Byron Returns


When the deadline to tender qualifying offers to RFA’s passed last week, many of us were disappointed that Paul Byron was not among those given offers by the Flames.  That mistake has been rectified.

Paul Byron was drafted 179th overall in 2007 by the Sabres, put up respectable numbers in the AHL, and played his first 8 NHL games with the Sabres, scoring 1 goal and 1 assist.  The Flames acquired him from Buffalo as a small piece of the much-maligned Robyn Regehr trade.  In the remainder of the 2010/2011 season, Byron played 22 games for the Flames, got 5 points, and, despite being sheltered, was hammered badly in terms of possession.  During the following (lock-out shortened) season, the Flames called Byron up from Abby for a measly 4 games and threw him to the wolves.  He played shockingly tough minutes for a rookie and was correspondingly destroyed in Corsi, although he did manage a lone assist.  To make matters worse, Byron’s AHL production dropped to just 0.39 ppg that season, which was the lowest pace in his pro career so far.  With just one year left on his contract, things looked grim for Byron.

His professional career teetering on the precipice, Byron started the 2013/2014 season off right.  He scored 18 points in 25 games, which was his best AHL pace since leaving the Portland Pirates.  When the Flames’ injuries piled up in November Burke finally gave Byron the call. It might have been desperation or maybe Burke just wanted to see what Byron could do in the NHL before his contract was up.  The rest is now well known to Flames fans.

Byron was again thrown to the wolves and found himself facing similar competition to Backlund and Cammalleri.  This time, however, Byron proved equal to the task.  He netted 21 points in 47 games (0.45 ppg) and was one of the Flames best possession forwards. Fans were soon affectionately referring to him as “Mighty Mouse”, not only because he’s tiny, but also because of his uncanny ability to zoom up and down the ice at astonishing speeds just in time to save the day. 

Although it is unclear why Byron was not tendered a qualifying offer while he was still an RFA, he has finally been signed to a contract by the Flames.  While his salary is not, at the time of writing, known, we do know is that it’s one-way and one year.  This is, unmistakably, a “prove thyself worthy” bridge contract.  With the additions to left wing made this summer, it’s not entirely clear where Byron will fit into the lineup.  However, it’s heartening to see the Flames retain a player with clear potential rather than allowing him to be snapped up on the UFA market just because he doesn’t quite measure up to the current ideal. 

Welcome back Paul Byron!

  • Jeff Lebowski

    Are FN going to and reporting on the Dev camp? If so could they please include the difference in skills and ability of Feaster picks vs BT picks.

    Also, in my mind Bennett is a Feaster kid. If not for Burke, Feaster would’ve picked Bennett.

    Would Feaster have picked the others?

    CGY has created a golden generation – just like Spain in soccer – the Feaster generation.

    We have to ride them hard. Instead of every year trying to draft the next golden generation. We have to hope the Culkins and Roys make it too.

    The camp will explain all on the ice. You will see with your eyes which drafted kids have promise and which are just big, slow and heavy.

    Go back, watch\listen to the interviews from Button or people about the drafted kids last year compared to this year.

    Last year, every description STARTED well he’s got a good brain (even Kanzig). They state first, exactly what they prioritize and value. We like the way he thinks the game…

    This year?

    He’s a leader, he’s got size is the first things outta their mouths. Not hockey IQ.

    Tippett’s quote:

    “We had a player that was supposed to be a great, shut-down defenseman. He was supposedly the be-all, end-all of defensemen. But when you did a 10-game analysis of him, you found out he was defending all the time because he can’t move the puck.

    “Then we had another guy, who supposedly couldn’t defend a lick. Well, he was defending only 20 percent of the time because he’s making good plays out of our end. He may not be the strongest defender, but he’s only doing it 20 percent of the time. So the equation works out better the other way. I ended up trading the other defenseman.”

    Can be applied to every aspect of Burke’s blueprint. It’s just conventional thinking. Which Tippett – a respected hockey man – learned to see otherwise.

    What we do? We signed a big strong dman and we drafted one.

    What would a 10 game analysis reveal about ‘toughness comes in pairs’?

    Just when we were gonna get good…Burke comes along and bombs this franchise back into the stone age.

    Go and see for yourself.

    • T&A4Flames

      “Are FN going to and reporting on the Dev camp? If so could they please include the difference in skills and ability of Feaster picks vs BT picks.

      Also, in my mind Bennett is a Feaster kid. If not for Burke, Feaster would’ve picked Bennett….”

      Jeff, its getting tiresome listening to your “expertise” and non-ending drivel about BT/BB. Just let it rest and let’s see what develops. Feaster I generally liked, but in reality he took a near-playoff team to 27th overall. Whether his picks turn out and they lead the team forward remains to be seen. I hope so, but, wait a minute, we’ll never really know if THOSE kids are the difference because now we’re going to have BT kids mixed in, and well, we also have Sutter kids mixed in. What a dilemma…

      At the skills practice this morning, only obvious thing I noticed was Keegan Kanzig’s skating seems to be much-improved from last year. Yah! Hopefully we’ll continue to see improvement from the whole team, and they, at least, will learn to function as a team rather that subgroups based on who was in charge when they were drafted.

      Oh, and by the way, if you’re going to persist in your us versus them nonsense, Sam Bennett is a BTreliving pick… whether or not in your fantasies he would have been an automatic Feaster pick should Feaster have still been around.

      • Jeff Lebowski

        why are you reading it? do you have to read every post? is there a gun to your head?

        did i come up, tap you on the shoulder and say hey listen to this…

        Then why do you read it?

        • beloch

          I enjoy this site and following the team. I’d imagine not so different than you. I don’t however enjoy all the comments, especially those who persist in repeating over an over the same points ad naseum. Hey I get it you’re not thrilled with BT/BB and recent draft/pickups. I’m not overly thrilled either, but I think some needs were addressed and I hope things will work out which we won’t know for some years. I’ve made that point, you’ve made yours. Can we move on?

          I had mentioned earlier it appears Kanzig’s skating is much better. Any common on THAT, or is a perceived “coke machine” always a coke machine in your eyes?

          • Jeff Lebowski

            It’s exactly the same as I felt with Feaster bashing. But Feaster bashing is acceptable because the majority don’t like Feaster.

            To me, if I’m in the car and the radio starts playing a song that irritates me, I don’t turn it up. I change the channel.

