FGD: Brotherly Matchup

 

                                                        pic via: HFBoards

Wake up, throw some breakfast on, brew a fresh cup of Mojo, comfortably establish yourself on the couch and throw on some Calgary Flames hockey. That is a routine I quite enjoy and wish we’d see more of. There’s nothing like starting your day with some Flames hockey – especially when they’re playing well! Personally, I’d like to see more of these type of starts.

In today’s afternoon matchup, the 29-23-6 Philadelphia Brotherly Lovers (and/or Flyers) will be pitted against the steaming hot 22-28-7 Calgary Flames at 11 am MST on Sportsnet West. The Flames come into this game winners of 6 of their last 7 games while the Flyers come in on a roll of their own, having won 3 straight, 3 of their last 4. Usually when you have two teams feeling good about themselves facing off, you’re gifted an entertaining matchup – something to expect this afternoon.

Flames

Kudos to our friends at Daily Faceoff for the lines:

  • Hudler – Backlund – Stempniak
  • Cammalleri – Monahan – Colborne
  • Bouma – Stajan – D. Jones
  • Westgarth – Galiardi – McGrattan
  • Brodie – Giordano
  • Russell – Butler
  • Smid – Wideman
  • Berra

Mikael Backlund was absolutely hosed by the media this week when it was reported he would replace Henrik Sedin on Sweden’s national team in Sochi for the Olympics – and then didn’t. Nonetheless, he’s been white hot collecting another two points on the island on Thursday. It seems to me that Backlund has carried that line a little at times at late – which is a first for 11 and is great to see. I’ve also loved Monahan of late, he’s actually using his body a little more and always seems to be in the right place at the right time. What a perfect selection for the Flames at 6 last June. I don’t care if Nichushkin or whoever else could’ve been taken there become All-Stars because Sean Monahan is the right guy for the Calgary Flames right now, and in the future. Some are tempering their expectations for the kid but I really don’t care for that, he’s going to be a franchise player, write it down. Anyway, he’s playing with Cammalleri, who’s in his last few games as a Flame one hopes, and with Colborne who I’ve quite liked on the wing. Much better than at center, at least. Bouma has been a beast in his bottom six role playing with the wise Matt Stajan and David Jones, who has not been very good of late. Oh well. Maybe a compliance buyout is in his future this summer. Hartley said the Flyers are a big team so it’s important to dress two goons to match up. Bob, the Flyers are also a team that can skate well, an attribute not shared by the goons. I like fights though so personally, I don’t really mind.

Brodie has been unreal of late and it seems I touch on a rumour every FGD so I’ll continue the trend today: what would you think of dealing TJ Brodie for Ryan O’Reilly? It was discussed on the Fan 960 morning show and I’d be all for it, especially if you can land Aaron Ekblad in June. (Editor’s Note: That would be horrible.) The Ekblad thing is obviously no guarantee but regardless I’d do it in a heartbeat. It’s another interesting topic of discussion with the trade deadline rapidly approaching. Some of Brodie’s great play may be due to playing with Mark Giordano, who’s played himself into Olympic snub status this year with his exceptional play. The two have been a big reason why the Flames have as many wins in their last 7 as they do. Russell has been excellent since returning from injury, while Butler has been his usual meh to bad. Wideman has not been good in 2014, at all. He scored the other night and one hopes that can be a building block for a guy that looks like he may be struggling with confidence issues.

Berra get’s the start again today which is disappointing not because he’s been bad, but because I’d really like to see Joni Ortio. I’m sure a lot of people share that sentiment.

Flyers

  • Scott Hartnell – Claude Giroux – Jakub Voracek
  • Brayden Schenn – Vincent Lecavalier – Wayne Simmons
  • Steve Downie – Sean Couturier – Matt Read
  • Michael Raffl – Adam Hall – Zac Rinaldo
  • Kimmo Timonen – Braydon Coburn
  • Mark Streit – Nicklas Grossmann
  • Luke Schenn – Erik Gustafsson
  • Ray Emery

The Flyers are rolling thanks to some strong play from their top guys. Their top 9 is nothing to kid with, housing serious firepower throughout. Each line is also saturated with grit making them no easy task to defend. I’ll be interested to see how the Flames defense core handles the endless rotation of offensive weapons the Flyers will toss at them. It really boggles the mind that this group started the season 1-7.

