Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Time To Start Over in Calgary

Jarome Iginla and Miikka Kiprusoff playing
in an outdoor game for the Flames.
Jarome Iginla and Miikka Kiprusoff have been the faces of the franchise in Calgary for many years now, but it is time to say goodbye.  I get it, you do not want to be the guy known as the GM who traded away 2 of the best players in franchise history, but it is time to trade these guys.  Jay Feaster will always be in the shadows of Mike Milbury when the list of the worst GMs in NHL history is brought up, but 2nd place isn't always bad.  After all, 2nd place is a place Calgary has not seen in a long long time.  As much as I would love to rant about how awful Calgary is and how they are doomed for years to come, I would rather propose my thoughts as to how Calgary can change this and once again reclaim prominence in the Western Conference.

Step 1: Fire Jay Feaster!  Many foolish hockey fans give Feaster credit for bringing a Stanley Cup to Tampa Bay.  I remember him as the man that crippled Tampa Bay so much that even Steve Yzerman and Steven Stamkos cannot return this team to the playoffs.  Lecavalier, St. Louis, Malone, Ohlund, and others have obnoxious contracts the Lightning cannot afford.  He is doing the same thing in Calgary with wonderful moves such as: trading Dion Phaneuf to keep Jay Bouwmeester, signing Jiri Hudler, signing Dennis Wideman, and trading for Mike Cammalleri.  Oh and do I have to mention the offer sheet he made for Ryan O'Reilly?  O'Reilly was playing in the KHL and would need to clear waivers if another team signed him.  That means had Colorado not matched the offer sheet Feaster made, then Calgary would have had to give Colorado a 1st and 3rd round pick next year (potentially a top 5 pick!) in exchange for a player who would not make it past Columbus when going through waivers.  This could have been the biggest blunder in recent sports history, but Colorado does not have the brightest GM either.  Get Feaster out of Calgary before it is too late.

Step 2: Dismantle team: Anyone over the age of 35 should be immediately traded by Calgary.  Iginla and Kiprusoff and fan favorites but they are getting this team no closer to the playoffs.  Iginla is a UFA at the end of the season, so it only makes sense to trade this man to a playoff contender.  Get draft picks or top 6 forward prospects.  Build around these guys and use your draft picks to build a brighter future.  Kiprusoff could be a perfect fit on a team who sees a goalie injured before the deadline.  Maybe Ottawa or even Tampa Bay would be interested in dishing young talent for this veteran goalie.  As for Iginla, who wouldn't want this guy.  If you have 7 million available under your salary cap, throw this guy on your roster.  I see St. Louis, Dallas, Anaheim, Detroit, or even Nashville as potential destinations for him.  Get Cammalleri and Bouwmeester out of there too if you have potential suitors.  The younger this team gets, the better.

Step 3: Be Patient; Draft wisely:  The Edmonton Oilers have been spoiled by having the 1st overall pick three years running.  The Calgary Flames will have the benefit of great picks if they go with the rebuilding route.  It is not in Calgary's best interest to do what Edmonton did.  Learn from the mistakes of your rivals in Alberta.  Do not take players who can make the biggest impact on your roster now.  Take the players who can have a strong and long lasting impact on your team in the future.  If somebody were to ask me if Taylor Hall is, or will ever be, a better player than Tyler Seguin I would laugh in their face before saying a very confident no.  RNH is solid but is he better than Landeskog, Huberdeau, Strome, Larsson, or some of the other guys drafter after him?  I do not think so, but stay tuned.  Nail Yakupov has shown endless talent in his brief NHL stint so far; but he has also showed he is scared to get hit and is too small to handle the physicality of the NHL.  The Oilers addressed immediate issues.  They drafter pro-ready players over the best players.  And it is because of this that the Oilers are still mediocre despite Sam Gagner and Jordan Eberle carrying the team on their backs.  The Flames need to think long term, and not simply draft guys that can plug holes in their lineup now.  Think about how good Edmonton would be with Seguin and how Boston would still be good, but maybe Stanley Cup-less had they had Taylor Hall instead.  I understand a desire to be good, and get good quick, but patience is a virtue that should be used when drafting future talent.

Step 4: Make a REAL free agent splash:  Jay Feaster was on top of the world when he announced Hudler and Wideman were joining the Flames this season.  It only cost them 9.5 million dollars to get these 2 guys!!!  It is a joke.  Sign a real top level guy UNDER the age of 32 to build around.  Iginla is too old to build a team around at this point in his career.  Someone like Corey Perry, Nathan Horton, Valtteri Filppula, Alexander Semin, or Ryane Clowe would do the trick.  Heck, maybe they can pull off a Minnesota Wild and grab 2 of these guys in one offseason.  Either way, they need some serious talent and they need to pay money to get one of these guys to build around.  Then when your young guys hit their mid 20s and are ready to contend for a Stanley Cup, you have a savvy veteran ready to lead the troops into battle.  Obviously step 4 is not possible without the most important step 1 being completed.  Have I mentioned Jay Feaster is bad at his job?

I hope the best for Calgary, because it pains me to see Iginla and company at the bottom of the pack.  Do what is best for both parties.  The Flames are better off trading him, and Iginla deserves another run at a Stanley Cup before he retires.  Radical movement is necessary to get this organization turned around, and I hope my 4 steps or something similar can be utilized to get Calgary back on the map.  If nothing changes in Calgary, the battle for Alberta will be the only meaningful games Calgary will play in the next 5 seasons.

1 comment:

  1. I just talked to the Kipper. He said, "Tommy Lorenz? Who's that? Sounds like a total plug?"

    But he did say it in Finnish, so my translation could be off