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FlamesNation Mailbag: Rittich and other future plans

How do the Flames handle their closest thing to a bonafide #1 goalie? What’s the strategy heading into trade deadline?

PGP asks:

Noah Hanifin is failing the eye test. How’s he doing actually?

Hanifin has been a bit of a disaster the last few games. He and Travis Hamonic have been caught making lazy giveaways or puck watching on some pretty ugly goals against. It’s not necessarily a new thing either; he had some disastrous moments earlier in the year that were seemingly jitters. He bounced back, but he’s having a rough stretch right now.

The fancy stats kind of paint a good and bad picture. Hanifin sits at a 52.77 CF% at 5v5, which is right in the middle for all Flames regular defenceman. He remains in the middle when you consider per 60 rates and relative CF% (an inoffensive -0.23 CFrel%). His WOWY (with or without you data: measuring the impact of linemates on shot rates) doesn’t reveal anything shocking. No one’s carrying him to a serious extent, and vice versa.

In most regards, that’s fine. He’s receiving the toughest zone starts of all Flames defenders, for starters, so that will damage his numbers. He’s also behind Mark Giordano, TJ Brodie, and Hamonic in those departments, which is fine because they’re more experienced defenders. It’s not really that surprising that the 21-year-old (this is also key) Hanifin is not as good as the 35-year-old Norris contender, and two well-regarded 28-year-olds. Your number four defenceman is not going to be on par with your first pairing defenceman. He is, by definition, going to around or a bit below average compared to the rest of the defence.

The concern lies in whether or not he’ll fix the actual problems with his game while Juuso Valimaki, Rasmus Andersson, and Oliver Kylington are nipping at his heels. He’s not the only young defenceman on this roster, and there’s a few that are gearing up to usurp him in the coming years. The timeline for defencemen does extend a bit further than the one for forwards, but if he really can’t get his act together by the time one of the other young defencemen start getting theirs together, the Flames might have a pretty expensive #3 LHD.

Pros:

  • The Flames, if they acquire the right rental piece, can bridge the gap between them and Tampa while building distance between them and the rapidly gaining San Jose Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights. The West is going to be very tough, especially considering that the top three Pacific teams might all finish at or around 100 points. At the end of that tunnel is likely one of either Nashville or Winnipeg, so having the weapons to outgun all of them is key to a Stanley Cup run.
  • They can spread the scoring out and increase their flexibility. The Tkachuk-Backlund-Frolik combo is nice, but if you can find a winger that can push Frolik down the lineup, you’re adding a boost to the secondary scoring units which have been mostly quiet. You’re also buying insurance just in case the first or second lines hit a speed bump and see a dip in production.
  • You aren’t going to have to rely upon AHLers and rookies in the playoffs. Maybe they’re decent enough to carry you there, but the playoffs are different.

Cons:

  • It will be an expensive dip into future assets for a team with very few of them. For a team that is going to be pushed up against the cap ceiling for the next few years, keeping cheap youth in the organization will be key. You can’t do that if you’re routinely drafting in the late rounds.
  • The Flames are the second best team in the league. How much help do they really need right now?
  • Building on that, the Flames’ window is just opening, so there’s really no need to go all-in right now. It’s certainly feasible that they reach the conference finals with the same roster they have right now. Johnny Gaudreau is having a Hart-calibre year at 25 and is somehow the oldest of their four superstar forwards. Even if the Flames don’t make the Final this year, it’s only up from here, and they’re already pretty close to the top. Why continue to spend future assets for short-term rentals when letting the team mature for another year might be a better option?

I would probably say that the Flames should hold off on it for a year. Right now is the year to figure out what they’re really made of and then see what they need to add and subtract for next season. They have the majority of the pieces already.

Yeah, the 3M line is the way to do it. I’m not sure how you can have an argument for any other combination of players. Tkachuk-Backlund-Bennett is the next best thing you can do with that line, and that was only mildly productive for a short stint of time. The 3M line continues to be one of the best in the business, and until you can actually find something tangibly better in the long term, you should stick with it.

