THE MIRAGE OF CONTENTION

Robin Brownlee
April 13 2012 05:44PM

Unwilling to wander in the desert the way his neighbors to the north have these past six seasons, Calgary Flames GM Jay Feaster is sticking to his guns when it comes to shaping his hockey team.

Feaster, who just parted ways with head coach Brent Sutter, has insisted since taking over the GM's chair in Cowtown he isn't going to follow the Edmonton Oilers lead and undertake a full-scale rebuild with the Flames despite growing sentiment he should tear the Calgary bandwagon down to bare metal and start over.

Feaster, whose Flames finished a lot closer to the playoffs this season than the Oilers did – closer must count for something, right? – but likely won't repeat that feat in 2012-13, hasn't come off his position. That seems unlikely to change, even with high-profile people like former Calgary captain Lanny McDonald throwing his two cents worth into the mix.

Start over? Like the Oilers, who'll make their third straight first overall selection at the Entry Draft and use it to take Nail Yakupov (Feaster will add the 14th overall pick to his bursting list of prospects)? Hell no. Trade Jarome Iginla or Miikka Kiprusoff? Not a chance. Wander the desert in 13th or 14th place instead of 10th or 11th? Fans wouldn't stand for it, would they?

In an interview with 960 The Fan in Calgary today, McDonald made his thoughts known, saying Feaster had already missed the boat in moving assets like Iginla and Kiprusoff and re-stocking the Flames because he's been pre-occupied with selling playoff contention.

NO SAND BETWEEN JAY'S TOES

"I don't think you have any choice but to explore them all," McDonald said in an item that just ran on Sportsnet, when asked about the possibility of trading Iginla or Kiprusoff. "I thought they should have made those moves either last year at the trade deadline or even this year at the trade deadline.

"If you go back to the trade deadline, and yes it's a lot easier to just say it than it is to do it, but you have to make a commitment: 'OK, we need to change this, this is not working, this is not good enough.'

"I think they were unfortunately kidding themselves when they thought, 'Oh my God, we're close. We've got to stick with this group all over again.' You could predict that it was going to be, 'Oh my God, we just barely missed. We're in ninth place.' But are you really close? No, especially when you see that level of play that is happening in the playoffs right now."

The link to the entire article at Sportsnet is here.

Feaster is convinced that between the roster he's got, prospects in the system and making some noise in the free agent market -- thanks to some salary coming off the books -- Flames fans will be better served by a tweak or two rather than by admitting this is a team headed in the wrong direction, and fast.

Sounds like the approach the Oilers took all those years when they'd sneak into the post-season in eighth-place, only to have Dallas beat them for fun. Short-term pain for long-term gain? He'll pass. And if Feaster can pull off a run like the Oilers did in 2006? Sounds like a plan. A bad plan, but a plan.

CONTENDERS OR PRETENDERS?

While the Oilers are a team on the ascent with a core that includes Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle (and will soon include the talented Mr. Yakupov) thanks to six straight years out of the playoffs, the last three as a lottery team, Feaster will have none of it.

At least not yet. My guess, and it's only a guess because I'm not tight with anybody in Calgary ownership, is Feaster is running out of time until he either loses his job or sees that a stroll through the sand dunes is the way to go. Heaven knows, it took Edmonton's management long enough to figure out faking it as playoff contenders wasn't going to wash in the long run.

Oilers fans have seen that movie, and while it's been a dud B-flick in terms of results since Chris and Lauren Pronger blew town, there is real reason for optimism, despite the misgivings and beads of cold sweat one experiences with Steve Tambellini at the controls. Better times are ahead.

Not so, I'm convinced, for Feaster and the Flames, who will remain in denial for as long as he's calling the shots. Like I said, I'm guessing that won’t be for much longer -- unless his cut and paste rebuild somehow works. Once that hits the wall, the real rebuild begins. As Oilers fans will attest, that'll only take five or six years. Tops.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#51 andrewmk20
April 13 2012, 10:58PM
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@Walter Sobchak

It's possible with a great scouting/development department. Detroit and Nashville have built their teams on consistently strong draft choices and by putting good people in place to keep watch over their prospects. Based upon the last 15 or so years the same case cannot be made for Calgary.

I mean look at the difference between Edmonton's scouting/development department from about 88-07 and 08-present. Not even close.

