Saturday, January 25, 2014

My thoughts on Cammy

Today blog is on my thought of the future of Mike Cammalleri. Obviously, the Flames will trade him, but to where? What happens if the Flames do not trade and re-sign him. 
So let's first discuss the reasons the Flames would keep the scoring forward. 
The first one is simply an economic one. The Flames need payroll. The Flames have to add to just to get to the floor. With Cammy, they will at least get $6 million, which is a good step to getting there.
The second reason is simply that the rebuild is over. Sorry, if Burke is thinking of doing that in the off-season, he is crazy. Burke will have to do some major brown nosing to get this done. There is no way Cammy signs here unless the Flames make some bold moves.
The more plausible transaction would be trading Cammy for assets. This is the option I would pick. So, here are the three top teams to deal with, in my opinion.
1. Pens
The Pens need one more scoring forward. If the Pens have one weakness, it's the secondary scoring. Cammy would be a perfect fit for Brandon Sutter. Cammy may be the key piece for the cap run.
Dream compensation
We would never get it, but my dream would be Beau Bennett, the picture-perfect power forward. Again, there is no way we get him. 
2. Kings
They cannot score. No punch at all. Cammy will be an instant cure. This is the team who are the most desperate for him, 
Say it with me: Tyler Toffoli. This kid has everything. Again, not much of chance, but I would ask. 
3. Wings 
The Wings are a borderline team. Cammy might very well push them over the line. He is a quality sniper who would be vital to their success.
A top prospect and a first. Or, if it's a player, Joakim Andersson. He is a good, young centre that we could build around.
Two more teams on honourable mention list:
Ducks and Flyers.
My prediction:
Cammy will be traded, I just do not see that he wants to stay. I think the Kings are the most desperate to get him. But the problem is, it will cost him more with the Kings in the division. But they are my team of choice to acquire him.


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Heads will roll

Burke is having temper tantrums, saying it is not acceptable. Really, what did he expect with this team?
It's called a rebuild. The Flames do no have the depth to make up for the injuries. But that does not mean our players have to take days off. They have given up this season, shutting out the coaching staff.
What the coaching is selling, no one is buying. What is he selling? Their offense is disorganized; no one knows exactly what they are doing. Unless their offensive strategy is players running around like chickens with their heads cut off. Of late, the fans are celebrating if the Flames manage to score. Here is a hint – maybe we should shoot the puck at the net once in a while. 
Another problem is our size. But the way the Flames are doing it, they are not getting any better. Bigger players who can only do one thing are replacing the smaller players. On the bright side, the penalty killing is getting tons of practice. 
Then there is the guaranteed three or four giveaways a game, which gets turned into two goals a game. Guess what? We cannot score two goals a game! Which begs the question: if it is not the coaching, whose fault is it? If it is the players, then how about the scouts bringing in the players?
Dare I say the coaching has to take some of the blame? The players continue to be put into positions they have never been in. Colburn, for instance, getting thrown into the powerplay. He looks confused and has no idea what to do. For that matter, what did Ramo do to get benched? Both goalies are constantly pressured: win or sit. To add onto this, they realize if they make a mistake, it's another loss. 
They are expecting success from players getting thrown into impossible situations. Giving Butler over 20 minutes a game is ludicrous. How can you blame him for failing? It's not his fault that he is getting all those minutes. If he is that bad, why is he out there? He is a solid number 5. No one excels when they are put into a position to fail. 
So if heads are going to roll, dare I ask whose heads? Yes, I agree something has to happen. There are necessary player changes. But I hope some management or scouts have to pay too. 
So, Mr. Burke, the clock is ticking.


