Random Thoughts – Calgary’s Cautious Summer

random-thoughts

The long summer is finally at an end and aside from hiring a new GM, the Flames had a relatively quiet off-season. They made some nominal additions via free agency, eschewed the trade market and weren’t one of the clubs to dive head first into the analytics craze. Probably the best description of the club’s activities is “cautious”, which isn’t a bad thing given where the team is in its new phase of evolution.

– Calgary entered the summer with a lot of cap space, so there was the opportunity to use it to “accelerate the rebuild”. The good news is, Brad Treliving didn’t go big whale hunting in the relatively shallow UFA pool. Although we can condemn the Deryk Engelland contract as a bad one (it is), in reality it remains a relatively minor misstep in the grand scheme of things. The Flames enter the 2014-15 season with a ton of budget space and a minimum of toxic assets, which sets things up nicely for the future.

– As mentioned, Calgary didn’t go out and make any high profile analytics hires like New Jersey, Edmonton or Toronto. That isn’t to say the club hasn’t taken notice of the new stats, just that the new regime is somewhat tentative about integrating them into the organization currently. If things go well in Edmonton and Toronto this year, look for Calgary to start doing a bit more on the numbers side.

– Similarly, the Flames have yet to extend any of their higher profile RFA’s (TJ Brodie, Mikael Backlund) or UFA’s (Curtis Glencross). My guess is Treliving wants some time to personally evaluate the established guys before rushing out and giving them a new long-term deal, which is entirely understandable. That said, I still think the team should sign Brodie and Backlund sooner rather than later if possible.

– We’ve gone into detail on why re-signing Brodie ASAP is a good bet, but not so much on Backlund. Aside form having a career year last season where he scored 18 goals while playing some of the toughest minutes on the team, we’ve also learned that the 25-year old center is the best forward on the club at gaining the offensive zone and the Flames best penalty killer.

I don’t think we’ll ever seen Backlund lead the Flames in scoring, but he frequently leads the forwards in many other meaningful categories. I’m not sure we can say Backlund is a Selke caliber player quite yet, but he has Selke DNA. 

– Curtis Glencross is another matter entirely. The speedy veteran’s results are far more conflicted over the last couple of seasons and, at 32, he’s entering the twilight of his career. Glencross’ agent has been vocal about getting his client a big, new extension this summer but the truth is he represents a significant risk on a long-term deal.

On the good side of ledger, Glencross is an efficient goal scorer at even strength. Over the last 3 years, Glencross is 37th in the NHL amongst regular skaters in terms of goals/60 minutes of ice time at 5on5 (0.987/60). To put that in perspective, he’s ahead of Jeff Carter (0.980), Jarome Iginla (0.937), Marian Hossa (0.928), Taylor Hall (.923) and Patrick Kane (0.875). This rate is propped up by his personal SH% of about 15%, which is one of the higher ratios in the entire league. That seems suspicious, but Glencross has maintained a 0.15 percentage over 800 career shots, so he’s probably just a really good shooter.

The bad news is a player can’t just live off of SH% alone. Glencross’ two-way play has steadily fallen over the last few seasons to the degree that he was a horrendous liability last year whenever he was in the line-up. Calgary managed a corsi rate of just 42.9% with Glencross on the ice last year and a goal ratio of just 37% at even strength. That means the club was grossly outshot and even more grossly outscored.

The other problem is, even if we grant that Glencross has sniper-like efficiency, he’s not really a high volume shooter (62 shots in 38 games last year, for instance) – which means a drop of a percentage or two due to aging or chance would crater his scoring. 

The Flames choices in regards to Glencross are: re-sign the veteran and hope he rebounds and maintains a high level of play as he ages; or try to leverage the asset by trading him at some point this year. Choice one is especially concerning given the fact that Glencross is looking for his “retirement deal” this time around; ie the biggest contract of his career.

At this point, I personally lean towards option number two. My suggestion for the Flames would be to either stick Glencross with a high possession player who can make sure he spends more time in the offensive zone (ie; Backlund), or to shelter him outrageously and play him with other offensive players (Hudler). Either way, the goal should be to goose his numbers so he looks like a shiny object when the trade deadline rolls around. 

