Tuesday, June 18, 2013

2013 Calgary Flames Season Review

The Flames finally took the advice of virtually every pundit and finally began a rebuilding process, trading Iginla and Bouwmeester leading up to the trade deadline. They accepted a fate they have been denying for far too long. Although they probably should have and could have received more in return for these two star players, they still did the right thing. How soon this team returns to a playoff level depends entirely on their ability to find their next #1 goaltender. If I had to guess, they are at least 2 years away from a playoff spot, possibly 3. Clearly their ownership will want their GM to try to win as soon as possible, but it may be better to suck for a few years and build up a core of young prospects.

The Flames were severely hampered by the sudden rapid decline in the play of Mikka Kiprusoff and his major injury. He was brutal before the injury, and not much better after returning from the injury. It looks as though the career of their franchise goaltender is now over. He was unwilling to waive his no trade clause at the deadline when the team could have acquired assets for him and now is walking away from the last year of his front loaded contract. He may have helped this team get to a Cup final once upon a time, but he certainly didn't do anybody any favours this season.

The two best players on the Flames were Lee Stempniak and Mike Cammalleri, though the squid did get off to a painfully slow start. There are some quality NHL hockey players on their roster, but they lack high end talent. $6M is too much to pay Cammalleri for what he does these days. Jiri Hudler had a quick start after returning from an early injury, but he did not make this team any better. He's a soft player that can provide depth offense in specialty situations.

Preseason Rank: 21
Midseason Rank: 22
Final Rank: 26
GM Grade: F

1st Star: Lee Stempniak
2nd Star: Mike Cammalleri
3rd Star: Dennis Wideman

UFAs: Roman Cervenka, Brian McGrattan, Steve Begin, Anton Babchuck, Brett Carson, Leland Irving
RFAs: Mikael Backlund, Akim Aliu, Chris Butler, TJ Brodie, Mark Cundari

Best Contract: Curtis Glencross 2 more years at $2.5M
Worst Contract: Dennis Wideman 4 more years at $5.25M

What I said about them in preseason:  Jay Feester has to be one of the 5 worst General Managers employed in the NHL. This is a team in dire need of a rebuild that keeps trying to win a championship. They'll be in the fight for a playoff spot until the last week of the season, falling just inches short, then once again drafting accordingly.


I find it astounding that Jay Feester still has a job. He completely botched the Ryan O'Reilly offer sheet, only to be saved by the Colorado Avalanche matching the contract offer. Otherwise the Flames would have lost the draft picks and the player. Then he traded Iginla and Bouwmeester for 50 cents on the dollar. Yes the team has 3 first round draft picks in a very strong draft, and they will need their GM (with a poor draft record) to load the team with top prospects. Good luck with that.

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