Five things: In praise of

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1. House cleaning

So the Calgary Flames season ended up being just like the last four: Without the playoffs. Five years without a postseason appearance, and it’s starting to look like that five-year stretch in which they did make it, under Darryl Sutter and Jim Playfair and Mike Keenan, was the aberration.

But with that having been said, this is perhaps the first time in a while the Flames actually have some amount of hope for the future. I’m not going to be one of those guys who thinks their performance since January is in any way indicative of the team’s chances next year — and certainly I don’t think this “speeds up the rebuild” or whatever similar claptrap people have been pushing for the last little while — but nonetheless, this was a season that had a lot of positives on the individual level. Even as the team was largely bereft of them collectively.

So because all I ever hear from the commenters here is crying about how I’m so negative (you know, because there’s a lot of great stuff to talk about from a team that’s picking in the top-6 at the draft for the second year in a row), I figured I’d outline the ways in which certain Flames players have been impressive to me this season, even as the team as a whole, again, was indefensibly awful.

2. Mark Giordano

This is the obvious place to start because Giordano was nothing short of spectacular in this, his first year as captain. The ongoing issue is that he’ll be 31 by the time next season starts, and thus building any plans more than two or three years in the future around his continued effectiveness is an iffy prospect. But for now, wow, what a season.

If I had a PHWA vote, he would have been second in my Norris balloting behind only Zdeno Chara, and that’s mainly because he only played 64 games. Maybe with a full season he’s not as effective, but what we saw in the three-quarters of it he played was excellent. For anyone to drive play on this Flames team was rare, but for him to do it considering the usage Bob Hartley demanded of him is just remarkable. In much the same way that Chara was often held back from winning more Norris Trophies because Nicklas Lidstrom was the second-best defenseman of all time, Giordano’s very legitimate candidacy is restrained by Chara’s continued excellence; when all’s said and done, Boston’s big man will likely be one of the six or seven greatest defensemen of all time, so there’s no shame for Giordano in coming up short.

Would that he’d been healthier, from a personal perspective, but his injury helped the Flames finish as low as they did, and that’s valuable too.

3. TJ Brodie

You can’t mention Giordano’s play without mentioning Brodie’s because both were fantastic this year, together. That’s the amazing thing in all this: Though they didn’t spend much time apart (Brodie played 765 minutes without Giordano, and Giordano 360 without Brodie), they were both pretty awful when separated.

Brodie’s corsi% dropped to 46.7, and Giordano’s to 47.4. Together, though, they demolished the competition for a 56.2 percent corsi share, and the Flames scored 55.2 percent of the goals when they were on the ice together.

It really says a lot about what both bring to the table, and what Brodie’s doing at his young age to get there. I’m not sure you can pencil him in as a present and future No. 1 defenseman, but a few more years patrolling the blue line this effectively with Giordano would obviously convince everyone.

The issue with Brodie is the contract, of course. He’s an RFA next summer but is obviously up to be extended this July, and Brian Burke (or the next GM) would do well to make him priority No. 1. Get him locked up long-term, for as big money as he wants — because hey, you’re nowhere near the ceiling any time soon anyway — and don’t let it drag out. “Calgary Flame for life TJ Brodie” has a ring to it that this team would be foolish to ignore.

4. Jiri Hudler

Obviously I was dubious when the Flames signed this contract because it was a symbol, at the time, of everything the team was doing wrong. Here was “going for it,” here was “overspending on free agents with dubious individual value,” here was “passing off mediocre signings as big ones.”

In the two years since, it seems Hudler is exactly the player Jay Feaster thought he was getting, and while that contract isn’t a value, it’s not a burden either. We can debate whether they should have signed him at all (they shouldn’t have) but there’s no room for discussion on what he’s brought to the team. He has, simply, been very good. Leading scorer on the team this year, probably would have pushed for that title if he’d been healthy last year. One of my primary concerns when they signed him was that his PDO was through the roof, but he’s proven that, like Alex Tanguay before him, he’s just the kind of player who makes that kind of thing happen when he’s on the ice. They’re not common, but they exist.

Yes, he’s given some pretty choice usage, but he also got the chance to shepherd some good young centers on this team into better positions than originally thought. For example, the guy he played with most frequently was Mikael Backlund, who was just great this year in pretty much every way, and is another guy who needs to be locked up way, way, way long-term for as much money as he wants. The guy he played with second-most?

5. Sean Monahan

No, he shouldn’t have been in the NHL this season. It was a waste of an RFA year by any consideration, and therefore poor asset management, for the cynical premise of “selling hope” (which essentially means “getting fans to keep paying to watch an awful team”).

With that having been said, though, Monahan was a pretty pleasant surprise in terms of what he brought to the table. He was a negative possession player, because of course he was, and that’s despite some easy zone starts and soft competition. But even after that ridiculous hot start, he kept scoring pretty steadily (22 times, in fact). Yeah he had an unsustainable shooting percentage and yeah he’ll probably regress in that regard next season, but by the end of this year he didn’t look out of place, which I guess is all you can ask for from a guy who shouldn’t have been in the league at all this season.

It will be interesting to see what he does next year, especially with whomever the Flames get at No. 4 — who you’d have to think they’ll also try to hurry along into the NHL — but for this season, the team should have been expecting a disaster and got a semi-competent NHLer who scored 22 times instead. That’s a big positive, and probably bodes well for the future.

  • How good does that Bourque/2nd(**Fucale)/Holland for Cam/Ramo/5th(Culkin) look in retrospect!? Even if Feaster wasn’t intentionally rebuilding at that point, the man did good on that one.

    Does anyone really think Monahan would have benefitted another year in the OHL? Is there any evidence to support players who go back an extra year & it’s benefit? I’d be interested in seeing that side of the argument from a statistical point of view.

    • TheoForever

      Habs picked Fucale with our pick.
      I remember idiots at HFB saying stupid things like Flames had a bad draft because they didn’t pick that goalie and failed to take Shinkaruk.
      They knew nothing about our goalie prospects and were repeating nonsense.

      • Oh whoops, don’t know why I had that confused.

        Still a great move by Feaster.

        And re: Shinkaruk – he was highly touted but glad we didn’t take him. Poirier had a great year while Shinkaruk lost a huge chunk of his year to a Hip Injury/Subsequent Surgery.

  • supra steve

    I think it is likely that Feaster looked into the possibility of a full rebuild early in his tenure, but ownership wasn’t in that frame of mind yet. So he continued to try to “go for it” with the Richards offer and Tangs re-sign. But he did not move a lot of draft picks, and his revised scouting staff began the re-build at the draft.

    Ultimately, it doesn’t matter when the re-build began. The only time I need to know for sure is, what date/time is the Cup parade?

