Sunday, June 26, 2011

UFA Possibilities for the Flames Part 2

Breaking down some UFA possibilities for the Flames

July 1st is approaching fast and with the current cap space, roughly 7.56 million who should the Flames target? Feaster wants to get younger, faster but be a hard fore-checking team. So who should he add to make sure we do become those?
Flames currently have $35,020,833 committed to forwards

Few UFA Forwards that could interest the Flames:

-Scottie Upshall Previous salary = $2.25mill
Energy guy with scoring abilities, still only 27 years old and has a lot to give. Not afraid to shoot the puck and throw his body around he fits what Calgary can use. Being a right winger he would have to play behind Iginla and Bourque. If Feaster is willing to pay between the 2.5-3mill marks, Upshall could be a nice compliment to the depth of the team. Although I feel 3+ million may be too much for a third liner he does more than that; penalty killing and blocking shots are just a small taste together with his nose for the net that the Flames could benefit from.

-Zenon Konopka Previous salary = $0.600
At 30 years old he may not be a fans choice but look a little deeper and I feel he could bring something. As of right now Stajan is our fourth line center…. Zenon took 1075 face offs and won 57.7% of them. Compare that to the Flames; Besides Jokinen no one took more than 845 face offs and the closest any Flame came to 57.7% success rate was Kotalik at 54.6% & Iginla at 54.0% success rate. The Niagara native plays a nasty rough and tough game, having him play alongside Jackman and maybe Kostopoulos makes my mouth water! Fourth line could be called “death line”, at least we know the effort would be there, and we may win the odd faceoff!

-Niklas Bergfors Previous salary = $0.900mill
The 24 year old was not qualified by Florida and is believed to become a UFA. He has been shopped around lately but do not forget this kid scored 21 goals just two years ago. He has some size and in the right environment can be successful. I doubt Calgary is a place where he wants to go but in my opinion I would give his agent a call. Fits the bill of going younger, skilled and is a decent skater who could benefit off of some real leadership and guidance from guys like Iginla, Jokinen and Langkow. I know he would be considered a “project” and some may say a possible “hindrance” but a short term contract may be flexible option for Feaster with little risk but high possible reward.

-Joel Ward Previous salary = $1.5mill
Ward came to play in the playoffs and his stock has risen and is due for a raise. Joel is the kind of player that very well could get 30 phone calls come July 1st. Every team can use him and the Flames are no different, plus in the past he has done some damage against the Flames. What will his price tag be? No idea but the team that lands him will have a great penalty killer and solid winger that will make your team tougher.

-Jussi Jokinen Previous salary = $ 1.70mill
You want skill and speed? Not to mention the shootout abilities…Jussi is that guy. No he is not related to Olli so relax. Scoring 117 points in his last 151 games Jussi is looking at a raise. His time in Tampa was bad but it looks like he rebounded well in Carolina. Jussi has grown a lot since his Dallas days too and has become more of an all-around player, being a +6 in his last two seasons shows that. As a left winger, a line combo of J. Jokinen-Backlund-Bourque line could work, but at what cost? Jussi will seek a hefty raise and will want a lengthy deal in a city where he could call home, maybe Calgary will be that place if Feaster is willing to throw the dough.

UFA Possibilities for the Flames Part 1

Breaking down some UFA possibilities for the Flames

July 1st is approaching fast and with the current cap space, roughly 7.56 million who should the Flames target? The team has a hole on defence with Regehr playing in Buffalo but many young d-men could get that opportunity now. Feaster wants young guys to compete for jobs; so does he stick to his word or is there a d-man he covets…

Pardy & Babchuk have been offered contracts but no word if they will accept.

D-men under contract at the moment include; Giordano (4.02) Bouwmeester (6.68) Sarich (3.60) Carson (0.575) Negrin (0.79) Brodie (0.71) Seabrook (0.568) Breen (0.543) with Butler, Pelech, Meyers, Baldwin and Mikkelson as RFA. Total $ committed: $17.486 mill.
Few UFA defensemen that could interest the Flames:

-James Wisniewski Previous salary = $3.25mill
With over 50 points this season and improving his +- once he got to Montreal, James is looking for a raise. Great shot, physical presents and great character guy. I believe many teams will be calling. I feel that is why he has not re-signed in Montreal. He wants to know what he can get in this weak UFA class. Should the Flames go after Wizzer? I’d love him on the team but with a lot of interest coming (Detroit, Edmonton, Washington, etc.) his way, adding the possibility of a raise from his 3.25mill, Wisniewski may just be too expensive for the Flames.

