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kehatch

What Will It Take To Win Next Seaon

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For the record I think the Flames are in for a long rebuild.  Just about everything that could go right did last season and we ended up as the fourth worst team in the NHL.  We are losing one of our key players in Cammalleri. We lack impact players in the 23-27 demographic so we have to wait for our younglings to grow up.  With the rare exception, you win with players 25 and older.  That's a long wait for our 21 and younger prospects to grow up.  

 

Even if we make the playoffs, anyone watching the LA / Chicago series (and shame on you if you aren't) should be able to see how far away the Flames are from being able to contend for a cup.   

 

But its the off season.  Time to focus on what is possible rather than probable.  And it is possible for the Flames to at least compete for a playoff spot.  What would have to happen for the Flames to contend for a playoff spot next season?  Here is my five.  

 

1) Brodie and Giordano Keep it Up

 

Going into last season most saw Giordano as a good 2 pairing D man and Brodie had 2 pairing upside but was playing at a 3 pairing level. But that isn't what happened.  Gio and Brodie were one of the most competent top pairing D in the NHL last season.  They consistently played the toughest minutes on the team and they consistently ended up in the positive doing it. Despite the tough minutes they were the only D that ended up in the positive category by both possession metrics and traditional plus/minus.  

 

These two played VERY well together.  Both were underwater the rare times they were separated, and Giordano had a career year with Brodie at his side. This pairing needs to play the same way next season for the Flames to have any chance of success.  

 

2) Backlund Takes Another Step

 

There were two regular forwards that had positive possession numbers on the Flames last season.  Backlund and Cammalleri.  Using plus minus though Backlund ended up as a +4 while Cammalleri was at a -13.  Only two forwards played tougher minutes on the Flames last season.  Stajan and (gasp) Jones.  Both of them got pretty beat up in the possession department.  

 

What I am saying is that Backlund had an understated but VERY effective season.  Even if he doesn't progress a step he is a valuable forward.  But he is showing glimpses of breaking out offensively.  To finish out the season he:

  • Put up 10 points in 7 games
  • Got injured
  • Returned and went 6 games without a point
  • Put up 9 points in 7 games
  • Managed only 1 point in the final 6 games

If he can start putting his offense together consistently he is going to be a legitimate force.  I think his potential is really under rated by some Flames fans.  

 

3) Second Half Ramo Shows Up for the Season

 

When you look at Ramo's collective season his performance and his numbers are respectable.  Especially considering this was his first season back in the NHL on a rebuilding team where every other goalie ended up under 0.900 SV%.  I mean, Ramo won more games than he lost.  That is a really big accomplishment on this team.  

 

But when you look at his final 20 games he was really special.  If he can keep that up over 60 or so games next season that will make a big difference for the Flames.

 

4) Replace Cammalleri

 

Cammalleri led the Flames forwards in ice time, goals, power play points, and he was second in points.  He did it playing some of the toughest minutes on the team and he joins Backlund as the only regular forward with positive possession numbers.  He was arguably our second most important forward (behind Backlund).  He was instrumental in our success when we had success.  We are losing him for nothing.  Oh oh.  

 

We need to replace him. Maybe we manage to retain him.  Maybe Glencross is healthy and fills that void.  Maybe Baertschi or Gaudreau blow away reasonable expectations and do the job.  Maybe we fill the void via free agency or trade.  But if we don't replace him I think we are in trouble.  

 

5) Kids Add Depth

 

The Flames lack top end talent.  But they put forward Phoenix like work ethic last season to make up for it.  What really hurts us is the lack of depth.  If everything above goes right we can put forward a respectable team on paper.  Until the inevitable injuries start.  Than we start looking really thin.

 

Players like Granlund, Baertschi, Reinhart, Gaudreau, Wotherspoon, Knight, Byron, etc need to be ready to fill vacancies in short order without the team taking major steps back.  Fortunately, this is the one area I am reasonably comfortable with.  At least on forward.  (If I was adding a number 6 to my list it would be to find defensive depth.  With the departure of Smith and Butler and the lack of NHL ready prospects we are REALLY thin at D if injuries hit).  

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I think the following would have to happen for the Flames to improve on their 27th place finish next year:

 

1.  Baertschi, Gaudreau, this year's first rounder, and Poirier/Klimchuk will have to be 20+ goal scorers.

 

2.  Monahan will have to put up 20 goals and 50 points.

 

3.  The Flames will have to find a #4, 5 and 6 defensmen.

 

4.  Ramo will have to play as well as his did last season.

 

5.  Glenncross will have to stay healthy.

 

6.  The centres will have to will at least 50% of the faceoffs.

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Im willing to bet we draft in the top 5 again next season, not trying be a pessimist here but if Cammy leaves the main cog in our offense is missing, our D is in desperate need of an upgrade and Ramo is still a big ?.