As for Neal, the only mystery is figuring out how you get that SH% to rebound. He’s about career average in every shooting metric, both individual and on-ice, except for shooting percentage. We’ve seen time and time again how the volatility of that number can burn teams. Perhaps that switch gets flipped in the second half of the season, but you can really never guess. PDO has always been funny like that.

If the Flames wanted to trade him, that would be dead in the water. It’s hard to bail out of that contract given the length of it, and there are few dud contracts that are actually worth swapping that one for. Maybe you can look for one of those contracts for a player who is too injured to play, but what value does that give the Flames besides some LTIR room (if they even want to use it – remember that it’s not free)? That’s a major burden on the cap that they’ll rarely, if ever, get a chance to use.

Comparable goalies is tough for Rittich. There’s a handful of goalies who had one great season and then got paid (stay tuned for an article on that), but looking at their backgrounds, there’s a lot more hype for those goalies. Some of them had years of good production in the AHL and major European leagues. Some were high (relative to goalies) draft picks. They had a few seasons of riding pine and played in a couple of NHL games before teams really committed to them.

By comparison, Rittich only started 16 NHL games before this season. He’s kind of alone in that territory. Rittich came out of nowhere and quickly became one of the best without really acclimating to being a starter at any level of North American pro. How can you make a solid projection of what he’s going to be when his most substantial NHL sample size is this season?

All that makes guessing his future tricky, as he could be having one random great season (think Andrew Hammond). It’s certainly a worse case scenario option, but there’s no real guarantee that Rittich is going to be this great forever. Miikka Kiprusoff comparisons are tempting, but even Kiprusoff had plenty of AHL and European pro experience under his belt before coming to the Flames. There’s a reason he was worth a decently high draft pick.

To sum it up, I really don’t know. I want to, and do, believe that Rittich is going to be a long-term starter just based on how sturdy he’s been, but there’s still uncertainty. He’ll likely keep answering those questions as the season goes on, but you should really never lock him in as the long-term future right now.

Speaking of.

I might go for two years on Rittich. Teams should approach contracts as one part paying for good past work, and one part paying for future work. Rittich brought the Flames to the playoffs, so he will get some money based on that.

As we said, future good work isn’t a certainty based on the small body of work. Rittich could have a repeat performance, he could just become mediocre. Two years gives the team enough time to determine how good Rittich is while giving them a parachute in case he’s not. If he suddenly regresses to bad next season, the team would have another year to let him bounce back or just grin and bear it.

  • Brian McGrattan's Salute

    I dare say I agree on your assesment of going all in vs. status quo. We need some more prospects desperately, and can’t afford to expend any. Its a controversy, but I’m going with it

    • Cfan in Van

      I’m fully in this camp. Dreaming of picking up the ideal piece(s) is nice, but the reality is likely a fairly large cost for an uncertain upgrade. Nothing will drastically change between this roster and next years, so I’m not comfortable with jumping the gun.

  • Jimmyhaggis

    Chemistry, Don Maloney said it last night. If the Flames are going to make some moves, chemistry is going to be priority #1. The feeling in the room sounds like they’re all on the same page, and are willing to go to bat for each other.
    Only move I see is a goaltender, Smith had a good game but he can blow up at any time.

    • oilcanboyd

      Smitty stays. He has a No Trade Contract. A player with a No-Trade Clause cannot be traded by a team unless the player provides consent. I can’t see Smitty saying yes to any trade involving a non-playoff team which offers the best chance for a decent back-up goalie. And do the Flames want to upset the Smitty-Rittich alliance going into the thick of the playoff race.

  • DoubleDIon

    It’s all about value for me. If rentals are cheap I wouldn’t mind seeing one or two. If they aren’t then stand pat. We’ve dealt too many high picks lately to pay market rate for rentals.

