News and Notes – June 16 2014

The 2013-14 season is now over entirely, folks. The hockey calendar officially flips over to the 2014-15 schedule on July 1, but obviously there are a lot of things to touch upon between now and then. Those things include trades, free agency, the draft and buyouts, compliance and otherwise.

BUY-OUTS

Will Calgary, a team that needs to add some money to reach the cap floor, rid themselves of big-ticket deals? Probably not. However, Shane O’Brien made $2 million in the AHL, a far cry from the $75,000 made by everybody else.

If his deal gets buried in the minors again, that does eat up about $1.1 million of NHL cap space. But it could unbalance the Baby Flames (either financially or in the locker room). O’Brien in the AHL isn’t a solution for anybody. he’s probably the most likely Flame to be bought out.

FREE AGENTS

Bob McKenzie’s news isn’t shocking. The Flames need veterans and good pros, and Cammalleri ticks those boxes rather well. They also need guys that can drive possession, which Cammalleri has done these past few years. Curtis Glencross’ rough last season probably only further Cammalleri’s stock in Calgary.

Not so shocking, again, is the issue of term. If you’re Cammalleri, you want stability and a pay-day. If you’re Brad Treliving, you want some veterans to guide the Monahans and Gaudreaus of the world through the next two or three years, and then you hope to have a team on the cusp that can lure in free agents. Cammalleri probably doesn’t want to move his family again. The Flames don’t want to get locked into another Dennis Wideman-esque anchor contract.

TRADES

Coburn’s 29, has a $4.5 million cap hit. He’s 6’5″, 220, and unlike say, Chris Breen, he can play hockey at the NHL level. He is, of course, a left-handed shot. Like every defenseman in Calgary’s system not named John Ramage.

But he’s from the West, is big and (shockingly) mobile, and is probably an upgrade over Chris Butler. His cap hit is pretty decent (for only one more year after this one), and considering the Flyers have six NHLers (including Coburn) signed for next year and a bunch of promising kids waiting in the wings, the asking price probably won’t be monstrous.

And who can’t wait for the poor play-by-play guys to have to differentiate between Colborne and Coburn?

THE DRAFT

One name to keep in mind in the second or third round of the Draft in two weeks? Ryan Donato.

The Flames have had a renewed scouting presence in New England over the past several years, dating back to before John Weisbrod arrived. Donato’s a New England product with a former NHLer for a dad. Ted Donato was a solid depth NHLer, putting up 347 points in 796 NHL games with Boston, the Islanders, Rangers, Ottawa, Anaheim, Dallas, Los Angeles and St. Louis. He bounced around a lot later in his career, ironically after his son was born. No doubt the younger Donato is aware of the realities of continued NHL employment via his father, who now coaches at Harvard.

Coming out of high school, Donato is a big lanky kid with great hands. And he went to Dexter Prep, where he was a year behind Tim “Who?” Harrison, Calgary’s sixth rounder last year. He’s a project who’s committed to Harvard for 2015-16, but with multiple second and third rounders and likely some familiarity with the player, the Flames may be willing to take on a project player with some upside.

  • Mike Richards is still a good player, but that contract is awful.

    Apparently Nashville is open to trading their 11th overall pick for a top 6 forward. Do you think Hudler or Glencross + a middling prospect gets it done?

    How good would it be to get one of Bennet, Reinhart, Drasaitl Dal Colle AND one of Ritchie, Virtanen, Nylander or Kapanen?

  • RedMan

    IF the flames were even involved in discussions that included the aforementioned players for Spazz, we could immediately conclude our management is even WORSE then Edmonton’s, and quit following the Flames at all, ever again, shave our heads and become bhudist monks. or worse, start following soccor.

    I personally do NOT believe our management is that stupid. Burke’s a lot of things, but he is not stupid.

    this is some BS floated out of Ottowa for some reason.

