Flames Sign Corey Potter

With just two weeks until the opening of main camp, the Calgary Flames made a minor move, signing defenseman Corey Potter to a one-year, two-way deal.

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Potter, 30, fits a specific role for the franchise, in that he’s 6’3″ and 205 pounds. Oh, and he’s been yo-yoing between the NHL and AHL since he turned pro in 2006, so it’s not like he’ll complain about it. At his age, Potter is what he is – a dependable veteran depth guy. He’s a bigger Derek Smith with slightly less scoring punch.

Potter’s played 123 NHL contests with the Rangers, Penguins, Oilers and Bruins. He’s also played 327 AHL games with the Charlotte Checkers, Hartford Wolf Pack, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Oklahoma City Barons. He played four years of college with the Michigan State Spartans.

He’s big. He’s (probably) cheap. He’ll probably clear waivers if he doesn’t make the NHL club as a #7 defender. He’ll be perfectly content sitting in the press box in Calgary or being a good veteran leader in Adirondack.

This is a very low-risk, pretty smart signing. Financial terms weren’t immediately available, but I cannot fathom this move breaking the bank.

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  • BurningSensation

    I believe this is exactly the signing we were waiting for, a big, veteran D-man who will force the kids on D to beat an NHL player to get to the show.

    Unless it’s a 5x5M$ that is. Then it’s just stupid.

    • RexLibris

      He replaces Wotherspoon – good. Basically he fits in like Setoguchi will for the forwards as a “you must be this tall to go on this ride”.

      He doesn’t really make the Flames’ defense any deeper, he just extends the shallow end of the pool by another foot or two.

      Personally, I think the Flames missed the boat in not signing Taylor Fedun. He’d arguably be more NHL-ready than Wotherspoon and adds youth and potential to a shallow prospect group at just the right age.

  • beloch

    Perfectly fine signing, low risk probably a low reward in regards to point production but I guess he brings some veteran leadership.. He will spend the majority of his time in the AHL and I suspect Wotherspoon will get a call up before he does if he continues to show improvement.

  • beloch

    Potter is a bit of a canary. If a guy like him suits up it’s a sign the team is in trouble. When he plays it means there must be injuries and no good rookies are stepping up to fill in. It’s not a bad thing to have some warm bodies around when needed, but here’s hoping he spends the season in Adirondack!

    • RexLibris

      So if he plays for the Flames why would you say they are in trouble? This is a 27th place team with some promising young talent that needs development time in the AHL. They are also a team that still needs to fill the cupboards with elite talent that will be available in the 2015 draft.

      They will continue to establish a culture of hard work and and strategy of developing young talent smartly. Guys like Potter help you fill a gap until you are able to call some of these young guys up and be set up for success!!

      Here’s hoping he plays and fills that gap!!

        • RexLibris

          It would be.

          But that doesn’t seem likely.

          Coaches generally like defensemen who make smart, safe plays and move the puck quickly and efficiently.

          Potter does that regularly.

          Rookies make mistakes and errors in judgement impact the game more noticeably than forwards.

          The unfortunate fact is that Potter is likely better than any current Flames defensive prospect and maybe as good as one or two of their incumbent roster players, if not slightly better.

          • ChinookArchYYC

            If Potter is such a smart, safe defenseman, why has he been unable to stick with a number of NHL clubs despite his size? I’d rather give the youngsters a chance as well.

          • RexLibris

            Because he doesn’t hit a lot and he struggles to add offense.

            Giving the young players a chance to crack the roster is exactly what signing Potter does.

            Here’s their chance, but they have to beat a career AHL tweener to earn it.

            No harm there.

          • beloch

            Corey Potter is 30 and played 111 of his 123 career NHL games over the last three seasons in Edmonton. He was third pairing in that hot mess and he didn’t make the cut this season. That’s a canary dying in a coal-mine if I ever saw one. If he’s an improvement on Smid or Russel I’ll eat my shorts with a nice chianti and some fava beans.

