WWYDW: Fish or Cut Bait?

A lot of the complaints about the Flames this year have involved the amount of “dead weight” on the roster. This refers to players on large contracts who aren’t contributing enough to justify their continued presence in the lineup, let alone their cap hits (think: Brandon Bollig, Mason Raymond, Ladislav Smid, etc). 

Aside from the impending UFA’s like Jiri Hudler, David Jones, and Kris Russell, the Flames have some interesting decisions to make on a couple of their more middling forwards as well. Both Josh Jooris and Joe Colborne are 25 years old and Restricted Free Agents at the end of this season and, if things don’t turn around for the Flames quickly, might the Flames consider moving one or both of them if a team comes calling at some point this season? What would you do?

JOSH JOORIS

Talk about found money. I remember attending a development camp scrimmage in the summer of 2013, eager to see the newly drafted Sean Monahan and some of the college players that were difficult to get eyes on during the season. During the game, I, like many others in attendance I’m sure, was constantly checking my game sheet wondering: “Who is this 86 guy?” 

That was Josh Jooris, who left Union College that summer to sign a 2-year ELC with the Flames and essentially barged his way on to the Flames roster last season. In his rookie season, Jooris put up an impressive 24 points in 60 games in only his second year as a professional, let alone his first year in the NHL. In the summer, Jooris signed a one-year, $975,000 extension with the Flames, making him a Restricted Free Agent this summer again. The question becomes: is Jooris the kind of player that the Flames want to hang on to? Or should they move him if a team comes calling?

While there is no doubt that Jooris is a useful bottom six-er for the Flames right now, the Flames may want to consider other options available to them on the Farm instead of re-committing to Jooris for another short-term deal. 

Many have complained that the presence of the forward group’s ‘dead weight’ has made it difficult for younger players like Bill Arnold or Markus Granlund to get a fair shake at the NHL level. This is absolutely true and I am sure we all can agree that moving Mason Raymond (not to crap all over Raymond, his deal is just the most onerous) is something that the Flames brass would like to do. However, if that means taking on another bad deal or retaining salary for a few seasons, then isn’t that move essentially lateral drift?

Jooris is off to a bit of a slow start counting-numbers wise, though he has managed to be (marginally) a positive possession player so far this season, one of only four Flame forwards to do so in somewhat regular game action this season. Furthermore, Jooris has shown an ability to kill penalties and suppress shots, something the Flames desperately need. 

I am not suggesting the Flames sell Jooris for a conditional seventh and I am also not interested in speculating on his value (because that is message board fodder). I simply wonder if the Flames wouldn’t consider freeing up a roster spot by moving some of their more affordable assets rather than the Sisyphean task of trying to move some of their more expensive players.

JOE COLBORNE

There might not be a more frustrating Flames forward to watch than Joe Colborne. There are moments in which he looks like an exceptionally skilled passed with great hands and size, and then there are times in which he looks like a confused, lost newborn antelope experiencing ice for the first time. 

In his most recent seasons, Colborne has started to focus on using his size along the boards and it looks as though he really has made great strides in this aspect of his game. Also, he’s good in shootouts which may seem trivial but the Flames aren’t exactly swimming with skilled forwards and, thanks in large part to the loser point, playoff races are exceptionally tight, placing added emphasis on this skills competition.  

However, Colborne routinely loses men in defensive zone coverage and, through his 15 games played, is the worst possession forward on the entire team. I think Kent accurately articulated what it’s like to watch Colborne for most Flames fans:

So what can be done with him? Do the Flames re-sign him for another couple seasons? Do they bet that he will sort out his possession problems as he becomes a more effective player in the opposition end? Or, is this it for Colborne? Is this the player he will be for the rest of his career? Is that a player the Flames want to keep around? Do the Flames try and take advantage of his cheap contract and a league-wide size fetish and try to move him for an asset of some variety? 

Let me know what you think of both Jooris and Colborne’s deals. Sign both? Trade one? Trade both? You tell me.

  • knappsacked

    Well, im curious… What are they worth?
    Jooris has speed grit and defensive awareness. But inconsistency in terms of production plagues him.

    Colborne has size hands skill and vision but is inconsistant and defensively liable.

    Colborne could garner a second in my opinion. And if we throw in something like a 4 th then maybe a late first. Jooris looks similar in value but i really dont know. Thoughts?

  • knappsacked

    When Jooris is on the ice I generally expect him to be responsible and work hard, move play the right way, kill penalties, and do lots of grunt work.

    When Colborne is on the ice I generally expect him to impressively dangle all the way around the boards in the offensive zone but then give the puck away and take an offensive-zone penalty.

    I would say that Colborne should be traded if possible but I have no idea what he would fetch.

  • Skuehler

    I feel like Jooris is a pretty solid hockey player. Does most thinngs well and competes. Since he has less pedigree and is not a flashy player, not sure his market value would attract a decent return. But he is the type if player every team should want for a bottom six role where you can also sprinkle him around the line up and sitautions as needed. Keep on the cheap.

    Colborne seems more polarizing. His pedigree, size, hands and low cap hit would make him attractive come TDL. He would be a good playoff insurance body for a team looking to make a long push this year (Minny, St. Louis, Dallas?). Gettig a decent asset back might be a good move for all parties.

  • wot96

    Jooris is a righty in addition to being gritty, fast, and defensively aware. His counting stats last year were almost certainly an outlier relative to what he is really capable of and, iirc, he had Johnny feeding him passes as drove the net. Wait….a guy that drives possession and drives the net? Sounds like a keeper.

