Weekend Open Thread: Most Valuable Flames/Heat Players

As we continue to poke and prod at the 2013-14 season, now it’s time to look back at the players deemed the most valuable on a game-to-game basis. We have three measurements to look over – two for the Flames, one for the Abbotsford Heat.


Red Warrior is awarded by the FlamesNation writing staff on a game-by-game basis.

  • Mikael Backlund – 13 times
  • Karri Ramo – 9 times
  • Mark Giordano, Mike Cammalleri, Paul Byron, Sean Monahan – 6 times each
  • Lee Stempniak – 5 times
  • Dennis Wideman, Jiri Hudler – 4 times each
  • Lance Bouma, Reto Berra, Joe Colborne – 3 times each
  • T.J. Brodie, Kris Russell, Curtis Glencross, Matt Stajan – 2 times each
  • Joni Ortio, Markus Granlund, Shane O’Brien, Sven Baertschi, T.J. Galiardi, Kenny Agostino, Johnny Gaudreau, Brian McGrattan, Tyler Wotherspoon, equipment manager Corey Osmak, Flames dads – once each

Notable: Paul Byron played significantly fewer games than the other guys, so being Red Warrior that often is quite impressive.


The Three Stars are awarded by various media after each game (most frequently for Flames games, they were chosen by either Charlie Simmer or Peter Loubardias). Using a 3-2-1 points system for the post-game Three Stars, the top five shake down like this:

  • Karri Ramo – 10 firsts, 2 seconds, 2 thirds
  • Mark Giordano – 2 firsts, 6 seconds, 7 thirds
  • Mike Cammalleri – 3 firsts, 6 seconds, 4 thirds
  • Mikael Backlund – 2 firsts, 5 seconds, 1 third
  • Matt Stajan – 2 firsts, 4 seconds, 2 thirds

Notably, Mark Giordano was the Flame most frequently in the Three Stars (15 times), followed closely by Ramo (14) and Cammalleri (13).


    The AHL score-sheets don’t say who selects the Three Stars, but they’re fundamentally the same as the NHL version. Same system as before (3-2-1), playoffs exempted:

    • Ben Street – 8 firsts, 3 seconds, 5 thirds
    • Joni Ortio – 8 firsts, 4 seconds, 2 thirds
    • Max Reinhart – 7 firsts, 2 seconds, 2 thirds
    • Markus Granlund – 1 first, 6 seconds, 7 thirds
    • Corban Knight – 5 firsts, 1 second, 2 thirds

    Four out of the five are genuine Flames prospects, while Street was a good veteran for the team this year. Of note: Sven Baertschi made the Three Stars three times, compared to nine appearances for Brett Olson (who was on an AHL deal). Michael Ferland was First Star twice and only played 25 games, so that’s not a bad start, and Emile Poirier earned First and Third Star marks in his two AHL games.

      • T&A4Flames

        i would think he would want to pursue a Stanley cup. But, if we happened to be the only team looking to sign to wa e wants and he’s ok with that, sure. He could probably show TJ Brodie a lot as they are similar players. Also, we could likely get a good return for him at the deadline this year or next.

        • Burnward

          Egads no. We are in a rebuild, we have 5 veteran defenders; if we pursue any UFA’s on defence they had better be between 27-30.

          As far as MVP on the Flames it has to be Gio and on the Heat I would say Ortio or Granlund.

          • T&A4Flames

            We have no NHL ready D really. The only right shot we possess is Wideman. I meant to say only on a 1 or 2 year deal a the most. Like I said, he could help Brodie but I agree there are better options.

            • MC Hockey

              There are a number of UFA defencemen that I would pursue ahead of Boyle all significantly younger; here is a few: Meszaros, uincy,Niskanen,Nikatin and Strahlman. I think what you meant to say is that we have no NHL ready prospects as we do have 5 NHL defencemen in Gio, TJB, Wideman, Russell and Smid. The first two are atop pairing and the other three are better suited to be your 5-7 guys. Many would suggest that Spoon is probably pretty close to being NHL ready as for the rest I would agree that they are likely a year away. As for being able to trade Boyle at the deadline we can’t take that as a given; we all thought we could move Cammi and that did not happen. If we signed him and his salary was to high he would be hard to move.

            • T&A4Flames

              Mark Fayne is actually my 1st target. I think he could fit long term. But aside from getting what could be the absolute “best player available,” you have to look at other options and the possible benefits they bring even if those benefits don’t help long term. All teams do this, plan b’s and c’s. Boyle, IMO, brings some good benefits short term. I don’t think that should be so easily dismissed.

      • BurningSensation

        No, you aren’t the only one, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a TERRIBLE idea.

        The Flames with their current roster are miles better than several teams (Florida, Buffalo, the Islanders). To be bad enough to ensure a last place finish (the only way to guarantee either Eichel or McDavid), the Flames would have to ‘tank’ HARD. That means benching Ramo, playing rookies way too often, alienating vets, alienating fans, and generally being horrible coaches/managers that nobody wants to play for.

