Perhaps I underestimated Darryl Sutter. Minutes after he managed to get a 1st round (AND 2nd round, as I found out later) pick for disgruntled cap eater Alex Tanguay, Gord Miller reported as the Lightning prepared to take Steven Stamkos that there had already been a trade. I assumed he was confirming the Tanguay deal, but no, it was another trade with Calgary at the center. My jaw dropped when I saw the Flames at the top of the three-way deal: "To Flames: C MIKE CAMMALLERI". Sutter had managed to steal the show at the draft for the second time in three years, and I really couldn't be happier.
Essentially swapping Tanguay for Cammalleri is Sutter's best move since, well, he first acquired Tanguay two drafts ago. Cammalleri was on the way out in Los Angeles and Sutter continued his tradition of acquiring pending RFAs. He can play center or left wing, which will be valuable to the Flames, and is really quite similar statistically to Tanguay when the Flames acquired him. However, Cammalleri makes $1.5 million less and I believe he has more upside. Of course, the Flames will have to re-sign him after this season, but let's cross that bridge when we get to it (I'll expand upon how he affects our salary structure later). With Tanguay gone, the Flames have to find at least one player to fill a top six left wing position, but Cammalleri may do that.
As for Tanguay, it was only a matter of time before he was traded, and it was a pleasant surprise to be able to get a first round pick for him (I was expecting a 2nd at best). Besides being necessary to move for cap purposes, he can now officially be classified as "disgruntled" in Calgary with the revelation that he had wanted out of Calgary since Christmas. The 2nd round pick in 2009 was also a nice throw in.
The only damper on these trades for me came minutes after, when it was announced that Olli Jokinen had been traded for a pu pu platter from Phoenix. After months of convincing myself that the Flames did not have the assets to acquire Jokinen, it was a bitter disappointment to find out that all they had to outdo was Keith Ballard, Nick Boynton and a 2nd round pick. Then again, I'm sure every other team that was bidding for Jokinen is also kicking themselves. This might end up being the worst trade since the Roberto Luongo deal. Is Florida trying to get moved to Las Vegas?
On to the Flames' draft picks themselves then. Trading down to number 25 due to the Cammalleri and Tanguay trades, the Flames went with center Greg Nemisz from the Windsor Spitfires. This isn't a surprising pick, as the Flames have connections with the Spitfires organization and they picked captain Mickey Renaud in the fifth round last year before his tragic, sudden death. Nemisz is projected to be a power forward comparable with John LeClair, and will probably take a couple years before he can realistically be part of the Flames' system. I think this is a good pick at number 25. I have confidence Nemisz will be a decent pick, but wouldn't be surprised if people question Sutter for passing on Nicholas Deschamps a few years from now. I was rooting for the Flames to get Joe Colborne, but the Bruins made a bit of a surprise pick by grabbing him at 16, one spot before the Flames were originally going to pick. At least I know that Calgary wouldn't have been able to pick him anyway.
In the Cammalleri deal, the Flames re-acquired the second round pick they gave up last year. This looks like another solid pick, as they grabbed center Mitch Wahl from the Spokane Chiefs. He was ranked 52nd by TSN and is described as a consistent performer and tireless worker. I like this pick, though it's noteworthy that Jared Staal was drafted by the Coyotes with the next pick. He was ranked number 6 out of the top 15 WHL prospects on HF.com, sandwiched between Zach Boychuk and Chet Pickard, and above Jordan Eberle, Tyler Ennis and Luca Sbisa (sounds a bit dubious to me, but the article was published on June 9th). Could be a steal?
Other Flames picks: center Lance Bouma of the Vancouver Giants in the 3rd round (listed under "Other Notables" in that top 15 WHL prospects article), center Nick Larson from the USHL and defenceman TJ Brodie from the OHL in the 4th round (both look pretty off the board, I would appreciate more information), center Ryley Grantham from the Moose Jaw Warriors in the 6th (looks like an enforcer) and with their last pick, Swedish defenceman Alexander Deilert (who appears to have been ranked fairly highly among Swedish prospects last year, but has fallen sharply in stock. A potential sleeper pick?) Overall, this draft doesn't look quite as questionable for the Flames as usual, but of course we'll have to wait and see. I really don't know much about many of the prospects after the 1st round and would appreciate if anyone knows anything about the Flames' picks in rounds 2-7.
My next post will focus on the Flames' revised cap situation going into free agency, and the Flames' holes that need to be filled. However, I am pretty happy with what Darryl Sutter has done so far this offseason.
(Some additional notes: most puzzling trade beside the Olli Jokinen robbery - Phoenix trades the no. 35 and no. 39 for the no. 28 from Anaheim, only to take a guy completely unranked in the top 60. Huh?....highest potential sleeper picks: round 4, no. 121, Gustav Nyquist to the Wings, and then with the last overall pick, the Wings select Jesper Samuellson. I don't know anything about either of these guys, but I think Hakan Andersson does.......I think Columbus might have panicked a bit after losing out on Olli; I think they got ripped off for RJ Umberger.)
(Hockey unrelated note: can someone tell me why my blogs keep getting posted with a completely wrong timestamp? I submitted this at 2:19 PM MST, or 4:19 ET, yet the stamps says 9:18 AM ET and I'm lower on the list of blogs.)