Perfect Time To Rebuild?

Rebuilding is never fun. There’s no disputing that.

However, every team at some point comes to the realization
that their best route to glory must run through the dreaded lands of a rebuild.
The Calgary Flames came to such a realization, in 2013, after years of treading
the waters of mediocrity and have since begun a retooling and rearming process
to return them to relevance.

Just like every rebuild, in every sport, it’s not an awfully
pleasant experience. In fact, last season’s “fun” and
“positive” 27th place finish was something of an anomaly in the
rebuilding business, just ask our friends up in Edmonton. Finishing fourth-last
in the league doesn’t usually drench the fan base in positivity, yet somehow
last year it did.

Fact is, rebuilds generally – and historically – are not fun,
and that reality could very well hit home this season. Nonetheless, fans of
rebuilding teams hang on to little clippings of positivity here and there,
whether it lies in prospects the team has accumulated or other happenings around
the club, to keep the mood tolerable.

Flames fans though, may have a unique perspective to hinge
onto, in addition to the blossoming prospect base, in an effort to drown out
the losing and general suckiness: the team looks to have chosen an excellent
time to tear it down.

There may never
truly be a “perfect” time to rebuild, but when taking everything into account
right now, this might just be the one for the Flames.

The West is a bloodbath, and the puck hasn’t even dropped
yet; a true massacre in the waiting. There will be good teams left whimpering
on the outside looking in come April and even more broken dreams as the
playoffs advance. This edition of the Western Conference looks to be even
better than the beast of yesteryear, oversaturated in colossal titans, all
considered strong possibilities to seize Stanley’s
Mug.

On top of that, the Pacific division is a
death blender in itself, further complicating a quest for playoff action in
Cowtown. The standard for being a playoff team in the West is as high as it’s
ever been, and having a sniff at hockey in late April requires a near elite
roster. In other words, the conditions have been primed to suck, if you really
want to (in fact, even if you don’t).

Enter, Calgary.
A team looking to lose more than they win, furthering their quest of acquiring
top talent and remodelling themselves into a contender. Seems like a match made
in heaven, doesn’t it? A 30th place finish ensures one of Connor McDavid or
Jack Eichel, and will almost certainly schedule that return to relevance sooner
rather than later. Superstars can do that to a team.

Sure, they’ll never admit it in a million
years, but Flames management will want this season, at some point, to go to
heck. Certainly not right away, but once the teams’ hopes slowly fade away as
scheduled in mid-November/December and Connor McDavid scores all the goals in
the OHL, Brad Treliving and Brian Burke will retreat to the Holy House of
Truculence and pray for the team to lose games, preferably in the least brutal
way possible, to muffle the fan base as much as possible. Something along the
lines of what happened last season. Lose the actual game but come away from it
feeling like progress was made and a step was taken in the right direction. Such
a result would net Calgary
a likely generational talent and move the Flames into that playoff
conversation, at long last.

An
appropriate timeline for a rebuild could be pegged somewhere between 3-6 years.
The former requiring things to be slightly expedited, obviously, and the latter
bordering on Oiler-like unrest within the organization.

Well,
after the 2015 Draft, the Flames will be theoretically entering their window for
ascension, likely armed to teeth with talent, and could again reap the
rewards of choosing to rebuild now. You
see, while the West is a horror show now, many of those teams are built to win at the present time (when losing should be valued over winning in Calgary), and will be nearing their expiration dates when the Flames are ready to
take leaps forward. Double the luck for the Flames. 

Looking
strictly at the Pacific Division, the San Jose Sharks’ days of getting quality
minutes from Thornton and Marleau are liquidating fast, with both celebrating
their 36th birthdays before the 2015/16 season begins. The Vancouver Canucks
will be anchored by 35 year old twins in a years time, while the LA Kings will
be shelling out big bucks to many of their blueliners’ pensions in the near
future. The Coyotes have a shot at being worse than the Flames this year, while
Shane Doan isn’t getting any younger, and the Edmonton Oilers are caught in
some sort of perpetual suck, so neither are really worth mentioning. Anaheim is the only team
that looks to only be getting stronger, with a core still in its twenties, for
the most part.

Point
being, almost every team in the Pacific will be missing significant contributions
from important pieces in the not-so-distant-future, and appears will take steps
backwards. While none of these teams are really on the brink of completely falling off
the map, most are currently in their primes right now – same with
the powerhouses of the Central Division – and will surely begin to trend
downwards, just as the Flames should begin their upward climb.

