Flashback to March 4th, 2009. Darryl Sutter ignites
excitement to an immeasurable level in Calgary
by acquiring then-star Olli Jokinen and defenseman Jordan Leopold at the trade
The Jokinen acquisition was of particular interest to fans,
because it seemed Sutter had finally found a star center for Jarome Iginla. The
return – a 1st round pick, Matt Lombardi and Brandon Prust – was
inconsequential at time considering the hole the Flames had thought they had
filled. The deal ended up yielding the Coyotes defenseman Brandon Gormley – via
the 1st round pick – who is now a top prospect and looks to have a promising
future, while Olli Jokinen helped the Flames slog through a few more years of mediocrity.
In hindsight, not the greatest of moves. Now, the Flames have a similar
bargaining chip that Phoenix
had with Jokinen in Mike Cammalleri: a proven scorer that can push a team over
the hump. Phoenix
at the moment has stalled, right on top of that hump, and could reverse the
roles they played with the Flames in 2009 and land the Flame sniper to nudge
themselves over completely.
The ‘Yotes are currently fighting tooth and nail for one of
the final wild card spots in the West with Vancouver, Dallas and Winnipeg and
could gain a serious edge over those teams by adding a guy who would slot straight
into their top 6, if not their top line altogether. Phoenix is real weak on the left side too,
with the ancient Shane Doan, Rob Klinkhammer and Lauri “the Corporal”
Korpikoski (still one of the best nicknames in the league) residing inside their
Top 9. I would suggest Cammalleri is an upgrade on all three of those guys and
knowing Dave Tippett and his mastery, he’ll be able to squeeze every drop of
potential out of Cammi, lending the Coyotes a serious weapon down the stretch.
Also, players seem to like it in the desert and with the new, progressive
ownership, resigning the 31 year old is certainly not out of the question.
The Coyotes have also built up a real nice stock of
prospects through good drafting and shrewd trades, allowing for virtually any
deal. Cammalleri won’t command a kings ransom, but I have no doubt Brian Burke
means business and intends on getting a sizeable return for the winger.
Best Case Scenario:
2014 1st Round Pick +
B-/C Prospect (Chris Brown, Chris Summers, Andy Miele)
There is no guarantee that the Coyotes will make the
playoffs, so as a result if the Flames do land a 1st, it’ll probably a
conditional one and the prospect accompanied by it won’t be notable, per se.
Chris Brown has not only released several hit singles (amidst some of his more questionable extra-curricular achievements), he’s also a pretty good hockey player. A former 2nd round pick
of the ‘Yotes, the 23 year old has excelled in the farm system, cultivating in
a couple excellent AHL seasons. He currently sits on 14 goals and 35 points in
50 games after 47 points in 68 games last year. He’s plays center, which is
currently a pretty convoluted position within the organization, but you can
never really have enough of the them, right? Six-foot-two, 215 pounds is an
acceptable frame under the Brian Burke Truculence and Size Act, so that
combined with his stats could make him a sizable blip on the Flames radar.
Chris Summers is another mid-20’s aged player named Chris with upside that
could be identified by the Flames. The defenseman hasn’t been able to land a
job with the Coyotes full time and at 26, may be nearing the end of his time
with the organization. A smooth skater with solid defensive abilities, Summers
could be a decent bottom pairing, shutdown guy in the NHL, if given the
opportunity. Think of him as a Shane O’Brien that can skate and play hockey.
Andy Miele was a Hobey Baker winner in the NCAA and has continued his offensive
prowess in pro hockey. He’s got 23 goals and 56 points in 53 AHL games this season,
his 3rd in the A, and in fact hasn’t scored under 50 points in all 3 seasons.
The issue with Miele is he stands five-foot-eight and weighs in at 175 pounds
which is Johnny Gaudreau territory. With Johnny Hockey expected in Flames silks
next season, could a Burke led team really ice two sub five-ten skaters?
Possibly, because Miele’s offensive ability appears to be the real deal – at
least at the American League level.
2014 2nd/3rd Round
Pick + A/B Prospect (David Rundblad, Henrik Samuelsson, Lucas Lessio, Tobias
No, there is no chance the Flames land Max Domi or Brandon
Gormley in a Cammalleri deal. I’m sorry. There are still quality prospects to
be had in the
David Rundblad has been considered a premier offensive
blueline talent since he was drafted in the 1st Round by the Blues back in 2009
(being put on the same level as Erik Karlsson at the time), but has since been
dealt twice and hasn’t been able to find his footing in the NHL. His defensive
play is questionable at best and the offense hasn’t really translated to the
bigs. To be fair, he’s played just 50 NHL games and with a fair opportunity,
Rundblad could re-emerge as that premier offensive defenseman he was once
thought of to be. Calgary
could be that place and if I’m Brian Burke, I’m working my greasy flow off to
land him. Henrik Samuelsson might be in the same “untouchable”
category as Max Domi and Brandon Gormley, but the big six-foot-three, 208 pound
power forward has been dominating the WHL three years and is the prototypical
Burke player. Big and skilled. He has 30 goals and 84 points in 56 games this
year and I’d love nothing more than seeing him in a Flames jersey. Probably a
pipe dream though. Lucas Lessio is a lightning fast, offensive minded forward
who is caught in the log jam of good, young forwards the Coyotes have at the
AHL level. He’s put up 18 goals and 36 points in 48 games in his inaugural AHL
season after an excellent OHL career and the aforementioned log jam could squeeze
him into the awaiting hands of the Flames. Another guy in that boat is former
Oilers prospect Tobias Rieder. The Oilers, in classic “City of Champions” manner,
dealt the skilled forward for a face puncher last year and then saw him
flourish into a solid prospect. The German winger has 20 goals and 34 points as
an AHL rookie in 48 games and finds himself and could fall victim to the same
circumstance Lessio could in a potential trade.
Sum It Up
Phoenix isn’t usually the team looked at to make a big splash
at the deadline, but with new (Calgarian) ownership and whatnot, they could very well go
out and make a move this time around. They’ve been linked to Ray Whitney as
well, but he wouldn’t cost them an awful lot so the potential for a Cammalleri
deal is very real. The Coyotes possess a wealth of attractive prospects that
the Flames could choose from and if both teams are motivated to get something
done, the optics for a deal look very good. Just another wrinkle in the ever
evolving Mike Cammalleri saga.