Sunday, June 29, 2014

Tick Tock, Tick Tock!



It’s the most wonderful time of the year. All of the General Managers are tucked in their beds while visions of Vanek, Raymond, or Brad Richards dance in their heads. Or maybe Ehrhoff, as he became a free agent today.  

So my blog today is on the different options the Flames will have during the off-season. The Flames are looking for... let see… oh, that's right... everything. Seriously, they need pretty much everything.  So they first of all have to set their priorities. My  blog will concentrate on goalies, defence, and a center.

Back-up Goalie or 1B Goalie

I think the first need is a back-up goalie. The Flames have a couple of options. 

Free agent  options

Thomas Greiss

Thomas has a history with the GM. He is a solid net-minder who is not outstanding, but he is solid and dependable in his game. He a solid option who is good for 30-35 games. I really like this option. He is exactly what the team needs. The key point here is that the Flames can offer him something. Most of the other teams can't give him an opportunity to play.

Chad Johnson

Chad was outstanding for the Bruins last season.  He simply gives the team a chance to win every night. Another good, cheap option for the Flames. Chad is a goaltender who plays a solid game and rarely gets caught out of position. He is a late bloomer who is capable of being a solid back-up.

Justin Peters

Peters was outstanding  for  Carolina last season. He was battling for head job there on a team with three goalies. The Canes could not find a home for him. He would battle Ramo for a starting job. I am not sure he would be willing to come to Calgary as a back-up.

Defenceman

The next need for the Calgary Flames is a solid defencemen, which the Flames could really have used last season. Especially now that it looks like Butler will not be in a Flames uniform next season. Some of the best options I could see the Flames getting are:

Tom Gilbert 

Tom was a solid offensive dman who fit well for a while in Edmonton, but never really fit in with the Panthers. If he could just get back to where he was as a Oiler. Apparently, it is out there there that the Flames have interest in him. He may well be a asset to the Flames defence.

Matt Niskanen

Niskanen may well be the best dman on the free agency market. I love this guy’s game. He is a great option for the Flames, who need a good powerplay quarterback. I know you are thinking the Flames do not have salary cap problem. I sure do hope they at least talk. Matt could score 10 goals and 50 points and really help a dried-up powerplay. 

Anton Stralman

The main problem is how much Stralman would cost, but I like his game. He is an offensive dman, who would be a solid, top-four dman. He would stabilize our defence, and help our defensive zone coverage. I love his ability to stay calm and not panic. 

Kyle Quincey 

Kyle Quincey may very well be the most gifted defencemen out there. Kyle can pitch in with the odd assist and goal. Kyle should be affordable. The Flames can give him a bigger role, and more ice time. 

Center

I really hope the Flames try to get a second-line center. I prefer a veteran who can help Monahan, and maybe take him under his wing and give him some hints on improving his game.

Paul Stastny

Simply put: the best option out there. Stastny is the best of the bunch. If the Avs cannot sign him, the Flames need to put this man under contract. Give him the money he wants and get it done. He is a solid center with the the skill to add the supportive scoring the Flames so badly need.

Jussi Jokinen

Jussi can play wing or center. Versatility is essential in his game.  He also may take less money to sign. I love his ability to help in the penalty-killing.  His speed his a vital asset to the Flames, who need to get faster.

Brad Richards

I know I am going to get slammed for this, but I really think Brad’s ability could help the Flames. I think he can score 20  goals and get 50 points for the Flames. He could really help Monahan and help him get the experience he needs. 

CONCLUSION

I could mention plenty more, but these are the first options. I know some of you are going to ask about Bolland. I just like Jokinen better. There are plenty of options out there. 

The Flames are going to be busy. Sit back and enjoy the ride!

Image: Flickr CC license: Aldaron "Parliament Clock" (modified)


Friday, June 27, 2014

FLAMES DRAFT FOURTH OVERALL


Sam Bennett 

With the Flames highest pick in team history; Treliving has selected Sam Bennett  fourth overall at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.