        • RexLibris

          I would like to see Spoon spend one more year in the minors. He is coming off major shoulder surgery and the development time will not hurt him.

          I have watched Cundari play. He is simply not good enough. That is why St Louis made him available in the Bowmeester trade. He is awful!

  • The Last Big Bear

    In many ways he is the perfect BT signing, big enough and truculent enough for BB, low cost low term, meets the need as either the 7th D on the big club(can play well enough not to totally destroy your team but not well enough to help your team make the playoffs) or he can play for GF and be better than Shane O’b and help the young kids in the AHL. This should allow both Spoon and Sieloff the start of the season to make some progress.

    Still he and Engs were not whom I was hoping for when they signed UFA’s. I had hoped that they would sign a younger UFA who might fit the 3-5 spot and be able to be here for a few years.

    • RexLibris

      Potter has virtually no truculence.

      Jeff Petry plays the body more than Potter.

      In 123 NHL games he had 53 penalty minutes.

      He is a good defenseman as a 6-7. He is passable on the powerplay, but redundant on a team with Wideman, Russell and Giordano.

      All that being said, he a far better blueliner than Engelland, in my opinion.

      Potter can collect the puck, shield it with his body while making a pass to a forward or D-partner, and then get off the ice keeping his shift relatively quiet.

  • beloch

    It will be more depth signings I guess with guys like Engelland, Brookbank and now Potter until the Flames brass are really ready to bring in another top 2 or top 4 d-man via a trade or a UFA signing. Boychuk will be a UFA next season. At some point, the Flames will have to make a decision on the blue line when they think the time is ready to push for the playoffs. As long as they don’t wait too long, the blue-line is an area that has to be seriously addressed at some point. If we have a whole bunch of forwards developing without enough reliable d-men, it’s a waste. The Cup winners may all have mega depth at center but none win without a solid blue-line.

  • Skuehler

    What was wrong with keeping Smithy around?

    What’s with the conveyor belt approach with Sarich, Obrien, Butler, Smid, Engelland, Brookbank, Potter, etc. very similar profiles at fairly high cost with low ceilings and upsides?

    At what point do you realize you’re treading water and divert the investments into a longer term solution?

    If we can afford to acquire a blue chip defender (cap room, desirable trade assets), why wouldn’t we just go out and get one? Surely it’s a good investment.

    • RexLibris

      Not really.

      But the Flames are caught betwixt and between.

      They need to draft high, but don’t want to ice a team that is noticeably worse than other rebuilding teams around the league.

      They don’t want to trade a prospect for a temporary 2nd pairing fix like Boychuk, and the alternative is to find a guy who’ll only block a developing player if he isn’t ready.

      Potter is the perfect fit, although his addition serves as a bellwether for where the Flames defense is at both the NHL and AHL level.

      Rebuilding sucks, but Potter is a smarter move than the Engelland signing, so take solace in that.

      • ChinookArchYYC

        And now your coming around to what I’ve been arguing. The Flames won’t get to 25th overall, because they don’t want to.

        Prediction: Either Gaudreau or Baertschi make the team this year, with the intent of placating fans and season ticket holders this season. 2 – 4 trades of vets on or before trade deadline day.

        • RexLibris

          Unfortunately, no.

          I still think Calgary finishes anywhere from 7th to 5th in the Pacific division, and 5th is almost more likely than 7th, in my opinion.

          They have three key assets that will prevent them from bottoming out the way some other teams East are likely to: a bona fide 1st pairing defense, a strong young 2nd line center, a goalie with a resume that includes “starter”.

          Arizona territory is reasonable, in my opinion. The Coyotes replaced Ribeiro with Gagner, but haven’t really made any other substantive changes. They are still running a pop-gun offense with a strong 1st pairing defense and lesser lights down the order.

          Smith and Dubnyk are the goaltenders and I don’t think Hiller and Ramo are all that different in terms of general quality and expectation.

          My prediction is the Flames draft anywhere from 4th to 9th overall, lottery notwithstanding.

          • RexLibris

            If 5th is more likely than 7th and it is clear you think we are in the same ball park as the coyotes which teams would finish below us?

