Flames and the Long Summer

 

 

It appears the Flames are finished window shopping for UFA’s. Word is the club hasn’t even bothered contacting Mason Raymond and probably the only other worthwhile player on the market given Calgary’s needs is Mikhail Grabovski. Naturally, there hasn’t been even a whisper that the team has any interest at all. So, absent any left field trades, what you see is likely what you get when it comes to the roster.

The Flames uninvolved free agency – whether by choice or because their overtures were re-buffed – is probably a good thing. I have a piece at the Sporting News today explaining the "winners curse" and why every summer features grotesquely expensive contracts to players who probably anre’t worth it. Like the Feaster pursuit of Brad Richards last summer, sometimes the best moves are the ones you don’t (or in this case, fail to) make.

Calgary isn’t in a position to meaningfully compete next year anyways. The only reason for them to sign name brand players at this point would be to add potentially undervalued assets at a good price: ie; guys who could rejuvenate their stock here and either become a meaningful long-term piece for the rebuild or, alternatively, an asset the club could flip in the short-term. Buy low, sell high.

Of course, those sorts of guys are hard to find as UFA’s. The best you can do in the off-season is usually not to overpay a guy too much, which is why it doesn’t make much sense for the Flames to get involved in a bidding war. And besides, Calgary isn’t going to be at the top of the list for most anyone at this point. Which is likely why their only NHL acquisitions have been through trade so far (Kris Russel, David Jones, Shane O’Brien).

So yeah, all that’s left of the off-season is a couple of months, a prospect camp and a rookie tournament in BC. Settle in and enjoy the nice weather everyone.

Other Stuff

– Backlund and Brodie still aren’t signed. Todd Cordell reached out to Feaster recently and discovered the team has started to make in-roads. Feaster says Backlund is the priority because he has arbitration rights, which is a process the team would like to avoid for a couple of reasons.

1.) It’s very unpleasant. To make a case before an arbitrator, the team is obliged to sling as much mud as possible in order to keep the price low.

2.) The club must abide by the contract awarded to the player in the process. They have the option to walk away if the dollar amount is over $3.5M (doubtful in Backlund’s case), but otherwise what is decided by the arbitrator is locked in. In addition, the contract is always short-term (one or two seasons max), meaning they’d risk having to pay him more very soon if his results improve.

Both Backlund and Brodie are cases where the team can potentially underpay for either guy by handing over some term and security. In my Sporting News article above I note that not all long-term contracts are bad deals – that a club can actually reduce risk in some cases by capturing younger guys’ peak years and a few UFA seasons.

There’s always a chance that a younger player doesn’t quite live up to expectations, but if you get him cheap enough on a long-term contract it usually means the only risk is paying him at market value. The upside is securing a player who improves, meaningthe team underpays him relative to his actual value during his best seasons.

Because the NHL under the salary cap is an efficiency contest, great teams almost always have a few deals like this on their roster. The Flames have an opportunity to make two good value bets on Brodie and Backs this summer, so it will be interesting to see what washes out. Of course, the players and their agents have to be on board too, although I can’t imagine Brodie in particular balking at a Roman Josi type deal from the team.

– Corey Pronman released his organizational prospect rankings and actually had the Flames in the top-10 (10th in fact), which is kind of amazing given where the club has typically landed (bottom third at best). Of course, ranking-type articles are made to generate argument more than answers, but Pronman usually has his thumb firmly on the pulse of these things so I’m satisfied enough with his expertise to take his word for it.

The addition of Monahan, Klimchuk, Poirier, Cundari, Agostino, Hanowski recently as well as the maturation of Baertschi, Gaudreau, Horak, Reinhart and Arnold (etc) gives the Flames a much wider field of potential NHLers than they’ve had in recent memory. Of course, keep in mind Pronman’s considerations are limited to players who have not yet made the NHL full time, so young guys like Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Joanthan Huberdeau and so on are exempted.

So while the cupboards certainly aren’t bare anymore, there’s still work to be done in terms of gathering truly high-end talent that can compete with some of the younger stars in the league.