  • everton fc

    I wonder if the rumours about Zuccarello were true? Read they were bogus. Not saying I’d want him on board, or not. Just typing out loud, here.

    If we make a goaltender move, again, It’s go for a minor-league option with NHL experience who can carry some games, if either Smith, or Rittich, go down w/an injury. I, once again, say we should at least call the Kings about Crawford or Petersen – the latter, preferably.

  • Flint

    I think one of the most compelling, but oft-ignored aspect of why the Flames are in a unique position this year and could/should potentially look at a rental acquisition using lesser assets (if that exists and presents itself) is our salary cap.

    Next year we have to renew/replace: Tkachuk, Rittich, Bennett, Hathaway, Smith, Mangiapane and Prout to have the same team as this year. According to cap friendly we’ll have 12,5 mil to do it. Let’s assume the cap goes up 3 mil for arguments sake 15,5 and that we want to keep 2,5 for space…. so 13.

    Let’s do some conservative estimates:
    Tkachuk – 6,75mil
    Rittich – 3mil
    Bennett – 2,4mil
    Hathaway – 900k
    Mangianpane – 750k

    We’re already at 13,8! which is 800k over and we don’t have a backup goalie (~1,5mil) who won’t be Smith, and we don’t have a 7th defenseman (~900k) who won’t be Prout, but who are needed nonetheless – Kylington and ______ backup?

    So, we will have to jettison talent. Fair enough, some will say trading Stone (who’s NOT counted above), Neal and Czarnik may be addition by subtraction, but we HAVE to trade them and we then have to replace them. Even if we replace them with just better than league min players that’s ~1mil each. x 3 = 3 mil. PLUS the goalie above and we’re at 4,5mil.

    For those advanced Math’s here. We resign all the players (+13,8). We find a backup goalie for (+1,5). We trade Stone (N/A), Neal (-5,75) and Czarnik (-1,75) who are replaced with ~1million dollar players (+3mil) and we’re at: 10,8mil of our 13mil budget or 2,2mil to upgrade and 2,5 for breathing space.

    Are we a better team? I dunno. And that’s if we do all of that. And get Tkachuk and Rittich for sub. 10.

    I dunno…. a 40 day rental UFA and a shot at the Cup before the financial crunch ain’t a half bad idea.

    • withachance

      Who do you trade to get said rental?? Picks? Prospects? Not worth it in my opinion. Hathaway and Prout are not key pieces, so not even really worried about their departure if it happens. Rittich will not get more than 2M for a show me contract, and dont forget the rising salary cap.

      Im definitely expecting one of Frolik and Stone to be traded. I think the one thing we dont have to worry about is BT’s cap management. Here’s hoping BT doesnt do anything major in the next few weeks. This team has a shot at the cup without much help so why risk the future?

      • Flint

        A lot of impact players can be acquired at the deadline for middling prospects and conditional picks. I think that people always assume rentals have to be huge names. Vegas got Ryan Reeves AND a 4th for Tobias Lindberg last year (Linberg’s since been traded again to OTT and has played 6 career NHL games and is 23)

        I’m not suggesting chasing the huge fish. Just make solid moves, but with a little risk, to make us better.

        Also, I cannot see any way that Rittich gets only 2 mil and no term. He’s played more NHL games as a starter than Darling ever did and Darling got 4×4.125 . Rittich has arbitration as well.

      • oilcanboyd

        Frolik and Stone offer the Flames veteran depth at the very leastnimum. Frolik is on a nice roll now and will be valuable asset in securing top spot in the Pac Div/Western Conf.

    • Flint

      Sorry… made a mistake in there. Stone IS counted even though he’s currently on LTIR for next year. So, that would give us 3,5 more breathing space, up to by my estimation a max of about 5,7mil BUT the point remains. I’m not sure we can sign Tkachuk and Rittich for sub 10. I’m not sure we will be able to find takers via trade for Neal, Stone and Czarnik. I’m not sure we’ll find a good backup for 1,5.

