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The Cammalleri deal - another Flames brain-cramp?

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The Cammalleri deal - another Flames brain-cramp?

Popular opinion seems to be that the Flames got the best player, hence they won the deal, and that Habs Gm Gauthier made a hasty, hair-trigger trade (as the Habs can be prone to do) in response to Cammalleri's critical comments, but once the dust settles, I think it will become clearer that it was the Flames who lost their bearings, and are clearly lacking direction. Oldnews? Yes, this deal is a few days old, and I am slow out of the gate, but I am going to go against the armchair GM grain anyway and suggest that the Flames got torched in the Cammalleri deal.

The Flames apparently think they are ready to make a run at the playoffs now, but they are showing no signs of being able to compete with the Canucks, let alone the other 10 teams in front of them. I think you could sum up their current state of mind in a single word; denial.

Making a run might seem more exciting in the present than making changes, and getting worse in order to get better isn't necessarily the course of a genius. But look at the Ottawa Senators - things didn't look so good for them when they started making decisive moves, but they did it in an intelligent way, and you might say that in a short period of time, they have already gone from considerably worse to considerably better than Calgary.

Calgary's plan, on the other hand, is more than a little confusing.

Most people debating this trade seem to be underestimating Rene Bourque - it is almost automatically assumed that Cammalleri is a better player than Bourque, who has had two consecutive 27 goal seasons and with 13 goals this year, is on that same pace. That is no less than you can expect from Cammalleri. In fact, Cammalleri has averaged 27.2 goals a season in his career, and is on pace for a 20 goal season. Bourque adds 23lbs to the Habs up front, whose small forwards have been a big question mark (despite being a goal from dispatching Boston last season). Something else to consider - Bourque put up those numbers while not necessarily being the go-to guy, on a team short of centres.

As flashy as Cammalleri can be, I wouldn't call this trade a steal by any stretch of the imagination, particularly when you factor in the salary cap hit. Bourque, at $3.33 million, is slightly more than half the hit that Cammalleri is. Don't get me wrong - I am not doubting Cammalleri's flash and he definitely has a big game and big goal quality to him - but people seem to be underestimating Bourque, and what you can do with a 2nd round pick and $3 million in cap space. As an example, Mike Gillis converted a 3rd round pick and undrafted free agent Evan Oberg into Chris Higgins, at $1.9 million, who was stellar in the playoffs, does far more than score, and is on the same pace as both Cammalleri and Bourque's average 27 goal season, despite struggling with an infection. That is not to say you can simply replicate deals like the Higgins trade, and it always depends on timing, a good assessment of the player you are getting, and health, but you do have to make the majority of your moves work favorably or winning isn't going to be likely. The timing might have seemed right for Calgary, but was it really?

As with all trades, time will tell, but at this point, the more i look at this, the more it seems that the Habs took the better risk, particularly when you take each team's needs into consideration.

Did the Flames need another winger? Wingers are arguably the strength of the Calgary Flames - where they are weak is at centre, and depth on the blueline - but that didn't stop them from tying up $6 million in another winger. I might have taken Cammalleri off Montreal's hands as well - if the Habs took a comparable contract off of mine, and he fit with my needs better than the player(s) on the way out. Is that the context of this trade for Calgary? I don't think so.

It has been suggested that Cammalleri, aside from the Flames, was the other winner in this deal, managing to get himself out of Montreal. But to be sent to an 11th place team that is further from contending than the Canadiens are; I would tend to look at that as more the case that Montreal was punishing him, sending him to a franchise that is headed... where? Bourque walks into an underachieving Montreal and will be relatively loved for a number of reasons. Cammalleri walks in expected to be the element that pushes the Flames into playoff contention. Good luck with that. Calgary might be a better team than their record reflects, but that is certainly debatable. Whether they improve depends entirely on what they have yet to do - Feaster still has most of the work ahead of him, and as far as I am concerned, he just backed himself into more problems. He has less assets and less cap space to work with. The west is full of teams better than the Flames, with one in their division behind them, their closest rival, who have far more young talent and a brighter future.

But I am glad they can still see blue skies in Calgary. Perspective is everything.

Acquiring Cammalleri would have made more sense if they were consistently trying to improve the club in the present. However, it seems to me they had a fire sale where Robyn Regehr was concerned. Now, despite adding Hannan, they find themselves thin on the back-end - the assets they have to acquire a blueliner were already thin, and now thinner - and the cap space? They had to wiggle around to make room for Cammalleri. Playoff hockey, if they can patchwork their way into the playoffs, despite some major holes at centre, and a thin blue line, tends to result in an injury or two, which Calgary is not prepared to absorb, anywhere in their lineup.