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#52 Wanyes bastard child
April 13 2012, 11:16PM
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To the LA Kings, those of us in Canada outside of BC thank you :)

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#54 Lexi
April 13 2012, 11:31PM
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andrewmk20 wrote:

It's possible with a great scouting/development department. Detroit and Nashville have built their teams on consistently strong draft choices and by putting good people in place to keep watch over their prospects. Based upon the last 15 or so years the same case cannot be made for Calgary.

I mean look at the difference between Edmonton's scouting/development department from about 88-07 and 08-present. Not even close.

I hope you're right. These are the most encouraging signs for the org. I also hope they make sure they have top notch cap management and CBA knowledge.

I think they need to make sure they make the playoffs by 2013-14. I can't even imagine how wild the city will be and I hope that will be what will get Hall willing to take a cap friendly contract that will allow the team to keep all the big 4 well allowing room for support players.

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#55 Robert Ore
April 13 2012, 11:32PM
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After watching some of the games the past couple of nights, there are not very many defenseman around that I would ever trade #1pickover all to acquire. I think so far maybe three.

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#56 Jake
April 13 2012, 11:45PM
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Isn't this a rather strange way to go about it, Robin? When it comes to dismissing or rehiring coaches, GMs in the NHL usually do it ASAP and more or less keep it low-key. They usually don't publicly announce that they want the coach to make a case for keeping his job.

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#57 Walter Sobchak
April 14 2012, 12:00AM
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@ Lexi

I agree with you that "One" of the keys this summer is defense; I wouldn’t be surprised if the Oilers actually trade for Schultz rights. Then pursue Suter on July first.

However, the Oilers have a lot more work to do then just that, if the Oilers go to camp with just drafting Yakupov and possibly getting Schultz then Oilers are in big trouble!

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#58 Lexi
April 14 2012, 12:14AM
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@Walter Sobchak

Do you think new coach, plus Schulz, plus a Dman like Tyutin means at least 10th in the West assuming DD plays like second half?

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#59 Milhouse Van Ched
April 14 2012, 12:18AM
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Robin: I have heard some NHL media pundits state that Feaster may be on a tight leash insofar as commencing a rebuild of the Flames. The owners may be the guilty party in refusing to acknowledge, as one example, the rationale behind Lanny MacDonald's viewpoints, insisting that a tweak here or there is all that is needed to see this team surge into playoff contention. What is your take on these viewpoints?

On another topic; I respect Tom Renney as a person, a head coach, mentor and teacher for young players. He has the right demeanour. He is genuine and a good coach, and could be a great coach for the Oilers (in my opinion) had he been hired at a time the team is ready for the next step as part of the rebuild.

But I cant help but think that some on the team have lost confidence in his leadership - TH being one - and that a coaching change should be contemplated at this point in time as part of the Oilers rebuild.

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#60 The Beaker
April 14 2012, 12:39AM
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What's the only thing me and the canucks have in common? I just dropped a deuce at home and stunk up the joint.

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#61 Crash
April 14 2012, 01:02AM
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Wanyes bastard child wrote:

To the LA Kings, those of us in Canada outside of BC thank you :)

Right on brother....looks like if the Vancouver fans didn't hit the streets and riot tonight they may have missed their chance as they may not see another home game this year.

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#62 Wanyes bastard child
April 14 2012, 01:05AM
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Crash wrote:

Right on brother....looks like if the Vancouver fans didn't hit the streets and riot tonight they may have missed their chance as they may not see another home game this year.

And wouldn't that be just horrible ;)

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#63 schevvy
April 14 2012, 01:08AM
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justDOit wrote:

Could you elaborate on how Feaster is such a genius? You say that he is no fool, but we see no evidence of that in his work with the Flambes. He cup winning Tampa team was intact when he took the helm, save for two players.

Trading away Regehr was not my idea of a smart trade (well it is, but that's only because I'm an Oiler fan), and giving up a tough, reliable winger who can score 20 for and over-paid Camel-hairy doesn't come close to genius in my books.

Um...buddy, if this tough, reliable winger you are referring to is Rene Bourque then you are delusional. He is terrible, lazy and could possibly be in the minors next year, and his contract is even worse than Cammalleri's. That trade I still believe is Feaster's best so far as Flames GM.

Also, why don't we all just agree the Canucks suck? Good plan.

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#64 Walter Sobchak
April 14 2012, 01:19AM
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@ Lexi

Maybe, Unfortunately I don’t think that’s enough.