  • Parallex

    Blah, so much for the teams cap space being an asset that they could use to accelerate the rebuild. Disappointed that it’s looking like Calgary is going to be a floor team. I guess Edwards and Co. took back the cheque book.

    Eh, maybe they’ll be some deals later when the guys still left looking for dollars AND term start accepting that they’ll get one but not both.

    • Meh. There really wasn’t much for the team to spend their money this summer. I also suspect players weren’t even taking serious offers from Calgary; most agents no doubt see that the Flames are entering the desert and who knows how long they’ll be wandering in there. A good situation is probably as important as the money.

      • piscera.infada

        Thanks Kent! I feel like I’ve been beating a dead horse with this whenever someone asks why the Flames didn’t do anything in FA. We were no one’s first choice, unless they are young guys looking for an opportunity (or new role on a new team) – which I think is the draw we need to use to “quicken the rebuild”.

      • McRib

        Which is why I don’t get why the team didn’t eat some salary on the JBo and/or Iginla deals. Mostly JBo.

        Feaster stated he’d take advantage of teams this summer, but as you’ve noted, there’s not much to take advantage of.

        I don’t get it.

        • loudogYYC

          Summer just started man, teams aren’t feeling the cap crunch yet. I wouldn’t be surprised if some lopsided deals go down in August as the regular season approaches.

          • RKD

            I don’t know, starting to look like a bunch of hoopla when in reality Edwards wants to run well under the Cap during this rebuild. Teams we thought had their balls against the cap all have compliance buyouts available to get them on side. Nice that we didn’t have any but it just seems that absorbing one or eating salary to help accelerate the quality of this rebuild is not an option for Feaster. Too bad, we missed some pretty good opportunity to Edwards short sighted bottom line. I expect zero moves by Calgary besides resigning some of our RFA’s.

    • T&A4Flames

      For all we know, the team took a run at a bunch of UFA players, and none of them were interested in coming here. We are now the girl in high school with the “good personality”. The days of Iggy and Kipper drawing UFAs to Calgary are over.

      There is not much point in hunting for whales right now anyway. None of the high priced free agents in the summer of 2013 were going to put this team in the playoffs. Just settle back and “enjoy” the rebuild. We’ll be more attractive to free agents in a couple of years when we have a competitive young core.

  • aloudoun

    Let the young take over. I like it.
    I hope sports net does a documentary on the rebuild like they did the Oilers with “Oil Change” and Senators with “Senate Reform”.

    What will the Flames one be called? “Re-fueling the Flames”?

    • Jeff Lebowski

      Re ignition. I like it too. I want to see the kids play.

      Stajan/Glencross/Stempniak
      Backlund/Cammy/Galiardi
      Monahan/Baertschi/Jones
      Knight/Bouma/Jackman
      *McGrattan Hudler???!!!! – Calgary needs to trade an undersized scoring winger!

      Brodie/Wideman
      Gio/Russell
      Butler/O’Brien
      *Breen

      Ramo
      Berra

      I’d like to see Horak and Reinhart in AHL until spots open on the third line or higher. I don’t want kids with talent on the 4th line (with the thinking a 4th line is meant to bang and crash – generally wear down the opposition physically – I wouldn’t mind 4 skilled lines

    • Jeff Lebowski

      Yeah, a fan asked that question at the STH meeting in May and Ken King said they sent out a pilot to the networks and they’re waiting to hear back.

      Do we have the show Flames This Week still? Canceled or didn’t bother because of the shortened season?

  • BurningSensation

    The Pronman team ranking is very interesting. If I’m not mistaken the Flames were bottom 1/3rd of the rankings FOREVER, with the only positive being that we had a plethora of checkers and bottom pairing D-men. Now that some top line talent has entered the pipe the whole situation flips on it’s head.

    At some point even Justin and Lambert are going to have to recognize that the org is doing a much better job at the draft and in development. All the top-end guys in our system are Feaster pickups.