            People are ill equipped to handle the marketplace of ideas or opinions, especially if those opinions are unacceptable to them.

            For me, if I believe in something, meaning it’s something worth believing in then I know it can hold up to criticsim.

            I don’t need the tone to be acceptable, I don’t need my feelings to be considered. I look at the substance. Does it hold up?

            Other people need to hear what they already believe. They need other opinions to make them feel smart or validated.

            People, complain this is whinning, it emo…
            The only thing making it emo is your brain. All it really is is words on a screen YOU put the emotion in.

            After reading your, or anyone’s comment, my blood doesn’t boil. I don’t get upset, it doesn’t ruin my day. I ignore the packaging, the advertising and look and examine what I’m buying.

            If something tangible makes me rethink my previously held beleif then I do that. I can hold an idea in my head and not have to accept it first. If the argument is garbage, I move on. If there is something to, even if I think it’s harshly worded, I ignore the tone and test the new hypothesis.

            Nobody is testing. They are just emotionally reacting to….words, ideas, opinions. They let themselves get upset.

            As for Kanzig, like I said earlier, when Feaster drafted him, first thing Button said was we like his brain…and in the past I said I think Kanzig will be a player because he’s a farmboy therefore knows what hard work is and will do the work.

            Could the others recently drafted be allowed the same? Of course.

            That isn’t the issue. The issue is what is popular and what isn’t. Really.

            Nobody wants to debate the merits of the argument – the evidence, history of Burke – they just want the noise turned down. Because everything as to be 100% acceptable to them before any discussion begins. What discussion? What debate? He’s good. Yeah he’s good. We rule. So be it.

          • piscera.infada

            nobody wants to debate the merits of the argument – the evidence, history of Burke – they just want the noise turned down. Because everything as to be 100% acceptable to them before any discussion begins. What discussion? What debate? He’s good. Yeah he’s good. We rule. So be it.

            I’ve debated the merits of your argument many times over. You or @Derzie have yet to craft a reasonable response other than “those guys are big”. I’ve gone through every player acquired by Treliving in Calgary so far, and also argued that he hasn’t made enough moves (11) to truly establish a trend. But as of yet, nothing. You prefer the rash emotional response, and then you tell everyone “you’re being emotional”. Get over yourself. Now I’m done.

          • Jeff Lebowski

            OK lets just use NHLe. Is this not reasonable? Do you need a tissue first?

            hold up BT’s picks to NHLe and hold up Feasters.

            When it makes the Flames kid look good, its valuable. When it doesn’t there’s some intrigue that will be unveiled. Is that it?

            My argument has always been, double down on skill.

            Canucks Army drafting vs Actual Canucks picks.

            With that info, how can you not question? These are just questions that you say isn’t a reasonable response.

            Thank you, come again!

            oh and BEEFCAKE!!!

          • Jeff Lebowski

            NHLe means squat. NHL results do. Lots of guys with awesome NHLe fizzled and burned. Lucic looked terrible, now he is 1 of kind valuable in the NHL making $6mil+. No NHLe could have predicted that. Same goes on the downside. We need to quit proclaiming the 2013 draft class as masterful sure fire success. It’s possible everyone besides Monahan crashes and burns once they hit the bigs. I don’t think that’ll happen, but saying it won’t is dumb.

            Judging 2014 or 2013 draft picks is just plain dumb. Wait a few years and see if anything translates to the NHL because until it does its conjecture and wild speculation.

          • SmellOfVictory

            (waiting on Kent to read this and back me up)

            NHLE has been shown to have a greater correlation with NHL success than basically any other method of judging prospects outside of “were they picked in the top 10”. Just because it’s not a perfect predictor doesn’t mean you throw it out and pretend that it’s useless.

          • mattyc

            That’s not what I meant. I completely agree, it is useful. Perhaps my “It doesn’t mean squat” was a poor choice of words for what I was going for…

            What I meant that using NHLe of prospects playing the CHL as a way to prove the relative success of the 2014 draft vs 2013 and then judge mgmt and scouts is ridiculous, and just plain dumb.

            Until players get results IN THE NHL, you cannot judge GMs who are tasked with NHL RESULTS. 5 days after the 2011 draft did Gaudreau look like a genius pick? Even now he still may get crushed and fizzle in the NHL. This is an NHL draft, not an NHLe draft.

            Everyone needs to take a deep breath, and kick back. This year is gonna be ugly. Let’s quit over analysing everything Burke and his bad hairdo do and just enjoy the ride. In 3 or 4 years we can clearly judge the drafts based on fact not conjecture.

            PS –

          • Willi P

            Yes skill is critical, but as evidenced by the Oilers up North in a negative sense, and recent SCup winners LA, Chicago, Boston and Anaheim… It’s far from the only necessary ingredient.

          • Willi P

            Agree with most of this. Discussion is good. I don’t/didn’t like the Feaster bashing either.

            Personally I think he did a great job digging into the NCAA ranks as well as clearing out the old and setting the stage for the new. On several occasions, e.g. wanting to trade Iginla earlier and the flip/flop of Boston then Pittsburg it SEEMS from the outside that his hands were tied by upper management and he couldn’t do what he really felt should be done but that’s the way it is. We’ll never know for sure. It remains to be seen if the same will happen with BB/BT.

    • loudogYYC

      In the words of the younger Jeff Lebowski, Chill…man.

      I’m pretty sure everyone knows by now how displeased you are with Brian Burke, but 29 other teams have a chance of hiring the enlightened Feaster and now Tampa has him as the director of community blah blah blah. Not a hockey position.

      I’m far from a Burke apologist, but maybe, just maybe there’s some benefit to having a mix of players in the system don’t you think?

      Until “Feaster kids” tear up the league or lift a cup, they are just projects. Just like any other crop of draft picks. And Sam Bennett isn’t a Feaster kid, get real.

      • Jeff Lebowski

        Everybody went ballistic over everything that came out of Feaster’s mouth.

        They went ballistic over figments of imagination -> ROR

        -do you know what would’ve happened if… No Monhan!!!

        OK but what if an asteroid hit the earth 100 years ago.

        So yeah, while I had to listen to all the whinning about Feaster I’m gonna do the same about Burke.

        dont like it, dont want to hear it. dont read it.

        But I get it. You want to dive back into the goo, right? Plug back into the matrix. Give me that feeding tube!!

