Five things: It’s all getting closer now

1. Ramo is locked up

It may have been just a formality at this point, and no they can’t reveal terms until July 5, but I guess it’s nice to have some level of confirmation that they got the Karri Ramo contract done in something resembling a timely fashion.

I’m not surprised by the multi-year term and I probably won’t be surprised by whatever the money is (unless it’s really low, I guess), but it really does look like they’re going to run a battery of Joey MacDonald, Reto Berra and Ramo, which I think is very interesting.

Here you have a team which says its ambition is to make the playoffs. Here you have a team whose goaltending will be comprised of a career backup and two guys whose combined NHL experience is 48 games, all of them Ramo’s. These are reportedly highly-regarded goaltenders, but you can’t help but wonder exactly how much experience in SM-Liiga or the KHL helps them for the rigors of an 82-game NHL season. Does that mean MacDonald is the starter? If so, that’s trouble for the Flames’ chances, which probably leads to a front office cleanout.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m all for this team being rather bad the next few years and stockpiling high picks, and I think a goalie rotation of that type is more likely than not to get it done, but you have to think the executives are actually trying to do what was asked of them and make the playoffs. Which leads one to believe they’re high as hell on Ramo. I guess we’ll see.

2. A thing I can totally see happening

Someone on Twitter the other day, I think it was Dave Lozo, asked idly which team would be most hilarious in their desire to offer a big ol’ contract to Bryan Bickell after his insane, unsustainable goalscoring run in this postseason (I asked the same thing yesterday – ed.). All the usual answers followed, with the most obvious being Buffalo because of the Ville Leino situation and how giving Bickell big money would be more or less the same thing.

Meanwhile, all I could think was "The Calgary Flames." They want scoring. They want to get "tough to play against." Bickell, based on what he’s done here in the playoffs, provides both. You know, ostensibly. He is a free agent at the end of this season and he reportedly wants more than the $2 million or so Chicago offered him to stay, and someone’s certainly going to give it to him. I just have a sinking feeling that it will be Calgary.

Y’know, just because you’re scoring a ton of goals on a line with Jonathan Toews doesn’t mean you’re going to actually play like you’re worth more than $2 million a season, particularly if you’re already 27 and have no history of doing that thing that you’re going to be paid to do. The idea that he’ll magically revert back into the 17-goal guy he was three years ago will probably be brought up a lot, backed up by his scoring nine in 48 this year (a contract year), but that is of course preposterous.

His underlying numbers are also completely underwhelming despite his nice goal line too.

I eagerly await the point at which he gets $3.5 or $4 million a year for way-too-long from somebody, and I really hope Jay Feaster isn’t the guy to give it to him.

3. Time to get Brodie signed

Rpger Millions tweeted the other day that the Flames have yet to talk to Tj Brodie’s agent about anew contract, which indicates that there’s very little in the way of traction for him getting signed. Normally no big deal, sure, since he’s a restricted free agent. But here’s the issue: About the same time as I saw that, I also saw that Elliotte Friedman reported the Flyers would be hunting RFA defensemen.

Uh oh.

This is, one supposes, one of those things that is avoidable: The Flyers are desperate for defensive help and will, as we saw with Shea Weber last summer, go to extremes to pull it off. The reason I think Brodie might be a target for them in particular is that he’s a) very good, and b) not exactly the world’s best-known RFA defenseman. Consequently, while guys like Roman Josi might attract a bit more attention in the musings-about-this department, Brodie might be a better target, and perhaps one that comes a little bit cheaper in theory.

You’d think the Flames would be hard at work trying to get this sorted out as soon as humanly possible to avoid such a fiasco, but then you never know. The closer July 5 gets without it getting done, the more you have to worry about Philadelphia’s designs on swooping in.

4. Some quick thoughts on grandfathered visors

This is a very common-sense thing, which is shocking because the NHL often avoids common sense like it does any association with Sean Avery. It’s the best way to make sure everyone has to wear a visor in the future while simultaneously letting the idiots who want to skate around without them put themselves at greater risk. One of the arguments against the move I saw yesterday was that visors don’t protect players from everything, and that’s certainly true. But just because it’s not a total failsafe against facial injuries doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be pursued.

In a lot of ways — and not to trivialize this too much — it’s the same thing as the gun control debate in the United States. Advocates want more basic precautions put into place to prevent guns from getting into lunatics’ hands, but those who oppose such measures typically say that it won’t stop every gun from getting to every criminal, as though it’s an all-or-nothing proposition.

The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of players in the league wear visors these days, and most have done so forever. I think it was something like four guys who have fewer than the requisite games-played to make such a decision actually don’t wear visors, so this changes nothing for most players; all CHL players wear visors, all AHL players wear visors, all European players wear visors, all college players wear full cages. That the NHL took this long to get on board tells you everything you need to know about how slow the league moves.

Next up is hybrid icing, which is apparently bad because linesmen get it wrong sometimes. Just like regular icing.

5. I don’t see how LA wins that series

People are acting like the Kings are right back in this series now that they’ve won one at home, but I gotta think they’re still in tough to win three of the next four games. You can say it’s as simple as winning one in Chicago and continuing their home dominance, but 13 of their 17 games in this postseason have been decided by one goal (or two with an empty netter, like Tuesday).

Do you really wanna get into that kind of narrow slugfest with a team like the Blackhawks? Imagine what happens if Kane or Toews shake out the cobwebs. The Kings are fininshed.

Around the Nation

Jason Gregor has an in-depth interview with Darnell Nurse up at OilersNation. Many believe Nurse will be the second defender taken at the upcoming draft behind Seth Jones and could even sneak inside the top-7 picks. Here’s a tase:

JG: How did you approach that question period with the NHL teams? Was it nerve-wracking?

DN: I think that you just have to be genuine. That’s the biggest thing. Obviously you’re in this position for a reason, and you can’t change who you are or give people answers that you think that they want to hear. For me, that was the biggest thing; just go in there and show them who I am as a person. By doing that it made the interview process a lot easier. With that being said, after 22 meetings there is a point where you get sick of talking about yourself for sure.

Check out the rest here.

  • RexLibris

    Good points.

    Right now I’m taking a long look at the draft history of every team in the league since 1979.

    There are some things that stand out but one thing that quickly gets put to bed is the idea that there are teams that habitually get it right at the draft.

    There aren’t. Even the best teams in the league over time have years with a wide disparity between relative draft successes and failures.

    A tremendous number of factors go into a scouting team’s performance, including depth of draft, position, targets stated by management, scouting team depth by region and so on. And that hasn’t even covered development systems.

  • BurningSensation

    Nothing’s going to really happen until the playoffs are over. Everybody wants Bernier. According to Friedman, he didn’t get traded at the deadline because LA was afraid that he’d get flipped to Calgary or Edmonton.

    Dun dun dun!

  • BurningSensation

    so weisbrod is the new talent guru. i guess folks buy into that disney like script CONcocted by the front office of the blizzard, having to dodsled into the arena to witness the big jankowski. god, please lets wait and see if any of these alledged prospects pan out. the true measure of this group’s brilliance is in handling the ufa,rfa and salary cap mega movements of this offseason. just a tip, the pens maybe making some bold movements this offseason if they fall from grace. dupuis,kennedy etc not to mention matt cook everyone loves matt cook.

  • SmellOfVictory

    the upcoming draft and off season player movement should be extremely exciting, if executed properly the flames have the opportunity to retool as they say as well as become a playoff team. if the pens are swept or go down in five, shero has a huge dilemna as to the direction his team goes. the canucks have organization direction issues, so do other clubs. numerous rfa’s futures hang in the balance, buyouts loom and cap issues abound. what is needed is a definite plan of action, no catchy phrases or buzz words, we can all speak sportugese. feaster faces his biggest challenge as a gm and that is to build a winner not inherit dudleys champs or dutter dillusion madman chemistry project. its time for all management to demonstrate not articulate.

  • piscera.infada

    Watching the playoffs with great interest I keep seeing some Great forwards being shut-down by some great Defence. I don’t think the Flames should strictly look at forwards with the low pick, they say winning starts at the Goalie out. We don’t need more goalies but a few more strong mean D would be nice.

  • piscera.infada

    I lost all hope in Feaster when he did not demand Ty Rattie in the J BO trade, all we can hope for now is that Feaster is not planning to sign all the average F/As this summer. Should I buy my Bickell/MaCarthur jersey now?:(

      • SmellOfVictory

        Funny, but he’s got a point: including some completely unimpressive mid-20s goalie from Switzerland in the deal seems entirely useless to me.

        Cundari seems okay so far, but it’s a small number of games he’s played.

        • BurningSensation

          No, he actually doesn’t have a point. There is no reason to think Rattie was ever an asset that StL was willing to part with (ala Crosby to the Leafs).

          Cundari looks like he might actually be a player (albeit it is highly unlikely he’ll be an All-Star), and Reto Bera was the goalie for the Swiss that stunned the US at the recent Worlds. If he is even a quality backup that is enough,

          • piscera.infada

            And, I’m sorry, does anyone remember where we got those first round picks from? I forgot, and it seems like there’s a small amount of excitement about what might be done with them.