    • T&A4Flames

      haha, I said the last draft was good you butt

      the top-end guys are all feaster guys, but that’s probably more darryl’s lack of success rather than feaster being great.

      at this point, I believe the flames are above average in terms of drafting. if they left out the kanzig-type picks they’d be good in my books.

      • BurningSensation

        Fair enough Justin, but I’m fairly certain I read a recent remark from you that you only liked two or three guys from our prospects (Johnny G, Sven and one or two others) and weren’t sold on any of the rest, or that the Flames drafting had actually improved under Feaster.

        If I’m wrong, I stand corrected.

        • T&A4Flames

          hmm… i dont know. in terms of guys having the potential to be elite players i think there are only three guys: gaudreau, baertschi, monahan.

          in terms of guys who will play consistentish games at the nhl level, i think i have 20 players, maybe 21.

          • BurningSensation

            I’m holding out hope that the ‘elite’ list might also include a few more guys; Gillies, Jankowski, Poirier and Klimchuk.

            Jankowski for me is the ‘win the game card’, if he pans out as a high-skill pivot with size, the team could be set at the most difficult position to fill for a very long time (Janko-Monahan), with a nice cadre of 2nd tier pivots to round everything out (Backlund-Knight-Reinhart-Horak).

            I think of all the underwhelming pivots we’ve auditioned as ‘#1s’ over the last decade plus (Langkow, Conroy, Jokinen twice, etc.) and I am genuinely excited that our drought might finally be ending.

          • BurningSensation

            I think your definition of “elite” is VERY loose. If we had 6-7 “elite” players we’d win the cup. Dynasty. While I’m really happy with what has happened the past 3-4 months I still think we need to go lower. I liked trading the vets, I liked the 3 1st rounders, and I LOVE that we haven’t done anything stupid by signing UFAs.

            But I’d argue we still don’t have 1 single elite player. We have a few who could MAYBE get there if the stars align and they hit their ceiling. MAYBE. But its really unlikely any of our prospects ever reach elite status. My definition of elite is a superstar. 1st or 2nd line all-star.

            Taking a look at our brothers down the road… Even with their ridiculous amount of 1st overall picks I’d argue they only have 1 elite player in Taylor Hall. RNH, Yakupov, Eberle are projecting to be good players with elite potential. But only Hall is truly elite. If their 4 players reach elite status (3 of them 1st overalls) they will be a powerhouse.

            But some of us think we have 5-6 or 7 “elite” prospects. Its just a whole lot of wishful thinking… I realize we have had absolutely zero prospects to cheer about for so long we forgot what it feels like to have some potential in the pipe. But lets be realistic here….. We have some good, possibly great prospects. But they all could fail, and its highly unlikely any are elite.

            Which is why I think we need to go for a top 5 pick next year again. I think Feaster by not signing any UFAs or making trades is thinking the same. I hope so.

            I can’t believe I’m saying this, but keep up the good work Feaster. I hope he stays the course and doesn’t get impatient this year.

          • piscera.infada

            While I agree with you in principle; that we don’t have 5-6 elite prospects, I think you’re definition of “elite” is too narrow. If you’re looking at only the “Crosby’s, the Malkin’s, the Ovechkin’s, the Toews'(s?), et cetera. I think you’re going to be looking for too long. Those guys (maybe with the exception of Toews) are generational talents, and I’m not holding out hope for one of those guys.

            Would you classify Bergeron, Krejci, et al. on Boston “elite”? I would, especially Bergeron. However, I’m sure many people wouldn’t. I just think the whole “elite” thing is a little over-played.

            I think in terms of “elite” I think Monahan would be an “elite” prospect. Not a 50 goal scorer “elite”, but elite nonetheless.