I’m not suggesting that in three, four
years – when the Flames should theoretically be reaping the rewards of their
suffering with a quality squad – the rest of the Western Conference will suck
eggs, I am however suggesting it will be weaker than it currently is. The Law
of Averages will re-balance the East and West and the Flames won’t have to walk
through Mordor just to secure a Wild Card position in the West.

At the end of the day though, that side of
it is a collection of guess work and (slightly) educated assumptions – although
taking an in-depth, analytical look at the validity of it would be fascinating,
but for another day. The NHL is a near impossible animal to read and if we look
back on this in a couple calendars, I may be completely out to lunch. Theoretically,
some of the West’s elite should temper back down to Earth, but its anyone’s
guess how and when that will happen. 

What
is for sure however, is the climate in the current Western Conference looks to
be prime for bombing and securing the pieces necessary to succeed in the
National Hockey League. If the Flames wish to compete in a couple years
time, especially considering the dudes at the top of this years draft class,
they damn well better capitalize on the opportunity laid in front of them.

Rebuilding is never fun. But it sure looks
like the Calgary Flames chose the perfect time to undertake it. For the retooling phase
of their rebuild, it without a doubt looks perfect, but it could also prove opportune for the second phase of rebuilding, the achieving of their
end game: bringing the Stanley Cup back to Calgary, in a couple years time. 

Only time will tell if any of this is remotely accurate, but from where I’m sitting at this moment, things look pretty opportune for the Calgary Flames, and what they’re trying to achieve. After all, you have to be lucky to be good, and good to be lucky.

    • SavardianSpinorama

      …only if they’re not picking in the top 2 of the draft. I think the easiest and worst decision a GM can make at the draft is simply to over think the pick.

      If you have 2 guys who are being called “Generational Talents” and one guy who might turn out to be a stud NHL defence man you should go with the generational talents and offset your Defensive deficiencies through the later rounds or through trade or however else. Best player available is the best way to approach drafting in the top 5 IMO. DON’T OVER THINK IT!

      I think of it this way who would you rather have (top forward/top Defencemen) in the following draft years: (yes, i understand this is a bit of hindsight being 20/20)

      2005: Sidney Crosby or Jack Johnson
      2006: Jordan Staal/Jonathan Toews or Erik Johnson
      2007: Patrick Kane or Thomas Hickey
      2008: Steven Stamkos or Drew Doughty
      2009: John Tavares or Victor Hedman
      2010: Taylor Hall or Erik Gudbranson
      2011: R.N.H or Adam Larson
      2012: Nail Yakupov or Ryan Murray
      2013: Nathan MacKinnon or Seth Jones

      The way I see it the consensus #1 forward (for the most part) was the right decision to make over the “Stud Defenceman.”

      • Byron Bader

        Agree. The only one that’s even close is Stamkos and Doughty ( I don’t know who I would choose there … probably still Stamkos) and there’s still time for Ryan Murray and/or Seth Jones (I think MacKinnon will be a bonafide stud for a few decades however).

        How many of the league’s best defensemen were taken in the 1st round? Further, how many were taken as high 1st rounders? By my count 13/30 of the top scoring defensemen last year were 1st rounders. This includes Brent Burns who was not a defensemen for 95% of the year. Of those, only 5 were top 10 picks.

        Forwards: 24/30 top scorers were 1st rounders and most were top 5.

        If you’re picking between a forward and dman first overall, it looks like you’re better off to go with the forward to get the sure thing.

      • ChinookArchYYC

        In your analysis I’d say there are 7 “generational” forwards versus 2 “generational” defensemen. In the year with the generational forward versus the generational defenseman I’d say its a toss-up either way, and I’m taking Doughty as one of those D.

        The key is figuring out who’s actually going to be “generational”. If Hanafin and Kylington turn out to be Lidstrom2 and Niedermayer2, I wouldn’t be too worried about picking them. As an added bonus, you certainly could get massive overpay from somebody to drop down a pick or two what with all the hype of Mac vs. Jack.

  • redhot1

    The only issue with the timing is that the new rules for the draft lottery could potentially take top picks away from sucky teams like the flames and give them to someone who is stuck in perpetual mediocrity, like the Leafs.

    • Avalain

      Thankfully, this next draft is still only 1 pick. The draft 2 years from now is the one where they are going to have 3 lottery picks instead of one. Can you imagine being last place in 15/16 and then selecting 4th overall? That would hurt.