        People don’t want to see the truth. They want to think it’s steak they’re eating – with all the beef going around –

        Burke sucks. We all know this but don’t want to really admit what Burke entails.

        Do we look like LA? No we look like Toronto. 4 skill guys surrounded by beef, by foot soldiers.
        That’s why the narrative is leader, combat level, compete level.

        Brian ‘Weightgain 4000’ Burke

        • DragonFlame

          There are only about four teams that look like LA: St Louis, Anaheim, Boston and maybe San Jose.

          There are five to eight teams that look like Toronto:

          Florida, Buffalo, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Carolina, Calgary, Edmonton, and the Islanders.

          The Flames are re-building. They aren’t going to look like LA in year two.

        • DragonFlame

          There are only about four teams that look like LA: St Louis, Anaheim, Boston and maybe San Jose.

          There are five to eight teams that look like Toronto:

          Florida, Buffalo, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Carolina, Calgary, Edmonton, and the Islanders.

          The Flames are re-building. They aren’t going to look like LA in year two.

      • seve927

        However it is just as silly to suspect he would have traded out of the top 4 when the hockey world had a consensus top 4 and the scouts advising BT were the same Feaster had hired. Look at the other two draft years not just 2012 and it is more likely he would have drafted Bennett than gone of the board. Feaster deserved to be fired for a number of things and with one exception it was not for drafting and the jury will be out on that one for at least 3 years.

  • Derzie

    I think the ganging up on Lebowski is a combo of blind faith (wait and see) and brain vs brawn arguments (most people are in the brawn category). Feaster messed up a lot of stuff but the one good thing he did is value brain over brawn, all things being equal. A refreshing change from the normal truck-nuts mentality of the fans and their demand for punishing teams. That interlude was short lived and now we are right back to what Alberta want. Bluster about big guys. It has shifted our direction. Outcome in the short term is a lottery pick next year for sure, possible 30th of 30. No one that wins targets size over skill. Why would we think it would work here. Burke is a hockey dinosaur and BT is a puppet. I’ll still watch the games because I like the players as people but like every other Canadian team, management is the weak link. What Jeff says is based on facts. Trashing it does not change that.

      • SmellOfVictory

        Jeff, I have propped a lot of your posts because you have really good stuff to say about players & dynamics of the team. Every now & then you get off on these tangents. Are your blood sugar levels OK? Unless your Dad is Murray Edwards or you go to Ken King & get hired as Senior President of Hockey Ops with BB& BT reporting to you, take a pill. Nothing is changing because every post is a management bash & bitching, whining & complaining about every single move that is made. Enough, please. It is what it is. Time to move forward & you can be the best I told you so in 2-3 years on the planet or in Calgary for that matter, or I expect a full apology to reading your constant negativity since the draft. I’m tired of trashing you these last few days, for God’s sake we are rebuilding. We need studs like Money & Bennett & Gaudreau to develop & perform well. That is what’s going to save this franchise from 10 more years of suck. This rebuild is going to be hard enough, we all knew that when Daryl was finally escorted from the building & we were a cap strapped bubble team. I prefer to embrace & hope the new kids will lead us out of darkness & will rise to the NHL challenge. Until then, please STFU about BT/BB. We all know how you feel.

  • Skuehler

    Also, this talk of McDavid is nauseating. There is no miracle man that will arrive on a white horse to single handedly raise the Flames to respectability and an elite level. Iginla couldn’t do it alone, Burke won’t, and neither is McDavid going to. Hockey is a team game based on systems, hardwork, discipline, and a good measure of chance.

    Tanking our wa to success is repulsive

    • jeremywilhelm

      Yes, but if McDavid is as good as he seems to be, then you only have to surround him with depth, which seems to be what is in store with this franchise upcoming.

      I’d have no issue tanking this year to get McDavid. Hopefully Engelland gets waived and traded too. Haha.

    • True, but for this season it’s likely inevitable. Calgary has the cheapest roster in the league and only a handful of of genuine NHL players. Unless Ramo or Hiller has a Vezina quality season, the Flames are in tough to compete…especially in the Western Conference.

      My guess/hope is the team bottoms out this year. The good news is I think they can rapidly improve after that.

      • Parallex

        Yup, I really think the plan has to be to send Bennett back to the OHL, Season Gaudreau in the AHL until the trade deadline, move off your expiring UFA contracts at the trade deadline, Draft one of McDavid/Eichel/Hanifin, add those three and start upping the payroll for 2015-2016.

        Seriously, in terms of overall quality our roster really stinks. Every other team in the bottom five got better… we got worse. I’d put us in the “best” position to draft McDavid, at least on paper. The upside is that we can add at least three big pieces internally the next season + any that we can acquire on the UFA market. That’s a window for rapid improvement.

    • Bean-counting cowboy

      Walter, this is practically the definition of small sample size, impatience, and a few other things we don’t need to go into.

      We aren’t going to know if our pick in the second round, i.e., the 34 slot, will be a real asset for 3 or 4 years and we won’t know if we “should” have picked someone else for a while yet either.

      I didn’t want a goaltender there either but let’s just leave the kid alone for a few years.

        • McRib

          I don’t think anyone saw Mason McDonald play as he was on for the first half of the scrimmage, which was not streaming due to technical difficulties….

          As I have said before Mason McDonald had a 1.94 GAA in the U18s for Canada, whereas someone like Thatcher Demko had a 2.24 GAA for a stronger USA team last year. If Mason McDonald played on even a remotely capable team this year his numbers would have been much much better, he was outstanding in the Top Prospects game when I saw him.

          It’s not hard to tell who has watched McDonald play live and who hasn’t… Because everyone who has loves his game and anyone who goes off useless stats clearly has not. Red Line Report, Craig Button and had McDonald as the top goaltender in the draft, every other scouting service had him as a Top. 55 prospect and as the second best goalie in the class.

          As for Hunter Smith who you said should have been a 5th rounder…. You realize he was ranked 39th by ISS, 24th by Sportsnet, 39th by Central Scouting, 49th by THN, etc. I guess it’s easy to hate the Flames picks when you are in denial and think that consensus second rounder’s are supposed to go in the fifth round?!?!

          • Parallex

            “As I have said before Mason McDonald had a 1.94 GAA in the U18s for Canada, whereas someone like Thatcher Demko had a 2.24 GAA for a stronger USA team last year”

            To which I’d say…

            A: GAA is not a good stat,

            B: It’s a tiny sample size,

            C: It wasn’t the same tournament,

            D: You’re comparing the performance of someone in their draft year to someone else in their draft -1 year.

