Five things: Curtis-y flush

1. The Glencross news

As of Monday, everyone on the team save for a few guys has received a new contract, thanks to Joe Colborne getting what appears to be a fairly reasonable two-year deal with a cap hit of $1.275 million. That’s all well and good. Bouma shouldn’t be too hard to re-sign either, and something in the same neighborhood as Colborne’s deal doesn’t seem too far off. Maybe an even $1 million. Neither Mark Cundari nor Joni Ortio strike one as being too difficult to lock down for a year or two either. Doesn’t really matter.

But that means the sands are falling down to the bottom of the hourglass for when we get to a sad time known as The Glencross Renegotiation Period. I wrote a little bit about this for Puck Daddy yesterday but I wanted to expand on it here given the general appetite for Flames news ‘n’ views in the wider hockey world is minimal to non-existent.

It’s not so much that the team can’t use a guy like Glencross or that Glencross is bad at hockey. When I read the news last week that he wanted to re-sign, I thought that was all well and good. But the fact that he’s next on the priorities list for management as soon as RFA negotiations are complete is — and should be — more than a little disconcerting. 

There are multiple reasons for this:

2. His demands

Glencross will be 32 at the expiration of his current contract next summer, meaning that he wants a multiple-year deal which will take him to probably somewhere between his age-34 and 36 seasons. The fact of the matter is that we’ve seen diminishing returns with Glencross on a points-per-game basis over the last three seasons, and he’s also missed 67 games out of 170 over the last three seasons (almost two out of every five).

Therefore, the idea that you’d commit that kind of term, irrespective of other factors, to a player like Glencross is a little disconcerting, is it not? I’d be reticent to sign just about any 32-year-old to a three- or four-year deal, let alone one who isn’t scoring as much as he used to and can’t stay healthy. I never really fault players for being injured — one’s body is only as healthy as it can be — but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the lack of general fitness when weighing whether to extend him.

So that’s one issue. Perhaps the far larger one is Glencross’s insistence that he also wants to get paid more than his current deal. I think we’d all agree that the Flames got pretty decent value for Glencross’s $2.55 million cap hit over the last four seasons, though one must also acknowledge that like seemingly every contract from the Darryl Sutter days, it came with a no-movement clause.

The thing is, that for a 32-year-old Curtis Glencross type, I’d say that $2.6 million or so is about what he should be paid on the open market (even with the cap likely to go up into the $74-75 million range next season), and so his insistence that he won’t take a hometown discount comes off as a bit silly, especially if you expect him to spend some of the season on the IR. And you should. 

If Glencross wants a raise on his current deal — which he seems to and which I don’t blame him for; you gotta make your millions while you can in a profession where you’re likely to be retired by 35, if you’re lucky — but if the Flames are smart (they aren’t) they shouldn’t be the ones to give it to him.

3. What it signals about priorities

This is the thing I talked about the most on Puck Daddy so I’ll keep it brief here.

There are two players the Flames should be concentrating on re-signing to multi-year deals that come with significant raises: Mikael Backlund and TJ Brodie.

Both players are very good and young, integral to the team’s success not only in the next few years, but perhaps even for the next 8-10. That’s without exaggeration. By that time, Glencross will be a distant memory, one of the faceless multitudes of relatively anonymous borderline top-six wings that have filtered in and out of the organization throughout these last several dismal years.

Backlund and Brodie are the future, and the Flames want to continue focusing on the near-past. Glencross, for me anyway, symbolizes the worst impulses of the post-Cup run Calgary Flames: Getting hung up on 40-point guys who “tried hard” instead of “were good,” and who has generally served as a bit of a possession and scoring anchor for most quality players he’s gotten to play with more recently. He will be defended in Calgary because he is occasionally fun to watch, and for the whole “Scoreface” thing, but from a hockey standpoint there’s very little that can be said to defend what he’s brought the last three or four years, and what he’s likely to bring in the future.

By trying to re-sign him to a deal he doesn’t deserve as the first and foremost order of business this summer, that shows where the Flames’ attentions continue to be: In the wrong place. They’re willing to back up a dump truck to overpay Glencross, and maybe that’s the case for Backlund and Brodie too. But if you’re running things rationally, you focus on getting those latter two guys locked down well in advance of re-upping a guy like Glencross, who can be replaced for next to nothing — and almost certainly less than this extension is going to be worth — on the open market. Period.

