Built for a Run?: Flames Roster Post Deadline

March 2nd, 2017 | Posted in Commentary | By: D'Arcy McGrath

Going into any trade deadline it’s inevitable that a bubble team would have three different courses of action, all with their own perils and tribulations.

You buy. You sell. You do nothing.

It’s Canada, the city has a keen interest so doing nothing is just plain mean, so let’s face it the choices are down to two.

Brad Treliving was quite bold a couple of years ago with a team just on the outside, he didn’t add other than a waiver wire pick up, and he sold in jettisoning both Curtis Glencross and Sven Baertschi; the Flames of course made the playoffs anyway.

I think this year the assumption was the add, with the Flames in a playoff spot somewhat firmly, but then the trepidation became the cost and the timing. Do you want to go all in as a wildcard seed? Seems a little rushed. How can you be in a rebuild and move picks and prospects?

In the end, Treliving did pretty much what I would have expected him to do;

1) Fix the most glaring hole on the team with a creative and less expensive option
2) Alter his protection list for next season by taking on a forward that another team would have trouble protecting

Did I have the defenseman solution nailed? Nope. Stone was a name out there, but he wasn’t the one I was guessing (Kyle Quincey). Was the protection list forward the guy I saw coming? Once again no, I was imagining a more established player from a non-playoff team.

So how did he do?

When the Curtiz Lazar news came down I did what every hockey fan in the city did. You google Kostka and realize it was a throw in, you ignore Jyrki Jokipakka as he was waiver fodder the day before, you nod your head on the Lazar project idea and then you cringe that they gave up a second round pick.

What’s interesting is chasing down some Ottawa views before the trade; I like others noticed the Lazar on the market comments on Twitter and the asking price of a first round pick, something that seemed way to high from my standpoint.

Exhibit A:

When I saw this I thought they should jump on it. Lazar has value no doubt about it, but he’s sputtering so a second seemed fair to me.

Exhibit B:

Really? I get that it’s a weak draft and that you’re dealing a young player, but a first for a player that is listing? If that’s his firm price he wasn’t going to get it.

Exhibit C:

Turn a first round pick down?

From a Calgary perspective I like this now that Lazar is Flame’s property, but Ottawa media has known to be some of the most kool-aid’d group in hockey so you have to take it with a grain of salt.

I am glad history like this exists though, as I’m sure many in that nation’s capital will change their tune now that Lazar is gone.

Either way I think the Ottawa view before the trade helps frame the value somewhat when assessing the move made by Brad Treliving.

My personal view before and after the trade? Meh. I wasn’t a big Lazar fan. When he was added to that World Junior team and made captain I thought they bolstered the club with an NHL ready forward and I didn’t see it. He didn’t stand out all that much to me.

So my gut is a 2nd is a little too much to acquire a project player, not a lot too much, I would have been really happy with a third, but the 2nd seems steep.

What adds some uptick for me however is Treliving. This is very much a player he wanted. The group has said they worked on this for weeks. Additionally, comments from Lazar suggest the player was a Treliving target in the 2013 draft when he was leading the show for the Coyotes.

He knows him, he likes him, and he clearly has spot for him as he’s already hinted he will be protecting him in the expansion draft. To Treliving he’s adding a piece, not a project, but from his comments he seems alert enough to know there is some work to do.

If he’s right, even to the 70th percentile and the player becomes a solid top nine forward in Calgary, then this is a very good move for the Flames.

If he’s wrong, then you go back to his comments on the draft and that they just don’t value the picks in the 2017 showcase as high as they have in previous years.

No GM is right 100% of the time, but compared to other GMs in Calgary history, I at least trust the guy’s process and work ethic to make sure he’s doing what he can to get it right.

All in all the Flames are better than they were a few weeks ago. They looked to have landed a real bargain in Michael Stone given all they gave up was a third round pick. Heck I don’t think I’d trade him straight up for Brendan Smith who cost the Rangers a 2nd and a 3rd.

The Matt Bartkowski move looks to be pretty shrewd as well as it cost them nothing.

