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If I were the Heat GM…

Now that the season is over, I will play armchair general manager and provide my thoughts on the current roster and coaching staff. I have categorized them by position and whom I think should be in Calgary. This is based solely on the players that I was able to observe this year.

Who should be in Calgary

Rasmus Andersson, Spencer Foo, David Rittich and Tyler Wotherspoon

Andersson took control of the defense this season. He and Wotherspoon were steady and both were among league leaders in points. This tandem was the steady force all year for the most solid core of the team. Andersson can easily be a constant 5/6 and Wotherspoon can fill Bartkowski’s skates being a 6/7.

Foo fills the need for a right wing, probably on either the second or third line. He drives the net while playing a two-way game. He may start in Stockton, but will finish the year in Calgary. He would be better prepared by adding some muscle.

Rittich needs a steady camp. He needs to know he has a solid shot at the back up position. He needs meaningful preseason games and a solid schedule of between 20 and 25 starts next year. I have commented before and I will re-state here: I would expect something like a 10-7-2-3 record with a .910 save percentage and a 2.50 GAA. Getting 25 points in 22 games is respectable.

Defense

Assuming Andersson and Wotherspoon are in Calgary, here are the remaining defensemen.

Keepers: Josh Healey, Oliver Kylington, Cody Goloubef, Dalton Prout, Kayle Doetzel, Colby Robak

Both Healey and Kylington are under contract. Both should return to the Heat.

I would bring back Goloubef on a one-year, two-way contract. He led all Heat defensemen with eight goals. He has a hard shot and plays a good defensive game. He is the Yin to Kylington’s Yang. They mesh well together. He doesn’t throw his body around, but he is effective. I can see him and Kylington as top defensive pairing next season.

I would sign Robak to an AHL deal. I thought he was the better of the two rotating sixth defensemen (Healey being the other). His offensive game is better than Healey’s. He does not throw as many hits as Healey, but is a better skater. He just needs to be a little more consistent, but that comes with playing every night.

I would sign Prout to a one-year AHL contract. You don’t notice him that much, which is sometimes good for a defensemen. He finishes his checks, he moves people out of the crease, and he has a good shot when he takes it. I could see him and Robak as second pair next season.

Doetzel should be brought back on an AHL contract only. He would make a good bottom pair player.

Tweener: Adam Ollas-Mattsson

When he played, he was a solid number five defensemen. But after 14 games, he was hurt and did not see the ice the remainder of the year. He is 21, which bodes well for a return. But does he want to return and does the Flames organization want him back?

Do not sign: Oleg Yevenko

I would personally drive Yevenko to the airport. He is big and can fight but he is a defensive liability on the ice. He is often out of position and is very slow to recover.

Centermen

On the current roster the Heat show nine centers. Some are clearly wingers, so I will just mention the ones I know are centers for sure. Glenn Gawdin will be ticketed for a spot in Stockton, but because he was not here, he is exempt from this list. I did not actually see Brodie Dupont play, so have no idea of his game.

Keepers: Colin Smith, Mike McMurtry, Marek Hrivik

Since coming over from Wilkes-Barre, Smith has shown he can fill top line center. He has good vision, a flat pass, and can shoot. I would sign him to a one-year, two-way contract.

McMurtry is bigger, plays a heavier game than Smith, has a good shot, and has experience. An AHL-only contract is not out of the question.

Hrivik brings experience that will be needed for the young wingers. He could also be a candidate for a letter. A one-year, two-way contract is warranted.

Do not sign: Rod Pelley, Brett Findlay

Pelley was named captain solely based on his age and experience. On the ice, he is a good faceoff guy. Other than that, he was the fourth line checking center with eight points (four goals, four assists).

Findlay had his moments, but was scratched for 18 games. He ended with 27 points (12 goals, 15 assists) but was invisible most nights and not memorable.

Wingers

This team is void of right wingers. On the final roster, there are three listed. All others are either listed as left wing or centers. Let’s have some fun!