This is the kind of thinking that leads to contracts like Dan Cleary’s in Detroit. While Glencross clearly has more tread left on the tire than Cleary, and was a more far effective player at their respective career peaks, it’s nonetheless blind loyalty, and perhaps a willingness to see something that’s not there any more, that leads to bad deals like the one Glencross is going to get.

4. So what should the focus be?

If you have a choice between getting Glencross for $3 million, or a kid plus an affordable UFA veteran for the same price, the choice for me is pretty obvious: You tell Glencross thanks for the time with the organization, and for the hometown discount, but take it to the open market July 1 and see where that gets him. 

One issue I’ve heard brought up a little bit here is that if you don’t give Glencross a raise, it’s that much harder to make it to the salary floor again next season. Calgary only has $42.8 million or so committed for next season (before the remaining RFA contracts are sorted out), and so you gotta pay someone. But the raises for Brodie and Backlund should be significant as far as I’m concerned — as a means of locking them down for the next five to eight years — and there’s also the likelihood that this team drafts an elite NHL-ready prospect next summer (god willing, it’s Jack Eichel or Connor McDavid). The cap floor should be somewhere in the $58-59 million range next year, and with extensions for Brodie and Backlund alone, they should be within striking distance of that. Add a few more UFA veterans who can actually help on shorter-term deals than what Glencross wants, take on a soon-to-expire problem contract from elsewhere, and you’re there.

5. And here’s what’ll happen

Glencross re-signs for three years at $3.75 million AAV. It almost immediately doesn’t go well. I’d bet money on that.

  • piscera.infada

    If there’s anyone to blame it’s whoever decided to sign off on the engelland contract. That is telling glencross and Gio they should take no discount. Once you do that the whole structure is crushed before Brodie or Backlund have a chance to even try to sign.

    Hope to go Brodie and Backlund can be locked up at 3.5-4.5 as long as they will humanly take.

    Then you can worry about glencross, who I think makes excellent trade bait.

  • piscera.infada

    Paying Glencross too much makes no sense now but will look even worse a few years from now as he likely will likely want a no trade clause. Let’s see how he performs this season and then give him a reasonable offer. Let him walk like Cammerleri if he wants too much money and/or term.

  • piscera.infada

    Resign him; front load the contract; make sure there’s no NMC; and make him available on the market for a playoff bound team next year with an offer to keep significant salary.

    Helps with the cap next year and maybe the year after, you may get a good asset out of him, he gets a shot at the playoffs (which he will not get here), and you have minimized the damage to your compensation scheme.

    If he insists on a NMC, let him go.

  • FeyWest

    Backs and Brodie should definitely be the focus and I have no doubt they are part of the whole contract talks going on. I just can’t imagine Treliving working on one contract at a time here.Do we really have Treliving’s priority list at hand or is it just speculation with how a media interview was worded?

    Big picture, if it’s not a 2 year contract like Colbornes’ then we should see if will waive his NMC because he doesn’t fit into the grand scheme of things

    • Reidja

      Yeah… I don’t think Lambert has any idea what BTs priority list looks like. Which invalidates all the negativity in the article. Except the part near the end when Lambert alludes to the fact that he hopes God allows us to finish last or second last.

  • Parallex

    Glencross did take a discount last time (when the team at least in theory needed the cap space) so I don’t have any objection to him getting paid now when we don’t… but under no circumstances should he get term. Two years… no more. And no NMC, he can get a (very) limited NTC but nothing that can handcuff the team.

  • Reidja

    Does anyone know the details of Glencross NMC? With the potential we have at wing he should be someone we look to move, he is probably our most valuable trade asset(at least the one I would be prepared to move). As far as I’m concerned NMC clauses should always be sliding and towards the teams favour at or near the end of a contract. Here is an example of what I would like to see and as we have been discussing Backland I will use his name as a example; Backs is signed to a 7 year contact at %4.5 million a year and he wants a NMC; years 1&2 he can’t be traded, year 3 he submits a list of 5 teams he would move to, year 4 it’s 10 teams, year 5 it’s 10 teams he does not want to go to and years 6&7 it’s 5 teams he does not want to go to.