  • BurningSensation

    @the-wolf, @Graham

    Since Feaster has arrived he has;

    – moved out Regehr , Iginla, Bouwmeester and Bourque (older vets) and replaced them with younger players and picks

    – carved out a ton of cap space

    – rebuilt our scouting department

    – added an advanced stats specialist (Chris Snow)

    – picked up a couple of young players with upside on the cheap (Cervenka, and whasisname who was waived by the Islanders)

    – brought on board a talent guru from a winning program (Weisbrod)

    – collected three 1st rnd picks from what is arguably the deepest draft since 2003

    – signed FA’s who are on the younger side of ‘veteran’ to reasonable deals

    How is this not a rebuild? For sure I think it is fair to be criticial of some of his moves (*cough Sarich/Babchuk *cough), but Feaster’s direction since taking over the club has been about as polar opposite from Sutter’s as you can get, and by any reasonable estimate Sutter had fully embraced the ‘win now at all costs’ mandate.

    The only move that I think muddies the waters a little is the ROR offer sheet, but even that looks like it was at worst a sideways move (young player entering prime for picks), rather than a repudiation of the rebuild.

    • RexLibris

      Not to pile on, but I do disagree with some of these points.

      -Moving out Regehr, Bouwmeester, Iginla and Bourque brought in two 1st round picks, and a 5th, iirc. It relinquished two 2nd round picks and brought in marginal or untested NHL talent in Byron, Butler, Cundari, Berra, Ramo and others. They added one true NHL player in the bunch by getting Cammalleri on an inflated contract with movement restrictions.

      These moves are lateral at best. More often than not Feaster is spinning his wheels shifting the focus of a dysfunctional roster and losing ground to Western competitors.

      -carving out cap space, as Colin has mentioned above, is the byproduct of moving Iginla, Bouwmeester and others. He added a significant contract via trade with Cammalleri and signed a bloated free-agency contract with Wideman. The cap space created this season was clearly not a primary organizational goal and one has to wonder how much of that is going to be used on veteran free-agents this summer.

      -the scouting department has had one significant change, the addition of John Weisbrod. That is not a rebuilt group, although they have been refocused. I question, on account of some of the comments coming out about Weisbrod and Feaster’s input into selections, how much the scouts’ input is taken into account.

      -he has added one statistical analysis/video specialist. There may be unannounced analytics resources, but there has been little evidence to suggest that the Flames are at all above average in this regard.

      -Cervenka and Comeau were decent bets, though mis-cast.

      -Weisbrod has hardly earned the title Talent Guru. He was a middling scout for the Stars and Bruins, two teams with modest draft records in the depth rounds and with Eastern-seaboard prospects, where Weisbrod would have had the majority of input. It is far too early to declare Weisbrod a superior identifier of talents.

      (*on this topic, you’ve described the Oilers scouting staff as unimpressive for failing to deliver any talent beyond a number of 1st overall picks and Eberle – yet the prospect pool for the Oilers includes a sizeable number of promising developing players at both forward and defense. Why is Weisbrod’s record better despite inferior results?)

      -Those selections are a terrific boon to the organization and the only step in the right direction that I have seen from the Feaster regime to date.

      The 2013 draft looks deep, but comparing it to 2003 is foolish. The draft class has talented players who play a highly-valued position (centers and defensemen) and some 2nd generation prospects (Rychel, Domi, etc). The draft is likely to have some good talent available into the 2nd round, but expecting it to rival a draft from even a decade ago is premature.

      -which young-ish free-agents did he sign to reasonable deals? Certainly not Wideman. Hudler is a decent signing, but signing MacDonald was unnecessary.

      I have been adamant that every team rebuilds according to their own circumstances. That being said, the Flames under Feaster are not rebuilding. Certainly some pieces have been and are being put into place, but once Feaster is fired, this year or next I suspect, his replacement will likely have to begin a more thorough process.

      • piscera.infada

        There you go stirring the pot…….

        Just to refute some of your points my Oiler brother:
        -The Regher/ Kotalik deal was nothing short of a salary dump bar none. Sorry man, getting value back was not on Feasters agenda on that deal, it was freeing up 7.5mill. That’s it. He was just given the permanent fulltime position & expectation was that the team had the pieces to be a playoff team. Buying out Kotalik was nor an option Edwards was giving Feaster obviously.

        -You are down on Wideman but I was OK with his game this year. Expensive 3-4 dman but considering it cost us zero assets, we aren’t the only team that overpays for UFA’s. Him & Brodie made the JBO trade possible.

        – How do you come to a statement that acquiring all this cap space was not an organizational goal. Until we say what happens at the draft & through this summer, I will stand by saying the Flames have some excellent & intriguing options this summer. We can critique & pick it apart come October when we see the Flames starting roster.

        -I really don’t want to get into who is tough & who is better drafting between Flames & Oilers. Two entirely different situations & Oilers having 4 years straight of lottery picks & 3 1st’s in a row is simply unprecedented & a record I don’t think we’ll ever come close to challenging in my lifetime. One thing is, the Flames drafting has been waaayyyy better in the last 2 years than at anytime that I can remember for awhile.

        -Last, this draft seems to have a lot of people pretty excited about the quality & to say it’s not as deep or solid as 2003, well, how can you make that statement at this time? There just seems to be a lot of players that would make the top 5 in previous years. I think this is a good draft to have 3 picks in the 1st round in, don’t you?

        • RexLibris

          Double, double, toil and trouble!

          😉

          The Regehr deal did clear up cap space that Feaster then tagged to try and sign Brad Richards, followed by Ryan Smyth. Those are lateral moves in terms of age, and reorganizations when considering money committed to position.

          I’m only down on the Wideman contract as it reflects on management. Don’t think that I’m insulting the player. He is a good special teams player and adequate 2nd pairing blueliner on perhaps 2/3rds of NHL rosters. But the contract is an absolute killer.

          I’m only critiquing the cap space created as it relates to the potential moves this summer. If that space is then spent on expensive contracts to underwhelming free-agents then this franchise is clearly still in denial about their underlying weaknesses.

          The Flames’ recent draft record is more promising than it has been in some previous years. Emphasis on “promising”. Rather than anoint anybody as a genius at talent identification I strongly suggest fans (regardless of affiliation) wait and see what comes of those prospects, and discern how much is scouting and how much is the result of development. (btw, the Oilers tied the record set by the Quebec Nordiques, although that was pre-lottery, so the Nordiques earned those 1st overalls. They also traded them away as prospects.)

          The 2013 draft is unlikely to see top six forwards and 1st pairing defensemen taken all the way through the 1st round and into the 2nd the way 2003 did. The depth of this draft is improved on last year because you could find an elite-level prospect at #5 or #6, after that it gets closer to form.

          And just as I said before, those three 1st round picks are virtually the only move that Feaster has made for which I can applaud him. The picks are only half of the equation though. Making the selections and then developing them appropriately will eventually determine the success of those trades.

          All that draft talk aside, just as you say, time will tell. I suppose I’m just naturally conservative in this regard. Rather than talking up a draft that hasn’t even occurred, I would prefer to wait and see how things shake out a year from now.

          • piscera.infada

            OK Mr Double Toil & Trouble! Explain how Gonchars signing for 2 years @ 5.0 mill per makes Widemans contract look like an albatross?? Dallas even gave up a 6th rounder to do that one. 🙂

          • RexLibris

            Gonchar’s contract isn’t very good, in my opinion. But here are some caveats that might make it more manageable: I suspect Nill brought Gonchar in to help tutor Goligoski, and reclaim some value from a bad trade.

            Two years at 5 million, with no trade restrictions, isn’t entirely terrible when compared with five years at 5 million and a full No Movement Clause.

            My issue with the Wideman contract isn’t the cap hit as it relates to the Flames, but as it relates to the rest of the league. I’m working off the assumption that the Flames will need to move him at some point over the next three years to four years. That contract, along with the NMC, will make this a very tall order. They can’t waive him, which even removes the possibility of a compliance buyout, and would only be able to trade him if he agrees to it and provides a list of teams. Those teams would have to have the cap space to fit a 5 million dollar contract for an, at best, 2nd pairing blueliner.

            Gonchar will be gone in two years’ time. Wideman will be around for four more years.

            I think they are both relatively bad contracts, but if someone forced me to choose, I’d take Gonchar’s because at least it would be short-lived.

          • supra steve

            I don’t like the Wideman deal either, but if we’re going to look at similar players (James Wisniewski) Wideman is better, paid less, and on a contract that ends at the same time (ie: a year shorter). Moreover, they both have a NMC.

          • RexLibris

            Wideman’s contract is better than Wisniewski’s in the same way that Shawn Horcoff’s is better than Ville Leino’s. Neither is particularly desirable, but if one had to choose…

          • supra steve

            Yeah, but…Gonchar is 39. Wideman is only 30. $5million till Gonchar turns 41 years old, in the era of the diminishing salary cap? To me, it makes the Wideman deal look more palatable, so we are in complete disagreement on this one. You gotta pay for offence.