  • TheoForever

    I often agree with BurningSensation but here…
    Example:
    Hitler rebuilds German economy and military vs Feaster rebuilds flames org. (not WW2)
    Hitler annexes Sudetenland vs Feaster trades Regerh (not WW2)
    Hitler attacks Poland vs Feaster trades Iginla (start of WW2 and Flames rebuild)

    • BurningSensation

      I think part of the problem is that the word ‘rebuild’ is defined rather arbitrarily.

      For me, a ‘rebuild’ is taking place when you are changing the core of your team.

      Lets take a look at Edmonton. How many ‘rebuilds’ have they been through the last 10 years? 1? 2? 3? I recall when the new ‘core’ was goiing to be; Cogliano, Gagner, and Nilsson. Now, two of those three are gone (Gagner is on his way out), and the ‘ new-new core’ is The Nuge, Hall, Eberle, Yak and Jultz. What we can all agree on though is that for the last decade the Oilers have appeared to be ‘rebuilding’ (the 6? coaches in 7 years is also a giveaway).

      Here’s the thing, under Sutter I think we can all agree the team was NOT rebuilding. They consistently added vets, dealt away draft picks, and rarely broke in rookies.

      Under Feaster, we have the reverse. They consistently dealt away vets, added draft picks and broke in a bunch of rookies.

      If Sutter is NOT a rebuild, and Feaster is doing the polar opposite of what Sutter was doing, logic would suggest Feaster was doing a rebuild.

      Part of the problem in reaching a definition, is that the popular sense of what rebuild looks like is the Edmonton template. Deliberate, and prolonged losing with the (unstated) goal of adding elite talent at the draft.

      Except that ignores what teams like Ottawa, Detroit, San Jose, and Philly do. Sure, they may bottom out once a decade and pick in the top 5, but it isn’t something they do year after year after year to ‘rebuild’ their team.

      In particular, consider Ottawa. They first ‘built’ their expansion team around spare parts like Dusty Rhodes, and Norm Macivor. Then they added Alfredsson and Hossa at the draft, and built the team around them. Eventually they added Spezza at the draft, traded Hossa for Heatley and a new (much more powerful) team emerged in Ottawa. Then they moved on from Heatley, added Karlsson at the draft, and yet another new Sens team took form.

      In each instance where they added or removed a major core piece you could argue (and I would) that the team was ‘rebuilding’.

      There is no reason (at all) that a team can’t change it’s core and still be trying to win. One of the biggest problems I have with Lambert is that he is stuck in this notion that a ‘rebuild’ HAS to be the kind Edmonton does – when it seems clear to me that what Edmonton is doing is actually the worst possible thing to do.

      • ChinookArchYYC

        In the end your at least right about the problem being the word rebuild. For me re-tooling is moving a team in the same direction, but changing a few parts over a longer time (regardless of how big or small the part is). Re-building is a true overhaul, and understanding that the team will be worse before it gets better.

        With the above in mind, Trading Regehr to free up cap space, and then re-signing Tanguay for more salary and tenure is definitely a Retool.

        • BurningSensation

          Using your own definition, “For me re-tooling is moving a team in the same direction, but changing a few parts over a longer time (regardless of how big or small the part is). Re-building is a true overhaul, and understanding that the team will be worse before it gets better.”, I’d argue that the direction the Flames took under Feaster was obviously different from the direction under Sutter.

          I’d also argue then (on your definition) that the Flames are not rebuilding at all, but simply retooling.

          There does not appear to me to be any appetite among Flames brass or ownership to do a full ‘tear-down’ of the team with the intent of wandering in the wilderness for a half decade or more trying to ‘rebuild’ from scratch. Thank goodness. That way lies madness.

          IMO, the ‘rebuild’ started when Feaster ejected Regehr from the core, and embarked upon changing the core of the team. Everything since the Regehr trade looks like evidence to me of a team rebuilding.

          You (and others, I am having trouble keeping track) have mentioned the Tanguay signing as evidence they weren’t rebuilding.

          But re-signing an asset (even an older one) to a reasonable deal is neutral, it is not ‘adding a vet for a playoff push’, but it is also not ‘dumping a vet for cap space/prospects/picks’. It preserved Tanguay as an asset, an asset that was later transformed into the (much younger and healthier) David Jones, so I wouldn;t look at the re-signing of an existing FA as indicative of anything.

          But I would look at what Tanguay was traded for as a sign of what the Flames are doing.

          • ChinookArchYYC

            Before and after the Regehr trade, Feaster said it was re-tooling and vehemently objected to using the word Re-Build.

            Tanguay was signed for Iginla’s benefit (and a playoff push). Iginla made it clear he didn’t want to be part of a rebuild many times before and after Regehr was traded.

            It’s impossible to push and pull at the same time. The Flames were pushing for a playoff appearance when the re-upped Tanguay, in an effort to make the playoffs, otherwise they let him walk or provide a much smaller term to him. Signing him long term was a reflection that they wanted him around long term. In the end, Feaster had to make a bad trade to unload that ugly contract.

            The Rebuild truly began with the Iginla trade.

          • BurningSensation

            “It’s impossible to push and pull at the same time. The Flames were pushing for a playoff appearance when the re-upped Tanguay, in an effort to make the playoffs, otherwise they let him walk or provide a much smaller term to him.”

            I think this is the rub, as I do believe you can rebuild/retool at the same time as you try to make the playoffs. Lots of existing examples of teams that change their core over time and still remain competitive.

            When Iggy was dealt, he was the LAST of the core to be traded away. Feaster had already moved (or allowed to retire) the other members of the group.

            Look, every team changes year over year, even the Cup winning teams. As such, it is fair to say that ALL teams ‘retool’ year over year. What distinguishes a ‘retool’ from a ‘rebuild’ is whether or not the core players are being moved. If you are only moving pieces at the margins, you are retooling. If you are flipping a core player (for anything) you are ‘rebuilding’.

            If you are trading all your vets, and expecting your teenagers to lead you to the promised land you are doing a ‘scorched Earth rebuild’, and are likely living in Edmonton.

            My disagreement with you is over when a retool is a rebuild – which is fair enough. My disagreement with Lambert is that he consistently pushes for the Edmonton style ‘rebuild’ under the assumption (which is in error) that this is how teams are supposed to ‘rebuild’.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    The notion that it is somehow better to have saved 1 RFA compared to the gains Monahan made in his game in his rookie year are…well stupid.

    The thinking that had Calgary waited, brought him in the following year and his progression would have AT LEAST been the same (and definitely not worse) are comical.

    The author picked that position and clinged to it in face of all the evidence in front of him.

    If you counter with weak possession numbers, just stop. You can’t use corsi to back up your points if the context and use of corsi is not taken as law or indisputable. It’s your theory. You back up your theory with more use of your theory. not admissable. analytics have use, just not yours and not in the context of a first time player. the number does not allow for inexperienced to experienced progression, it treats all players as the same. blah.