    I like Glenx and the style of hockey he plays and yes he took a hometown discount but he also got his NMC, if we extend him and pay him market value he needs to give up some of that job security.

  • Rockmorton65

    “They’re willing to back a dump truck to pay Glencross”? When did Calgary say that? I’m sure the only reason he takes priority is they want to see what his demands are. If he wants 5+ per year for the next 4-5 years, it’s “thanks for playing, we have some lovely parting gifts for you “. The beauty of doing it this way, is that if he doesn’t want to sign, they can work on trading him right away. Maybe even getting a deal done before the season starts. Treliving strikes me as a guy who doesn’t waste time.

    You see Ryan, it’s not the money that creates a bad contract, its term. Clarkson’s deal with Toronto isn’t bad because he’s making 5+ per, it’s that he’s making that for 7 years. The reason Luongo’s contract was so hard to move wasn’t the AAV,it was that he’s making that for, like, the next decade. Treliving has said that he’s very cautious of handing out term. I say offer him $4 mil per for 2 years. if he agrees, great. If he doesn’t then ask him which other teams he would like to play for

    • FeyWest

      You hit the proverbial nail on the head. Find out what everyone is thinking contract-wise then you prioritize. GlenX is an asset that unless we get a contract sorted has an expiry date of TDL. So, although, Backs and Brodie should be the major contracts to worry about, there’s also priority in GlenX, just for different reasons.

    • Bean-counting cowboy

      I wouldn’t have an issue with that, given the term is good.

      This all comes down to term for me. Glencross is not going to hurt the team if signed for 2 more years. We won’t be having cap trouble in that time frame anyways. For those dollars, why not? If he starts wanting term and higher dollar figures, then you walk away.

      Stempniak took less because his counting stats were bad and with the Rangers he stays in the East and has a chance at a good playoff run. Can’t compare him to closely to Glencross.

      • Southern_Point

        Hmmm, I wonder what Glencross’s counting stats from last year look like? I’m curious as to why you don’t think you can compare them. Both are over 30 left wingers who played most of the season with us. They are insanely comparable. In fact you would be hard pressed to find a better comparison for Glencross.

        • Bean-counting cowboy

          Hmmm, well they go like this:

          Glencross points per game in each of the last 4 seasons; 0.63, 0.65, 0.72, 0.54

          Stempniak past 4 seasons; 0.47, 0.68, 0.46, 0.46

          How about goal scoring you might ask?

          Glencross goals per game last 4 years; 0.32, 0.38, 0.39, 0.30

          Stempniak? – 0.16, 0.19, 0.23, 0.23

          So no, I do not think their counting stats are comparable, which was my whole argument. I certainly do no think they are “insanely comparable” as you suggest. So remind me where my comment was off base again?

  • PrairieStew

    What makes most sense to me is a 3 year deal but that may be complicated by his age at the end. I think there still is the provision of the 35+ contract that effectively can not be bought out. If Glencross wants to sign another deal after this one – he might want to do it as a 34 year old – not at 35 – less risk for the team taking him on. So for the Flames – they could offer him 2 years and I could see $4 million per year. If he wants 3 years – he is probably saying he’s not playing past 35 – if that is the case then $10m total and if he wants a 4th – $11m so 2.75 per year. That gives him a raise – a potential for 4 more years and gives the Flames flexibility to buy him out relatively cheaply if they need or want to in 2 -3 years.

  • PrairieStew

    Remember when the Flames selected Jankowski ahead of Calder candidate Oli Matta? That was great. But that means Calgary has a whole bunch of centres. What would it take for Glencross to come back to the Oilers? Would you make that trade for one of our second tier defensive prospects like Dillon Simpson? I think Klefbom is a bit of an overpay for an aging and injury prone centre. Thoughts? Also, how does everyone feel about Smid? Personally I don’t think he’s worth the money, but a good hockey player. Can’t get the puck out to save his life though.

    • Rockmorton65

      Knock me over with a feather. An Oilers fan who has nothing to add to a hocke conversation.

      And Sparky…You shouldn’t throw stones about draft picks. I’ll take Jankowski over anyone the Oilers have drafted without the first overall pick.

