Who Will be at the Helm?
This is the major cloud that's been looming over Calgary for the last couple weeks.
Darryl or Brent?
Sutter or Sutter?
Even with the firing of Dave Tippett in Dallas (which doesn't make a whole lotta sense, but is an issue for another day), the Calgary Flames have been super quiet about what's going on in the search for a head coach.
Would Tippett be a good fit for Calgary? Without a doubt. Was he one of the "contracted three" that Sutter spoke of in his media address? Possibly. Will he be the next coach of the Calgary Flames?
My answer is purely speculative but is based on what transpired over in the Swamp and then, subsequently, what transpired in the news conference back in Wild Rose country.
When Brent addressed the media after stepping down as coach of the Devils we all knew the questions regarding Cowtown would come. I, for one, was expecting firm denial. We never got that. However, we never got confirmation or even a lead in the right direction... or did we?
Brent's lack of denial to the Flames situation leads me to believe he's considering it as an option for this season. Whether or not Darryl and Sweet Lou can hash out a deal is the big question.
Whether it's Darryl or Brent, we're likely to know within the next 10 days. As Darryl said when he addressed the media, he'd like to have a head coach and full staff in place before the draft.
If Darryl and Lou are able to make a deal, I believe Brent will be the next coach of the Calgary Flames. If not, it'll be welcome back Darryl.
And, really, it's a 1A or 1B situation.
Dany for Dion?
Yeah. Freaking. Right.
It's remotely possible that Sutter did his due diligence and at least placed a phone call to Bryan Murray to inquire of the situtation. But I'm sure that's as far as it got.
This trade would make ZERO sense to the Calgary Flames.
Two right wings making 15 million together? Add another million to our already high salary cap total? Get rid of our only play-making and real puck-moving defenseman without getting one back in return?
It's really nonsense altogether.
Aside from that, here's a couple reasons why I wouldn't want Dany Heatley on my team regardless of whether Dion Phaneuf was involved in the deal or not.
1. This is his second trade demand already. He just signed a huge, long-term deal and is only one season in. A hard-nose coach comes in and he throws the white flag?
2. If he can't get along with Cory Clouston, how the hell do you think he'll do with a Sutter?
3. The collapse of the Ottawa Senators has been monumental. From finalist to the lottery in 2 seasons with many of the core still there. Heatley's attitude along with his one-dimensional game certainly aren't all to blame for this, but he has to take a good chunk considering he's the highest paid.
4. "I will play better when I'm happy." Enough said.
Is this a guy you want to bring to your team with Stanley Cup aspirations at the cost of 7.5 million per year? That's more than Jarome makes.
No thanks. PASS.
A couple of Flames depth players have been signed in the last two weeks, but only one of which has any real impact.
Curtis McElhinney gets a two-year, one-way deal worth somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.6-1.7 million to be the backup goaltender for a couple more seasons. Sure, he had a TERRIBLE year, but I chalk this one up with Dion's bad year, Langkow's bad year, Bertuzzi's refusal to skate and backcheck and Kipper being overplayed.... that's right, Mike Keenan. All of the players rave about Mac's abilities in practice. Before he came to Calgary to be the backup, he was one of the top 3 goalies in the American league. This guy has what it takes, but he needs a chance with a quality coaching staff and good defensive system to be able to show his stuff. This is a decent signing by Sutter, I'm not entirely sure about what he did to deserve a 50 per cent raise... but I expect a much better performance from C-Mac this year with anywhere from 12-20 starts.
Kyle Greentree gets re-signed to a two-way deal to keep him in the organization. When Greentree was acquired for the struggling Tim Ramholt, I was quite excited to have a strong winger prospect down in Quad City. Having seen him play in Calgary this year made me a little more skeptical. He never really showed me that he was capable of logging any sort of quality minutes in the NHL, and he's nearly 26 years old, so the thought of him improving all that much seems a little unlikely. However, for an American Hockey League team, he's a great guy to keep around who's proven he can score goals in the 'A'. I'm interested to see what kind of training camp he has this year.
Last season, when all of the rumours around JayBo were going non-stop, I took a hard look at his numbers and the success of the Panthers while he was there and my consensus thought was that somebody was going to overpay this guy to come in and just be a solid defenseman.
Now, having watched him for another season, logging all of those minutes and leading a young Panthers team to the brink of the playoffs, I feel a little more strongly towards him.
I think Eklund's right. JayBo is going to come to Western Canada. The problem is... I don't see it being to Alberta.
For the Flames, we'd have to give up serious salary to bring him in. The likes of Dion Phaneuf, Robyn Regehr, Cory Sarich and Daymond Langkow come to mind. It could be done, but the Flames aren't going to give up a king's ransom for his rights unless they have a VERY strong indication that he'll lock up long-term, and they certainly won't win a bidding war during the UFA frenzy. So I really don't see him coming this way.
For the Oilers, well, what have we learned about them over the past few off-seasons? Unfortunately (for Oiler fans), nobody wants to play there. The likes of Marian Hossa and even, gulp, Michael Nylander have said thanks but no thanks to lucrative long-term deals. Was it MacT? Is it Lowe? Is it the atrocious weather? According to Ilya Bryzgalov, I think it's the latter... lol... but honestly, I don't know what it is. Maybe the addition of Pat Quinn will help remedy that situation. The only major signing for the Oilers of late has been Sheldon Souray, which looked like it wasn't going to work at first, but has since panned out great... and maybe this is a positive for Oiler fans... he's from the area. Hey... so is JayBo? Maybe that's the only way people would want to play in Edmonton? I think there's a better chance he ends up in Edmonton than Calgary... but that's not saying much, because...
I think he ends up in Vancouver. I really don't see a situation that he doesn't. Unless some team manages to trade for his rights and gets him signed long-term before July 1st. I see JayBo as a Canuck. They've got the cap space, a very solid team and coaching staff and a need on the back end. Vancouver is a great place to live, they'll be hosting the Olympics during the season, to which JayBo is a likely member of team Canada and he wants to be out West. This really seems like a lock to me. I don't like the sounds of it, and I really hope someone like Brian Burke steps up and grabs him, because I'd way rather have him stay out East and torment that conference than pull up shop in the Northwest division.
That's it for now... Leave your comments on who you think will coach the Flames, where Dany Heatley will end up and where JayBo will end up!