    Monahan grew this year. 20+ goals as a teenager in the NHL. Rarified air. Take your corsi and shove it, if you think that is not achievement. Were there times when he was outplayed? Yup. Glad for it. Now he knows what to improve upon. Kids learn. Had he been returned to OHL and played well would he have been invited to Worlds? Are you sure? What is certain is he’s going now. Why? Because he played great in the NHL. Now his learning continues in an elite competition against men. Savvy experienced, advanced in their games, men. What doors will this open for Monahan? How anyone can argue it was wrong to have him up…1 RFA year compared to superior growth. No wonder the author writes the way he writes.

    That he proved to himself that he can score consistently in this league is something that can not be taken away. It’s a building block from which he will keep ascending.

    The author was wrong initially, wrong throughout the season and wrong again now in ‘thinking’ he knew better. He doesn’t. In fact, there is very little he knows.

  • TheoForever

    I agree that Regerh trade was not the start of rebuild.
    Flames were still operating under win now directive.
    Many people were calling for a rebuild, but that was unrealistic.
    Flames structure and prospect pool were not conducive for rebuild.
    Feaster understood the need for a rebuild but Ken King was happy with soldout building. Iginla was untouchable.

    Feaster cleared cap and contract problems, hired scouts, reorganized Flames and improved development system. He changed poisonous and confrontational atmosphere present in the organization and created by Darryl
    The rebuild starts with Iginla trade
    .

    Btw. The funny thing, common knowledge and running joke around the league was that flames were paying scouts that no longer attended games, it was true and went on for years.

    • ChinookArchYYC

      Agreed, the Regehr trade was not the start of a rebuild for the Flames. Yes, Feaster fixed a number of long time issues with the Flames (scouting, the farm system, management, etc.), but those changes simple don’t constitute a re-build. A Re-tool maybe.

      Feaster himself would not and has not called this trade the start of the rebuild.
      “It’s not a case where we were looking to unload Robyn,” Feaster said during Saturday’s second round of the 2011 Entry Draft. “Robyn has been a tremendous hockey player for our club and has been there for a very long time. It’s difficult when you move a guy that is a core player.” . . .
      “We have been in salary-cap jail for some time,” Feaster said. “This gives us the opportunity to have some room and get a fresh start and, at the same time, to get younger and bring in two younger players. We think both guys are going to play. (http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=567189)

      BS may have forgotten that on the same day Regehr was traded, Feaster signed Alex Tanguay to a new 5-year contract. It’s fine to characterize these trades as part of a Flames retool phase, a new direction or new philosophy, but calling it the first step of a rebuild is just revisionist history.

      On the Tanguay singing Feaster said, “He’s going to be with us for a long time,” Feaster said of Tanguay. “I think that the guy with the biggest smile today in Calgary … isn’t Alex, it’s Jarome Iginla. Because that’s one guy that Jarome has made very clear he very much wants back and he wants to be able to play with.” http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/41041-Calgary-Flames-trade-Regehr-resign-Tanguay-on-Day-2-of-NHL-draft.html

    • Burnward

      I think young Justin learned a lesson about trying to be the moral authority…….(leave that to the great thinkers like WW Instead…..)

      No one is happier than Justin that the next article was posted……..

      This “banning” thing is getting out of hand too……kind of a “lord of the flies” thing!
      (Google it Justin…….)

      WW

      • BurningSensation

        lol give me a break, bud. I am the moral authority, whether you like it or not. this is our site, so you play by our rules – or else, yeah, the banhammer comes down.

        • supra steve

          I agree with WW on this one, you’re wielding this banhammer pretty freely the last little while, or at least threatening to. Disappointing to see in a site that a lot of us have come to enjoy. But if you’re actually thinking like you are posting, then the little bit of power that you wield may be going to your head. Enjoy “your site”, after you’ve banned all the readers/posters that make it worth visiting.

          • supra steve

            I’ve been threatening banhammer because things are getting out of hand. clean up the comments, turn down the groupthink, and I’ll have to come around less. weekend open thread is the perfect example. if you are coming to the site for the comments, you should go to a message board – the primary focus here is the articles because we spend a lot of time writing stuff and we hope that people will be respectful of our work. I don’t think that’s asking a lot. having people come into comment sections and attack me personally doesn’t make me feel good.

  • BurningSensation

    I always look forward to LAmbert’s articles because they are fun to read. It’s a bit like watching Don Cherry. Lots of things I would classify as “hot air” but I enjoy the show. It’s entertaining. ( as is the usual back and forth in the comment section)

    An article suggestion for Lambert would be rather than pointing out what the Flames have done wrong I would like to see his path for how they should rebuild. Perhaps 5 things–“Rebuilding the Right way”.

    I may be in the minority here but I also dislike the name calling. Hate the viewpoints not the person.

    • Tenbrucelees

      Do you also dislike the name calling by Yer ol buddy Claptrap Lambert?

      Did you also enjoy watching the school bully do his thing, and hated it when someone tuned him in.

      • TheoForever

        Hmm your response puzzles me a little bit. I have found Lambert to be negative and sometimes misguided in his assessments but I don’t recall him making personal attacks on people. (It’s possible I am mistaken). I really don’t mind him articulating how awful he thinks the flames are and how terrible he thinks management is. Mostly I view it as a ploy to get a rise out of readers. While I disagree about his opinions on the hockey team I don’t think that this justifies me degrading him as a person. Those are his views on a hockey club. In the scope of things while t may not agree with him or I may not care for his style of writing I’m not sure it gives me license to attack his character etc.. Nonetheless it is a blog and I respect that people have a certain amount of freedom to do as they like. I’m just saying that I prefer attacks on hockey opinions not people.

        Mr.Lambert and I have never met and so no we are not ol buddies…

  • BurningSensation

    Here’s my screed on my why Lambert is always wrong;

    – The rebuild didn’t start last year, it started when Feaster traded Regehr.

    ‘Rebuilds’ to be clear, are when you change the core of your team. Regehr was the first of the core players moved out, and that is then we should start the clock running on the ‘rebuild’. Yes, it was ‘slow motion’, and ‘yes’ the important pieces to see shipped out were really J-Bo and Iggy, but the process was already well underway.

    The other reason to start the clock with Feaster’s takeover is because the first thing Feaster did was reset the scouting department and talent aquisition processes. It isn’t an accident that Feaster hit on both more and higher end prospects than the team under Sutter did.

    – One of Lambert’s ongoing hobby horses is that the Flames should actually be trying to be worse than they are, presumably for the chance to draft an Eichel or McDavid at some future point.

    This is stupid for a wide variety of reasons;

    There is no guarantee that being bad will land you elite talent (see Flordia, Columbus, Edmonton, etc. All of whom have failed to land a franchise caliber talent at the draft – depending on what you think about Taylor Hall). However, being bad will guarantee that your team is psychologically fragile, and creates a culture that finds losing acceptable. It also kills your fan enthusiasm, lowers ticket revenue, and makes the local scribes hungry for the flesh of management.

    Even if you manage to get one of the top picks, you could just as easily draft a Thomas Hickey, Cam Barker, Patrick Stefan, etc, as land a cornerstone for a decade. In other words, luck plays a huge part.