    • sathome

      I find the whole talk from flames fans condemning the Flames for this to be slightly ridiculous. It’s a hypothetical at best. There’s no reason to believe that anything more than ‘kicking the tires’ happened here with regards to the Flames and Spezza. It’s a deal that WILL NOT happen and yet I keep hearing people (mostly people who have already made up their minds RE: BB/BT) B@#h and moan over it.

      just silly…

      who wants to take bets on what number this comes in at on Lambert’s next blog?

      • DragonFlame

        We condemned Feaster for his almost misses and they added up to him being fired. For me these(not renewing Ward etc) are notches against T/B, if this rumour was true and we had gotten Spezza IMO this would have been of the worst trades in Flames history; Spezza today does not meet any of the Flames needs going forward, (3/$ years ago when we needed a C for IGGY fine but we are a t different stage today). None of them enough to cause them to be fired but it’s a trend I’m not happy with.

        • DragonFlame

          But there’s no concrete evidence it even happened. The ROR offer sheet actually happened and was almost one of the worst moves in team history. How can you say a rumour, something that is basically a hypothetical by a sensationalist rumour monger, is a worrying trend? There’s no evidence it even actually happened. In fact based on the circumstantial evidence (ie: flames needs to add salary not lose salary, Spezzas known unwillingness to play for a Canadian team etc…) it’s actually HIGHLY unlikely! This is knee jerk flames cynicism. Let’s judge BT by what he ACTUALLY does not what Bruce Garioch speculates

          • Jeff Lebowski

            Nor following your logic there is no concrete evidence that it did not take place;whats the old adage”where there is smoke there is fire”. Why would a profession journalist risk his reputation by making it up(yes it’s the Sun and that is enough said). Regardless IMO if it was anything more than due diligence then it is a mistake. Id Spezza is the answer then they IMO are asking the wrong questions as Spezza is not a short term solution or a long term solution.

          • Jeff Lebowski

            You are over reacting, rumours are out on many sights & they are awful, make no sense. Really think about it, how the hell would Garioch actually have known what was said between the Flames & Sens? One thing that is probably true is that they probably talked what the price was & if Calgary was a potential destination with the player. Why would the Flames want Spezza? Lots of reasons, cap floor, potential TDL value, big name veteran to market to Season Ticket Holders. Lots of reasons why they talked, but if unless you were on the conference call, nothing to react the way you are getting upset over nothing.

          • piscera.infada

            Totally agree. I am totally for bringing in a contract or 2 to get to the Floor, but asset(s) should be coming too. Not sure what salary dumps are worth these days. I can totally see Calgary making a play for Coburn but we would need to take Vinny & I really don’t think Vinny would come to Calgary. There is going to be lots of scenarios speculated about out there, you just cant over react to rumours.

          • Jeff Lebowski

            Good question. Not sure if I would categorize him as a salary dump, therefore, acquiring Mike may not net another asset but the cost would be very affordable. Would he make the Flames a better team for the next 2-3 years? Probably, but in 2-3 years, you are probably looking at a buyout at that time. He’d be a tough one but not every team has the talent of the LA Kings where Richards drops to the 4th line.

  • BitGeek

    Regarding spezza, I remember a couple weeks ago roger millions speculating on twitter stating the flames should get spezza. He then said he talked to someone in the organization who said the flames had no interest in him.

    I’m not sure who the reporter is who wrote that article, but unless it’s Darren Dregor, Bob Mckenzie, Elliott Friedman, etc I tend not to put faith in it. Friedman mentioned this morning that he had a tough time believing the rumor as spezza has made it clear he doesn’t want to play in Canada. It makes no sense on so many levels.

    My guess is treliving is on the phone with everyone and those players, Hudler, wideman, backlund and the 2nd rounders are in play.

  • BitGeek

    Wouldn’t that be hillarious if Calgary gave ROR an offer sheet for a bunch more money than his current contract is, and then Colorado turns around and ends up signing him at that new rate to keep him, despite being in arbitration with him now.