 

Unless we hit a few home runs through free agency/trades I dont see how this club will be significantly better. We are putting allot of hope on a very young and inexperienced roster that is still trying to find its legs. Yes Mony had a great rookie season and yes we have some very promising prospects knocking on the door, but part of being a prospect in the NHL is getting through the growing pains of playing in the best league in the world, playing in all 3 zones, getting accustomed to the speed and strength of the league and managing the hardship of an 82 game season while trying to manage your home life.

 

I would love to see us move up and take some big strides next season but Im not going to be ready to throw these guys under the bus if we dont ... This rebuild is going to see allot of rough nights before were ready to knock on the door.

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I agree with you Trip, the new GM has to make a significant trade or two and manage to land a few FAs. Until we see what can be manage here its hard to speculate.

People thinking the Flames will use the young guns being mentioned are going to be disappointed. I actually think keeping most of these young players developing in the minors will serve us better in the future.

in regards to kehatch's comments. 

Cammalleri is gone.

Backlund could be traded.

I disagee with keeping Giordano and Brodie together mainly because Brodie made a lot of mistakes pplaying the RS. With a healthy Wideman I would rather see Giordano support him so we can get the offense we need from him. Smid with Brodie would support Brodie to be more offense minded.

We need a big solid stud like Matt Greene to play with Russell even if we have to over pay for him ( Flames have to spend ). This move would have Wotherspoon further developing in the minors.

I would like to see the new GM build a top line from players not here yet and find a bigger RW for the 2nd line.

I also wouldn't mind seeing get Hiller as a Goalie option to platoon with Ramos.

 

Im willing to bet we draft in the top 5 again next season, not trying be a pessimist here but if Cammy leaves the main cog in our offense is missing, our D is in desperate need of an upgrade and Ramo is still a big ?.

 

Unless we hit a few home runs through free agency/trades I dont see how this club will be significantly better. We are putting allot of hope on a very young and inexperienced roster that is still trying to find its legs. Yes Mony had a great rookie season and yes we have some very promising prospects knocking on the door, but part of being a prospect in the NHL is getting through the growing pains of playing in the best league in the world, playing in all 3 zones, getting accustomed to the speed and strength of the league and managing the hardship of an 82 game season while trying to manage your home life.

 

I would love to see us move up and take some big strides next season but Im not going to be ready to throw these guys under the bus if we dont ... This rebuild is going to see allot of rough nights before were ready to knock on the door.

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As the roster sits we're likely to sit in about the same spot give or take 2.

With or without Cammi we don't have the talent to sniff the playoffs.

 

To get to @ least a bubble team we need a proven goalie as there are none under contract. Ramo was good in a small sample but I won't count on him to carry the load when he's never played more then 45 games in a season.

We can't count on kids to fill all the holes among the skaters. Treliving has to go hard after the best UFA (Stastny) even if it means overpaying in both $s & term for a start. Don't be afraid of older vets like Legwand if you can get them on a short high $ contract as they are still better in the now (rather then the future some project onto the young players) then the current 1s.

Then use some of the kids that played over their heads last year & draft picks to trade for youngish vets to provide skill & experience.

If rumored buyout candidates are indeed bought out there is a lot of currently overpaid talent available for friendlier deals.

Similarly there are good teams that need to shed talent to field a competitive team while remaining under the cap. Many want to sign their good RFAs so again their should be bargains because the return is picks & prospects. They need to shed the salary or lose RFAs they don't want to lose.

If a team can't shed salary those same RFAs lost are UFA & worth a go. Older & more ready to play now then most draft picks.

 

A lot of pieces need to fall into place but there are a lot of options to pursue.

 

Alternately hoarding picks & prospects while our vets move on or retire leads to lots of high picks & overpaying the unwanted UFAs to hit the cap floor until you can start overpaying your own RFAs & setting the bar for the next crop.

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Its really going to depend on how aggressive the new management team is willing to pursue UFA's and weather they can pull off a shrewd trade or two. Its going to be a very interesting off season come draft day and beyond...

Is June almost done yet?

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I definitely agree with the first sentence in this thread.

And I really won't mind if it takes 4 or 5 years, as long as they play an entertaining brand of hockey as they did last year.

I'm quite willing to be patient and let our prospects mature in the AHL like Detroit has done with their's in the past

Yes, we will have to sign or trade for contracts to reach the cap floor, but I feel that our prospects will be better served playing big minutes in Adirondack, than thrown to the wolves in Calgary.

