Dion Phaneuf- 7mill
Fredrik Sjostrom- .750 Million
Keith Aulie- Prospect
Total $: 7.750 Million
Niklas Hagman- 3 Mill +2 yrs
Matt Stajan- 1.75 mill-UFA
Ian White-.950 mill-RFA
Jamal Mayers-1.4 mill-UFA
Total: $7.1 Million
When I first heard about the deal I went through a series of emotions from shock, to anger, to curiosity, and finally acceptance. Here is how the trade breaks down in my eyes.
The Flames lose a player in Dion Phaneuf who has loads of potential and at the ripe age of 24 has yet to fully reach his prime. He will most likely move on to Toronto and flourish, much like other players that have moved on from Calgary and matured into the players that Calgary originally had hoped they would become (Stillman, St. Louis, Giguere to name a few). Dion was the best player in the deal, and in saying that I think the Flames lost the deal skill wise. They lost a dynamic player who could change the game in an instant, whether it was a monstrous hit or a laser beam point shot to the top corner. He was and is a game changer. The problem that he brings is that he has defensive deficiencies that most of the time overshadows his incredible ‘game-changing’ abilities. He also has an enormous ego, that has been well documented, that clearly went ‘head-to-head’ with a couple of the other personalities in the room, including that of his line-mate and perennial team leader Robyn Regehr. Phaneuf was clearly causing problems in the dressing room and this move was needed both for the player and for the team. Phaneuf was also the Flames point shot on the powerplay and demanded respect with the shot that he possesses, even if it does not hit the net every time. That being said, the Flames powerplay isn’t exactly top grade and maybe this will force them to switch their strategies with the man-advantage. The Flames were in need of a desperate shake-up after going winless in 9 and this, I believe, was the smartest move as it takes a bona-fide ‘hot head’ out of the dressing room and installs fresh blood into the system.
The Flames also traded Freddy Sjostrom and defensive prospect Keith Aulie. Sjostrom had a couple of good games but rendered replaceable in the end. I was upset to see Aulie go as he was our ‘blue-chip’ prospect that, I thought, the team was very high on. He had tremendous upside with his size, 6’5” and 208lbs. He clearly has the potential to be that shut-down defensemen all teams want when he showed what he could do in the 2009 World Juniors. I understand the Flames have immense depth on the blue line, but I believe this kid had the most potential of them all and it surprised me when Sutter included him in the deal.
In return, the Flames receive three players that can make an immediate impact with the team, with the fourth (Mayers) more just window dressing for the deal. Stajan and Hagman provide that offensive depth that the Flames have been desperate for ever since the scoring well went dry early in December. Hagman comes in as the Flames 2nd leading goal scorer with 20 goals, while Stajan comes in 41pts, which ranks him 2nd in team points and a 51.6 face-off percentage (higher than any other Flame, not counting Backlund who has only played 3 games). The Flames add the offence they need and Stajan is still young at 25. They also added Ian White, who at age 25 provides the Flames with another puck moving defenseman. Now White is no Phaneuf, but he might be able to provide some stability (he was a +1 on Toronto!) to a back end that, at times this season, has looked iffy at best.
The Flames needed a shake-up and Sutter provided them with exactly that. He also allowed the Flames a little wiggle room in the salary cap as three of the four players are free agents come July 1st and it gives the team some options when re-signing players like Bourque.
This trade can not help me think of the infamous Gilmour-Leeman debacle in the early 90’s as the Flames gave away the biggest player in the deal and that trade ultimately crippled the franchise for a decade. Phaneuf has a ton of potential and I will not be surprised if and when he flourishes in his new surroundings where he will have more freedom to make the big hit or take the big shot.
The winner and loser of this deal won’t be known until a few years down the road. Hopefully it isn’t 2020 and we look back on this deal thinking, “If only we hadn’t traded away Dion Phaneuf.”
This has been,
Newman on the Flames
It has just been announced that the Flames just pulled off another deal sending much criticized center Olli Jokinen and Brandon Prust to the New York Rangers for Ales Kotalik and Christopher Higgins.
Shocking? Yes. Like it? Yes!
We send a guy away who simply just did not fit with this team. Jokinen never gelled properly with this team and never fit on the top line with Jarome Iginla; probably the biggest problem considering this was the role that he was brought in to do. Good riddands to this super underachiever. The funny part of this whole thing is that Sutter said, when he acquired Olli last winter, was that he had been trying to get him for three years and he had to make the deal…”Hey Darryl, how does your foot taste?” I am just glad Sutter was man enough to realize his error and did what he could to fix it.
Brandon Prust most likely goes into the record books as the only player to be traded by the same team mid-season, two seasons in a row. Astounding! But not a real loss as we have numerous players that can fill his role, including the newly acquired Jamal Mayers.
Calgary gets Kotalik which immediately gives them a solution to their point shot on the powerplay, which was lost with Phaneuf. Kotalik has a cannon of a shot and will be a nice addition to the unit. He makes $3 million a year for the 2 seasons after this one. With the potential to be a better player, Kotalik is probably slightly overpaid at this time, but will hopefully thrive in his new surroundings. Higgins has struggled since being injured in the 08-09 season and never was able to find his footing in the big apple. He becomes an UFA at the end of this season and could end up being a rental player. These two players coupled with the three forwards from Toronto definitely bolster the depth of the Flames forwards.
This has been an amazing day for Flames fans and will definitely be a turning point in the Flames season. I am glad that Sutter pulled off these trades now rather than later as it gives the new players added time to gel with their new team.
Olli and Dion gone in a day…I guess there is a giant red PANIC button in Darryl Sutter’s office.
This, once again, has been,
Newman on the Flames
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