– Of course, the decision to trade Glencross hinges on the development of the kids. Right now players and coaches are saying all the right things about trying to make the playoffs, but the more realistic objective of 2014-15 is to suss out which of the forward prospects between 21-24 are true NHLers. That grouping includes Sven Baertschi, Johnny Gaudreau, Markus Granlund, Max Reinhart, Michael Ferland, Bill Arnold, Corban Knight, Lance Bouma and David Wolf. 

That’s a lot of names so Treliving won’t get a definitive read on all the kids, but ideally at least two guys from the above list will establish themselves as NHL options by April. If at least one of them looks like a top-6 option going forward, it makes moving on from Glencross a lot easier.

– Finally, there are still a few clubs in salary cap jail whom the Flames may be able to take advantage of before the season starts. Boston needs to sign both Reilly Smith and Torey Krug and they are already rubbing up against the ceiling. Marc Savards LTIR isn’t enough to re-sign both guys, let alone leave any room for mid-season moves. The Blackhawks are also shopping around guys like Nick Leddy and Kris Versteeg to help ease the pressure. 

Naturally, teams are loathe to part with a quality asset for nothing, which is why the Flames haven’t been able to make one of these kinds of deals yet. With the clock ticking down, however, they have a better chance of either stealing away a useful player (Johnny Boychuk or Nick Leddy) or accepting a salary dump with a prospect or top 60 pick.

  • I await the resolution of the entire GlenX thing with a fair measure of curiosity. Given his camps usage of the “home town discount” descriptive line and reputed Ken King intervention on this current contract… It kind of leaves the Flames org in an awkward spot depending on what sort of understanding is perceived to exist between the parties.

    Obviously these perceived obligations come from an era that did not include either Burke or Treliving and thus the GlenX camp may be SOL…. BUT…. theres that King thing.

    Interesting stuff to watch play out.

  • The Last Big Bear

    Every time it seems that backs is prepared to take a step forward he seems to get injured. Nothing we can do about it, now is the time for one of Bennett, Granlund, Knight or Rhino to seize the opportunity.

    For Danglesipeclly the draft rules for this year have not changed significantly so don’t be too discouraged.

  • T&A4Flames

    Nice read, Kent. Although it feels, somehow, incomplete. That said, I do hope CGY is able to take advantage of their cap space by gaining quality assets on the cheap by the teams you mentioned or others. GlenX has an attractive contract and if a team feels he will have a bounce back season, they may be willing to give up a quality asset along with a salary dump. Despite the try outs of guys like Diaz and Brookbank, we need to add a legit right shooting D prospect that could become a top pairing guy.

  • The Last Big Bear

    I still support the Flames giving Glencross a nice fat and short contract.

    Something like $5.9 x 3 years.

    On the basis of a handshake deal with the club president, he did the Flames a big favor by taking a DEEP pay cut when the team needed the cap space. Now that they don’t need the cap space, it’s time for the team to pay him back.

    I think it sets a great precedent that it you take care of tr Flames, the Flames will take care of you.

    Probably violates the heck out of the CBA, but whatever.

    I like to see the Flames return a bit of loyalty to their players from time to time, and I think that kind of precedent and good faith with the players is worth a lot more than the 2nd/3rd round pick he’ll return at the deadline.

    • I disagree. Glencross had his own motivations for wanting to stay with the Flames that went beyond hockey. At the end of the day the team got what they wanted and so did he. The Flames do not ‘owe’ him anything.

      Also, I disagree on your stated return. If Glencross can stay healthy (granted, a big ‘if’), and return to 30 goal form, there will be a premium for his services at the trade deadline, especially if the Flames take back cap space.

      • Avalain

        No, I don’t believe so. I think that Glencross feels like he took a deal that was less than he could have gotten and that helped the team. Now he feels like he deserves some back when the team has a ton of extra cap room. Perhaps you may see it differently, but I don’t feel that having seasoned vets bad mouthing management in the locker room is going to help anyone.

        • T&A4Flames

          True, but he got something out of it in return – being close to home and not having to switch teams.

          Not sure what you mean in regards to the bad mouthing. Do you mean Glencross? If he were to do that, have that type of personality, then I definitely would not want to keep him, regardless of the size of paycheck he makes.

  • The Last Big Bear

    Bennett should be deployed in whatever way maximizes his development.

    Full stop.