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WHAT, 1 bottom 5 finish and were looking to "win" already, the ONLY "win" I care about is the stanley cup.

If this team is seriously looking to "win" and trade assests ect just to push for a wild card spot, I will lose all faith in our GM's

 

Sure we can make moves to help us better the team and improve in the long run, key word is LONG RUN, were going no where quick expect a couple more years like this one.

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It would all depend on how the off seasons goes. I don't think the flames have any hope of making the playoffs until they get another top 4 dman and they would have to replace Cammy as well. You'd need Ramo to build off his season and they would also need a very capable backup something jmac is not IMO, to handle a good 20 to 25 games. They would also need all their key players, glencross, Wideman, Gio, Brodie, Monahan, backlund, Hudler, to both stay healthy the whole year but also to build off of what they did last year. Lastly they would need to have at last two rookie/ young players, preferably up front, have huge seasons because th flames could have to start scoring more goals to have a hope of the playoffs.

So in short they need to add a fair bit of talent and need a lot to go right to be in the playoffs. Not out of the question but extremely difficult unless Trevling has a few rabbits in his hat. I do think though a couple of good strategy moves this offseason combined with the tight pick in both this year and next years draft could definetly put the flames in the playoff in 2016.

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WHAT, 1 bottom 5 finish and were looking to "win" already, the ONLY "win" I care about is the stanley cup.

If this team is seriously looking to "win" and trade assests ect just to push for a wild card spot, I will lose all faith in our GM's

 

Sure we can make moves to help us better the team and improve in the long run, key word is LONG RUN, were going no where quick expect a couple more years like this one.

 

To some, one bottom of the standings finish and the Flames 'win' Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel. 

 

Winning is subjective. ;)

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All I ask is a repeat of the winning attitude from last year.

It is not important to me whether it takes us to McDavid territory or a lower seed playoff spot.

All I care about is 60+ minute efforts & a sense of progress along our rebuild!

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To some, one bottom of the standings finish and the Flames 'win' Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel. 

 

Winning is subjective. ;)

 

That would be me.

 

IF we miss the playoffs, then winning McDavid or Eichel would be the best thing we can do for this franchise moving forward.  Yes, we can do pretty good with the 4th overall pick again as well.  Not shedding a tear over that but McDavid can be seen and watched on TV not just by scouts but by everyday people like us.  He can be seen as an obvious legit #1 Center.  In terms of Eichel, he is the best American born prospect since Patrick Kane and there's evidence of that on youtube.  These are franchise altering talents.

 

Bottom line is, we can all agree this team is looking for a bottom 5 finish next season.  There just isn't enough talent on this team to make legitimate noise yet.

 

How do we not be bottom 5?  Sign Stastny, Vanek, and Mike Richards (after he gets bought out).  I would also try to trade for Shea Weber.  This should put us into the playoffs.

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I think we tend to look at the "if this player this, if that player that," too much.

Our #1 thing IMO was #6 on sandheim's list, we have to win faceoffs. We don't have the talent to do anything but play with as much possession as possible.

Our D is small, we don't just need 2 top 4 dmen, we need 2 large ones.

We need forwards on the right side, Hudler's fine on a line, but we need some tenacity to go with the hustle.

An Andrew Shaw-type comes to mind, the kid was a 5th rounder, what does anyone know about it?

Our left side tenacity is Glencross alone.

All of the Gaudreau and Baertschi talk makes me cringe a bit. We all see these playoffs, they play to the death, and when the chips are down, they play beyond that.

Tough hockey when you consider we're hardly an offensive juggernaut that small or soft wingers can just slide into.

We have to be a team built on playing with a chip on our shoulder, to a man.

Is that Stajan? Cammalleri? Hudler?

What do we have in the aggression gene now? Giordano and a 4th line?

Good and well for Backlund, but he's still a very soft C in this league. Injury history will continue.

I enjoyed the praise we got for playing a full 60 minutes, and I agree with the praise.

But we still lack a lot of the aggressive passion it takes to win on the big club and in the ranks.

Or what Burke calls "truculence".

Players I like on the team are the 4th liners, Gio, Monahan and Hudler. Glencross as a 3rd line Captain and PK Captain.

If we want 3 lines, a vet needs to Captain each line and lead the way for his teammates.

Prospects I like, Granlund, Wotherspoon, Reinhart.

But our current roster is pretty much borderline NHLers compared to most rosters.

I want our rebuild to be a determined bunch that plays with a chip on their shoulder, to a man.

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I think we tend to look at the "if this player this, if that player that," too much.

Our #1 thing IMO was #6 on sandheim's list, we have to win faceoffs. We don't have the talent to do anything but play with as much possession as possible.