    That would be twice Calgary ends up making Colorado pay more for an asset than they wanted to.

    • DragonFlame

      Brian Burke is not likely to agree to a Brad Treliving RFA offer to ROR. He lost Dustin Penner to the Oilers through this process, and he was pretty pissed about it. He felt the Oilers’ offer changed the salary structure (among other things). So, unless Burkie was just being a sore loser, I doubt the Flames will make a play for O’Reilly. They may approach the Avs with a trade offer, however.

      • Byron Bader

        At Burke’s presentation last week he mentioned that the Dustin Penner offer-sheet pretty much killed the second contract. After that, players went from making entry-level money right into the big time money.

        Sounded like he still had a little spite about that one.

  • BitGeek

    I have strong doubts ROR is moved. I like him a lot, but I don’t see it for a couple of reasons:

    1) He’s fit back into the room without any sort of hard feelings, it would seem.

    2) He’s taken yet another step as a player and the team took a massive step collectively. Management has to see how valuable this guy is and how close the team is to being contenders.

    IMO, it’ll be Stastny they say goodbye to and make it work with ROR.

    On another note, hopefully Burke, Treliving, and company are looking at the Avs vs the Oilers as a model for an ‘accelereated’ rebuild, as opposed to any shortsighted shortcuts.

  • Ed Wailin'

    This supposed Spezza trade talk is painful.
    It’s not happening.
    The over sensitive ottawa press right now reminds me of ours prior to the Iginla trade. He is their no 1 star and they are going to have to maximize the return to a level that supernovas the actual player, in part due to the PR nightmare they have gone through in the last year or so (ie. alfie) They have a LOT of face to save. Something I think BB/BT are well aware of…

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    I also agree targeting ROR is a good move given his age. Would like to do that while keeping Backs if possible. I would be fine with Baertschi plus our 2nd plus Wideman ( we keep half salary). We need backs to shelter Monahan and number 4 pick. keep in mind ROR can also play wing.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    Agree with others here; burning sensation is off the mark here IMO. Backlund can already do what you are suggesting we bring in Spezza to do BS. Difference being Backlund is coming into his prime while Spezza is leaving it. This is a no brainer to me.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    The rumoured Spezza deal to Calgary strikes me as, at best mistaken and at worst a pure fabrication. Keep in mind Bruce Garioch is the source of this rumour. It just doesn’t make sense on so many levels. Firstly, the Flames need to add salary not dump it so why would we shed our selves $11 to take on Spezza’s $7mill cap hit? Why are we shedding salary in an offseason where hitting the cap floor is going to be an acrobatic feat as it is?

    Apart from a purely economic standpoint it just doesn’t make sense to get rid of Backlund, on an affordable contract with term, at this stage in his career for an aging Spezza making too much money for one year. Getting Spezza and subtracting Backlund would essentially make us “Ottawa West.” are the 13-14 Sens anyone’s idea of a playoff contender in the West?

    I don’t doubt that the flames may have enquired about what it might take to acquire Spezza, they may have even put in a formal offer, but my guess (hope) is Ottawa asks for a package like the one rumoured here and BB/BT Laugh themselves silly until Murray finally hangs up the phone.

    Why would ANYONE offer a package this lucrative for Spezza at this point in his career with the small amount of term remaining on his deal after it has already become publicly known he wants out of Ottawa. Once a player and an organization have made it publicly known that a move will be made the organization’s leverage is gone. Murray can hope for a package like the one rumoured and hope he gets enough teams interested to drum up interest and inflate his return but that’s pretty much his only move.

    To me this is the most likely explanation for this ‘leaked’ offer. It’s Murray’s way of saying: “See! These are the kinds of offers we’re getting for him.” Either way, based on the fact that the western Canadian teams have pretty much been told that Spezza doesn’t want to play here, there’s no way anyone should see the rumoured offer as a serious one.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    What was Stajan resigned for, if not to play the tough minute role while others develop? If during the season he falters – that is what Backlund is for –

    Stajan was 4 years?