            I agree that the trade restriction on Wideman’s deal is an annoyance, but only a minor one. Don’t see many instances where those things create a major roadblock in moving a player when the time comes, other then the obvious ones (Iggy, Heatly). Wideman has been around the league enough to know how these things work to protect a player and his family when the time comes to move on.

          • RexLibris

            I’ll just go back to my original assertion that the best assessment of the Wideman contract isn’t what it means to the Flames cap structure, but what it means to the cap structure of other teams.

            To use a comparison, the Oilers are reportedly very close to moving Hemsky and Horcoff. They have enough cap space that having $10 million locked up in those two players isn’t a significant handicap. However, the ability of other teams to absorb those contracts relative to their roster depth (Hemsky as a 2nd line RW, Horcoff as either a 3rd or 4th line center) is highly restrictive.

            I know this is going to seem like splitting hairs, but if you were even to shave $1 million off that contract I could see it being reasonable.

            Wideman’s $5 million is more than Coburn, Bieksa, Hedman, Orpik, Fowler, Vlasic, Stuart, Goligoski, Tyutin, J. Johnson, and E. Johnson.

            and in line with Pronger, Seabrook, Keith, Ekman-Larsson, Edler, Carle, Kronwall, Yandle, and Byfuglien.

            He’s being paid 1st pairing money for (optimally) 2nd pairing skill. That, taken along with term and a NMC make this a bad bet for the team down the road.

          • supra steve

            Amen. NMCs have really hurt the Flames and the returns on both the Iginla and JBow trades were poor as a result (Feaster is also a bumbling fool). Big mistake to give Wideman one (and the deal is 2 years too long). Insecure teams and GMs hand out NMCs and once you start everyone wants one.

          • supra steve

            See this is where these kind of posts lose me & any credibility. How is Feaster a bumbling fool? Really how do you know the returns we got for JBO & Iggy were so bad? Were you on the phones with the other GMs. I heard JBO had like 12 teams on a list. What team do you really think would have made a huge offer for either of these players? Personally the NMC were not as detrimental as some think. Iggy, yes & Feaster didn’t give him that contract & what he did has some on FN happy because if he had let the team do what they wanted, he would have been playing for the Cup. Funny how that stuff works. But not too many players have pulled an Iggy or Sundin. You keep forgetting, if we only offered 3 years at 4.0mill, Wideman would not have signed, he would have got this contract from someone else. I cant stand people criticizing Feaster & painting him until we actually see what he does.

          • supra steve

            JBow is overpaid and had NTC too, but Feaster managed to move his contract and got a mid to late first rounder in 2013 and a pair of grade B prospects.

            No one is worth the money these guys are bringing in but that doesn’t change the fact that if you don’t pay them, someone else will be only too happy to do it. Then what would the D look like? Like the Oilers D?

            As for the Oil being “reportedly very close to moving Hemsky and Horcoff”, good luck with that. I know they would like to move them, not sure how they can without eating some money/bad contracts or giving up prospects/picks in return. Perhaps your 2013 #7 overall plus Horcoff to Flames for Butler and the StL pick (#22), or something involving your 2nd rounder or next years 1st? How bout Wideman?, if not for his NTC…

          • RexLibris

            But you are fixated on just that one thing that yes, Widemans contract is overpaid by about 1mill per year & probably 2 years too long of a term. But it cost zero assets to acquire. Who could we have traded to acquire a 4.0mill top 4 offensive dman. If it was so easy, Oilers would have done it by now. Teams want an arm and a leg for top 4 dmen let alone well priced top 4 dmen. That’s why Dallas felt Gonchar was worth the overpay, they gave up nothing to acquire him. Once Oilers get to that point when they are seriously looking at the playoffs, they may very well overpay a UFA piece they believe they need & with that, goes a longer term than what they would have liked. When Calgary signed Wideman & Hudler, they still were taking a last run at playoff hockey. So again, I still feel you are way too hard on Feaster & the flames & on that Wideman contract. JMO bud!

          • piscera.infada

            RE: Draft record/Scouting;

            I agree with you. While I believe on their face, the last two drafts look better then what was done under Sutter, but I’m not going to anoint them as phenomenal – yet.

            It seems like it’s a very polarizing concept on FN. Either you think those drafts (and by proxy the scouting group) is amazing, and should be commended, or they suck, should all be sacked, and will inevitably destroy any and all opportunity we have at being successful in New Jersey.

            I’m with you on the wait and see approach. As I said, the drafts appear to be getting better – but in the long-term we’re not sure, as is typical with drafting.

          • RexLibris

            I took a look at MacGregor’s draft record over at NHLNumbers a short while ago.

            The troubling thing with scouting is that it takes about five years to know if they are doing a good job, by which time, if they aren’t, the team is often in trouble.

            The Flames’ picks recently are refreshing, I get that. And fans have every right to be excited, but it looks a lot like parochial narcissism to laud them so much when they have essentially only reached the level of league average. Other teams (though not the Tampa Bay Lightning) have drafts like this on a regular basis, so perspective is key.

            And to stave off anybody accusing me of trolling, the team with the second worst draft success history in the NHL since 1979 is…

            The Edmonton Oilers.

          • piscera.infada

            That’s what I’m saying. I understand the Flames drafting is on the low-side of league average.

            I just find there is often a jump in logic where people go from either 1) better drafts equals awesome scouting department, or 2) took a flier after moving down in the 1st last year equals drafting a projected 7th round high school kid at 6 overall.

            Seems to me that the gulf in opinion regarding Flames management puts them (management) between a rock and a hard place as there’s no real consensus on what this team is anymore. I think we’ll know exactly ‘what’s up’ after the draft.

            But, to get back on point, the Brodie thing doesn’t phase me. I don’t believe they will do anything stupid at the draft. And I don’t think we’ll see them chasing and over paying mediocre talent in free agency.

            And by the by, I am under no illusion that this draft is anywhere near as good as 2003.

            I also heard Pronman on the Fan this morning, he is unbelievably high on Lindholm. It was the most ringing endorsement I’ve heard of anyone outside of Jones/MacKinnon in this draft class.

      • BurningSensation

        Nice to have you in the conversation Rex!

        – Feaster moved out our old ‘core’ (JBo, Bourque, Iginla, and Regehr) and got back prospects and 1st rnd picks. In EVERY DEAL, he made the roster; cheaper, younger, and added assets that have yet to reach their prime (note: this is virtually the definition of a ‘rebuild’)

        – Oh yeah, and cap space. You can call this a ‘side-effect’ all you want, but the side-effect is important for rebuilding teams.

        – Weisbrod comes most recently from the Bruins, They are currently going fheir second cup in three years, and they are doing so in no small part because of the drafts that took place while Weisbrod was part of their scouting staff. It is not an accident that Calgary has had the best forward prospect it has drafted in a generation (and the best pick period since Phaneuf), with Weisbrod around. Nor is it an accident that the best drafts Calgary has had in decades in terms of late round picks (Gillies, Brossoit, Wotherspoon, Granlund, Gaudreau) have occurred on his watch.Stu MacGregor gets a ton of love for being the Oilers draft guru, but aside from Eberle (and maybe Klefbom) is there a guy he picked outside of the top 5 who is worth anything? Maricin? Hartikainen? Omark? Pitlick?

        In a pit fight between Weisbrod and Stu MacGregor I’ll put my money on Weisbrod.

        – Whether Chris Snow makes the Flames analytics ‘above average’ or not is indeed an open question, but he was never going to be a hire under Sutter. That Feaster is even aware of analytics means he is light years ahead of the previous GM.

        – The interference question with Flames scouts gives every appearance to me of having stopped rather than started. Sutter was famous for imposing his will on every level of the organization, including the scouting, and if the rumours are true was essentially calling his own shots in the 1st round (which explains an almost unbroken string of AWFUL 1st rnd selections from Phaneuf onwards till Feaster takes over, the exceptions being Backlund and Erixon). The fact that Feaster and Weisbrod kept the scouting staff intact and immediately saw better draft results without Sutter implies either that Weisbrod and Feaster are interfering in a positive way, or, that they have ended the negative interference Sutter brought. Either way, the evidence exists that scouting has markedly improved.

        – Having been something of a draftnik since about 86-87, my own personal opinion is that this draft has four players who would be easy selections for #1 overall in just about any other year (Jones, Drouin, MacKinnon, Barkov), and has a tier of 2nd level prospects that is as deep as I’ve ever seen. In any other draft year a player with the stats of Max Domi would be an easy top 5 selection, but this year he’ll be lucky to break the top 10. Ask yourself where would the Nuge rank against this top 4 if he were entering the draft this year? Would he rank ahead of Barkov? Would there be a debate over him or Nichushkin? (yes, but I think Nuge wins out).