        Does nobody remember Alexandre Daigle? Consensus 1st overall in a year ripe with franchise players (Pronger, Kariya), he was a serious bust.

        I’m not saying McDavid is Daigle, but it could happen. Then what? We tank all over again for the next guy?

        That’s how Edmonton does business, and I want no part of it.

        • supra steve

          The Flames did finish strong in 2013-14, but their first half was not very special. I’m not entirely sure where this idea came from, that they are so superior to FLA, Buff, NYI, but their draft position (4th) states otherwise.

          Next season could see the team progress if Gio continues strong/healthy, Monahan makes strides and avoids the sophomore jinx, Gaudreau challenges for the Calder, the Flames make astute UFA signings, they turn more of those one goal games into wins…OR…the opposite. One or two key injuries and they could be near the bottom.

          As for Daigle, the fact that you have to go back 20+ years for that example tells me that that kind of first overall bust does not happen that often (and McDavid will NOT be the next one). Also…Daigle played a lot more NHL games than the Flames choice at #18, Jesper Mattson.

      • beloch

        Giordano is significantly older than the core that’s currently coalescing, so an eventual #1D to replace him is a long-term need. In the short-term, the Flames need second pairing defenders who can drive play in the right direction against playoff teams.

        Boyle doesn’t fill the first need and it’s very questionable if he fills the second. He had, by far, the most shelter of any defender in SJ and he did okay. However, the Flames would be asking him to step up a line while giving him line-mates who, on average, have significantly lower possession rates. That’s not a recipe for success.

        Given that defenders usually need more development time than forwards and that there are fewer slots available, I’d prefer to see the Flames either acquire younger players with upside or just give their own rookies the TOI. The Flames have several defensive prospects who are no worse than Brodie was a few years ago. The only certain thing is that they’ll never be NHL players if the Flames load up on players like Boyle.

        If a short-term salary dump is necessary, it would impact long-term development significantly less if it were a right winger.

    • T&A4Flames

      Furthermore, any signing that can be had on short term deal that fills holes and can then be moved for draft picks at 1 of the next 2 deadlines IS something we should be looking at. This in fact, DOES help the rebuild by giving the current youngsters, knowledge from vets, confidence by being sheltered by vets and then adding prospects by the draft and maybe more if said vet really has a great year. in 2 years, Backlund and Brodie will be the vets that need to carry the rest of te young roster that will be fed in to the team. Any leadership they can gain from guys like Boyle is a good thing, even if, in the very short term the kids get less ice time (the newest kids that is).

    • MC Hockey

      Don’t mind the Boyle as filler-to-teach-and-shelter-young-Dmen idea but prefer the acquire Niskanen or Nikitin or Meszaros with slight overpayment for 5-6 years idea given their ages

      • I’d take any of those guys on a short term. problem is, none of those guys want to take a short term.

        That’s why I like the idea of Boyle. 1 or 2 more years, and while he holds the place, we can piece together the best team possible.

        • If you are interested in short term then you can go and pursue any number of the UFA’s that are over 35 and some of them would help make this team in the short term and if you sign enough of them you might be competitive for the 7-12th spot in the division and hinder the development of the prospects.(Sutters plan as a GM) Is Boyle a top 3-4 defender? IMO not any longer, he put up good stats on a very good Sharks team but was one of their few – players. I don’t see that helping us short term or in development; there is a reason the Sharks are not resigning him.

        • MC Hockey

          But those guys are all 27 or 28 and entering or in their prime, so why not 5 or 6 years and overpay…only the Flames – among currently-low-spending teams – can say their owners can afford and are willing to spend to cap, so DO IT!

          • supra steve

            Overpaying guys who are 27-28 years old for 5-6 years would be a mistake IMO. Those contracts would be very difficult by the time they were halfway through, especially considering that these guys are most likely going to be seen as the cream of the crop for UFA dmen this season, as long as their ages are considered, because the other big guys (Boyle, Markov, Zidlicky, Timonen, etc. are much older). None of Meszaros, Stralman, or Niskanen are really worth the overpayment that they’ll be receiving. They’re all probably solid top 4 guys, but I could see some teams paying upwards of 5 million annually for their services, as well as signing them to long-term deals.

            If the Flames wanna pick up a right-handed shot, why not go offer Tom Gilbert a two year deal @ roughly 3 million annually? He only put up 28 points this year in 73 games, so I can hardly see teams bidding him up like they’ll likely be doing for a guy like Niskanen.

            • MC Hockey

              I actually like the Gilbert idea, good option also, another mistake by Edmonton to let him go away. I think my “overpaying” comment has to be understood as meaning overpaying in 2014 will NOT look bad in 3-4 years when the salary cap is $85-90M perhaps and thus the percentage of cap taken up by Niskanen or whomever will be smaller. Also, paying $5-6M for a 3-4 defender will look like a bargain in that case. Obviously, we just hope anyone UFA signed actually stays healthy and is consistent over 5 years if signed, but no way to assure that unfortunately.