Friday, January 17, 2014

NHL Rumor Update

Updated Flames Rumor List

As the trade deadline and Olympic roster freeze get closer, many rumors are emerging. Since our last update we can now add Baertschi’s name to the list. Doug Maclean said he believes Baertschi could be on his way out of Calgary. Now, we all know he is not the definition of a Brian Burke type player, but the kid has plenty of potential. It is easy for people to connect the dots and suggest Baertschi is small so he doesn’t fit; reality is the Flames will need talent along with size to be successful for years to come. If you look at the cupboard you see Baertschi, Gaudreau, Poirier and Byron. How many small skilled wingers do you really want if you are Burke?

Flyers & Kings media keep suggesting Cammalleri as a possible deadline addition. Pens fans have also expressed they wouldn’t mind seeing the former 39 goal scorer in their line-up. Hemsky however (if healthy) could be a more affordable fit for the Pens. Then there are a hand full of teams who can use Stempniak and Stajan on their third lines heading into the playoffs.  

During a luncheon in Red Deer, Brian Burke said he will try to sign some of his pending unrestricted free agents. Besides the obvious Kevin Westgart *jk, Russell seems like the obvious guy to re-sign, but whom else? Perhaps Stajan if he can’t move him for a worthy return?

Backlund recently got to wear an “A” on his jersey in the absence of Cammalleri. Does this mean he is no longer available in a trade? Backlund has played well and shown that he can be a complete player. Or should Burke capitalize on his good play and move the Swede? Let us know what you think!

Last week Eric Francis suggested that Wideman could also be on the move if he is willing to waive his No Movement Clause. With Wideman’s wife attending nursing school in Calgary and expecting a child in the spring; he may not be ready to waive that clause just yet. I think he remains in Calgary, but if a team calls I would expect Burke to put some pressure on Wideman to at least consider a move.

And lastly keep in mind that Jiri Hudler does not have a No Trade Clause. A guy who is producing points, a winner and has a reasonable contract. Hudler could gain some attention from contending clubs. The right return and I see Hudler on his way out of Calgary.

Name and teams that could be a fit:

Cammalleri- LA Kings, Flyers, Pens, Devils & Lightning
Stajan- Toronto, Washington & Detroit
Stempniak- Pens, Ducks & Montreal

Butler- Boston & Lightning

Monday, January 13, 2014

Let's Play GM

I have sat and held my tongue for most of the season, but let's face facts; most of these players will be gone at the end of the season. So let's play GM. Only, we will do it the hard way. Instead of playing "who goes?" I am going to play "who stays?" It is easy to determine who goes. That is the whole team, except Monahan. But we all know that someone has to stay. We have to have some players to build this team around.

The biggest concern is getting up to the cap floor. Mostly because we're going to have to overpay to get players to come. Why do you think Burke has spent time telling people the rebuild has been speeded up? I will tell you why: no new players are going to want to come to a rebuild team. Burke has to sell this team for the off season.

So with the cap situation, the Flames very well have to keep some expensive players. Another factor Burke has preached is that the Flames have to get bigger and better. He has constantly put that message out since taking over. So who do the Flames attempt to keep to build for the future? With that in mind, I might make a case for these five players. Some may surprise you. I purposely left the obvious ones off the list. This blog is meant to make you think outside the box.

54 David Jones

When David plays his game, he gets his hands dirty. His corners game is more than adequate. He is a solid defensive forward who pots a goal now and then. If he can pay more offensively, he could be a viable asset to have around, 

19 Blair Jones

To me, Blair Jones is a typical fourth-line player. He knows his role, and plays it rough, at the same time trying not draw dangerous penalties. He has been our best centre on the draw. His best asset has been his penalty-killing. He may be the best third line or fourth line forward out there. 

3 Ladislav Smid 

I hate to stay this, but he has been a very pleasant surprise. He has been a stable influence on the defensive core. At times, Ladislav has been the best stay-home dman on the team. Has been rock solid in his own zone. 

32 Paul Byron

Something happened to Paul. Dare I say he grew up this season? There have been games where he has been the best player on the ice. I know he is not a Burke player because of his size, but his heart is all Burke. If the Flames players all had the heart that Byron does, we would have 30 Energizer Bunnies on this roster. This is one player I really hope we keep. 