Renney who I think isn’t a bad coach, was only part of the problem, he had his moments of course. He could only coach with what he was given, on most nights that wasn’t enough.

Even if the Oilers sign Schultz who is still unproven and Yakupov that’s still only a step up IMO. The Oilers need help almost everywhere still, lots of tough decisions

The gritty sand paper players who can play are needed, size toughness with some skill are desperately needed through 3rd and 4th lines. When I talk about that I can't help think of Ryan Clowe

I don’t think you get into the playoffs running any combination of Belanger, Jones, Petrell, Horcoff, Eager, Paajarvi, or Lander up front, that’s an incredibly soft a line up. Petrell gets a pass on the soft.

On the back end you have Peckham, Potter and Barker all are not very good. Whitneys a total wild card and was terrible the last two months.

Personally IMO, the Oilers shouldn’t wait to find out if Belanger season was a one off or Whitneys ankles are going to hold up.

A legitimate argument can be that you don’t really have a choice but to draft Yakupov, because Hall may not hold up through out the season.

Just my thoughts and opinion, but Tambellini has his work cut out for him this summer if he plans on making the playoffs.

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#65 Newj
April 14 2012, 01:26AM
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The Rangers & Slats built much of their team in the fashion that Feaster speaks of. Nay a top 3 pick in the past 5 - 10 years. Build upon a core with the additions of UFA'S, some of which panned out and some of which did'nt.

Not saying that it is the superior method, but others have had success through it. It comes with its bumps along the way, ie Jagr, Gomez.

The jury remains out on whether the rebuild through the draft will take us to the promised land as well.

It is what it is, different ways of trying to improve.

It sure is fun to watch the young players grow, lets hope we are able to avoid significant injuries and keep them together until they reach their peak. No lack of hope on this Oiler team.

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#66 dougtheslug
April 14 2012, 01:41AM
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Here's my 2:00 am take, written at the end of an impossibly sweet week, after a series of events so unlikely the odds on them approach one over infinity. I think Renney was ordered to tank the season, but to disguise it-you know, not make it "the NHL wants Hollywood in the playoffs" obvious. That would be too hard to explain to the league, let alone the paying fan. But what else explains the erratic line juggling, the mishandling of Lander and Paarjarvi, the insistence on playing Khabbi more than once a month, Belanger in the shootout. And it has paid off, my friends, paid off in a core of elite forwards that will terrorize the league for the next decade. The leash is off Renney now. it will be balls to the wall next year. "Cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war!" Go Kings!

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#67 D
April 14 2012, 01:42AM
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Listened to the whole Lanny interview. He is such a class act. Lanny would have been awesome in Oilers' silks in the 1980s.

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#68 RossCreekNation
April 14 2012, 02:26AM
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Can't help but think you missed the mark here. Feaster's not the guy calling the shots there (imo). That falls on President Ken King and ownership. They refuse to give in & rebuild b/c of the $ they feel they may lose. I can't help but think that if Feaster had free reign, he would have already begun the process.

All that said, I find the notion that drafting 14th is so terrible. Good players get drafted all over the place - Eberle, Hemsky, Giroux, Getzlaf, Perry, Richards, Carter, Parise, Kopitar, etc. Seeing the phrase "enjoy your 14th OV pick, Flamers" is simply mental.

Jarome holds the cards there. If he wants out, all he has to do is say the word. And then we'll see how many magic beans they can turn him into. I'm among those that wanted to pull the trigger on the rumoured Schenn + Simmonds deal with LA a few yrs back. And rumour has it, Darryl Sutter wanted to move Jarome but was kyboshed by ownership.

The problems in Calgary run much, much deeper than Jay Feaster.

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#69 Walter Sobchak
April 14 2012, 03:36AM
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@ RossCreekNation

Then if that was the case, then why was Feaster running his yap about staying the course, not re-building? Good soldier?

I don’t think GM’s are in the business of publicly challenging another organizations method of building a winner then secretly wishing he could do the same. Also to think a GM would stay if he has no organizational control to make decisions? Or that ownership wont give in because there afraid to lose or the dollars they will lose? Here's a little secret they are losing!

I find the notion those players you talk about in the high round’s, are about one in ever 500 or so.. give or take, possible even higher then that, you make it sound like picking up one of those guy’s are a dime a dozen at 14th or higher! So thinking you can find a Perry,Getzlaf most of the other players mentioned in arguable the deepest draft in the history of the draft is almost as ridicules as those ridiculing the Flames because there picking there.

