Follow me on Twitter @flamesfan1981
It's no secret that the Flames organization is in need of a full rebuild. By full rebuild I mean a full tear it down completely and rebuild from the ground-up type of rebuild. With the recent trades of Jarome Iginla, Jay Bouwmeester and attempting to move Kiprusoff; all fans were under the assumption the Flames organization were doing exactly that.
After the trade deadline passed Jay Feaster held a press conference in which he indicated Murray Edwards was still committed to making the playoffs next season. Unless my idea of a rebuild is different than that of Flames ownership, wouldn't this mean they are not going to do a full rebuild?
I understand the fact that a professional organization does not want to let it's fans think they are willing to accept a culture of losing. Accepting a culture of losing and having an educated fan base that understands the process of a rebuild are 2 different things. I have been a Flames fan since ive been 5 years old (1986). I have watched the high flying Flames of the 80s into the downward spiral of the 90s and into present. As a dedicated and educated Flames fan I for one and completely willing to sit through a full rebuild to watch the Flames as an organization get back to respectibility.
What should the Flames strategy be for the next few years?
1 - Sign players from NCAA and Europe:
The immense wealth of talent that is playing overseas in the KHL, SEL, etc. is no secret. Yes, some of the players that get signed end up being busts but if an organization is not losing any assets, other than some money, why not ramp up scouting overseas and look for that hidden gem? Feaster seems to have eyes overseas as he signed Cervenka in the off-season (thankfully only a 1 year deal) and some recent trades brought in goalies and that playing overseas (Ramos & Berra).
Every year the NCAA seems to have 2 or 3 high profile guys that blossom into pro-level talents, aren't under contract and get scooped up by an NHL club. This club moving forward needs to be Calgary. Flames scouting should be trying to restock their cupboards with US college level players that look promising and are not yet under contract. Current players that fit this mold are players such as Drew LeBlanc, Antoine Laganiere, Rylan Schwartz, etc.
2 - Fill the roster holes with 1 year contracts:
The Flames need to realize that although they are going to rebuild they can't just throw all of their prospects and young players into the fire by putting them on the big club. This can hurt crucial developmental cycles that any prospect needs to go through (aside from elite level prospects). Prospects and young player should still be given the chance to develop properly so that they are not subject to a Pro club that is destined for some tough years of inevitable losing streaks, therefor breaking confidence(see Sven Baertschi's last call up). With this being said, young players that are on the brink of being pro-ready should indeed have a chance to play with the big club, just don't rush guys into the role.
What the Flames should do is fill holes in their roster in the offseason with mid range veterans that have been passed over by other clubs in free agency who can still contribute at some aspect at the Pro level. Sign these players to 1 year contracts so that by the time trade deadline day comes around they will become rentals for other clubs pushing for a playoff run. This way the Flames can flip the rentals for mid to late draft picks and further restock their very depleted prospect cupboards.
3 - Keep draft picks:
Over the past few years the Flames have traded away numerous 1st and 2nd round picks as if they meant nothing. This, along with poor drafting is why the prospect pool looks as sparse as it is. Flames ownership needs to realize that if you make a trade and are using a 2nd round pick as a "throw-in" you are potentially trading away a blue chip prospect. Look at this years draft. Our 2nd round pick is property of the Montreal Canadiens thanks to the Mike Cammalleri trade last season.
Calgary Flames ownership needs to shift their focus on rebuilding their club fromt he bottom up. The bandaid solutions that have been used for the past 20 years is getting old with fans. We don't want to see washed up veterans getting signed to 2-5 year contracts and we don't want to see a push for the playoffs, just to loose round 1 or not make it altogether and in the process having to give up valuable future assets for the club. You've set the tone for a rebuild so please do it right (see above).