If they had taken a position that they are not stepping backwards in order to move forward, then this move might have made more sense, but the one step backwards, one step forward is leaving them where they were. Some people are figuring that a second round pick is not that big a deal - those are people that are not building a team to win in the future, or the present, as that 2nd round pick could be used to land a quality player from an also-ran at the trade deadline. I have heard Feaster complaining that he has been hamstrung by unmovable contracts and a lack of assets. He just moved another asset, with a pretty favourable contract, and a 2nd round pick, to get a pretty lofty contract in return, and a 5th round pick. Ramo vs Holland is a question that time will tell.

Feaster has received some praise for managing to get rid of a few contracts (through waivers and the questionable trade of Regehr), but then comes the declaration that the Flames are looking to win now. If you are ready to win, perhaps all the blame that has been laid on Daryl Sutter for the situation the Flames are in should be tempered, because if you win anything in the present, you will be winning with pretty much the team Sutter built. But here is the problem - the Flames weren't winning before, and where are all the upgrades? Sorry, but how clearly does Calgary need this spelled out? The Flames may not have gotten worse, they might even have gotten a fraction better, although I would disagree with that. They have some great players, loyal fans, and certainly have the strength of stubborn denial in their corner. They added a player in the area they were strongest - on the wing. Maybe they are ready to make a run now...

Am I missing something?

Some people have been praising Feaster, claiming the Flames have gotten younger. They made a move trading Robyn Regehr (32 yrs old) that I am still scratching my head over, giving up a 2nd round pick in that deal as well, in order to land Byron and Butler. A heavy price to pay to get rid of Kotalik's contract. Feaster then managed his best coup so far as Calgary's GM, bringing in Hannan (32) at a bargain price. So some credit there - he managed to bring in a solid guy - no younger, but at less of a cap hit. They moved Bourque and brought in Cammalleri - who is 6 months younger than Bourque. They waived Hagman and brought in a few others guys they claimed off waivers - these would be the other significant changes to their club and the age of its players. Other than Giordano, Bouwmeester and Glencross, (28,28,29) their other core players are in their 30s - Iggy 34, Jokinen 33, Tanguay 32, Morrison 36, Sarich 33, Kipper 35... Hey, I'm not down on veterans - but the story out of Calgary doesn't add up. True - it is not easy to add quality centres or defensemen - no one is giving them away - but in the absence of filling those needs, you are still the Sutter-era Flames, and in my mind, perhaps have even taken a few steps backwards. If his brother wasn't still in Calgary coaching the Flames, you'd have to wonder whether Daryl isn't watching these developments with a little amusement in the wake of all the criticism he took.

Beyond their top 4 or 5 d-men the Flames have a lot of question marks (and if you ask me, Bouwmeester probably belongs on that list of the most overpaid and over-rated players in the NHL). Calgary has used 11 defensemen, but that does not necessarily indicate that they have depth on the blueline. The Canucks also had to use umpteen defensemen last year, but they stayed in first place the whole time, because they had depth, not just because they could find 11 guys to put jerseys on. So how well have the Flames absorbed the injuries they have suffered? Well enough to be tied for 11th place. Calgary may develop depth, but have it? I can't agree with that, although evidently Feaster thought so, or he wouldn't have dispensed with Regehr. Unless, of course, at that time, he wasn't expecting to win right away, whereas now, they are ready... Bad move in my opinion, even if you were rebuilding -even worse if you are wanting to win now. To get Byron and Butler, a 4th round pick, and relatively small for a d-man at 196 lbs - a very gentle way of putting it would be to say that I am not sure Calgary got much in return for what they gave away in that deal. I'm not claiming the Flames don't have any good young defensemen - it was Feaster who offered that they are thin in depth on defense.

If Feaster keeps it up, other GMs will be moving him up their speed dial list.

At centre, beyond Jokinen and Morrison (again, a combined 69 years old) you have Horak (who has 9 points), Backlund (8 pts and -9), Byron (3 pts in 18 games), while Jones, Bouma, and Nemisz have played a combined 8 games. Not going to strike fear into any of the teams they are chasing. Maybe these guys will be better in the future, but don't look ready for a run at the playoffs.

