Wednesday, June 25, 2008


What to do, what to do...

Having just come back from a golfing long weekend with a bunch of friends, I'm taking off on Friday for 10 days with the family, and will miss the UFA media excitement (Idaho: not really a hockey hotbed).

Here is our old friend Flames Salary Chart, June 25 edition. As noted many times before, I much prefer this illustration to "Flames have $45.X mill committed to 14 players" -- this shows roster spots that must be filled by hook or crook.

So using only non-1st-round minor leaguers and veteran Byron Richie-type UFAs to fill out the roster (and assuming that the Langkow deal is done), Calgary is at about $52.2M. Signing one additional player to a $4.5M/yr deal increases the payroll by $4M, putting them at $56.2M, which is about at or over the cap. Translation: barring buyouts and waivers, they can't spend $4.5M on a UFA. So, who are we potentially looking at?

If I'm the GM, I think I'm targeting Ruslan Fedotenko and Martin Gelinas. RF put up a positive Corsi # and an OK plus/minus last year playing against tough opp with (mostly IIRC) Hunter and Sillinger. His boxcar numbers were meh, helped in part (from the buyer's perspective) by 15 games on the DL. Sutter has seen him good: he scored both TB goals in G7 of the '04 Finals vs. the Flames. I think something like $10M/3 years is actually possible, and would probably pay off.

The apparent departure of Conroy makes it possible, and maybe even desirable, to bring Gelinas back from a political (for lack of a better word) perspective. Martin G. is another guy whose G-A-Pts do not reflect his true value: he missed 25 games due to injury last year, and put up pretty decent rates pulling 3rd line duty against decent competition and without star linemates. He's fit. If you're going to hire a 38-year-old to help your team for a decent price -- and the Flames have few if any other options -- then this is the guy.

Which gives us a roster something like this, which actually gives me a bit of hope for the season. Giordano is apparently signed to a 3-year (1-way!) deal, making either Warrener or Eriksson the #7D. Seems like the practical thing to do there would be to send that guy to the minors, not as a straight-out salary burial per se, but to save a few cents against the cap until someone gets hurt; that cap space may be needed (and multiplies) closer to the trade deadline.

Actually, 4th line aside, I don't mind this lineup. Iginla w/ Cammy and DL is a solid #1 line and PP unit; Lombo between RF and Moss should be able to keep the puck going in the right direction as much as the wrong one, and maybe pot a few goals; I definitely prefer Boyd as a centre, and with Gelinas and Nilson on the wings I think that's pretty workable as an ongoing proposition.

I'm happy with the D; my present mindset is that The Warrener is still serviceable as a 3rd-pair guy. Naturally, I'd love it if Pardy or Negrin or Pelech or somebody stepped up in training camp and bumped Eriksson even further down the depth chart. And in goal... Kipper needs to play better. That's 90+% of what needs to be said about the goaltending position. My preference is Curtis Mc-E as the backup, getting 20-25% of the starts, but it's not going to matter much if Kipper can't turn things around a bit.

**Metrognome and Jean Lefebvre had good final takes on the Tanguay situation. This certainly needed to be said, so thanks MG:
This isn't the Senators dealing Havlat because they simply have too many good players to fit under the cap...the Flames, in direct contrast, are in desperate need of top 6 forwards.

No, this is Calgary moving Tanguay because he was crowded out by the suck.

Read the whole thing. And Lefebvre fleshes things out from the Tanguay side a bit more. Yes, he did want out. "Frustration at his role" is essentially correct, although he is probably owed a bit more nuance on account of the fact that he performed that role well and certainly didn't sulk. More like, "Frustration that his role virtually assured that his counting numbers would suffer and that he'd be viewed as a bust." JL sums it up nicely:
In a way, Tanguay paid the price for the fact that the other skilled left-winger on the club — Huselius — was not considered a safe option defensively and also that the play of many of the traditional plumbers and checkers — Stephane Yelle, Wayne Primeau and Marcus Nilson — suffered because of age, ineffectiveness and/or injuries.

The punchline -- where the joke is on Tanguay -- is that if Carbo uses him next season that best exploits his roster's varying strengths and weaknesses, it's not going to get much better.

**Lastly... can I request a moratorium from Darryl Sutter going forward on Entry Draft Excuses? Every interview I heard or read from him in the two weeks prior to the draft included very matter-of-fact statements about how glad they were to be picking as high as #17 this year, and that you can't expect miracles from the 20s. If you don't think you can find talent in the position you're given, then trade up! Or at the very least, if you're going to repeatedly trade down, then shut up about the whole thing. Please. Or! -- heaven forbid -- admit and take responsibility for the fact that your record since picking Phaneuf is poor.

Enjoy Christmas in July, everybody++. Hope you find what you were hoping for under the tree.

++Oiler fans excluded.


Fedotenko and Gelinas wouldn't be too bad. I have the sinking sensation that it's going to be Tucker and Fedoruk though.

Agreed on Sutter's whining re: draft position. Don't like the 25th pick? Quit trading for it.

Lecavalier just signed the whopper.

matt: I am hoping for nothing but coal* in the stocking of the Flames on July 1st.