        – Are the Flames rebuilding? Absolutely. What they aren’t doing is a ‘tear down’, or ‘scorched earth’ rebuild. Because, lets face it, those are long, painful and mostly futile.

        – Will Feaster be fired in the next two years? I highly doubt it. Dealing Iggy and JBo was a clear signal the team wasn’t going hell-bent-for-leather to make the playoffs, and so missing the playoffs isn’t likely to get Feaster into hot water in the next couple of years. Should pictures of Feaster with a dead girl or live boy surface, all bets are off, but there is nothing to suggest that Feaster is on the hot-seat, and every reason to think he’ll be given a few years to see how this plays out.

        • RexLibris

          The Iginla and Bouwmeester trades were clear rebuild moves. Regher to a lesser extent. As I mention above, the cap space’s value has yet to be determined and we must wait to see how management spends it this summer. If they go whale-hunting again, offering overpriced contracts on underwhelming free-agents then you have taken a step backwards.

          Weisbrod was on the Bruins scouting staff, but his role in bringing in some of those players is debatable at best. Krejci, Chara, Rask, Lucic and others on that roster have very little to do with Weisbrod’s input. Be careful of magical thinking in this regard: Weisbrod’s coming from a “winning organization” does not have necessarily imply that he can somehow bring that same elusive quality with him as though it were a quantifiable commodity.

          The Flames drafted Baertschi (whom I assume is the one you’ve referenced here) prior to Weisbrod having any input and that he is the most exciting forward prospect for the organization in a generation speaks more to their draft history.

          I’m not going to argue about prospect depth or quality. There are many external observers who have ranked both prospect pools and the results are independent of our biases.

          I agree that this draft is deep, within the top five or six players, then it begins to return closer to the norm. That top depth pushes down other prospects, and the Flames have a windfall in having three picks there. No argument. What they do with the picks, and how they are developed thereafter though remains to be seen.

          I would argue that the trading of Iginla and Bouwmeester, as well as the aborted attempt to trade Kiprusoff, three roster mainstays and essentially the entire remaining core of the roster is a far more dramatic “nuclear” rebuild than what most of the other recently rebuilt teams have done. I also sincerely believe that those trades were mismanaged.

          Most dramatic rebuild are futile? Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Boston, and Chicago all committed to long, arduous rebuilds over the last ten years. The Islanders, Panthers, Avalanche and Blue Jackets have had ups and downs, but they are undeniably in possession of some elite level talent around which to build.

          We’ll wait and see on Feaster. I probably shouldn’t have gone there, it’s pretty bad form to start openly debating someone’s job security. My comments are more a reflection of my belief that the Flames will struggle this coming season and that they may well end up in a very similar position next June as they sit today.

        • jmpgray

          Appaerntly, the more you post, the more right you are, logic be damned.

          I’ll agree that Flames’ drafting has improved, but you’re giving credit to Weisbord with no evidence of who he wanted in Boston or Calgary. It’s all supposition. Besides, Button runs the entire scouting dept., so if credit is to be given, logic would place it on Button. Weisbrod was a VERY small part of the Bruins’ scouting. But the Bruins are having success and since in your eyes the Flames can never do no wrong, and since Weisbrod is now with the Flames, than he must be awesome. Not trying to knock Weisbrod, but talk about a leap in logic.

          And while the drafting appears better, I’ve seen the same hype before – several times. We’ll see in about 3 more years. Lets stop crowning these guys as HOFer’s before they’ve played a single game in the NHL.

          As for the cap space debate, it was definitely part of the strategy in trading Iginla and JBo and was stated by Feaster as such. They obviously could’ve gotten a better return on the JBo deal had they eaten salary. So that is true, but just recently and is indeed a byproduct of moving out players who wanted out.

          As well, the exact motivations, other than poaching other teams this summer, remains up in the air. Who does Calgary pursue? We’ll see.

          As for Feaster, if the Flames finish bottom 10 the next 2 seasons he and Hartly will be gone together. Their wagons are hitched.

          As for scorched earth – the Pens have done it twice and have 3 Cups. Detroit did it back in Yzerman’s day. Quebec/Colorado did it for a couple of Cups. Chicago did it, got a Cup and is on their way to the finals. LA did it and won a Cup and are final 4. So, who are you trying to kid with that BS (pun intended)?

          And while I do believe Feaster tried to bring in some younger assets, he bombed the Regehr trade. Calgary’s rebuild is about 3 months old at this point as authorized by the true Gm of the team – Murray Edwards.

          • everton fc

            @Wolf:

            Spot-on. I do give BSensation some credit for stating the sale of the vets gives us cap space to play with… But…

            Wesibrod gave us Janko, who’s 5 years away, if he even makes it. Feaster re-signed Babchuk based on “talent-level”. He also tried to sign Brad Richards for a ridiculous amount of money. Never forget this, fans. And to say he mucked the Regehr trade – well, he did, in my opinion. Other GMs would have parlayed more. This I 100% believe.

            We have reason to be concerned. Those of us that are, with the current regime.

          • everton fc

            “And to say he mucked the Regehr trade – well, he did, in my opinion. Other GMs would have parlayed more. This I 100% believe.”

            would have–and did. Darcy Regier just moved Regehr for a pair of 2nds. Straight up. After two seasons where Regehr was roundly considered completely terrible.

    • Purple Hazze

      You should also include in the Regehr/Iggy/Bouw/Bourque deals they also moved OUT young players and picks as well. Two out of those 4 deals were not simply made for “rebuilding” purposes. They were hockey deals.

      He hasn’t exactly “carved” out a ton of cap space, more a circumstance of a lot of big deals coming to an end, Kipper, Iggy and JayBo wanting to leave Calgary and things like Cervenka’s imaginary capnumber coming off the books.

      As well picking up the youngsters on the cheap, both turned out not well at least, though both were okay experiments.

      What FA’s has he signed that are on the younger side of veteran to “Reasonabl Deals”, maybe Hudler, Widemans deal is anything but Reasonable, or at least so has been the general consensus.

      As for the rebuilt scouting department, we won’t know how thats worked out for 6-7 years time when those picks are really maturing and maybe contributing (or not) to an NHL team.

      This isn’t a rebuild. They’ve been at least smart enough to move assests they know they were going to lose for nothing, Iggy wasn’t coming back, they tried to move Kipper who will be retiring(Ramo signing confirms this), moved Bouwmeester before he walked next year as well. But they still haven’t engaged rebuild territory, they are moving out the occasoinal old person and trying to bring in a 25-27 year old in their place. At this rate all they will accomplish is not finishing high enough to get into the playoffs but never finishing low enough to get a prospect like a Kane, Crosby, Malkin or whoever to truly build around.

      What they should have done or still should be doing is setting fire to the whole works, ship out anyone who isn’t going to be around in 5-6 years time, get ALL the picks and prospects you can get and start a TRUE rebuild. The problem is that Feaster and company (probably at the direction of Edwards) keeps trotting out this HAVE TO MAKE THE PLAYOFFS bs.

      • piscera.infada

        “You should also include in the Regehr/Iggy/Bouw/Bourque deals they also moved OUT young players and picks as well.”

        Iginla trade: Iginla for Agostino, Hanowski, 1st

        Bouwmeester trade: Bouwmeester for Cundari, Berra, 1st.

        Where exactly are the young pieces and picks being moved out in those trades?

        • Brent G.

          I think he is referring to the other 2 trades where with Regehr, we gave up a 2nd to dump Kotalik & in the Bourque deal we gave up a 2nd & Holland to get Cammi, Ramo & a 5th.

          Big difference in these trades is that 2 were done when a rebuild was officially declared. The Regehr/Bourque deals were done when Edwards/King wanted Feaster to really make the playoffs with Iggy/Kipper & JBO as the core.

          The core is now gone, I think we move players that really don’t want to be here, cough Tanguay, cough Cammi… Problem is, these guys have little value, Cammi because his cap hit sucks & Tanguay is just too long of a contract for a 33 year old. These guys will be lucky to get us a 1st this year, maybe cammi can get us a 2014 1st maybe…

          The guys we have a shot at getting a top 15 pick with are guys we may not want to part with. Carolina may part with their 5th overall, they want a top 4dman, the only 2 that come to mind are Gio & Wideman. Do you do that deal, chances are one of later 1st’s would have to be thrown in that deal as well. I’m torn but I would be tempted to go for it. It would equate badly in the 1st couple years but the returns would come nicely after.

          As for Cundari. This guy reminds me of Brodie when he first started getting NHL games. He may need some stints down in Abbey next year but I think this kid will surprise some people like Brodie has. Just a gut feeling.

      • BurningSensation

        This seems to be a deliberately perverse way of assessing Feaster’s reign.

        – He has ditched the old Sutter ‘core’ of; Regehr, Iginla, JBo and presumably Kipper. ‘We were going to lose them anyway’ simply isn’t a fair assessment since we would have lost Iggy and JBo for nothing when their contracts ran out, and if the Flames were somehow deadly serious about making the playoffs there is no reason to move JBo.

