Fan Ask and Weekend Open Thread


It’s a new round of Fan Ask. As always, submit your questions here to have them answered.

Do you see Hartley getting a extension after next season?

Honestly, no. Two main reasons: first, he hasn’t really done anything thus far that really demands the Org to extend him. He will have presided over three years worth of non-playoff teams in all likelihood. Secondly, Burke has no attachment to the original hiring and we know he likes to have coaches that are on the same wavelength as he is. On top of that, there will be a new “GM” and he’ll likely want his guy.

I don’t think its a huge loss to let Hartley walk. He’s one of those 40 or so guys who are basically interchangeable as NHL head coaches. Unless you have a top-10 coach, there’s not much difference.

How likely is it that Coda Gordon gets an ELC?

Coda Gordon is scoring at a healthy pace right now for the Swift Current Broncos, with an NHLE around 30. Gordon is known to have a wicked shot but ever since he broke his femur – in his draft year, no less – there’s been concerns about his speed. The hockey graveyard is riddled with players of that description, but that doesn’t mean he’s a goner.

Based on the pace he is scoring at, I find it hard to believe they wouldn’t give him an ELC. Dudes have gotten them with less. The only reason I. Would see the club passing is if they were at like 49 contracts and he would be 50; but that would take very inept management – okay, yeah, I guess that could happen.

Give it to me straight, Doc – should I be worried about any of the Flames’ NCAA prospects refusing to sign?

In my opinion, no. There’s only 4 players that have really distinguished themselves right now, so we’ll just look at them.

There’s two guys graduating this year – Kenny Agostino and Bill Arnold. Both are PPG players and later round picks. Long-term, both are probably going to top out as third liners. I can’t see why the Flames wouldn’t want to sign and why they wouldn’t want to sign with the Flames.

Jon Gillies still has two years of eligibility left after this one and both parties know where he stands in the organization. He’ll get an immediate shot at the starting job when he signs. Once again, there’s no reason why the Flames should not want to get him under contract and with the Flames, more than with pretty much any other team in the league, he’ll get a shot right away. I expect him to stay in the NCAA for at least one more season.

John Gaudreau is obviously the name most people are worried about. Gaudreau is ridiculous in just about every aspect of the game and seems to have a sky-high ceiling, so it’s fair that people would be worried about another team poaching him. I’m not concerned, however – I’m not expecting him to sign with the Flames this year as he goes back for his degree and a chance to play more hockey with his brother. The Flames officially have until August 15th, 2015 to sign him.

Is Burkie going to be the Flames GM in all but title? Is the GM he hires just going to be the guy that does all the leg work on the moves that Burkie wants?

As much as he says that he will stay away and be hands off, I have a hard time thinking that this team isn’t going to look exactly the way Burke wants it to. I don’t believe any GM he hires will be able to work autonoumously. I can’t see how it won’t be exactly the situation we just left. The guy Burke hires will likely be a GM who performs in his image – exactly what’s been done with Dave Nonis in Vancouver and Toronto.

As long as the word “Hockey” is in Burke’s title, he’ll be the one making the impactful decisions. Seriously, does anyone really think that Burke would green light a move he disagreed with?

Which vets might actually fit into the Flames’ future? It’s difficult to assess the team when you’re getting points because of guys who are likely gone soon.

Unfortunately for the Flames, they can’t just trade everyone and draft Connor McDavid next year. The salary cap means that the Flames will have to keep a decent amount of talent just to reach the floor. (I believe $55.1 million is the floor for next year, so the Flames will have to spend at least $21 million on 10 guys.)

Wideman, Smid and Giordano are all long-term players on the back end. Wideman’s contract is too unruly (although he provides near-equal value right now), Giordano is too important and Smid is too Burkie. O’Brien is done when his contract is. I would re-sign Russell yesterday but who knows where he stands with the new management. Unless one of the current goaltenders (Roy, MacDonald, Rämö and Berra) makes a convincing argument to stay (by not sucking) I don’t see them sticking around too long either. 

Up front is a little more tricky. Anyone making less than a million per has little to no trade value and no real value on the ice. I would not keep any of them. Glencross makes too little and has a no-move clause. I think he finishes his contract here. Cammalleri and Stajan both have pretty good value right now and I can’t see why either would want to resign in Calgary at this point if their main motivation is the Stanley Cup. I expect both to be traded at the deadline.

