"... So we start with the overall questions, What’s next? After three seasons of no playoff hockey the Flames fans are mad. We all remember the season after season futility and it seems like those scars are now being opened. The 04 run is now long gone and all good will it generated is depleted. After so long losing there has to be a major shift in culture with the Flames. It would be nice if it was a huge purge of the executive branch by the owners but don’t hold your breath on that. Feaster is still working on building up some trust with the fans and has yet to disappoint in a major way, the closest he came was the Regehr trade but in looking at it it’s hard not to say it was a wash. So, if the President and executives will stay and Feaster will stay what other move can you make that would change the culture? Letting Brent Sutter walk is one. The funny thing is no one thinks Sutter is a horrible coach, he simply just hasn’t got results and in today’s NHL that is bad enough to warrant being fired…or just not given a new contract in this case.
So now we’ve moved on to the sub questions and letting coach Sutter walk is probably the easiest to do. They don’t have to fire him, they don’t have to humiliate him, they can simply say, “we love what he did but we want to go in another direction” and move on. So who would replace him? Hartley has won a cup. There is Bob Boughner who played here and is very well respected as an up and coming coach. Troy Ward has done an incredible job with limited talent with the Flames affiliate in Abbotsford. It’s important to also think who they bring with them, coaches like their own guys and during the course of finding a new coach a major question will be who are you bringing to the organization? This is assuming the current Flames Assistant coaches will be fired.
Under the assumption the Flames take their time finding a new coach this summer, waiting for other firings and contracts to expire on coaches currently in the playoffs, they will turn their eye to the draft. June 22nd is right around the corner and the Flames will draft 14th. As I cannot see the future and what will happen between now and the draft I will, for the sake of this paragraph, pretend the Flames do not make any moves and draft at their spot. It is somewhat of a disappointment that the Flames won their last two, and meaningless, games which dropped them down three spots in the draft. The good news is that after Nail Yakupov the field is largely wide open with some players being ranked anywhere from 2 or 3 to 12 or 13th. There is a possibility a decent player may fall into the Flames lap at 14 and it is really a wild speculation game as to who. A whole blog will be dedicated to looking at Flames draft possibilities at 14 but very quickly some names are Gaunce, Faksa, Teravainen, Ceci. As I said I will go into that more later but for now suffice it to say that those players are not bad prospects. The question being if Kipper and Iggy ARE traded does that mean a better pick for Calgary?
Two possible landing spots for Kipper are Toronto and Columbus. Both have publically been critical of their goaltending situation. Dreger has sated on TSN that between Iggy and Kipper, Kipper would get the highest return for the Flames. Kipper’s salary is going down, not this upcoming season but the one following it he will be making just over a million dollars but will have a high cap hit, this is perfect for a team like Columbus. Would there be a trade possible for the first overall pick for Kipper? Maybe other pieces? I like to think yes there would given Columbus’s history with high picks that are Russian, the fact they have so many prospects already and desperately need playoff hockey now. The fit seems to be right with Columbus but with Toronto there is more to it. The fact that Toronto has a history of bending the Flames over the trade table and having their way might make the Flames gun shy as they would need this trade to be an absolute win, Toronto has a lottery pick and prospects. Never underestimate Burkes affinity for trading away futures for winning now. Getting an all-world goalie who could steal them a few games might be enough to push his Leafs over the hump in an easier eastern conference..."
More on the draft, Iginla and UFA's here: