The Flames Back Off From “Low Numbers” Policy

The unveiling earlier today of Dougie Hamilton and Michael Frolik to the assembled local media masses at the Saddledome raised a few eyebrows, but mostly for reasons pertaining to jersey numbers.

Hamilton was given his old #27, which he wore in Boston. Frolik’s sweater was the subject of much speculation and rankle prior to its display; he wore #67 in Winnipeg and given Brian Burke’s public distaste for high numbers, most figured he’d have to abandon his old identifier.

So when he was given #67 by Brad Treliving, the presentation included an explanation from the general manager, responding to a question from Sportsnet’s Roger Millions regarding the high number given to the newest Flame.

“We’ve talked a lot, at length. Both Brian and I were very much consistent in our belief in the policy we had. The difficulty we had, the great thing about our organization is we’ve had Hall of Fame players play here and we’ve had numbers slowly come out of commission. And running out of numbers, and then wearing a training camp number and getting acclimatized to it and the difficulty of change… The two factors… really, I don’t want to put this on Michael, this is on me, we’ve made the decision to expand our numbers.”

Three other changes were announced to numbers, via the Flames site:

  • Josh Jooris moves to #16 from his training camp number #86
  • Brandon Bollig moves to #52 from his previous number #25 (he wore #52 in Chicago)
  • Sam Bennett moves to #93 from his training camp number #63

Among the current allotment of jersey numbers, those that are seemingly off-limits are #2 (Al MacInnis), #9 (Lanny McDonald), #10 (Gary Roberts), #12 (Jarome Iginla), #14 (Theoren Fleury), #20 (Gary Suter), #25 (Joe Nieuwendyk), #30 (Mike Vernon), #34 (Miikka Kiprusoff) and #39 (Doug Gilmour). [Those are all my guesses, by the way.]

The organization had previously spoken about the Forever A Flame program allowing the team to honour prior greats while having current players adding to the legacies of those digits, but with one main roster player in Bollig moving away from an honoured number, it’s unclear if they’re backing away from that sentiment at all.

  • Tomas Oppolzer

    I’ve always found the organization’s treatment of the Greats’ numbers a little puzzling. #14 has seemingly always been off limits since Fleury (Stajan was forced to switch to #18), but they’ve never had a problem handing out #25 (Bollig, Begin, Moss, McCarty, Sonnenberg) or, to a lesser extent, #2 (Commodore).

    Well no matter. The no high numbers thing was always a strange policy and I’m glad it’s gone. Are you telling me they’d have forced Crosby to switch from #87 if they traded for him? Or Kane from #88?

    • SmellOfVictory

      It could be related to the fact that both of those players spent significant time with other organizations. Nieuwendyk is almost as much a Star as a Flame, and MacInnis is almost as much a Blue as a Flame.

  • Train#97

    Speaking of high numbers…..i don’t think Calgary can maintain the inflated shooting %’s that they had last year.Just a little food for thought, Can they raise the low number corsi numbers they had last year?

    • TX Flame

      If you don’t include the top line, Calgary’s Sh% was pretty much league average. On the top line, Hudler’s Sh% was pretty much in line with his career average and Mony’s Sh% has been high both of his seasons in the league. You must be one of these folks that thinks PDO measures “luck”. That is not necessarily accurate. MTL’s PDO, for instance, is typically high because they have Carey Price, not because of “luck”. Calgary’s Sh% is high because of some skilled shooters. The only player I expect to regress significantly is Lance Bouma. Johnny Hockey MIGHT, because we don’t have another season to compare his Sh% to,but I doubt it. Some players are simply better shooters than others.

    • TheoForever

      Since, you are playing the victim, explain how that is not an unprovoked attack against FN faithful?

      That’s pretty pathetic to come into other teams thread and start mudslinging and then cry about it, but you must be just to quote you “throwing some friendly jabs”.

      • Train#97

        How in the hell is that an attack on Flamesnation? I said I did not think they could maintain the high shooting percent, and I asked if people thought they could raise their low Corsi numbers which rank close to the worst in the league.

        That was a simple question! Nothing more nothing less. It is definitely not ” mudslinging”

        • TheoForever

          Yeah, right pretend all you want.

          In the same gist as yours, I’m curious if the McLuck@Suck.org can sustain the high percentage of #1 picks over the next 3 years that they will be a lottery team, or perhaps NHL should step in and save the children?

          • Train#97

            To answer your question… No I don’t think they will have a pick anywhere close to number 1. Do I think they will make the playoffs ? I am not sure but if I was betting I would say they can finish 9th or 10th in the western conference.

            I would still say McSuck&luck is trolling on this site or not.

        • Train#97

          To answer your original question (since nobody else did), I believe the low corsi will start trending in the right direction. The rookies are a year older. We’ve also got Frolik and Hamilton as large minute minute carriers this season, and I believe they’re both good corsi players. Also, the additions of the aforementioned will likely displace a couple others who are boat anchors… So ya, improvement.