17 Lance Bouma 

Hits and hits, and then for a change of pace, hits again. Lance backs down from no-one. He is rock-solid. He is a fast skater who plays a robust game, with a touch of nasty. He is the kind of player who would eat nails for his coach, and then spit them out and do it over again.

Last word

The way the Flames have handled Sven is pure bush league. All Burke has done is embarrass him and he never bothered to explain to Sven what was expected of him. Free Sven.

Now, as for the deadline, be prepared for a surprise. These deals may not be picks, look for some bodies coming too. Maybe for salary, and maybe for winning next season. This year's draft is very weak. The Flames might push for young players rather than picks. Also, the Flames have to keep above the cap floor at the deadline, so keep that in mind. 

So tell me, who is your unsung hero? Which player would you keep that is not a ‘given'? 


Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Rumors

As we all know we are in a winter Olympics year. That means there will be an NHL roster freeze before the March 5th NHL trade deadline. That Olympic NHL roster freeze begins February 8th and ends February 23rd, leaving 11 days to complete deadline deals. GM’s can still talk and potentially make trades during that freeze, but wait to announce them after the freeze. But it also could change some GM’s minds and negate some potential trades. I would expect some deals to be made before February 8th and the Flames will likely be involved.
We know once the College season ends for guys like Gaudreau, Arnold, and Agostino, they will receive NHL contract offers from Brian Burke and the Flames. Especially Gaudreau (if he signs), will bring some excitement to a fan base that will need something to cheer about.
Let’s take a look at names that may be leaving the Flames and where they may go:
Cammalleri- Cammy will likely be one of the bigger name guys available prior to the trade deadline. We have seen media guys like Dennis Bernstein from LA Kings mention Cammalleri being a possible target for the Kings. Also, Sam Carchidi, a beat writer for the Flyers, has hinted that the Flyers could be a nice fit for the scoring winger out of Calgary. Some also have suggested New Jersey may inquire and try to land Cammalleri. I would also suggest to you, that teams such as Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Ottawa can use Cammalleri, and work out a deal with the Flames that would make sense for both sides.
Backlund- Earlier in the year we kept hearing about Backlund being on the block. Since then Backlund has raised his game and became a very reliable center that plays strong in both ends of the ice. With his value now being higher than earlier in the season, could Burke capitalize and get a good return? Teams like Carolina have been interested in the young Swede. He could also fit nicely in Toronto and Washington.
Stajan- Matt Stajan is showing heart and desire. But the points are not there. In a contract year he is definitely playing for a new deal, wherever it may end up being. His shooting percentage is respectable but the issue is that he does not shoot the puck. Stajan currently averages 0.945 shots per game. A team like Tampa or Detroit may feel Stajan and Stempniak to be nice depth guys going into the playoffs. The Penguins may also see Stempniak as a fit to provide some much needed help to their third line.
Chris Butler- Oh Butler… the last year and some have not been pretty. Forced to play in a role and minutes that are far beyond how he should be used. I think Butler would be a nice fit as #5 or #6 D-man on a deep team playing around 12-14 minutes a game. Boston comes to mind as a team that could be adding a defenseman. Around the deadline every year, teams overpay for defenseman (Doug Murray for example). I am not saying Butler could fetch the Flames two second round picks but he is a moveable piece, especially at the trade deadline. Depth at defence is essential when you are heading into the playoffs. Burke wants to get meaner and bigger on the back end. Having Butler, Brodie, Smith & Russell moving forward is too much of the opposite. It will not shock me to see two of those four guys be moved this season.
The Flames currently have $21.747 million in cap space. At the deadline they can add $50 million worth of pro-rated salary cap if they want.

As per Burke, Feaster being fired symbolizes speeding up of the rebuild. I can only assume, but I have a feeling the trades the Flames do make, may not be just player for draft picks. Burke may add some actual bodies and salary that he can use moving forward. 
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.