Monday, August 29, 2011

Stajan Gets His Old Room Mate Back


Flames add another former Leaf for Langkow

Flames have traded Daymond Langkow to the Phoenix Coyotes for Lee Stempniak.

Langkow a long time Flame has been a character guy who in my opinion was an important piece to the leadership group. Daymond missed most of last year due that scary injury he had suffered in a game with Nashville the year previous. Although Feaster says he was not shopping Langkow; due to the play of Morrison last year, Langkow became expendable. Add in the fact that Jim Playfair; now the assistant coach of Phoenix loves Langkow, this deal was possible.
The Flames acquire Lee Stempniak, a 28 year old American who scored a career high 28 goals in the ’09-’10 campaign. Stempniak scored 19 last year in Phoenix and added 19 assists for a plus four rating. This deal also saves the Flames 2.6 million in cap money which the Flames have not had much of in the past few years.

Keep in mind Jay Feaster said he wanted to add a top 6 forward if he could without giving up the future. I guess this is that deal, Stempniak can score and has scored in the past but just like Glencross his goals come in bunches. Stempniak feels his best days are still ahead of him and I hope he is right; he could be a nice addition if he can score 25 again.

Although I felt that Langkow was going to be an important player for the Flames this year, this deal makes a lot of sense. We got younger, saved some money and hopefully added some offensive output. Lee also has shown that he is a very durable and disciplined player, only tallying 19 penalty minutes in all 82 games last year.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Flames are Actually trying Something.

Well, the Calgary Flames fans can take comfort in knowing that Jay is trying to improve this team. There is talk that the Sabres want Morrison and Bourque. The problem is they are offering Jason Pomonville and Andrej Sekera. Which is not a bad package, but the Flames really don’t want to add more cap. They are not that keen on trading Morrison either. I like to give credit to Ecklund for some credit for mention the Sabres and Flames are talking.

We also have heard the Capitals have an interest in Iginla, Bourque, Glencross, and Hagmen. Which basically means, Bourque and Hagmen. There is no way the Flames are going to deal Iggy and Glencross. Both have NTC's, and the Flames have no interest in asking either player to waive their clauses. The main problem with this is this trade has to be dollar for dollar.

The Flames are also trying to unload Cap to the Panthers or Islanders. This is to try to make room for the Sabres deal.

Jay is determined to get younger and faster. The Flames have been known as a ceteran hockey club. We were often out skated and out worked last season. Jay is trying to change that this season.

Let's be frank, shall we? The Flames' communication is ten times better this season. In other words, every move Jay is trying to make is getting passed through Brent before it happens. So it is comforting to know that the Flames are a unit. The coach and general manager are on the same page. This is the way a franchise should be run.

I do like the way the Flames are trying to get younger. I also like that Jay is not standing still. The Flames have to get younger and faster in order to get competitive. It is a necessity that they do not get off to a slow start. Last year they were horrible in the first half, and it cost them a spot in the Stanley Cup dance. Jay is trying to do everything in his power to see that does not happen again.

Until next time, take care.

Randy


Friday, August 19, 2011

FLAMES PANEL WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN FOR THE FLAMES TO MAKE THE PLAYOFFS.

Every NHL team's ultimate goal is, of course, to win the Stanley Cup. Before they can make that happen, they first have to make the playoffs. The Calgary Flames are no different. Their first goal is to make the playoffs. You never know; once a team makes the playoffs, anything can happen. A hot goalie can carry a team through the playoffs.

That being said, it is a tall order for the Flames to actually make the playoffs. So today's blog is a Flames panel. Our esteemed guests are regulars, Mike and Dearen, and first time guest Rob. The question put out there is:

What needs to happen for the Flames to make the playoffs?

First up, my fellow blogger, Dearen you can follow him on twitter DKAY1987.

Craig Hartsburg got brought in because he believes the same fundamentals as Brent Sutter. And the players now will have two strong voiced mouths cramming the “systems” into their heads. Last year, a few players did not buy in, I believe Regehr was one of them. This year, the players will have no choice. Familiarity issues won’t be there, since 95% of the team is back. Needless to say, all the excuses are out of it for the players, and it is now time to perform. And if certain players are not capable or choose not to buy in, they need to be held accountable. The team has more depth than it has in the past five years, which should allow the coaches to send some messages to players that are not playing the way they want them to. I also believe the fact that many players are in a contract year; we could see some a strong campaign out of a few. Iginla and Tanguay will not have the same success; at least I don’t believe so. So a fully committed team night in and night out will be the key.