    Finally, even if you land yourself a cornerstone (say a Kopitar), you still have to build the rest of the team around them, or you end up like the Islanders constantly shuffling mediocre pieces around John Tavares, or the Oilers who seem constantly perplexed by the fact the team needs at least 4 top 4 defensemen to compliment their young core.

    – The rebuild may indeed be closer to being ‘over’ than you think.

    Monahan, Gaudreau, Baertschi, Bennett/Draisatl, Brodie, Poirier, Knight, Wotherspoon, Granlund, Klimchuk, Gillies – that is a fantastic looking young core developing, with the majority of them just under the surface of receiving serious ice-time (Monahan and Brodie being the obvious exceptions).

    The vets, Stajan, Hudler, Glen-X, Gio, and Cammalleri aren’t world beaters, but can do the heavy lifting while the kids develop (someting the Oilers only dream of).

    The real key though is between the pipes; Kari Ramo has shown he can deliver league average goaltending. At age 27 he is solidly entering his prime goaltending years. League average goaltending will cover a lot of warts, and with modest improvements over the next two years from the kids the Flames would be VERY close to being a playoff team.

    – Ultimtely my distaste for Lambert is simple. He wants us to be like the Oilers and suck tailpipe exhaust for a decade with the hope that we land an ‘elite’ player to build around.

    I want us to be like Detroit. Find gems late in the draft. Develop players for the long rather than the short term. Build down the middle (C and D), etc.

    If he can distinguish his ‘plan’ for how Calgary should proceed from what Tambellini was doing up North the last few years I’d be shocked.

    • prendrefeu

      Burning Sensation: while I agree with almost everything you said I will come Lamberts defense on one point; both Burke and Hartley called the season as the Flames did not make the playoffs and therefore the season was a failure. It also could be considered a failure because we did not finish last overall and win the lottery and have the choice of the draft. However that being said and reading what the various scouts have to say, there seems to be little difference between the top four picks anyways.

      Let’s also remember that the Red Wings sucked for a long time before they changed their culture and attitude towards development. We have a good start at developing organizational depth but this will take a few more years of good drafting which began under Feaster and will require patience from ownership, management, prospects and fans. It will also require ownership to spend more money on the AHL. Someone mentioned that the Heat lost 45 days of practice time a year by being out West; if they move to any other western city it will mean the same issue and the solution is spend more money on travel via a private charter and renting more practice facilities on the road.

      Also to be more like the Red Wings you will also need to change the general way how you play the game. No more top two lines and then 3rd line and a 4th line that plays 4-6 minutes a game. I have and remain an advocate of rolling four lines; something I have never fully explained the why and how it would in my mind and maybe I will do so in the coming weeks.

      It might be a good theme for the writers at FN to post how they would go about the rebuild of the organization and their philosophy of how the game should be played.

      • BurningSensation

        “It also could be considered a failure because we did not finish last overall and win the lottery and have the choice of the draft.”

        I have to disagree. Finishing last is total, abject, failure.

        Getting ‘rewarded’ with a higher pick because of the lottery is NOT a victory, it’s turd polish.

        • supra steve

          I think I did a poor job of explaining what I meant, so I will try and do a better job this time. As you recall I was trying to support Lambert’s position about the season being a total failure (both Hartley and Burke said that missing the playoffs was a failure); Lambert’s position I believe is that not winning the lottery is a failure, my response was meant to imply that I don’t see a big difference between 1-4 in the draft based upon what the various scouting services and experts say, so for me it’s not big deal. Any of those top 3 forwards help to move the organization forward as would Ekbald. I actually saw lots of progress this year and like the direction of the organization. Most of what you have said I agree with. Officially the rebuild began with the Iggy trade, the work for preparing the rebuild began with the trade to Buffalo and much of that work was done at the draft table, If you look at the prospects in this organization how many came directly from trades versus how many came from the draft(yes some of the picks came from trades but the choice of whom to pick came from within)and the scouts and Management did a very good job over those few years.

          • BurningSensation

            I’m not sure I disagree with much of the above, other than ‘officially the rebuild began…’.

            It’s that specific point I find so irritating. Feaster literally cleaned house in his four years at the helm, but the ‘official’ version suggests that it was only a rebuild when the last of the core was dealt.

            Drives me nuts.

          • I think that in many ways it about terminology not actual difference of opinions. You used the repairing the boat analogy but I think it’s more like a reno project(like the one I’m avoiding in my half bathroom)you start with replacing the sink and eventually you have redone the whole bathroom. Not what you meant to do but what was done anyways. I think Feaster did have his eye on the future when he made the trade to Buffalo but the people above him still only wanted the sink changed. For me it’s not something to get to frustrated with.

            What bothers me is that I am not sure Feaster and crew get enough credit for the direction this club is on and the fact that it might not take as long to become legitimately competitive again. There is a chance that this team with the right additional moves could be back in the playoff race next year and if nothing major is done in two years.Not the that many predicted.

        • BurningSensation

          Please quit referring to people from “Poland” as “turd polish”……that is very racist of you!!!

          “Finish last” is offensive to people from Finland as well…………

          You would do well by watching “Anchorman 2” for some sensitivity training……

          WW

      • BurningSensation

        @chinookarch

        et al.

        Go back and look at each of Feaster’s moves starting with the Regehr trade.

        Yes, it was to get us out of salary cap hell (which was necessary), but every deal Feaster made – every – single – deal – made the Flames younger and or brought back picks.

        The two most obvious trades to look at involve ‘core’ pieces;

        Regehr brought us; cap space, Byron, Butler

        Bourque brought in; Cammalleri (younger), and Ramo. etc.

        But it isn’t just his trades that give away what Feaster was doing, all along he was shedding salary, adding youth, and adding draft picks. Roster turnover accelerated markedly under his reign, reaching a sort of peak two years ago when he iced an entirely new 2nd line of players (Hudler, the KHL guy, Sven – who he drafted) to start the season.

        Now, do I believe he was under orders to make the playoffs? Yes.

        But I also think he was tasked with rebuilding the club ‘on the fly’, and we are reaping the rewards of his project now.

        • Again I have to disagree. There is a big difference between tear down/rebuild & retool on the fly. The retool accomplished what Feaster had said, getting younger & shedding salary. In fact, that is the only way it can be done & accomplish both objectives, so don’t misconstrue that for rebuild. Now if Feaster was on the same mission as you say, rebuild on the fly, why in God’s name wouldn’t he of traded JBO to Detroit for Nyquist & Tatar as per Bob Mackenzie of the Detroit deal on the table? He at that point knew that the retool was not going to work & the “official” rebuild was to jettison the core players. Getting 1st round picks was all he fixated on. If Mackenzie found out that offer was on the table, I am sure Burke did as well & became on of the reasons he let him go. I think Porrier is going to be a good one, but OMG, Nyquist & Tatar. FFS! That’s how you speed up a rebuild.