Sam Bennett recorded 36 goals with 91 points in 57 games last year with Kingston Frontenacs in the OHL. Bennett also registered 118 PIMs and is known for his edge in his game.

Sam Bennett who gets comparisons to Doug Gilmour, will be a nice addition at center alongside Sean Monahan for years to come.

Welcome to Calgary, Sam Bennett.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Jeff’s 2014 Mock Draft


Following in Randy’s lead, I decided to go through who I think Brad Treliving and Co. will draft in the first and second round this weekend. If I can get half as lucky in the second round as Randy has with his picks the last couple years I will consider this a success and start accepting jobs as an NHL scout!


1st Round, Pick #4- Leon Draisaitl





There is an obvious Top 4 in this draft and it’s a good chance Calgary will be taking whoever is left from the 4. While I would love to see Aaron Ekblad or one of the Sam’s drop to 4, I think they will be the first 3 players drafted and Leon will fall to Calgary. He is a big body who has great play making ability and has been compared to Anze Kopitar. Would be a good compliment centering the smaller Johnny Gaudreau and feeding him the puck in a couple years.



2nd Round, Pick #34- Thatcher Demko





After hearing a few different opinion I really like the idea of Calgary picking a goalie in the second round. The team doesn’t have a lot of young goalies in the system (Ortio, Gilles and Roy) and it never hurts to stock up in that area, just look at Anaheim. The scouting team surely has watched Demko play due to the fact he played at Boston College with Gaudreau and Bill Arnold. He is the highest rated goalie in this draft and there is a good chance he will be there at 34.



2nd Round, Pick #54- Alex Peters





Most people feel that picks 25 to 40 or picks 30 to 60 will fall in a number of different ways so it’s gets hard to pick who goes where at this point. I think the Flames will go defense here and Alex Peters fits into the “Burkian” mold of players the Flames are going to draft in the next few years. Another big body at 6’3” who can a lot of things well.




Thanks for the read, follow me on twitter @nhlflamesfan.


Jeff

#FLAMES Mock Draft 2014

In 2011 he said it would be Baertschi. In 2012 he was the only man on the planet that said it would be Jankowski. Later that year, we learned that Randy is probably related to Todd Button. How else do you know it was going to be Jankowski, two weeks prior to the draft?

This year Randy will predict and share his choices for the 4th overall, 34th overall and the 54th overall selection in this years NHL draft. 

*Click on each of Randy's picks names. It will allow you to watch a highlight video on each individual player

It seems to be a yearly project for this site to make a fool of me.  Yes, its the annual event known as the NHL draft. For some reason, I volunteer to make a fool out of myself by attempting to predict what the Flames are going to do.  Actually, the name of it is good: a mock draft, which mean all of you can mock my picks. I actually want you to know that I take this seriously, which really embarrasses me even more. I really should not tell you that; but I digress— on to the picks.

FIRST ROUND, PICK  NUMBER 4:

This was a very hard choice for me to make. The main problem I have is that I do not think the player the Flames want will be available at four. The next problem I had while doing my research is that so many people have them picking different players. Most have us picking Sam Bennett or Leon Draisaitl.  There were a few who had us choosing Sam Reinhart. But that is a bit optimistic; there is no way he is available at number 4. My pick at number four;



The lack of depth in this this draft has been highly criticized. Most seem to think after the first 5 picks there is a huge drop off in talent. This makes it vital that the Flames make this pick count. They have to get it right.  My choice more than likely won't be there, but I still chose him: Leon Draisiatl. I have two reasons for this choice of Leon. One is for his size. The Flames' number one priority is to get bigger and more skilled.  Leon is a highly skilled centre, who is also highly intelligent.  He is a great stick handler and has the ability to get a shot off quick. Mr Draisaitl is a tank, and he will prove that he is  hard to knock off the puck.  He has some grit and will stick up for himself. Leon may not be the fastest skater, but his speed is good enough. Like I said earlier, the Flames' number one priority is to get bigger and better. Leon fits his criteria. He is a solid, big body forward who will contribute to this team offensively. More importantly, he will not hurt this team in their own zone.  