The Canadiens on the other hand, picked up a solid guy with a French name and a reasonable contract, 2.7 million in cap space, and upgraded from a fifth to a second round pick.

Doug MacLean joked with Feaster on Sportsnet, asking him how he could do that to Gauthier, a friend of his? I 'm not sure Feaster did something "to" Gauthier - I find it more convincing that he did something "for" him.

I'd be willing to bet that Gauthier, sitting in the hot seat in Montreal, considers Feaster more of a friend now than ever - maybe even a true friend, one willing to make a sacrifice when he really needed it. Pardon the sarcasm here, but you gotta hand it to Feaster - he has expressed that he didn't have a lot of cap space, good contracts, or chips and draft picks to work with, and yet he dug deep and found a way to give up a few (more). When he needs him, I'd bet Gauthier will still be happy to make the call.


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When is Calgary going to face the facts that they need to rebuild. Could have been them with Eberle Hall RNH and Paajarvi...... but I guess that isn't good enough for them.

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"Could have been them with Eberle Hall RNH and Paajarvi...... but I guess that isn't good enough for them"

Well wouldn't this logic apply to all 14 teams that missed the playoffs?

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You completely ignore the Flames acquisition of Ramo in the trade. The best G in the KHL, he is also the piece that will allow the Flames to move Kipper in the future. The Flames now have 2 good young G's in him and Irving.

If Ramo becomes an NHL starter as he is already touted, how does this move not make Calgary better for the now and also plan for a post-Kipper era? Pretty weak sauce here.

http://www.lfpress.com/sports/hockey/2012/01/13/19242971.html

Bourque has been weak since Langkow left. If you don't know that, you don't watch the Flames play. Cammy is a far better player and although he is twice the price his contract is also half as long leaving more flexibility for the Flames two years out. This trade works both ways for the right now and for the future. A Kipper trade will bring a significant return to Calgary, one that will recover more than just a couple 2nd round picks given up in the Regehr / Bourque trades.

Pretty short sighted analysis here. The Flames haven't won a trade blatantly in a long time but this one is a clear win from both short and long-term perspectives, to say otherwise is simply biased analysis.

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"Could have been them with Eberle Hall RNH and Paajarvi...... but I guess that isn't good enough for them"

Well wouldn't this logic apply to all 14 teams that missed the playoffs?

They have been a bad team for a long time, if they started rebuilding around the same time Edmonton did then they could have some decent players. Look at their roster and tell me they have a playoff team........ no they don't. They should have realized this 3-4 years ago.

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Banned for truth

I didn't ignore Ramo - he might be an NHL quality goalie in the future, he might not. The problem with this trade is not that the Flames acquired a goalie that is 4th on their depth chart - what I find debatable is wanting Cammalleri so badly and giving up what they did. Banking on Ramo to swing this trade in Calgary's favour is avoiding the issues of the Flames needs, cap space, etc. Calgary got another prospect goalie and a winger, and are still in denial. If they wanted Ramo so badly, I'm sure they could have found a way to acquire him without all the other questionable factors in this trade.

Feaster is talking about winning right now - you asked "If Ramo becomes an NHL starter as he is already touted, how does this move not make Calgary better for the now" - sorry, that analysis is not going to convince me to change mine - becomes in the future and winning now are different tenses. Ramo is not a centre, nor a defenseman, and to repeat, less cap space, etc, etc.

If you are counting on moving Kipper (who I have always liked) - again, you are probably not intending to be winning in the now (and I think you may be overestimating what teams will be willing to give up for a rental goalie nearing the end of his career).

I do watch the Flames - I noticed the difference between the Flames with Regehr and without.

Funny you bring up the Langkow move - a centre - shipped out for another winger. Part of my point above was the Bourque has been playing on a team short of centres... If you are going to judge him based on what he has done lately, Cammalleri is weaker by that standard as well. Power forward who scores 27 goals a year at $3.3 million - (and you want to get rid of that contract because it is 4 years long? - can't quite figure that one out) - for a small forward who scores 27 goals, for $6 million.

Not convinced.

Ryan Strome - find your point even less convincing.

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Banned for truth

I didn't ignore Ramo - he might be an NHL quality goalie in the future, he might not. The problem with this trade is not that the Flames acquired a goalie that is 4th on their depth chart - what I find debatable is wanting Cammalleri so badly and giving up what they did. Banking on Ramo to swing this trade in Calgary's favour is avoiding the issues of the Flames needs, cap space, etc. Calgary got another prospect goalie and a winger, and are still in denial. If they wanted Ramo so badly, I'm sure they could have found a way to acquire him without all the other questionable factors in this trade.

