Wednesday, June 28, 2006

 

Be the GM: Flames Edition (aka Vacation Time)

Unlike the question-mark-filled graphic in Andy's post below, the Flames roster is pretty damn close to Opening Day condition. TSN.ca has clearly just done a major update on all their salary listings for the upcoming season: we now know what Yelle ($1.55M), Huselius ($1.4M), and Kobasew ($1.2M) are pulling in.

(Caveat: I'm a bit confused as to how "old" contracts count under the salary cap. All contracts signed since the CBA, regardless of how the player is truly compensated, are divided evenly over the length of the deal for the purposes of cap calculations (AAV). I don't know if this is the case for pre-CBA contracts: Phaneuf, for example, is now shown as making $471k, which I know is less than the AAV of his deal.)

Anyway, here's the Flames Depth Chart as it looks right now. Unsigned RFAs are in italics; guesses/unknown are in [square brackets]. Also, the lines/pairings will not look like this; I'm not suggesting they will in the slightest.
Forwards
Tanguay - Langkow - Iginla
Huselius - Lombardi - Kobasew
Amonte - Yelle - Lundmark
Nilson - Richie - McCarty
Simon, [Germyn]

Defensemen
Regehr - Warrener
Hamrlik - Phaneuf
Ference - [Giordano]
[Richie Regehr]

Goaltenders
Kiprusoff
[uhhhhh]

Notes:

*No Shean Donovan on this list. He's a UFA, and unless they unload a forward who is under contract, I don't know that they can afford to sign him (I'm getting to that...)

*Anyone know what the real deal is with Simon? TSN shows him as under contract for $1.216M; Cory Brolund's page shows him as a UFA. I thought he was under contract myself, but based on the accuracy of recent information, Panther Fan is more reliable.

*Here's what we're working with:
Even if you think the Flames should be spending the cap (which I do), they absolutely cannot start the season with a payroll any higher than that. Which means any further moves Sutter makes pretty much need to be salary-neutral.

*Let's say Simon is a UFA. Per the above, that leaves Sutter with about $1M-$1.5M to improve prior to opening day. (Note that a minimum salary is already slotted in for each position, so signing a UFA for $1M amounts to "spending" $500k, if you catch my drift).

*I suspect any additions to the D will be of the Marchment/Hulse variety, i.e. minimum salary veterans. I doubt the D's payroll will increase.

*I would like to see Donovan back (yeah, he's frustrating at times, but his speed is useful, and when he's going, he creates a LOT of problems for the opposition). If he can be had for =<$1M, I think Sutter's got to make that deal.

*The backup goalie question is an interesting one. Surely it's time to crap or get off the pot with Brent Krahn: he was streaky in the AHL this past season, but he got lots of PT and put up a .912SV%. I have to think that either he starts the season as the #2, or the Flames sever ties (he's 24 -- development time is over, either he can play or he can't).

Besides, I suspect the backup goalie postion in Calgary isn't that attractive to experienced 2nd-tier guys. Notwithstanding the whole issue of "having a 0% chance of unseating the #1", the evidence is that Sutter distrusts and detests his backups. There might be no other coach in the league that is less appealing to a potential signee (exception: John "25% Rule" Tortorella).

*"More scoring" from outside the organization is out of the question. You cannot sign a guy for a million bucks who can reliably (or rather, predictably) put the puck in the net. You can sign a veteran and hope he has a mini-renaissance (e.g. Bondra), or you can sign a guy who looks like he should be able to score but has weak totals, and hope something clicks (e.g. Dvorak!), but you can't plan on anything.

An offensive improvement from the Flames will need to come from any or all of: A) Tanguay; B) Iginla returning to form; C) increased production from Kobasew and Lombardi; and D) a modified emphasis in their style of play.

Comments:

Copy cat.
 


Simon has a team option for next year. I would like to see the Flames attempt to not pick up the option and resign him for two years in the $750,000 range. We'll see I guess.

I agree with your idea of resigning Donovan, if he can be had for less than 1 million. Very useful 3-4th line guy. I also hope that Lundmark comes in ready to challenge for the 2nd line center role. Hopefully having him around will push Lombardi a little bit.

Other than that, I agree that Sutter will add a depth defenceman, especially with so many out there this year. I am not one that is expecting another offensive player to make their way to Calgary, I am looking for options A, B and C to all occur this year without any modifications to the teams style of play.
 


All contracts, including "old" ones, are averaged against the cap. See Tkachuk in St. Louis (can't have a thread these days with that city coming up...). As TSN shows, the $ he gets this year is quite a smaller than the cap hit.

- Rod
 


Some Flames prospects that might turn heads at one of the training camps this summer are Aki Seitsonen, Adam Cracknell and Dustin Boyd.

Also, and this goes for Edmonton or any other team, every now and then (mostly then and rarely now) someone like Colorado's 7th round choice (227th overall) Marek Svatos surfaces from whoknowswhere, so that Don Cherry can say "See, all you's kids out there, never give up, I told you so," or something like that..

Hopefully both Edmonton and Calgary have a kid ready to crack their lineups and shine.
 


Personally, I thought Krahn was a better goalie last camp than Sauve anyway, much as I thought Morrison did better than Conklin. I think he's got the goods for 15-20 games (that's all he's getting, you know it), if Sutter shows an ounce of confidence in him. But, as you noted yourself, have fun with that.
 


I believe Lombardi was qualified around the 500k mark.

If Donovan were to return (which is looking less and less likely) he'd cost around 700k Im fairly certain. I wouldn't mind Dono for that price, but I think Sutter's had enough of his up and down play.

Simon should be given his walking papers. He's getting older and slower and we need to free up the roster spot for an up-and-comer (Nystrom).
 


I don't think there's any hurry with Krahn. When did Hasek start to emerge? It was well after his stint in Chicago. Tanguay is a great move, but I'm still not crazy about the top six. No matter how many goals are scored somebody has to have the best defensive record, so it might as well be us, but you've got to be able to score 3goals/game at home.
 

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