            For me for us to do this it will mean that some of our prospects bypass some of the vets and show that they are what many of us hope they are. That Johnny becomes a real Calder candiate, that Sven can become a soild 2 way LW with an offensive upside just to name two. This needs to happen before the trade deadline.

          • RexLibris

            I think Setoguchi, Raymond and Hiller help to float the Flames ahead of Vancouver and Phoenix.

            The Canucks are investing in Miller who I think is more likely to struggle than Hiller will playing with Giordano and Brodie in front of him.

            Hudler is a better offensive weapon than anything the Coyotes have and the Flames have enough supporting forwards that they could add a dozen goals each and accomplish scoring by committee.

            Throw in Nashville and Winnipeg in the WC, Buffalo, Ottawa, Washington, Carolina, the Islanders and Florida in the EC and the standings get crowded quickly.

            The Flames don’t need Gaudreau to come in and try to save the day. I think it is unreasonable to expect Baertschi to come in and show a complete game at the beginning of the season, but probably shows some improvement depending on how he is deployed.

            As for the trade deadline, the Flames have two obvious candidates this year in Glencross and Setoguchi.

            Consider this: subtracting teams expected to bottom out, if one or two others struggle and are clearly out of the playoff picture by February, how likely are they to flood the market with expiring UFAs in order to add picks and try to tank in order to improve their chances at McDavid/Eichel?

            The trade deadline may not be this season what it has in past years.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    This makes sense. The defensive prospects on the farm might have ability but they are still physically developing.

    It’s why guys like Potter or, if we still had him, Chris Butler are valuable. They have had enough summers of working out and are therefore superior in conditioning and muscular development.

    D get hammered on forechecks. It takes it’s toll why risk a 20-22 yo career progression by playing him 3rd pairing minutes vs opposing 3-4 liners (usually the big meanies).

    Add on top the lengthy apprenticeship for D in general and this move makes a ton of sense. Plus he can hide 29’s warts in a platoon.

    I expect a lot of platooning with the increased advanced stat integration. Another example is the goaltending.

    Platoons can be cheap ways to have the whole greater than parts if you get my drift.

    If this is true, then BT is winning me over again.

    • Derzie

      Curious who is trashing this. Do you really believe Potter is of any real value to this team? You do know tickets cost an arm & a leg right? So no value to the fans. You know he was too terrible for Shelbyville right? So not good at hockey. Take off the rose colored glasses. Garbage signing, garbage management, last place cap spenders. All this is nothing but pure tank mode. Cant be argued against rationally.Teams properly planning a winning future don’t consider Potter, Brookbank, Engelland, McGrattan, etc, to be actual hockey players. There is 1 of 2 options in play here: tank mode OR terrible management. The jury is out but I’ll hope for tank mode because nothing else makes sense.

      • ChinookArchYYC

        Derzie: I have come to the conclusion that people get trashed for the following reasons: 1. you mention the trash button, 2. Some people have decided they just don’t like your comments and actually trash you as soon as they see your name, 3. You actually have an opinion that they disagree with but can’t articulate their reasons and 4 . They trash you and then write their reasons and then you can carry on a valued debate. The only group I care about are those who actually have something to actually say. If you worry about the others then you will stop reading and writing or start drinking to much from the Koolaid.

      • MattyFranchise

        It must be garbage management. I mean, what’s the point of signing Potter to a glorified AHL deal?

        Brookbank isn’t signed yet, he’s on a try out. Plus he has a Stanley Cup ring. Also, heaven forbid the minor league D men like Wotherspoon have some actual competition in the preseason.

        McGrattan is near the end of his career and is a) a fan favorite and b) an excellent mentor for Monahan. They were pretty much best friends by the end of the season.

        No argument on Engelland, that one doesn’t make sense to me.

        Besides, what does it really matter? If everything goes absolutely perfectly this season the Flames are at best a 20th place team.