            Someone else could just point to his (McDonald)playoffs stats of a 6.58GAA and a .860sv% and say he should have gone undrafted… they’d be as equally wrong as pointing to a short U18 tournament but they could do it.

          • supra steve

            None of this matters, at this point. The Flames selected their goaltender with their early 2nd rounder, check back in about 5-6 years to see if they are happy to have made the pick or if they have regrets.

          • McRib

            I guess I just disagree with eight U18 games (2 exhibition) being a “tiny” sample size. Considering Mason McDonald only played in (parts of) 29 games in the QMJHL this season, so the 8 games he played at the U18s is a sample size of 27.5% of his regular season workload. Anything over 25% is really a decent sample size for me at least.

            If we were to compare SV% at the U18s Mason McDonald comes out looking even better with a 0.930 over Thatcher Demko’s 0.899. Like I said the USA Team usually dominates the spring U18s as they play together all season long. Interestingly Thatcher Demko’s year is the only spring U18s the Americans have not won since 2009 (six seasons).

            I lived in Halifax for the last four years going to school and must say, you really don’t understand how bad the worst QMJHL Teams are…. Because the QMJHL stacks the top teams so heavily the basement dwellers end up being absolute whipping boys. Honestly the bottom 5-6 QMJHL teams would not beat BCHL/AJHL teams. I understand U18 performance isn’t everything, but it’s the only way to compare two goalies, one of which played on the most staked NCAA team and the other played on two of the bottom five CHL teams (yes the worst five teams in the CHL are all easily in the QMJHL).

          • Parallex

            Why do you keep bringing up Demko’s .899? He did that if a different year, different tournament, and most importantly he did it a year before McDonald. He was younger then McDonald. That’s an important detail that you completely ignore, that it was Demko’s draft minus 1 year.

            and it is a small sample size just because McDonald didn’t play a ton else where doesn’t make it meaningful. In the sample that had the greatest size (his CHL regular season) he had a .900sv%. That’s not very impressive.

          • EugeneV

            “just because McDonald didn’t play a ton else where doesn’t make it meaningful. In the sample that had the greatest size (his CHL regular season) he had a .900sv%. That’s not very impressive”

            Hey bud, how about a little context?

            90% is VERY impressive if most of the shots you face are from the hash marks in vs most of your shots coming from “outside”

            I’ll say it again. “Goalies from bad QMJHL teams who face a million shots have a history of success in the NHL”

          • EugeneV

            I think it is a conclusion which can be drawn with common sense, as I’m sure a team which should likely have won the Frozen Four gave up less quality scoring chances than McDonald’s dumpster fire of a QMJHL team did.

          • Parallex

            Even if that’s true it still indicates that McDonald wasn’t particularily good at stopping them.

            Let’s also not forget that Demko was performing against NCAA competition… a higher level of opposition (filled almost exclusively with players older and more experienced then him) and excelled while McDonald put up pedestrian numbers (at best) in a environment better described as a youth league.

          • RedMan

            there is definitely reasons that they took him, and we all surely agree that they did their homework on all these guys, and that many strong hockey people made the decision together, so it is safe to assume they had more to consider then just his two counting stats from the crapper team he was on. I have no issues with picking this goalie over the other… I don’t even really feel bad that they took him when they did.

            I actually like the way things are shaping up, and I am not yet ready to panic.

            We have a very exciting group of prospects – maybe not all blue chippers, but plenty to be excited about even without factoring how bad things have been (prospect wise) over the recent years.

            You only live once, might as well enjoy the ride.

          • EugeneV

            Athletic. That is what I took away from watching him on youtube.

            Looks like he’s not a flopper.
            Stays square to the puck, doesn’t drop down to B/Fly too soon.

            I like the pick.

            Goalies from bad QMJHL teams who face a million shots have a history of success in the NHL.

  • Colin.S

    Byron’s deal is 1 way deal at 600,000. EDIT: guess I should include my source:

    Incredibly stupid that the Flames aren’t giving out contract terms in their signing announcements anymore. One of the best decisions that Feaster ever made. Anyone with a half a brain can look it up on the internet no less than a day later and find the terms anyways. But then again, if I’m giving out 3 million to Derek Engelland I wouldn’t want to announce that either.

  • Matty Franchise Jr

    When the Flames elected to not qualify him other teams had a chance to sign him and obviously did not. Perhaps he is a legend only in Flames fans minds. Tiny player with lot’s of speed and a great showing, at least for part of last season.

    Yes, he has lot’s to prove and I think he will need to do it early or it’s Adirondack for the remainder of next season.

    • Matty Franchise Jr

      I can honestly look around the league, without my fan blinders on and I can’t fathom how we aren’t a top 2 contender for Connor McDavid. Its AWESOME. This year is a loss, might as well get the next Crosby. How awesome would it be to get a way better player than the Oilers could get in 3 trips up to the podium with #1.

      But honestly. I see people saying we will finish 20th, or be close to the playoffs… Ha, it would be funny if it wasn’t so sad. I’ve seen a 1st line drawn up with GlenX, Hudler & Backs. Do you honestly think that line is a 1st line? That must take the cake or at least be in contention for worst 1st line in the league. Don’t get me wrong, I like that line… as a 3rd line.

      But people seem to have their fan blinders on. Yikes.

      I get we hate Edmonton, but seriously who thinks they won’t take a big giant huge step forward eventually. Realistically this year. Its inevitable, and unfortunately Mactavish seems to be making some intelligent hockey moves…

      Buffalo appears to be our main competition. Although I do think Ottawa is trending good for a complete tank job. Remember a few years ago when we were using them as an example of a quick ‘retool on the fly’ in order to avoid the nuclear rebuild ala Oilers… Oh those were the days.


  • Skuehler

    So, how do you justify strong arm tactics with Byron who was a total buy-in of Coaches philosophy and contributed here last year, also raised his level of play up a whole other notch – then you tell him we don’t really need you, if you’re luckily we’ll offer you minimum wage and you have a chance to come back on our terms. For one year. Then you sign Engellend who hasn’t done a thing for our team and reward him with a huge overpayment just to bribe him to show up here and help us reach the floor please. Also, that photo at the top is just disrespectful to Bysie, makes him look like a joke. Yes, welcome back Byron – we really want you here, you’re an important part of our team. What, Can’t you feel the love??

