Burke’s smoke and mirror show fails to drive up Cammalleri’s price


(courtesy NHL/NHL.com)

Veteran Flames reporter Steve Macfarlane is back, this time shedding light on the ongoing Mike Cammalleri/Brian Burke/trade/contract saga.

Talk of a contract extension for Michael Cammalleri is nothing more than
a marketing play by Calgary Flames president of hockey operations and
until-further-notice general manager Brian Burke.

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Burke is trying to jack up the price by suggesting the diminutive winger
has enough of an edge and other leadership qualities to go with his
skill to be the kind of player he’d keep around despite his
well-publicized preference for more meat in his lineup.

Contrary to popular belief, there are some legitimate reasons as to why
the Flames would look at bringing Cammalleri back: Fulfilling the
obligation of the salary cap floor; keeping enough veterans around to
help guide the young up-and-comers for the next couple of years of the
team’s rebuilding process; the hope he can rediscover his scoring touch
in meaningful games should they somehow reach the playoffs — or even
challenge for the playoffs down the stretch — before his new contract

But for every reason in favour of the Flames trying to hang on to the
31-year-old winger, there are two or more that Cammalleri can list as to
why he would be better off escaping the rebuild and heading to greener

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Greener as in more money in the long term, and playoffs in the short term.

Last call for Cammalleri

With his contract expiring this summer, Cammalleri is at the point of
his NHL life we’ll dub Last Call. As an unrestricted free agent on the
downward crest of his career, his value will never again be higher on
the open market.  Instead of a two or three year deal that might be
sitting on the table from the Flames, he’ll get at least four or five
years from some other team desperate to fill a spot with a player who
has scored nearly 40 goals in a season — even if that season was five
years ago.

More importantly, he gets to pick which of the over-bidders he wants to join in July.

Many of those same teams that want his services in the summer will be the ones bidding for him now.

Teams looking for an edge on the competition. Established playoff teams
that remember how impressive Cammalleri was with the Montreal Canadiens
in the 2010 post-season when he scored 13 times and racked up 19 points
in 19 games to lead the underdog eighth seed in the Eastern Conference
past the top-ranked Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins
before losing to the Philadelphia Flyers in the conference final.

His limited no-trade clause is irrelevant at this point. It’s unlikely
the seven teams he listed that he can not be traded to likely don’t want
him anyway. Wherever he goes, his chances of being in the playoffs for
the first time since 2011 skyrocket. He’ll be playing with more skilled
and experience players, which means his opportunity to increase his
value for the offseason jumps up as well.

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The value to Cammalleri to be free of the Flames is obvious. But his
value on the trade market has taken a hit this season, for more than
just the idea of him being an extremely short-term rental.

The concussion scared some teams away. It wasn’t Cammalleri’s first head
injury, and for him to play with the kind of grit playoff teams expect,
he opens himself up to more.

And with three goals since the calendar flipped from November to December, this isn’t Jarome Iginla getting traded.

The price isn’t right

The rumoured price of a top prospect and high draft pick will be next to
impossible to rake in. That’s why Burke bothered to draw up an offer of
any kind in the first place.

It’s not fooling anyone.

Teams will continue to kick tires. Once the top forwards in the rumour
mill find homes or are confirmed to be sticking around — Matt Moulson,
Tomas Vanek, Ryan Kesler, Ryan Callahan, Martin St. Louis — then
Cammalleri’s price will be determined.

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A prospect and a second-round pick might be the ceiling, despite Burke’s efforts to make his player sound more attractive

  • piscera.infada

    I think we should keep Cammallieri. Burke’s obsession with size and fighting is stupid! I am Ok with big guys who can play the game like McGrattan, and even Gazdic up north. The Flames don’t need clowns like Trevor Gillies, goalie running/line brawl instigating goofs like Westgarth, MacIntyre, Scott etc. If he claims McLaren I’m not renewing my season tickets!

    • piscera.infada

      It’s funny because by both the eyes test and the numbers, Westgarth is actually a better hockey player than both McGrattan and Gazdic. He’s no allstar, but he’s not a total anchor.

    • RexLibris

      I think Cammy is over valued by most Flames fan.
      He has become almost exclusively a sniper who doesn’t really snipe much.
      He has some of the highest power play minutes per game in the league but is not especially dynamic in that role.
      He was about 4th worst in +/- while not going head to head against tough competition.
      Additionally he turns the puck over a lot at the offensive blue line.
      Not sure how much value a one dimensional player who isn’t performing that well within that dimension commands.

    • RexLibris

      He wants to try and make the Flames relevant than stand there and say “we’re setting ourselves up nicely for June of 2015 and our marketing group has done some nice mockups of the McDavid logo we’ll unveil the following September.”

  • piscera.infada

    Westgarth is OK I agree. I was trying to say McGrats is sufficient for that role! We don’t need some of the no talent goofs the Oilers and Sabres employ! Agreed Westy is OK and shouldn’t have been on that lust.

      • RexLibris

        I wondered about McLaren yesterday.

        He is one of Burke’s old players and does fit the bill.