Our D is small, we don't just need 2 top 4 dmen, we need 2 large ones.

We need forwards on the right side, Hudler's fine on a line, but we need some tenacity to go with the hustle.

An Andrew Shaw-type comes to mind, the kid was a 5th rounder, what does anyone know about it?

Our left side tenacity is Glencross alone.

All of the Gaudreau and Baertschi talk makes me cringe a bit. We all see these playoffs, they play to the death, and when the chips are down, they play beyond that.

Tough hockey when you consider we're hardly an offensive juggernaut that small or soft wingers can just slide into.

We have to be a team built on playing with a chip on our shoulder, to a man.

Is that Stajan? Cammalleri? Hudler?

What do we have in the aggression gene now? Giordano and a 4th line?

Good and well for Backlund, but he's still a very soft C in this league. Injury history will continue.

I enjoyed the praise we got for playing a full 60 minutes, and I agree with the praise.

But we still lack a lot of the aggressive passion it takes to win on the big club and in the ranks.

Or what Burke calls "truculence".

Players I like on the team are the 4th liners, Gio, Monahan and Hudler. Glencross as a 3rd line Captain and PK Captain.

If we want 3 lines, a vet needs to Captain each line and lead the way for his teammates.

Prospects I like, Granlund, Wotherspoon, Reinhart.

But our current roster is pretty much borderline NHLers compared to most rosters.

I want our rebuild to be a determined bunch that plays with a chip on their shoulder, to a man.

OK reading through the threads this morning here is what I think gives the rebuild a jump start for next season.

Resign Cammalleri .

Trade Giordano for Richards from LA.

Trade Stajan, Baertschi and Byron to WIN for E.Kane.

Trade Hudler and D.Jones to NYI for Reinhart D.

Sign M.Greene D from FA

Sign M.Raymond LW from FA

Sign J.Hiller from FA

Here is how the team would look.

Cammalleri LW, Richards C, Kane RW

Glencross LW, Monahan C, Colburne C,

Raymond LW, Backlund C, Reinhart RW

Bouma LW, Knight C McGrattan RW

Defence

Brodie, Wideman

Russell, Smid

Reinhart, Greene

Goalies

Platoon Ramos and J.Hiller

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You want to trade Giordano for Richards? The second is a rumoured buy out candidate that at the very least should be available for a cheap trade. The first is a top line defender, the most important player on the roster last season, and our captain.

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You want to trade Giordano for Richards? The second is a rumoured buy out candidate that at the very least should be available for a cheap trade. The first is a top line defender, the most important player on the roster last season, and our captain.

Exactly what I have been saying, I wouldn't trade Gio for anything short of a kings ransom!

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Trade Stajan, Baertschi and Byron to WIN for E.Kane.

 

Kane plays LW.

Also it's not nearly enough & doesn't fill needs for the Jets.

They could sign Joker instead of giving up 1 of their best assets for Stajan.

They have lots of young wingers playing for the Calder Cup right now that seem as good or better a bet as Sven to be NHLers.

Byron is too small for their 3rd/4th line behind Wheeler, Big Buff & Frolik.

 

It's always nice to know a bit about the team you propose a trade with. As in, why would they make this trade.

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Its probably safe to say that IF the jets were to move Kane, they would be looking for a straight up hockey deal, meaning player for player of equal value. GIO is probably the only guy on the roster that fits the criteria and from what I can see, there D already looks decent.

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I don't think Winnipeg and Calgary are good trading partners. That said, trades happen every season that don't make sense. So we should at least be interested if he is available.

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You want to trade Giordano for Richards? The second is a rumoured buy out candidate that at the very least should be available for a cheap trade. The first is a top line defender, the most important player on the roster last season, and our captain.

So ? This is a rebuilding situation and I think Richards provides us real benefits over keeping Giordano around. LA needs better defence men past Doughty and I think they would do this deal.

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So ? This is a rebuilding situation and I think Richards provides us real benefits over keeping Giordano around. LA needs better defence men past Doughty and I think they would do this deal.

So? It's a horrible deal. If you were to deal Giordano, and you shouldn't, you can get much better.

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So? It's a horrible deal. If you were to deal Giordano, and you shouldn't, you can get much better.

Why shouldn't we while we are rebuilding ? Please explain.

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Trading Gio for Richards would further weaken a D that already needs help...

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Why shouldn't we while we are rebuilding ? Please explain.

Giordano is great captain to helm us through a rebuild. As we saw this season. It doesn't mean he is untouchable. But it will take a heck of a lot more than a buyout candidate on a bad contract to trade him.

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