          • BurningSensation

            Ok, first things first, that rumoured Detroit deal (as I recall) was; Jarnkrok, Ouellet and a 2nd, not Tatar and Nyqvist.

            Second, defining a ‘rebuid’ is a philosophical problem not unlike the famous ‘Boat’ problem.

            You have a boat. Over time, you effect repairs on it, and gradually replace those parts that wear out or are no longer up to grade. Eventually you realize that every single plank on the boat is different from the original boat you started with.

            The philosophical problem is ‘is it the same boat’, but in our case it is, ‘when did the rebuild of the boat start’?

            Look at it this way, when Feaster was brought on board the Flames core was;

            Iggy, Kipper, J-Bo, and Regehr.

            When Feaster left all four of those players were gone.

            In their place are a raft of prospects and young players; Monahan, Granlund, JG, Sven, Wotherspoon, Knight, Poirier, Klimchuk, etc. Players who we all hope will grow to become our ‘new core’ – and ALL of whom were procured under Feaster. In fact, the only players likely to be part of our new core that aren’t Feaster related are those we pick this year (5 picks in the first 3 rounds – most of which come from Feaster deals).

            So tell me again how Feaster didn’t ‘rebuild’ the Flames, and just ‘retooled’ them.

          • ChinookArchYYC

            Teams trade core players & not rebuild. Just because Feaster traded one of our cores in Regehr was not in the name of a rebuild. There are many reasons why teams trade core players, case in point Philly trading Carter & Richards. Not sure I would categorize that as a rebuild. It was shaking up a core that may have gone stale or something was wrong.

            Give me a break, you cant equate the Regehr trade 2 years earlier with the wrecking ball Feaster did at the 2013 TDL. You trying to say that was Feasters master plan? Poppycock.

            Also, the Nyquist & Tatar deal was confirmed by Bob Mackenzie & you can say what rumours you want, but the man wouldn’t say that on the hockey panel if there wasn’t any validity to it. I put a lot more credibility in that source. The players mentioned above, Poirier & Klimchuk were a result of the “actual rebuild”. The other players & Monahan were ours & results of good drafting, not rebuilding, so don’t go there. Take out Porrier ( we cant assume he would have been there for the Iggy 1st rounder we got) & then inject Nyquist & Tatar & we got ourselves a pretty nice NHL ready forward group going into next year. In fact, if that were to have happened, I would agree with you that Feaster was rolling out his retool plan from the Regehr trade & the pending UFA status to Iggy & retirement of Kipper were inevitable.

          • BurningSensation

            That is exactly what I am saying. So long as the Flames were competitive for a playoff spot J-Bo and Iggy wanted to be a part of it. The moment in 2013 that the Flames were clearly not going to make it to the big dance Feaster (some will say ‘finally’) went to them and got permission to deal them (NMCs and al).

            As for the Detroit deal, I’ll say this. Yes, I think Mackenzie is awesome and wouldn’t put something out that he didn’t think was true. But I didn’t see a tweet, post, or interview where he said what you say he did (whereas I did see Jrnkrok/Ouellet and a 2nd as being the likely offer). I also didn’t see anything official from either team about the proposed deal looks like, except that the Flames were fixed on getting a first in any deal for J-Bo. Any way you cut it, you can’t make a mountain out of one proposed deal that fell through.

            So, I’ll repeat myself, the Flames started under Feaster as one of the oldest teams in the league with a veteran heavy lineup, and an aging core of Iggy, J-Bo, Regehr, Bourque, and Kipprusoff.

            By the time Feaster left they were all gone, and in their place was a raft of young prospects and players for the team to build around.

            Pretty much the definition of a rebuild.

          • BurningSensation

            I don’t think anyone is trying to argue with you that Feaster didn’t leave the team in a rebuilding state. It’s your assertion that the rebuild started in 2011 that doesn’t make sense. If we were rebuilding Feaster would not have given Buffalo a 2nd to take Kotalik off out hands so that we could re-sign a 32 year Tanguay and throw 9 years and 60ish million at a 31 year old Brad Richards a week later. Normally I don’t like to comment on stuff that didn’t happen, but I think it was pretty common knowledge that we outbid the Rangers for him and he choose them for personal reasons. The Regehr trade was clearly a salary dump done to try and give the team cap flexibility to win in whatever window they thought they had left with Iggy, JBo, and Kipper.

            Not really sure the Bourque trade works as evidence of rebuilding either. Cammy is only 1 year younger and we gave up another 2nd and a prospect in the deal. Looks like another move trying to get them in the playoffs in 2012 (although he gets props for losing a bad contract in Bourque).

            Anyways, agree with most of your original post but you’re missing a huge distinction in the types of moves Feaster was making pre and post 2013

          • BurningSensation

            Someone above (coachedpotatoe?) suggested that a team ‘can’t suck and blow at the same time’, but I believe that is exactly what Feaster was tasked with.

            His job (as impossible as it was) was to get the Flames into the playoffs AND to rebuild the franchise.

            Remember that Sutter had all but destroyed our farm system (it’s a telling point that of all Sutter’s picks TJ Brodie is the only one still around, ,though Ferland may yet make an apperance), and that there was a HUGE gap on the team for players in the 22-27 age range (most of our team was older). Also recall that we were in the worst cap-hell any NHL team has ever been in (so bad we couldn’t ice a full lineup some nights).

            So, Feaster made some moves, and in each and every case the players we got back were younger than those we gave up. Yes, the Regehr deal was about cap-space (and about getting cheap youngsters Butler and Byron), but it was also a signal that major changes were taking place under Feaster, the kinds of changes Sutter was never going to make.

            I argued (and did so at the time, here on this site) that we were in a ‘slow-motion rebuild’, where Feaster would change the core while remaining competitive for a playoff spot. I stand by that.

            Dating the start of the rebuild to when the last of the core are moved out misses the previous 3.5 years of work Feaster had done rebuilding the team.

          • BurningSensation

            “a team ‘can’t suck and blow at the same time”

            Cmon I think we all know the Oilers have shown us that it is VERY possible to suck and blow at the same time 😉

            “Also recall that we were in the worst cap-hell any NHL team has ever been in (so bad we couldn’t ice a full lineup some nights)”

            That was a good 2 years before the Regehr trade and likely had no impact on it.

            “I argued (and did so at the time, here on this site) that we were in a ‘slow-motion rebuild’, where Feaster would change the core while remaining competitive for a playoff spot. I stand by that.

            Dating the start of the rebuild to when the last of the core are moved out misses the previous 3.5 years of work Feaster had done rebuilding the team.”