In addition to buying in, the Flames will need some surprises. The players I put in this category are the three “B’s); Backlund, Butler, and Bourque. All three of these players will need to provide the Flames with that secondary talent that is so greatly needed in the NHL for success. Karlsson will need to be a sounder goaltender and put some pressure on Kipper while making the coaching staff use him more.

The Flames do not have a bad roster and can be a playoff team, but unless they toss the excuses and play the way they can, another disappointing year is ahead.

I totally agree on your first point. Players have to be held responsible for their play. Too often last year, the coaches let the players off the hook. That has to stop this year. If you put Hartsburg in another room and asked him about the system, he would say the same thing. If the players don’t buy into it, this will turn ugly. The problem is trying to figure out whether or not they will buy into it. Great insight Dearen.

Next let's move onto Mike. You can follow Mike on twitter mwalsh20

In my opinion, the Flames are a playoff team with the current roster. But in order to remain a playoff team, here is what has to happen. First, they have continue where they left off. They earned points in something like 35 of their last 46 games or something close to that, they really cannot afford a major slip up from that. Second, the Flames have to stay healthy, especially up front. With most teams who battle all season long just to make the playoffs, the Flames do not have enough depth. The prospects who are closest to playing and pushing for time with them are blue liners. If the Flames lose a couple key guys for a prolonged period of time, it could really hurt the Flames' chances of making the playoffs. Third, they must get the balanced contributions that they received last season. Iginla needs to be in the 80-90 point range and Tanguay the 70-80 range. The secondary scoring forwards: Jokinen, Bourque, Glencross, even Morrison all need to be in 40-55 maybe even 60 point range. Mikael Backlund needs to take another step forward, I’d settle for 40ish points. It would be a real bonus if one of Stajan or Hagman could rebound as well. They must get more scoring from the blue liners, Bouwmeester must improve on his 4 goals and 24 point season. And finally, there must be a better commitment to team defense. As a 5 man unit on the ice, they all need to be committed to help keep the puck out of the net. The Flames will finish anywhere from 5-10th in the conference, I will say they finish 6th and play Vancouver in the first round.

I agree, Mike, the Flames have to start off fast they must not start slow again this year. Injuries do play a major role and Flames losing any of their core would be devastating. The secondary scoring is huge for this team the top 6 must get help from the last two lines. Some fans would say the Flames don’t have enough top 6 forwards. As I said in one of my earlier blogs, Jbo has to take on a major role this season. He has a lot of responsibility. Great insight ,Mike. As usual, you are right on again.

I would like to welcome the last member of the panel, Rob, our first time visitor. You can follow him on Twitter as etchysketch.

If there's one thing that has plagued the Flames post-2004, it's the inability to be consistent. In fact, if you look at the stats, the Flames have been fairly consistent at being inconsistent. After last year's amazing record of 26-11-9, following the Darryl Sutter era, the Flames looked to be a contender following Boxing Day 2010. Unfortunately, losing Morrison during the final stretch didn't help the team's cause and everything seemed to fall out of place. That being said, the Flames finished the season strong, going 3-0-1 in the final 4 games. If the Flames can play like they did in the second half of the season, for the entire season, I can see them making a serious bid for a playoff spot come next Spring. And although a lot of us may not really understand the Flames' strategy this off-season, there's one thing we can all agree on... Only 32 days until pre-season.

Watching the Flames last year was like watching Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The Flames last year totally blew it in the first half so much so that they could not overcome it in the second. I totally agree. Can they play the first half like it’s just as important as the last half?

Now for my answer. As I sat and thought about this, two major thoughts came to my head. The Flames' strength on this team is the goaltending. Kipper and the Tower can, and probably will, steal at least 10 games this season. That is the key point. Karlsson has to play 20 games and win half of them, if not more. Last year, like every year, Kipper got worn out. We need a fresh Kipper the last part of the year.

My last point is that Iggy and Tangs need to repeat last year, and if Lanks can return to his numbers, the Flames will have a major first line. If the offense can add a little more numbers, mainly if Stajan and Hagmen can produce, then yes, it can happen.