*coal = Darcy Tucker

Is Conroy really gone? Did somebody make him a big (1 mil+) offer? If we could switch out Godard for Fedoruk I'm down with it, but please no Darcy Tucker. Also what about Hale and/or Vandermeer, I thought those two guys would be fine at #5 with Giordano at #7. Flames send Ericsson and Warrener to the minors. I'm sure they'll pass waivers.

"The punchline -- where the joke is on Tanguay -- is that if Carbo uses him next season that best exploits his roster's varying strengths and weaknesses, it's not going to get much better."

Can you elaborate on this? I'm not sure I follow and I'm really curious to see your thinking.

Seems to me that LW is actually the place where Montreal has the most quality ES options, with Andrei Kostitsyn and Chris Higgins, both guys you can throw out without them getting destroyed. I would expect to see Tanguay get extensive PP time and quality linemates, maybe Koivu and Higgins or Sergei Kostitsyn assuming Montreal makes no other additions. On the PP he might play the point if he's able, if not, he'll probably end up taking Higgins' spot -- it's on the second wave PP, but in Montreal the second wave is still pretty effective. I'm not sure he'd see much time on the PK, Carbo does like to use most of his personnel there but I imagine Tanguay would not be a primary PKer.

Also what about Hale and/or Vandermeer, I thought those two guys would be fine at #5 with Giordano at #7

Hale won't be coming back. He's average, at best, in his own end and an incredible vortex of suck anywhere near the offensive zone. Even if he sticks around for some reason, Giordano immediately leap-frogs him on the depth chart. As for Vandy, I think he'll stick if Sutter can get rid of Warrener or Eriksson.

I admit I'm not intimately familiar with the strengths and weaknesses on everyone on the Habs' roster... that said, I'm not sure if it matters that I do. Tanguay is definitely superior at evens to whatever you have at LW, and it's unlikely that he's superior (he might even be inferior) to some of your PP options. As such, it makes no sense for Carbo to torque his bench to maximize Tanguay's PP time, but plenty of sense to do the opposite.

If I'm Tanguay's coach, my preference is to have him come out when the Habs' PP is ending and the other guy's big threats on O are stepping on, because that's what Tanguay's comparative advantage is.

Also, he really wasn't useful on the PP point. Guy has an excellent (i.e. accurate) shot, but he doesn't look to get it off. A PP point man who's not a threat to shoot is not generally what you want, I don't think (and again, he has no comparative advantage there).

He WILL be happy to have quality linemates, though... and he'll make them better. Tell whoever he's playing with to keep their sticks on the ice at all times in the slot.

You guys have any thoughts on Krys Kolanos making the big squad and taking one of those replacement roles?

He was second in scoring even with having played 15 less games in the 07-08 season.

You guys have any thoughts on Krys Kolanos making the big squad and taking one of those replacement roles?

Kolanos was never offered a big league contract. He was strictly AHL fodder and likely will remain that way for the rest of his career. He put up nice numbers with Stevenson, mainly on the PP, but was otherwise useless.

From the horse's mouth, Kolanos won't be re-signed.

As for Conroy, he obviously wasn't willing to take as big a haircut as Sutter wanted... on the radio last week, Sutter made an impossibly snarky comment about "guys who say 'I really want to be here, I'll take less', they want to sign somewhere else".

He can get at least 2 years at well over $1M per from someone. Apparently that won't be the Flames.

I'd like to see what Dustin Boyd can do when he's playing with linemates who are somewhat familiar with the rules of the game.

I'd like to see what Dustin Boyd can do when he's playing with linemates who are somewhat familiar with the rules of the game.

You're not alone.

The Calgary Flames began their house cleaning on Thursday, placing defenceman Rhett Warrener and Anders Eriksson and forward Marcus Nilson on waivers.

Nilson, a nine-year veteran, signed a two-year, $2 million contract extension with the Flames last summer.

He played 47 games with Calgary in 2007-08, tallying three goals and five points. In 474 career games, the Swedish winger has 67 goals and 168 points.

Warrener, acquired by the Flames in 2005, is entering the final season of a three-year deal that will pay him $2.5 million. In 31 games last season, he had four points and was a minus-2.

Eriksson is set to earn $1.5 million next season, the final year of a two-year contract.

The 6'2", 220-lb defenceman has played 552 NHL games with Calgary, Detroit, Chicago, Florida, Toronto, and Columbus.


"What to do, what to do..."

Well there's your answer.

You start by getting rid of your mistakes.

For all the crap KLowe takes aroung the Al Gore for some questionable moves he has made, how Sutter gets off basically scott free with some of the ones he has made is beyond me. I wonder how long he can live off the Kipper Steal?

Don't get me started.

placing defenceman Rhett Warrener and Anders Eriksson and forward Marcus Nilson on waivers.

What? No Primeau on this list? Will they be bought out or just assigned to the Quad?

Do you think Gelinas takes the all-time prize for "Player best-loved in both Edmonton and Calgary"?

He or Steve Smith.

He or Steve Smith.

As a guy who lives in Edmonton and shares his name, let me assure you that there's very, very little affection for him here. I'm thinking of having my name legally changed to Fernando Niinimaa-Messier.

He or Steve Smith.

I didn't say I was looking for the player best-loved in Calgary for his work with both teams, wise guy.




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