            Not sure where you’re getting 3.5 years from unless you’re including the Phaneuf trade under Sutter in your “rebuild”. If you were arguing that the Regehr trade was a positive rebuilding move you woulda been the only one

            http://flamesnation.ca/2011/6/24/robyn-regehr-traded-for-real-this-time/page/1#comments

            The reaction is pretty hilarious

            But yeah as others have pointed out, you’re making it sound like Feaster gradually moved out pieces of the core over time, adding picks and prospects. Not really. Cap troubles forced him to move one, then he shuffled around secondary players for the next two years. Finally, when the bottom really fell out on the flames last year he FINALLY got permission to start a true rebuild and moved (or attempted to move) the flames remaining core players Iginla, Bouwmeester, Kipper and Comeau (jk lol).

            But I agree with Suba Steve…who cares when it started, I’m waaaay more interested in when the rebuild finishes!

          • Currently there are 8 of Sutters draft picks in the Flames organization. I don’t think any of them are between 27-30 which is area on this team that is missing, veteran skilled forwards entering their prime.

    • Tenbrucelees

      I’m not being funny here but I wouldn’t mind seeing Burning sensation or someone similar write a column for this site. I think that a slight problem with FN is that there is a lot of similarity in the views of the writers (although it must be said that Lambert is definitely to the extreme end of the spectrum).
      Someone who writes well and can be a counterpoint to other writers on some of the fundamental issues would be a welcome addition in my view.

      • BurningSensation

        Anyone but “Burning sensation”; I think he is from LETHBRIDGE!!!!!!……………………….OOOPS, was that “racist” of me? Calling him from LETHBRIDGE??? Kind of like calling someone an “American”…..

        Sorry, won’t happen again!

        WW

        • Tenbrucelees

          WW: I would love to hear your view of how the organization should proceed. This is an invitation for all of us to do so, we don’t really need the columnists for this. By the way I just trolled Oilersnation and they had a site called make the call, it was an interesting read. Maybe we could call ours Be the GM.

    • Burnward

      I really don’t agree that the Regehr trade was the beginning of the rebuild. The Regehr trade was the beginning of cleansing of the cap hell we were in. Regehr was simply a casualty of poor Cap management by the Sutter regime & it cost us one of our core players. If Regehr was moved for a pick when we didn’t need to unload his salary & Kotalik’s salary, then you may have something there. We wound up giving the 2nd rounder in that deal. Hardly a rebuild formula. We got Buffalo’s B prospects & no picks. Sorry sir, I agree with a lot of your posts but I cant agree that this trade was ground zero for the start of the rebuild. The clock stands at March 2013 as Ground Zero for Flames.

    • BurningSensation

      Well put and glad to see others saw the same thing happening over the last three years. BB can see the team has crawled and are starting to walk. Next year he moves them into the hard part, where they will be running to a playoff spot. It will be the forth year of the Rebuild.

  • Can’t agree with your assessment of Monahan.

    I really don’t think another year in the OHL would have helped him, and unfortunately he couldn’t play in the AHL.

    Monahan is actually in pretty good company as a 19 year old – I’d like to see him improve on his playmaking

    http://www.quanthockey.com/nhl/player-age/19-year-old-nhl-players.html

    I’d argue as well that Monahan’s quality of line mates falls short in comparison to some of the guys on that list.

  • Parallex

    Just to be clear, implying that someone does something because they are “American” is not “racism.” With all of the nonsense these days, it is difficult to remember just what racism is I guess.

    And we Americans do not mind being jeered or called names and we certainly do not mind being thought of unkindly.

    We can take it. Please trust me on this.

  • Bob Cobb

    Flames are an epic fail. lololololol. Theys is sos bads.Lololololol. Time to put out the flame…lololol. LIke on survivor the tribe has spoken…….lololololol

  • Bob Cobb

    You guys need to start being Intellectually Honest with yourselves and stop using the term Rebuild to describe the Flames current state of affairs as it couldn’t be further from the truth.

  • Lordmork

    Without Lambert’s weekly dose of negativity to keep my optimism in check, my fragile worldview has been shattered. I now fully expect the Flames to win the cup next year.

    More seriously, surely we can disagree with Lambert’s points (if you do) without disagreeing with him personally. I sometimes don’t like to hear what he say to say, but I think his commentary is valuable for precisely that reason.

  • mattyc

    So are we going to talk about hockey today, or the tenets of National Socialism, Dude?
    Here’s my playoff predictions (I made them before last night (yeah right;)) – comments?

    COL vs. MIN – COL in 6
    I don’t think the Avs are a very good team, but they have a goalie who’s had a great season, and that’s a lot more than I can say for Minny (Bryz!?).

    ANA vs. DAL – DAL in 6
    The Ducks have two great players, and not much else. They’re a poor possession team and don’t have a set starting goalie. Dallas is really underrated, have a great goalie, and Jamie Benn.

    STL vs. CHI – CHI in 6
    The Hawks are legit. The Blues are banged up, and I’m not convinced Ryan Miller is the answer.

    SJ vs. LA – SJ in 7
    How two of the top 5 teams (two of top 3 possession teams) in the league managed to meet in round one, I’m not sure, but this should be a really tight series (not sure it will actually be very good watching though…). I’m going to flip a coin and go with the Sharks, mainly because I think that the Kings aren’t scoring enough.

    BOS vs. DET – BOS in 5
    I respect the Wings, and especially Mike Babcock, but I don’t think they have the wheels (pardon the pun) to keep up with the Bruins, even if they were healthy. (Go Iggy!)

    PIT vs. CLB – PIT in 6
    I think the BJs are going to surprise folks, but again I think the Pens are just too deep at forward. Plus they have Lee Stempniak, I mean c’mon.

    TAM vs. MON – MON in 6
    I would have taken the Bolts, but they now have Anders Lindback in net. Anders. Lindback. Habs have a respectable lineup, and solid goaltending.

    NYR vs. PHI – NYR in 5
    Rangers are a great possession team, great goaltending, and have way better defense than the Flyers. Flyers have weak D and a bad (bad) goalie. I think this will be a quick one.

  • PrairieStew

    I was in the “send Monahan back to junior” at the beginning of the year. Despite his goal scoring success and the selling of hope to the fanbase I still think that this was the better option.

    You have veteran pro assets that could have filled that role in Street, B Jones and Max Reinhart. All 3 scored at a high rate in the AHL but saw very limited time in 4th line type opportunity here this year. First year pros that were older that could have played more include Knight and Granlund.

    It seems to me that a combination of the above 5 guys would have produced a very close facsimile of what Monahan got done. So maybe we lose 3 or 4 more shootout games without him, what does that hurt ? If he is CHL player of the year and Canada’s MVP at world juniors – isn’t that just about as much hope to the fans as this lovable 26th place unit ?

    • piscera.infada

      “If he is CHL player of the year and Canada’s MVP at world juniors – isn’t that just about as much hope to the fans as this lovable 26th place unit?”

      It’s still just an assumption. If he goes back to junior and flounders on a bad team and doesn’t get traded to a contender (the 67’s finished 3rd-last in the entire OHL, last in their conference). If he goes to the WHJC and he’s another casualty of Brent Sutters odd player usage.

      I’m not sure Monahan showing growth in an inferior league versus showing growth in the best league in the world is on par (or even close at all, for that matter).