        – He has moved out cap killing contracts like; Regehr, Kotalik, Bourque, Iginla, and JBo. This isn’t accident he stumbled into, it’s clearly about creating financial flexibility to make deals that include bad contracts, or to sign key FAs.

        – It’s also not an accident that he targeted 1st rnd picks in a deep draft as the preferred assets.

        – Hudler definitely fits the profile of younger vet, but Wideman isn’t exactly ‘post-apex’

        – Both Cervenka and Comeau were very reasonable risks to take – they cost nothing but money, are the right age, and had shown some ability to play the game (even if it was just international play). That neither worked out is unfortunate, but both were the kind of shots a good GM should be looking to pull the trigger on, as there is literally zero downside.

        – What you are cheering for is not just a ‘rebuild’, but a ‘scorched earth rebuild’ waste a decade in the wilderness and pray you emerge from the other side. I would point out that the Oilers have been doing just this for four years (5?), and they are picking 7th overall this year. Cumbus is going through yet another rebuild, as is Florida, etc. Consistently good teams don’t do scorched earth rebuilds.

      • piscera.infada

        Ho-hum…

        Another ‘blow it all up’ rebuild proponent. The whole “doesn’t always work/never works/not the only way” arguments have all been spouted off ad nauseum.

        So, one last time – just because this team doesn’t start from ground zero doesn’t mean this isn’t a rebuild. At the very least, starting from nothing is not a pragmatic scenario at all. Even the burn down-roll around in the ashes Oilers kept some of their old core around. Even Chicago traded for a 25 year old (gasp) player, who wasn’t very good (gasp) on the Flyers (gasp).

        A rebuild should NOT be about crapping the bed for 6 years, crossing your fingers, and hoping your prospects work out. Face it, the Flames were/are a mess of a team, that Feaster for all intents a purposes has done a reasonable job with (I won’t say great, or even good – but I remain optimistic).

        On another note, @Lober, good luck prying Rattie out of St. Louis with the Jay Bo deal. We don’t get blue-chip prospects for a player that the entire league knows came to Calgary and was a colossal failure – no good half of a half season is going to change that.

        • RexLibris

          I’m not saying that the Flames have to start from ground Zero, but they can’t sit on the fence either. They are trading away enough to get a bit of youth infusion, but not doing enough to get a draft pick worthwhile of building a team around and will mostly likely be stuck in a perpectual zone of not good enough to make the playoffs or get swept in the first round, but good enough to never get a lottery pick either. You can keep some of the core, but at some point you have to look at what you have, objectively judge it, say can this team compete and challenge for the playoffs for the next several years, and if not, move out everything but those players that will be part of the team in 4-5 years and build around what can be picked up in drafts and trades.

          How has Feaster done a reasonable job? The prospect pool is probably better, but as you said we shouldn’t be crossing our fingers and hoping our propsects work out. He’s sat on players with diminishing values and hasn’t moved this team forward at all for the most part. He’s moved out a player here and there but none of those deals have made the Flames any better

          • piscera.infada

            I will grant you the fact that the Iginla and Jay Bo trades are far from a slam dunk at this precise moment. Feaster secured fairly unknown quantities (prospects and picks) and you know no better than I do how they will turn out. While I don’t want to dwell on the Iggy trade for too long, I understand why it took so long to pull the trigger on. While as somewhat objective observers of the team, we understand that it should have happened 2, 3, maybe 4 years earlier to maximize return. The issue is, to the vast majority of Flames fans, it was still a nightmarish scenario even when it finally did happen. Thus, I’m not too sure we can blame Feaster for essentially lollygagging on a fickle contract with a player who at the time WAS the Calgary Flames.

            As for Jay Bo, I think it was the right time to move him. We can argue the return – I still haven’t had anyone show me any credible source for this Detroit deal, but I will take everyone’s word on it.

            As far as moving other players out. I’m for it. I have been one advocating trading Gio, because I think he is playing over his head, and isn’t capable of living up to the role he’s given (not a knock on the guy – I think he’s awesome – but I think the team just gives him far too much responsibility).

            The Wideman contract is one which I am constantly debating as I think he could play an important role in aiding the development of the young guys – ‘he’s been there, done that’, in every situation for multiple teams. Am I happy with term and dollars? Not particularly. But I really like the way he plays, and I swear I saw some of him already rub off on Brodie.

            I don’t believe they are sitting on the fence anymore. As an organization they have ‘stumbled’ upon some prospects with potential (I use ‘stumbled’ only because I’m not getting into the argument that we can’t credit Feaster, Weisbrod, et al. because I know it’s coming). As such, I’m excited about the draft and I’m excited to see what they do.

            I guess we will have to agree to disagree on where this team is. I prefer to be optimistic. That said, if they somehow, by God, do some of the things the naysayers are ‘sure they’ll do’ I’ll be right beside you with a pitchfork in hand, asking for Feaster’s head on a platter.

  • Graham

    @BurningSensation

    I’m not sure what the mandate is (yet), I hope it is a rebuild but only time will tell.

    Yes, Feaster did quit at least on paper, and he didn’t find any hockey related work for a number of years. He was really lucky that the Flames gave him a second chance, it’s unlikely anyone would give him a third.

    JBo was a combination of a salary dump, lack of offense, and to honest I think the ‘heart’ issue.
    Wideman provides the offense, Brodie will develop and eat up the minutes, and the Flames add a more aggressive d man for balance.
    Moving JBo frees up a bunch of money for other options whether that is ‘rebuild’ or ‘competitive’ in nature.

  • Graham

    Murray Edwards, who represents the ownership group, exercise’s full control of the Flames through Ken King.
    Feaster like any employee has a choice; he can either follow the directions given by his bosses, try and persuade his bosses to follow a different direction, or he can resign.
    If the owners are true to their word and want a competitive team next year, unless Feaster can persuade them otherwise, he will have to ice a competitive team.
    Likely trading first round picks, trading one or more of our prospects (and yes that could be Bart, Backlund or Brodie) or taking on contracts in return for established players.
    He has little wiggle room, if he goes down the rebuild options and fails to be competitive he will likely be fired.
    Given that NHL level GM positions are few and far between, the potential combination of Feaster’s below average record and inability to follow directions would likely force him out of his chosen career for good.

    I have no doubt that Feaster will follow the mandate from the owners, the real question is what is that mandate; ‘be competitive’ or ‘rebuild’.
    The draft will be a good indication of which direction the owners are taking us….

    • BurningSensation

      I’ve said this before (about two years ago when Regehr was traded), that if you don’t think we are in a rebuild, you haven’t been paying attention.

      As for whether Feaster will follow the mandate from the owners or not, the last GM job Feaster had he quit when the owners insisted he sign Lecavalier to his redonkulous contract.

      He is not a ‘Yes Man’.

      If the Flames were trying to ‘be competitive’ why would Feaster have dealt JBo for a pick and Rito Bera?

      • BurningSensation

        Or……he saw the writing on the wall in TB and quit before he was fired, which is the more likely scenario. Those owners were complete @$$-clowns, but it’s not like they were going to just keep Feaster around forever.

        Jay has also seen the other side of employment as a GM. After writng “Stanley Cup” on his resume, he now doubt assumed he’d be backin the GM chair in no time at all. Instead, he wrote terrible articles for the Hockey News. It probably gave him a new perspective. Also, I doubt teams are going to be lining up at his door whenever he’s (eventually) let go of from the Flames.

        In other words, past behavior is NOT always the best indicator of future behavior. Current behavior is.

        Which is why I come down somewhere in the middle. Obviously the team is rebuilding and has been moving slowly in that direction since Regehr was moved, agreed. But, it’s also obvious that ownership has greatly hindered that rebuild process over the last 2 years and that Feaster has (grudgingly, maybe) gone along with it. Otherwise, the moves we saw this year would have cerainly been made sooner. Edwards only gave approval, according to Feaster himself, 3 weeks prior to the Iginla trade to commence a full rebuild.

        So, point is, Feaster is hardly a renegade manager fighting ‘the man’ in order to instill what he sees as what’s best for the team. Instead, he was (is?) riding a fine line between trying to accomplish 2 things at once: rebuild and win now. Something that cost Coates and Button their jobs because it’s basically impossible to do.

        People can knock Dutter all you want, but the man could’ve cared less about rebuilding; he was firmly in the ‘win now’ camp, a directive that came directly from ownership. Results? Mixed, for sure, but besides the point.

        Point is, to a large degree, he is a “Yes Man.” That’s why he got the job and why a guy like John Davidson wouldn’t work for Edwards if it meant putting food on the table for his children.

        Hopefully, this summer being the ultimate test, Feaster walks that line better than Coates or Button ever did. Or, Edwards relents. But just because the lackeys tried to downplay the “make the playoffs next year” comment, doesn’t mean it wasn’t said or being mandated.

        • supra steve

          So, who would you say is “a renegade manager fighting ‘the man’ in order to instill what he sees as what’s best for the team”?