        • Derzie

          What worries me is the logic. I know we are not winning anything for 3-5 years but when moves are on the wtf or bonehead side of the logic ledger I wonder when and if we start making moves on the positive side of the logic ledger. For now I’ll just accept that this team has a great work ethic, some nice future pieces and some woeful spare parts.

  • cunning_linguist

    Anybody who complains that Potter isn’t the best available, or that Engelland isn’t very good, or that we should have gotten certain players like Fayne and Stralman who drive possession are clearly missing the point here. BT is not trying to make this club better for next season, you have to see that. That’s why he’s signing all these crappy veterans to short term deals. It’s pointless for us to compare players and say “this guy is better, we should get him instead”. Aside from the upgrade in goal, BT is doing everything in his power to position this team for a top draft pick without the league being able to accuse him of actively tanking. He’s filling the spots that our rookies could have taken, because unlike the Oilers rebuild, he’s smart enough to isolate our kids from #LosingCulture.

    None of these moves are guys that are here to stay, none of these moves need to be disected in terms of “what value does he bring to the team.” They’re warm bodies that fill the spaces and don’t get you wins. This isn’t reflective of team building, or GM architecture. Even the arguments of “the Flames liked him because he’s big and truculent” or “the Derek Engelland signing is so dumb, why would we pay him that much, he’s not going to help us win!”….all these points, while perhaps true, are entirely moot. The Flames aren’t trying to build a contender with these players, they aren’t trying to bring in players that will help us win. They are bringing in bodies that will try hard, seem good enough that we can’t be accused of tanking but not actually make us win games when we really shouldn’t (see Cammalleri, Mike). The only spot where we’ve been improved is in goal and that’s simply to keep games close, despite the fact that we will be grotesquely outshot and out chanced. Again, an attempt to mask that we are tanking it. I for one am stoked. This time next year, we could be talking about Jack Eichel or Noah Hanifin in our fold (I’m not getting my hopes up for McDavid as the maximum probability of getting 1st overall is basically the product of our chance of finishing dead last times the 20% odds of winning the lottery for the 30th place team.)

    • ChinookArchYYC

      Full marks. I’ll go a little further and add that it appears that the goal is to finish 15th in the west this season. This team will have a very tough job ahead of them, given the quality of competition in their conference. I expect 15th in the west will translate to a 28th overall or worst finish.
      While the Flames will be better than at least 4 teams in the eastern conference, those eastern conference teams will have the benefit of playing each other and therefore should pick up more points. A good comparison might be what is happening in the CFL this season. Teams in the east will begin racking up points now that the schedule will provide in-conference games, and they don’t have to play the west for a while.

      Now with most of the moves being more or less set, we can surmise what Treliving’s comments about the Engelland signing really meant. He wasn’t disappointed in the player , just the term. It’s the only signing during his tenure that will tie his hands in the long-ish run, meaning he won’t be able to trade him or drop him easily.

    • RexLibris

      So you are saying that this BT/BB plan yet BB has said that he would like to get back in the picture sooner than later. If it’s the plan then why 3 years for Eng’s, the term bothers me more than the money. Last years poor season was not one of a losers culture. Yes they lost more than they won but how many games did the act like losers? Not many. The vets that we have coming back from last year with the addition of Bollig and Raymond would have been sufficient to prevent us from being the OIlers of the last several seasons and still not be talented enough to be out of the lottery conversation. If this is BT/BB plan then we could be bad for even longer than the Oilers.

      • RexLibris

        I don’t think the Flames will be “bad” for an extended period of time. But this is highly dependent on how you define “bad”.

        If it means bottom five in the league, then no.

        Missing the playoffs, probably.

        • RexLibris

          Rex; you have avoided answering my question(are you running for office?) If you think the Flames could finish as high as 5th in the conference which teams would likely finish below them in your opinion.?

          • RexLibris

            Sorry, I thought I had.

            In the Pacific, I think the Coyotes and Canucks could finish below the Flames.

            I mean, honestly, so could the Oilers because history suggests expecting them to turn north based solely on development is foolish.

            I think they do improve and finish 4th in the division, but I’d never bet anything more than a cup of coffee on it.