    • T&A4Flames

      I thought the picture was both amusing and appropriate. It covers the spectrum of both Mighty Mouse and lord Byron. Both have become terms of affection for this player by fans and teammates.

  • Correction! I saw yesterday that it is indeed a 1-way deal.

    The only thing we should be wary about Byron is his underlying numbers spiked when he started playing a lot with Mikael Backlund. Backlund’s a bus driver so that’s going to happen, but it means we can’t be too sure about to what degree Byron was the master of his own fate or not.

    • beloch

      47 games isn’t a great sample size either. To be fair though, few players were driven by Backlund as well as Byron was. The Flames did the right thing by giving him a bridge contract. The team probably spends more on dry-cleaning than this contract is worth.

      • loudogYYC

        I’m pretty sure Byron lost all arbitration rights when the Flames didn’t qualify him. Now he’s signed to a one-way $600K deal that’ll allow him to prove he’s worth more next season with the Flames or elsewhere.

        I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the plan the whole time. Flames remain flexible with a fringe player while still giving him a chance to up his value for future contracts. Hartley seems to like Byron so I’m sure he’ll stick with the big club next season.

      • However if one uses advance stats, standard stats, and the eye test one can come away with 1/2 of an NHL season and now he must prove that this was who he is at the NHL level. With his signing it leaves the big club with following proven NHL vets at forward; Hudler, Glenx, Backs, Raymond, Stajan, DJones(coming off a disappointing season), Bollig and McG, that is 8 veteran forwards. 4 emerging NHLers in Monahan, Bouma, Colborne and now Byron. With the following: Johnny, Granlund, Sven, Knight,and Rhino pushing for NHL employment and the a whole host of others behind this group the forward ranks look good moving forward.(Poirier, Ferland, Arnold, Agostino, Wolfe, VanB)

        Unfortunately the back end does not to seem as deep or as ready for the NHL although we know that defenders usually take longer to get NHL ready. We have a solid top pairing in Gio and TJB but then it drops off significantly. Wides and and Russell are 4/5’s and Smid and Eng’s are 6/7’s with only Spoon really pushing for an NHL position and he would be better served playing as a top shutdown in the AHL than as 6/7 playing on occasion in the NHL. After that the jury is out on the rest of the prospects for different reasons. There is potential there but it will take longer to emerge.

        We have two NHL goalies signed, a third in the AHL who seems ready to push for the position in the NHL and what appears to be two young guys playing in the NCAA and the CHL who may be the future between the pipes.

        Has anyone been at the development camp with any insights?

        • beloch

          It’s important to bear in mind that last season was very disappointing for both Wideman and Smid. Wideman started off strong, but wasn’t the same after his injury. Smid’s level of play fell off a cliff compared to where it was the season before, and that’s not something that should happen at his age. Both of these players could rebound. Wideman, in particular, could be a solid second pairing defender.

          I’ve said before that the Flames should acquire another second pairing defender this summer. Engelland isn’t precisely what I had in mind. The notion that the Oilers managed to snag Fayne for just $0.7M/yr more is going to bug me for a very long time! He would have been a great addition. There’s still time enough to work another trade before the new season begins though. Here’s hoping! (Specifically: Here’s hoping some GM loves Engelland a whole lot more than Treliving apparently does!)

          Goaltending is probably the single aspect of the Flames that has improved the most since this time last year. Then, the Flames had MacBackup and two NHL newbies. Ramo and Berra both struggled mightily for the first half of the season. Even though Ramo eventually improved and assumed the starter’s mantle, the Flames received the third worst goaltending in the league. Next season, the goaltending should be league average or better. Had the Flames received league average goal-tending last season, it would have reduced the Flames goals against by around 30, which would have brought them to well above league average in that stat.

          The changes in net alone basically guarantee that, barring a highly improbable lottery win, the Flames will not be in on the Connor McDavid sweepstakes. Those who are hoping for another top 5 pick should probably start getting used the idea that it won’t happen next season.

          • beloch

            You should do a comparison of the Flames roster with the other Western conference opponents? If you do you will see that we are definitely in the Connor Mc David sweepstakes. Jonas Hillier is not the second coming of Kiprosoff! Neither is Ramo for that matter.The defense is awful and we have many players that need to develop.

            I say we are very serious contenders for 1st overall!

          • mattyc

            The Flames surprised some teams last year with their work ethic. They won’t do that this year. If their opponent amps up their own work ethic, I don’t see the Flames being a lot better.

            I was at the Chicago game last year when the Hawks stopped playing tidily winks on the bench and woke up for the third and put the Flames down. There is still a really big difference between the Flames and even the bottom tier playoff teams.

            And..and…I just hope you are wrong about being out of the sweepstakes.

          • T&A4Flames

            Not to be a downer, dude, but it takes more than goaltending to win lots of games. We will be in the sweepstakes for McD. We will likely finish lower than last year. All of NYI, FLA, BUF and even (gulp) the Oilers improved. We lost a 30 goal scorer for nothing and didn’t really replace him. We added toughness and some speed. Raymond scored 20 in 82 games on a team that completely disregarded defence. Teams won’t take us lightly from the start of the season either.

            I’ll be cheering for wins but will be shocked if we finish higher than 5th.

          • Skuehler

            We did indeed lose Cammi but I believe we will replace his goals not from anyone player but from the combination of Johnny, Granlund and Sven as I believe that all three of these guys will play at some time in the NHL and that whenever one of them goes into a Cammi slump or get injured they will be replaced by whomever is playing well in the AHL. I think all three of the above mentioned will score more than 10 in the NHL this year and all have the potential to be 20 plus goal scorers in the future.

          • mattyc

            Agree our roster is of AHL quality right now, with only 3 proven NHL veteran forwards…Glenx, Stajan, and Hudler. Given his play in the last half year I’d also throw Backlund & Bouma into the “proven” category.

            From my perspective this year needs to be focused on developing the young guns so can assume full-time duties starting 2015-16.

            From my vantage point the highest development priority, excluding 2014 new draftees, should be given to the following:

            Group 1 (Top 6 potential) – Monahan, Baertschi, Gaudreau, Poirier.