With the 14th overall pick in the 2001 entry draft the Flames are proud to select from Boston College “Chuck Kobasew”

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#70 knobby
April 14 2012, 04:05AM
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I appreciated Lowe's interviews on 1260 & 630 yesterday. It came as somewhat of a relief to learn that there is a no-nonsense person behind the Oiler throne afterall.

Watching Tambellini stand up talking to the media gives me the willies. There is no way to figure out what kind of stupidity he is capable of when he tries to use circumstances to shine a spotlight on himself. I frankly don't trust him to pull of the type of blockbuster trade with the first pick like he was talking about.

I'm glad Lowe came out and said they will use the pick for Yakupov unless someone comes out with a trade proposal that blows their doors off.

It also appeared that he was trying to repair ST's image by saying that the coaches contracts run until the end of June. Responding to comments about letting coaching staff spin in the wind while ST dithers? Maybe...

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#71 Cowbell_Feva
April 14 2012, 04:23AM
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Well Knobby... lets not forget who's mess Tambellini is cleaning up. Kevin Lowe's!!

Pisani,Moreau,Staios,Lupul/Smid for Prongs, letting Smytty go over $100K, chasing Nylander-letting Glencross go, and last but not least the Horcoff contract. If there were ever a GM to be fired it would be KLowe, however here in Edmonton, that gets you promoted!

The fact that Katz and Lowe are buddies makes me get sweatty palms. Being Prez allows him to watch from upon high and let Tambi get the slings and arrows. As long as Lowe has his hand in the Oilers operations I see bad decisions being made.

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#72 They're $hittie
April 14 2012, 06:23AM
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hey everyone i will be the one to say it an go there, but while we are all thanking th LA kings, lets not forget the unsung hero in Duncan Kieth.

Shanahan may have given him a suspension, but he should have been given a medal.

Kidding, you never want to see a player hurt, just the canucks out of the playoffs.

Also could you imagine if Phoenix, LA, Nashville and Sam Jose pull these series off. Awesome!

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#73 MAC962
April 14 2012, 06:42AM
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I can only imagine the Riots in Van if ] now its when] they lose. GO L.A. !! I dont like to see the Riots as innocent people usually are effected but it should be interesting.

L.A. Needs that next one... step on their throat when u have the chance.

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#74 sumaclab@telus.net
April 14 2012, 07:01AM
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Reality check for Feaster. The Flames suck. Yakupov will add more speed, talent and finish to a club in dire need of scoring from its second line. Horcoff's remark about adjusting to his role were interesting. Smyth remaining unsigned also strikes me as interesting. It may be that Smyth needs a rethink of his role too.

Is a Hemsky deal possible/likely at the draft? Especially if the Oilers add Yakupov. It seems that a team like Toronto who need second line scoring after the faliure of Kulimen would be in need of Hemsky's services. Just musing out loud.

Belanger and Eager? Do they both get a mulligan or do the Oilers mov them in favor of Lander and MP?

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#75 Ducey
April 14 2012, 07:32AM
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I'm not saying they flush Renney, but they need to look at their options. Five years as an NHL head coach isn't a long track record, but some people I've spoken with believe Brent is the best of the Sutter brothers in terms of his approach to coaching.

Thats like saying Justin Trudeau is the best boxer in the Trudeau family.

Brent isn't an upgrade on Renney.

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#76 sizedoesmatter
April 14 2012, 08:01AM
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I like Brent Sutter as an NHL coach but why do we have to keep recycling coachs. If they decide not to bring Renny back.I hope they try some new blood.Calgary is in rebuild mode!players are finishing there careers. free agents will be harder to attract.Players like Iginla will demand to be traded.Feaster just wont admit the obvious.

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#77 Oilcruzer
April 14 2012, 08:18AM
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W B C Wrote To the LA Kings, those of us in Canada outside of BC thank you :)

There's a few of us who live in BC who are happy with the LA Kings too.

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#78 Oilcruzer
April 14 2012, 08:27AM
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It's no fun when both Alberta teams suck. Each would like the other to get better along with their own team (with their own team having the upper hand of course).

Watching LAME management decisions come out of Calgary is Deja Vu for Edmonton. The Oil played that movie for 15 (arguably more) years.