      We’d have to do ALL those things and we’d have room for a Neal replacement. We don’t trade Neal…. and we’re capped out. Tkachuk and RIttich making just 1,725mil combined this year gives us a unique opportunity to take a little extra risk and go for it.

      • BendingCorners

        @Flint – I think you’re right that either Stone goes to LTIR or is traded, or else Neal’s salary is removed by buyout or trade. But those are summertime moves and likely only one move is necessary, not both. Trading current or future assets for a fixable cap problem is not necessary.
        That said, I’d love to see the Flames win the Cup this year, and there is no guarantee they will be as good next year. If there is a rental player that puts them over the top for an acceptable price then I’m in favour, I’m just not sure that player or that deal exists.

    • Sea of Redd

      If you’re looking at CapFriendly, the $67M in salary includes Stone and Valimaki. So it actually includes 8 D. Trade stone and all your cap problems go away. You now have $19M to sign those 5 players and a backup.

      • Flint

        Yeah,… caught that as stated above. Still think it’s going to be tight next year because even if everything goes perfect it will be. We’re all assuming Treliving will be able to trade the Stone’s and Neal’s of the world. Look at Lucic…. EDM would love to trade him too! Sometimes it’s just not possible.

        • Off the wall

          Flint, are you ok pal?
          You seem overwhelmed.
          I love that you’re trying to number crunch, however leave that to the GM. He gets a good salary to worry about those things.

          We’re fine even though we need to sign our next biggest fish in Tkachuk. The numbers are there to support it.

          Treliving isn’t Chia. We might be a little snug for a year, however Treliving has contingency plans.

          Breathe friend! We’re not the Oilers!!

          • Flint

            I’m fine thanks. The question was weighing the benefits of making moves. None of us are the GM but we can talk about our opinion, no? I personally think the numbers are tighter than people realize and that easy trades don;t happen and because of that I would like to see an aggressive approach.

          • Off the wall

            Ah Flint, please don’t take my remarks as not being able to express an opinion!

            I’ apologize if that’s how you interpreted it.

            I don’t mind the aggressive approach myself either!
            I think we have a great chance to make some noise this year.

            Anything that makes us better I’m all for exploring.

          • Derian Hatcher

            Hello OTW, my Flames Friend. You know that I have sat back with envy watching your team, reading comments here and wishing that I, as an Oiler fan could have the same excitement and discourse. As you know, I have never been one to fall into the “my dad can beat up your dad” type of commenting between our two teams, but it’s very clear now who’s dad is dominant.

            That being said, I will always cheer for Canadian teams in the playoffs – except for the Leafs of course – but that’s another story for another time.

            If you don’t mind me weighing in here (as I have become almost apathetic to the plight of my team – except for Connor & Nuge, for whom I feel extremely bad). Anyway, your team is looking very good, and if they can keep it up, they may be able to make some noise in the playoffs. Do you have any concerns that playoff hockey is generally much more physical and “close” and that may negatively affect the flames who are not that big of a team? IF I were a flames fan, I think that would be my only concern in playoffs – although I could be off base. Thanks OTW – glad that you are enjoying the ride this year.

          • Off the wall

            Derian my Oiler’s Friend! Funny we can say that to one another.
            And mean it.?

            I really appreciate your thoughts. I must say it’s been a great season so far for the Flames, however I know as an Oiler’s fan, it can be a bit disheartening.
            Sorry.

            I think our Dad’ just got some extra strength from a few decent signings in the offseason.

            It’s funny you bring up the physical element of the game. I seem to remember the Ducks took care of us a few seasons ago.Out in 4 straight, it still stings!

            It’s a great question and I really don’t have an answer. We seem to be fine against the bigger teams so far, however the game changes the closer we get to playoff’s.

            I think as a rule, you need a few bigger bodies to hold up in a rough series. Smaller teams generally have to rely on skill.
            I think we’re in uncharted waters, and I can’t speak for the rest of FN, however I think we should have a good chance this year.
            We seem to be blending well , I think that might be the key element, not size alone.