    Notice that I didn’t mention the roster needs of a bottom-feeding NHL team anywhere in that sentence.

    Backlund’s injury should have no bearing on what they do with Bennett. This should change nothing. Other than perhaps actually limiting his opportunity because the team is less able to shelter him properly with their premiere shut-down forward out of the lineup.

    • I disagree that backlund has nothing to do with his development. We want to develop him as a center so we need to play him as a center… Now if he was ready for a 2/3 center role right now and backlund was healthy he’d be sent down. Because we know Monahan isn’t going anywhere, stajan was just resigned and fourth line minutes don’t develop players very well. So yea having an open spot to play in matters.

    • T&A4Flames

      It’s just furthering his try out and giving him a taste of what it takes. That’s not a bad thing for his development. He’s a smart guy and player so getting the 9 games likely helps him prepare over the next couple of years. Those games will also help the coaching staff determine things to suggest he work on. In no way am I suggesting he stays up beyond that.

    • Avalain

      I mean, I agree with you that he should be put in the best position to succeed in the long term. That being said, I think it’s really good for the kids to see exactly what they’re dealing with in the NHL. Remember, we’re talking about a kid who is ranked near the very top in the world for his age category. It can be hard sometimes to see how much further you have to go when you’re looking down at everyone around you. So give him a couple games sometime during the year in the NHL to see exactly what he’s working towards. In this case, Backlund being injured is a good opportunity to slot him in at the 3rd line center role.

  • Burnward

    Calling the off season “cautious” is quite generous. Other than drafting Bennett, BT has been mediocre so far. He has gone out and loaded up on bottom pairing defencemen and 3rd & 4th liners. Quantity over quality isn’t going to get this team out of the basement. Lets hope BT follows some of your sound suggestions going forward.

    • SavardianSpinorama

      Of all the free agents available, who would you have recommended Treliving sign? There was not much out there that would have done the Flames much good, in my opinion.

    • Rockmorton65

      I think they’re experimenting with the bottom six while the top six develops. If developed correctly, we already have two thirds of our top six – Gaudreau, Bennett, Baertchi and Monahan. Throw in Poirier and Klimchuk and it gets interesting. If they are going to take 2-3 seasons to become legitimate threats, why not experiment with the rest of the roster?

      I also think that’s why all these 3/4 guys only have short deals. See what they bring, and if they fit, lock em up. If they don’t, they don’t handicap the team going forward.

    • Derzie

      To the trashers of this, you are either a relative of BT, BB himself, in denial or not paying attention. Every word is fact. Whether you like it or not is your choice but it is what it is.

      • Rockmorton65

        This kind if thinking really tweaks my melon. To those who say that BT/BB should have done more – I ask you this – what, specifically should they have done? And don’t give me “they should have acquired more top prospects/1RW/top 4 D. How? With who? Who was available, who gets traded? What could they have done, that you know for certain, that they didn’t try to?

        • Derzie

          It is not about what to do it is about what NOT to do. Don’t draft a forward because he’s freakishly big (Smith). Do Draft someone with higher skill or a D prospect. Don’t waste an early pick on a goalie (McDonald 2.0). Don’t bring in a washed up ex-Oiler (Potter). Don’t sign a lifetime plugger to an all-world bad contract Engelland). Don’t kill Sven’s confidence (Burke). Don’t bring in another rodeo clown (Bollig). The list goes on.

          • Rockmorton65

            You do realize all those players (save Sven) are placeholders, right? There’s a veh-heeeerrrrr-rrrrry good reason why there is no one signed beyond the next three years. Once the Bennett’s/Gaudreau’s/ Baertchi’s of the world are ready to play pro, these placeholders will be moved out/waived/buried. There is no contract on this team that will be a burden down the road. Who knows how the draft will turn out? I don’t understand how anyone here can say “X was a bad pick – 3 months after he was drafted. Give it 4-5 years before you call it a dumb move. And sorry, dude…you weren’t going to get a “high end pick” or “top d pick” in the second round. Maybe the Flames see potential in McDonald and knew he wouldn’t be there for their next pick. Chill, pre-season has only begun. BT has stated that he plans in moving “a couple pieces” within the first month or two of the season.