            In all honesty, I also like what the Flames are doing here – but for different reasons. I actually see a plan here. I see the draft picks and young guys they’ve picked up actually filling in necessary roles. A couple more drafts like that (Kanzig aside) and I think we’ll have a pretty damn good team in 3, or 4, or 5 years. I’m real excited about this. But I’m not going to sweat the “elite” tag, as I think the number one goal is to pick up “great” players, not tank so we can get “elite” players (that may or may not pan out). If this team can Land McDavid in 2015, then right on – but that only means we were either brutally horrible (a la Edmonton, recently) or extremely lucky (a la Pittsburgh).

          • piscera.infada

            I agree with everything you said… I didn’t meant our prospects aren’t great, and my definition of “elite” perhaps is too strict, but I don’t really back down that we don’t have any true “elite” prospects. Potentially great, but not elite. Thats not to say they can’t turn elite. I would consider Bergeron elite. Or a guy like Corey Perry, taken late it he 1st round. He wasn’t considered elite at first, but turned into it. But I don’t think anyone can realistically call a prospect “elite” until they get there. And none of ours are there yet IMO.

            For me the first signs of hope I see are summed up by your statement “I actually see a plan here”. For years I felt the team was floundering, reacting, and trying to chase the next quick fix. A plan is the most encouraging thing, even it if means a period of darkness before emerging out the other side….

          • piscera.infada

            “I don’t think anyone can realistically call a prospect “elite” until they get there. And none of ours are there yet IMO.”

            Totally agree. I guess that would be an “elite prospect” vs. an “elite player”. But, I guess we’re just splitting hairs here.

          • piscera.infada

            “For me the first signs of hope I see are summed up by your statement “I actually see a plan here”. For years I felt the team was floundering, reacting, and trying to chase the next quick fix. A plan is the most encouraging thing, even it if means a period of darkness before emerging out the other side….”

            Sorry about the double reply.

            I couldn’t agree more with the changing of the guard in terms of a perceived plan from Feaster, Weisbrod, et al. This is the very reason I like the Poirier pick – it was the first clear sign this team is actually thinking about what their doing. Drafting the perceived best player available (by outside sources) and drafting the best player available from an organizational stand point are two completely different things. The latter shows that the team has foresight enough to notice the type of players they want to build the team with in the future. I don’t think it’s a mistake that every time you hear a former coach or scout talk about Monahan, Poirier, Klimchuk, and yes, even Kanzig, they mention character.

            I know some may disagree, saying character is secondary, or even tertiary to statistics, but I feel like the teams that are truly powerhouses in the league today not only have skill, but they have that character and swagger (neither should be confused with gritchart).

          • My only issue with “character” is that it hard to define and we don’t really know the degree to which it impacts a players viability as a future NHLer. A lot of the Flames lousy picks under Sutter were praised for their character.

            Great players often have swagger, but it may be because they’re great, not the other way around.

            There is likely a base level of character/fire/passion/will that a prospect needs to make it to the next level given how much tougher it is to be a pro player relative to lower level. of course, there is also a base level of skill as well.

            If the Flames can find a way to filter out the guys who can’t hack it beyond junior based on attitudes, then more power to them. The pitfall is falling into the “I like the cut of your jib!” mindset and preferring certain kids because they’re good guys rather than because they are actually going to be good hockey players in the NHL.

          • piscera.infada

            I agree with you – and that was what I was trying to get at with my gritchart comment (as contrived as it was).

            When I said character I moreso meant the way these players have fit in on their teams in the past. Whether that be captaincy ability, leadership, or more generally the way they deal with adversity.

            I am obviously this isn’t the only criteria for picking a player – skill SHOULD ALWAYS be paramount – yet I also think that when rebuilding a team, you should at least put some thought in to the work ethic, maturity, etc. of the players you’re picking.

            Of course this isn’t something that’s easily quantifiable in terms of goals, wins, assists, corsi, or anything else. But it is an important part of building a team – and I’m not so sure anyone can argue that.

            To get back to your argument. I agree with you on falling into the “I like the cut of your jib” crowd. This is probably what happened with Kanzig – amazing interviews with him and his coaches. But in a pick like Poirier (over Shinkaruk) where skill seems to be relatively on par (a bit greater on the side of Shinkaruk), I have no problem with going with the guy you feel will become the better teammate and professional. Of course I have no idea if this is what they liked about the kid, it’s but fleeting fodder for my inane ramblings.

