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Flames Butterfly Effect

Posted 12:02 PM ET | Comments 17
It's funny when you look at how a few decisions can have a massive butterfly affect on a team. Release a player here, trade a player there, draft this player instead of that player. When the dust settles, sometimes years from a certain move, you either win the Stanley Cup or you draft first.

There have been some major things the Flames organization has done that spring to mind as a big move, most of the things may have seemed minor at the time however. Tell me at the end if winning the Stanley cup is more about shrewd management or horseshoes and lucky charms? Some moves are good, some are bad, I've left some pretty major ones out as well but I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Kent "Magic Man" Nillson gets traded for a draft pick- The draft pick turned into a little known player named Joe Nieuwendyk, Joe was traded for a prospect named Jarome Iginla. Joe centered the Flames to their first and only Stanley Cup four years later, in hindsight is also considered the franchise's best center ever. At the time Nillson was a 100 point player so the trade was a major one however "Nieuwy" went on to become a Calder trophy winner after scoring 51 goals in his rookie season. In fact Joe would scored over 190 goals in his first four full years as a pro, 51 in each of his first two seasons and became a beacon of how players should hold themselves on and off the ice.

Don Lever and Bob McMillan traded to the Colorado Rockies for Lanny McDonald, Lanny became the face, heart and soul of the Flames team that won the Stanley cup. Past his prime by that point in his career he still gave fans something to remember with a quick shot over Patrick Roy's Shoulder in the Cup Winning Game of '89, it wasn't the winning goal but it is probably more remembered. When he was traded to Calgary Lanny gave Flames fans something they didn't expect, a 66 goal season, a flames record to this day for a single season. It was easy to see why this trade might be looked back on as one of the most lopsided in the history of the franchise and a great example of the butterfly effect moves can have.

The 1984 draft, think the draft lately is horrible? Don't you wish the draft could look like this? Gary Roberts, Paul Ranheim, Brett Hull, Jiri Hrdina and Gary Suter. Not bad. Here is the butterfly affect of that draft.
-Gary Roberts was a key cog in winning the cup, one of those guys that gives you grit and everything they have every shift. He took so much punishment in front of the net so much that he would eventually be forced to semi retire briefly.
-Paul Ranheim was traded for Nylander, Patrick and Zalapski
-Brett Hull was traded for Rob Ramage, Ramage was another key defenseman for the Flames in winning the Cup so that eases the hurt of losing Brett Hull, one of the most prolific scorers in the history of the NHL. One might liken it to the Nieuwendyk trade where Dallas was better short term and won a cup but Calgary won long term with a great winger.
-Jiri Hrdina was not a huge part of the cup winning team but he was a part of it.
-Gary Suter won a Calder Trophy for rookie of the year and went on to become one of the NHL's best defensemen for years to come. Suter was a massive part of the Cup winning team's power play.

Theo Fleury- Drafted 188th overall, 8th round. Small. Diminutive. One of the best players I've ever seen play. If you've never seen the Fleury slide then you haven't seen hockey! Fleury was a an exceptional player and contributed to winning the Stanley Cup as well with 6 goals in that playoff run. Fleury, in case you're new, went on to become a massive part of the Flames organization for years, only recently being eclipsed by Jarome Iginla for being the all time points leader. Despite his personal struggles Fleury is still to this day is loved by Flames fans, no one has been able to wear the number 14 since he left. Fleury was traded for a couple pylons and a prospect to the Colorado Avalanche. The trade was that the Flames could have Rene Corbet, Wade Belak and any one of their prospects...except a kid named Alex Tanguay. The Flames picked a defenseman named Robyn Regehr.

Thinking outside the box. The Flames were one of the first teams to experiment with European players, signing one of the best players in history Sergei Makarov from Russia. At the time the communist government had to give him permission to do so, this was a ground breaking move. Makarov came in and won a Calder cup as a rookie...at the age of 31 thus getting his own rule, the Makarov rule, which prohibits players of a certain age and experience from win the Calder. Hakan Loob was one of the first Swedish players to come over to the NHL, the only one to score 50 to this day I believe.

2nd round pick for Miika Kiprusoff- this one pretty much goes without explanation, the pick turned out to be Vlasic, a decent defensemen but "Kipper" has turned into one of the best goalies in the league. A 2nd round pick for a Vezina winning goaltender is a steal in anyone's book.

Most of those moves were pretty positive and for sure there are a lot more that did not get mentioned, there were some not so hot moves either.

Gilmour gets traded to the Maple Leafs. One of the black days in franchise history, this move is regarded as maybe one of the worst trades in franchise history. The leafs received a guy who can change games, was instrumental in the 89 cup win and is right up there in conversations about the fans favorite players of all time. Gilmour was the center piece of the trade and coming back was Gary Leeman. The trade involved a lot of players most notably Jamie Macoun going to the leafs and the Flames getting Berube but the two center pieces were definitely Leeman and Gilmour. Doug Risebrough, the G.M. at the time, is still synonymous with this trade even though he went on to be a great executive in the league.