    Spezza – Stajan is not improving.
    Backlund – Monahan is more likely to improve especially with Stajan.

    I understand the thinking. Calgary got killed with it’s top minute guys vs other teams but Spezza just isn’t the answer. More to the point Backlund is and is trending to be better.

    Spezza has always needed to be surrounded by talent. I just don’t see him as being a guy who makes others better. He’s not a heavy lifter.

    Moreover, why is BT rumoureed to be considering dealing guys he hasn’t watched yet? Being an AGM and watching teams is different than watching your own guys day in day out.

    To me, Backlund is 2 years behind due to injuries (broken bones – which healed, not separated shoulders, ailing back which can be chronic)

    It’s hard to understand a view where BT/BB see Spezza as a good move. Again, reacting to rumour is a mistake but people seem to think these types of moves are sane and smart.

    I totally disagree. There is no urgency – no half empty dome – fans in this market will be patient to see a young, exciting team, which includes Backlund, breakthrough.

    Hopefully the mgmt can have a little patience to allow the roster to naturally turnover (youth pushes vets out) rather than trying to leapfrog via ill conceived notions of ‘brilliance’. Don’t try and be smart, BT focus on not being dumb and trading Backlund now makes you a dumb, stupid idiot.

  • Matty Franchise Jr

    Backs ZS% was 46.2 last year, compared to Spazz’s at 55.0% Backs had a much tougher go of it last year.

    QoC seems about even.

    Backs CF% was a bit lower at 51.7 versus 52.3, but not a significant amount.

    Spazz had quite a few more points, so once in the offensive zone he seems to be more talented, but based on the above, it seems that Backs is quite a bit better at getting into the O zone.

  • mattyc

    I’ll buy 1 extra dome beer per game if the flames are able to trade for NYI pick and take Dal Colle. I have only watched this kids highlight reels but holy man he looks incredible and I would HATE to see him end up as a stupid whale creature in Vancouver. EXTRA DOME BEER BURKE!

  • Howie Meeker

    We don’t need Jason Spezza, this sounds like another Oli Jokenin type of deal that would implode the dress room that “Finally” has a foundation. Our flames need to focus on D-men and a solid back up goalie that can be pushed as a starter if Ramo gets hurt early.

  • mattyc

    @mc79hockey had a tweet yesterday about top C/D combos 5v5 last season. Backlund/Gio/Brodie was right up there with Bergeron/Chara and Kopitar/Doughty. This isn’t to say they’re equals, but that Backlund already does things well by any measure, against quality competition.

    Trading Backlund is a dumb idea not just because he’s a young, cheap effective centre, but also because, already he’s a strong player, by any measure. Getting rid of him for a Spezza-like player would make us worse now, and going forward.

  • BurningSensation

    Spezza isn’t coming here, it is known he wants to play outside of Canada. He will most likely end up in St. Louis or Anaheim where he won’t be wearing the ‘C’ and can remain somewhat anonymous and just play. Sounds like Cammy wants a 4 to 5 year term with and the Flames probably only want to give him one to three years max. If they keep him, great, it is hard to replace goal scorers like Cammy.

    • mattyc

      I’d be fine with Cammalleri at $5mil x 4 years. Term’s a bit long, and he won’t be worth it in years 3,4, but we won’t be worrying about hitting the cap until year 4 most likely…

  • Graham

    I think the Flames are sending a couple of messages in the proposed Spezza move; the rebuild is over, and that the team is open for business (read big business).

    Burke wasn’t added to continue the rebuild, he was added to accelerate it, to make the Flames playoff competitive ASAP. The rebuild is done, our fourth pick could be in play if the right deal comes along. I suspect that very few prospects / NHLers are untouchable, that Trevling/ Burke are hunting for a big deal, and that this club will sign some mid level (hole filling) free agents. Like it or not big changes are on the way.