  • aloudoun

    I like “Firestarter” and “Fanning the Flames” better than my suggestion… haha

    The one thing about the Flames in 2013-14 will be the fact it (hopefully) wont be boring to watch. I was tired of seeing the same guys on the powerplay and on the top lines, and being beaten game in and game out.
    The last part of the season after Iggy and Jay-Bo were traded was interesting, and dare say, exciting to watch. I liked seeing young guys get opportunities.

  • Colin.S

    I’m still surprised at the not even casually looking at Raymond, I know he’s a LW and we seem to have those, but couldn’t we see if he wants to play RW? We have Jones and Stempniak at RW, or we can move another LW to RW and have Ryamond at LW. I know our biggest need is center, but other than signing Grabbo, what other centers should we even bother with?

    • piscera.infada

      I know this is an unpopular belief amongst commentors here. I’m really glad we aren’t looking at Raymond. Living in Victoria for the last 5 years – where all you can watch are Canucks games – I was sick of the way he plays, and I’m not even a fan of that team (at all). I actually think he’s horrible – bad turnovers, no scoring acumen, little passing ability, low offensive and defensive IQ, and very easily muscled off the puck. But hell, he’s fast, relatively young, and from Calgary. So for some reason he makes sense? Spare me.

  • Parallex

    How about “Spontaneous Combustion”?

    The one deal I was thinking could be a chance to use the cap space together with rebuild is maybe with Minny. Would it be realistic to consider a deal where we take Heatley(1 year left at 7.5Mill) & are rewarded with Nino(I really want to see this kid play with Sven) for a package of Granlund/Butler & Ortio/Berra or a 2015 2nd? Heatley could maybe even be flipped at the TDL.

  • RKD

    I think the Flames have to be careful with Brodie, if he’s 23 now and they give him a 4 year deal he’ll be a UFA at 27. I know that’s something they want to avoid having a guy like that being able to walk away while still in his prime. Hopefully Brodie isn’t looking for crazy money.

    Backs is a valuable player but again I think term might be an issue, Backs probably wants longer than one year and the Flames don’t want to risk it.

    • Jeff Lebowski

      I want them for 5+ year deals. I see only upwards progression from these two. Get them relatively cheap.

      They won’t be elite stars but the kind of like the Dustin Byfugliens and Andrew Ladds from the 2010 Chicago team – real good complimentary players.

      Now I go off the deep end and dream:

      Aaron Ekblad for 2014!
      Connor McDavid 2015!

      McDavid/Gaudreau/Poirier – Monahan/Kimchuck/Backlund- Jankowski/?/? – Knight/Buoma/?

      Ekblad – Brodie – Wotherspoon – Seiloff -?-?

      • Parallex

        I know it’s the popular opinion (that the Flames are somehow locks for top tier draft picks the next two years) but with the worst goaltending in the NHL the Flames still managed to not draft top 5. I’d temper your 2014 expectations more to the Leon Draisaitl & Roland McKeown level instead of the Sam Reinhart and Aaron Ekblad level.

        • McRib

          Not to mention we had to sit 5-6 veterans the last three games, because the young guys kept on winning hockey games at the end of the season…. No chance do I think we make the playoffs, but I also don’t see us as locks to pick 1st.

          • Parallex

            I’m fairly certain that we won’t make the playoffs… but I wouldn’t put money down on the Flames drafting 1-3.

            I mean the principle difference between last years Flames and this upcoming year is the absense of Iginla, Bouwmeester, and Kiprusoff (let’s assume for a moment that the Col. trade was essentually a wash in terms of win probability added). Kiprusoff was the worst goalie in the NHL last year (sad but true by any metric)… as unproven as he is I wouldn’t wager money on Ramo being the worst goalie in the NHL. So if we can likely expect better value added through the goaltending position we will have had to have lost significant value in all other areas.

