The Flames: The Weekend
I go to Idaho for three days and the entire NHL loses it freaking mind.
James Wisniewski 6 yrs, $33 million? Erik Cole 4 yrs, $18 million? Ville Leino, 6 yrs, $27 million?
Is everyone taking crazy pills? And that’s not even half of the outrageous deals that have been handed out over the past couple of days,
What about the “Pick up as many players as possible and sign them to 4 year contracts” strategy that Dale Tallon has employed in Sunrise, Florida?
Unfortunately Jovo Cop can’t even say he’s taking his talents to south beach, because A) Sunrise is long, long ways from South Beach, and B) Jovo Cop’s talents are severely diminished from when he last left the state of Florida.
And then there’s the so-called “un-tradable contracts.” We’ve seen two of those, Brian Campbell and Dany Heatley, subsequently dealt in the last week.
It’s kind of fun to see, isn’t it? Starting to seem like these GM’s are almost treating their teams like their own personal fantasy teams. Ok, well maybe not quite like that, but close, right?
The ridiculous deals can all be attributed to a couple of factors that don’t really need to be stated but for reference I will.
The $6 million increase in salary cap and the need for some teams to simply reach the cap floor of $48.3 million. Also the lack of “really” talented players outside the B. Richards of the world have made overpaying average players not only popular but Bieber popular.
The one thing I was happy to see, from a Flames perspective, is that Jay Feaster decided not to throw money around like it was flowing like the salmon of Capistrano.
He stood pat after signing Alex Tanguay and quietly signed newly acquired defenceman Chris Butler to a modest $1.25 million a year for two seasons. A decent dollar amount for a player, that I believe, will provide similar services to that of Adam Pardy and at a lower price than Pardy got in Dallas. ($2 million per for 2 yrs – another head scratcher).
Feaster then signed Anton Babchuk to a two year deal worth $2.5 million a year. This one surprised me. I really thought Babchuk would be moving back east, as I thought he would be one of those players who would be overpaid by a needy GM.
He helps the PP a ton, but his defensive deficiencies are a cause for concern. Hopefully new Associate Coach Craig Hartsburg can help out with that.
This leaves the Flames with 13 forwards signed (including Raitis Ivanans who I don’t expect will play another NHL game), six defence, and two goalies under NHL contracts.
This doesn’t include the signing today of first round pick Sven Baertschi to an entry level deal worth $1.45 million annually (including bonuses which count against the cap).
I like how they went out and signed this guy right away to avoid any more Tim Erixon-like things happening again.
Feaster has gone on record as saying that unless they can find a top 4 d-man to fit into the team, then they will go with what they have, which makes the Shane O’Brien rumours carry a little less weight as I don’t think O’Brien fits in the top four of this team. And personally I’d rather see TJ Brodie, Chris Breen or John Negrin given a shot to make the squad over a guy like O’Brien. The Flames have enough grit on their team (Jackman, Sarich, Giordano, and Butler) that they don’t need any more in my opinion.
They only have $3+ million left in cap room and it would be kind of nice to simply leave that and give the team that flexibility they’ve been dreaming of for years.
It was nice to see Feaster go after Brad Richards. I’m not sure how realistic the chance was but given Richards comment of how much being in the east meant to him, I doubt the Flames had a realistic shot at him –even with Iginla helping out.
Richards chose location over anything else, as I think he left roughly $4-5 million on the table (rumour was that Feaster offered him 9 yrs, $64 mill. He took 9 yrs, $60 mill from New York).
Feaster didn’t seem to make any big moves, and therefore it’s really hard to screw up. It’s the moves he didn’t make that I’m really happy with. Not signing Pardy to the money he was given was a great non-move, and not shelling out ridiculous dollar amounts to under-achievers was great to see.
The Flames have enough of those playing on their team already (Stajan, Hagman).
They still however insist on giving no-movement clauses, and it seems to have become the Flames modus operandi. However, those clauses are seemingly becoming easier and easier to get around, so I’m not sure how big of a deal it is in the end.
Those are my thoughts. Rookie camps are under way!
Here is to the 12 month long hockey season!