The defense isn’t too shabby either, with a healthy serving of recognizable, veteran names. The one knock on them is however, footspeed – or rather the lack thereof. The group can move the puck fine, defend the net and work the offensive zone fine, but problem’s arise when getting from Point A to Point B. The Flames need to utilize their speed to capitalize on this Achilles heel.

Steve Mason has been excellent this year but is out with injury so we’ll likely see Ray Emery. That’s not necessarily good news though, if you remember it was Emery who last year, while a member of the Chicago Blackhawks, made three hundred and seventy seven thousand saves against the Flames in a shootout win that the Hawks had no business winning.

Sum It Up

Like we’ve come to expect from most Flames games, this one should be a solid, entertaining matchup. The afternoon factor adds an additional perk for those like me, who enjoy it, and the fact that both these teams are rolling doesn’t hurt either. The Flyers are the better team on paper without a doubt, the pesky Flames have shown they can stick around with the best of them.

Here’s to a great game.

    • beloch

      Agreed. The Flames blueline needs more love than center-ice at the moment. The Flames have centers playing Wing, centers with nice NHLE’s in Abby, and NCAA centers with nice NHLE’s on the way. They’ve got jack-#$%^ for potential first-paring D’s in the system. Burke should be looking to trade veteran forwards for young defenders, not young defenders for forwards!

      • seve927

        Agreed again. Do not trade any D, last of all TJ. If you start drafting them now, it takes 5 years to find out you’ve got nothing. It’s a lot harder to trade for them when you’re desperate. Cue tired reference.

    • SmellOfVictory

      Agreed. Additionally I’d say Brodie and ROR are at equivalent levels of ability, so from a “good at hockey standpoint” it’d be a lateral move, at best. I’d rather keep the home grown dman in that case.

  • seve927

    Christian – what was with the editor’s note? I certainly think drafting Ekblad would be horrible, but was that what you were saying?

    -6 Thursday. Another in a long line of performances that scouts seem to ignore. How does a guy with such tremendous hockey sense continually get lit up? His knock before was offense, but he seems like he’s got plenty to me. Just no defense. Unless he’s a good bet to convert to a RW, Ekblad to Edmonton, please.

    • SmellOfVictory

      Christian is the writer. The editor for FN is Ryan Pike now, I believe (used to be Kent Wilson). Any Ed notes you see would be one of the two. Whichever it is disagrees with Christian.

  • prendrefeu

    I think some of us who visit Flames Nation often enough would like to see a post that is solely devoted to potential first round picks: who they are, how they’ve gotten to be considered first round picks, how they are currently playing, etc:. I love hearing about our prospects (already drafted) and seeing how they are doing in the juniors/college/QHL/AHL/somethingHL and so on, it would be great to see something about these potential draftees before June hits.

  • Prairie Chicken by-the-Sea

    “…Cammalleri, who’s in his last few games as a Flame one hopes”

    I would like to see Cammalleri actually do something. Even an assist at this point would be cause for celebration, because I can’t see us getting much for a guy who has produced 8 points in his last 26 games. With those numbers we might as well try to shop McGrattan.

  • Christian Roatis

    We are approaching the ten year Cup run by the Flames, I still think about the Flyers and Flames Stanley Cup final possibility. I remember that Philly team was really banged up by the time they took on the Lightning in the Eastern final. In regards to Brodie for O’Reilly, I think I would like to keep Brodie. It make sense from a needs perspective, the Avs need help on their blueline and the Flames would love a 50-60 point 6 foot 200lb center. Maybe Brodie’s name has come up because of the Russell deal. If they can’t unload Wideman they probably fear in two years they cannot pay Brodie the big dough he will command. Lastly, I think these afternoon games will become fewer and fewer. I’m hearing Rogers wants to feature all seven Canadian teams prominently and is keen on having a Sunday night marquee match-up.

  • Christian Roatis

    The guys on CSN are brutal, the colour guy called Bob Hartley, Brian Hartley. t
    Then the last time Calgary and Philly played in Philly was 2010 and they were listing the goal scorers and who was remaining on the team. The TV graphic showed the four players that scored in that game and the announcers were like “I know one was Giordano.” I don’t know who the other was, we will have to look that one up. IT WAS PRINTED ON THE FREAKIN’ GRAPHIC THAT ONE OF THE GUYS WAS GLENCROSS, MORONS!