Building a team that is "good enough to compete" in the playoffs (maybe) is fine but it HAS TO GET INTO THE PLAYOFFS.

You don't have to suck and pick from the top after "winning" the first pick. It is one method that works if done correctly.

Boston and Philly and the Rangers were models that Calgary tried to follow. Trouble was, Calgary didn't pay attention; they had to lose their stars to get fresh talent.

They didn't. Feaster should be made to pay.

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#79 Oilbridge
April 14 2012, 08:32AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

If the Oilers -- Tambellini and Lowe -- don't put in a call to at least inquire about Sutter, they aren't doing their job.

I'm not saying they flush Renney, but they need to look at their options. Five years as an NHL head coach isn't a long track record, but some people I've spoken with believe Brent is the best of the Sutter brothers in terms of his approach to coaching.

If the Oilers were sold on Renney as the right guy, we wouldn't have heard this "Tell me what your plan is" line of thought from Tambellini the other day.

Robin, would like to get your thoughts of the Oil going with a coaching tandem of Brent Sutter and MacT. It's a similar dynamic to Sather and Muckler. Sutter the movitaor and MacT the technican. I know that's what they tried with Quinn/Renney but Quinn was little out of touch with today's Nhler's. Don't get me wrong, I like Renney as a coach but I can't see a situation where Sutter comes in with Renney still here. Heard Gregor mention that he heard from other non-Oil players that played for Renney say that he isn't too fiery and he's not the "I'll run to the wall for you" kind of guy. Would hate to see MacT the next coach of the Nuck's when they lose out to the Kings. Thoughts?

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#81 madjam
April 14 2012, 09:08AM
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Madjam's Magic Eraser - Tams becomes the fall guy this time . Sutter may be our next coach , but Renney will be promoted maybe even to GM . Feaster doing the right thing with Flames . No need for Flames to follow the Oiler example of a rebuild , which still has disasterous results 3 years later and a multitude of holes to fill still . We draft Yakupov so as we do not look a gift horse in the mouth . The rebuild starts when Tams is out, and not before that .

Tams will most likely use Renney as his scapegoat if he remains as GM , another bad move by a questionable capable GM .

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#82 A-Mc
April 14 2012, 09:09AM
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Is it possible that this renney plan thing is all for show? It looks like its being done to portray a certain image to the media/fans. Like others have said, if this was genuine wouldnt it be done behind closed doors?

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#83 kdunbar
April 14 2012, 09:18AM
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I see the tandom of Lowe and Tambi as Lowe is the no-nonsense person quick decissions, while Tambi is the voice of reason and lets not be too rash. This is a good combination.

Not sure if it is a right hockey people, but I would much rather this than what Iron Mike was like as a GM.

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#84 DonDon
April 14 2012, 09:41AM
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@Lexi stated:

"I don’t think you get into the playoffs running any combination of Belanger, Jones, Petrell, Horcoff, Eager, Paajarvi, or Lander up front, that’s an incredibly soft line up. Petrell gets a pass on the soft..."

Further to Oiler forwards, I'd cut Lander some time too. Considering softness, one has to add Gagner and Hemsky to the list (sandpaper, no).

On next season, does Smyth fit, even if the Oilers and Smyth agree on a contract? Hordichuk steals a slot. It is apparent Omark doesn't fit (at least with Renney) and won't be back. Is Hartikainen Vandevelde or any other forwards with the Barons NHL-ready? As for Renney, is he is the coach for the job of preparing this roster to play with the big boys?

It is one thing for the Oilers to make the playoffs, another to compete in the show. Looking at the present roster, the Oilers are still far away from competing in the playoffs.

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#85 RossCreekNation
April 14 2012, 09:53AM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

@ RossCreekNation

Then if that was the case, then why was Feaster running his yap about staying the course, not re-building? Good soldier?

I don’t think GM’s are in the business of publicly challenging another organizations method of building a winner then secretly wishing he could do the same. Also to think a GM would stay if he has no organizational control to make decisions? Or that ownership wont give in because there afraid to lose or the dollars they will lose? Here's a little secret they are losing!

I find the notion those players you talk about in the high round’s, are about one in ever 500 or so.. give or take, possible even higher then that, you make it sound like picking up one of those guy’s are a dime a dozen at 14th or higher! So thinking you can find a Perry,Getzlaf most of the other players mentioned in arguable the deepest draft in the history of the draft is almost as ridicules as those ridiculing the Flames because there picking there.