Jones just can’t move around the ice effectively, but he’s a big body – so there’s one reason no one else would want him and one reason the Flames want him. I might make him a compliance buyout in the summer, honestly. Stempniak should be cheap to re-sign and I don’t think he carries the same free-agent weight that Stajan and Cammalleri do. I would try an keep him, but I view that as a 50/50 shot at best.

Hudler is the last guy. I think if you can get a first round pick plus a good prospect for Hudler right now, you do it. I think his scoring pace comes back down to about 50 (he’s at 66 right now) and I don’t know how else you could maximize his value as an asset over the life of his contract. The only reason I’d be hesitant about him being traded is that it might mean a huge UFA overpay.

  • beloch

    Smid is signed for $3.5M/year for 3 more seasons! That’s far too much for a slug-slow, stone-handed, stay-at-home third pairing defender who gets his head bashed in nightly, both in terms of possession and literally. The Flames would likely have to give something up to dump him, similar to Kotalik.

    Given that the Flames may struggle to reach the salary floor, hanging onto him might be a better option than trading him. His contract will be easier to unload when it’s closer to completion anyways. Anyone who still thinks the Oilers lost that trade should be strung up by their small-hairs and beaten with a mackerel.

    P.S. Mr. Burke: Please do not import any more truculence from Edmonton. After Staos and Smid, it’s time to look elsewhere. You know, someplace that has actual hockey players!

  • supra steve

    when i saw the “refusing to sign” heading, i actually thought immediately about burke’s comments regarding bobby ryan. anyone else think that burke, in his handling of that situation, may not only have made this an even more undesirable place for free agents, but actually might jeopardize retention of draft picks, producing more tim erixon-type situations? i mean, after all, bobby ryan is the kid burke himself drafted…

  • Here are my questions.
    What is the official status on Ferland’s injury?
    How close is Sieloff to returning to the Heat?
    How long until Burke starts moving the UFA’s?
    When will we see some of the young prospects.

    in regards to the questions being asked:
    No chance Burke renews Hartley, he may even fire him unless things change.
    Burke will sign a yes man as his GM.
    NCAA kids will sign. Johny G will sign if he wins the Hobey Baker, if not it’s 50/50 he returns for his senior year. Gilles may be ready but should probably stay one more year.

    The big three on d and Russell should fit into the plans. Burke should try and upgrade via UFA’s in the offseason. Forwards all the UFA’s should be moved, Hudler is the big question is he more valuable as a mentor or more valuable as trade bait. For me I like him as a mentor but if the offer is significant enough I would move him.

    • official status on ferland’s injury is knee-related and he’s out indefinitely. they haven’t said what it actually is or how long he will be out, but it’s the near future.

      sieloff has no timetable. they’re still waiting for the infection in his hip to clear. burke will probably wait until the trade deadline.

      as for the young prospects: unless there’s injury, it doesn’t make much sense to call anyone up to sit in the press box. call-ups usually come fast and furious just before the deadline.

      • beloch

        Thanks for the update on Ferland and Sieloff; I don’t know organizations have to make it so difficult to find information out when it’s this significant. I get the upper body with someone who might be out for a week but it’s this long term it should not need to be such a secret.

        We have had a lot of long term injuries without seeing the young prospects. I disagree with about it making sense, it would make more sense to see some of them when there is vets around. (like we have seen with Monahan) But it is okay to hav edifferent opinions.

  • the forgotten man

    Nice job on the article Justin! Many of the comments make sense. As much as I would like to see Joe Niewendyke as GM he is way too intelligent to be a YES man. Expect Poulin to be the guy. Agree that Burke will bring in his own coach. As unpopular as Ron Wilson will be I expect to see Ron Wilson/Tim Hunter behind the bench next season. Absolutely agree that D Jones will be a compliance buyout and Burke will be active in signing UFA’s and perhaps overpaying just to maintain the cap floor.
    I think one of Berra or Ramo will stay and would like to see Ortio back up next season especially if he maintains his high level of play in Abbotsford for the remainder of the season.

    Finally, Burke needs to be aggressive with Johnny G. I still won’t rest until he is signed as I have always suspected that Boston or New Jersey are close by and keeping tabs on the Johnny family! Remember the Schultz situation? Although Johnny is a Flames draft he is not obligated to sign here. Keep those vultures away from him!!!!!

  • JumpJet

    I think it would be pretty easy for the Flames to be terrible and cap compliant next season.
    Assuming Cammalleri, Stajan, Stempniak and whoever else have been traded.
    Re-sign T.J. Galiardi and Kris Russell to one year $5M contracts and sign as many tough, truculent players (minimum 6’4″, 220lbs) as are available in free agency to fill out the roster and get to the cap floor.
    Ba-da-bing, ba-da-boom, you draft Connor McDavid.