        The funny thing is, if you run him on the Vollman Sledgehammer against players like Bickell, Westgarth, Clarkson, Gazdic, McGrattan and Clifford…McLaren is way, way, way, way down on the chart.

        Like the Laurentian Abyss kind of way down.

        I suspect Burke’s news conference is to announce Cammalleri’s trade. I recall his conference a few years ago in Toronto (2011, maybe)after the deadline where he said there were many offers but none that reached what he believed was value for the players on offer.

        There were rumours the other day that Nieuwendyk may yet become GM. His initial refusal was for family reasons and that if offered the job again he wouldn’t refuse.

    • BurningSensation

      If Jordan Staal hits the market we had better be interested.

      He checks all the boxes – except elite offense; size, skill, age, f/o ability, checking, speed, special teams, etc.

      A heavy lifter who can play in all situations, he’d be the perfect guy to anchor the forward units around as the kids develop.

      • BurningSensation

        Ha ha, missed your semi-colon after “offense” the first time I read it. Didn’t seem like you were too fond of him, thought the rest of the post was a bit off message!

        I like Staal too if he was available for some reason.

    • supra steve


      Interested in paying the probable asking price….I wouldn’t be, not at this stage of re-build.

      But, as with anything else, depends on the ask.

  • mattyc

    Cory Conacher is on waivers. Dude’s 24, has a history of doing some scoring (put up 200+ shots in the AHL in 11-12), and is also only shooting 5% this year. I would think that’s a low risk gamble Calgary should take 100% of the time…

  • piscera.infada

    Well, time is running out, or another way to look at it is pressure building with the deadline hours away. High stakes chicken, especially if Cammalleri has no intention of signing here. Interesting sideshow, reality Calgary in this same mode for next couple of years.

    That said have really enjoyed this year, and the progress of many Flames. This would include Backlund, Monahan, Giordano, Brodie, Byron, Granlund, Russel, Colbourne and Bouma here, and prospects Gaudreau, Arnold, Reinhart, Poirier, Klimchuck and others coming along. Keep up the good work, keep the coaches and continue this development…

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    berserks presser is to announce the much awaited barn match with lowe, on the undercard the sutter brothers face the alliance in a 12 man tagteam match for the intercontinential hog breeders belt.

    • RexLibris

      MacTavish didn’t like what he had and has overhauled it completely.

      He’s added Fasth, Brossoit, Bachman, Rimmer, Scrivens and Bryzgalov this year alone.

      Burke doesn’t have a history of doing well in goalie searched, although to be fair few GMs do.

      All the same, he or someone in the organization must believe strongly in Ortio, Ramo and Berra to have left things as they are this long.

      That or he is planning to throw a lot of money at Jonas Hiller this summer.

    • beloch

      It probably isn’t over yet either. I seriously doubt they’re going to rely on Bachman to be their backup. Scrivens has been awesome this year, but Dubnyk was awesome last year too. MacT should have some appreciation for the necessity of keeping a decent backup around.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    Flames should totally claim Conacher. He would help to fill the whole (assumably) left by Cammy immediately and would allow us to let some younger prospects stay in Abby for the drive for the playoffs.

    If it doesn’t work out, you haven’t lost anything. Surely that shooting % will rebound on Conacher.

    • RexLibris


      This could be seen by some to reduce the offered price for wingers like Cammalleri and Hemsky.

      One has to hope that Vanek and Moulson push the price higher.

      The interesting thing is that these players are likely to go West and the Flames and Oilers are both hoping that a bidding war will raise the price for their commodities.

      It could be very interesting if both MacTavish and Burke are left holding the last two forward assets near the end of the deadline with three or more suitors still looking around.

        • RedMan

          Yes, I would know… I have had the chance to watch Edmonton for years… 😀

          the difference is I get to watch it, while Edmonton gets to experience it!

          Or, maybe you feel Edmonton isn’t all that bad??? are you gonna pull out the “You can’t match how good we used to be or how good we are soon gonna be” card? I love that one. 😛

  • mk

    Short version of the press conference: nothing to report. Maybe stuff tomorrow. The end.

    Longer version: trades around the league are not happening because of a “logjam” created by 2 or 3 players who are high-end forwards that teams are lining up for. For the Flames, players who can impact the roster immediately are better: i.e. Burke prefers prospects to picks.

    • RexLibris

      Is this like the Pentagon calling Vietnam a “police action” while the bullets are whizzing past their heads and the smell of napalm wafts over the treetops?

      The trade market is going crazy with set-up moves and some moderate adjustments.

  • RexLibris

    Meanwhile, the real action is going on in Vancouver. Mike Gillis looks like he’s going to completely blow up the Canucks. He’s already traded two of the league’s top 15 goaltenders, leaving his team with two unproven young goalies. Next, it’s rumoured he’ll trade Kesler, who’s only the heart-and-soul of the team.

    The thing is, it has (apparently) never been his intention to do this. He’s just bumbling into one trade after another.

    Gillis is a lock to get in to the Hockey Hall of Infamy, along with Garth Snow and Mad Mike Milbury.