With the 14th overall pick in the 2001 entry draft the Flames are proud to select from Boston College “Chuck Kobasew”

If you want a job, and you know ownership wants to hear you tell them the same thing they are thinking, you tell them what they want to hear. Feaster may have believed in his team last summer & figured sticking with them & not rebuilding was the way to go.

But as Elliotte Friedman said a few weeks back in his '30 Thoughts', he got the sense that Feaster wanted to pull the plug on this team during the season, and that ownership said no. Direct quote: "A few other execs believe that if Jay Feaster had his way, he'd already have begun an aggressive rebuild of the Flames -- but hasn't had support of upper management/ownership."

Brent Sutter endorsed a rebuild after the season, going so far as to repeat Darryl's words before him ("This is a tough group to coach" referring specifically to Iginla - Jim Playfair also said as much). Jarome Iginla did not endorse a rebuild. We see who's still left standing. If you believe that was Feaster's call, and not ownership's, then I got ocean-front property in Saskatchewan I'd like to sell you.

As for the draft picks I mentioned, I wasn't trying to show how "easy" it is to do, but rather how finding guys in the 1st round outside the top 10 happens all the time. You have your own guy - Jordan Eberle - who was picked 22nd and had nothing to do with "tanking" or "rebuilding", and yet you (Oiler fans in general) have this thing that you NEED to tank to get good players. Simply not true. Sure, it CAN help, but it's not the ONLY way. Claude Giroux was also picked 22nd.

And yes, you can certainlky pick a Chuck Kobasew or a Jani Rita in that range too. But IF you have good scouts (and I'm not convinced the Flames do), you should be able to find a good player at 14.

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#86 RexLibris
April 14 2012, 09:54AM
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@flamesburn89

Not wrong, but what do you do when Feaster keeps trading away the Flames' second round picks (2012 and 2013)?

And while I have argued the same thing in theory myself, the easiest thing in the world to tell someone is: be better. Saying that the Flames should just draft the next Lucic, Bergeron, and Marchand is like saying to your financial advisor that you'll just win the lottery (the real one, with money) to top up those retirement savings.

The Flames drafting has appeared (emphasis on that) to improve in the last two years. They will need to graduate some of that talent to the NHL and continue to draft strong prospects in order for their record to actually improve.

By comparison, the Oiler's drafting has also appeared to improve in that they have a large collection of highly-rated prospects at nearly every position developing in junior and the AHL. The final word will depend on whether Martin Marincin or Oscar Klefbom or Tyler Pitlick become NHL players.

Sometimes the key is to do both, draft better and suck for awhile. At least in what the Flames need (top-end talent) a team usually has to accomplish the former before they can rely more heavily on the latter.

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#87 Dutchscooter
April 14 2012, 09:58AM
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The Beaker wrote:

What's the only thing me and the canucks have in common? I just dropped a deuce at home and stunk up the joint.

At least you dropping a deuce at home won't incite a riot........or will it???

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#88 RossCreekNation
April 14 2012, 10:02AM
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@Walter Sobchak

Here's an interesting piece from Kent Wilson earlier this year...

http://flamesnation.ca/2012/1/2/flames-and-rebuilding-follow-the-money

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#89 Time Travelling Sean
April 14 2012, 10:04AM
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You know what I love, when we draft Yak we should have enough scoring depth to put him on the 3rd line :)

Concerning Defence is Klefbom a viable option to play next year? or is another year of Sweden best.

Oh BTW how much would Matt Greene cost? I miss him.

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#90 RexLibris
April 14 2012, 10:21AM
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@RossCreekNation

I tend to agree, in that a team, in general, does not HAVE to finish at the very bottom (I won't say tank, the article on Nations about tanking covered my thoughts on that pretty well already) to get good players. However, in Calgary's case, they need a high-end, franchise player. No, sorry, Iginla's clock is striking midnight and he is slowly becoming a complementary player instead of the franchise winger he once was.