    • Discosis

      This. I don’t think Treliving/Burke are interested in Spezza, but by leaking their interest it shows the fan base and potential free agents that Calgary is a player again.

      • Jeff Lebowski

        Does it make more sense that Garrioch, an Ottawa based journalist, is leaking Calgary business or Ottawa business?

        The sense making going on by Calgary fans is nonsense. Sorry but this is true.

        BT:

        we are accumulating. we are trying to identify the core.

        Adding a 30+ yo, old oft injured player who couldn’t make hay with a stronger roster than Calgary has now (Ottawa’s pick would’ve been 10th – is that good – Getting to 10th and losing Backlund for uncertainty?) and wishing he will improve Calgary – not to mention his short term – what to do with him after? or thinking we can get another asset for him (says who – what if you’re stuck with him? then he walks) is so utterly stupid.

        There is no messaging with this specific pos. Calgary isn’t leaking anything – other than braincells. What….trade for Spezza and sign Heatley??? Good grief. This must be garbage rumour. Calgary mgmt can’t be this dumb.

        And that’s all I gotta say about that.

      • Jeff Lebowski

        the fan base should not see this as a good thing if it is indeed the message they are trying to send.

        Calgary is NOT done rebuilding.

        This team finished 2nd last in the West last year and have the highest draft pick ever in their history because they were one of the 4 worst teams in the league. Making the playoffs next year is a pipe dream (at best).

        When the trio of Gio/Backlund/Brodie weren’t on the ice the flames got absolutely slaughtered last season. If those 3 guys can manage playing 60mins a night for 82 games in the west then MAYBE they can compete with the Kings, the Blackhawks, The Blues, The Ducks, The Stars… If this is your plan then Sure… Mission accomplished! Rebuild over!

        If you wanna build a winner think big picture and build for the future this team is still very much under construction

  • Jeff Lebowski

    I think Braydon Coburn lives in Calgary during the offseason(?)

    If true, I bet Calgary is an option for him if he has to move (if he can wait for playoffs).

    He would be an enormous boost to the D. I don’t expect much offense from him but he would free up the other defenders who can contribute just by eating up shutdown minutes.

    The acquisition cost is the question. I’d move any of Billins, Breen, Butler, Cundari hell any D over the age of 24 and low draft pick but that’s it. No promising forwards, no Backlund.

    If it’s a Galigardi situation (team wants to insert youth in your spot) and team is amiable to his desires then Calgary quite likely a front runner.

    Trading young assets for ‘peaked’ players (like Spezza) is NOT SMART AT ALL. Some kind of fan revolt would ensue.
    Also, the recent public comments by BT don’t make sense to any of the rumours:
    -we won’t trade youth for short term. we have eye towards future.
    -Backlund was a leader on Sweden – great to see this progression
    etc.

    But who knows what changes day to day. If there is any shred of truth to Spezza rumours it is just BAD, BAD, VERY STUPID. It would confirm the worst about BT/BB and being rash in this rebuild.

    DON’T BE DUMB !!!

  • Saw some speculation about trading for Jason Spezza today… including Hudler/Wideman/Backlund + picks going to the Senators for him. I will burn down the Saddledome myself is this happens.

    Everything else… just fine.

    • BurningSensation

      I’d be ok with that deal, but only if we are the team getting the better picks.

      Wideman-Hudler are not core pieces of the team that would be missed, and as much love as Backlund deserves, he’s at best a really good possession driving #3, whose injury history is as,, if not more, serious than Spezza’s.

      Spezza’s presence would also rapidly accelerate the rebuild without costing us any of our prize prospects.

      If trading him means we lose Bennett as well? That would be a bridge too far.

      • Parallex

        I don’t think it would accelerate the rebuild at all. I think it would set it back…

        A: Spezza doesn’t turn this team into a playoff team next year. The best he’d do is maybe improve the team enough to get a worse draft pick.

