We all know about the bad press that constantly surrounded the Flames last season. I can understand it, with the Flames not making the playoffs. The last time the Flames did not make the playoffs was the 2003 season. I see two major issues that need to improve next season, one being the offense, and the other being too many defensive breakdowns in their own zone.
So which area gets top priority? Do the Flames fix the defensive breakdowns in their own zone, or do they go with fixing the offensive challenges? Last season, the Flames put way too much pressure on the system. They cannot afford to make as many mistakes as they did in the defensive zone. In fact, one could argue that they would have to almost be perfect defensively in order to win. So the solution is really twofold: the Flames have to be more offensive and to somehow stop the mental breakdowns in the defensive zone.
If you asked the Flames management, they would tell you that they have the players to do this. From what I have heard in the press, Sutter is in no hurry to change the lineup. But if you ask the Flames fans, the top priorities should be in getting more help in the offense; more specifically, a number one center for Iginla. Keep in mind, Daryl and Brent Sutter think that Stajan is good enough to be a number one center for the Flames. In the fans' world though, Stajan has not proven himself as a number one center. Let's be realistic; Sutter will make some changes, but will that be enough?
So let's play GM again, shall we? Do we go with the fans and get help offensively, or do we go with the Sutters, staying the ship with some tinkering now and then? So I will suggest some options, and see which solution you would pick.
First question: Should the Flames go after a first-round pick?
Should the Flames try to move up in the draft and get a first-round pick? Sutter has pretty much addressed this and said they would have to give up a good player it would not be in the best interest of the Flames. If you ask most of the Flames fans, they would love to see the Flames get a first-round draft pick and get some salary relief at the same time.
My take is that I wouldn't mind offering up a big name player for the draft pick. But what worries me is what the Flames will have to give up to motivate the other team to take a big salary. If the price is not too high, I would love to see the Flames get a first-round pick in this years draft.
You make the call. Do the Flames trade for a first-round pick and get some salary relief, at the expense of losing their prospects?
Should the Flames go after Semin? If Semin is available, should the Flames make an offer? Would you give up Kipper in a trade? How about another solution? Would you trade Regher to get it done? My take is that the Flames really need a top six, but not at the expense of Kipper. I am not sold on Semin's performance, come playoff time. I would take a pass on this one.
So, you make the call. Do the Flames go after the sniper Semin, and at what price?
Should the Flames make room to go after Marleau he decides that he wants to test the free-agent waters? He has quick hands, a hard , and excellent speed. More importantly, he has performed well in the playoffs, and he is the number one center for Iginla that the Flames need.
My take is that the Flames should make a room if he's available. I think he would be a perfect center for Iginla . He has all the tools, and is very responsible in his own end. So yes, I think the Flames should make an offer for Patrick Marleau.
So there you have it. You make an offer to Marleau? You make the call.
Until next time, take care.