I would like to thank the guests Rob, Dearen, and Mike. They are great guys with huge hockey knowledge. I will try to keep this a regular event. Thanks again guys.

Until next time, take care.

Randy



Saturday, August 13, 2011

Flames Sign Hannan


Flames Sign Scott Hannan

The Calgary Flames announced early Saturday that the team has signed veteran defenseman Scott Hannan to a one year one million dollar contract.

After some rumblings and the suggestion by Flamesjambalaya before July 1, the Richmond BC native joins the Flames. Hannan will obviously provide a physical replacement for the departure of Regehr and some more leadership in the room. The Hannan deal is a low risk one with a potential high reward, he has been a plus player his whole career except for ’08-’09 season.

This deal however brings the Flames to seven one way d-men contracted. This will not close the door on young guys making the team; a move could be made near the end of camp in case a guy like Brodie makes the team.

An interesting signing and a good way to kick off a Saturday!

Hannan's Stats:

81
6
18
24
7
58
2
0
1
104
5.8
79
4
20
24
1
38
0
1
1
79
5.1
82
2
19
21
-5
55
0
0
0
79
2.5
81
1
9
10
-21
26
0
0
0
70
1.4
81
2
14
16
2
40
0
0
0
53
3.8
23
0
6
6
1
6
0
0
0
21
0.0
55
1
4
5
3
28
0
0
0
35
2.9

Monday, August 8, 2011

Keep Hagman!


Keep Hagman for Now!

Niklas Hagman the “Finnish _______” “blank” kind of like his offensive production last year. He had 27 points in 71 games, yet he had 42 points two years previous in 65 games. So I understand fans wanting Niklas and his three million gone ASAP. But I don’t, but don’t mistake this for me being ok with his play last year, salary or declining production.
Anaheim, Nashville, St.Louis and the Islanders, I have heard it all “Hagman is gonna get dealt for a fourth rounder”. Yet he is still on the Flames roster and for good reason. Plus look at his wife, she would look good at the dome!

A fourth round pick is what everyone is saying we have been offered for Hagman, so why is it not a done deal? The answer is simple! Feaster can get more; I know I am crazy right? But why settle for a fourth round pick? We no longer need the cap space, his salary comes off next year and no NHL team is in dire need to add a winger…yet. That’s the key, what does Feaster have to loose letting Hagman come to camp? Not much is right; he will compete hard. If we know one thing about the former 27 goal scorer is that he works hard and will let his presence be known at camp. Having him at camp would be beneficial to push the veterans and make the young guys see how hungry they have to be! Hagman was embarrassed and highly frustrated with his play and numbers last year and will be eager to prove that it was a one off year. Now can he rebound, I am not saying he can and I also know that his season can be repeated and be worse, but for me it is worth the gamble.

Let’s say he has a horrible camp and even Jon Rheault does better than him; we burry his contract or we put him on waivers and if he clears he plays in the AHL. But what if he makes the team or impresses another team who just got an injury to one of its forwards?... His return value may increase with his reasonable 3mill cap hit, plus it gives the Flames a cushion in case we are the team with a serious injury. Let’s go even crazier; what if come March 1st Hagman has 15 goals? Flames are out of the picture and we know we are not resigning him come July 1. Hagman does not have a NTC or a NMC (thank goodness one exists) meaning Feaster can deal him wherever he wants and could potentially get a nice prospect or a second round pick from a playoff team, or perhaps include him in a package deal.

All I am saying is why trade him now? His value is extremely low and as far as I can see we can take the risk and at the least let him provide some added pressure in camp. There will be more options come October 1st than August 10th. Worst case scenario he wears the “Heat” red and he hits UFA with zero compensation for the Flames. Considering we threw a 5th rounder at the Devils for Leblond, losing a fourth on a gamble to get perhaps more or an improved Hagman, seems worth it to me.

Now I know some of you may say “but he will take away from a young guys development” sure but in my opinion so do about 6 other guys considering all the forward depth this team has now. I look at it as healthy competition and I believe Nemisz, Bouma and Howse all need another year of AHL anyway.

My opinion now give me yours!

D

Saturday, August 6, 2011

We need a direction any direction.

Being a Calgary Flames fan can be really confusing right now. Mainly because no one really knows the direction the team is taking. Feaster continues to tell everyone who will listen that he is going to get his first line center before camp.