-Andy Greene Previous salary = $0.737mill
Many will laugh at him with a +- of -23. So why would I suggest him to the Flames? I believe what we saw last year was not the Andy Greene that I believe he is. Greene is a mobile puck moving d-man that can help a second power play unit greatly. He has a good first pass and that was evident in ’09-’10 season where Parise benefitted from his smooth passes. I believe Andy could add some depth with an upside at a reasonably cheap price. He wants to prove himself again and a one year deal might be a nice low risk option for the Flames.

-Scott Hannan Previous salary = $4.5mill
Fair to say his big contract was a questionable one. At the age of 32 he is still an effective physical d-man that can be an asset to any team. How about a decent Regehr replacement? Perhaps… with a salary decrease he could just blend in nicely in the Flames model for a year or two. Feaster wants to be “tough” to play against and he trades Regehr…so how about adding Hannan with a smaller cap hit than Regehr.

-Steve Montador Previous salary = $1.55mill
Ever since he left the Flames back in ’05 he has been a +39 player. Pretty impressive and adding his two way game now he is a different player than what most of us remember of him. A vocal guy who can do it all and with Feaster seeing a lot of him in the past few years out East, maybe Montador will come back where it all began. Obviously what is his worth in dollars? I have no idea but I would have no problem signing Steve at a similar contract as his previous one (1.5mill)
I know players like Pitkanen, Erhoff and Bieksa could become UFA as well but with the current market and cap space I feel those guys are not on the Flames radar as of right now.

This is my take on possible defenseman the Flames could covet come Friday, look out for my “forwards” UFA class coming soon.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Weekend That was

The news came is in on a trade made official Saturday morning as Robyn Regehr and Alex plus a 2nd in 2012, for Paul Bryon and Chris Butler.

In Butler, the Flames get a potential stay-home dman who has some potential for being a top 5 dman on the team. That won’t happen for a bit, but the potential is there. From what I have heard, Butler has some solid defensive zone play. He hits hard and plays his game. He is a typical stay-home defensemen with a no-nonsense style.

In Bryon, the second player, you have small, talented winger who has some great offensive upside. His disadvantage is his size, but on the bright side, have been small players who have made it in the league. Bryon has soft hands and has put up impressive numbers in the past.

Obviously the Flames lose one of the best stay-home defensemen in the league. Robyn is known for his character, and his leadership will be missed. It is common knowledge that it is no fun playing against Regehr; he hits you again and again. He clears people in front of the net and plainly hurts people.

Of course, the Kotalik part is giving Flames straight cap relief. This move was to save the Flames owner some cash. In reality, Alex would never have played for the Flames. The Flames were basically going to eat his hit with the Heat.

The immediate reaction from the Flames fans is: you have to be kidding! But in defense of the Flames, there was a need to make room for Tanguy. It is a necessary evil of the cap world.

The Flames used the cap relief to sign Alex Tanguay to a 5-year, $17 million contract, which I assume has an NTC . The Flames really needed to do this. There was a lot of pressure on them seeing as Iggy wanted it done. To add to the pressure, Alex went public that he wanted to stay, so you had to know that come hell or high water, this deal was going to be done. Unfortunately, it was hell, with the loss of one of the best stay-home defensemen in the league.

The Flames were willing to pay the price, but was it the right one? Before I answer that, I thought I would clarify what Jay meant when he said the Sabres had the best offer. I suspect that they were the only offer where there was no cap coming back. The offer from the Sabres is what the Flames needed in order to fit Alex and Babchuck under the cap. As a result, it hurts me to say, but yes it was the right move.

I would be shocked if the Flames are done. I am still expecting the Flames to be going after another forward. The main reason is that I do not believe the Flames will keep Hagman and his $3 million dollar cap hit on their roster. There is also Matt Stajan’s awful $3.5 million contract hindering the Flames. There are a lot of questions still to be answered. Now comes the fun part, as we wait for the answers.


Regehr dealt to Sabres

Flames trade Regehr to the Sabres

Robyn Regehr & Ales Kotalik + 2nd rd pick in 2012 for Chris Butler & Paul Byron
The tunnel of death heads east. Hemsky is relieved…

826 regular season games played for the Flames with a +30, safe to say Reggie has been a steady force on the back end for many years. The man that was traded for Theo and broke both legs in a car accident, was never supposed to skate again yet alone be one of the more premier stay at home d-men in the NHL. Regehr is and was a “prototypical” Calgary Flame in my opinion; rugged, hardworking and proud of the city he represented.
Regehr will be greatly missed as a leader on this team and he will leave many friends behind. Buffalo is gaining a massive piece and will help their team moving forward and becoming a playoff contending team. Leaving this city is not easy for Robyn and that is why he took his time waiving his “NMC” which in my opinion, he had all the right to do.