        B: He’s only signed for one more year and I’ve seen zero evidence that he’d be any more amiable to signing in Calgary then he would in Ottawa (and apparently Calgary is on his no trade list).

        C: He’d cost us futures (Backlund who is just starting to enter his prime, and whatever draft pick they want along with he and Hudler… not to mention whatever we could get for Hudler on his own)

        Now is really really really not the time to pick up players on the wrong side of 30 in exchange for assets on the right side of 30.

      • piscera.infada

        Spezza’s a declining 31 year old that has never had good underlying numbers. I’m not sure how it would accelerate the rebuild at all. In fact, you’re sending a younger centre who made huge strides last year away, for a player that would likely nose-dive down the depth chart during his time in Calgary.

        The move (including Backlund) would signal a gross departure from what this team has finally started realizing (that over the hill quasi-star players don’t get it done). I would be disgusted.

        • BurningSensation

          Calgary has three very obvious holes in it’s roster;

          1C
          1RW
          and 2 2nd pairing D

          Add those three pieces and you have a team (arguably) that can make the playoffs.

          Further, adding those three pieces pushes your prospects and kids into better, and more sustainable, roles with the club. Monahan should not be facing top defenders as a 19 year old. Better for him to have to displace Spezza as #1 by effort and talent than have it handed to him the moment Stajan gets hurt.

          The real trick is how to fill these holes without crushing your newly rebuilt farm system

          Getting value by taking on extra money in a trade is one way. Using some of the extra picks we have in this years draft is another (though I would prefer we keep our 1st). Signing UFA Mike Cammalleri to a deal would be yet another.

          There is no rulebook that insists a rebuilding team has to take half a decade to right the course. Filling in the holes on the Flames roster with talent appropriate players will improve the team. Doing so without impairing our talent pipeline will guarantee that as guys like Spezza eventually breakdown we have steadily developed players prepared to take over.

          • piscera.infada

            1) You aren’t getting a 1C, 1RW, and a 3-4D this offseason. You need to trade away promising prospects to get those pieces, always. There isn’t that kind of depth in UFA, and if there is that’s dollars and term (as a function of getting them to sign on a team not expected to be anywhere near competing). Likely hurting you in the long-run as much as trading away the promising prospects.

            2) On a contending team, Spezza is nothing more than a second-line centre that needs cushy zone-starts and cherry-picked assignments. He’s not driving play against anyone the last few years. So he’s really no better than Backlund except for counting stats, and in all likelihood he’s not putting up those numbers playing with Hudler and Glencross.

            3) I’m not saying don’t try to make your team better – I’ve never been a proponent of the tank mentality. But, you have to give to get, and as so many have mentioned, it’s not that time. Most GMs who are semi-intelligent are going to be asking for the firsts, seconds, Baertschi’s, Monahan’s, Gaudreau’s, Backlund’s, and Brodie’s of the world.

            Lest we forget how the organization got into this mess…

          • BurningSensation

            In the order you raised them;

            1. Why not? The hardest commodity to acquire is a #1C, and there look to be several candidates potentially on the market; Spezza, E.Staal, Thornton, etc.

            I should add, that it is extremely rare (to the point of ‘never happened before that I can think of’), to have legit 1st line Cs on the market. Normally you have to draft and develop your own, so the prospect of getting one who is still in his prime should not be discounted lightly.

            Assuming we can trade for Spezza (and I think we can), that leaves a #1F (I’ll assume Cammalleri), and two 2nd pairing D.

            My own preference is that we look at moving our 2 2nds to Philly for Coburn, whose salary, abilities, etc., match up nicely with Calgary’s needs, and Philly needs to back away from the edge of the cap abyss.

            That leaves one other D man to look for in the UFA market, say Brooks?

            The hardest things to find are #1Cs and #1Ds, if we sign Spezza we would have both. If (and this is my gigantic caveat), if we can add these pieces without damaging our prospect system I am fully in favour.