  • Parallex

    Yes, as far as rebuilds go this is a pretty good time to be doing it. A string of strong draft classes, a time when the western conference is ascendent (and by extention aligning the Flames post-rebuild fortunes with a period where the west will likely be weaker), right before a major change in drafting rules that will hopefully benefit the flames as they crawl out of the basement.

    Now… please spend some additional picks on defensemen next draft. For real, we need home grown talent on the backend… legit top 4 d cost a fortune in free agency gotta get some cost controlled high upside guys in the system.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    Yep and CGY with the lowest cap payroll in the league is planning for just what you suggest while simultaneously saving money for a new arena! Right when the young talent is ready to take off they can also do it in a new building.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    Also… Given that the East is a cesspool of suck this year actually helps CGY. The weak teams have a better chance of winning games. The Buffalos and Floridas will still rack up points against the Ottawas and Carolinas to a greater extent than we can in the West.

  • MonsterPod

    Colorado and Edmonton have both been drafting top few for years. The Avs have come out of it while the Oil have not. Tampa has come out of it while Florida has not.

    Everyday plays by the management will have a lot to do with potential contending down the road. There’s a lot more to it than high drafts.

    I don’t see a decline coming in LA anytime soon. Their core is Kopitar, Brown, Doughty, and Quick and they have a number of good rookies and prospects. Of that elite core only Doughty was a really high pick (#2). In reality, they whiffed on a high pick (Hickey) and took Brian Boyle and Jeff Tambellini back to back before Perry in 2003. They still built a winner.

    Boston is the Beast of the East. Bergeron, Krejci, and Lucic were all 2nd round picks. Marchand was a third. Chara was a FA.

    Good article, but we should not expect to contend in a few years just because we suck now. It will take wise and wily management and even some late round lucky drafting to make it happen. GFG.

    • SavardianSpinorama

      The interesting thing is how Colorado’s seasons went:

      2009 – drafted 3rd overall – Duchene
      2010 – playoffs
      2011 – drafted 2nd overall – Landeskog
      2012 – playoffs
      2013 – drafted 1st overall – Mackinnon
      2014 – playoffs (and top of division)

      You really don’t get the fan base more excited than that. Add in their big trade where they got Johnson, and you’ve got the perfect model for a rebuild!! Try doing that again though…

  • RKD

    Man, if we got McDavid at the draft next summer that would be sick. The guy plays like a beast, it’s a nice thought that other teams are getting older. However some teams are preparing for that, they are getting their young players ready to take over for the older ones. For example, Horvat and Shinkaruk in Van city. In San Jose, Couture and Hertl will supplant the veterans to some extent. The Flames should have a team strong enough to compete and be better than the other teams existing and up and coming younger talent. Detroit’s stars are already in their mid 30’s but have Tatar and Nyquist to take the reigns. Montreal’s got Gallagher, Galychenuk, Eller to take the reigns there. At some point down the road, I hope our kids will shine brightly and take over the reigns. By this time next year, Monahan will have two full seasons under his belt, Gaudreau will have one season. Brodie’s already got three seasons under his belt. If it is a five year plan I can see a push to make the post season after this season or the season after but I hope it isn’t too long.

  • everton fc

    Read up onHanifin, he’s basically a ‘generational talent’ as well, he just doesn’t get the same hype. Not saying he’s as good as the other two, that still has to be determined.

  • everton fc

    I will say that if the Flames got McDavid or Eichel and he’s as good as advertised, they might (might) be good enough soon enough to take advantage of Giordano’s window.

    That begs the question of what they do when he retires, though. That makes the theoretical cup window very short.

    That’s why I said “prudent” and not “only acceptable”

  • everton fc

    Wow, what a hilariously and misguided view of the teams in the Pacific and Central divisions.

    If, and it’s a big if, Calgary grabs one of Eichle or McDavid, that would go pretty far to jump start their rebuild. As that gives them 3 prime centre prospects to add to an already impressive young D man, from which to build their future team around.

    However, that presupposes some pretty big success from Monahan and Bennet, and really early returns on McDavid. If you look at Colorado and Mckinnon, there is a huge gap in the type of teammates surrounding Mckinnon, and the type of teammates surrounding Bennet, Monahan, and one of Eichle or Mcdavid.