            Of course, that’s the pure fan in me talking. Reality might be different altogether.

            We have a few bigger bodies this season, although it would be nice to see them use it more often. I think you know what or whom I’m referring to. Some things are best left unsaid.

            Truth be told, my biggest concern is our goaltending. I hope Smith can do an adequate job and Rittich is untested in postseason.

            Thanks for the post.
            Maybe next year will be better for the Oilers?!

            Of course I always say this, however you’re welcome to abandon ship and join us!!
            I know you won’t, you’re a die hard!
            Good luck friend!

          • Kevin R

            @ Derian Hatcher I definitely have that concern come playoff time. We have the likes of Peluso & Prout who can add that thuggery type of component to bottom end of our line up, but the sacrifice that they require because they are pretty well one dimensional. I honestly think the only tweak that really wouldnt impact our chemistry would be flipping Czarnik for Kassian. Oliers save about $600K on cap space & both guy have 1 more year left. Czarnik has skill that probably could be tested in your top 6 but we simply dont have room for him. He’s either healthy scratched or he’s playing bottom line.
            You guys have Lucic & Im sorry to say you are stuck with him & that contract. You dont need Kassian. Ive watched him & he has skills, poor discipline, a little bit psycho but would fit nicely on a 4th line with the likes of Ryan & Hathaway. I honestly dont feel we have the ability to handle the likes of Reaves or Big Buff when refs let a bunch of garbage go. This league shows a complete lack of protecting it’s stars. That game against Florida when Yandle took that 2 hander on Monahans stick was brutal & someone like a Kassian to cause some crap with the likes of Huberdeau. Send a message to the league you mess with our top guys we will go at yours. I know I’ll get trashed by many Flame fans who think we are tough enough already. But playoffs is a different animal altogether.
            Wilson on Washington was a pretty valuable player last year in the playoffs. I think Kassian could play that role for us come playoff time. I remember in 2004, we already had the Polish Hammer Oliwa, & that boy could fight. We still acquired big Chris Simon at the TDL who was a little bit more than Oliwa capable of playing regular shifts instead of spot duties like Peluso or Prout. JMO

        • freethe flames

          Darien Hatcher: Don’t know you from Adam; but I have lot’s of friends who are Oiler’s fans and I have heard your pain from them. Your question about the physical side of the playoffs is an interesting one. I look at how the Flames have gotten to be a contender it is by their style of play. Lindholm has a level of grit to his game but has no playoff experience. Bennett is pretty gritty as is Hathaway. Hamonic and Gio have some grit to their game as well. Would it be that Neal found the grit he was said to have; that would be awesome. Both Stone and Prout can play a heavier game as can Tkachuk although in a different way. Would I like to see the Flames add a forward that can score and add some sandpaper absolutely but they are few and far bewteen at this stage.

          • oilcanboyd

            A power forward addition would be great – but there are none available. Perhaps Graovac could fit the bill. We all know Ferland can, but he may or not be available even as a rental and the price would be high. Carolina has found a second wind and may qualify for the playoffs with Ferland there.

  • buts

    We are 2nd in the league, 2nd in goals for and it would be sad to waste this years team effort by not having insurance if Rittich goes down….. Neal has had 47 games to show us something….he’s looked slow, disinterested and non physical, what does his shooting % matter if he’s only getting 1 shot on net like last night when we played a weak team……5.75 million for a guy who looks like all he wants is a cheque. Move him if you can.

  • Jessemadnote

    When the trade happened everyone whined because Hanifin was getting easy minutes. Now he’s upped his point total to 0.5 ppg while playing some of the toughest minutes on the best team in the west at 21 years old and we’re… complaining? Kid is gonna be a stud in the future.

  • FlamesFanOtherCity

    One of the few players said to be on the move I would be interested in is Silfverberg.
    Not knowing the asking price, he would be a good fit for scoring, defenbsive play, and grit.
    As much as the 3M line is great, a MMS line would be even deadlier. Two scoring threats.
    Re-sign isn’t that tough, assuming you are moving on from Stone and/or Frolik. Gives you a
    player in the age range of the middle guys like Backlund. He is also a playoff performer.