          His name is Darryl Sutter, and we’ve been there/done that. I’m not saying Feaster is any kind of saviour, but he was able to move Iggy, JBow, and had a deal in place to move Kipper for assets that we all have high hopes for. June 30 is going to be like Christmas.

          • piscera.infada

            Maybe I didn’t articulate my comments very well.

            My point in that statement of mine you quote was that Feaster is, in fact, a “Yes Man,” at least to a large degree.

            Darryl was as well. His mandate was to ‘win now’ and he bloody well did his best to achieve it (with obvious mixed results, but that’s a different debate).

            Difference is that Feaster is trying to do what Coates and even Button did in trying to follow that mandate and rebuild. And by his own admission, the rebuild part was only granted by Edwards very recently.

            If you reread my post, you’ll see that I agree totally that Feaster has been trying to rebuild on the sly (with mixed results – I still think the Regehr return was awful). But he’s also been towing the line. So the idea that he’d quite before compromsing what he feels is best for the team is false IMO.

            I agree with a lot of Feaster from a philosophical point of view. His execution, not so much.

        • BurningSensation

          “Also, I doubt teams are going to be lining up at his door whenever he’s (eventually) let go of from the Flames.”

          You say that, and yet the Oilers hired Scott Howson as a pro scout the instant John Davidson fired him as the GM for his complete inability to evaluate pro talent.

          People don’t always make decisions that make sense. Often, bizarre decisions are made for seemingly no reason at all.

          I’m not saying that Feaster will definitely get a job after the Flames (because logic says he probably shouldn’t, at least not a position where he wields any real power). But I didn’t think that Scott Howson would ever find another NHL job ever again–and yet the Oilers didn’t hesitate AT ALL in brining him back.

          Anything can happen.

  • Willi P

    @ BurningSensation

    Word of the day “Contradistinction”. Excellent.

    As for RL’s 5 things, same old negativity. At least he is predictable is his contradistinction compared to your opinions about the org (which I tend to agree with).

    • BurningSensation

      Merci

      Feaster has done the two things that any GM conducting a rebuild should do; collect draft picks (especially in a deep draft) and create cap space. I’m ok with giving Feaster hell if he blows the picks on college guys we’ve never heard of, or uses the cap-space to put Joel Ward on to a scoring line, but frankly, I don’t see either of those circumstances as being likely events.

  • mattyc

    1. My dad asked me if I thought the Flames should sign one of those FA goalies this summer. When I said “No” without any hesitation whatsoever, he looked at me like I had grown a couple extra heads. I attempted to explain my reasoning, but as usual (you all have seen me attempt to explain things before) I fell short. Short version: to what end? Finishing 9th again?

    2. Yup. That’s what I thought the instant Bickell started scoring and I heard he was a FA.

    3. How soon you all forget that we were saying the EXACT SAME STUFF about Backlund last summer. He was signed, no problem, but the signing wasn’t announced until JULY 5TH! I’ve already said it like twice in the last 10 hours, but I’ll say it again. Calm. Down.

    4. The last line was great. Fully agreed.

    5. meh. Come what may.

  • BurningSensation

    @Kevin R

    “Feaster can’t win no matter what he does.”

    That is Lambert’s modus operandi, whatever Feaster does is the apocalypse.

    “FFS, what would the ideal scenario be that everyone will be happy?”

    Aside from using sorcery to acquire the MacKinnon pick, there simply isn’t one.

    If Feaster ‘goes for it’, then the team isn’t doing it’s best to get good young players at the draft. If the team sucks and we pick high, the team has thrown in the towel and is developing a losing culture, blah blah blah. There is no scenario that doesn’t involve Feaster performing the impossible task of sucking and blowing at the same time.

    • BurningSensation

      This is one thing that the Oilers did well. They clearly articulated a plan and got buy in from everyone.

      You may disagree with the level of suckery they acheived (I do), and you may argue they still will fail (I am on the fence, but they surely will be better than us for the foreseeable future). But one thing I think they did very well was lay out a clear plan. They got buy in from fans and media. They have SUCKED for 3-4 years, and they have sold out 100% of every game and fans are rabidly excited for the future (I heard about it daily from my buddies… arg). In 2010 Kevin Lowe said it was a 7 year plan to become a cup favourite (not hope and a prayer 8th place playoff grinder). SEVEN!

      Don’t mistake my post for agreeing with their plan, or saying its working, or not or whatever. I don’t care about that and don’t want to get this thread sidetracked… My point is just that they had a clearly articulated plan and got buy in from their clients/customers (fans and media are essentially customers of a sports team).

      My point is, I think communicating a plan is the missing piece, and would allow Feaster some room to suck a bit before he starts to blow (or vice versa).

      • BurningSensation

        “My point is just that they (the Oilers) had a clearly articulated plan and got buy in from their clients/customers (fans and media are essentially customers of a sports team).

        My point is, I think communicating a plan is the missing piece, and would allow Feaster some room to suck a bit before he starts to blow (or vice versa).”

        I have to (mildly) disagree. When Ottawa went through it’s own rebuild (that started with the Heatley trade), they never to my mind articulated a ‘plan’ that would require them to suck for X number of years before they would be good again. We spend so much time gazing at the gong show to the North of us that we forget there are ways to rebuild a team that don’t require us to be terrible for a long period of time.

        I do think that Feaster is poor at communicating with the fanbase (his comments regarding Jankowski on draft day are exhibit A), but from his actions so far I am reassured that he isn’t going to do stupid quick fixes (Phaneuf for 5 guys!) in an attempt to save his job. This is a guy who quit a winning organization rather than give Lecavalier his cap-busting contract, so I highly doubt he is going to stop his rebuild in an owner mandated attempt to make 8th place.

        As for the Oilers, ugh. I can see a situation where the Oilers continue to crap the bed year after year because the only thing they have proven to be good at is finishing last and drafting 1st overall. That team is a total nightmare mess, and I think the rot starts with their scouting department being unable to deliver anything outside of the high end of the 1st round (save Eberle).

        • BurningSensation

          I wasn’t at all saying we need a 7 year plan and don’t want to get into the Oilers plan. My point was that they clearly articulated A PLAN. 2 years, 4 years, 7 years, 15 years, whatever. My point is just that Feaster hasn’t laid out a plan that us, the paying customers can buy into. I want to know what this team is doing, which gives me a chance to support it or not with my $, and voice my concerns in a logical manner. As a customer/client of the Flames as a business I think I’m entitled to that. I said the Oilers did that well NOT because I agreed with their plan, but just in that they communicated it. It gave mgmt room to be patient as well as unwaivering fan support which to me seems like win-win for mgmt.

          I guess Feaster did say he wants to make the playoffs next year. But thats either a terrible plan or a lie.

          BTW – The Ottawa ‘rebuild’ is a good example of rushing back to mediocrity IMO. Exactly what I fear Feaster may do… Again I don’t want to sidetrack the discussion to the evil nation up north, but they aren’t rebuilding to get back to 8th place and getting stomped in the 1st round of the playoffs each year. They have clearly stated their goal is to become a perennial powerhouse, and have admitted that will take 7 years. Fail or not, its a clear plan.

          • T&A4Flames

            Ok, here is my 2 cents. The psychology is different between the 2 cities. Not to offend anyone, but the Oil fans are a lot more….simple. Straight up talk is what they need to keep believing. It was sold to them and they bought it. Most Flames fans have a more complicated thought process it seems. I get that when I read various blogs here and elsewhere. The content of the comments is much more insightful and knowledgable with Flames blogs.

            Again, I’m not trying to insult anyone, it’s just how I see it. CGY fans need to be able to ponder the comments to be interested. Just my thoughts.

          • supra steve

            Plus:

            The majority of long time Edmontonians are believed to have an extra chromosome that makes them dim but also makes them excellent labourers for menial tasks. They are great workers as long as there is a Calgarian around to do the thinking and to “crack the whip” from time to time to keep them focused. That’s why we have the head offices and they have the rig pigs.

            No, I am not serious, not sure about T&A though. When anyone says “Not to offend anyone, but”…get ready to be offended.

          • CDB

            I can get on board with most of what you’re saying. Feaster probably should communicate better to the fan base in realistic terms. Though it’s not like that is what organizations across sports all try and do so while I understand your frustration, I wouldnt call laying out a plan in such simple terms the norm.

            Also, I would hardly call Ottawa a team that rushed back to mediocrity. A full season of the top D man in the league, having their franchise number one center healthy and they would be sitting near the top of the Eastern Conference and be a legitimate contender.

            They have some very young, promising peices that are quickly developing (Zibenajad, Silverberg, Conacher, Lehner etc.) That’s a team on the rise that retooled extremely quickly thanks to some very strong drafting, and hanging onto useful peices through their rebuild.

          • BurningSensation

            I didn’t make my point very well, but the reason that Ottawa doesn’t announce to the world they are going to suck for 5 years while they rebuild is in part because they didn’t believe they would have to suck for 5 years to do a rebuild.