      • PrairieStew

        Your assumptions that his junior experience would be have been bad are no more valid than mine that they would have been good. The only known is what has happened; that he acquitted himself well, but probably was a bit lucky to have scored as much as he did. Expectations ( especially for the fringe fan and observer) for Monahan will likely be pretty high and a fall( at least in offensive production) is a very real possibility.

        My other point was that in terms of the overall team his presence has made little difference in terms of standings. The value of an additional year of control on this player was in my mind worth the possible 2 or 3 points in the standings over his replacements.

        The argument that the development time at an NHL level was good for him is valid, but what is good for the goose is good for the gander. That is, perhaps one of the 5 guys mentioned previously also would have significantly developed their game playing regularly with good offensive NHLers like Hudler and Cammaleri, as opposed to 5 game stints of 6 minutes a night on the 4th line. It is likely that both B Jones and Street will be cut loose this summer for no return, yet I can’t help but wonder if they had gotten the opportunity Monahan had, one or both of them might have grown into an asset worth keeping. Not potential 1st line centre as Monahan may become, but at least servicable assets that could contribute. The upside of giving the older guys that chance with little risk since you have the benefit of time with a 19 year old.

        Moving forward I would hope that because of age Knight, Granlund, Arnold, Gaudreau et al would be given way more consideration than whoever we pick at 4 this summer. That player at 18/19 is not going to be that much better than the pro prospects to be able move this team up 10 spots to the playoffs.

        • Parallex

          “Moving forward I would hope that because of age Knight, Granlund, Arnold, Gaudreau et al would be given way more consideration than whoever we pick at 4 this summer.”

          I feel the same although for me it’s more guys like Knight, Granlund, Ferland, and Reinhart. The guys who’ve had some minor-pro experience… I don’t feel there is any need to rush guys straight out of the amateur ranks (be it CHL or NCAA) next year.

          Let them all ripen on the vine just a little bit longer the fruit will be that much sweeter. We can be the Red Wings rather then the Oilers if we just commit ourselves to having a little patience.

          • PrairieStew

            100%

            As “good” as Westgarth has been, let Hanowski and Van Brabant compete for his spot.

            Granlund is younger than Arnold by a year and Reinhart the same age as Billy. Those guys that have played NCAA are pretty mature and are more ready than run of the mill junior guys I think.

            Ferland hasn’t had enough post junior experience yet. Too bad he got hurt.

          • Parallex

            More ready yes… but I still think they could use a year playing minor-pro.

            A: It helps them develop further life skills.
            B: It still represents a step up in competition.
            C: It get’s them used to a pro-level schedule (NCAA season is usually less then half that of a professsional schedule).

        • FeyWest

          To be fair, if you worked your butt off, trained and showed you deserve a chance to stick in the line up shouldn’t you be rewarded or does the coach say,

          “Hey it’s great you showed you deserve to be here over XYZ but we’re not going to let you play on the team this year, sorry…”

          and now your confidence is dashed and you start worrying about what you might have done wrong. If he was elligible for the AHL I doubt we have this conversation.

          It’s a bit of a straw man argument trying to say “given the same situation but Street is in instead of Monahan he could potentially do the same” at least Street (Or whoever you want to insert here) had the opportunity in the AHL as opposed to the OHL.

          Everyone will get equal consideration and I’m more inclined to believe what management tells us rather than try to speculate them lying and are actually biased to who the “Hot Commodity Pick” is that year and they automatically get the spot.

        • piscera.infada

          I was merely trying to illustrate that saying with absolute certainty that “keeping him in the NHL is a mistake” is ludicrous. He acquitted himself well. There are aspects of the game that you only develop to the NHL level while playing at the NHL level (if that makes sense).

          I’m not trying to say his roster spot couldn’t have been used to view what other players can do, but I’m not sure that makes it a mistake. Regardless of what the expectations may be from the lay-fan, the kid made enormous strides in his game.

          I’m also not saying that Monahan sets a precedent for whomever the Flames choose this year. Each case should be decided on its own merits. I refuse however, to subscribe to what is essentially an arbitrary rule regarding when you can and can’t play a rookie in his draft +1 season, based almost entirely on hindsight.

          Sure, maybe Monahan has a bit of a dip in his production next year, but I’m not sure that is causally linked to his success in playing this season. What if he tears it up next year? What then?

          • PrairieStew

            I never thought( nor said) it was an absolute mistake to keep him. I just think that for the difference he provided to the team over other options, the possible risk that staying in the NHL could have been a bad experience for him, and the certainty that he burns a year, the better decision was to go back. I’m not viewing him in a vacuum – it’s in context with the team and where they are at.

            Had the team been closer to challenging for a playoff spot and there were zero young centres under a pro contract that could step in, then my view would have moved along the spectrum.

            Expectations and perceptions can affect development. See Sam Gagner for example. If he scores 15 goals next year people will be disappointed, if he had gone back to junior and came in and scores 15 next year as rookie I don’t think anyone is disappointed. I like scenario 2 for long term development.

            So its not the specific precedent that concerns me, it is the decision making that is made without respect to the context of the team. If they qualify Bouma, Colborne and Byron ( which they should) that is 10 forwards under contract without any UFA’s. I see 7 or 8 guys that should be given an opportunity to grow on this team as it develops into a contender – Sven, Johnny, Arnold, Knight, Granlund, Van Brabant, Agostino, Hanowski, Ferland. To me the guy at pick #4 has to be significantly better than all of those guys on that list to make the team next fall. There is no need to rush anyone given where they are at presently.

  • SmellOfVictory

    there’s more negativity in the comments than in the article itself. I will point out that in 08-09 the flames were sewered by kiprusoff, not keenan.

    just so we’re clear: implying someone does something negative because they’re “american” is racism and next time it’s brought up there will be bans. that doesn’t fly around here.

    thanks for reading.

  • BurningSensation

    I think a lot of the hate for RL is actually rooted in an unappreciated but significant cultural divide between the U.S. and Canada. In the U.S., bombast in public figures is expected and rewarded, regardless of whether what is said is actually true. At best, being right will get you bonus points.

    On the other hand, in Canadian culture we tend to be less automatically impressed with gall and bombast.

    There are lots of examples. If you want a hockey example, look at the difference between the way our hockey heroes conduct themselves. For the U.S., look at a Jeremy Roenick, and compare that to a Wayne Gretzky. In politics, look at the way many political analysts get famous just for spewing outrageous nonsense, whereas Canadians laud figures like Lloyd Robertson.

    To bring this back to hockey, RL is like Flamesnation’s Jeremy Roenick/Mike Milbury/ Jack Edwards. That might sound like an insult, but it’s not. It’s just playing to a certain kind of crowd. The trouble is, the style seems mismatched with the sort of crowd reading these posts most of the time.