    Second, this article paints a pretty bleak picture of what is actually a still strong group of teams in the West. Sure Thorton and Marlaeu are aging, but right behind them are Pavelski, Couture, Hertl, Vlasik, ect. The Sharks, IMO, are only going to get better in the coming years, not worse.

    The Kings are losing one single guy, and replacing him with Troffoli and Pearson. That is bananas. Their team only has one, ONE, guy under 200 lbs. Yet somehow, Gaudreau, Bennet, Monahan, and McDavid, are going to compete with that? Even their goal tending prospects are better than most team’s starters. The Kings are going nowhere.

    I actually disagree with the Anaheim synopsis. They just traded away two of their prominent young centres, and retired two of their better vets. If Kesler goes down to injury, as he’s prone to do, that team is in trouble.

    As for Edmonton, deny what’s happening there all you want. I can’t blame you for being blind to the prospects in preseason, afterall, the Edmonton prospects were giants, likely blocking out the view of everyone else on the ice. If you think they will perpetually be in a state of suck, that is just hard denial.

    Nucks, I agree with completely, that team is going to be awful.

    As for the Central, sure Chicago could have some cap trouble next year. But St Louis and Dallas and Colorado are all teams on the big upswing. That top line in Dallas will very soon be the most formidable top line in the NHL. Sad but true.

    Rebuilding, all comes down to good asset management. Tambilini dismantled a good Edmonton defence and got jack and crap for it. I saw a similar situation with Iginla, Kipper, and Boumester. Those were not great returns on assets like that. Poor asset management will always prolong a rebuild.

    So to Flames fans I say good luck. Hopefully you are worse than Buffalo, Carolina (big injury to Stall, fat chance being worse than that team), Ottawa, and Phoenix. But, get ready for some long years. Be patient, and never give up hope that one day the team will be back in contention.

    • Christian Roatis

      Couture gets injured frequently, Hertl busts, Vlasic regresses. That could happen just as easily as those 3 taking over from Thornton and Marleau and continuing the Sharks success, couldn’t it?

      As I said, predicting the NHL is a fools game because there’s really no say to accurately do it. I could be totally wrong or you could be totally wrong. Who knows? My point is, logic suggests the West should regress back to a “normal” conference in a few years times and end the craziness we’ll see kick off in a few weeks.

      • RexLibris

        Hey Christian,

        So let’s frame this another way.

        Let’s assume two of your assumptions for the sake of the experiment: a.) that the Western Conference regresses and b.) that the Flames progress by way of their current young roster

        This leaves us with a Flames team that progresses to the point of becoming what though? Will they come to dominate the Pacific division like Los Angeles, Anaheim and San Jose? Or will they occupy an area of the division, and perhaps the conference, similar to the Coyotes?

        Granted, teams do tend to have cyclical patterns, but not every team regresses to the same extent or for the same duration.

        The Flames did have an opportune time to rebuild, to some extent, in so far as they had assets to move that allowed for some extra draft picks and were developing two good assets in Backlund and Brodie with whom the newer prospects could play.

        On the opposing side, however, the Flames are perhaps approaching their nadir at a time when there are more teams vying and eligible for the first overall pick – soon to extend to the first three overall selections.

        As you say, trying to predict the NHL is foolish because there are simply too many variables and unknown factors for which one must account.

        I think the crux of the Flames’ rebuild will ultimately come down to the efficiency with which they can develop the talent they accrue.

        It absolutely must be better than what they have managed in recent years if they are to find success.

          • RexLibris

            That doesn’t address the most common criticism of the Oilers’ rebuild: drafting and developing players outside of 1st round picks.

            The Flames have had a tough time developing players they have drafted over the last ten years.

            Bennett and Monahan shouldn’t be that much of a problem, but it will take a whole heck of a lot more for the Flames to become good enough to challenge for a Stanley Cup, and it can’t all be addressed by trade or free-agency.

          • RedMan

            I think the Flames have developed a surpring number of good players considering the garbage plugging the system and considering the pathetic drafting, and the fact that sutter couldn’t resist trading 1st and 2nd round picks away for has-beens and magic beans…

          • SavardianSpinorama

            Listening to Kerr and Eric Francis on the radio yesterday, Francis said the Flames have probably been the worst team at the draft for the past twenty years, and it’s hard to disagree with that statement.

