I try to justify the Dion Phanuef and Jokinen trades over and over again. I still think Dion was a fair trade, we gave them a player who has a ton of upside (debatable) and we took one of their best d-men and two of their best goal scorers in return. Jokinen returned a former 30 goal scorer and a player who had been maligned by his coach and needed a move.
Now I read this article: http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam.../2010/05/10/13892416.html
This article, if true, kind of gets me steamed. It basically says that Eric Nystrom will probably leave for better money and a better situation elsewhere and I don't blame him, it also says that Ian White will probably not be affordable unless another 3 million dollar piece moves.
We can speculate about who that might be or what might happen but that is fruitless, the simple matter of the situation is that the Flames are in a mess of their own doing and looking at having to let go of two players that the fans would want to keep. All the while we are facing a prospect of watching Kotalik skate around in circles for two years at three million.
The reality is that Dion should have got a first round pick from somebody and a top six forward, that is not debatable, he is highly regarded by a lot of G.M.'s in the league and would have gotten that return. Jokinen was another guy who if they traded straight up for Higgins no one would care because of the salary coming off the books, we could look forward to July first and a good UFA signing or even keeping White and Nystrom. Really there was no reason to trade Jokinen to New York, the Flames did not get better and their salary cap has another situation.
Because of the lack of money and pending free agents they can't afford, it would be realistic to break down those two trades like:
Phanuef and Jokinen
Kotalik, Stajan and Hagman
Kotlik scored so few points as a Flame you could just remove him and that is even more realistic.
If you had proposed that trade to me at the beginning of last year I would have said it would be laughed at, but it happened. The other pieces in Mayers, White and Higgins are all free agents of one sort or another and it appears they can not be retained even if they were wanted.
I thought Nystrom was a player that could be depended on for energy and the penalty kill, a leader, and now a possible former Flame, there goes another 1st round draft pick out the window. White was brought in because his numbers were actually better than Dion's but hey the Flames have a ton of depth at D, I just feel that the trade was a waste of time if White leaves. Stajan is a #2 or #3 center, Hagman I actually really like but Kotalik is almost unforgivable he is so bad.
The worst part is if White leaves and Nystrom leaves it's not as though there's a ton of money to throw at this situation, there are a lot of big contracts on this team that are almost unmovable so it appears as though the forecast for next year is cloudy at best. Stajan as a number one center? It's going to be a long year if that's the case.