwards (aka Uncle Scrooge) is going to have a change of heart and start throwing around $25 MILLION for an 18 year old prospect who may pan out one day.

    I realize why its fun to dream and try to convince yourself it could happen. But there is more chance that this team throws $10 million at Fillpula in a desperate attempt to get back to 8th place next year.

  • Derzie

    I’d rather sign Lanny McDonald than Vinny. The money is not my concern at all but what is my concern is the on-ice product and the morale of the team. When I heard ‘no post-apex players’ I took that to heart. If your age has anything greater than a 2 as the first digit, not what we need right now. We don’t need big splashes or high risk home runs. We need sure things and players with a high probability of reaching a high ceiling. As does everybody but we need management to be solid right now and do the right thing for rebuilding this team. The ONLY player worth giving anything up for is McKinnon, and possibly Drouin. Proven in North American and on a big stage. Otherwise, draft the best guy your scouts can find. No time for riverboat gambling. We can’t handle a big loss at this stage of the proceedings.