      • Kevin R

        Seriously! Check the facts. When was BT hired? All the must move assets were traded by Feaster. Scotty Bowman wouldn’t have done much different than what BT has done this last summer. Are you & Kenta denying that this team has just started a long painful rebuild or are you guys still sipping some of D Sutters home brew? To make a judgement on a new GM is ludicrous. I’ve seen your posts in the past before, isn’t this a little out there left field for you?

      • BT trying to get a couple extra 1st rounders by taking on salary dumps like Cam Ward (I can’t recall the other offer) is the type of creativity and offers that I like to see from a GM.

        Even though it didn’t work it shows he knew what his greatest asset was over the summer. The good news is we still have that asset so I assume he is still working the phones.

        • SavardianSpinorama

          The other potential deal BT tried to swing this summer was to acquire Ribeiro and his $5.5m annual salary for 3 years) in return for a 1st rounder in return for PHX saving $16.5M to buy him out.

      • SavardianSpinorama

        Every word is fact? What facts would those be? That the Flames didn’t go out and sign forwards Paul Stastny (he wouldn’t have came) or Thomas Vanek (he wouldn’t have came). Oh right, the Flames should have signed a 37 year old Jarome Iginla to the contract the Avs did. And then we could have traded Granlund and a second round pick to Colorado for Tanguay, and signed Olli Jokinen as a free agent to a two year deal. Glory days!

        And the Flames sure blew it in not signing Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen for a combined 67 million dollars (in case you don’t realize, that’s about 15 million dollars more than the Flames are paying for an entire team this year). And before you criticize the Deryk Engelland signing, try thinking of it as “roster flexibility.” That is what Engelland provides and that is what the Flames need.

        I must admit, I was really mad when Vancouver’s GM, Jim Benning, signed Ryan Miller to a three year deal at six million per. Miller sure had a lot of success getting the Blues over the hump in last year’s playoffs . . . oh wait.

        Here is what impatience buys you:

        It buys you the Calgary Flames trying to dress up the roster for an aging star. It buys you the Vancouver Canucks, trying to dress up the roster for TWO aging stars. It buys you the Edmonton Oilers, who toss kids a ticket to the NHL like candy even though they aren’t ready. It buys you David Clarkson and the Toronto Maple Leafs, a team that has spent to the cap and will be lucky to make the playoffs.

          • supra steve

            Bashing 18/19 year old draft selections really doesn’t qualify as an argument either. There are hockey people/publications that endorsed the Flames 2014 draft as among the best in the league. Only time will tell the real story.

          • Rockmorton65

            neither are 1-2 sentence retorts. Step your game up. Let’s raise the level of discourse around here and actually DEBATE not just blindly throw out statements like: “There is no denying this.” or “To the trashers of this, you are either a relative of BT, BB himself BLAH, BLAH…”

            Bring an ACTUAL take to the table or just hit ‘trash’ or ‘props’ and spare us all. SavardianSpinorama asked you for facts to back up your position… do you have any? I love a good debate and even a good argument but those things require a certain level of intellectual discourse and thoughtful observation two things that make this site (Flamesnation in particular IMO) worth checking in on.

            I would like to know what reasonable moves BT could have made that would have made you and those who share your pessimism happy? Let’s debate that…

        • Captain Ron

          I would like to prop you 100 times for this but they won’t let me haha!

          I LOVE the fact that as a fans we are no longer caught up in chasing ageing stars who are at or near the end of their careers. All it leads to is false hopes.

          I don’t care how long it takes to build a perennial contender just as long as it happens in my lifetime. I look forward to the day when I can watch a juggernaut play in the Dome 41 times a year. It will happen. Just a matter of time.

          • SavardianSpinorama

            All I know is that there are an awful lot of people who have nothing good to say about Brad Treliving who undoubtedly failed miserably in their high school debate class.

          • SavardianSpinorama

            I agree.

            Those advocating for quick fixes and return to playoff contention are impatient and missing the point…we just came through 10 years of being a bubble playoff team with dismal results.

            The goal for the Flames rebuild needs to be planned and timed to develop a TOP 8 CUP-CONTENDING team, not simply to make the playoffs.

            Continued patience and good management for another year to draft high and develop the current talent pipeline will yield great results for the next decade.

    • piscera.infada

      Cautious is one word that could be used; smart or astute may be better.

      I am not usually one to “pump BB/BT’s tires” – frankly there are a couple moves I am concerned with.

