Monday, July 14, 2008

 

Hello, friends

I've been enjoying the heck out of my July, and getting quite a bit of work done too, but I do feel like I missed out on the whole Hot Stove/UFA thing. I hope you've been tuning into Five Hole Fanatics; MG has been doing a solid job of debriefing the Flames' moves.

It's extremely tough to divine what the Flames depth chart at forward looks like right now. Apart from Jarome Iginla being the #1 line RW, it's awfully open. If you made me guess, it'd be something like:

Bertuzzi - Lombardi - Iginla
Moss - Langkow - Cammallieri
Bourque - Conroy - GlenX
Nystrom - Boyd - Primeau

I think Keenan is open to playing the Iginla line power-vs.-power, but he's not intent on it... judging by last season, he prefers some balance between the top two lines, which almost definitely means the Langkow is not next to Iginla, because who the hell else is able to anchor a decent EV line besides those two.

I'm pretty sure Bertuzzi starts the season with Iginla... I assume Lombardi has been tabbed for Top 6 duty, with Conroy centring the 3rd line... Rudy informs us that MikeC played RW for the most part last season, which I think fits with need anyway; it also means that his counting numbers aren't likely to be much better next season than they were last, because the 2line RW never gets to play with Iginla.

I think that 3rd line has a chance to be pretty good against a mix of competition... Moss has limited upside as a point producer, but I think he's actually underrated as a two-way player; based on what I know about them, I think it's more likely that Langkow and Moss are propping up Cammy at EV than Langkow trying futilely to drag both Moss and Cammy up the ice.

Sutter's worst move of July has to have been $2.3M X 3 years for Vandermeer; that's just too much money for too long. I have written before that, while there is no magic formula when it comes to signing free agents, there are pitfalls to be avoided. They include:
Another pitfall, IMO, is paying for offense from more than one defenseman, which is why I'm pretty skeptical about the Brian Campbell signing by the Hawks. On the one hand, their PP was pretty lousy last year (24th), and they don't presently have a clear #1 point man who can shoot, distribute, etc., so maybe he was a smart acquisition, in the same manner as he was an excellent acquisition by the Sharks last season. On the other hand, Seabrook and/or Barker are supposed to be growing into that role, and they already have a "do-it-all" d-man in Keith. The Campbell contract only makes sense if he provides a huge marginal advantage over the alternatives, and I'm not at all sure that he does. (And this is setting aside the too-long term, and the fact that he looked very ordinary in the playoffs.)

Just to flesh out that whole point a bit more: the idea, the way I see it, is that when it comes to goals/points, you really only want to pay defensemen for PP production, not EV. For one, d-men just don't put up numbers at even-strength (last season, only 2 dmen had more than 30 EV points, and only 1 had more than 10 EV goals), and for two, a lot of that is a direct consequence of the forwards they're playing with. Yes, it's nice to have a guy who can make a stretch pass, but the difference points-wise between good offensive defensemen and mediocre ones -- at even-strength -- is pretty marginal. Click here: only Kronwall and Lidstrom played D all season and scored more than 1.2EVpts/60; forwards in that range include the likes of Martin Lapointe, Boyd Gordon, Dan Hinote, and Rene Bourque.

**On the topic of bad contracts, I'm thrilled to see that the NW Division's own Colorado Avalanche gave out two of the worst: $4.5M/2yrs for Darcy Tucker, who looks to be even more cooked than Bertuzzi, and $800k for Andrew Raycroft, who is absolutely not an NHL-calibre goalie. No wonder Joe Sakic is taking his time.
On the good deal side:
I'm going to have to ruminate for a good month before trying to handicap the Northwest in '08/09. Until then, around here, it'll either be fun & frivolity, or dead air. Go Flames.

Comments:

If Lombardi is our first line centre, I'm predicting an 0-82 season.
 


I think you meant Rolston is overrated
 


Is that what "Apparently I'm the only guy who doesn't think Brian Rolston is underrated" means? Probably.
 


The biggest problem with the Rolston contract is that (a) he's 35 and (b) it's for four years.

There's no way he's worth that deal by the end, and if he decides to retire, the Devils are stuck with that cap hit.
 