          • RedMan

            even if Francis was exaggerating, and we were actually only 27th or 28th worst, they still sucked enough to create the mess that starting turning around with fester. 😀

      • beloch

        Since his first full season in 2010, Couture has played 70, 80, 45, and then 65. On what metric you are predicting that Hertl is a bust seems mythical, I see you never mentioned Pavelski, and where or how do you see Vlasic regressing? Guy was apart of the best Canadian Olympic defence ever. So no, all empirical and observational evidence would suggest the contrary. You’re making these predictions on zero information, and in most cases contrary to popular belief, or statistical trends. I think many writers on the Nation would disagree about your crap shoot philosophy, and certainly would disagree using it as an excuse as to why your fiction is plausible.

        If the point of your article was to give some hope to fans for the future, lying isn’t gonna help. Nothing about the way teams are being built, and prospects are developing points to a regression in the west. If anything, it’s going to get worse. Especially watching all the big name free agents come over from the East to the West to play for the glut of cup contenders.

        If your argument that now is the perfect time for a rebuild because in 3 – 5 years time, San Jose, LA, Anaheim, Dallas, Chicago, St Louis, Colorado, Edmonton, and Vancouver will have all either stayed or become bad teams, then you are being ridiculous in your assertion.

        Normally I would never critique a blog on the nation like this, simply because it’s a hockey blog and if I don’t like it, well I don’t need to read it. But this is the first time a writer has just flat out lied to the readers. So no, “logic” does not suggest the West is going to regress.

        What would Kent Wilson think?

        • RexLibris

          Will, to say the writer “lied” is way out of line. It’s a view, one which you obviously disagree with but then again that’s your opinion. Nobody can foretell the future, we’ll see in due time what happens.

          I think the basic premise of the article is correct. Teams go through cycles, clearly a fact and it’s hard to see how the West is going to get even better. The West is near apex and likely to drop off going forward in the next 2-3 years. SJ losing Thornton and Marleau is likely going to make them weaker. Those two are two of their best players, some of the younger ones are good, granted, but they are already there. Unless they’ve got 2 prospects as good as Thornton and Marleau they are bringing in in the next year or two they will be worse.

        • Christian Roatis

          I dunno Will, pretty sure my crystal ball is better than your crystal ball.

          The point of this article was to highlight the fact that this looks like an opportune time to rebuild, not to predict the future.

        • Christian Roatis

          Also, notice I say multiple times that the time being opportune is centred more around being bad when the West is beast (fact) and acquiring top talent as a result, than what the west may be when the flames theoretically begin their upswing, because that’s just a possibility. If it happens, it’ll just reenforce my point, but my argument is not built on it materializing. You just totally missed the point.

          • Christian Roatis

            Yes your article was quite hedged I thought and you mentioned a few times that predictions on specific players could be wrong. I think you are correct that predicting the players isnt the point as the ones you overpredict and underpredict would average out.

            A good young SJ team doesnt knock your arguement… of course there will be good teams but overall hopefully we can expect the west to be less hellish.

  • SavardianSpinorama

    Good article…helps crystallize thinking around the division and team trending.

    For the Pacific Division over the next 2-3 years I can certainly see SJS, VAN, ARZ may start falling, LAK hold ground, and EDM followed by CAL start to rise.

    For the current year the managerial skill and expertise of BT (with BB deep-throat advising) will be critical.

    IF an astute manager’s goal is to end up in the bottom 2 spots (to assure a top 3 pick)…THEN its the GM who will need to manage the chess pieces in such a way to ensure this happens, and in a manner that appears as a failure.

    Coaches and players have a very clear goal..to win at all costs to the best of their ability night-in and night-out. However not so for the GM and Pres Hockey Ops.

    And after last night’s performance by Bennett most honest observers would agree there is no contest…getting Bennett vs DalColle at #5 is a major win for which we can thank the NYI for winning the last game of the season. This was definitely cutting it too close!!

    Fast forward to managing the Flames this season and take the case of Jones. Here’s a $4M guy who looked absolutely terrible last night. Logically, as there are no cap issues right now, he should be sent down to make room for someone playing better than him. However a poorly-playing Jones making big $$ is the perfect situation for the team to have a mediocre performance, ostensibly so the young guns can get more experience in the AHL or CHL teams.

    FN fans will need to temper their expectations this year all year long as we see these situations play out. It’s not always about fielding the best player or the best team..more about the best team outcome.

  • beloch

    The Flames had the third worst combined sv% of any team in the league last season. Hiller and Ramo should be close to league average this season, so the rest of the team would likely have to fall off a cliff for the Flames to challenge for one of the top 2 picks. The lottery is likely the Flames only path to McDavid or Eichel.

