The Roundup

The analytics debate rages on, how much does “character”
matter, player profiles, ice bucket challenge, Wayne Gretzky and more in this
week’s Roundup.

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In the Roundup we go around the Nation Network and give you some of the best articles of the last couple weeks. Every once in a while it’s good to know what other teams are doing, or maybe you find an interesting article you wouldn’t have found otherwise.



4 Canucks prospects make ESPN’s TOP 100

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Jets opening night roster, assembled to compete for Connor McDavid?



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Reasonable expectations: Mason Raymond

  • The Last Big Bear

    Welcome to this week’s Nations Network Roundup, wherein I will rip on the Calgary Flames just to switch things up from my usual Oilers-bashing.


    Imagine an NHL team that’s not good. Not a bottom-feeder, but a non-playoff team. Now subtract their entire 1st line. Now subtract the top remaining goal scorer. And take away their #1 Dman. And their franchise goalie. Now to make up for it let’s add a mediocre finesse player, Idunno, maybe Jiri Hudler.

    Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the 2014-15 Calgary Flames.

    On the ice, as things stand, the Flames are terrible. Fans are happy that their plucky team is ‘hustling’ and ‘losing the right way’, but lose they shall, and things are only likely to get worse.

    Giordano really raised his game as Captain, but he’s on the wrong side of 30. This level of performace is unlikely to continue, but even if it did he will be well over the hill by the time the team is ready to compete. And while TJ Brodie is looking like he’ll be a good #2-4 defenceman (recall my previous warnings about Corsi stats for defenders), he is where the discussion starts and stops for impact defenders on the Flames. Wotherspoon probably has the highest remaining upside, and even he likely tops out at ‘able to play in the NHL’. Defenders take longer than forwards to develop, and right now there are simply no blue-chip defence prospects in the system at any level. The pipeline is empty.

    The forward ranks for the Flames are a bit of a mess at the moment. The 1st line center is a shut-down guy who’s never hit 20 goals. The wingers on the top line are also likely 2nd/3rd line guys themselves, because that’s the best the Flames can muster. There will likely be 5 guys on the Flames bench at any given time who are there to run into people and/or punch them (Engelland, Smid, McGrattan, Bouma, Bollig). That’s nearly 1/3 of the Flames roster, for those of you who are not good at math and/or maybe fall into that “big and punchy” group yourselves.

    But what of the bright future? Sean Monahan was kept in the NHL last year because he produced goals. The problem is that every goal was the same. Drive the net, and bang away until the whistle. There is a skill to garbage goals, and Monahan has it, but it was the only in-game thing he could do effectively at the NHL level. His #fancystats were BRUTAL. He couldn’t snipe at the NHL level. He couldn’t set up plays. His defence was about what you’d expect from a teenage OHLer. But by scoring garbage goals he found a crutch that would keep him in the NHL. Continuing to lean on that crutch this year will be the fastest way to hobble his NHL career.

    Johnny Gaudreau. “Guys won’t hit him because he’s so fast and shifty” as Flames fans say. So he’s never going to stand in front of the net? Or get into a board battle? He’s been in one NHL game, I saw him do both of those things once, and he got ruined both times. The kid weighs basically nothing, and skates around at elbow-height. I’m not questioning his talent, but all it’s going to take is one ***-hole on one play in one game, and “Johnny Hockey” will be “Johnny sitting in a dark room for 6 months”.

    Sven Baertschi is barely delivering at the AHL level. He’s not done yet, but the clock is definitely ticking. And I’m sure they have enough sense not to play Bennett this year… Right?

    Lastly, goaltenders. Ramo and Hiller make a decent 2a/2b combo. That’s about all there is to say. As for prospects, anybody who’s ever confidently tried to predict a goalie’s ceiling is delusional.

    For the record, the Oilers will be down here in the weeds too. But make no mistake. The Flames are going to be bad.

    Anyways, I should get back to work. Enjoy your weekend! Go Flames Go!

  • The Last Big Bear


    Turns out that when i make a distinct and concerted effort to absolutely **** all over the Flames, it pretty much just reads like Lambert signed in under the wrong username.

    • The Last Big Bear

      It’s also important not to give them too much attention, however.

      They don’t cope well with that.

      We all hate them, but we don’t want the conversation to become ABOUT the Canucks.

      Kind of like how every team dislikes them, but they don’t really have any true rivals, I think the Canucks should just be held in general disdain without making a big deal about it.

  • It’s funny cause the only people who are hated are the successful ones.
    The Canucks were successful, and hated, most recently… And the hate is falling, just a bit slower than their torrid pace down the standings.
    No-one hates the Flames(other than non-flame western Canadians)/Jets because they haven’t ever been successful.
    The Oilers have a long-burning afterglow of hate from their ancient heyday but noone outside of Canada gives a crap.
    Same with Toronto. Canada hates Toronto because Toronto, but the US doesn’t care. Montreal is successful, and they are gaining some dosdain, Subban, Plecanac, etc.

    • The Last Big Bear

      Ok, that’s it.

      I was going to do the Leafs next week, as per the polite request above, but Baalzamon will have to wait.

      The Canucks and their d-bag fans are getting it next week.

    • piscera.infada

      No-one hates the Flames(other than non-flame western Canadians)/Jets because they haven’t ever been successful.

      Sure, I may be splitting hairs here, but as a franchise, the Flames have been more successful than the Canucks. Keep in mind you said “haven’t ever”, so let’s have a bit of a history lesson.

      President’s trophies: 2-2

      Clarence Campbell bowls: 3-2 (for the Flames)

      Stanley Cups: 1-0 (for the Flames)

      We could also argue that if it wasn’t for the dominance of the Oilers’ dynasty, the Flames would probably be way ahead in most of those – they were the second best team in the league during that time period. Please…

      So seriously, enjoy your rebuild – two twins with long-term contracts that can’t be moved because no one’s going to take on two boat-anchors simultaneously. But seriously, I wish you the guys all the best in “the most beautiful place on earth”. Everyone will still hate everything about your team and your city – so keep sticking that nose right up there in the air, just hope you don’t get bugs in it speeding around on your high-horse.