            So then does losing Iginla & Bouwmeester do that? Much hay has been made about Jarome’s decline to non-difference maker over the last few years… I’m not sure how much value we lose by an elevating chain of Cammy, Glencross, and Sven (with Galiardi assuming the lowest spot on the totem poll) I mean you have assume that with an increase in icetime/PP time at least some of Iginla’s scoring slack will be assumed by other players. And if TJ Brodie’s step forward was a true talent demonstation then I’m not sure how much we lose by having him eat the extra minutes we lose via Bouwmeester.

            Long story short… I wouldn’t go off and dream about Ekblad and Reinhart just yet.

          • Jeff Lebowski

            I do. Shortened season, that youthful exuberance won’t carry 82 games. I’m hoping for an exciting style of play. I’m not cheering for a ank year but I think that’s in the cards.

            No offense to Stajan but he is 1C in Hartley’s eyes (even though Backlund is the best Calgary has).

        • Parallex

          Yes, but we also have a full season of a defense corps that reads like a defense corpse. TJ Brodie, Dennis Wideman, Mark Giordano, Mark Cundari, Kris Russell, Chris Butler, Shane O’Brien, Derek Smith. Yeesh.

        • Not so sure about that. The Flames at the end of the year were bottom of the barrel bad for sure. The percentages spiked briefly, enough to maintain the Flames record to semi-respectable numbers, but with all the kids in and vets out the boat started to take on water rapidly.

          Tanguay gone, Bouwmeester gone, Iginla gone and it wouldn’t surprise me if Cammalleri is gone mid-season as well, while Stajan and Stemps will go at the deadline.

          Looking over the roster now, it’s possible the Flames will be one of the few teams who is legitimately below average in terms of SH% next year (meaning 6-7% at ES at best) which usually sinks you to bottom-5 territory unless you are league leaders at driving play.

          If the Ramo comes in and is average or worse, Calgary probably won’t be beating anyone very often. Especially if guys like Knight, Baertschi, Cundari, Monahan, etc are getting their reps on the big stage.

          • Parallex

            Sure, sure… but I’m not presuming that they’ll be good. I assume they’ll be bad. I just wouldn’t assume bottom three bad. I mean sure their percentages spiked at the end of the year adding some undeserved wins but it’s not also like they weren’t trying to tank what with the healthy scratching of what vets remained on top of the legitimatesly injured. I would presume that a Flames squad that isn’t deliberately dressing Akim Aliu and Carter Bancks doesn’t do as bad.

            I just think that increased ice-time for Backlund, Sven & TJ are all likely (which is a good thing as far as winning goes) as is a better performance out of the goaltending position (which isn’t to say a good performance as it is to say a less bad one). So where are the extra loses needed to drag the team from 25th down to 28-30th going to come from? I suppose they could just try to tank again after the deadline this year and maybe the percentages don’t spike (although if they’re not banking terrible goalie performances early in the year that might just take them from 8th down to 6th).

            Don’t get me wrong I think we’ll be bad… I just have some doubts about how bad.

          • piscera.infada

            Exactly. Typically those performances that result in a last place finish are epically bad. Again, that’s not to say this team is good (by any stretch of the imagination), I just have a hard time thinking they are so bad that they’re all but guaranteed an epically bad season.

          • seve927

            You’re forgetting two things. First, that we have a full season of our horror show defense to look forward to. Second, the realignment. I have a hard time imagining any situation where the Flames don’t get massacred being in the same division as Vancouver, San Jose, Anaheim, Los Angeles, and Edmonton.

          • Parallex

            Draisaitl is a very good draft prospect… just not quite at the level of William Nylander or Sam Reinhart. Fun fact if either of the pre-season top two draftable forwards end up in Calgary they’ll be second generation Flames (With Nylander actually having been born in Calgary). but as of right now the Flames ending up with Draisaitl it would not be a bad thing.

            I don’t think I’d take Draisaitl if Ekblad is on the board though (assuming neither takes a step back).