      • RexLibris

        Not really, most of these guys are 1 year contracts, so likely won’t be here next year unless they impress. Difficulty will be getting a good NHL read on multiple prospects and getting a bunch into the line-up next year.

    • T&A4Flames

      Couldn’t agree more. Excellent post. I believe these players, Hiller, Raymond and even Englland were brought primarily to maintain the hard work ethic that not only gave us fans excitement and pride but gave the hockey world a boot in the pants. Feaster started the culture and BT adopted it. The Flames of last year and moving forward, will keep fans interested and excited despite losing many games. And all the kids that will likely continue to cycle through will be surrounded by that work ethic. That will carry this new culture for a decade and hopefully more.

    • RexLibris

      Do people really believe this argument? Sven and Johnny making the team along with Wotherspoon as the 6 D are not going to make the team a lot better than they are right now. Rookie mistakes, and all that. At least there would be some sort of natural progression of prospects onto the team. I still have difficulty trying to figure out how the team is going to fit so many rookies in next year.

      There seems to be a both sides of the mouth argument here. The team is supposed to bottom out with crappy vets, but we need a winning culture in instilled. So how does that happen by intentionally tanking and then bringing in about a dozen rookies next season? Are all of our rookies supposed to come in next season and have Gustavo Nyqvist seasons all at the same time, plus, oh, here’s McDavid too, so let’s rejoice?

      It’s still a rebuild, yo. The whole point is to have some architecture in place.

      Besides, you said it yourself, the goaltending has improved and that will be the biggest difference in terms of wins/losses right there. Also, don’t forget that the team tried desperately to re-sign Cammalleri, or was that all a PR stunt?

      Sorry, but I have trouble believing that this all some sort of master plan to essentially tank. I don’t think it’s in Treliving’s or Burke’s DNA to do that, anyways.

      I guess just need someone to explain to me how Sven, Johnny and Wotherspoon, for example, instead of Engelland, Setogucchi and Raymond is:

      A) A worse development plan and;

      B) Would significantly result in more wins for the team, thus ruining our chances for a top 3 pick at the 2015 draft.

      I was all for giving the kids plenty of development time, while only bringing up a few of them a year, avoiding what the Oilers did, making sure they’re still surrounded by plenty of hard working vets to shelter them and drive competition until the kids started becoming vets themselves. This plan to bring in no kids at all though, in the midst of a rebuild, is baffling.

      I guess I’ll wait for the big trades to happen.

      • Jeff Lebowski

        No, I don’t buy the argument because it makes no sense.

        To wit:

        ” because unlike the Oilers rebuild, he’s smart enough to isolate our kids from #LosingCulture.

        None of these moves are guys that are here to stay, none of these moves need to be disected in terms of “what value does he bring to the team.” They’re warm bodies that fill the spaces and don’t get you wins.”

        To recap:

        Avoid losing culture by purchasing warm bodies that don’t get you wins.

        Now, the assumption appears to be that it is all timing. These contracts will expire and then miraculously the entire AHL team (or prime first round picks) will be ready for promotion at exactly the same time (same time as expiring warm body contracts and exactly same time as other prospects).

        How ideal.

        • RexLibris

          Exactly, and better said too. The whole premise seems very contradictory. Shelter rookies in a rebuild who aren’t even on the team with loser warm bodies on short term deals before getting rid of them all and flooding the team with too many rookies.

          The only way it makes sense, and I’m trying to keep a open mind, is if the vets are essentially auditioning for their own jobs. The team keeps the hardest working, team-first type vets and then makes two or three quick trades getting rid of the worst of the bunch in order to bring in rookies who are the best rookies from the AHL. So, the best of Adirondack replace the worst of Calgary after a couple of months of auditioning in their respective leagues. Or, so I hope.

          • Jeff Lebowski

            The irony in this should be self evident. It is exactly the plan the coilers used.

