Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Off Season Review: Calgary Flames

In Review
2010-2011 was another disappointing season for the Flames. Former GM Darryl Sutter managed this team with a “win now” mentality but the team failed to qualify for the post season yet again. As a result, Sutter stepped down as GM and was replaced by former Tampa Bay lightning GM Jay Feaster.  

 Feaster inherited a team in a disastrous cap management situation. Six players have no movement clauses and three have no trade clauses. Even if feaster wanted to rebuild his hands are tied. Feaster also inherited an empty prospect cupboard as THN ranked the Flames third last in the league for prospect depth in the 2011 future watch guide. With little ability to make any roster moves, Feaster made very few moves. The most notable deal involved shipping out long time flame Robyn Regehr, Ales Kotalik, and a second round pick to Buffalo for prospects Paul Byron and Chris Butler. The deal was a good salary dump by the Flames and they also have high hopes for both Butler and Byron. The other deal of significance was the Tim Erixon deal. Erixon was the team’s top prospect but was unwilling to sign a contract with Calgary and demanded a trade to the team his father played for, the New York Rangers. Rather than losing him to the draft, he flames traded the top prospect for center Roman Horak and two second-round draft picks in 2011.
Calgary also had a first round pick this summer, and used the thirteenth overall selection on Sven Bartschi. Bartschi is 5-11, 175 left winger with scoring potential, great hands, great vision, and great hockey sense.

Depth Chart
Left Wing                   Center                         Right Wing
Alex Tanguay                       Ollie Jokinen                         Jerome Iginla
Rene Bourque                       Mikael Backlund                  David Moss
Curtis Glencross                   Daymond Langkow             Tim Jackman
Niklas Hagman                     Brendan Morrison               Tom Kostopoulos
Lance Bouma                        Matt Stajan                           Paul Byron

Left Defense              Goal                            Right Defense
Mark Giordano                     Miikka Kiprusoff                  Jay Bouwmeester
Anton Babchuk                    Henrik Karlsson                   Cory Sarich
Chris Butler                           Leland Irving                        Brett Carson
T.J. Brodie                                                                             Brendan Mikkelson

Top Breakout Candidates
Mikael Backlund-Finally played a full season. Leap frog the veterans on the depth chart.
Top Rookie
Chris Butler- Flames blue line needed a puck moving defender. Butler is that guy!
Hidden Gem
Paul Byron.-Flames need scoring. Byron has done that at every level so far, can he do it in the NHL
Don’t Draft
Jay Bouwmeester-Great player but little fantasy value
Best Fantasy Value
Jerome Iginla will again lead the team in scoring and Kiprusoff is money in the bank.

Fantasy Outlook
The 2011-2012 roster looks much like last seasons, only the key players are all a year older which is not good news. The Flames did nothing to make me think this season will be any better than last year. As a result I find it difficult to imagine a scenario that has them making the playoffs. Calgary is a team that had success playing an aggressive physical and defensively sound game. Those days seem to be gone and unfortunately they are still an offensively challenged group. The rebuilding era in Calgary should be coming sooner than later and may be a long, slow, and painful process.

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