            Whatever time table Murray had for when the team would return to being competitive was certainly accelerated by the discovery that the defenseman they picked in the 2nd half of the 1st round was an all world offensive force, and the goaltender they picked off the scrap heap in Colorado was arguably one of the top 5 in the game. So why announce some sort of time-table for a rebuild, when it could be derailed or accelerated by one bad/great pick?

            As a fan you can certainly vote with your $’s to not support the team because they aren’t letting you in on the details for how they are going to conduct the rebuild, but as reasons go for not supporting your team that seems awfully weak to me.

            I supported the Flames when they were TERRIBLE (the Brathwaite years! hooray.), and when they were awesome (I was at the celebration on Electric Ave in 1989), so for me Feaster’s level of communication isn’t an issue. At all. As a fan I feel I’m not owed anything but the product on the ice/tv. If I really don’t like it, I can always cheer for someone else (though I never do).

    • piscera.infada

      Agreed, Sometimes the utter negativity here at FN is unbearable. I love the intelligent hockey discussion – but sometimes it drives me right to a bottle of Henny.

  • BurningSensation

    1/Feaster cant win no matter what he does. If he goes out & signs Backstrom or Smith, he’ll get piled on for those saying he wants to make the playoffs & then he gets slammed for running with some very highly rated prospects. FFS, what would the ideal scenario be that everyone will be happy? I for one love the idea is running with Berra & Ramo next year, Time to find out what we have while we start to develop a new core.

    2/Lets throw the rocks when Feaster actually makes the signing. Many of us have low expectations but I’m not going to get worked up thinking of yucch scenarios that will never happen. Maybe we should look at bright sides of liking the return we got for Iggy after watching him skate in sand against the Bruins. I just thought he lost his fire in Calgary but now, I really do think age has caught up to him. His 7.0mill per year days are long gone.

    3/Philly coming in & scooping Brodie??? Really??? Are you nuts? Why would a team like Philly try an OS on a player with a team that has the most available cap space with owners that spend to the max. They would have to offer such ridiculous amount of money, that I would say just take the 3 1st rounders, otherwise Flames will match 3-4 year deal at $4 or $5.0 mill per. Brodie may have lots of potential but he isn’t even close to a Weber yet.Philly would be better off approaching the flames to trade for Gio. I think Couturier would get Feaster to jump at that deal pretty quick.

    4/Whatever.
    5/Chic/LA. Don’t care, I’m hedged, I have side bets with my Blackhawk buddy on the series that I’m betting on LA. But if Chic win, I will pretty well have a lock on 2nd & maybe a good shot at winning 1 of my hockey pools. So it’s all good. I just want the draft to come around.

  • @Ryan Lambert – “but you have to think the executives are actually trying to do what was asked of them and make the playoffs.”

    Do you REALLY think this is true? I keep going back and forth between that statement being the true strategy or a PR move… Deep down I WANT to believe that Edwards and Feaster had a man to man and admitted we need to suck the banana for 2-3 more years and get some elite talent. But then they thought it was good PR to talk about playoffs. For the love… I hope so.

    • I wonder about it, honestly. On the one hand, as noted above, the moves don’t really reflect that. But on the other, you gotta wonder if their failure to make the playoffs again next year means Feaster’s out on his ass (deservedly so).

      The question, then, becomes “Will he act in the best interest of the team or himself?” And that’s an answer I don’t think we have yet.

      • piscera.infada

        To be clear, if the Flames’ miss the playoffs next year and Feaster gets fired, it is deserved because of Feaster’s body of work to date (and presumed failings over the next year). Not because he ought to be able to get the Flames into the playoffs in 2013-14.

        Correct? I can get behind that.

        • piscera.infada

          If Feaster/Weisbrod get fired – assuming things are more or less similar to where we are now (meaning, no more ROR-type catastrophes) – I’m going to seriously consider washing my hands of this team.

          I, for one, am a big proponent of continuity in this rebuild. It really does nothing for us to not allow the people at the initial stage of our rebuild see their vision come to fruition.

  • BurningSensation

    In response to the points in Ryan’s column –
    a) The Flyers are not going after Brodie – typically, teams make the move when they feel they have a team over a barrel (ie. Lack of monies – see Nashville, or up against the cap) The Flames do not fall into either category so any team would know their attempt would fail and in doing so, drive other teams mad, which I know Philly could care less about – just sayin.
    b) I don’t think anyone really believes the Flames are going for it. Forget Feasters – Murray Edwards gave me the playoffs next year mandate- what do you expect a GM to say – they are going to slowly rebuild for 5 years. They have started the retool and I would be very surprised if they made some knee jerk moves to sign veteran players.
    c) Goaltending situation is somewhat ideal – they are retooling anyway so why not see what Ramo and Berra have and if they both crap the bed it probably doesn’t cost you much salarywise and expectations are low so management isn’t going to be jetted out of the Saddledome for those decisions.

    The telling point will be on about July 10th after the draft and start of Free Agency. We’ll get a better feel of the Flames gameplan and can cheer/critique it accordingly at that time.

  • Avalain

    There are people acting like LA is back in the series? I thought virtually everyone just assumed that they will win all the home games and lose the series in game 7.

    I’m really not worried about Brodie. Maybe that means I’ll be blindsided when his rights are traded away for nothing, but realistically he fits a very real need in the Flames organisation and even Feaster knows it.

  • Colin.S

    I REALLY don’t get the Brodie thing, I mean it’s one thing to not have a him signed already, it’s entirely another for a contract discussion to not have even started.

    You figured that at the end of the year they would at least have exploratory discussions about a contract, but no.

    I mean, do they think it was because of who he was playing with and they don’t value Brodie as much because of it? Cause that’s even dumber than not exploring a contract with Brodie. Giordano wasn’t that great last year, and Wideman’s year was probably the single best year he’ll have in his silly contract. If they think Brodie was the one riding in the wakes of the others and flipping him is the best decision and they are “fooling” some other GM, well I think the jokes on them.

    Also, I see Kent and Rog tweeting back and forth about Lindholm and how he’s committed to going back to Sweden next year and how the Flames might pass on him because of that. I’m sorry, is Feaster Retarded? That would be like if Crosby had said he was going to stay in the Q one more year cause he liked it so much, so the Pens passed him up and took Bobby Ryan. When you are that close to the 1st overall pick, you take the BPA, doesn’t matter if its going to be a year or two before he joins the team. Because if Flames are counting on whoever they draft this year to bring them back to the playoffs, I have some bad news for them.

      • Colin.S

        I would sure hope so, but I don’t think he’s blindly speculating, as was previously stated, the intention is Playoffs or Bust next year. If their first priority is, will our draft pick play next year? than I’m more worried than I have been of the direction of this team.

        • BurningSensation

          I think this whole ‘playoffs or bust’ line is way, way overblown.

          Nothing that Feaster (or Weisbrod or Conroy) has said or done since Edwards made that comment to Feaster indicates the Flames think they can make the playoffs next year.

          Nothing.

          On the contrary, in every interview any of the current Flames mgt have done since then they have walked back or downplayed the comment. (Conroy’s recent interview in particular indicates they know clearly we are in the early stages of a full rebuild).

          Keep in mind that the Flames went for a longer term project in Jankowski rather than draft a guy in Girgensons who might have been able to help right away – and they did this in a year where everyone was publicly proclaiming playoffs or bust with good reason to think the playoffs were still possible.

          Whatever you might think of Feaster, his record indicates that he’ll target the best player the scouts think is available, not who is ready right away to help the club make a playoff push.

          • Colin.S

            I think they didn’t draft Girgensons because he was overrated not because they weren’t looking for someone to play in the NHL right away. Girgensons hardly did anything at the AHL level this year, nevermind be “NHL Ready”.

            They haven’t done anything YET that shows what next year will bring. But they haven’t signed Brodie yet, and there’s also been talk they are looking at moving pics in order to bring in talent as well. For all we know they might be trading Brodie and Pics for veterans at the draft for a try at the post season. Like it’s been shown in other threads, even AVERAGE goaltending would have put us to 9/10 in the west, just out of the playoffs. I can assure you that the Flames probably know this as well. So while the Flames know they should probably rebuild, they say a lot of things, doesn’t mean they actually do them.

          • BurningSensation

            My point about Girgensons wasn’t about his NHL readiness, but rather that despite being clearly and firmly on a ‘we will make the playoffs’ push, Feaster nevertheless took a risk, traded down, and drafted a long term project (and got a 2nd rnd pick) rather than looking for any kind of quick solution. The evidence simply does not exist to warrant a fear that he is going to trade our picks for immediate help. On the contrary, Feaster has shown a marked willingness to collect more picks in contradistinction to his predecessor.

            As for what next year will bring, I think it is clear they aren’t going to go out and sign a ‘name’ veteran goaltender because they have Ramo, MacBackup and Bera. Given that fact alone, I would suggest that ‘making the playoffs’ is simply not their first priority, but that the focus remains on talent acquisition.