Keepers: Morgan Klimchuk, Dillon Dube, Emile Poirier, Brett Pollock, Andrew Mangiapane, Ryan Lomberg, Luke Gazdic

Klimchuk is an RFA and quietly produced a 40-point season. I say quietly because I cannot remember a single game where I said “Wow.” He goes about his business without flash. Interesting that he sat the final three games though. [Editor’s note: all indications are that Klimchuk’s absences were due to injury.]

Dube played right wing on the top line during his six games here. He charged the net, skated fast, got into the dirty areas, and really fit in well. Listed as a center, he may be better as top line RW. He is signed to a three-year entry-level contract.

Poirier (RFA) is a strange bird. There are days he looks like he owns the ice and other days he looks like he doesn’t want to be there. He has speed and crisp shot, but he cherrypicks a lot. And I mean a lot! There are times when it appears the team is playing 5-on-4 as he is cruising around the opposing blue line looking for a breakaway. He was a healthy scratch during the Cleveland road trip and came back into the line up on fire. If he plays like he did the final 15 or so games, he is worth re-signing to no longer than a one-year, two-way deal.

Pollock broke out of his shell while in Texas. His hat trick lit a fire and he became a consistent player from that point. Listed as a center, he found a home and flourished on the wing. He is signed through next season.

Mangiapane finished the year on injured reserve. He will start the season in Stockton and become the first call-up. He is signed through next season.

Lomberg is the heart and soul of the team. He spent most of the first quarter of the season playing center. After his move back to wing, it felt like his game returned to what is was last year. He is signed through next season.

Gazdic (UFA) is my controversial signing, as long as it is an AHL contract only. He can fight, which is something this team needs. He is a fourth line winger and penalty killer only. He is a good locker room guy and off-ice player. He can teach the younger players how to act both on and off the ice. When he was signed at the beginning of the season, I heard the first thing he did was go to the Heat and ask what and where he can volunteer. He earned his A and could be a candidate for either the C or an A next season if signed.

One side note about both Gazdic and Lomberg: at the Season Ticket Holder BBQ, both players were more involved with the fans instead of congregating with other players. I also noticed Gazdic surveying the crowd keeping track of the other players to make sure they were interacting with the fans.

Tweeners: Hunter Shinkaruk, Austin Carroll, Darren Nowick

Shinkaruk (RFA) is like Jekyll and Hyde. There are days when he is the best player and days he seems like it is his first day on the team. When he loses focus, he plays recklessly. If they brought him back, it would have to be a one-year deal only (and I could wear my game worn jersey). But if he was to be let go, I would not be heartbroken, besides limiting my jersey wearing.

Carroll’s story is a bit mind-boggling. He started the preseason game on the top line. The next week, at the opening game, he was a healthy scratch and continued to be for the next 20 games or so. So what happened during the week between preseason and start of the season? To this day, it hasn’t been revealed what happened. Last season Carroll was a consistent contributor. He played in 41 games this season, mostly on the fourth line with Pelley and Gazdic, but seeing time on the top two lines at times. He is a 21-year-old RFA right wing. I would like him back, but don’t know what damage he did at the beginning of the season.

Nowick was a mid-season call up from Kansas City. Playing mostly on the bottom six, he needs work. I could see them signing him to an ECHL contract with an occasional call-up, but he does not bring anything special.

Goalies

Keepers: Jon Gillies, Ryan Faragher, Tyler Parsons, Nick Schneider

This is predicated on Rittich being Mike Smith’s backup. Gillies is the third best goalie in the system. Does he have his flaws? Yes (did I ever mention that he has a tendency to give up goals high side?) but those can be fixed with a proper goalie coach. He just completed his second full year where he spent time in Calgary. He was better this year than last, which shows progress. There are times he was over-used and could have benefited from a night off in back-to-back games. If he has a good camp, I can see him as Smith’s back up and Rittich starting the season in Stockton.

Faragher is a quality backup. He is a bit older than the other two and provided five quality starts during the Smith injury when both Gillies and Rittich were gone. His 4-1-0 record with a 1.55 GAA, a .949 save percentage is not sustainable, but if he is anywhere close to that, he will serve very well as an experienced backup.