    It would be possible, but far from easy, to pick up 1st round picks from other non-playoff teams to improve the odds of winning but, by the trade deadline, those teams are going to want players/prospects the Flames probably don’t want to give up. e.g. A team that’s headed for an early golf season isn’t going to want vets like Glencross or Hudler. If tanking for the draft is really the plan, the Flames would need to sell off a veteran or two at the start of the season to a team that thinks it’s going to do better than it actually will. Risky!

    Realistically, the Flames are spending less on payroll than any other NHL team right now, and they blew cap space on players like Engelland just to reach the cap floor. They’ve got players like David Jones sucking up cap space too. The fact that this team is going to require considerable luck to finish in the bottom six again is a testament to how badly some NHL teams suck.

    Barring exceptional suck or an exceptional stroke of luck in the lottery, McDavid and Eichel are out of the picture for the Flames. I’m sorry, but it’s the truth. In my books, it would be better if Monahan takes a step forward instead of a step back and Gaudreau turns out to be everything people are hoping for. I’d like to see Baertschi establish himself in the NHL and maybe another rookie or two as well. It would be worse for the Flames to see none of this happen than it would be for them to miss out on Eichel and McDavid.

    In short, actual progress is better than hope. This is the opinion of someone who follows the Oilers too.

    • everton fc

      Mc”great”an, Engelland ($3M plug) and B(ag)ollig of crap teaching the boys how to fight in practice?!? How about teaching them how to score so we can win some games!!! I am a Flame fan and don’t wish to see the Flames follow the Oiler model of finishing at or near the bottom of the league year after year. McGrattan can stay – dump the rest of the garbage – get some real coaches – not the French Goon Legion – more real players and WIN SOME GAMES!!!! We don’t need Eichel or McDavid – we have MONAHAN!!! These comments are my humble opinion only and not intended to offend any real or pretend NHL hockey players or goons!

    • ChinookArchYYC

      I see your points regarding the Flames being better than at least 5 other teams, but that really doesn’t matter, because they destined to be 15th in the West. I believe only Winnipeg may end up with less points in the west than Calgary. Edmonton has improved their backend with slightly better goaltenders and some actual NHL defenders. I expect that Phoenix will do better, because despite their perennial lack of talent they’re usually in the bubble discussion by the end of the season. Their style of play might be boring, but it’s undoubtably effective.

      Every team in the west will want as many easy points as they can take, in a very tight conference. Few opponents offer better chance than the Flames.

      Eastern conference teams are so close in talent, my guess is that most all teams will be “in it” till the end of the regular season. I see eastern conference teams slugging it out and stealing points from one another, because most of those teams have a chance at getting into the playoffs. Buffalo may even be able to beat out Carolina for the 1st half of the season with J. Staal out.

      • SavardianSpinorama

        I am not so sure about Edmonton having slightly better goaltending.

        Neither has played a full season and this is Scrivens’ third team in a short period of time.

        Also, while Scrivens’ save percentage looks good on paper, check out what he did for the Oilers the last fifteen games he played. He was mediocre, to say the least.

        • beloch

          Fasth has been league average so far in his career, but that is comprised of just 37 games. This is far too small of a sample size to get a good read on his ability. He’s also 32, so even if he’s good now he will likely decline soon. Scrivens has played slightly more games, has a slightly higher average sv%, and is slightly younger, but again, he hasn’t played enough games to provide an adequate sample size.

          Quite frankly, this tandem scares me a little. They’re both aging, unproven backup tenders. They could be good, but they could also both be awful. I wouldn’t be surprised if neither of these guys is in Edmonton by the end of next season.

          On the bright side, Edmonton’s blueline now has one legitimate first pairing defender, which is something it hasn’t had in a long, long time.

          • SavardianSpinorama

            Scrivens has played 72 games. Twenty with the Leafs in 2012-13 and his save % was respectable. Easy enough to toss what he did with LA out the window, because they can make goalies look better than they are.

            Predominantly, though, staggered starts until he came to Edmonton.

            He played over his head his first six games with the Oil, and after that (last 15 games) his save % was a “sparkling” 0.902%

            So the last 21% of his career he kind of sucked. That might have something to do with Edmonton being brutal, defensively, of course, but the Avs were not great in their own end and Varlamov did alright.