Craig Button- St Louis is let go. Craig Button did not like St Louis' size, coming from a guy with a background in player development and scouting it's incredible he missed how talented St. Louis was but he was released and is now one of the best players in the league.
Marc Savard/Greg Gilbert fiasco. What should you get in a trade for Marc Savard? At the time Savard was a pretty good number two center or a decent number one but after run ins with coach Greg Gilbert Savard was traded for Ruslan Zain..something. A nothing prospect basically. After basically giving Savard to Atlanta Button then fired Gilbert and shortly after lost his job. Button was not a g.m. for long but he caused a lot of damage
Button was caught in the expansion draft scenario as well so there's some blame there but overall his drafting was not great, he let go of talented players and got nothing in return and caused a long term affect for a short time period he was in charge.

Oli Jokinen- Jokinen was traded for a first round pick essentially, played horribly in Calgary, was traded to New York for Kotalik who played horribly with an inflated contract and then re-signed. There is always hope both Kotalik and Jokinen will have bounce back season but as it stands Oli Jokinen is a black cloud over the Flames.

Any moves you think had long lasting affects on the Flames?

Filed Under:   Flames   Sutter   Button   Iginla  
July 28, 2010 12:26 PM ET | Delete
Great Job. You forgot to mention that Button also traded Giguere and left Dwayne Roloson unprotected in 2000 which might have been a decent tandem for the Flames... and I used to hate it when Brian Sutter was the coach and we'd trade for a "Sutter Type" player - Meant he had no talent and wouldn't hit. Remember the Nylander for Nazarov trade??? The Brian Sutter/Craig Button era were dark days for Flames fans...
July 28, 2010 12:45 PM ET | Delete
Lots of memories. Lived thru the Young Gun days as season ticket holder was horrendous. D Sutter started great but he's scaring the crap out of us now!
July 28, 2010 1:14 PM ET | Delete
Did we trade Giguere? I thought we lost him in the expansion draft do to the way he was played that year (back and forth from minors)
July 28, 2010 1:47 PM ET | Delete
And what pisses me off is when C Button is on Flames This Week. That man was possibly the biggest screw up ever at the GM position, and he has the audacity to show his face and make comments on the struggles of the Flames.
July 28, 2010 2:20 PM ET | Delete
giggy went on to be a conn smyth winner a few years later too. Giggy was exposed in the expansion because Fuhr was the guy...OUCH! Ny for nazarov... why bother getting a player back??lol
July 28, 2010 2:43 PM ET | Delete
Trading Macinnis for Housley. (WTF?!!!!) Macinnis would star for St. Louis and teach a young Pronger how to play the game for years. Housley, pretty much old and washed up, was serviceable...but a pointless and ridiculous trade that only hastened the Flames downfall into oblivion.
July 28, 2010 3:06 PM ET | Delete
On June 10, 2000, Giguère was traded to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim for a 2nd round pick . Roloson was taken in the expansion draft by Minny.
July 28, 2010 3:07 PM ET | Delete
I stand corrected.
July 28, 2010 3:15 PM ET | Delete
Sorry. That one's fresh since I didn't think Coates was doing a bad job and had actually positioned things well going forward but Button came in and destroyed it with just a few moves... It was brutal...
July 28, 2010 3:21 PM ET | Delete
I kind of remembering it being a decision because they had to expose him for expansion or expose either fuhr or brathwaite so they traded him. I could be wrong but if that's the case it was the wrong decision! lol I though Roloson was already gone though?
July 28, 2010 3:23 PM ET | Delete
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2000_NHL_Expansion_Draft 2 weeks later Rollie was picked in the expansion draft. Actually by C-Bus... My apologies.
July 28, 2010 3:24 PM ET | Delete
Rolo and tabby...I HATED that combo... So frustrating!
July 28, 2010 5:45 PM ET | Delete
Yeah but Tabbi had a good charity golf tourney for the Childrens Hospital. I got golf with Kisio, Getzlaff, Ferance, Smith, Patterson over the years. Good time!
July 29, 2010 11:30 AM ET | Delete
Are you guys talking about Rick Tabbiracci? Hahha!! Man i haven't said that name in a while.
July 29, 2010 1:10 PM ET | Delete
Yeah thats the goalie, it was fun watching him get roasted a few times Spolenti.
July 30, 2010 1:14 AM ET | Delete
July 30, 2010 1:49 PM ET | Delete
I always thought is was foolish to not resign Joel Otto. Hands down one of the best faceoff men the flames have ever had. Character guy and a leader.Also, great article!!
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