  • Train#97

    Not sure I’m understanding all the trashes here.. I know Oilers trolls are around but this really has nothing to do with Edmonton so I can’t see that being the issue.

    My other conclusion would be that there are people out there who do believe and agree with the lower number system. Mainly I’d just like to understand why people stand by it, and instead of defending themselves with an explanation, lead me to the understanding that there is a decent amount of the fanbase that is against high numbers. I can probably see how it is an “old school, no nonsense” way of thinking, where numbers were assigned to you based on position, factual hockey data that could be used in a system.

    I for one didn’t mind Burke’s initial rule, whatever, but now that they’re becoming more lenient about it, we’ll I guess I’m okay with that too. There was a small part of me that thought Bennett would be given #14, but that would probably be an unnecessary distractio , would it not?

  • The GREAT Walter White

    McSuck&luck 2015 couldn’t get his team into the Memorial cup…… But he will get the Oilers into the playoffs?!

    A bit of a stretch…..

    WW

    • Train#97

      You’re calling an 18 year old Mcsuck & luck? Who’s the troll around here? Crosby doesn’t win the Stanley cup every year but he is still the best player in the NHL! You getting it now Wally?

    • The GREAT Walter White

      It’s hilarious how jealous and bitter Flames fans are about McDavid. Get over it. Suck and luck? Are you describing the Flames last season?

      Get over it. The future in Alberta is bright for hockey. the battle of Alberta shoukd be back very soon. Which is good for everyone.

      The strange thing is that oddsmakers (Vegas putting money to risk) rank the Oilers ahead of Calgary this year. But BOTH Calgary and Edmonton fans wouldn’t do that. Every Oiler fan I’ve talked to is cautious and hoping for 8-10th place close to playoffs. flames fans have deluded themselves that last year was real and consistently pick themselves to finish middle of the playoff pack or at worst wildcard. Convinced that they aren’t the next Colorado Avalanche aet to drop 30 pts in the standings after a fluke run up the standings that defied all advanced stats.

      I guess we will see. But back mcdavid… Saying such and luck is just dumb. Like when Flamers in the 80s would get the ‘Gretzky sucks’ chant going. Umm. No. He didn’t suck.

      • The GREAT Walter White

        You are missing the point princess; McSuck&lucky 2015 refers to the way the Oilers achieved drafting McDavid!, not his potential in the NHL.

        Just like Suck&luck 2010, 2011, 2012…… Getting the point?

        WW

      • The GREAT Walter White

        Newsflash..the Oilers have been picked ahead of the Flames in PreSeason predictions EVERY YEAR since the Mc Suck and Lucks started getting dished to Edmonton.
        How many times did Edmonton finish ahead of Calgary? ONCE! Lol. by 1 point thanks to the Oilers with more loser points in extra time (fitting I thought)
        Of course it allowed us to scoop Monahan in the next year’s draft JUSSSTTTTTT ahead of the Oilers pick so I am good with that

      • The GREAT Walter White

        Newsflash..the Oilers have been picked ahead of the Flames in PreSeason predictions EVERY YEAR since the Mc Suck and Lucks started getting dished to Edmonton.
        How many times did Edmonton finish ahead of Calgary? ONCE! Lol. by 1 point thanks to the Oilers with more loser points in extra time (fitting I thought)
        Of course it allowed us to scoop Monahan in the next year’s draft JUSSSTTTTTT ahead of the Oilers pick so I am good with that

      • Burnward

        HHMMM! I don’t remember the” Gretzky Sucks” chants, although I do remember the” Whiner”
        ” Whiner” chants that he brought on himself by complaining to the ref every time someone touched him.

      • TX Flame

        We’re not bitter about McDavid so much as we’re just opposed to a system that rewards tanking. If the NHL was run like most other pro hockey leagues the Oilers would have been relegated to the AHL in stead of being rewarded with multiple 1st overall picks. The worst part is hearing deluded Oilers fans crowing about how their wonderful scouting department came up with all these great prospects. Give us a break! Any idiot could have made those picks with the Oilers’ draft position where it has been over the last decade!

    • Train#97

      Are you talking about the same OHL where the KINGSTON FRONTENACS lost in the four straight games and Bennet got 3 points? The same playoffs where McDavid got 49 points in 20 games?
      Your point really sounds narrow minded now!

      Instead of being jealous of 18 year old McDavid , you should be feeling fortunate that as Oiler and Flame fans you’ll get to see these young talents battle each other for the next 15 years.

