Intellectual Honesty: The Calgary Flames

Merry Trade Deadline Eve everyone, as we are just a day away from every hockey fans favourite day of the year (besides a Stanley Cup Championship of course). Focus on TCL West of course centers on the Calgary Flames.

The Flames coming off another lackluster blown lead last night against the Philadelphia Flyers have now lost three straight and have really moved nowhere when it comes to the all-important 8th playoff spot. Being at the game last night solidified what I have been saying for some time now, that the Flames are simply not a team that can compete in the post season. Their play was dull, they had no urgency and I still haven’t figured out if the likes of Jarome Iginla, Mike Cammalleri and Olli Jokinen were even dressed last night. They had a 3-0 lead mid-way through the second period and even though I thought the officiating was terrible both ways, they received more than enough chances to hold that lead and get the two points. Miikka Kiprusoff was their best player once again (broken record) as the Flames were outshot 45-21 and can thank Ilya ‘Universe’ Bryzgalov for being a complete SIV and for the single point.

This is where GM Jay Feaster’s ‘intellectual honesty’ really has to come into play. The Flyers, in my opinion anyways, are a good team that won’t be able to compete in the playoffs unless Mr. Universe turns things around in a big way. If the Flames are getting dominated like they did last night by the Flyers, what’s going to happen if they squeeze into that final playoff spot and run into either the Vancouver Canucks or Detroit Red Wings? Stating the obvious, it isn’t going to be pretty; Kiprusoff’s back is only so big.

The Flames aren’t going to make any earth shattering moves tomorrow but for them to do nothing; in my opinion would be a mistake. It isn’t the time to trade Iginla or Kiprusoff but with a handful of pending UFA’s the time is right to gain some assets. Players such as Scott Hannan and Cory Sarich should have their bags packed and have played their last game in a Flames uniform.

A report yesterday revealed that Olli Jokinen won’t be asked to waive his no trade clause and the Flames will look to sign him to a long term deal. In my opinion that would be a mistake. Don’t get me wrong Jokinen has been awesome this season, easily the Flames best two-way player. He has come out and said how much he likes the city of Calgary and how much he wants to stay.

I have to ask, will Jokinen’s stock ever be higher than it is now? Jokinen will turn 34 this year and is the Flames leading scorer with 50 points. With his strong two-way play, Jokinen could be a great addition for a team looking for a top-6 center man. I understand Jokinen’s value to the Flames but before this season who was saying some of these things about this guy? I question him being in his contract year, as so many players before have played hard for that contract and faded after they signed on the dotted line. If he wants to be in Calgary long term, that’s great but I think trading him away for assets then looking at bringing him back in the off-season should be the plan of action. In the long run, that’s what will help the Flames become a playoff caliber team and if Jokinen has truly ‘bought in’; he shouldn’t have an issue waiving his no trade clause. Maybe you could get that 2nd rounder Newman mentioned in his post that was traded along with Robyn Regehr. This is Jokinen’s 3.5 season in Calgary and I don’t think I’m alone in saying that this is the first year I have like his play and haven’t consistently criticized him.

Other UFA’s that could be in play are David Moss, Lee Stempniak, Tom Kostopoulos and Tim Jackman. I can’t see any of these guys moving unless some team offered something over any of these guys’ value.

It’s time for the Flames to be more than mediocre and with the position they’re in and the potential return they could get for some of their UFA’s, I expect the Flames to make a couple moves for the future during tomorrow’s deadline.

How important is that 8th seed? Mr. Feaster better stick to his ‘intellectual honesty’; let’s all just hope that he is in fact, honest.

Join TCL West tomorrow for all-day news and insight about everything going on during the NHL Trade Deadline.


Follow me on Twitter: @NickSymon