            2. Spezza is the first line center on more than half the teams in the NHL. The point of having him on the Flames isn’t to anchor a championship teams first line. It’s to give us the right development environment for Monahan/Bennett/etc. to grow in so that when they peak they can lead the team to a championship. The Flames need to be a team competitive for the playoffs where players can be slotted to fill roles they can excel at, rather than swimming helplessly over their heads (see Edmonton for how talent playing outside of its role tends to drown).

            3. On this point we agree. I really want Spezza (I would actually prefer E.Staal, but Spezza fits too), but I absolutely don’t want to part with future core pieces (Monahan, JG, Gillies, Brodie). Of our prospects that I’m ok with dealing, Baertschi’s name is at the top of the list. He is at position we have some depth, and he is going to get passed on the depth chart like he’s standing still by Johnny G. I’m also OK with dealing some of our 2nds if it leads to bringing in age/skill appropriate players to fill in the holes on the roster (i.e. Coburn as I suggested above).

          • piscera.infada

            Spezza is the first line center on more than half the teams in the NHL.

            Yes, the half of the teams that aren’t playoff contenders, let alone contenders for a cup. As someone else pointed out, you get him for one year. One year where the only difference he’s made is making your team a little bit better (but probably not). Then what? He’s going want term on his last big-term/big-dollar contract, so he likely walks.

            Of our prospects that I’m ok with dealing, Baertschi’s name is at the top of the list. He is at position we have some depth, and he is going to get passed on the depth chart like he’s standing still by Johnny G.

            You’re okay with trading him because he’ll be passed by Gaudreau? What if God-forbid Gaudreau can’t adjust? I don’t think it’ll happen, but it’s a nice contingency plan. Moreover, is it so horrible having two good, young left wings that you can roll out on your top-2 lines? This is what perennially good teams do. They don’t throw away talent for short-term gain.

            Honestly, I can see a Baertschi or Backlund trade happening in the future. But it would have to be for equal parts, not simply a stop-gap 1C or 3-4D.

            I guess we simply don’t agree on this point, and that’s perfectly alright. But the very thought that Flames management is assuming this team is a Spezza, Orpik, Staal, or whatever away from being legitimate contenders (which is the goal here, right?), scares the piss out of me. I don’t want to go back to the days of meaningless playoff hockey. I want real playoff hockey, with a real pay-off at the end (not just the bottom line – “we made it to the dance, but none of the pretty girls would even kiss us at the end of the night).

          • BurningSensation

            “I guess we simply don’t agree on this point, and that’s perfectly alright. But the very thought that Flames management is assuming this team is a Spezza, Orpik, Staal, or whatever away from being legitimate contenders (which is the goal here, right?), scares the piss out of me. I don’t want to go back to the days of meaningless playoff hockey. I want real playoff hockey, with a real pay-off at the end (not just the bottom line – “we made it to the dance, but none of the pretty girls would even kiss us at the end of the night).”

            Being a contender absolutely should not scare the crap out of you. It’s the next necessary step to becoming a perpetual contender.

            You need (first) a farm team that can generate prospects who will fill roster spots cheaply. I’d say that unless Burke drives our scouts off a cliff looking for coke machines over skill, we look to be set in this regard (thanks Uncle Feaster!).

            Second, you need to have a team with players that fit into the roles they are assigned. This is (by far) the biggest step people miss on building a contender. If you don’t have a team ready to push the prospects down the roster into roles they can excel at, you get the Atlanta Thrashers or the Columbus Blue Jackets. Lots of nice pieces, but nothing fits.

            Spezza will help the Flames bridge the gap from ‘rebuilding’ to ‘contender’. He won’t bridge the gap from ‘contender’ to ‘serious powerhouse/perpetual contender’, but you still need to make the necessary steps. Monahan just might be the guy who can be a top drawer #1 already in the pipeline, if/when he (or Bennett/Draisatl/Reinhart) is ready to push Spezza down the depthchart is when you worry about Spezza’s decline.