  • ?

    My prediction: the bennent, janko and neal line will out score the Johnny line in the playoffs, who, of course, will still be rocking it come playoffs. They will come around and neal will earn his money then.

  • Craftmatic4.0

    I say go for it! Possibly a bit early in our window, but who known when we will be second overall next? I say double down and cross your finger! You only live once!

    • Cfan in Van

      Even if it costs us a 1st rounder (we don’t have a second this year)? That could screw us as soon as 2 from now, which would still be in our current window.

    • freethe flames

      I have come to the conclusion we have to be “in It to win it” at the trade deadline. I would not trade our first rounder simply for a rental; if it was someone who had term and made sense for next year; or a RFA that could be controlled or a couple of rentals then fine.

  • freethe flames

    One thing we need to think about is do the Flames make a pro-active deal or a reactive deal. I just don’t believe that none of the top teams will do nothing. As it sits right now I think we are a legit as any of the top 7/8 teams in the NHL but I just don’t think Vegas stands pat, nor Toronto, nor the Preds just to name a few.

    • Albertabeef

      Well Washington won the cup last season and all they did was add a depth defender a week before the deadline. Otherwise they made no big moves at the deadline. Chemistry is starting to click, I really don’t want to mess with it at this point. Add a Stasny or Iginla and it doesn’t always click as Pittsburgh and Winnipeg found out in previous years.

      • freethe flames

        How long had Washington been a true contender? They has underachieved in many peoples books for a few years, their big moves had been in adding depth guys at the start of the season.

      • oilcanboyd

        Washington has been making TDL trades with little or no success:

        2015 – Curtis Glencross 2nd and 3rd round picks 2015 to Calgary Flames! Tim Gleason for a player and 4th round pick to Canes Neither player factored in the playoffs. 1 point for each in playoffs 14 games.

        2016 – Mike Weber, 3rd round pick to Sabres 2 playoff games. Daniel Winnick/5th rounder, for Laich, Carrick, 2nd rounder to Leafs. No points 25 playoff games over 2 years.
        2017 – Shattenkirk/Copley for 1st rounder, 2nd round conditional, Sanford/Malone to Blues. Shattenkirk Meh performance considering cost!
        2018 – Kempny 3rd rounder to Hawks, Jerebeck 5th rounder.

        • oilcanboyd

          Washington gave up a bunch of draft picks for players that added almost zippo in their playoffs! Don’t make trades for draft picks and mess with team chemistry. Go with the player that got you there!

        • Fat Tony

          I can’t remember if it was TDL or not but lets not forget about the Forsberg for Erat deal that was one of the worst moves I’ve seen in the last decade. Hall for Larsen deal included.

  • Korcan

    Two thoughts regarding trade deadline: 1) if Neal can have a “typical” 2nd half, that will be the equivalent of an offensive add to the roster and will give the Flames a very good three lines (and it “appears” as though Benny, Janks, and Neal are slowly developing some chemistry); 2) with so many teams falling out of the playoff race early, it looks like the trade deadline is going to be a buyers market, which is good for Calgary.

    • freethe flames

      Actually I think there are more teams thinking they still are bubble teams at this point. Hopefully by the time the all star break is over a few teams will have a better idea where they are.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    Unless the unforeseen unexpectedly unveils itself by the TDL, Tre should stand mostly pat and continue with the guys who have gotten him this far. By standing mostly pat, I have no problem with him getting a 7th defenceman or a backup goalie or a bottom 6 forward on the cheap, but nothing that will require a significant outlay of assets. I’d save the big moves for the offseason. The playoffs will really show us who can and who cannot help this team to win the big games. Furthermore, a club like the Leafs, that will surely have to move some high-end talent to pay for new contracts, will be much more reasonable to deal with in the offseason, especially after the Leafs are bounced in Round 1 again by the big, bad Bruins.