      However what I do appreciate is:
      – BT recognizes where the Flames are at (rebuilding), what the Flames current potential is (bottom 8 standing), and timing for playoff rebound (2-3 years);
      – BT isn’t rushing to use up cap space, make lavish FA deals, and looking to immediately become a playoff contender (and a middling team again for the next decade);

      Instead BT has:
      – stabilized goaltending which alone could reduce GA by 30;
      – rebuilt the bottom 6 with greater size, mobility, skill while setting the stage to eliminate the exclusive goon/fighter position;
      – added competition and a lot of depth, particularly in areas lacking NHL ready prospects (e.g. defence);
      – actively promoted the continuation of the meritocracy team culture and identity established last year, easily the single greatest achievement.

      Specifically to your point, the biggest criticism the Oilers have received is not surrounding their top-skilled talent by improving their supporting cast and depth on D and the Bottom 6 over the last 3 years. MacT has almost exclusively focused on addressing these deficiencies over the last 18 months.

      I for one am glad BT is:
      – addressing these key team-building issues now in order to challenge the top-contending heavy teams eg. LAK, SJS, ANA, STL, CHI, DAL;
      – not reaching for the playoffs this year while still potentially supporting a top pick this year;
      – adding depth judiciously to support the integration of young new skill players late this year and next.

  • RexLibris

    “- Finally, there are still a few clubs in salary cap jail whom the Flames may be able to take advantage of before the season starts. Boston needs to sign both Reilly Smith and Torey Krug and they are already rubbing up against the ceiling. Marc Savards LTIR isn’t enough to re-sign both guys, let alone leave any room for mid-season moves. The Blackhawks are also shopping around guys like Nick Leddy and Kris Versteeg to help ease the pressure.

    Naturally, teams are loathe to part with a quality asset for nothing, which is why the Flames haven’t been able to make one of these kinds of deals yet. With the clock ticking down, however, they have a better chance of either stealing away a useful player (Johnny Boychuk or Nick Leddy) or accepting a salary dump with a prospect or top 60 pick.”

    Have there been any deals from any other clubs like this? Just wondering about comparables. I’m very interested to see exactly how much cap space is worth what level of picks/prospect/young player.

    • scoopz

      Cap Space was worth a lot to Calgary when they gave away Regehr .while Buffalo ate Kotalik,s contract.

      We need one of these deals back to make up for that blunder.

    • Yes. The Flames moved a package including the overpriced Wayne Primeau to TOR years ago and sent a 2nd to the Leafs for their trouble. The funny part about that deal is Calgary got by far the best player in it…Anton Stralman. Of course, neither team knew that at the time, so he was considered just a throw in and the Flames traded him for a 4th rounder not long after.

      The Leafs also got Lombardi and Franson for Lebda in what was a salary dump for PHX a couple of summers ago. Way back in the day, Florida got Brian Campbell for a broken Rusty Olesz.

      Salary dumps are rare, but they happen.

  • SavardianSpinorama

    Backlund’s injury comes at the worst time in many ways. While it opens up a roster spot (great to get a Granlund, Baertschi or Bennett in the lineup) is it not a little more difficult to shelter these players when six of their first seven games are on the road (given the home team gets last change)?

    I am okay with the “trial by fire” scenario, but I would think the team would want to put the younger players in situations where they have the best opportunity to succeed.

    *and as a sidebar, does this mean we will be seeing a lot of McGratton, Bollig,
    and Engelland to start the year?

  • scoopz

    Doesn’t Glencross have a NMC? That probably affects his resale value a fair bit and puts BT in a lower bargaining position.

    Curtis could simply not waive the clause and walk at the end of the year as well and has every right to do so.

    I get what people are saying about wanting to move a depreciating asset, but it’s not that easy; even with a friendly contract monetarily speaking, the NMC adds significant restrictions on the rate of return.

  • T&A4Flames

    The Flames need an enforcer who knows his role.

    Johnny gets an elbow: no reaction…..

    Gooch gets a knee: no reaction……

    It’s bad enough that they can’t skate, now they don’t even police?

    WW

  • PrairieStew

    How much salary can be retained in a trade ? If the Flames could keep $1.5 m of Glencross’s salary that puts him on par with an entry level player for the receiving team. I think that both Boston and Chicago would look at him in that case as valuable. Throw in a couple of assets that may be redundant – say one of Culkin, Kulak or Roy; and one of Van Brabant/Hanowski or Knight/Arnold. Could a package like that extract Krug or Leddy ?