            If Brodie isn’t signed yet, I wouldn’t read too much into it. I also don’t think that there is any chance at all he isn’t re-signed. The idea Philly might sign him to an offer sheet is patently absurd, any contract they could offer Brodie that Calgary wouldn’t match immediately would bring back a number of picks far exceeding Brodie’s value. Like all the talk about Bickell being a Flame, it’s just Lambert scare-mongering.

            As for the ‘average goaltending and we make the playoffs’, I agree this is probably true, but the team has also lost Iggy and J-Bo (top scorer, and top D-man), and appears to have all but lost Tanguay as well, so I think the chances that Ramo comes on board puts up league average goaltending and gets the Flames into the playoffs is highly unlikely.

            That all said, if Ramo outperforms expectations I am certainly not going to be disappointed.

          • supra steve

            That was a single year, it doesn’t speak to their overall strategy, they may not have felt it necessary to trade that pick as they had enough cap space to make some significant acquisitions in FA(which they did, Hudler and Wideman). As well they might not have thought they were so far out of the playoffs based on where they finished, so they thought that it was a safe year to take a bigger risk.

            As well I’m not talking about signing veteran goalies, the goalie situation is pretty well over with the signing of Ramo, they have 3 signed to NHL deals and a couple other prospects. The veterans I’m talking about are Forwards or D, With Iggy gone, Tanguay on the way out and Bouwmeester gone, I have a feeling some of the picks or even Brodie can be dangled to get guys that are in the 27-29 age range for the win NOW feeling.

            It’s not that Brodie isn’t signed yet, it’s that no offer has even been made, no exploration as to what Brodies camp is even looking for. For the guy that was argueably the best Defencemen on the Flames last year, there doesn’t seem to be any sense of getting him under contract long term or him as part of the long term strategy and thats a hell of a scary thought. Because if the thought is to rebuild, when Brodie is in his prime is just when we should be coming out of a rebuild, so why is Feaster not even playing ball with the Brodie camp?

            The lose of Jay-bo IMO is the only one that will matter IMO. Tangauy was never going to live out that contract and be a meaning contributor, at the end of the year all he had were his counting numbers and not much else. As well watching Iggy in Pittsburgh, either he’s got the biggest injury of his career, or being outside of Calgary has really got to the guy, cause he is far from playing any sort of Elite hockey and is being dropper farther down the pitt depth chart the more meaningful the games become. We would have almost been a playoff team this year with average goaltending. We probably won’t be next year even with average, but we won’t be close to the cellar either.

          • BurningSensation

            ” I have a feeling some of the picks or even Brodie can be dangled to get guys that are in the 27-29 age range for the win NOW feeling.”

            Then I would recommend drinking heavily until you can’t feel anything. If the Flames move their picks for a vet it would only be to get Malkin. Far more likely is Feaster packaging assets together to move up in the draft to take Mackinnon/Barkov.

          • supra steve

            “For the guy that was argueably the best Defencemen on the Flames last year, there doesn’t seem to be any sense of getting him under contract long term or him as part of the long term strategy and thats a hell of a scary thought.”

            You mean aside from the fact that they identified him as an untouchable at the deadline?

            Seriously, this bellyaching over “they haven’t even talked to Brodie yet wah wah wah” is getting old. Fast. Since you seem determined to forget that we went through this EXACT situation last summer with Backlund, consider that the Flames’ managerial types have been EXTREMELY busy, what with preparing the draft lists, the combine and its interviews, signing Berra and then Ramo, etc.

          • piscera.infada

            There is no such thing as an Untouchable, word is just silly, for the right offer a GM will move any player.

            I also like how you say that Feaster has been exteremly busy signing Berra. I don’t know where I would value time spent on signing a goalie who would be forming a platoon with your backup goalie for the occasional start the starting goalie doesn’t get. If I had to prioritize my time, I would think you use some of that time instead on signing the guy who could potentially be the anchor of your defence moving into the future.

            3rd string goalie or 1st pairing defencemen, hmmm tough choice where to alocate your time to.

          • piscera.infada

            Did you even think before you posted that, compare two completely different teams with two completely different management resposibilities.

            Feaster has a team with over 20 million in cap space available and his team can spend to that cap limit. Brodie is the only RFA of big significance he has to sign this year, Backlund shouldn’t be much of an issue. Other than that, he has a couple other minor RFAs and maybe UFAs this year and next, but nothing so big it alters the Flames Cap situation.

            The Blues on the other hand are NOT a cap spending team and have an internal budget that must be adhered to. They also have other pending RFAs like Stewart and Bergulnd to deal with and fit in that budget, as well they have to look to next year where they have players like Schwartz, Sobotka, Halak, Elliot and Bouwmeester (if they want to retain him) becoming RFAs/UFAs next year.

            So yeah, it’s exactly like what you said, cause the Flames are not signing Brodie, other teams are not signing their RFAs cause every team is the same, ugh.

            Again I’m not saying they won’t sign him at all, but it’s quite disheartening right now if they haven’t even had exploratory discussions with his agent(which is what the Twitter report was, that the Flames haven’t even gone so far to contact his agent). To see that the GM of the team hasn’t even gone so far as to just simply send an email asking for an offer or what are you looking for is a little worrisome for me. Instead he’s out with his “signing more of the best players not playing in North America” thing that he does.

          • piscera.infada

            good grief man! How many rfa’s have you seen that have been signed in the last few weeks? Not too many right? 26 teams aren’t playing hockey right now…..nobody is worrying about their rfa’s right now. All the teams who want to keep their rfa’s will extend their qualifying offers before the deadline and things will get going. maybe some will get signed before but quit getting in a twist over a process you can’t even begin to understand. Have a little patience everything will work out.

            don’t worry about the picks either for those other people it will work out or it won’t. who knows maybe our late picks will be the next perry and getzlaf or richards and carter(minus the party time attitudes). sure wouldn’t complain about that!

          • BurningSensation

            “Did you even think before you posted that, compare two completely different teams with two completely different management resposibilities.”

            The point about Shattenkirk/Piterangelo is a fair one, there is no reason to read anything into the Brodie contract situation at this stage as there is absolutely no reason to expect Brodie won’t be re-signed. worry about Feaster’s priorities if/when Brodie gets an offer sheet or holds out.

          • piscera.infada

            Seriously? If signing RFAs before the draft was that crucial, then the cap wouldn’t stop a team from locking up a player like Pietrangelo. Seriously, try to think before you start panicking.

          • Brent G.

            Congratulations. You managed to focus on ONE WORD in a paragraph. Berra was BY FAR the least significant thing I mentioned. I ONLY mentioned him because HE WAS SIGNED DURING THIS OFFSEASON.

            Allow me to attempt to explain this: The Flames are (rightly or wrongly) very high on Berra. In other words, they DO NOT share your opinion that Berra is a future sometime backup. They believe he can be a starter. Signing a starting goalie is a priority.

            Do you follow? Read that paragraph again before continuing.

            If the Flames hadn’t shown enough interest in signing Berra (or Ramo) they WOULD HAVE re-signed with their European teams without any hesitation at all. Brodie, on the other hand, is an RFA waiting for his next contract.

            Personally, I have NO idea why you’re so terrified about this. The Flames re-upped Backlund last season no problem, and with him they actually had a (stupid) excuse not to sign him. They did it anyway. You’re completely out of your mind if you think the Flames don’t value Brodie, whether some random nobody on twitter told you they hadn’t talked to him yet or not. They. Will. Sign. Him. The focus right now, in case you hadn’t noticed, is the draft. Frankly, I’m astonished they seem to have already come to terms with Ramo.

          • BurningSensation

            “You should also include in the Regehr/Iggy/Bouw/Bourque deals they also moved OUT young players and picks as well. Two out of those 4 deals were not simply made for “rebuilding” purposes. They were hockey deals.”

            Yeah remind me who those ‘young’ players were again? Kotalik? The deal with Montreal included a prospect who is charitably described as ‘fringe’ and is in the dbl digits as far as Mtl’s depth chart at center.

          • Purple Hazze

            Couldn’t agree more. All this Brodie talk is really such a non-issue it’s a waste of brain power even discussing it. Brodie will be signed and in a Flames uniform by the start of next season period.

          • Purple Hazze

            I tend to agree, but there are other teams with cap room in the 20mil range, not just Calgary.

            It’s certainly not something the Flames should dither on.

          • piscera.infada

            All of this.

            People actually thinking there’s a reluctance to sign Brodie is a head-shaker in my mind. It’s mutually beneficial to both sides to get a deal worked out, but it’s not a top priority with the draft and free agency fast approaching. He’s an RFA who knows he’s no Subban or ROR. So, when Feaster does in fact get around to it, I’m sure he’ll indulge.

          • piscera.infada

            From what I have read/heard from interviews with Conny and Weisbrod, they aren’t trading picks or young players (let alone the ones they classified as “untouchables” ie. Brodie) for veterans. Conroy said, “we may trade picks to move up” – read; not to move down, not for Owen Nolan.