            On the other hand, Ramo’s save % trended up, yet everyone seems to be handing the starting goaltending duties to Hiller.

            At any rate, I’m far more comfortable with a Ramo/Hiller combo than I would be with Scrivens and Fasth.

        • ChinookArchYYC

          I don’t disagree, but remember that their starting goaltender was Devin Dubnyk. So, I think I’m being fair calling Scrivens and Fasth an upgrade.

    • SavardianSpinorama

      Beloch’s comments on player development as the key is bang on because I agree that we wont be picking first second or third. Young guys developing is where the excitement will come from, not from making the playoffs. Hartley who is good for this time and team will get more wins, partly because of goaltending. Having young players to get excited about (Monahan, Gaudreau, Bennett, yes Sven too) has resulted in more fans paying attention -positively! I think ownership misunderstood that the fan base would tolerate a re-build if it was done right and making poor Jay Feaster deny it was stupid. I think Burke and BT get it!

  • everton fc

    youd think we could get a ransom for gio, Dallas, minnesota, and anaheim are three teams just in the west that really could use a vet dman seeing as they’ve already gone near all in with kesler vanek and spezza acquisitions. Its a blood bath in the west and i think teams will pay up to make it past LA/ CHI/ STL. Theres probably lots of interest in the east as well seeing as its anybodys conference to win.

    Not saying we should trade gio but i’m hoping management keeps the possibility open for the right price. I dont think anybody here would turn down the mike richards package for gio.

  • scoopz

    Right now I think there seems to be a good mix as far as age structure through the system.

    There appears to be some younger guys that will be able to step in and fill roles when they are ready while we have guys in place to play right now. I think everyone would agree that what we lack is elite offensive talent. I personally think we have the potential for that in the system right now, but it will take time to get there.

    all of Gaudreau, Monahan, Bennett, Sven have the POTENTIAL to be elite at this level; they’re just not there. . . yet.

    THIS is optimistic, but say all four of those guys pan out and you complement that with young guys on the big club NOW like Backlund, Colborne and Bouma. that’s a strong 7 of a top 9.

    That’s without including guys like Porier, Klimchuk, Granlund, Rinehart, Knight, Ferland. If just TWO of them turn into top 9 players, the front end is cake.

    The back end and between the pipes needs work, though. And lots of that will involve luck.

  • SavardianSpinorama

    “Rebuilding is never fun. There’s no disputing that.”

    Watching the Flames suck hasn’t been much fun, either.

    I’d rather watch a rebuild than whatever the heck Iggy and Jaybo brought to the table in the years prior.

    Now THAT was no fun.

  • RexLibris

    @Cccsbergc, @Christian Roatis

    Fair points, I perhaps took the article too far and definitely overreacted. I suppose I have a respect for Flames fans that is based on the fact they are honest, unlike other fans. They can talk hockey with a certain sense of knowledge, and making blanket statements like teams in the west are going to start regressing, without even trying to back it up with any honest analyzation of the teams, their prospects, the stars they have on the rise, just flies in the face of what I respect about true Flames fans.

    I mean really, if you are honestly going to look at a team like LA or San Jose, with the young talent that has been steadily progressing and come to the conclusion that they will be a worse team in 3 years simply because they don’t have their current top two stars, then yes, I do think you are lying to yourselves and your readers. Then to extrapolate that across the entire western conference, your article is a bit of a joke. I mean, you say the Oilers are going to be crappy in 3 – 5 years because they are, well, just perennially bad, and you believe that will be the case 3 years from now.

    Really, do you really think 3 years from now a team made up of Hall, Nuge, Eberle, Draisaitl, Yakimov, Schultz, Yakupov, Nurse, Marincin, Klefbom, is going to be perennially bad? I think it’s great you think the NHL goes in cycles, but those timelines are way longer than you give breadth for here. The Hawks were bad forever, but since about 2010, so 5 years, they have been cup contenders. Same with LA since they won the cup, same with St. Louis. Same with Anaheim since they won. These teams have not gotten worse, and are simply doing a great job of drafting, developing, and asset management. Look at the Gaborik contract, that is crazy good.

    But instead this article doesn’t look at any of that, instead opting to say,”well it’s all a crystal ball so really how is a bad prediction any less accurate than a good prediction?” Well because my prediction takes into account actual players and how they are doing, where as yours just says, because x, y will surely happen. But the problem is that “x” is not based on anything, just opinion.