Parsons suffered through injuries all season. In the few games I saw him, he looked like he will be good, but he needs more ice time than Stockton can provide. He should start in Kansas City and be brought up if one of the other two goes down.

Schneider will serve as the backup to Parsons in Kansas City. He is young and straight out of juniors. Even though he played 15 games for the Heat in 2015 (on an emergency basis), he needs time in the ECHL.

Move: Mason McDonald

Even though he came in and provided two huge wins, McDonald has been in the system longer than the other goalies and cannot beat out the others. Parsons will supplant him in Kansas City and Schneider will take over his playing time.

Coaching staff

Head coach

[ed. Probably worth noting this was written before Glen Gulutzan was fired.]

This is not as cut and dried as it appears. One has to wonder which is the problem: the system being used or the coaching staff that implements the system. To reiterate a question from commenter “Free The Flame”: is the job of the AHL coach to prepare his players for the next level, to build the knowledge of the parent club’s system, or to build a winning tradition for the farm club? As a season ticket holder for the Heat, I want a team that wins and makes the playoffs. As much as I want to see the prospects succeed at the next level, I want to enjoy watching their progression while they are here. I want a successful farm system that produces a few players every year to fill the needs of the parent club.

Positives: Would Huska play a different style if given the chance? I can only speculate here if he was allowed to play “his style” in the last week of the season. Two wins against Ontario by a combined score of 11-5, and the fastest I have seen this team play, suggest that if this was his system, he knows how to use his players correctly.

The other positive trait I witnessed this year about Huska is he’s quick to shuffle forward lines when things are not going well. There were only a few games where the lines remained the same throughout the game.

Negatives: It is hard to build chemistry with linemates when you are constantly teamed with different players. The only few constants were the top two defensive pairs. I could write down Andersson/Wotherspoon and Kylington/Goloubef before I arrived at the rink. The bottom pair was shuffled between Ollas-Mattsson, Prout, Robak, Healey and Yevenko.

In the beginning of the season, I could also pencil in Mangiapane-Jankowski-Hathaway as the top line. Once Jankowski left, a host of centers were inserted on the top line. Hrivik, Findlay and even Lomberg all centered that line.

Just like in Calgary, more often than not, the fourth line was trotted out after the opponent scored. Huska would not shorten his bench when trailing. There is no reason Pelley, Gazdic and Carroll should have seen any ice time when trailing in the final game in the third period.

His goalie management still baffles me. It is bad enough to send out the same goalie in back-to-back nights. But late in the season to not use the goalie (Faragher) that had not allowed more than two goals in ANY game he appeared in, and going with a goalie who clearly had lost his confidence, is not smart. Even if he was instructed to ride Gillies and Rittich until they dropped, he should have the intestinal fortitude to say “this is my team and I need to do what I feel is the best for this team to win.” He owes it to the Heat fans to ice the best possible team to win.

Assistant coaches

It is obvious that the goalie use and issues (rebound control, dropping too early, leaving the top side open, etc.) have not been resolved, which falls on Colin Zulianello. Enough said.

Domenic Pittis is in charge of the offense. The Heat finished 23rd in the league on the power play with a 16.2% conversion rate. They finished with 211 GF, which ranked 16th in the league. The issues I have with the offense are the cross-ice and no-look passes, overpassing the puck, that stupid drop pass on the power play, and the predictable pass to the right wing when coming into the zone. When a fan sitting eight rows up behind the goalie can predict the entry pass, just think what scouts are seeing to game plan for the Heat.

Cail MacLean is in charge of the defense, which was the true bright spot of this team. He was Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations for the Flames ECHL team while in Adirondack. In two seasons, he went 79-48-17.

Overall coaches review: In my opinion, I would relieve all coaches except Cail MacLean. I can see the organization promoting him to Head Coach or, at a minimum, retaining him for his defensive mind. New offensive and goalie coaches are needed.