            Group 2 (Top 9 potential) – Granlund, Colborne, Klimchuk, Arnold

            Group 3 (Bottom 6 & special skills/attributes) – Knight, Ferland, Agostino, Reinhart, Wolf, Van Brabant

            Not available yet – Jankowski, Harrison, 2014 picks.

            My evaluation of success this year will not be points and team standings (although 29 or 30 would be great) will be how many competent NHLers did we develop along with the team culture and spirit factors that were admired greatly this past year.

          • T&A4Flames

            If I’m reading this right, you’re expecting each of these guys to play at various points of the season but not all season. If so, expecting 10 goals out of each over, say, 25 games each is a little lofty don’t you think? If any one of them played 82 games and scored 18-20 I would be pretty stoked. 3rookies splitting time and potting a collective 30 seems unreasonable to me.

            Some of the production lost on Cammi will be made up else where, I have no doubt, but I doubt all of it as well as his leadership and ability to score at key times. Also, do you expect similar production out of Hudler and Gio? Not improbable but any drop off from with would hurt. Monahan as well.

            We have another down year coming and as long as the team shows the same hard work and tenacity they did last season I am just fine with it. Fact is, we need another high pick or 2. Maybe we don’t get McDavid or Eichel or even Hannifin, but we need another 1 or 2 top 5 picks to be able to carry this thing forward long term.

          • mattyc

            I agree if you think they will only play 25-27 each but I suspect there will likely be two of them up much of the season and suspect they will all with injuries; play closer to between 35-55 games each and if I’m right this should be attainable for each of them. The thing which will be hard to replace will be his presence in the locker room but with Gio, Hudler, Glenx,Stajan and McG around it will be okay. I don’t expect them to be world betters and said a long time ago this team might regress this year if it takes the proper approach to playing it’s prospects and it’s vets. I suapect Gio’s numbers may be down but Hudler’s will likely be around the same and I’m hoping for a bounce back from Glenx and DJones. I also expect to see some growth in Backs and Boums’a numbers. Like everyone else I’m speculating but I have high long term hopes for our young guys but I don’t want to have crazy expectations for them this year.

          • seve927

            It doesn’t really matter whether the Leafs disregarded defence or not. Goals are the result of shots. The Leafs took 1745 shots while the Flames took 1730. 25th and 26th in the league. His personal SH% was below his career average.

            The only stat that may have significance is his 6 power play goals. He led the Leafs in PP Shooting %. I’d say his 11 even strength goals are a good bet to be replicated. I think he’ll see some power play time, as well as some penalty kill. He’ll probably score between at least 15 and could get into the low 20’s with some luck.

          • SmellOfVictory

            Don’t know that we can count out a bottom 5 finish just yet. Hiller is certainly an upgrade over Berra, but he’s not top end anymore; and the Flames lost one of their best forwards in Cammalleri, who is being replaced by Raymond (roughly half the player Cammalleri is, although still useful).

            In addition to this, almost every other team got better. Florida added Bolland and will have Luongo for a full year; they’re also a team with a lot of guys on the cusp of their prime years. Edmonton added Fayne, Pouliot, and Purcell, all of whom are solid supporting additions. NYI added 2/3 of a 2nd line with Grabovski and Kulemin, and Vancouver bolstered their goaltending and replaced Kesler’s loss with a reasonably good player in Vrbata.

            Of the bottom 6 teams from this season, the only one that improved as little as Calgary was Buffalo, and I think Calgary is as good a bet to finish bottom 5 as anyone, in spite of the fact that they have a small core of very good possession players.

          • Jeff Lebowski

            I am totally aware of the Wides injury and at the start of the season he was a 2/3 defender but by the end he was a 4/5 at best. I hope he returns to form. Smid did have a bad go of it ere but I’m not convinced he will return to a 3/4 or even 4/5 form. I was hoping that the Flames would acquire a 3/4 defender via free agency this year and another one next year. The only option now seems to trade for someone but the question is who and what would be the cost? Which combination of prospects would you be prepared to move to a team which is flush with defenders?

  • RedMan

    I have heard some say that Burke is currently balancing out the skill (drafted by Feaster) which has mostly been smallish by NHL standards with size.


    Something to consider: FEASTER came in and had to balance out SUTTER’s drafting… right?

    Drafting theories:

    ** Sutter: Size, Character, Leadership, skill

    ** Feaster: Hockey-IQ, skill, speed, character

    ** Burke: Size, truculence, Skill, Hockey IQ

    OK, i don’t have links to prove any of these philosophies – just my observations.

    in your opinion, am i correct on judging these GM’s priorities?

    PS – i would love to hear the respective GM/s reactions if they read something like this about them – would they agree? doubt it… except maybe feaster who was pretty open about his philosophy

    • Jeff Lebowski

      I think there’s something to that. What was left over? Some good but a lot of clunkers.

      Feaster said no one is calling him about clunkers. Even small guys get asked about because there is real value in skill. You can get something you need in return for it.

      So his first draft he just wanted to flood the pool with skill. Doesn’t matter how big just get skill. Some will stick, some won’t. He drafted all ‘small skill guys’ Sven, Granlund, Wotherspoon, Gaudreau, Brossoit – would we throw any of them back? ANY? Button was like, you take BPA and then when your pool grows you pick and choose.

      But what’s the hardest thing to do? Score. So he focussed on skills.

      Subsequent drafts, it still was hockey IQ first but they weren’t all small. Jankowski, Seiloff. Jankowski a risk? A waste? Maybe but it was a bet on skill – what you need- what is valuable to other teams. Burke covets what is abundant. Grit is everywhere. Burke is like lets sell sand at the beach.

      Then Monahan class. Anyone small? Klimchuck?

      So maybe BT is like we got all this skill lets get more grit. That is a comment I made draft day. Weak draft, weak FA double down on grit. It’s on the interwebs, I said it early.

      But what has Burke done everywhere he’s gone? What will he do here.

      I want everything Flames to work out. That means BT. I like him. I know he isn’t a dinosaur.

    • Jeff Lebowski

      No i dont think so,

      Enough evidence that current management values other attributes as well.

      Evidence = signing Stajan, offering contract to Byron, Cammalleri, drafting Bennett over Ritchie, we also do have johnny hockey signed.

      • Colin.S

        Stajan was a MUST sign, because if they didn’t and he walked in free agency, look at the centers left in free agency we had to pick from: Could you imagine the Flames center depth without Stajan, we’d get slaughtered up the middle.