Feaster is talking about winning right now - you asked "If Ramo becomes an NHL starter as he is already touted, how does this move not make Calgary better for the now" - sorry, that analysis is not going to convince me to change mine - becomes in the future and winning now are different tenses. Ramo is not a centre, nor a defenseman, and to repeat, less cap space, etc, etc.

If you are counting on moving Kipper (who I have always liked) - again, you are probably not intending to be winning in the now (and I think you may be overestimating what teams will be willing to give up for a rental goalie nearing the end of his career).

I do watch the Flames - I noticed the difference between the Flames with Regehr and without.

Funny you bring up the Langkow move - a centre - shipped out for another winger. Part of my point above was the Bourque has been playing on a team short of centres... If you are going to judge him based on what he has done lately, Cammalleri is weaker by that standard as well. Power forward who scores 27 goals a year at $3.3 million - (and you want to get rid of that contract because it is 4 years long? - can't quite figure that one out) - for a small forward who scores 27 goals, for $6 million.

Not convinced.

Find me a quote from anyone, anywhere besides you that says Cammy is not the better player. The plus on Cammy which you also ignore and suits the Flames very well is his contract is only two more years. That works for Calgary on soft rebuild schedule. Plus he is younger than Bork and will be movable at the trade deadline in his final year of his contract at age 31.

Bork is going to continue to depreciate, just watch...

You got nothing but cost to make your case. Bork is seriously one of the dumbest players on the ice. He goes through huge stretches of non-production, he has a concussion history, he takes bad penalties and this year he is taking suspensions and is on Shanny's poop list forever AND he had four more years. No thanks, good contract to dump.

You prefer this over Cammy who even if he is stifled in production in a toxic Habs environment already has proven chemistry with Iggy AND will certainly be an injection into the Flames PP. Heck he has already scored a goal in his first game.

You did ignore Ramo because you didn't even mention him in your trade analysis. This trade is a clear win for the Flames. It is win both in the short and long term, 2nd round picks have about a 20% chance of making the NHL. Ramo is hyped as an NHL ready starting G. Maybe that happens, maybe it doesn't but it is still a smart move for the future.

How does this trade not address the future and a post-Kipper era by stacking yet another young G.

And I think you will be surprised what a G like Kipper will bring to a playoff team who wants a proven vet G. ROLOSON was traded for a first round pick in 2006 and he was not only older but no where near Kipper's level. Kipper will get a 1st and at least a top prospect back. That is simply the return he will command, anything less is oblivious to history.

And now you start to argue against the Langkow trade, dude. blink.gif He was a 4.5 million Cap hit and 35. Plus his injury, cripes dude Stempy is 28 and has outscored Langks and is a 1.9 million Cap Hit.

You obviously are bent on dumping on the Flames and they have made trades you can comfortably do that on but this isn't one of them.

You're the one with the brain cramp, work it out - the Flames are capable of making good trades sometimes… Deal with it.

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First, I didn't argue with the Langkow trade - I pointed out that they moved a centre to pick up a winger - a centre that played with Bourque (and played solid two-way hockey, something they could use right now if money weren't an issue. But it is an issue, so they moved Langkow, and have yet to bring in a guy to replace him, but they did get a speedy winger in return. Same return for Bourque - speedy winger, this time at $6 million. Cost might not have been such an issue in the pre-cap era, but post-cap era, it matters - two years is long enough to be an issue when you are at the fork in the road that the Flames are.The environment in Montreal might get 'toxic' as you say, but in Calgary right now it looks pretty complacent.Getting a goaltending prospect for the future - as I said, no argument here, but didn't have to make this package move to acquire a prospect."And I think you will be surprised what a G like Kipper will bring to a playoff team who wants a proven vet" - do you mean the Flames aren't going to make the playoffs, so they are going to move into the post-Kipper era? That is my point - are they on the post-Kipper plan, or the post-season plan?This isn't 'dumping' on the Flames - nor looking for quotes to agree with me - I said that I was going against the armchair GM grain, and I think these are good questions - the line of reasoning is not clear to me at all - and there seem to be some obvious contradictions between what is being said in Calgary, and then what is being done in Calgary. I think a good trade is one that addresses the needs of the Flames - Feaster identifies those as centres and defensman, and hasn't acquired any - not a big deal in the short term if the needs are being defined as long term, but then that contradicts the make the playoffs now plan. I like Iginla, Kipper, Glencross and the post-goon Flames in general - I like Feaster and the fact that he didn't walk in and resort to a Mike Keenan clearing house approach with the Calgary Flames. But I am leaning towards admitting that I was wrong about Feaster, and am disappointed with the deals he is making - I have to question the direction - to be honest, if I really wanted to see the Flames fail, I would be tickled by these moves. I'm not - I'm scratching my head. What you haven't explained to me are the contradictions.