    • seve927

      The Heat ended up losing 3-1 because they had Joey MacDonald in net. And also they didn’t score any more goals.

      It’s all good though. MacDonald doesn’t start anywhere near as often for the Heat as he did for the Flames. That is a weird sentence.

  • JumpJet

    jan 10 and Jan 31 two dates for Flames fans to take note of BC plays Providence.Arnold?Johny G vs Giiles/Janko

    Thoughts after Canada’s WJC loss today. Did either Rhino or Ekblad solidfy their draft position? Has anyone else entered the race for first overall?

    Is McDavid really the top prospect and a generational player based on this tourney? Did anyone else stand out from the draft class of 2015?

    How does Team Canada’s short limited tryout camp look now? When we are playing overseas should we make every effort to play the subway series on international ice?

    These are just random thoughts before I hit the hay.

    • seve927

      For me, Reinhart seems very solid, but i don’t see his being any better than Monahan. Ekblad looks far from a lock. I’m sure he’ll be an NHLer, but I like the looks of several other defensemen in the first round better.

      I think McDavid is the best prospect next year, but not far ahead of Eichel, and nowhere near what Crosby was. Crosby never played on a team where he wasn’t by far the best player – even if he was years younger. I just don’t see that in McDavid. Not worth giving away more true NHL players to try to get at best a 25% chance at him.

      But that’s just my opinion, and not all that educated.

      Oh yeah, and Max Power is ready to make the jump by the end of the year.

  • Derzie

    LOVE watching the Kings beating the douche bag Canucks!!!!

    Im upset:……Not one poster credited the great Walter White with calling out a week before the start of the world juniors that Sutter was not the right coach for the team… dare Walter White…..Sutter has never lost a game………..
    They did not need a grinder coach like Sutter ……. Just like the Flames don’t.

    Walter White is the greatest hockey mind on this blog……..


      • Burnward

        The obvious????

        Everyone trashed the great Walter White for his prediction, after all; Sutter was the greatest!!!!!!

        Walter White does not Iike it when our boys fail qualify for the gold, but let’s rid ourselves from this WHL grind b.s….


        • Michael

          Don’t worry; I’m sure Walter White was just being trashed for being Walter White. I sincerely doubt there are many Flames fans who stil think Brent is a good coach.

  • Derzie

    Hey Walter. I like your hockey shtick but Breaking Bad is done. Oh, and it’s just a TV show. And WW went out to Badfinger’s Baby Blue (awesome). New handle may be required post haste 🙂

  • Michael

    To be fair to Hartley, he hasn’t exactly had much to work with, I thought the team Feaster put together last season was completely unbalanced,
    (can anyone say center’s and players with size) and Feasters team this season comprised mostly marginal and low to mid end NHL talent. Hartley hasn’t really added anything to the mix, so I doubt that he returns next season. Burke will have a new GM in place by early summer, and that GM will bring in his own coaching staff to start the season.

  • Skuehler

    I guess the last few years of having no prospects on Team Canada, isn’t the end of the world. Maybe they do need to look at how they are picking the team, as this one was already preset & the players that were playing the best hockey didn’t even get a sniff.

    ‘Coachpotatoe: Please stop whining about young guys not being played and who is being played. I would say 95% of our prospects are as of right now not NHL ready. They are playing guys who they have to make decisions on. Vets and young players that should be NHL ready. You will get your wish after the TDL. In the meantime, who cares if Wesgarth & Mcgrats are both in the lineup. You worried we are going to lose some games? Embrace the fact that Gio has fit some big Captain shoes in short order. Embrace the fact that both our new goalies are performing at a NHL level. Embrace the positive play of Monahan & Russell. Embrace the badly needed top 3 pick we are going to get this June.

    • Michael

      Great post! I totally support your thoughts. There is only a small handful of players in Abby that will ever make the NHL. The last thing you want to do is call up a player who is not ready and he will lose his confidence for years. Introducing young talent selectively into a losing environment needs to be carefully planned. The Oilers are a classic example of talented young players potentially having careers that are destroyed.

      The next 2 drafts are extremely critical for the Flames. A positive environment and culture can still be maintained in alignment with the need to draft in the top 3.