          • piscera.infada

            You worry about Spezza’s eventual decline now because he’s already declining. He goes to a team where he doesn’t have linemates that can carry his mail and we’ll see an even sharper decline. This is why it doesn’t make sense. Spezza is not a bona fide number-one centre, no matter how you cut it. Sure, he can shelter some young guys, hence Stajan’s four year contract, and I’d rather have a young player who’s on the upswing in his career arch (Backlund) shoulder that load than Spezza.

            I think you miss the point on this. You don’t give the young, promising players up for a player that will almost assuredly end up lower on the depth chart by seasons end – in that case, he’s doing nothing that you brought him here for. He leaves, and all you’ve done is subtract Backlund and picks. Sure, Spezza of 5 years ago, you can make that case, but he’s not even a good stop-gap for the price you have to pay.

            @Jeff Lebowski

            I couldn’t agree more. It’s not the Flames leaking anything, it seems to me like due diligence. The only thing that worries me is if they are, in fact, actively shopping Backlund. That should be a no-go by virtue of the last-half of last season alone.

          • Jeff Lebowski

            at this point, with the season he’s coming off and the underlying numbers he posted, the only way I consider moving Backlund is if it’s part of a deal for ROR

          • piscera.infada

            That I can agree with. Again, though, it needs to be a reasonable deal. I’m weary of a Backlund, Baertschi, + picks deal for ROR. Personally, I’m really excited to see what Backlund can do next year. If he can keep pushing based on everything he accomplished in the back-half of last season, we could be talking about an untouchable at this time next year.

            Full candour as well, I was one of “those guys” talking about trading Backs last year at this time. And feel very stupid about it now.

          • sathome

            I’m not sold on Spezza as he’s always struck me to be a soft centre with good talent but lacking in toughness and character. Having said that, I’m not sold on Backlund or Baertschi either. Both have some skill but are borderline in my opinion and I wouldn’t be disappointed if one or both were moved for valuable assets. If both were packaged in a ROR package, I’d be satisfied.

          • Ed Wailin'

            to be clear; I’m not suggesting the flames should or shouldn’t target ROR and I’m certainly not suggesting putting Backlund on the block. My point is that Backlund is as close to an untouchable as the flames have.

            I feel ROR could be/already is/is on the verge of being an absolutely ELITE player in this game. A player like that is the only type of player I would even begin to consider moving Backlund for.

          • piscera.infada

            Oh, absolutely agree with all that, and I understood that during my earlier post. It just seems like an ROR deal would be very expensive, regardless of a prohibitively expensive contract. There would also be quite the auction for him. But I agree, if trading Backlund, Baertschi, etc. that’s the kind of target you need to look at, as opposed to the over-the-hill, one-time saviour types.

    • Parallex

      Ok, you’ll be the one with the torches (I’ll supply the pitchforks).

      That would be a terribad deal. If I were going to offer a return that large I’d probably hit up Colarado on Ryan O’Reilly (who the Aves are taking to arbitration) not Ottawa on 31 year old, oft injured, Jason Spezza.

      Makes no sense.

    • Agree. Would that not be ridiculous giving up on Backlund, far younger, and less expensive than Spezza, overpaid and often injury prone not too mention the history of his serious back injury.

      In my view Spezza does not fit within the Flames rebuild mode. He may merely gain you a couple of places in the standings. By the time the Flames become a serious contender (2-3 years) Spezza will be on the decline and possible retirement.

    • piscera.infada

      Heard that as well, but why would Spezza waive his NTC to come to Calgary? I’m not sure what the specifications of his NTC are, but I would assume he at least has a list of teams he won’t go to – Calgary would have to be on that list.

      Any mention of trading Backlund is scary though. I hope that’s not actually a plan. Just say no, Treliving, just say no.