  • Avalain

    I’m perfectly happy paying Glencross extra for the next couple years. As long as we aren’t running into cap problems it would be perfectly fine to use as a sort of thank you for taking a hometown discount last time. I mean, it’s not my money and it can give us some bargaining room to push for hometown discounts from other players.

  • Southern_Point

    Who cares which order they sign the players as long as they sign the players? It is very possible Backlund and Brodie aren’t interested in signing a summer extension as they want a few months to progress before signing.

    Your leaping to Glencross being an organizational priority over Backlund and Brodie. You are leaping to the Flames backing up the money truck. How about you wait until a deal is actually done before you Crap all over the place.

  • RedMan

    I don’t get it:

    fans and teams want players to “give the home town discounts” and otherwise show some commitment and loyalty to the club and city, but then don’t expect the city or club to show ANY loyalty to a player who has done such?

    “OK, you gave us some really good years for less money then you could have made elsewhere, but NOW we have you over the barrel, cause you are post-apex, so now we EXPECT a cheap deal. take it or piss-off!”

    Sorry, calling BS on this nonsense.

    Then you say:

    ____”…If you have a choice between getting Glencross for $3 million, or a kid plus an affordable UFA veteran for the same price, the choice for me is pretty obvious: You tell Glencross thanks for the time…”

    OK… that sounds good – but until you put names to the “KID AND NHL VETERAN” for the same price, it it pie in the sky… PLEASE PROVIDE NAMES

    I’d LOVE to hear what NHL VETERAN & KID will replace what GlenX brings/is/does for the same money… STATS WITH ACTUAL DOLLAR VALUE PLEASE!!!


    • Southern_Point

      Hometown discounts are asked for by teams who lack proper asset management. If you plan for the future accordingly then a hometown discount never enters the discussion.

      Also it’s not really a hometown discount if he expects us to overpay him on his next contract. If he is going to whine about his own acceptance of a hometown discount then it sounds like it wasn’t really done out of loyalty to anyone. No one forced him to sign his current contract no one is going to force him to sign the next one.

      • Avalain

        Or they are asked for by teams that are making a push for the cup and have enough talent on their roster that it’s hard to pay for all of them at once. I mean, in a perfect world a bunch of our young kids are going to be superstars and will command more money than the cap could allow. Getting a discount in that scenario could be the difference between fitting an all-star team under the cap and having to trade away valuable pieces because we just can’t fit them all.

  • Derzie

    Anything over 5 years is stupid unless the player is young enough and a bona fide superstar. Majority of contracts should be 1,2 or 3 years. Anyone over 30 should never get 3. Guys in the 25/26 range with at least 2 consecutive years of proving to be really good at hockey can get 5 years. With this logic, Glencross = 1 or 2 years, Backlund = 3 years, Brodie = 5 years.

  • Avalain

    The entire premise that flames management is ignoring the negotiations with Brodie and Backlund is speculative garbage. You don’t actually know that, Lambert!

    This whole ‘story’ was initiated by Glencross on Fan960 saying he’d like to get a deal done. Glencross and his agent have contacted the flames about an extension. Full stop. The flames asked him to wait until after the arbitration business with Colborne had been wrapped up and asked for after Aug. 1st… Where in that did you get that flames management is not also working on negotiations with Brodie and Backlund?

    I’m not saying management is or isn’t negotiating with Brodie and Backlund but the assumption is what gets me. It reeks of the narrative Lambert has been pushing for too long now with cherry picking facts and asinine assertions based on no insider knowledge at all. He’s basically just Eric Francis nowadays except at least francis has actual real insider credentials.

    Can we have a Trash button for articles too?

  • Rockmorton65

    I like GlenX as a person, player and goal scorer. However, this has Alex Tanguay written all over it. Don’t give a 32 year old GlenX a 4-5 year deal with NTC which is probably what he wants. If he diminishes next season, then having a depreciating asset is useless. If he has a great season then he would make pretty good trade bait and get some value in return instead of letting him leave on July 1st for nothing. This team was burned in the past by overpaid underachieving veterans. If the Flames really see GlenX as a leader and good for the Flames then I’m all for it. But if he takes nights off, is injured, disappears on the road that’s a major red flag.