    • Parallex

      A risk? What risk, I highly doubt that he’s asking for a ton of money (and contracts are insured anyways). Backlund is exactely the type of guy (one that’s shown steady improvement) that you lock down now (when he’s basically set to get top line icetime)and eat up a few UFA years. He’ll be an absolute bargain in a few years. I think he’s only going to get more and more expensive if they don’t act now.

      • RKD

        I don’t have any problems with Backs but what good is a player if he keeps getting injured? I don’t doubt that Backs is a valuable player. The Flames might be asking themselves is Backs an injury prone player or a guy who’s had bad luck with injuries?

        If it’s the former than that could be a conditioning issue, I think his injuries have been somewhat unlucky and bad but the Flames can ill afford to keep paying a guy who can’t be regularly in the lineup. He hasn’t played a full season yet in his career but has come close in two different seasons.

  • McRib

    “Corey Pronman released his organizational prospect rankings and actually had the Flames in the top-10 (10th in fact)”

    Considering Corey Pronman was not nearly as high on Emile Poirier & Mark Jankowski as others (Red Line/McKeens), I think its safe to say if one of the Flames harshest critics has us in the Top. 10 everyone does!!! Its actually probably the first time in two decades we have made it out of the 25-30 range, let alone been Top. 10 for organizational depth.

    IMO, The Flames are closer to the Top. 5 where only NYI, Buffalo, Florida, Detroit, (maybe) Edmonton’s systems really stand out as being better than ours at the moment. No surprise Tampa Bay is No. 1 considering Pronman’s love for Russians and St. Louis is not the worst (No mention of William Carrier?!?!), but other than that solid list.

    Lets not forget Philadelphia Flyers drafted Tyrell Goulbourne in the third round, a player who wasn’t even on anyones radar. People think Kanzig was a reach?!?! For Jesse Lees to go undrafted and Goulbourne to go that early is why the draft is such a crap shoot after the second round. Anyway no question what team has the worst System.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    One thing I wish the flames would dabble in is offer sheets. I understand they are risky (especially when you have your own unsigned RFAs and especially when they are apparently taboo league wide). However, indications re this will be the only year with such a low cap so this is the only year the Flames will be able to take advantage of their cap room. They were smart enough not to blow it on UFAs but getting a good young RFA would be a good coup.

    • Parallex

      There’s no rush with RFA’s. They havn’t signed him yet because they don’t have to sign him yet so they’re prioritizing the more immediate concerns.

      • McRib

        I know, but of all the appealing RFAs this off season Alex Pietrangelo is at the top of the list to sign to an offer sheet. At least we don’t need to worry about TJ Brodie if bigger names Pietrangelo or Nazim Kadri are still RFAs.

  • McRib

    If our goaltending is below average then the Flames are going to have a Top. 3 pick next season, but with both Karri Ramo & Reto Berra competing for a job makes me think that might not be the case. I know “best player not in the NHL” is thrown around far too often, but read an article that listed Reto Berra as the second best European FA (before we signed him) and he seems to be very highly regarded overseas, liked his game in WC.

  • seve927

    Just looking at team scoring pct and pp scoring for Poirier and Klimchuk. Klimchuk was in on about 40% of the Pats’ goals, but over 50% of his points were on the PP. Poirier was in on about 1/3 of the Gatineau goals, but less than 1/4 of his points were on the PP. I’ve got a very good feeling about Poirier; I’m glad they didn’t take a chance on letting him slip to 28.

  • TheBear64

    Waiting is good. With the salary cap going down, the amount of teams buying will be very limited, and there are lots of guys that will be waiting a long time for a contract. Already, after the first day, the “feeding frenzy” has dropped off and it’s very quiet now. The longer the buying teams wait, the more desperate guys will be to get a contract and the better deal you will get.

    I’m convinced there will still be good players waiting for a contract even when next season starts. Those who panicked and signed overpriced contracts will find out that they made a big mistake.