Side note

Next year the Pacific Division will have seven teams, as both Texas and San Antonio move to the Central, while Colorado gets bumped up from the ECHL to the AHL (San Antonio becomes the St. Louis affiliate while the Avalanche move closer to home). My guess would be that Grand Rapids gets moved from the Central to the North Division, but I have not found out definitely who is moving. The division will still only play 68 games, as opposed to the 76 the other divisions play. This allows for the Pacific to go to points instead of percentages, which will make it easier to track.

  • cjc

    I am curious as to why Mangiapane would be left in Stockton. He hasn’t got anything left to prove there, and he was given mostly 4th line minutes with terrible linemates in Calgary. He could probably accomplish a bit more on Jankowski or even Backlund’s wing. If they feel Mangiapane needs to start in Stockton to recover from injury, fine, but leaving him there for more than a month is a waste. Calgary needs forwards that can score, and Mangiapane fits that bill. If they won’t make space for him, they should facilitate a trade because dude looks ready. Here is a list of 21 year olds that averaged at least 1.1 ppg in the AHL since ’05-06:

    -Frank Vatrano
    -Taylor Hall
    -Drew Stafford
    -Jiri Hudler
    -Clarke MacArthur
    -Steve Downie
    -Troy Brouwer
    -Devin Shore
    -David Krejci
    -Mark Stone
    -Tomas Fleischmann

    That’s not a terrible list of comparables – suggests Mangiapane will at least be a solid depth player.
    Likewise, Dube has a shot to make Calgary out of camp, I think he will soon overtake Jankowski in terms of Calgary’s centre depth. Mangiapane and Dube would make an interesting rookie duo on the third line, if they can trade Bennett.

    • BendingCorners

      When did Taylor Hall play in the AHL?
      How many AHL players achieved 0.8 PPG or higher in at least one season and still did not make it to the NHL? A quick eyeball suggests 50%, more or less.
      How many points did Mangiapane earn in Calgary? Even playing eight minutes a night with Stajan and Brouwer/Hathaway he should have recorded more than zero points in ten games.
      Mango is in the A because he needs to develop further and become harder to separate from the puck when playing NHL-level opponents.
      Probably he makes it to Calgary next season, but it is not a lock.

      • cjc

        “How many AHL players achieved 0.8 PPG or higher in at least one season and still did not make it to the NHL? A quick eyeball suggests 50%, more or less.” – That’s not really the point though – Mangiapane averaged over 1.1 points per game this season as a 21 year old. If you look at those players, it’s a much different picture. And as for Mangiapane’s NHL audition, let’s break it down a bit further:

        -Mangiapane’s iCF/60 was 8th out of 23 forwards who played for the team this season
        -His CF%rel was 11th out of 23
        -Those ranks are both better than Michael Ferland, Troy Brouwer, Curtis Lazar and Mark Jankowski
        -He didn’t score, but as I recall had some glorious chances.

        He may not be a lock, in that any rookie needs to actually earn a spot on the team. But this team has so few options, and they need guys that can score.

    • Hockeysense9393

      Rumour has it that Dube will be more suited to winger depth, if he makes the Flames. It’s always hard to tell what a “new” coach will do of course…but I think that position is Janko’s to lose, as apposed to Dube’s to be given. Janko has proven that he is quite capable playing a 2-way game and isn’t terrible with face-offs. I could almost see him actually moving up next year, with Backlund being on the 3rd line shut down position. It will be fun at camp…and at least something to kind of get excited about lol.

    • cberg

      Making a trade for ROR would be fine, but the proposal above is beyond ridiculous! ROR is a very good 2C, so why in the world is giving up another very solid 2C, an up and coming 2/3C and a potential top pair D even discussed? Especially since ROR is despairing in Buffalo, hasn’t really worked there and is highly overpaid? This is the kind of ridiculous trade talk that gets thrown out there when people laser focus into a certain player and start salivating over the potential of getting him while forgetting its a team game and our own guys have a ton of value too. Stupid, stupid, stupid….