The team has rebuilt their defense core, eliminating the biggest weakness on the team. They didn’t add up front in a significant way, but then heading into the deadline I suggested they shouldn’t as the chemistry lost could be just as important as the addition.

It’s stretch drive time, and the Flames are in a better position to not only make the playoffs, but possibly make some noise when they get there.

Pretty much all I could have asked for this season.

Game Takes: Flames 2 Kings 1 (OT)

March 1st, 2017 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

Well that felt like a playoff game didn’t it?

A predictably slow start by the Flames and a bail out by the guy the Flames envisioned doing just that when they made the draft day trade with St. Louis to solidify their goaltending led the way as the Flames erased a 1-0 first period Kings lead on the way to a come from behind 2-1 overtime victory over the L.A. Kings.

Yes it felt like playoffs, but it could very well have a lot to do with making said playoffs, as the Flames move back out in front of the Kings by 6 points, but this time the guys from Hollywood only have one game in hand. And wait there’s more, their buddies from Edmonton beat the Blues in regulation giving the Flames a five point lead over the 2nd wildcard spot holder.

Still 18 games to go, but the Flames have gone a long way to make the playoffs somewhat likely over the last ten days.
– Full Article –

A Quiet Deadline Awaits?

February 27th, 2017 | Posted in Commentary | By: D'Arcy McGrath

It’s very difficult using the past to extrapolate the future; a statement that’s true in almost everything, but even more so a trade deadline in the National Hockey League.

Every year is different in terms of standings, where a club sits, and their appetite for either buying or selling. But additional variables also complicate things including the number of teams willing to transact, the value of the upcoming draft and the implications on the worth of a draft pick.

In Calgary, the GM currently occupying the chair, Brad Treliving, is also relatively new to the position, so any gazes to the past would only reveal two deadlines with this being his third.

Two weeks ago it was pretty much common knowledge that the Flames needed an upgrade on the bottom half of their defense core, an additional top nine forward, and a boost to their goaltending wouldn’t hurt as well. The Flames were a solid bubble team, but with games in hand against them they were hardly a good bet to load up at the deadline.

Add to that the existing GMs recent past of selling even if they’re in the mix and it was hard to imagine any massive additions heading to Calgary on the 1st of March.

Now, however, much has changed.
– Full Article –

Game Takes: Flames 3 Hurricanes 1

February 26th, 2017 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

At certain points in a team’s evolution a bubble position just sucks.

When Jarome Iginla and Miikka Kiprusoff were winding down their tenures in Flame’s silks they often would finish 9th or 10th in the conference, a result that really hurt for the fan base. They didn’t make the playoffs, and they didn’t get the high draft pick, essentially the worst form of failure for a season’s group.

My expectations going into this season was exactly that, a bubble season, however in this case that reads success as the team is young, learning, and in or out the process is a gain in itself, regardless of the outcome.

With that said, this road trip was clearly large. The Kings were set to get Johnathan Quick back and put in a fierce push, leaving the Flames either in or out of the playoffs by a narrow margin. With four games left against each other, this road trip could have been the deciding factor between success and failure as the season moves into the stretch drive. The club needed 5 points at a minimum, but 6 or 7 would go along way in putting the Flames in a position of success heading home.

So clearly today’s win, a 3-1 victory in Carolina, was huge, as it gave the Flames 9 of a possible 10 points on the trip, sending them home to play 12 of their final 19. Now if they can bottle this game up in white and move it to the game they play in red.
– Full Article –

Game Takes: Flames 4 Panthers 2

February 24th, 2017 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

A look at the schedule before this five game road trip, showed 12 of the teams final 19 games to be played on home ice. In a heating battle with the Predators and Kings for the final two playoff spots, you had that feeling that surviving this road trip in decent shape would go a long way towards securing a playoff spot for the Calgary Flames.

A .500 trip was a must, but a six point trip would even be better as they headed out for their first game of the trip in Vancouver.

Now four games in and one to go, and the Flames have points in all four games, and three wins in a row in four nights, as they continued their hot streak in white silks in Florida tonight, turning back the Panthers by a 4-2 score on the strength of a great performance by back up stopper Chad Johnson.

On to Carolina to make a great trip potentially even greater.
– Full Article –

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