    • freethe flames

      Do we need more bottom 6 guys; here’s a list of guys who can probably play in the bottom 6 that we have; currently on the NHL club: Mangiapane, Ryan, Czarnik, Hathaway, and Neal on the Heat we have: Dube, Rychel, Quine, Lazar, Robinson and Lomberg. Am I missing anyone? The question is can any of them play up the lineup? I have Janko and Bennett that could play up the line up. Phillips will IMO get there someday. Again the 7th D is solved when Valimaki is healthy and if Stone is cleared to play. A third goalie would be nice but I would really like to see a Swiss Army Knife kind of forward added(preferably a RHC).

  • Chucky

    Playoffs are a different game but that does not mean that players who are successful in the regular season will not be successful in the playoffs. The difficulty that the Flames have in making some changes at the TDL is that they really have no idea how most of the team will perform in the playoffs because there is so little experience.
    It does not make any sense to give up any significant assets to upgrade for the playoffs because they could be giving up a playoff superstar and not know it.
    If Smith can perform well in his next three starts there may not even be a requirement for a backup. Hard to argue that a GAA under 2 and a save rate of 0.945 is a disaster waiting to happen particularly if he starts to look good again

      • Getpucksdeep

        Actually he’s got the makings of a very good back up. I don’t see Treliving trading an asset on another goalie when the devil he knows is doing “okay”. It’s been repeated here by others…goaltending is Voodoo so why risk your dressing room stability when he’s also a good mentor for Rittich..

  • Getpucksdeep

    FWIW and off topic but I really think the Oilers season is on the line tonight against the Sabres. They have stated publicly that on the 6 games they have at home + ( 1 roadie in Van) they need 4-5 wins to get back into the wildcard race. They are 1w 1L so far. If Buffalo can knock them off at home that team will wilt at thought that they need to win 4-5 straight and Calgary is in that mix. I know we shouldn’t spend time here bashing the Oil and I’m not. I just think this little home stand is make or break it for Edmonton and a Buffalo win would really put them behind the 8 ball.

  • freethe flames

    So I just looked at the schedules of the 3 Pacific leading teams going up to the All Star Break: Flames have Buffalo, Detroit, Oilers and Carolina, The Sharks have: Pittsburg, Yotes, Tampa, Panthers, and Caps, while Vegas have: Jets, Pens, Wild and Preds. If things go as well as they could for us we could have a slight cushion going into the All Star break. Also by the All Star break a few more teams may see the light and be sellers.

  • Heeeeeere’s Johnny

    I have appointed myself the Flames nation keyboard warrior. If I do not agree with what you have posted I will take it upon myself to put your opinion down. Humor has no place on this site unless it comes from me. Thank you for your participation on this site and I look forward to continuing on with my superior opinions and knocking yours. Sorry….not sorry.

    • Off the wall

      Well done warrior. Or is that Mr Warrior now? Or Johnny Warrior.. Nope, Heeeeer’s Johnny Warrior.

      Screw that…
      As a suggestion, you might wanna put GREAT in front of your name.

      It gives a superior nuance!
      Just trying to help your cause..

      • Heeeeeere’s Johnny

        No. My name is Heeeeeere’s Johnny, and that will remain the same. I am tired of the tom foolery on this site. This is hockey talk, not the comedy hour. Sloppy seconds, Grandpa Simpson quotes, and Oilers trolls do not belong here. If you like that garbage good on ya, I prefer good honest hockey talk.

        • Off the wall

          I was being facetious, however sometimes I need put in my place.

          I think you accomplished that. Good on you!

          You can’t take all the (unwanted) elements out of this blog. It’s free and you’re always going to get some unwelcome thoughts purveying the site.

          Everyone expresses themselves differently.

          The rest of the stuff that bothers you, it makes sense to just ignore it. It might be a difficult task, however it also helps with keeping things on track and on hockey talk.