The problem with this is that the Flames really do not have the assets to put off the acquisition of a first line center. Unless we are thinking of trading people like Backlund, Giordano, Kiprusoff, Bourque, Iginla, or Tanguay, and let me say on behalf of all Flames fans --  fat chance. 

Actually, I could see the Flames trading Bourque and maybe Bouwmeester. Of course, Jay's cap may be hard for teams to take on.  The main problem is Iggy really needs a center - or does he?  Bear with me; Iggy had a great year taking passes from Tanguay. Alex could be as good as any other center out there.

This is the confusing part. Why are the Flames going after a first line center instead of a top 6 forward?  I would really love to get a winger like Booth from the Panthers.  Maybe even Alexander Semin.

All I have heard lately is that Feaster wants a first line center. Dare I say a top 6 winger may be more appropriate for the Flames this season.  

Other question fans may ask is why did Feaster put all of his eggs in one basket?  It really seemed that the Flames were caught off-guard and took no other precautions to pick up another center.

Yes, there are also 14 defencemen on the team.  This direction I like. You can never have too much defense.  The problem is there are too many 5,6 and not enough 3,4. 

The problem with having to many 5 and 6 defencemen is: Can they be trusted in enough in pressure situations? The Flames will be relying on some young defensemen, hoping they mature in a hurry.  I feel confident that they will do enough to get by.  But if they do falter, this Regehr trade may very well haunt them for some time. 

So yes, I am quite confused with the direction this team is going. You really cannot call it a rebuild, but you cannot say they are going for it.  We really need to pick a direction and stick with it right now. That is not happening. 

Randy 

Just Rambling On

Rambling on

Slow off-season, lots of speculation and little to no new news. So what do we do? We continue to speculate and dissect the Flames roster.

I wanted to talk about a couple players and give my personal thoughts on them; I am not basing my opinion on in depth stats just plain opinion on my thoughts and what I have seen.

First one is Jay Bouwmeester; I can say I was disgusted with his play near the end of last year and his lack of ability to make a play in the offensive zone. Adding that he didn’t seem to care, although I believe he did, many fans got fed up. Wearing an “A” on his jersey while Giordano was sacrificing everything every night did not sit well with me either. So what happened? In Florida he was scoring goals, making hits and being that player everyone thought Calgary got when they signed him. Obviously a culture change and a system change will change any player slightly. Yet he still possess the same skills and that ‘amazing’ skating ability, he still does not address the media although there is ten times more of them here. I believe the pressure he now puts on himself and the scrutiny he will receive if he doesn’t play well in his own end, have gotten in his head. In Florida they wanted to make him happy so he would stay with the Panthers. And that team had no issue with Jay jumping in every play regardless of what could happen at the other end, they felt his skating would make up for that. In Calgary it is clearly different, and honestly his salary will never justify his offensive output. I expect a slightly better offensive output this coming year, I just hope he finds a good partner and can be that shut down guy who transfers the play up the ice for offensive chances.

Also all the trade talk around Bouwmeester is just that “talk” no way I see Feaster moving Bouwmeester unless it is a no brainer type offer which with Bouwmeester’s cap is near impossible. And last thing; I believe we need Bouwmeester even if it is the same #4 as last year.

David Moss; what a pleasant surprise last year!
Moss adapted nicely to the center position aside from being terrible in the faceoff circle. Yet being a +9 and contributing in all areas of the game, made his season ending injury a massive loss for the Flames. No surprise that around the trade deadline Chicago was going hard trying to acquire Moss for their playoff push. But just like the suggestions in trading him early in this off-season by some fans, Moss is way too valuable to this team than trading him away for a pick or a prospect. Now with all the depth brought in by Feaster and having a mass load of centers (Langkow, BMo, Stajan, Backlund, Bouma, and Jokinen) Moss will likely move back to the wing. Right now I see him on the third line and will be giving a good opportunity to play on the power play to start the season. My expectations for Moss is 40 points, but too bad due to his contract if the Flames are out of it come March he will be dealt as he will demand a nice raise come next off-season. Plus his hard work is welcome on every team.

Next blog I will tell you why I think Hagman should stay, trading him for a 4th round pick should be Feaster’s last option.

D
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.