            Instead of having 1-2 young players per year push out vets (who play to win and thereby encourage a win mentality which spurs positive internal competition) you tactically choose losing in order for a favourable poker chip, which you immediately ruin by heaping the glory of an entire franchise and fanbase expectation on them because you expect them to be good in NHL because you think they are destined. So when the kids come up you say: ok be good now. we’ve been patient now entertain us! Recall the coil kept Horcoff, Hemsky, Smyth et al. Instead of utilizing these guys coil nation only fixated on Eberle toe drags and couldn’t wait for playoff glory…… still waiting.

            So in a sense you can see how the coilers got it wrong. A team can easily slip into prolonged doldrums when the decision making is this terrible. It’s hard not to be romantic about fantasy.

    • RexLibris

      Then how do you explain the forward additions? If the plan is to add really bad warm bodies to prevent the team from having to play rookies, how do Mason Raymond and Devin Setoguchi fit into that? Forward is the position where the Flames have several prospects who could spend long periods of time in the NHL (Baertschi, Reinhart, Knight, Granlund, Gaudreau, maybe Poirier could all have spent time but not whole seasons unless they were ready) and yet they plugged the only holes in the roster with more mediocre wingers. The only thing the team didn’t lack in the first place.

      Oh, and they did in fact try to re-sign Cammalleri as well. How does that fit your narrative?

      If it’s to create competition at a position where there was not already competition, well okay, but there was already going to be plenty of competition at forward. Yet they added more, and not through bad players but fully decent ones.

      • RexLibris

        Well I agree, seems like the only development plan is AHL and injury call-ups. Doesn’t really seem like an open competition. I suppose if prospects do great and beat out a vet, and the vet needs to get waived/traded quick, we’ll either lose them for nothing, get some picks or perhaps get them waived and end up burying the salaries for guys that aren’t performing. Great.

  • RexLibris

    Engelland was signed for 3 years because BT knows we’ll have trouble getting to the cap floor for a few years, especially if we are trading vets away. We’re going to have a lot of young players on tiny contracts for a few years so we need some overpaid guys that are good in the room and don’t mind sitting in the pressbox.

    • RexLibris

      You could always find others who would like to be paid to sit if you need to get to the floor, this is a red herring argument. TJB and Backs raises will more than help us clear the floor.

      • Parallex

        ummm no, they won’t actually. We going to be paying them 7 mill/year? If we trade away any of our vets we’ll be hurting in the cap department big time. If you trade out vets who are making 2-3-4-5 million per year and replace that with a few guys making $900k it’s going to be pretty tough to make that up with two mid level contracts.

  • King Quong

    I think what it comes down to is the flames had six “nhl” defensemen they needed Seven and regardless of whether spoon is good enough to be a #7 this way he gets #1 minutes in the ahl and if you think he’s ready to play full time in the nhl you’re kidding yourself because unfortunately he’s barely into his 20s and is far from a blue chipper. And he’s the closest to being ready of all our d prospects.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    I also think having three right handed shots (potentially) is of value.

    It makes intuitive sense to me and I guess when Canada insisted of L/R somebody must have looked at zone entries and strong side vs weak side. It was a big deal to them and how they utilized it pretty consistently.

    If you want to play fast (or as fast as you can) it makes sense that it’s easier to make a play on your forehand.

    Obviously not cut and dry but maybe its like a left handed hitter vs right handed pitcher type deal.

    If you go against a certain type of team you go with Potter. If there are known crease infringers you play 29 (or any combinations of the last days FA they picked up).

    Like what if Brodie is even better on his strong side and both he and Gio can play apart at times? Brodie has to start plays on his bh and he usually just skates away but what if he could fire more heads up quick stretch passes?

    Wouldn’t that be good?

  • RealMcHockeyReturns

    It’s all a Master Plan of Brian Burke. Pittsburgh will lose in round 1 to 3 in 2015 playoffs, realize they cannot keep Sidney and Malkin and voila, it’s Monahan (who scores just 46 points in 78 games), Granlund (20 points in 38 NHL games and 34 in 37 AHL games) and our first rounder in 2016 (not 2015) to Penguins for Malkin…you heard it here first!