This year isn't really the best draft year for a 14th place finish. They will likely find a good player, but there doesn't appear to be any potential game-breakers lying in the weeds waiting for a team to give them a chance. Baertschi fell to 13th because many teams weren't convinced that it was him being the productive one on such a powerful Winterhawks team. There were also some questions about his size and whether he was willing, or able, to go to the slot to score. I've pored over the scouting reports of players in the Flames draft slot and I haven't found one that comes close to that criteria. The list of players I have seen slotted for that draft position are Brendan Gaunce, Olli Maatta, Radek Faksa (maybe a steal, hard to say), Pontus Aberg, Sebastien Collberg, and Brady Skjei. Some good prospects, but I don't see any of them becoming a franchise centre or top-pairing defenceman. Who knows though, time will tell. If the Flames are able to do this from the 10th to 14th draft position then the more power to them.

To that end, though, the Flames, I believe, are going to find themselves drafting in the top five against the wishes of their own management and ownership. Then, in a fit of hypocrisy, they will argue that either they meant to do that and will return stronger than ever the following season like Philadelphia in 2008 or Ottawa this season. Only the Flames need massive talent upgrades at nearly every position. They don't have a top-line centre, a one-shot scoring winger with fewer than 200,000 kms on the odometer, or a good defensive group around which to build that won't be thirty years or older by the time the new core is ready.

They have Irving, Baertschi (who may be that winger I've mentioned, but time will tell), and really, that is about it. The rest of the prospects all seem to fall into the add-on category. The guys a team needs to add depth, but not the ones that act like glue in holding a team together.

Nathan McKinnon may not end up being that player, so perhaps Curtis Lazar is available for the Flames next season. Or they have to wait another year for Sam Reinhart or Seth Jones or Conor McDavid. But they need someone around which to build and it would be best if management didn't try to make that Baertschi. Building around a winger isn't always a successful plan, to which I think most Flames fans could attest.

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#91 DieHard
April 14 2012, 10:35AM
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Oilcruzer wrote:

W B C Wrote To the LA Kings, those of us in Canada outside of BC thank you :)

There's a few of us who live in BC who are happy with the LA Kings too.

I second that.

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#92 RossCreekNation
April 14 2012, 10:37AM
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@RexLibris

What can I say - I agree with pretty much everything you've said. I'm one who advocated a rebuild 2 November's ago (when that rumored Kings deal was out there). I also called for it again last November (both times with eyes on the Oilers eventual prize - RNH or Landeskog last yr, Yakupov this yr). At the end of the day, Iggy holds the cards. If he wants to move on, he will. If he doesn't, well, he won't... and he could become Mats Sundin with some fans turning on him. Ultimately, if he stays, then they have to try & remain competitive by plugging holes while he's here, delaying the inevitable. Time will tell.

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#93 Gitagrip
April 14 2012, 10:43AM
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Attracting Elite UFA's to WPG, CGY, EDM is a tough sell. Just look outside today. Ask Hossa or that snot Heatley. We didn't make the Nash top 5. Ya they want to maximize winning opportunities but also lifestlye. Losing night after night with all that travel. Hmmm. By trade or by draft is the answer. We're not the RainJars. Elite UFA's want to see a contender status, not pretender. Well that and "show me the money". If you build it they will come. Having experienced the decay first hand I do not wish that on our friends in southern Alberta....OK maybe a little bit. ALL HAIL NAIL!

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#94 Rama Lama
April 14 2012, 12:10PM
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So Tamby wants to hear about Renny's plan before extending his contract?

How about ", practicing what you preach"? Let's hear your plan first Tamby? Yea that's right, winning a lottery is not a plan IMHO! This poor excuse of a GM should have to do the same thing that he is asking Renny to do.

What a loser Tamby is, let's trade him back to Vanouver where all the other losers live.

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#95 RKD
April 14 2012, 12:27PM
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I would hate to trade Iggy or Kipper but it might have to be done. They've brought in new coaches every few years with lackluster results. They've changed the GM, albeit Feaster's tenure has been short. They've traded Regeher and Langkow.

This season they had more youth in their lineup than ever before. With an identical roster, this team is destined for another 9-10th place finish. Out of the playoffs, but not bad enough to have a top 10 pick.

The only thing that hasn't been tried is a rebuild, even if it fails at least they can show us that they tried another direction.

There really are no other alternatives. If you let Hannan, Sarich, Moss, Jokinen, and a bevy of other you still have to replace them. I would definitely tried to sign another top 4 d-man. Stop looking for a #1 center, try to develop your own.