    • Nick24

      Has a team ever won a cup without at least one stud defenseman? Brodie is the only blueliner on the roster under 25, and none of Wotherspoon, Sieloff, or Kulak has first pair upside. In what way is it a good idea to trade a 23 year old first pair defenseman for yet another forward? We always make fun of the oilers for not trading one of their studs for a defender. What kind of ridicule do the Flames open themselves to if they do the exact opposite?

      Believe me when I say the Oilers would give an arm and a leg for a dman like Brodie.

      • Prairie Chicken by-the-Sea

        As indicated in the article, the idea was to trade TJB to get ROR under premise that we could draft Ekblad. I agree that Brodie is valuable to us and I am not proposing we go the Oiler route. ROR is the type of forward that the Oilers do not possess and could sorely use – a 25g-35a, high possession, high leadership-type guy. I would take that over TJB.

        • Prairie Chicken by-the-Sea

          How is that different from keeping Brodie and drafting Sam Bennett? Brodie will be very good for a long time, and there’s no guarantee Ekblad will be better.

          Meanwhile forwards are inherently safer than defensemen and quicker to develop. Bennett plays a similar style to O’Reilly and has a higher ceiling.

          Also, O’Reilly hasn’t played center for two years.

          • Prairie Chicken by-the-Sea

            Fair enough, but you can’t imply that Sam Bennett will be as effective as ROR and then say that Ekblad is unproven compared to Brodie. The fact is that both undrafted players are unknowns at this point. Colorado can’t play ROR at centre and get all the players they currently want into their top 6.

            Picture Monahan, ROR, and Stajan as our top 3 centres in a few years…

          • Prairie Chicken by-the-Sea

            I never said Bennett “will” be as effective as O’Reilly. I said he had a higher ceiling. Completely different. Ekblad has a higher ceiling than Brodie (although Brodie has done nothing but shatter ceiling projections since he was drafted).

            Picture Monahan, Bennett, and Backlund as our top 3 centers in a few years…

            Trading Brodie for ANY forward is taking a step back that the Flames can’t afford to take. Quite frankly, I’d rather keep Brodie AND draft Ekblad. Have both for the future.

            The BPA in the 2015 draft will almost certainly be yet another forward anyway.

      • Not to nitpick but I don’t think anyone thought that TJ would turn into a first pairing D.

        I still think the risk is too large to trade a very good D for a very good centre. Both are hard to get but D is tougher.

  • Prairie Chicken by-the-Sea

    Am I missing something about Ekblad? I understand he will likely go top 3, and, given we just beat the Islanders, I don’t see us falling that far unless the Panthers and Oilers figure out how to not suck.

  • How are the kids doing? The Heat are still number one in the Eastern Conference, Granlund Street and Reinhart are in a three way tie for first in team scoring with 37 points, followed by a two-way tie with Knight and Billins at 34 points. Tyler Wotherspoon leads the team at +11. Baertschi has played 19 games with 8 points.

    Gaudreau has 56 points in 28 games at Boston college, Agostino has 21 points in 22 games at Yale. Jankowski has 17 in 27 at Providence.

  • Nick24

    I think it would be silly to trade Brodie. If he really is a future top paring defenseman why on earth would you trade him? Don’t get me wrong, I would love to have ROR on the team but not for the sake of TJ. I’d be open to trading our 1st for ROR and maybe a 3rd or something. I mean Monahan is ROR+ right? I think we should try to bring a guy that will be able to put up 75+ point seasons.

  • loudogYYC

    We have a solid future C in Monahan, someone reliable in Stajan, and then Backlund, who can do it all lately. Our D prospects aren’t anywhere near as developed, so losing Brodie would hurt the team more than acquiring ROR would improve it. No thanks.

    Regarding today’s game, as much as I like waking up to watch my Flames, afternoon games generally suck.

  • Howie Meeker

    Brodie is young and improving but he is still hit and miss in my books. He’s a finesse defenceman, will never be a physical dman and I’m not convinced he’s ever going to be a stud. Although the cupboard is fairly thin, I’d be very tempted to make the trade for ROR. The Avs are in tough with the salary cap, don’t want to take back salary and Calgary is one of a few teams that can take on substantial cap. For the Flames to get to the floor (especially if they move Cammy) I’d much rather see them pump it into a young player rather than overpay for a Richards type veteran.