Things really do look bleak, to say the least, in Calgary. I am all for being positive, but there has to be a time when common sense kicks in. I really hate to see the core leave, I have met each one of them several times, but it is nothing personal; this is a business.
The Flames are in fourteenth place, and have not been consistent all season. They are showing no signs of improving. The fourth line has been our best line for the last number of games, our best forward being Jackman, who is having a career year and is on a five game point streak; the highest in his career.
The owners have to really give Feaster the full-time permanent General Manager position. The temporary tag is pretty much leaving the Flames like a dead fish, or a better term, lame duck (dead fish are too smelly) franchise. The Flames owners have to give Jay the power as soon as possible, or else fire his butt and get someone in who they do trust. I know that is harsh, but at this moment, we need to have a secure game plan. Jay Feaster was supposed to give a couple of plans to the owners; one for if they are buyer and one for seller. Let's hope the ownership likes one of the plans. If they don't, then we are in real trouble.
There are rumors out there that the reason Sutter was fired is that he wanted to trade the core and start rebuilding If those rumors are true, then I have a problem with firing of Sutter, because frankly, I am ready for a change of pace. We all know the problems with Daryl and Brent, and obviously Brent is not willing to let go his core either. If there is a bright side to this, at least everyone is on the same page. The problem is, are they on right page or even the right book?
So what are their options? Who should they rebuild with? These are vital questions that the Flames must answer quickly. I feel their strength is defence, and their best defencemen is Gio, who is the perfect defencemen to build on. I think he is and should be groomed to be the number one man on the team. So that leaves Jbo and Regehr; I would trade at least one of the two.
The Flames have way too much cap invested in the D core, and really need to dump some cap. I really feel that Regehr could get us some good picks, and maybe even a prospect. I am really thinking realistically that Jbo's cap might be too hard to deal, so I suspect he is along for the ride.
The Flames have some decisions to make with Sarich and Pardy, especially Pardy; they have to decide wheather to re-sign him. That is why I feel it is vital that we find a new home for Regehr, so we can sign Pardy, who is still young. It is vital that we get the cap down on the back end so we can maybe look at getting some free agents in. We also have to figure out whether or not to keep Babchuck. Babchuck is our fifth defensmen on the chart, but he has a terrific shot from the blue line on the powerplay. He is useful and should be signed if possible. Which means it might necessary to dump Sarich -- hard to do at 3.6 million. Staios is gone, and I think we should think about not qualifying Mikkelson.
Our prospects in the defence are Brodie and Negrin, both could step in and are close. So it's time to bring in our prospects get rid of some bodies. This is vital two ways: cap relief and some speed in the line-up.
We can assume that the keeping Iggy is a lock and it pretty much cost Sutter his job, as he wanted to trade Iggy. So if they are not trading Iggy, who are they planning to dump? We have four UFA's: Conroy, Glencross, Morrison, and Tanguay. Wave bye-bye to Glencross, Morrison, and Connie. I feel it vital that we keep Tangs. The first priority is qualifying Backlund and building our future. Is there a taker for Stajan? Because we have Olli, who has one of those wonderful No Trade Clauses. Olli has been 10 times better than Stajan. But will there be someone who will take a $3.5 million cap struggling centerman? Problem one: Stajan. Problem two: Kotalik, a $3 million NTC forward, who is not worth that kind of cap. Therein lies the problem. $6.5 million of cap with Stajan and Kotalik that cannot be easily taken out. Kotalik at least only has one more year at $3 million, which means a buy-out could be an option. The assets that could be traded are Bourque and Hagmen, but I really feel that we should keep them to build the team around. Jay is pretty much determined to keep Iginla, so our options are pretty limited. The other option is trading Moss, who has been outstanding of late. He is a great role player. We have one more year on the contract of Kostopoules, but he is a useful player, and should be kept for another year. That leaves trading Bourque and Hagmen, and buying out Kotalik. Trading Stajan or Olli are really hard sells. Jay has already told everyone who will listen that he is not trading Iggy. We could trade Glencross, but he is not going to get a huge package, being a UFA at the end of the year.
So finally, we get to the goalies. Kipper has been outstanding. The Flames will get a huge package for him and it would clear up almost $6 million for next year. But is Karlsson or Irving ready to be number one? It would be a huge gamble for the Flames.
There you have it. The Flames have some options, but for goodness sake, give Jay the official position of GM, so we can start the rebuilding.