      • Just a Fan

        You would be getting a very good 2C for spare parts and a D that struggled on the second pair. There are a lot of Jankowski type players in the AHL and Fox has not signed. I don’t know why Buffalo would do this but if they are willing I do it.

        • cberg

          Brodie had a down season, granted, but he is still a top4 D that can play either side, and 2 years ago was considered one of the top dozen D in the league. I’d bet anything he’ll be much better next season. Jankowski just started, did well in a partial season, and has a history of progressive improvement and success, and plays a very strong 200ft game. Finally, Valimaki is not Fox, he is signed and is playing great and highly likely to be top4 in the NHL within the next two years. Even thinking that just shows broadcasters and some fans have zero faith in actual development and prefer the short-sighted band aid approach to team-building. No thank you.

          • Cfan in Van

            Not to mention:
            Janko was by far the best offensive member of the heat before he was brought up (“lots of Jankos in the AHL”).
            Fox holds big value, and has stated he has no intentions of abandoning the Flames. Even if he didn’t sign, he’s has first round value if his rights are traded.
            That’d be two potential Top-Pairing D, a second pairing D, and Janko. That’s ludicrous.

        • Jumping Jack Flash

          Janko scored 17 goals on a team that had no offense…almost all of them at 5 v 5. He is destined to score 30 goals in a top 6 role, I would love to know which AHL players are poised for that type of production.

          • cjc

            eh, four of those goals came in a throwaway game at the end of the season, shooting 14.4% on the season. Not saying it’s impossible, but “destined is a bit much. Be careful not to overvalue players just because they were drafted high within your organization. As for other AHL players poised for that type of production… Mangiapane?

    • Korcan

      Buffalo has a congestion and money problem at center (Eichel, O’Rielly, Reinhart, and now Mittelstadt and Reinhardt needs to be resigned and won’t be cheap). They may choose to move Reinhart to the wing, but I’ve read they are more likely to try and move O’Rielly to get out from under his big contract and go with their youth.

      I love O’Rielly. He would be an awesome #2 center for Calgary. He oozes character and only knows how to play one way — flat out (think Gio, but at center). If the Flames truly see themselves as entering their “contenders” window now, he would definitely be an upgrade over Jankowski and really help in changing the personality of this team. If, however, they see themselves still a couple of years away from being a legit contender, then I would hang on to Janks.

      Regardless, I would not want Calgary to overpay. I would not want them to offer more than Brodie (preferably) OR Jankowski (Buffalo was his ‘hometown’ team growing up) and Fox (a New Yorker) and I would also be asking for Buffalo to retain 2M of O’Rielly’s annual salary. If they are willing to take that offer, great, if not then Calgary should just move along.

      • Korcan

        P.S. if Buffalo wants to include RFA Lehner in the deal (to platoon with Smith next season), that might be worth Brodie, Jankowski, and Fox, though Calgary would be taking on a lot of salary. The Flames would definitely have the most intimidating goaltending tandem in the league.

    • MDG1600

      Maybe BT is getting tired of Calgary not being able to win a critical defensive face-off. I’d try to trade Brodie and Bennett and dump Brouwer on to the Sabres. I know people think Bennett is still an offensive force that was ruined by the coach but I just don’t see him ever be more than an energy guy and grinder who might get you 15 goals. Janko has much more offensive up side.

      • oilcanboyd

        The odd thing about Bennett was that GG picked Sam to be the player on the team to rise…and fans say the coach ruined him?? Maybe the player cannot execute…

    • BiggDogg

      I don’t like that price, but I do like the idea of bringing in O’Rielly. Look at how the best teams in the NHL are built, they always have major strength down the middle. Penguins have Crosby, Malkin, Brassard. Predators have Johansen, Turris, Bonino. If we had Monahan, ROR, and Backlund we would be in awesome shape.

      Question is how we make cap space for ROR considering we need money for Tkachuk.

    • cberg

      I like your write-up too, but I’m confused since you seemed to indicate Huska did a very good job, with high likelihood of even better if freed up from the Flame’s demands, then you’re turfing him as if he’s been trash. Confused.