THE CHANCE OF TRADING DOWN

With the news that the Leafs are desperately trying to move up, there is that slight chance of the Flames trading down at the draft. The Flames really like Nick Ritchie of the Peterborough Petes. He is a big, rugged winger who could be a future power forward. What's not to like? The Flames could be enticed by the Leafs to trade down. 

SECOND ROUND, PICK 34:

The second round is almost crap shoot.  There is very little to differentiate between picks 30 and 60.  In this round, there will be plenty of off-the-wall picks. It really depends on the team's needs. Going into the draft, the Flames need to improve on every position in order to compete in the Western Conference.  They need to upgrade their scoring  and their defense .  If they can find a dman who can distribute in the scoring; even better.
With this pick, I am leaning towards getting a defensemen.  Three names came to my mind: Anthony DeAngelo of the Sarnia Sting,  Julius Honka of the Swift Current Broncos, and Travis Sanheim of the Calgary Hitmen. Anthony is a very skilled playmaking defenseman, but I think his lack of size will scare the Flames off.  Julius is a steady, stay-home defenseman who plays a gritty game. I am just not sure he can contribute enough in the offensive zone. 

My Pick at 34 is TRAVIS SANHEIM


This pick might be a bit of a gamble on my part, but I like this kid’s game. He improved his game, which gave him a bigger role with the Hitmen.  This role added one vital ingredient to the Flames' recipe for success, and that is his power time.  He might not be as skilled as Anthony, but he won’t be making the mistakes as Anthony will.  He has more offensive upside than Jullis, although he is not quite as good defensively.  But there is one thing  he has that the other two don’t: he is far bigger and uses his size to his benefit.

THIRD ROUND, PICK  58:

Remember I mentioned every team will have their wild card? Well, insert that here.  Yes, I might be going off the wall here a little, but I really like this pick.



Lucas Wallmark of the Skelleftea AIK.  Lucas is an average-size centre who is very efficient  at the draw.  He is a very offensively-skilled player who works endlessly trying to score.  Although he may very well be a project, in the end it will be worth it.  He thinks well on the go, always thinking of two plays ahead.  He is a spark plug on wheels; think a Ford Pinto with a souped up engine.  He may very well be another Kenny Linseman.

CONCLUSION
    
The Flames will try their hardest to find their elite player at this draft. With the chances of Cammy leaving, it makes it that much more vital that they get at least the leg work done on a deal.  The free agent market is not that great, so the Flames will have to either sign Cammy or do it through a trade.  They know darn well they have to get better. Expect a lot of talk, but I am going to throw out one  name I would go after: Dustin Penner. Not saying it will happen, just saying that is who I would like them to bring in on the right wing to help the youngsters.  Enjoy mocking my draft picks.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Who Does Treliving Pick at #4?

Another draft is around the corner, and Calgary will select at the number four spot. The highest selection in Flames draft history. But with many labeling this draft as "wide open" & "weak" who will the Flames select at number four? 

Everyone has an opinion and everyone has a mock draft. We are no different. Here are a few die hard Flames fans with their top five picks.

First up we have Jeff- you can follow him at @NHLFLAMESFAN Flames fan stuck in the Peg.

I’m really hoping the Flames somehow land Aaron Ekblad, he is the guy I was hoping for since the start of the season. He is the most NHL ready in my opinion and I feel he will become that stud defense man that could anchor a team for 10 to 15 years. While I don’t see him dropping to #4, no one thought Seth Jones would drop to #4 last year so anything is possible. He’s my ideal pick.