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Ok, I'll take you seriously and give this one last crack.

One of the things fans often do is they look at trades in isolation.

They fail to see the bigger picture of a team down the road. They fail to see that a team sometimes has something in surplus which allows them to move a player. They fail to see the long horizon in terms of flexibility, Cap planning and Contracts.

So lets lay it out. Calgary has a few things going for it that not all NHL teams do and that is owners who will spend to the Cap, they have no restrictions on this front. This is the reason why Cammy's big Cap hit is not as big a deal as it would be for some teams.

So beyond the right now, why does this trade make sense?

(1) It stocks another high quality G prospect which points to preparation of a post Kipper era.

(2) It also indicates a Kipper trade may be brewing in the future. It allows and prepares for that future Kipper trade. The return from that trade can easily be anticipated to add great value to the Flames as he is probably the most valuable asset to move.

(3) Cammy is only 29. He will be 31 in the final year of his contract and AGAIN he will be a movable asset for picks / prospects. Cammy in his final year at the deadline will be a affordable and attractive piece to many teams in 2014. So the Flames can again recycle a player for picks / prospects.

(4) Bourque in contrast will continue to depreciate and not be as easy or likely to be moved and certainly not for as good a return. He will be 34 in the final year of his contract and how much value will he have?

(5) The Flames moved Patrick Holland who is already tagged as a career AHLer and is a 7th round pick. The Flames won this part of the deal as they upgraded to a 5th round pick in this years thick draft.

________________

The Flames clearly win the deal in the right now but if you break it down and look forward you can also see how it cultivates the soil for future moves. The 2nd round picks the Flames lost not only in this deal but also in the Regehr deal can be picked up not only possibly at this deadline but in future deals at future deadline when it seems likely the Flames will move Cammy and / or Kipper.

When you add it all up at the bottom line the trade is very strong in both short and long term value.

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Oh and the Flames are rebuilding but they are doing it in a hybrid way. It isn't a blow-up / burn it to the ground / wallow in the basement approach.

It is for this reason that it is so difficult for so many fans to understand. The Flames have made significant moves for youth and speed in just the last year.

They are rebuilding while trying to remain competitive. It is what most teams try to do each year. The basement approach is high risk, very high risk. It can work and take you to a Cup or it can fail a la Islanders, Thrashers, Blue Jackets.

You never tank to go down there.

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"So lets lay it out. Calgary has a few things going for it that not all NHL teams do and that is owners who will spend to the Cap, they have no restrictions on this front. This is the reason why Cammy's big Cap hit is not as big a deal as it would be for some teams."

You aren't understanding the salary cap issue.

But thanks for taking me seriously.

Agree to disagree - and I like your positive thinking - like I said - perspective is everything.

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"So lets lay it out. Calgary has a few things going for it that not all NHL teams do and that is owners who will spend to the Cap, they have no restrictions on this front. This is the reason why Cammy's big Cap hit is not as big a deal as it would be for some teams."

You aren't understanding the salary cap issue.

But thanks for taking me seriously.

Agree to disagree - and I like your positive thinking - like I said - perspective is everything.

Explain to me why a team should keep Cap room when they have owners willing to spend the money?

Is there another player / better player the Flames can get with the extra money? No? So why not spend it...

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The Flames shouldn't keep the cap space - they might have used it to strengthen their weak spots - they chose Cammalleri instead. The Canucks also want to win now - they don't have to make any moves, but could possibly use a depth defenseman or upgrade, and/or perhaps a fourth line grit forward. If Gillis were to acquire a small finesse centre (they have five quality centres in their lineup) using up any cap space they might create in that deal, people would be scratching their heads. Evidently only time is going to change either of our minds. I respect your opinion and hope it works out for Calgary.

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