      • Train#97

        Keep in mind Bennett had played like 12 games in the season prior to that and the Kingston Frontenacs were a bubble team that only made the playoffs cause Bennett returned from injury. I also seem to remember Bennett getting some points in the NHL playoffs as well

        • Train#97

          Bennett got 4 points in 11 or 12 playoff games in Calgary, and he was a huge part of the Kingston team.
          McDavid came to Erie as a 15 year old and scored 66 points in 63 games . When Connor came there the team was in second last place and 21 games under 500 .
          The next season Connor scored 36 more points and the team improved by a whopping 48 points!!
          The final year as a 17 year old he carried his team to a first place finish and scored 120 points in 47 games.
          He turned around a whole franchise and he will go a long way to help doing the same in Edmonton.
          So WW quit being such a jerk , and see the kid for the talent he is, instead of referring to him as McSuck. Grow up.

          • Train#97

            Great! The whole point of my conversation was that WW said that McDavid couldn’t get to the memorial cup.
            I then said that just because Bennett got swept in 4 games in the first round of the OHL playoffs doesn’t mean he won’t be a good player.
            Furthermore , it doesn’t mean McDavid sucks because he didn’t win a Memorial cup!.
            Bennet will be a good player and if you think McDavid won’t be a star in this league you are fooling yourself.

          • Train#97

            Actually if you look at one of the initial posts in this thread he said McSuck and luck could not get his team into the Memorial Cup.
            To call an 18 year old kid that is childish. From all accounts he is a very humble polite young man.

          • Train#97

            Since you still don’t get it, I’ll put it this way:

            Regardless of the context of the post, McSuckandLuck has been a term that WW coined quite a while ago, referring to the method in which the Oilers stock pile their “talent”. Most frequent commenters on this site are aware of what this moniker is referring to, and posts on this site are, in fact, for us. Stop being butt-hurt, thinking we are somehow berating your Precious. We have no problem with McDavid, or recognizing his talent level. It’s your team and their perpetual gifts of ineptitude that we hate.

            Get over it.

  • TheoForever

    Before McSuck, the site was calm, ever since Oilers McLuckSucked their way to yet another fruit of ineptitude, you cannot throw a puck without hitting a troll.

    If it isn’t a McSuck day then, Reinhart/Nurse are better than Hamilton, and Sekera is top paring Dman and Talbot is the best goalie in NHL never to be a starter.

    I got one question, is Schultz one of those 5 Giordano’s that the most promising summer team in hockey is full of?

    I have never seen a team with more depth, and upside as the Oilers, and this year will be different. We have been promised this every summer, but, but this time it will be different.

  • RedMan

    OK NATIONS… i suggest the Nations sites do the following:

    1) require ALL commenters to have a registered account-profile

    2) 1 registered account/profile per person

    3) that single account is used on ALL nation sites – 1 account for all sites

    this will cut down significantly on the idiot trolls who risk being banned from tbeir own nation if they are idiots on other nation sites.

  • Train#97

    THEOFOREVER trolls the oiler site on a regular basis. He definitely should be banned. The “guy” who called for McDavid to get smashed should definitely be banned and anyone else who suggests the same.
    THEOFOREVER is the number 1 offender.

    • TheoForever

      You are either miss informed or you are a liar, take your pick.

      Some articles get crosslink, and that’s the only way you have ever seen my post over there.

      The only exception was one post and it wasn’t a troll. I know because I actually logged in into Oiler Site with my own nickname.

      Now, since you are here you had to physically login into Flame Nation, and the purpose was to do what, spread friendly jabs?

  • Train#97

    The purpose was to check out the other site and catch up on what’s happening with the other teams and to see what fans think about their team.
    Trust me when I say Theoforever ,Clyde,WW, back burner, ultrathinzigzags, frequent Oilernation with nothing contructive or positive to say.
    To the other flamers enjoy the summer and I’m sure you can’t wait for the regular season as well

    • Train#97

      I honestly don’t mind trolling at all, it can be quite humorous at times, and it has its place.

      If someone on this site or Oilersnation is trash talking they can expect it in return, even if your cheering for the same team, it happens on here quite frequently.

      I was just surprised it was happening on this particular thread, but whatever.. I would get off your high and mighty horse before you start calling people out on here.

      • Train#97

        I’ll go back and see if I can find a post from you if you’d like. Whether you are on this site or another is irrelevant.

        A troll is still a troll, if you are making derogatory remarks towards someone or the comments they make.

        • TheoForever

          Make sure to point out that I was responding to your Trolls in particular now banned BigMcD.

          There is a big difference between defending your turf from Oiler attack brigade and instigating anything, just to piss the masses.

          EDIT: replace Oiler Attack Brigade with McLuck&Suck Attack Brigate, sounds better.

  • Train#97

    I went back and you were correct THEOFOREVER . I could only find the one post but several posts that were “linked” .
    Like I said before trolling is trolling no matter what site you are on.
    Wouldn’t you agree?

  • TheoForever

    If Oilers add a top pairing dman, the evaluation would change. Given current lineup, Oilers will battle with Van over 2nd last place in the West, better only to Arizona.

    • Train#97

      Other than a trade I don’t think there is a current number 1 or 2 dman available? Franson is out there ,but I’m not sure what he wants for term and money. It’s a little surprising he is still available.