Moving forward adding Butler and Byron will provide some AHL depth with Byron and a 4-6 d-man in Butler who will add some defensive reliability. If you only look at the players in return you may be disappointed but if you account the cap space (7mill), then this is a pretty significant “return” by Feaster. Also this opens many options moving forward, not easy to ship 7 mill without taking salary back.

Quick touch on Kotalik; I didn’t like when he came over and that we lost Prust for him, adding Kotalik’s lack of return to his “old form” didn’t make it any better. I met the guy and he was a nice man who seemed he had self-pride and wanted to succeed with the Flames. I wish him the best of luck back in Buffalo!

On a last note, Regehr you will be missed and I will always view you as a Flame! And please don’t eat Nathan Gerbe! Goodbye and Thank you!

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Darren Dreger Darren Says Regehr has to waive the trade first. The Flames look like they are clearing cap to make room for Tangs. Detail blog when the details become public.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Draft Strategy

Trying to figure out what Jay Feaster will do is not a magic trick, but it really has little guessing and luck to it. I compare it to trying to guess what my wife wants on her birthday. After about 10 tries, you finally get what she wants.

What have the Flames have told the media and the fans? The problem is that it is all up for the interpretation. This much we do know - the Flames are not going to use buy-outs. Which means that Kotalik or Hagman will not be bought out.

Jay Fester also has been quoted as saying that the Flames are open to the option of moving up or down in the draft. The Flames could easily move up with their two picks in the second round. But I don’t want them giving up the two second round picks to do it; the Flames need those picks.

The Flames do have plenty of options to shop Regehr or Bourque, plus their first round pick to move up. This is the way I think the Flames should go, not by trading their second round picks. The Flames really also need to clear cap for the signing of Tangs.

I firmly believe that the Flames are desperate to sign Tangs. Iggy really wants him; from what we have heard, it is the money that is stalling negations in the Tangs talks.

What would I do if I was Feaster? Move down a couple of spots for extra picks. I also would go after Sven Bartschi, a skilled winger. There are plenty of skilled forwards later in the draft, who would fit the bill.

I would also make every effort to sign Tangs and dump some major cap to do so.

Of course I am not the Flames GM, so watch them do the exact opposite to what I say. It will be interesting to see what the Flames do in the draft next week. After the draft, I will try to address free agents.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Alex Saga

The biggest question in my mind when it comes to the Calgary Flames is: Can they bring back Alex Tanguay? This much we do know - Jay continues to tell people that he remains optimistic that the Flames can sign Tangs.

If the Flames really wish to go after Tangs hard, they have two options. The first one is to trade to make room for his cap hit. Which more than likely would mean trading one of the core, something that Jay has said he has no interest in. In reality, a General Manager usually plays it close to the chest, and rarely leaks what he is really thinking.

I really like this option of bringing in some young talent and clearing cap room. The problem with this option is that the core all have either no-movement or no-trade clauses. Regehr seems to be the best option. Robyn is one of the best stay-home defencemen in the league. The other key point here is that the Flames have plenty of young defencemen who are ready to take the plunge into the NHL.

The other asset the Flames could trade is the streaky forward Rene Bourque. Rene has all the tools to be a star. He is very fast skater with a wicked and heavy slap shot. He was often used on the penalty kill, because he has good speed and he can score. Bourque was also used on the second powerplay unit; he would definitely be missed . At times, he had great chemistry with Oli and Scarface. In fact, the line was often tagged as 1A. The main problem with this solution is that the Flames really don’t want to trade offense. They want to add offense. In other words, trading Bourque and keeping Tangs is almost a wash.

The other asset I have heard they are thinking about trading is Kipper. The main reason I really oppose this is that I am not sure that Karlsson is ready to be a full-time number one goalie. The Flames would have to get a number one goalie and re-sign Tangs. If they took this option, it would put them in worse shape cap-wise than they are now.

Some people have asked me if the Flames are trading Sarich. While there is nothing wrong with this choice, the return would not be as high as Regehr. At times, I thought Cory was the Flames best dman on the team. The biggest obstacle in trying to trade Cory is his 3.6 million dollar price tag. The price might be too steep.

Trading Jbo and his $6.5 million would be terrific. He is a great dman. He is a solid player, but his contract is really hurting the Flames' salary cap hit. The major problem with trading him is that the Flames are obviously going to have to take cap back. I am not to sure the Flames could save enough cap to keep Tangs.

The second option as is buyouts, or sending players down to the farm. There were a few players who really struggled last year, such as Kotalik or Hagman. If the Flames use this option, I suspect there will only be one player sent down, which means Hagman will more than likely be on the roster. Kotalik might very well playing in Russia and might not cost the Flames any money in the long run.