    • RexLibris

      You can keep a maximum of 50% of a contract on two occasions until that contract expires.

      The Flames could, for example, trade Wideman and Glencross while retaining 50% of their cap hit for the duration of the contracts, meaning the end of the season in Glencross’ case and two more seasons in Wideman’s.

      For instance, the Lightning retained $1.6 million of Sam Gagner’s $4.8 million salary cap hit for the duration of that deal, two more seasons, or roughly 33%.

  • Michael

    Tricky spot for the new GM, he inherited a bottom five team lacking elite NHL level talent. The cupboards are no longer bare, but still lack much in the way of elite level potential. Recent drafts have helped the future forward ranks, but the back end is pretty thin. We have lots of mid level talent ready or almost ready to fight for a spot, but the team signed several ‘vet’ free agents that are likely to take most of those spots away.
    Its really a transition year (again) for the Flames, the GM needs to evaluate all of the prospects (many of them are similar in what they bring to the table)decide who to move forward with and then thin the herd. I really don’t know what to expect from the club this year, I expect they will be harder to play against but can they avoid another bottom five finish? Looking at the draft next year, maybe they need another bottom five finish to continue the rebuild.

  • Rockmorton65

    Cautious? Hopeful? Inadequate? All terms that could be used to discuss the Flames offseason. Cautious in that other than signing England for to much money and to much term the Flames did not do anything to significantly upgrade their defensive depth. I believe that BT attempted to do so because I believe he is a prudent and intelligent man. However the end results is that not enough was accomplished in this area.

    Despite bringing in 3 NHL forwards that upgraded the forward ranks I still believe that the top prospects we have upfront will in the not to distant future be some of our top forwards, They will have to earn theses spots and bringing in vets that buy time is okay but they cannot be allowed to prevent the development of the prospects. I think they are hopeful that will happen and that Wides and Smid will both have bounce back years. Also I think they are hopeful that Spoon continues his development and that Sieloff can be healthy enough to make significant improvement.

    Inadequate because no new young defensive prospects where acquired either through trade, draft picks or free agency. I’m not talking about over the hill guys or never were guys(we signed Engs and few others to PTO’s) It would have been great to acquire a 26-30 year old 4/5 defender. I believe in all my heart that BT tried but failed to do so and as hockey is a professional sport failure to address your needs both short term and long term is inadequate. By next year the shortage of 4-6 defenders needs to be adequately addressed or a 2/3 year rebuild could easily be a 7/8 year rebuild.

    • Koolmoedee

      You seem to have forgotten the 2 D we did draft, but perhaps it’s just that you’re upset about some other choices and choose to be negative. BT has been and is doing fine. I’m sure we’d ALL be crying if a bunch of over-the-hill vets were brought in and several promising prospects traded trying to get to the playoffs a la BB’s “I’m impatient” comments early on. In truth I think BT is doing a great job, the team is progressing, prospects progressing and there is a good balance overall. This year will continue that with opportunities to pick up several draft picks later in the year in a D heavy draft year…

      • SavardianSpinorama

        I indeed did forget the two guys(maybe they will not become forgetable prospects, I hope Hickey and OM work out) I am not upset because he did not pick my guys, rather I am upset that the obvious need of this organization was not addressed over the summer, and I’m not one of the people who thinks we are in for a quick fix. Engs may be a great place holder but a 3 year deal for a journeyman defender who is already over 30 is not my idea of mid term planning. As for the draft being heavy in D are you suggesting that if we finish 29/30 like many of scribes are suggesting that we take a defender over either of the 2 generational forwards?

        This year our 1/2 pairing is very good and should remain that way for 2/3 years, after that Gio will likely be a 3/4 guy.(age catches up to defenders who play as hard as he does.) Or 3/4 pairing is being manned by two 4/5 guys unless Wides has a major bounce back year and our 5/6 pairing is manned by 6/7. The immediate help in our system is at best a 5/6 and help two/three years down the road is likely more of the same. I think it’s hard enough enticing 1 3/4 UFA defender a year a but next year BT will need to find 2.