  • Cfan in Van

    Great summary Finest! I appreciate all the work you put into these updates, and it really adds another dimension as a fan. I used to love following the Heat when they were in Abbotsford, but it’s a bit harder when they’re in Cali.

  • Cheeky

    If Huska is just a pawn of whatever system the Flames have, then there is no point in retaining him – he can’t be valued high as a coach if he’s not allowed to coach his style. I never liked Pittis with coaching – alot of offensive players seemed drown in Stockton under his tutoring. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out depends on who the Flames hire as the coach…

    • ThisBigMouthIsRight

      Usually the big club wants the Farm team to emulate what’s going on upstairs with the parent club, in theory it should result in an easier transition to the Flames when the AHL players are called up. It makes sense but leaves little to no creativity to the coach down on the Farm, esp if they(Flames) are controlling the player usage on the Farm(big yikes if GG had input into that too).

      • Cheeky

        I get the idea for the easy transition however if that was the case then why were players brought up to sit in pressbox with the excuse that the player needed some practises to learn the system? A good coach in the minors develops players for the NHL while fielding a competative team. Systems can be taught but CGY insisted that the 2 systems were identical. To me that failed the Stockton coaching staff, if they believed in Huska and crew then they would have let him coach, maybe sprinkle in a bit of the parent club system but not told him to mimick his system to the coach above… Remember Huska and crew used Hartleys system then GGs. Looking at most successful minor turned NHL coaches, they implemented their own systems…

  • T&A4Flames

    Considering that the AHL coach is instructed to deploy the Flames coaches system to maintain continuity for when call ups happen, I find it hard to vilify Huska. Besides, SF, I like how you mentioned that he was quick )although maybe a bit too quick) to notice something not working and change it. That was one of GG’s biggest issues, being stubborn and trying to force a square peg through a round hole.
    Sorry SF, I know you want to see wins just like we do. But the Flames management has said often, the AHL is a development system and championships at that level is a secondary consideration.

  • The GREAT WW

    RoR for Backlund actually makes a lot of sense!!!

    Both are very good 2C (……) and both are overpaid by $1.5 million per on long term contracts….

    Get it done before July 1 when Backlund’s no-trade kicks in…..

    WW

    • Flames Fan in Edmonchuck

      Why would Buffalo do that? Backs is not only worse (not a knock, just ROR is really god) he is two years older…. ROR for 2.15 more per year over 5 years (instead of the 6 for Backs) is a sweet deal for us…. No way Buffalo does this straight up, we would need to add quite a bit me thinks…..

  • VoRaCS

    Just wanted to know if anybody has heard what the Flames GM has specifically identified as something he did wrong this season. He took the blame for the disappointing season, but I haven’t heard him state why, what he learned, or what he would do differently moving forward. If he doesn’t have a solid plan to dress four competent lines, then a new coach is unlikely to make much difference.

  • Hockeysense9393

    Just want to thank Stockton’s Finest for keeping us up to date on what’s going on down there!! The bridge you built between here and there is always informative and helpful. Have a great summer and keep the cheers going!!

    Thank you again!!

  • freethe flames

    SF; thanks for your article and I understand your desire for the Flames to want to build a winner in the AHL. The Flames organization has a bad history of giving the farm team the bum’s rush and that needs to change, They need to build a culture of winning throughout the organization. I recall a few years ago Feaster losing his cool when the prospects lost the final game of Penticton Tourney; the country club atmosphere needs to change. I believe a well run farm team can and needs to accomplish all goals; preparing their prospects to be NHL players, preparing their players to understanding the system played by the NHL team and building a winning culture on the farm both for player development and the fans like you who support the team. There has to be a commitment to do that and here is how I would do it.
    1. Start by having 8-10 players who are AHL vets who make a good living playing in the AHL. Guys who have passed they apex level but can still play.(leave a few 2 way contracts available as a reward id someone has a great season; id Golobuf) There are FA leaving the NHL today who could fit that role and you have a number right now. I think I count 8.