It’s tough for me to pick who I think the Flames will draft due to the fact that people think the Top 5 can go a number of ways, including some players not ranked in most Top 5’s getting selected (Like Nick Ritchie and William Nylander). Here is how I expect the Top 5 to fall:

1- Aaron Ekblad: He is the guy I see going 1st overall whether Florida keeps the pick or not.
2- Sam Reinhart. He sounds like the best forward and smartest player in the draft.
3- Leon Draisaitl. He’s a big body and everyone knows the Oilers can use a player like that to compliment their other young players.
4- Sam Bennett. He is the next best player available in my opinion. One thing to note is that I would not be surprised to see the Sam’s flip spots here as well.
5- Wild Card pick. I think a few people can go in this spot but the consensus seems to be Michael Dal Colle so I will go with him at #5. 

Great Stuff Jeff. It would sure be nice to add Bennett a year after landing Monahan.


Next we have Lee- you can follow Lee who is always up to date with his hockey tweets at @SNOWDENNHL

I would like to see Calgary draft Sam Bennett but I don’t see him being there when it’s time for their pick. I think Bennett will be gone and the Flames will end up picking Leon Draisaitl from Prince Albert. My Top 5 draft picks will be as follows:

1-    1- Sam Reinhart to Florida.
2-    2- Aaron Ekblad to Buffalo.
3-    3- Sam Bennett to Edmonton.
4-    4- Leon Draisaitl to Calgary.
5-    5- Michael Dal Colle to New York Islanders.

Interesting to see Lee pick Reinhart at #1. Not many people have Reinhart at #1 but in my opinion he is the best prospect in this draft. 

Next with his selections here is Justin. Another great follow @JustinBeatty777

Who should the Flames draft with the fourth overall pick? I believe it comes down to two people depending on what the other three teams do. The two players I see the Flames taking are Sam Reinhart or Sam Bennett. Two of they best center/forwards in the top 5.

I think Buffalo takes one of those two. Reinhart would be my pick if I had to pick one of them. Plus Flames have no Rights. Sam Reinhart is the smartest player in this draft and a great play maker that can play both ends of the ice.

My top five mock draft goes like this:
1 - Florida: Ekblad
2 - Buffalo: Bennett
3 - Edmonton: Draisaitl
4 - Calgary: Reinhart
5 - NYI: Dal Colle

Bennett makes sense to Buffalo because I think the GM of Buffalo loves this kid. Edmonton going with Leon is because of size, they need to get bigger and I believe he'll help him.

I like that Justin has Reinhart at number four. Flames in my opinion would win the draft if he ends up there.

Next is Randy, Randy is famously known for predicting the Jankowski draft choice of 2012, two weeks prior to that draft. Randy can be followed at @THEFANBLOGGER

WHO I WOULD PICK

LEON DRAISAITL

Now why pick him? Because he is a Burke player.  He is a big player, and plays with attitude. He is a solid centre with soft hands.  He never quits and is willing to do what it takes to win.  He is working on his two-way game and making progress. I would pick him because of his versatility in playing forward and centre, which gives the Flames more line options.

WHO I THINK THE FLAMES WILL PICK

SAM BENNETT

A solid forward with offensive punch, Bennet is a top-6 forward with a bright future. The Flames will pick him because he is the best player available.  I am guessing that the Oilers will pick Leon Draisaitl. Sam is a rock, and will be a solid addition to the Flames roster.

My Top 5 
1.  Aaron Ekblad
2. Sam Reinhart
3. Leon Draisaitl
4. Sam Bennett
5. William Nylander 

Again we see Bennett at #4 to Calgary.