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#96 RexLibris
April 14 2012, 12:52PM
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RKD wrote:

I would hate to trade Iggy or Kipper but it might have to be done. They've brought in new coaches every few years with lackluster results. They've changed the GM, albeit Feaster's tenure has been short. They've traded Regeher and Langkow.

This season they had more youth in their lineup than ever before. With an identical roster, this team is destined for another 9-10th place finish. Out of the playoffs, but not bad enough to have a top 10 pick.

The only thing that hasn't been tried is a rebuild, even if it fails at least they can show us that they tried another direction.

There really are no other alternatives. If you let Hannan, Sarich, Moss, Jokinen, and a bevy of other you still have to replace them. I would definitely tried to sign another top 4 d-man. Stop looking for a #1 center, try to develop your own.

If you replace every Flames reference in this comment with a reference to the Oilers from 2008-2009 you'd be spot on.

"The only thing that hasn't been tried is a rebuild" was more or less what I have said on FN these past two years in defending the Oilers' decision to pursue that route from those who have argued that the rebuilding process is no guarantee of a championship.

Here's a news flash - there are no guarantees. Way back when Colorado brought in Selanne and Kariya for a year everybody thought the Avs were going to become the next high-octane offense and basically handed them the Cup that year. They didn't win. Then the Predators tried to spend to the limit and added Forsberg and Kariya (interesting coincidence there?) and they won the President's Trophy. They didn't win either. The Blue Jackets decided to build through the draft and get top-end talent that way. *crickets chirping* The list goes on, but if the Flames have tried to bring in free agents, trade for positional players, change coaches, change GMs, and still they end up in the same spot, well, Einstein's satirical definition of insanity and repetitive action would seem to apply here.

The Oilers, as I have stated here before and Robin has so succinctly commented on in his article, were left with almost no choice. However, at least the organization, and specifically the owner, had the courage to say that they needed to tear it down and start over.

As Mel Brooks sang: "We've flattened their fingers, we branded their buns! Nothing is working. Send in the nuns!"

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#97 RexLibris
April 14 2012, 12:57PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

What can I say - I agree with pretty much everything you've said. I'm one who advocated a rebuild 2 November's ago (when that rumored Kings deal was out there). I also called for it again last November (both times with eyes on the Oilers eventual prize - RNH or Landeskog last yr, Yakupov this yr). At the end of the day, Iggy holds the cards. If he wants to move on, he will. If he doesn't, well, he won't... and he could become Mats Sundin with some fans turning on him. Ultimately, if he stays, then they have to try & remain competitive by plugging holes while he's here, delaying the inevitable. Time will tell.

I know that most Oiler fans are secretly holding out hope that Iginla "Sundin's" the Flames, if only because the Flames and their fans have whipped the Oilers for so many years at the hands of #12.

I think there is a chance that Iginla basically tells the organization that he wants to stick around, he doesn't want a rebuild, and the organization in turn has to approach this year trying to re-tool on the fly with the hidden expectation that they will fail horribly. All of this could, emphasize could, be because an organization chose to put a single player before the franchise as a whole.

I'd recommend looking at the 2013 or 2014 prospects as the likely targets for a top Flames pick. I know it's a long way off, but it seems that ownership and some strong team personalities have a vested interest in keeping the Flames in the status quo for just a bit longer.

On the plus side, the Hitmen are always available and the tickets are cheaper.

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#98 lionlager
April 14 2012, 01:18PM
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D wrote:

Listened to the whole Lanny interview. He is such a class act. Lanny would have been awesome in Oilers' silks in the 1980s.

Wayne Gretzky of the Calgary Flames. Has a nice ring to it.

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#99 Time Travelling Sean
April 14 2012, 01:22PM
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lionlager wrote:

Wayne Gretzky of the Calgary Flames. Has a nice ring to it.

How come we can't vote down comments?

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#100 5inatrailer
April 14 2012, 02:09PM
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These playoffs are a real eye opener to how far the Oilers really are. The only games I watch during the regular season are Oilers ones so had no real idea what other teams in the league were like against each other.

It's almost like a completely different game out there. Other than brief flashes of intensity, I don't think the mighty Oil are even close next year. Look at any team in the playoffs and compare their intensity to ours- unreal.

Maybe it's just the games I've chosen to follow- Pitts-Philly, LAK-Van, It's actually great entertainment regardless of who you're cheering for.

Is it sadistic to watch a series just to watch a team lose? The Oilers have a lot of work to do and I'm not sure who is capable of doing it.

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