Over the past few weeks, I've received numerous tweets and emails asking me the same question. "What should Calgary do" and "Should Iginla be traded". This is not an easy question to answer, and therefore I have decided to write about it. The organization will be analyzed as a whole, and I'll give MY opinions on what the Flames' should do.
I think that for the best interest of the Flames', and the fans - some retooling is needed. I'm not talking a rebuild, and I don't think that a rebuild is necessary in the cap age. Let's face it, the Flames' are not winning the cup this year, or the next. This is best for everyone. Let the bashing begin.
To begin, let's start with the Goaltending
The Flames' have a decent goaltending system with the likes of Leland Irving, Karlsson and now Karri Ramo added to the mix. It's not the best system by far, however it's not the worst. Karlsson and Irving have both proven they can handle an NHL game, and it's safe to bet that Kipper has past his prime. My suggestion is to trade
Kipper right before, or at the trade deadline for a couple of picks/prospects. You may say I'm crazy, however Kipper could easily fetch a 1st and a prospect. He is still a #1 Goalie on any team, and is highly touted.
With Kipper gone, Karlsson and Irving would handle the goaltending duties. Karri Ramo, as I understand from watching him play, will never be a #1 goalie. Sorry, folks.
Next we move to Defense
In the past, the Flames' had a top defense system. Dion Phaneuf, Keith Aulie, TJ Brodie, Tim Erixon. With 3 out of those 4 gone, the Flames' defense system has really faltered. With the emergence of Mark Giordano, he proves to be our #1 D right now. The best thing for the organization would be to get anything they can for Jay Bo. He has a huge contract which will make it difficult for them to move, however he is still a smooth skating, and offensive defensemen. I've heard rumours that atleast 2 teams would be interested. With Jay Bo gone, that would leave us with Gio, Brodie, Hannan, Smith, Butler, Babchuk and Carson. This gives the Flames' a cheaper blueline and allows more youth to step up. Hannan is a useful vet which should be kept, unless an offer for a 3rd suddenly arises.
The prospect pool for D is very low for the Flames', however Brodie has stepped up and should prove to be a top 4 defensemen for the Flames' in the future. Clay Wilson has also showed some promise, which is very good news for Calgary.
Lastly we go to the forwards
Calgary's weakest spot throughout the years has been the forward position. Jarome Iginla has undoubtedly carried Calgary for the past 10 years. With the recent addition of Mike Cammalleri, Jarome should have some help producing.
To switch topics quickly, lets' examine the Cammalleri trade. At face value, it looks like Calgary has won. They received the better player in Cammalleri, and gave up an inconsistent player in Bourque. When you dig deeper, you see that Calgary gave up a 2nd round pick and Holland, a highly touted prospect.
For some reason, Jay Feaster seems to believe that Calgary will be making a playoff run. Myself, and many other Flames' fans know this is not that case. The Cammalleri trade is a win for Calgary because of 2 reasons.
1 - Flames' get the better player to help with offensive production.
2 - At the trade deadline, or offseason - if things don't go as planned, Calgary can get MUCH more for Cammalleri than we trade for him. At the deadline, teams would gladly give a pick and prospect/player for a proven 40 goal scorer.
Back to the main point.
Calgary's forward depth is weak. I'll look at each player individually.
- Trade. He must be given a chance. If I was Feaster, I'd give Iginla two options. He can play out the remaining year in Calgary and get traded next year (his no-trade clause ends then) OR waive his NTC now, and go to a playoff team. Iginla is a true player, but for him and Calgary, it's best if both move on. Calgary won't be winning the cup soon, and Iginla can fetch a good price before the deadline.
- He'll be tough to move with his long contract, however if possible trade. He can fetch a good price too with his point totals last year.
- He is the future. He's been underproducing, however he's been projected as an 80+ point player...He just needs time...Look at zetterberg..Took him a while aswell.
- Keep Horak. He's a stud of a young prospect. He can and will only get better. Projected as a 2nd line Centre. 50 + points.
- I'd suggest keeping him. He'll be a perfect energy-line player which the Flames' will surely need.
- Trade him ASAP. His value is high now, and can fetch a good prospect, or pick. He's on pace for 30 + goals. Career totals for him.
- Stempniak is a fast player, and I like him. You wouldn't be able to get much for him, and he goes well with Backlund.
- Jokinen should fetch a decent return aswell. He's on a Point per game pace almost right now, and has improved his game tremendously.
TK + Jackman
- Keep Them on the team. They has character, and a work hard attitude that Calgary will need to help the young players.
Comeau + Jones
- Both young and fast players. Calgary needs to change it's image, and get away from the dump and chase game. Both this players will help big time in changing that.
As for Stajan, Moss, I'd try and get whatever possible for them. With Stajans' ugly contract, it will be hard. However, he needs to go. Same with Moss.
After all is said and done, some call-ups will be needed. Keep Bouma up, bring up Nemisz, Reihnart, Ferland and others to fill spots. Flames' have some good prospects, they just need a chance.
Next season, after the draft (which assuming we'd have a high pick) the Flames' should draft a player, and allow them to play next season. Personally, they should have allowed Baertschi to play the 9 NHL Games before sending him down.
Allow Sven + others to play next season for a full season and see what happens.
I know this seems like a lot, and unrealistic - but for Calgary, it's what's needed. Mark my words now - Calgary will eventually do this. By the time they realize, however - it'll be 2 years down the road...
Sorry folks, unless Feaster realizes what needs to be done, Calgary will remain a mid-pack team for many more years.
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