        Ofcourse they tried to bring back Cammalleri, he was the Flames best player, you’d have to be the dumbest guy to ever GM if you didn’t try to bring back the teams best player.

        We wouldn’t have Gaudreau signed if we never drafted him and we would have never drafted him if Burke was the GM/President at that time. And that pick may be the gift that keeps giving if we sign Hayes when he’s a UFA in August.

        And drafting Bennett over Ritchie is a no brainer, they both would have been fired one or two years from now if they didn’t pick him. Burke loves truculence and big guys, but he’s also not a complete moron either. If you look at Burkes drafts when he was GMs of Toronto/Anaheim/Vancouver, he knew skill when he saw it, in the first round at least, don’t look past the first round, because if you do, you may just lose all hope for anyone we drafted not named Bennett.

        I’ll give BT/BB some credit with Byron, but still a guy who looks like he can get 30-40 points as a depth/role player guy, they would be stupid to not at least offer him a deal. I understand not qualifying him becase it opens him up to arbitration rights, not a bad move, they got a better contract out of it.

    • SmellOfVictory

      Those are their priorities, it seems. I’d add character to Treliving (it’s not fair to him to call Burke the GM; the man is no puppet).

      While Burke/Treliving have stated that this draft was about balancing the size of the skilled guys with some bigger dudes, I don’t think we can say that Feaster was balancing Sutter’s drafting because of the fact that Sutter’s drafting produced almost nobody of NHL calibre outside of Backlund and Brodie (potentially Reinhart/Arnold), who are medium-sized guys. And kind of Bouma, who I like but is basically a good 4th liner.

    • Willi P

      Excellent summation of the situation to this point, with one exception. BT has only had 1 draft and FA Frenzy (not BB as the GM) so I don’t think we have enough data to assume this year’s picking (a balance… But with a focus on size) is his LT view or a correction of an unbalanced situation we got ourselves into.

      Personally I like the thought someone mentioned in an earlier post that this was the year to bring in size (less talented and deep draft overall, plus too early to make a big push), allowing a strong focus on top-end skill and no goalies next year in one of the deepest and strongest classes in a decade.

      We won’t know for sure till a year from now. Meanwhile I believe we’re well set up to continue growth in all the kids, strengthen our work ethic and set the stage for the kids’ emergence in 2015-2016.

  • Graham

    ‘many of us were disappointed that Paul Byron was not among those given offers by the Flames. That mistake has been rectified.’

    Not giving Bryon an offer wasn’t a mistake, it was a prudent hockey decision. Bryon had arbitration rights, and could have turned his second half performance into a much larger contract. Score a point for management

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    The lack of coverage on the development camp is not cool. The only job FlamesNation has is to cover the Flames. We’re still reading development camp comments on Byron’s resigning thead.

  • Rockmorton65

    To everyone who has criticized Burke/Treliving – saying what have they done so far? My response is, what HAVEN’T they done?

    They haven’t acquired a high end D prospect

    a)Its well known they tried to trade up to get Ekblad. If the rumors are true that Florida turned down the Van offer of Tanev/Shinkaruk/8th, I’m glad we didn’t make that move – the Flames equivalent would have been Poirier/Brodie/Bennett for Ekblad? BB/BT had the guts to not overpay for something we deeply need – win.

    b)they also tried to acquire the 7th and 12th picks – You have to assume the price for 7th, again, was too high – Even though Fleury was still available. They even had a deal for 12, but Ribiero wouldn’t waive. Not overpaying – again – win.

    They didnt improve the team in free agency? They did. They solidified our goaltending until Ortio/Gilles prove they are ready. They added depth on RW with Raymond. What they DIDNT do was panic and sign Niskanen or Orpik type deals. I dont think the Flames are done just yet, either. They have holes on defence, and 12 forwards on one ways. I feel a trade or two is coming.

    I think our “prospect” pool is about to explode. Right now, we have Monahan, Brodie, Backlund, Bennett, Gaudreau, Baertchi, Poirier, Seiloff, Wotherspoon, Klimchuk, Ortio, Gillies, Knight, Reinhart, Bouma, Jankowski and Colborne. That’s 17 top players/prospects under 24 – 10 of which have taken a regular shift in the NHL. If only half of those 17 become quality NHLers, we’re laughing. Not to mention, that sadly, we will probably add another top ten pick this year.

    The Raymonds, Hudlers and Engellands are just placeholders. The appetizers, if you will, until the meal is ready. While the kids are “cooking”, the team seems to be experimenting with the bottom half of the lineup. If it works, you know who you’ve got. If it doesnt, no harm, no foul.

    I think its beautiful that the Flames only have 1 player signed beyond the next 3 years. I think that’s why we missed out on some FA’s – Treliving isn’t interested in signing someone beyond that time to give us maximum amount of flexibility moving forward.

    Im not ready to be a cheerleader for the new Flames management configuration, but I think the bashing is unwarranted.

  • Victoria Flames Fan

    Obviously a fool’s game but what do you see as a potential starting lineup in Oct (barring no further trades / signings)?

    GlenX – Backlund – Hudler
    Raymond – Stajan – Colborne
    Gaudreau – Monahan – Byron / Jones?
    Bollig – Bouma – McGrattan

    Smid- Russell
    Wideman-Engelland / Wotherspoon


    • Rockmorton65









      • T&A4Flames

        To me that 4th line seems set, and I actually don’t mind it at all so long as Bollig is the possession guy he is made out to be. I would think the vets may get spread out a bit but I’ve certainly entertained the idea of GlenX, Stajan and Hudler as a line as well. I think, assuming Wideman is back to good health, he’ll pair up again with Russell and Smid/Engelland will pair up as the defensive duo with Wotherspoon getting time in with either of them to build on his skills and knowledge.

        • mattyc

          re 4th line

          mixing in some size and rolling all 4 lines could see:

          McG would be the 13th man most of the time…with Bollig in the lineup the need for McG is lessened depending on the team being played.

          re D pairings

          Widemand and Engelland are both righties…Russell-Engelland and Smid-Wideman would mix size with skill for the 2nd & 3rd pairings.

          • RedMan

            I like the idea of playing Gaudreau and Baertschi, but and wondering if the Flames keep Bennett around this year.

            I know, conventional wisdom says to send him back to Jr’s but I really don’t know the current management’s mindset enough to predict what they will do with him.