    • Howie Meeker

      When talking D-men it doesn’t take long to look back at last year and appreciate how Feaster picked up Kris Russell for a mid round pick who has turned out well and was extended. Knowing the flames need to improve B/B will undoubtedly be out beating the the pavement looking for a hockey deal to improve the clubs back end and avoid the UFA market unless the player was a key piece to get to the team to another level.

      • Should that not be Treliving’s job? If he’s not doing that then why hire him. I suspect he and all good GM’s are doing the same; he will have a pretty solid knowledge of whether or not there is any one in the Phoenix organization and who that organization sees as an upgrade. My question is at what point do you worry about overpaying in a trade vs overpaying in the UFA market. If you can make a good trade great but with cap space to spare might it be better to pursue there. In my mind don’t overpay via trade if the same thing might be available via the UFA market.

    • RedMan

      it’s interesting to see Karri Ramo end up so high. I mean, yes, I liked what he brought as well, but he wasn’t kipper-2004.

      did he get so many warrior votes because of how wel he did “under the circumstances”?

      Has FN done a review/analysis of the Ramo yet… his play/progression etc? maybe breaking his year into segments, trends, quarters, etc?

    • RedMan

      THE ULTIMATE TRADE………..by Walter White

      Enough of this “tanking” talk (mostly from Oil Nation) for next year because there are a few great prospects to be had….let’s trade our first rounder away for next year!!!

      We trade our first round pick for 2015 to the Oilers for their first round pick in 2015…….sight unseen; before the season even starts.

      Imagine what the battle of Alberta looks like now!

      What a great incentive to beat the Oilers in the standings, and for them to beat us.

      I would add a stipulation that if the team with the worst record gets lucky and wins the lottery, the picks are reversed. Giving the team with the better record 2 lottery picks if both teams fail to make the play offs.

      Is it a deal? Are you scared??!


    • T&A4Flames

      So why is it I come here n see ppl crying how we need to spend to get to the cap floor n than the next day the same ppl are crying we shouldn’t pick up him or her because they “cost too much” . Which is it? ??

      • supra steve

        Or scheming how to rid the club of the Jones, Wideman, Smid contracts. Buy-outs, what the heck for? It makes absolutely no sense when the cap floor still has to be reached.

      • supra steve

        If you wanna spend to the cap floor, it might be a better idea to pick up anyone who will consent to a shorter term deal.

        I remember when the Canes signed Semin to a 1 year, 7 million dollar deal. All my friends were like “he’s not worth that cap hit, what a bad contract”, whereas I felt like that was a really smart move by the Hurricanes.

        Overpay as much as you want, but don’t “over term”, so to speak. That should be a good mantra for Brad Treliving.

          • supra steve

            That’s kinda immaterial. The Canes were in the “win now” mode, and wanted to see whether Semin was still any good. The Flames are trying to rebuild and reach the cap floor. I think there’s a considerable difference. You can question whether or not the long-term deal was a good idea, but the short-term one for Semin was a very shrewd signing for Carolina.

            The 1st deal is the kinda move I want Treliving to make, not the second one.

            • supra steve

              The Canes signed a guy who tends to play his best when he is playing for a contract. Then when he played well, for 44 games, they fell into Semin’s long term deal trap. Now the only reason Semin was available to sign that one year deal was because everyone knew he was a bad bet on a longer, big money deal. So if the Flames (or any other team) are going to find a player in his prime years that agrees to a similar 1 year deal, he is almost certain to be a similarly “broken” player that I would prefer they just stay away from.

              I’m not against shorter deals, it can be good business, but Heatley for 1 year/$5M…no thanks. Same if Semin were available this summer. I agree with your buddies on this one. Just Say No.

              Just my opinion.

            • Kevin R

              Same as Cammi. Just say no because that puppy is going to be min. a 5 year deal, 5.0 mill per or 6.0mill per, no matter, just say no. Probably smarter to pick off a 23 or 24 year over paid player with 2-3 years left, at least they have a chance to turn around their game & will be motivated to play for another contract after that one. They can be had for way cheaper too, the type of thing a cap strapped team would value just getting the cap flexibility. What RFA’s are coming up for raises on cap strapped teams that can be had.

            • Kevin R

              If you go to capgeek freeagents you can determine who you think we should go after. The top one is RoR of the Av’s as they have him and Stastny both up as free agents but the cost would be high.

            • Deaner_

              This is about getting to the cap floor, not trying to compete and get a “player in his prime years”.

              No risk at all picking up a guy for a 1 year deal on a rebuilding club. Sign him, use his cap hit to reach the floor for the year, move on.

    • T&A4Flames

      Now that San Jose has said they’re not bringing back Havlat do we trade for him and eat his salary while we play him on rw? Sounds like they intend to buy him out.

    • Burnward

      Absolutely NO to Boyle. That would be totally craze.

      But, why even talk about him coming to Calgary? Chances are slim and none…and slim just left the building.

      He’s off to a contender for sure.