  • Avalain

    Has anyone considered Berglund(age26) @3.7×3 and Eller(age25) @3.5×4 as great comparables for Backlund. Theses contracts make a lot more sense that the over 4per that a lot of people are floating here.

  • beloch

    Glencross is probably one of the most likely candidates for a trade deadline move this season. He’s a good player who might be worth a fair bit at the deadline, but the Flames are swimming in young left wingers, a couple of who can be reasonably expected to surpass Glencross this season. If I were Treliving, I’d try to sign him to a contract that would make him easy to trade or just let it sit and trade him before it becomes an issue.

      • Reidja

        Did you watch Backlund at all this year? He forms one of the best Center-Defense-Defense combos in the league. Backlund Gio and Brodie do wonders for the Flames when they’re on the ice together.

        • Reidja

          “Center-Defence-Defence combo”. What are you talking about? Yes I watch the game and unlike you, I understand the game. And please don’t ever include Backlund in any comment using the word “best”. He’s a third line centre miles behind guys like Toews, Crosby and about 50 others. Yes he’s a good young centre but he’s got a long way to go to ever be described as the best at anything.

  • Reidja

    @Austin and those who trashed my comparables thx, and I mean it, it’s good to others perceptions on theses things. I agree on Eller being not as good but Berglund is a good comparable in that he has already shown good production and his deal is only 3 years, so not long term. from the players perspective he could be looking at a big deal when he is 29 or 28 if it where Backlund. Perhaps Backlund at a little over 4 but longer term say 5 years makes excellent sense.

    • Reidja

      That is fair, I just thought you were directly comparing the 3. I still think Backlund is better, but the Berglund/Backlund pay raise makes sense!

      In another note Ortio’s deal is two-way in the first year and one-way in the second year. Looks like there’s a good chance Ortio is on the big team in a couple years. Looking forward to seeing how he progresses this year.

  • Reidja

    @ Lambert

    If you are right then its really just kind of meh…

    3.75 is probably close to the average salary and a 3 year term isn’t all that bad. There are some worse scenarios (4.5 for 4) I could actually see happening. Contracts like the Bolland one mess everything up (smaller cap hit than Gaborik – unreal) Sure Glencross can’t contend that he is actually worth 5.5 but he could use the Bolland deal to bump the Flames up from 3.5 – 4.5 I think. I would prefer that we just do the classy thing and say thanks here is some cash – but keep the term short. 4.5-4.75 for two years and then Monahan gets that money.

    A good move would be to explore trade options but he has a no movement clause and the market isn’t so hot right now. We could offer to keep half his salary and cap-hit – a (potential) 20 goal scorer at 1.25 (Colborne money) could be trade bait for a team like well Boston… Philly.

  • The Last Big Bear

    Lambert, your Puck Daddy article was one of the biggest pieces of complete tripe I’ve ever seen you write, and that’s saying something. I was briefly glad that your same nonsense hadnt been posted here, but alas…

    This is literally nothing more than you making up a story out of thin air. Again.

    The Flames and Glencross are going to discuss an extension. OK.

    But that’s when the Lambert fabrication and hysteria machine kick in, and you somehow twist this into “Glencross is the Flames #1 priority, and they value him more than TJ Brodie, and we should all be super concerned because that means Flames management are clearly incompetent!”

    The whole basis of your post is that Glencross’ extension is the first and foremost priority of the Flames, something you restate several times. It is also something that you literally just made up on the spot.

    Then off you go writing hundreds of words about how we should all be super concerned about this thing you just made up based on absolutely nothing.

    This is right up there with your article detailing the strained workplace environment between Treliving and Burke, people you don’t know, in a workplace where you’ve never worked, with a work-sharing structure you don’t know the details of, based in the fact that they both chose this arrangement despite having other options.

    The Negative Nellie articles are one thing, but when you go on at length railing against something that YOU JUST MADE UP, it’s a whole different level of irritating.

  • Skuehler

    Glencross has to be the most unlucky player on the Flames the past two seasons. I don’t know how you quantify that exactly, but here’s hoping he sorts it out this season. I don’t understand the “let him walk” mentality.

    Also, what exactly makes McDavid NHL ready??