    • supra steve

      Indeed, right you are Dr. My Momma told me, “Don’t say anything about a person behind their backs that you wouldn’t say to their face.” I’m guessing that’s what rubs some of us wrong about the harsh words of Our ‘Ol Buddy Lambert. When I see some insulting, hurtful comments made, I always wonder if some of these Writers (and other Yahoos) would have the stones to say some of this stuff out loud.

  • prendrefeu

    Strangely enough this article was better than most!

    But…

    Obvious troll is obvious.

    It’s clear Lambert is Dick Dastardly. The next time he is on the Roundtable he should be sporting a thin moustache to twirl with his fingers while speaking, accompanied by a piano from a Melodrama theatre while the audience boos and hisses. Per the usual script, he’ll tie the heroine to the train tracks and scamper off in a maniacal way.

    But this sort of character is absolutely necessary. It’s the constant menace on the horizon, the ‘evil gremlins’ that cause havoc among the flight crew, a character that can be pointed to as the counter balance to what is good to ensure that yes, reality is in fact better than the cloud hovering over the character’s narrow mind. Without the character we would be lead to moments to question what is good to a point of self-destruction and instability. The darkness is a necessary balance for progression.*

    It’s a schtick. Thanks for being there Lambert, even though your cupboards are often, but not always, rife with feces from a male cattle. I give you a B+ for your posts for this season. Thank you.

    *For those of you with any knowledge of, background or practice in Buddhism you may know what I’m referring to.

  • MattyFranchise

    I actually like this post. I didn’t think you could do this Lambert but I actually agree with all of your points, aside from Monahan being an NHLer, we’re on the same page.

    Didn’t think I’d see the day.

  • SmellOfVictory

    I don’t know that “aberration” is the right term to use for any 5 year stretch for this team. They were legitimately good for the first few post-lockout seasons, then they got unlucky and are now legitimately not very good (although impressively still better than a handful of other teams in spite of shipping off all previous core players).

    • Purple Hazze

      I agree, I wouldn’t call those years an “abberation.” In fact those years were the direct result of our first rebuilding effort, the young guns era. As bad as that era was to watch, it still netted a pretty good result: made the finals in 04, we lost a year of the team’s prime in 05, won the division in 06, and continued to ice a pretty competitive team for the next couple of seasons before the wheels started to fall off.

      It was just a shame mgmt decided to try and squeeze a few too many seasons out of that core. I have a feeling the young guns 2.0 is going to yield a much better result!

      • SmellOfVictory

        It’s not even an issue with trying to squeeze too much out of that core, so much as the way it was done. Dutter tended to trade for vets in their late 20s/early 30s rather than younger guys in their early/mid 20s, and he traded away too many 2nd round picks (also drafted horribly).

        Had the drafting been average, and the trades been for guys a bit less long in the tooth, the transition from old core to new core could have been a lot smoother.

    • SmellOfVictory

      When you look at the last few years of no playoff appearances and you look at Van city this year you can see what having a wrong coach for your team can do..

      I’m not saying we for sure would have made the playoffs if Brent Sutter wasn’t our coach but you could tell something was a miss.

      I know we had locker room issues but when your team doesn’t play to its strengths it is doomed to fail.

      Sutter got a longer leash than Keenan (who made the playoffs) which is the biggest blemish of the last few years..

      • MattyFranchise

        “Sutter got a longer leash than Keenan (who made the playoffs) which is the biggest blemish of the last few years..

        Except Keenan had an elite roster in 08/09 (you know, the one where someone other than Iginla led the team in goals) and managed to barely reach the playoffs. He deserved to be fired.

        As did Sutter. We agree on that.

        • prendrefeu

          My only rebuttle to that is Regehr got injured and missed the end of the season and playoffs, Gio, although he wasnt as good then, was hurt also and Phanuef got injured during the series as well.

          Sarich was playing on a broken foot, if I remember correctly also..

          Point is 08/09 was the best team we’ve had in the last many years but injuries near the end of the season made us fall in the standings and ended up facing the Hawks…

          We gave them a good run and we lost some games we outplayed them in but in the end we were too injured on the back end and Bertuzzi was undisiplined and took some costly penalties…

          We deserved a better fate that year but such is life of the sport we love, injuries happen and we couldnt overcome them..

          But as Keenan himself once said “there are never excuses but there are usually reasons.”

      • SmellOfVictory

        I definitely agree. Sutter wasn’t the worst coach in the league, but I think he was below average to the point that he hurt the team. There was a great deal of dump-and-chase with him.

        Realistically we can blame both Sutters to some extent (although Darryl at least had positives to his GM tenure); Darryl allegedly turned down a Regehr for Joe Thornton trade, as well as getting poor value for Phaneuf and generally being somewhat lacklustre at cap management, which didn’t help the situation at all.

        • Burnward

          Yes, you are certainly entitled to your opinion but I strongly disagree with your comments!

          “Darryl allegedly turned down a Regehr trade for Joe Thornton”….purely speculation on your part. Do you have facts on this? My point is that you are judging Darryl’s performance on a far fetched rumour with no basis whatsoever.

          “Getting poor value for Dion”….to a certain extent I agree. Years after the trade we all know the damage Dion has done with the Leafs with his NHL size, NHL speed and his inability to provide leadership and play positional defense. Not to mention his ridiculous $49M contract that is not a Flames problem.

          “Darryl had at least positives in his GM tenure”…any comments on his coaching abilities? Do you remember the 2004 playoff run ? Something Flames fans may or may not ever experience again? Not to mention his Stanley Cup win with the Kings and potentially another championship this spring.

          • SmellOfVictory

            I don’t have sources on the Thornton/Regehr thing, but I’ve heard it come up numerous times (8 year old rumours are tough to substantiate).

            The Phaneuf thing has to be looked at as it was at the time: Phaneuf was considered a potential franchise defenceman who had come off a number of ridiculously good seasons early in his career. He was traded for centrepiece Matt Stajan, a 2nd/3rd line centre, Ian White, a smaller 3rd pairing defenceman, and flotsam. It was a disaster at the time; even to this day, after Phaneuf has been less than stellar in Toronto, it’s still a crap return.

            No comments on Darryl’s coaching, because I’m talking about him as a GM. He was, and is, an amazing coach.

    • SmellOfVictory

      How can you say that when he scored the most goals by a rookie in decades and didnt’t look out of place all season, save a few weeks around the time he came back from injury?

      Some players are ready to jump in right away! How is this concept so hard to comprehend?

      Playing in the NHL, and succeeding, is much better for development than dominating the OHL in your 4th year in the league.

      You do know he already played 3 years of junior?

      Forget about contracts, Monahan deserved to be here!

  • beloch

    You start of sounding so inviting and positive…

    Then you start your rants about how we shouldn’t have signed a free 50-60 point asset and we shouldn’t have let Monahan, who worked his @ss off, make the team…

    I like your articles on more occassions than most but give your head a shake.

    Monahan belongs in this league and Hudler was a great signing!!

    Why is the world so black and white in some peoples eyes?