    2. Have a handful of tweeners on your team. Guys you know can still play in the NHL who can be brought up if needed rather than rushing up young prospects before they are ready; ie Hrivik. Again there are guys who are available.(25-27 years old)

    3. Have a group of late bloomers; guys you are still waiting on. At this point the Flames have several of these guys; Klimchuk, Poirier, Lomberg to name a few. Guys who can play at the AHL and may still have some life and could become tweeners(generally speaking guys who have been the organization a few years)
    4. NHL ready prospects; these are guys who are basically NHL ready and I would say this would be Mangiapane and Foo. This are the guys who get the first recalls.
    5. Older prospects who you are still high on; ie Kylington, Gilles, college free agents guys who need to prove themselves one more time.
    6. Young prospects; 1st and second year pros who need to be put into a place where they can succeed and develop their games. In our case this would be Dube, Phillips, Gawdin, Valimaki, Parsons. Give them a chance to play in the AHL and with players that can help their development; for a lack of a better word shelter their experience. It might be great to watch a Dube/Gawdin/Phillips line at the young star tourney but it would be bad for their development to start the AHL season that way.

    Heres some lines I might like to see start the season in the AHL; Mangaipane/Gawdin/Foo, Klimchuk/Dube/Poirier, Pollock/Mcmurty/Phillips.

      • freethe flames

        You are probably right but in many ways these are just estimates. This year we only have 3/4 forwards graduating to the AHL ranks, 1 D and 1 goalie. The top 3 forwards are going to be in the AHL, Fischer is likely going to be in KC as will Schnieder. It’s not unusual for AHL teams to have extra bodies available especially if guys are likely going up.

    • Stockton's Finest

      There is one with me and Joly, Schneider, and Dube.

      The one in the post by Centermen is left to right: Lomberg, Findlay, Pollock, SF, McMurtry, Nowick, Prout.

  • KKisTHEproblem

    Thanks SF, I really appreciate your efforts and the insights. Its great to know more about the young guys and their abilities and chances to make it to the big club. Cheers!

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    SF..I agree that Faragher deserved to play more at the end of the season but I was not expecting Huska to stand up to the parent team and play him over Gillies or Rittich. There are not enough games to start at the AHL level. Personally, I think you ride a goalie who is on a hot streak like Faragher was.

  • OKG

    “Even if he was instructed to ride Gillies and Rittich until they dropped, he should have the intestinal fortitude to say “this is my team and I need to do what I feel is the best for this team to win.” He owes it to the Heat fans to ice the best possible team to win.”

    Sorry SF, but it doesn’t work like that. Troy G Ward did exactly that and hasn’t coached a professional hockey game since. And Troy Ward was a damn good coach.

    • BiggDogg

      Truly. While it may suck to have the team play uncompetitively, the point of an AHL team is not to win the championship. It is to develop players, and give them experience on the ice. Sometimes having a prospect play through a cold streak and figure out how to get themselves on track is more valuable to the parent team than winning games is.

      • ThisBigMouthIsRight

        As I fully understand the reasoning behind going with “your guys”… But I think there is a fine line where ~in your face competition~ might be needed to get them going again, or in this case to make the playoffs first then after they could restart the goalies in the post season. getting more playoff experience should be valued for everyone.
        Easy to make that call in hindsight I guess.

      • freethe flames

        As I explained in my early post I think you can and need to do both. The prospects would have really benifitted from an AHL playoff experience and that is why you need to play to win.It’s about building the right culture.

        OKG you mentioned Troy Ward and I believe the Flames wanted him to leave Abbortsford when the Heat moved east but he declined for personal reasons; I don’t think he was fired for trying to win.

  • HAL MacInnis

    “One side note about both Gazdic and Lomberg: at the Season Ticket Holder BBQ, both players were more involved with the fans instead of congregating with other players. I also noticed Gazdic surveying the crowd keeping track of the other players to make sure they were interacting with the fans.”

    It’s observations like this that I really enjoy. Keep on truckin’, Finest.