    I think Colborne has really improved in the offensive end this year as evidenced by Calgary’s second goal last night. But his defensive zone coverage remains poor as evidenced by New Jersey’s second goal last night. If you can get a second or a third for him, I think you take that and go. Just good asset management.

  • everton fc

    I’d keep them both. Both can play centre and wing. Both are fair to adequate on faceoffs.

    Not related – or maybe – just read the Isles are shopping Travis Hamonic. If we could slot him in and move out one of the bottom 3-4 d-men in the system (Russell? Wideman??) His salary isn’t that bad, either. Big kid, great person, right-handed shot…

  • CofRed4Life

    I think Jooris is the best type of bottom-six forward to have. He can play pivot or wing, he drives the play, he’s gritty, yet is pretty talented and has decent hands, and he’s good on the PK. He comes pretty cheap, and since his counting stats aren’t super high, he shouldn’t command too high a price. I say keep him.

    Kent nailed Colborne with that tweet. He’s got moments of ‘wow’ in the offensive zone, and moments of ‘ugh’ in the defensive zone. He’s a pretty decent hockey player, but if someone would be willing to trade a 2nd round pick (which I think is reasonable if he keeps his numbers going like this), I would trade him. He’s much more expendable to me, and I think is going to be too expensive for his usage.

  • CofRed4Life

    Cool dude, I was there too. Went to see Monny, Johnny, Janko..86 kept popping up in black svores a goal or 2 and here we are..good player. I am Joe supporter. Sure he could be nastier but I don’t think that’s his game and I like having him aboard right now.
    The Coilers would probably give thereally left nut for a big centerman like him. Keep em both

  • MattyFranchise

    Keep Jooris, maybe even sign him for a 2 year low money deal. Even when he’s not scoring he’s contributing.

    Joe Colbourne has shown that he can have great hands but you can also count on him for one bad penalty a game. He also has a tendency to take the puck into the corner on a carry in and then have a turnover.

    At least Jooris is consistent. I think it might be time to cut bait on Colbourne though. He’s just not steady enough.

    • Johnny Goooooooaldreau

      Colborne has 6 PIM in 15 games, so maybe you stating that you can “count on him for one bad penalty a game” is a LITTLE over the top?

      As for his Ugh moments, the reason you notice them is because he is able to do things that get him into a position to make a play and some of them go to the other team. This also happens to Gaudreau, Bennett and Brodie for instance, but they are making three times as many plays as our average plugs, and while Colborne doesn’t make plays as much as those players he is in a position to make plays more anyone else in our bottom 6, so of course he makes more giveaways.
      I believe that he is also given more space by the coaching staff to “try things” than your average bottom 6’er because they want him to try to get some scoring on that line.

      Bottom line Colborne trys to make plays because he can, therefore he has more giveaways. Quite often he doesn’t get the proper support from his linemates or the D because they are playing too conservatively.

  • PrairieStew

    On their own neither player is worth enough to trade him at this point. However packaged with other assets, could help the team acquire some higher end talent.

    When I saw the tweet that Hamonic was available, the first package that came to mind was Russell, Colborne and Wotherspoon

    • everton fc

      They’d need a d-man coming the other way. Wideman would have more value, but if the issue is salary, perhaps you can move Russell and someone else.

      Funny how Granlund’s name always comes up in these “package deals”, but he seems the only forward on the farm even close to getting regular, productive NHL shifts…

  • al rain

    First of all, big props for posting the Strokes video. The answer to your question is simple.

    Trade ’em both, packaged or separate for whatever the best offer of picks or prospects may be. And do it sooner, not later. There are kids on the farm that need to be seen in the ‘Dome. Time for them to get some ice time with the big team and see where or if they fit in.

    Yes. the Pacific is weak, but the Flames wouldn’t hurt their chances by bringing in the best from Stockton for the remainder of this season. And the big contacts dead weight on the team right now aren’t going to bring in much more than these two.

    Best case is we get rid of two moveables (Jooris & Colbourne) and hopefully some UFA’s (Jones, Hudler,Russell, Hiller/Ramo) and/or bad contracts (Russell, Wideman, Engelland by the deadline, play some of our own prospects the rest of the way out and find more assets to replace them in the system at the next draft.

  • al rain

    Colborne’s ceiling is a 3rd line winger. As long as he doesn’t play any higher than that (or C), I’m ok with him.

    Say what you want about Raymond, but he’d be far more effective on the 4th line than Bollig. Which is what I don’t get. Why not have him there killing other teams’ 4th lines?

  • Johnny Goooooooaldreau

    I think you retain guys like this as we need size, speed and grit on the bottom 2 lines. Colborne was just as effective last spring as Ferland was at using his body to make things happen – he still has room for development. Jooris is more obvious as we’re short on RH shots and he’s constantly trying his hardest and setting a good example.

    Both of these guys are RFAs too so management maintains certain control over their new contracts.

    Also, as much as part of me thinks we should re-sign guys like Jones and Hudler it might be in the best interests of the team to use the value they have to continue to build for the future.

    Could ride out the year with (top 12 can be mixed up many ways):

    Gaudreau-Monahan-Frolik

    Bennett-Backlund-Granlund

    Colborne-Stajan-Jooris

    Bouma-Grant-Ferland

    Raymond/Bollig