    I would like to see a guy like Grabovski join the Flames, but not if the cost is too high. Interesting that there’s no rumors around him as to other teams expressing an interest. He may very well wind up being one of those guys that winds up waiting longer than he expected to.

    There’s still lots of quality players waiting to get an offer. Guys like Simon Gagne, Damien Brunner, Dustin Penner, Milan Hedjuk, Vinny Prospal, Nathan Gerbe, Peter Mueller. Lots more than that too. There’s a lot of possibilities, and waiting a while to make offers on any of those guys could pay off big-time in the end.

  • Truculence

    Plus, I don’t see how we really compete for a bottom-five finish. This team does not suck that bad, unless the goalies can’t stop a beach ball (like last year).

    Plus, I think this can be a constructive transition year if we give the kids a chance. Certain scouting reports, including that of Pronman, suggest Knight has second-line center or RW potential. Monahan, of course, projects as an elite 1st or, at the very worst, second-line center.

    So why not give them a chance to strut their stuff on the 2nd and 3rd lines, as they are physically mature for NHL duty already. They would need be sheltered, but that is possible as Backlund, Glencross, Galiardi, and Jones are used to being buried anyways.

    Plus, if Baertchi and Brodie can take another step in their development in the upcoming year, the Flames may actually be a decent team (8-12 position).

    I

    • T&A4Flames

      yeah, this year isn’t going to be as bad as people think. the flames still have legit nhlers at every position and the goaltending has to be better than it was last season.

      honestly, the only holes on the flames roster are 1c and 3d. they’re going to have to jettison a lot of nhl talent over the course of the season to fall into top-3 territory.

  • McRib

    Interesting Q&A with Klimchuk, even though he has the offensive talents, seems to take areas where he needs to improve very seriously, like gaining nessasary leg strength last offseason. If I’m not mistaken he trains with Jordan Eberle in the summer. Eberle also had very similar numbers his draft year.

    “…of the 24 WHLers to crack 30 goals so far this season, only two players have scored a greater % of goals than Klimchuk.

    Adam Lowry has accounted for a whopping 23.1 percent of Swift Current’s goals (40 of 173), while Klimchuk currently ranks third among the 30-goal club having scored 19.5 percent of Regina’s 159 goals. Pats’ teammate Lane Scheidl is second at 20.7 percent (33 of 159).”

    Wonder how many of Lane Scheidl’s goals Klimchuk was a first assist on? As Scheidl never put up points anywhere close to this seasons totals and people were keying on Klimchuk all year seemed to open up ice for Scheidl. Good totals on weak club like Sean Monahan and Emile Poirier.

    http://www.mckeenshockey.com/draft-blog/morgan-klimchuk-regina-pats/

      • McRib

        Looking at the stats myself it looks like of Klimchuk’s 40 assists, 25 (62.5%) were Primary Assists… Is that good or bad for you hockey numbers guys?!?! Hahah.

        Seems good to me, I have a hard time believing that at least one of Poirier, Klimchuk or Jankowski doesn’t end up becoming elite. That’s the rub though as it stands even if they all look to be on the verge of breaking out, they still need to do it. Not elite as of yet.

        On the plus side if the Corey Pronman’s of the world have us in the Top. 10 Organizational Prospect Rankings, I can only imagine where some of the other Private Scouting firms have us that actually liked Poirier, Jankowski. I have heard Red Line had us as a Top. 3 draft performer this year, as they love Poirier. As for Emile Poirier I have the feeling anyone who doesn’t like him is going to be sorely disappointed. Haha.

          • McRib

            That would actually be a Great Poll!!!! What Prospect do you think (outside of Sean Monahan) of the last two drafts is the most likely to become an “elite NHLer”?!?! A) Mark Jankowski B) John Gillies C) Emile Poirier D) Morgan Klimchuk E) Other. Emile Poirier would get my vote!

  • BurningSensation

    In other pointless number complaining news, why does Poirier get to wear Bouma’s #57?

    Also, is it a bad sign that Kulak is wearing Negrin’s old #61??