      • Michael

        I guess I don’t see it as whining more of an opportunity to evaluate a bit before the TDL. I see the young guys playing with some of the vets before the TDL as a positive way to assess talent rather than just throwing them to the wolves. I have embraced the play of the goalies, Gio, Monahan, Russell(I would sign him now). The Oilers young guys in my opinion were thrown to the wolves, because they did not have veteran support I also like Bouma’s game most nights. At no time have I been concerned with wins as you imply more with the process of development.

  • Skuehler

    Re Burke, I’ve just started reading Jim Collins book Good to Great about how good is the enemy of great and how select organizations have made the transition. A lot of it would seem to apply to the Flames situation.

    “The data was overwhelming and convincing…Larger than life celebrity leaders who ride in from the outside are negatively correlated with going from good to great”.

    Conversely, CEOs that preside over good to great transitions almost always come from within the organization and display personal humility, modesty and are self effacing. They are hard workers whose ambition is for the org not themselves.

  • Skuehler

    Sunday’s practice lines.

    Mike Cammalleri

    Mikael Backlund

    Jiri Hudler

    Paul Byron

    Sean Monahan

    David Jones

    TJ Galiardi

    Joe Colborne

    Kevin Westgarth

    Lance Bouma

    Matt Stajan

    Brian McGrattan

    Mark Giordano
    TJ Brodie

    Ladislav Smid

    Dennis Wideman

    Chris Butler

    Shane O’Brien

    Karri Ramo


  • Skuehler

    Anyone think the Flames might be able to pry Adam Larsson out of New Jersey?

    It isn’t that I want to see a significant piece traded away… but they do need a top defense prospect.

    • RexLibris

      Not sure what that would take from the Flames, though. Larsson may be struggling but it isn’t as though Lamoriello is impatient or in need to dumping him.

      The conversation would probably be something like…

      Burke: “Hey Lou, you interested in moving that Larsson kid?”

      Lamoriello: “Hiya Brian, sure. How’s that Monahan kid doing?

      Burke: “Yeah, great. Listen, lunch just arrived. I’ll get back to you. Give the wife my best.”

      I agree the Flames need defensive prospects, especially high-end ones. However, at this point they’d be best to target those likely just below the Larsson price point. Gardiner is one I fully expect Burke to try and acquire before the trade deadline.

        • RexLibris

          Larsson may be a 3rd pairing, but he’s consistently in the NHL.

          Baertschi hasn’t been able to make his case as a consistent NHLer yet.

          I don’t see the match with Lamoriello.

          I mention Gardiner because of the Burke/Nonis connection as well as the Leafs’ ability to move a defender for a scoring winger, even one who has a lot of developing yet to do.

          I’m certainly not suggesting that Larsson is worth Monahan at this point, just that I don’t see much else the Flames have (outside of a top two pick) for which Lamoriello would consider the offer.

    • the forgotten man

      I truly do hope that Burke is looking at these kind of moves & turning over any & every stone to see if the parting price is palatable. You never know what we have would be enough to pull off a deal. We do have some decent prospects which I find are in abundance with the Flames but may be exactly what someone like Lou is looking for. Lou may come back & say Klimchuk & Reinhart are exactly what we need to fill in some holes & then you can have Larsson. Not to debate value but just an example of moving a raw good prospect & a developed prospect in Reino who we already have in Knight & Backlund. Who knows, but a deal like that could work both ways & by Lord I apologize to all the hockey submissives, but perhaps speed up this rebuild without leaping to mediocrity & cause Wolf a lot of heartburn.

  • the forgotten man

    Wow, Teravainen only had 15 points and captained his country to a World Junior Gold…thank the Good Lord we snatched Jankowski instead – phew, what a relief!

    • the forgotten man

      Yup, hard to fathom at the time it was done, mind-boggling now…….and that’s why Weisbrod is gone.

      Speaking of which, I would love to see Todd Button’s personal notes on who he would’ve selected. He must have his choices very well-documented. What is this? His 5th GM he’s on now? The guy was hired by Coates! I would love to see who he would’ve taken before being overridden by the powers that be.

      • the forgotten man

        Well, the 2011 draft might give us an idea of Tod’s thoughts, since that was basically 100% his doing.

        Sven Baertschi, Markus Granlund, Johnny Gaudreau… I’m detecting a pattern…

  • the forgotten man

    If Walter White put as much effort into providing insight to the plight of the Flames as he does trashing the Canucks, there may be something worth reading. My guess is he’s a chronic bed-wetter living in his Mom’s basement.