        • piscera.infada

          As for the draft being heavy in D are you suggesting that if we finish 29/30 like many of scribes are suggesting that we take a defender over either of the 2 generational forwards?

          Also, finishing 29/30th is not a plan in and of itself either. Insofar as the Flames need blueline prospects (which they do, no one’s disputing that), you can’t force that issue. Would I have liked the Flames to pick another d-prospect or two this year? Yes. However, I’m not as bullish as some (you) are about claiming that it was a major mistake not to.

        • Rockmorton65

          Even as the Oilers are realizing, you can’t address every need in an instant, but need to do so over time.

          That said, I think the major thing BT has addressed so far is to balance out the roster, bringing in several RW prospects as well as beefing up with (hopefully) functional toughness vs “just” face-punchers, both of which were ALSO huge needs on the team.

          He also got Gaudreau signed and hasn’t tossed anyone yet, before he has a chance to really see what they can do. I’m also impressed with the management team he’s put together and his keeping our coach, who’s not HIS guy but has done great with a limited roster and helped set the tone of the team for the future.

          As for D, yes that still is a need and even as we’ve seen with the lower end of the D roster recently, will become more critical as we move forward. BT will be judged by what he does overall, not just regarding the D. The next few month’s will be critical as we probably unload a bunch of vets and deal with contract renewal issues (i.e. Glencross). This area is where Feaster seemed weak and it remains to be seen how BT fares.

          As for next draft I think I’ll wait to see what happens over the year. Certainly with all the hype out there if you had the #1 pick McDavid seems a no-brainer, but I’m not so sure. If you read the the recent scouting lists and reports, it seems like there are several top-level picks who you might consider.

          Lets do a thought game, shall we? IF we could project the top 4 picks as comparables to previous players (of course you can’t, but that’s the thinking…) what would you pick if you had this choice?
          McDavid = Crosby
          Eichel = Messier
          Hanafin = Niedermeyer
          Kylington = Lidstrom
          We can probably all agree in this scenario that it a tough choice, especially trying to compare Centers vs Defense. If you did have 1st overall and believed the above was a possibility, at the least you might be tempted to use the hype to your advantage and trade down one or two picks to get something in addition to a different, exceptional player.

          Beyond the first pick, we hopefully can get some more picks via trade and I’m sure the 2nd round will also have some very good choices.

          In any case, that’s a year away. Right now we’ve got a new season nearly upon us to enjoy. Looking forward to it.

          • SavardianSpinorama

            You may be right, certainly all the late courting was BB, the drafting and all the early courting by Feaster.. Just checked, you ARE correct. BT was hired April 28, 2014, after the end of the season.

    • piscera.infada

      I’m not talking about over the hill guys or never were guys(we signed Engs and few others to PTO’s) It would have been great to acquire a 26-30 year old 4/5 defender. I believe in all my heart that BT tried but failed to do so and as hockey is a professional sport failure to address your needs both short term and long term is inadequate.

      Yes, because those guys are not difficult at all to acquire, especially when you don’t really want to trade young players. Obviously, it’s not going to cost a Baertschi or Gaudreau, but it would still likely cost you one of your mid-tier near-NHL-ready prospects. Face it, acquiring young-ish, NHL defenseman doesn’t cost you peanuts. Defensemen are at a premium, young ones even moreso, and good ones prohibitively so.

      If I’m BT, I’m waiting to actually see (with my own eyes) what I have in those mid-tier prospects before I start jettisoning them with any surety – you make a couple of bad trades with that ilk of prospect, and you’ve effectively hampered the entire rebuild. Quite simply; cautious, safe, whatever you want to call it, was the pragmatic course of action for the Flames front office this year – take a few shots in the dark (acquiring high first-round picks to take on bad contracts) and if they stick, good. Don’t, however, start messing with a pretty good situation in the forward pipeline unless something you can’t refuse comes along. This season is likely lost unless something unexpectedly good happens, so not going full-on panic mode is probably the best idea.

  • piscera.infada

    If you did have 1st overall and believed the above was a possibility, at the least you might be tempted to use the hype to your advantage and trade down one or two picks to get something in addition to a different, exceptional player.

    Exactly. If (and it’s a huge ‘if’) you were to get that number-one overall pick next year, you hold all the cards – and those are very, very valuable cards to hold.