I'd really rather see Moss in a Travis Moen type role on a checking line...

but the choices for "the other winger" in the top 6 sure are thin. Chances are he wins by default unless Rene Bourque is a lot better than we all think he is.
 


You juxtapose those Sauer and Vandermeer deals and you can slowly feel your brain's lobes pulling apart.

You sure do talk about everybody but the Oilers in this entry...
 


Good luck with Bert. He was good at times for us last season. The timely penalties were frustrating though. If a fraction of Iginlas intensity rubs of on him you guys will dominate.

Good job with GlenX too, he looked real good in his limited time with Edmonton, but then the whole team seemed to be on fire then.

I'll be following you guys on nights my guys don't play. Good Luck.
 


I look at the Flames lineup and feel nothing but glee.
 


"Paying too much for someone's counting numbers if they were mostly achieved on the PP and against softer competition"

Hello, Curtis Glencross.

As good as he was for the Oil last year, I don't think he has a shot at repeating his pace this year. Yeah, he's going to hit everything in sight but that isn't completely worth 1.5M
 


Hey Fans,
Lombardi is slated as second line centre stated by GM Sutter. Mr. Sutter spread out the carpet for Big Bert. I think Bert will score 28 goals and achieve 41 assists. Bert will play on the top 2 lines.
Competition for a position on the Flames is extreme this year. New Players, Farm Players and new contract players. I have no idea of the season starting Flames. 9 players from last year departed, and 5 new arrivals so far. Strong core of the team with new left and right wingers. 3 defense striving for 2 positions.
Take a guess who will not make the team: Adrian Aucoin, Anders Eriksson or Rhett Warriner.
 


I look at the Flames lineup and feel nothing but glee.

i see a helluvalotta bottom in that bottom 6.
 


"Paying too much for someone's counting numbers if they were mostly achieved on the PP and against softer competition"

Hello, Sheldon Souray.
 


Hello, Sheldon Souray.

Hey, he's the next Chris Pronger! Cal Nichols says so. Back off!
 


Yeah, he's going to hit everything in sight but that isn't completely worth 1.5M

I think the fact Curtis Glencross has a legitimate shot at being a top-six forward should be more troubling for Flames fans than his salary.
 


Besides, isn't he also signed for only 1.1?
 


$1.2M x 3 years, to be precise. For a guy his age, who is fast, physical, and definitely an NHL player, I think that's a pretty good deal. Even if he's not much of a scorer.
 


Tell you what, you guys can have "Glencross is definitely an NHL-calibre forward" if you'll drop "Undertaking Todd Bertuzzi's third separate 'rebuild' and expecting scoring rates from six years ago out of him seems like a pretty good bet".
 


(They say denial ain't just a river in Egypt, but I'm thinking we may have to rename the Bow if this keeps up...)
 


expecting scoring rates from six years ago

Scoring rates from last year have Bertuzzi at .59 PPG and ES rates of 1.98/60. Penner scored .57 PPG and an ES rate of 1.34/60. So it looks like Bertuzzi at 1.95 million is the deal of the year, OR Penner at 4.5 million is one overpaid S.O.B.
 


"Undertaking Todd Bertuzzi's third separate 'rebuild' and expecting scoring rates from six years ago out of him seems like a pretty good bet".

Colby,

I'm fairly certain you'll agree that Bertuzzi will score 40 goals next season. I have no reason to believe otherwise and I really haven't seen anyone (including a certain author on this site) provide any evidence to the contrary.

Later
 


As someone who had to watch that floating turd for years, Bertuzzi is going to disappoint any fan looking for "grit," "determination," "perseverance," "dedication to hockey," or any criteria that go into judging the winner of the Bill Masterton Trophy.

If he scores 40, Iginla should not only get the Hart, he should be immediately elevated to "God."
 


That is, if Bertuzzi scores 40, his presumptive winger Iginla should be accorded "God" status.
 


Scoring rates from last year have Bertuzzi at .59 PPG and ES rates of 1.98/60. Penner scored .57 PPG and an ES rate of 1.34/60. So it looks like Bertuzzi at 1.95 million is the deal of the year, OR Penner at 4.5 million is one overpaid S.O.B.

Or, Bertuzzi played literally the softest minutes in the NHL last year. Are we gonna have to change your name to Excluded Middle Joe? (But, yeah, my bad for inappropriate use of "rates".)
 

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