            My guess is he gets his ten games or whatever it is, and goes back to Jr’s. of course, if he scores scads of goals in those ten games like Monohan did, they will probably keep him up.

          • Avalain

            Personally, I think Bennett goes down unless he absolutely kills it in camp and perhaps the pre season. There’s just no good reason to keep him. They have Gaudreau to use for selling hope and he simply isn’t strong enough yet.

          • mattyc

            I see your stealing my thunder about rolling 4 lines. one big difference I would see is I think Granlund is ahead of Arnold. I also not be surprised to see Bennett start the season here in that spot. Byron and McG would play depending on circumstances. DJones is in the fight for his career and will need to have a bounce back season.

          • mattyc

            Not sure about “your” thunder (lol)…used to love the Habs back 30 years ago roll 4 equitable lines…was a thing of beauty.

            Agree Granlund has shown more than Arnold at end of last season. However Arnold older, should adjust well. I included him instead of Granlund to pair him up with Gaudreau like they were back at BC. However I also envision Arnold or Knight possibly being moved to the right side if I was coaching I would tend to keep Bollig paired with Gaudreau..Bollig can play (better than McG or Westgarth) and what you lose in production you make up for by ensuring the message is one messes with the kid.

          • mattyc

            I only laughingly say stealing my thunder because about ever other week I bring it up and you are right it’s how the great Hab teams became dominate for all those years. For me it’s Granlund because of his season in the AHL, his 7 games here and then the AHL playoffs. He makes other guys better, see Rhino.

            With the 12 vets I think it will be hard to keep all the young guys up but I would keep 2 up and the battle would be between the following: Johnny, Granlund, Sven, Knight, Arnold, Rhino and Ferland.

            On a different topic how did Wolf and van B look at development camp?

          • mattyc

            He’s ‘struggled’ (to put it gently) for a couple years now. He put up back to back 20 goal seasons in 2011 and 2012, and then got new contract and pooped the bed. I just doubt they bury him on the farm.

            EDIT: part of that ‘struggle’ is that he isn’t scoring on 17% of the shots he takes anymore. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before…

          • seve927

            I’m no fan of David Jones, but I don’t think it’s fair to say he’s been ‘lucky’ to have a couple of 20 goal seasons. In his 7 NHL seasons, he’s played 320 games and scored 79 goals. That’s a pace of better than 20 goals over his entire NHL career. If he stays healthy this year, I’d say it’s likely he’s on a 20 goal pace. Hopefully enough to garner a good return on the trade market.

          • seve927

            There’s love for Byron in defined roles…for DJones…not so much. In order to earn love there has to be some level of attraction. Other than being a big (soft) body his performance has been replacement level at best..I wouldn’t be surprised to see him down in Abby this year if he does not improve.

            The priority this year would be to get Granlund, Poirier, Klimchuk, Knight, Agostino, Wolf, Van Brabant, Ferland some games in with the big club this year.

            DJones, Glencross, Hudler…feed them the puck and sell’em high in Feb/March for 2nd & 3rd round picks…we need more slots to rotate the prospects through to speed development and confidence.

  • mattyc

    The priority this year would be to get Granlund, Poirier, Klimchuk, Knight, Agostino, Wolf, Van Brabant, Ferland some games in with the big club this year.

    Geeze, I’m not sure any of those guys see much NHL action this year (maybe Granlund or Knight?).

  • RexLibris

    I wanted to look at the history of Burke and Feaster and their draft history and decided I would compare their history of drafting at the same time, so here is who they drafted in 2011 and 2012 when Burke was GM of the Leafs and Feaster the Flames.

    Burke: 2011: Biggs(22),Percy(25), Leivo (86), Nilsson (100), Camernasesi(130), Broll(152), Roberston(173), Sparks(190) and Everson (203) combined NHL games to date 12. 2012: Reilly(5), Finn (35), Toningloto(126), Brown(156), Rupert(157), Koov (209) total NHL games played 73(all by Reilly)

    Feaster: 2011: Sven(13), Granlund (45), Tspoon (57), Johnny G(104) and Brossoit (164) total NHL games played 73. 2012: Janko(21), Seiloff(42), Gilles (75), Kulak (105), Culkin (124), Gordan (160) and DeBlowe (1860 zero games played in the NHL to date.

    I will let others judge the two years and yes it is far to early to judge but this is the two years compared.

  • mattyc

    Like the Byron signing. No risk, moderate upside. He’s never going to be a top 6 guy, but maybe this year he can show he’s top 9 material consistently.

    Right now, assuming no more moves, it looks like there’s maybe only one spot for Baertschi, Gaudreau, Knight, Reinhart, Granlund. And to get consistent time, they’ll have to outplay Colborne, Byron or Jones.

    Glenx / Backlund / Hudler
    Raymond / Stajan / Jones
    Colborne / Monahan / Byron
    McGrattan / Bouma / Bollig

    My guess would be that Gaudreau is the guy to do it (keep in mind there’s no economic incentive to keep him in the minors – his contract doesn’t slide). Baertschi is another guy who can hopefully stick this year, but I can’t see him staying in a 13th fwd spot (since we’ve been insistent on having a bang/crash/fight 4th line).

    • beloch

      I look at your lines and wonder how you came up with them Glenx and Stajan have chemistry, Hudler had chemistry with Monahan and Colborne, and Backs had chemistry with Byron last year. Personally I hate the idea of not having one of the kids(who ever earns it playing) Also Bouma was better on the wing last year.

      • mattyc

        Wasn’t so much lines as a depth-chart. I’m not sure I buy too much into the idea of chemistry, but I see pretty much any of the top 9 wingers as pretty interchangeable.

        Having said all that, it’s a pretty weak fwd group imo. We have one line of legit top 6 players (Hudler, Backlund, Glencross), and a couple more top 9 players (Monahan, Raymond, Stajan, Jones(?)). Then a bunch of fringe/unproven/replacement level guys. Certainly doesn’t suggest we’re trying to make the playoffs this year.

        • Willi P

          Sorry I read it as lines; even then it is likely that these 12 make the team I would also keep 2 of the kids that earn a position on the roster. I would have Byron, McG and Djones be part of the rotation and allow the kids to play.

    • mattyc

      I should add that I wouldn’t be surprised if Knight/Reinhart are kept as 13th fwds because their game is more in line with what the coaching staff seems to be looking for at the bottom of the lineup…