          I like your posts. Don’t let others spoil it for you, ok friend!

        • Em Durp Em Hrudey

          Sorry Johnny, but Cassie Campbell saying “Sloppy second” was fricking funny. Pull the hockey stick out of your bum and grab a sense of humor.

        • .The GREAT WW

          We can’t bust heads like we used to, but we have our ways. One trick is to tell ’em stories that don’t go anywhere – like the time I caught the ferry over to Shelbyville. I needed a new heel for my shoe, so, I decided to go to Morganville, which is what they called Shelbyville in those days. So I tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time. Now, to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in those days, nickels had pictures of bumblebees on ’em. Give me five bees for a quarter, you’d say.

          Now where were we? Oh yeah: the important thing was I had an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time. They didn’t have white onions because of the war. The only thing you could get was those big yellow ones…

          WW

  • Greg

    I’d trade a first every year if it significantly improved the chances of getting to at least the final 4.

    Gotta be the right trade though. Addresses a need and doesn’t disrupt people’s current roles.

    But the right price for the right fit? Yup.

  • Spider you muda&@#ker

    Half of me says push the chips to the middle all in. Trade our late first overall for a scoring two way winger to play with Tkachuk. Other half of me says to play it cool fold and wait for next year. But fyck me its been a long time since flames were this good kinda feel like you have to go for it todays NHL is to unpredictable could be out of the playoffs next year. One hesitation I do have is the goaltending love what Ritters doing but he still is a fairly unknown entity if we had a bonifide number one goalie I would be all in in a heartbeat.

    • Em Durp Em Hrudey

      As a goalie and a father of a goalie and a goalie coach I can unequivocally with out a doubt say that Rittich is the real deal. Remember when Kipper was an unknown….this man between the pipes for the Flames is the future of their goaltending, now and at least for the next 5 years. He is a #1 goalie now….believe that!!!

      • Spider you muda&@#ker

        I like what your saying coming from a guy who has zero knowledge of goalies. I remember when we got Kipper I kept thinking oh pretty soon hes gonna fall back to earth he never did hopefully Rittich will be the same

      • oilcanboyd

        Yes, and our scouts who were actually scouting a player on the other team in a game overseas, changed their focus to the goalie. He had all the tools and we are finding out that he also has the personality too.

    • Greg

      I don’t understand why so many people have this “next year might be better” hesitation. It might, but hard to go better than 2nd in the league… there’s a lot more room to go worse. Maybe all 4 top forwards don’t have career seasons simultaneously? Maybe Gio doesn’t have another Norris caliber season? Maybe Backlund/Neal/Frolik/Hamonic don’t age well? Maybe Rittich isn’t as good?

      There’s so many things that could go wrong, this season literally everything not named Neal or Smith is going right. We might not have all the stars align like this again. There’s certainly not going to be extra cap space around to improve more in the off season.

      Clearly our window is wide open now, I don’t get why people want to wait and see if it’ll open wider. It doesn’t. No matter how many late 1st round picks we try to hang on to, the window will close again in 5ish years. Now is the time to spend those picks and try to improve the odds each year while the window is open.

      • Cfan in Van

        It’s not that next year might be better (although it might), it’s that retooling for next year is much easier and less expensive than doing it now or at the deadline. The teams success isn’t a random fluke that only happens once every 30 years, it was built toward that, and we finally have coaching that can reap the rewards from our lineup. All those pieces will be in place next year.

  • Albertabeef

    Interesting to me is in the 47 games so far this season Johnny and Elias have only failed to register a point in 12 games each, Mony failed 14 while Tkachuk is at 17. That is pretty good consistent production from those guys but is it weird that Tkachucky scored points in 30 games and we have 30 wins? lol

  • Dr. Gonzo

    I believe the Flames should be all in this year. Yes I do believe their window is about a 4 to 5 year window from now, but there is no way Giordano sustains this level at his age. I anticipate a quick decline from the Flames captain.