Calgary Flames in July


Well now that the two-week party known as 2011 Calgary Stampede is over, I can get back to writing.

By the way, if you have never been to the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, I would highly recommend it. It’s...a lot of fun.

Anyways, enough bull bustin’, let’s talk some puck.

The Flames have been busy of late making a couple of signings and a small trade.

Jay Feaster traded a fifth rounder to New Jersey for tough guy-grinder-checker Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond, or P-to the triple L.

Leblond has had a prolific career in the NHL putting up three assists in 37 games over a period of three seasons.  Prolific might not have been the word I was looking for.

He’s what amounts to an AHL calibre player who likes to throw up his dukes. Case in point: he had 334 PIMs in 64 GP with the Albany Devils last season. At 26, his NHL aspirations aren’t shot, but I just don’t see the point.

I’m not entirely sure why the Flames need another player like this.

I figured Jackman was good enough. But I guess I missed the arms race memo.

Edmonton brings in Hordichuk and Eager so the Flames stock their turrets with PLLL.

This also means, most likely, that Raitis Ivanans career is done.

The Flames also re-signed Brendan Morrison and Brendan Mikkelson.

Now I know I’m going to take flak for this, but I just don’t care for the Morrison signing or the Mikkelson signing for that matter.

Sure, Morrison played great last season and he provided some great depth for a team that sustained some injuries, but I’m tired of seeing Flames sign older players in favour of young talent.

I’ve been saying for years that it’s time for a youth movement in Calgary. However, it’s never going to happen if they continue to make moves like this. Plus B-Mo just had knee surgery as is likely out till mid-October.

The Flames now have Langkow, Jokinen, Stajan, Backlund, and Morrison as natural centers.  Plus, throw in Bouma and Nemisz and you have an even half dozen.

It simply just bumps Bouma and Nemisz down a peg before the season even starts, and that really grinds my gears.

Morrison is not going to take this team to first place but if you start giving these young kids an actual chance at some decent playing time, they might turn into decent NHLer’s and take this team in the right direction.  B-Mo is a short term solution to a long term problem.

It’s sort of become the Flames motto in the last half decade.

I would rather see some young bucks grow in the show than see the Flames win maybe two more games because they insist on employing older players in the twilight of their careers.

As for Mikkelson, he has never done anything to really impress me. In 86 career NHL games, he has all of six assists and 40 PIM. His contract is a two-way so he will be battling with the likes of Brodie, Breen, and Negrin for that 7th spot. Brett Carson is in that battle too but being on a one way contract it gives him a bit of leverage – however, a training camp trade is never out of the question if one of the young bucks outperforms him.

It’s not as if these moves are game changers by any means and they probably won’t hurt the club all that much. I just don’t see the need for a majority of them.

The only move left now would be to somehow get rid of Niklas Hagman or, god willing, Matt Stajan.

Wouldn’t that be something if every single player from the Phaneuf deal was off the team before the fall of 2011? I cry a little inside every day thinking about that debacle.   


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