Next we have Christian who is another fun hockey follow @CRoatis

Who do you want the Flames to draft? 
Well, if it was a personal preference, I'd like Aaron Ekblad just because he appears to be the best player in this draft. However, looking at it more realistically, I think Sam Bennett would be the perfect fit in Calgary, and has the second or third highest ceiling in his class, in my opinion, with Ekblad being first and Jake Virtanen probably being the other. Bennett managed 91 points in the OHL this season and the fact he couldn't do a pull up only enhanced his stock, in my eyes. If this kid can score at that rate without the upper body strength to pull himself up, imagine what he can do with that extra strength. Bennett projects as a top line forward who can line-up both at center and the left wing, making him a useful asset to move around when making strategic decisions. On top of all that, he slides right into this teams identity, plays the hard nosed, hard working brand of hockey Bob Hartley preaches. All in all, the perfect fit. 

How do I see the top 5 going?

1. Aaron Ekblad - Florida Panthers/whoever gets the pickRegardless of who is making that selection, Aaron Ekblad is the only person I see going first. He's NHL ready, boasts a ton of a potential and is just straight up better than anyone else available at this point in time. Also, the Panthers have said they're leaning towards Ekblad should they choose to keep the pick.
2. Sam Reinhart - Buffalo SabresThe Sabres have said they will take one of the centers available and Sam Reinhart is probably atop their list, being the most NHL ready and offensively inclined (although an argument for Draisaitl can be made)  of the three available. I think it comes down to the two Sams for Buffalo, and the decision to go to Reinhart is made because of his NHL readiness compared to Bennett's. NHLers do pull-ups, and while Bennett will get there, Reinhart is already there. 
3. Leon Draisaitl - Edmonton OilersI don't know why. They said they love him and want him and that's why he's there but I don't get it. Those who follow me on Twitter know I'm not the biggest Draisaitl fan - at all - and don't view him as a Top 5 player. Having seen him play live 5 times this year, I can say with confidence his skating isn't there, he does too much standing still which will have him slaughtered in the NHL and outside of being a Top 6 scorer, he doesn't have any skills that would make him a useful NHLer outside that capacity, meaning if he doesn't get there, he's an auto-bust. I'll be ecstatic if the Oilers take him because that means the Flames won't and also because I don't like the Oilers. 
4. Sam Bennett - Calgary FlamesFor all the reasons listed above: he fits in the system and has great tools and potential.
5. Vancouver Canucks - Michael Dal Colle I initially thought the Canucks would go with William Nylander but after the General Manager swap, I changed my mind. Jim Benning and his former Boston Bruins have drafted all of one Swede during his tenure there and considering the Canucks 
Again we see Ekblad at #1 which seems to be the consensus.

Lastly I will share my prediction for the top five picks. And you can find me at @JASTA28

I would like the Flames to end up with Bennett but I do not think he will be available at 4

1.Ekblad- Picking a defense man first overall always comes with great risk. But Florida will look for him to replace Kulikov once they trade him.
2.Bennett-  Buffalo gets arguably the best prospect in this draft.
3.Reinhart-Too good to pass up on? Most predict Draisaitl here but it is tough to look past what Reinhart could become
4.Draisaitl- Big, versatile forward who plays with an edge. Flames get bigger.
5.Dal Colle- Best of the rest. Another solid offensive prospect for the Islanders

Let us know your Top 5 and share your thoughts on ours.




Friday, June 6, 2014

Treliving Hires His Crew

Treliving Has His Crew
Fresh, young and new a Flames management group

Calgary Flames have announced that they have hired Brad Pascall. Pascall the now former Hockey Canada VP joins the team after working with Treliving at the World Championships. 

@Darren Dreger:
“Brad Pascall may have had other NHL options. He met with Florida gm, Dale Tallon during World Championships to discuss AGM job with Panthers

Craig Conroy received a promotion from Special Assistant to the General Manager, to Assistant General Manager along with Brad Pascall. Brad Treliving had major major praise for Conroy at the press conference:

Treliving "Conroy is a star in the making. Craig bleeds the Calgary Flames"

Treliving "Craig (Conroy) has a passion very few have"

Flames also announced that Mike Holditch remains with the organization in the role of Senior Vice-President and Assistant General Manager. And Troy Crowder joins the organization in player development to work along with Ron Sutter.

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.