In the long run I would like to see Alex Tanguay on this team. For one thing, he brings the best out in Iggy. He is our best player. As a general manager, it is my job to keep my best player happy.

The next question is: How would I go about doing it? I would consider moving Regehr. Not because of his play, but simply because it would have the best return.

So I went to my Flames panel with two questions. Here are their thoughts.

The first of my guests is Dearen Tiest Van de Velde.

Should the Flames sign Tanguay and why? If yes at what cost?

I want to begin by saying that I preferred the Jokinen signing over the Tanguay one last year when the news broke…This probably makes me crazy but in hindsight, in my opinion both were “good” signings but clearly Tanguay was a steal!

My view is that the Flames HAVE to sign Tanguay. With the weak UFA class, no #1 Centre for Iginla, and the attitude that we want to be a winner next season, Jay Feaster has no choice. So my quick and simple answer is “YES”.

At what cost is the real question, $4.5 million per year is too much (for Calgary) but $3 million will not get it done. Can we afford him at $4 million? We can with the cap going up, but Feaster keeps saying he does not want to start the season up against the salary cap. So I assume a contract will be moved; perhaps Regehr, although I highly doubt it, or Bourque. Easier said than done, but possible, I know Bourque got a recent contract, but he is not “Feaster’s” guy, and his lack of emotion and drive last year could see him moved. Then there are Kotalik and Hagman. Moving both to the AHL roster or buying them out could open some serious money, but I do not believe that will happen to both.

I predict Tanguay signs a 3 year $11.2 million dollar deal, and Bourque is dealt at the draft.

Dearen makes some good points. Iggy needs a slick playmaker to work with, and Tangs is better than any other free agent on the market. Bourque could fetch a pretty decent return, and Hagman and Kotalik both cleared waivers.

My second guest also has his own thoughts on Tanguay. Here are Mike Walsh's thoughts on the situation.

Should the Flames sign Tangs and why?

I think they should sign him, as long as there is no rebuild in the future. He has great chemistry with Iginla, and seemed to be a more complete player last year.

How should we do it? Trade one of the core? Or buyout Hagmen or Kotalik?

First of all, I am hoping that the Flames would be able to sign Tanguay to a 2 year deal for about $3-$3.5 million per season. However, rumors have surfaced that is it likely going to be a much longer term deal with no home-team discount; I am not for it. Those type of deals got the Flames into their current mess. I truly believe that Regehr will be moved at the draft. Possibly for a pick and a younger defenceman. I also believe Kotalik ends up going over to Europe, which would give the Flames some cap relief. I would like to see Hagman waived if he is unable to be traded. Matt Stajan is another guy who can be sent packing, but at that cap hit, I doubt he can be moved for anything of great value. I’m hoping that Feaster moves Regehr and is then able to sign James Wisniewski.

Mike made a great point; Iggy scored most of his goals with Tangs. They formed a powerful twosome on the first line. Trading Regehr makes sense. His cap hit for a top 2 dman is reasonable. Kotalik is rumoured to be going to play in Europe, and Hagman should clear this year.


There it is in a nutshell. The Flames need to sign Tangs, and do it quick. I would like to thank Mike and Dearen for their thoughts and contribution today. They are great and knowledgeable hockey men.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

And Erixon is a Ranger

And he is a goner!

Flames highly touted prospect Tim Erixon does not sign and gets traded to the New York Rangers.
The Calgary Flames trade D-man Tim Erixon & the 5th rd pick in this year’s draft for prospect Roman Horak and two second round picks in this year’s draft. I don’t solely blame Feaster but it shows that the organization has some serious work to do. We are stuck with high salaries and many NMC/NTC clauses and that is Sutter’s fault, but Feaster was brought in to fix the issues and this is not a good start.

Disappointed is my first feeling, clearly Tim Erixon did not want to sign here and preferred New York. When you opened the Flames fridge you saw a lot of fruit cups, some left over spaghetti but you also saw that nice slice of salmon that made your taste buds water. But now you come home and that salmon is gone and you have some black forest ham in its place and coupon flyers on your counter. I know my analogy is lame but reality is our supplies and cupboard is bare!
On the flip side we have a first round pick and two second round picks in this year’s draft. Meaning we need to figure out how to maximize those picks and re-stock the fridge! The scouts are probably excited since they now get to select 3 guys in the top 100 instead of 1 in the top 100.

The situation sucks and I was very excited to see Erixon develop with the Flames but it was not meant to be and now we must move forward…Easier said than done.
Flames Jambalaya is in no way, shape or form associated with the Calgary Flames Hockey Club or the AHL affiliate, the Abbotsford Heat. This is a fans blog for fans. We just happen to love the Flames, so we write about it.