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conundrumed

The Trappings of Success

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So a season none of us expected.

What does it mean moving forward?

Does it mean we put the rebuild into retool, or do we stay the course with patience?

Undoubtedly expectations have risen, is now the time to make deals? We have the picks to be able to do a few things, but we also have the picks to crush the prospect pool.

I know a lot goes into who you let walk and who you don't, but as for the picks, would you like us to wield them, say, to get a prospect or 2 with a year or 2 of pro under their belt, or should we stay steadfast in stocking the cupboards?

One other aspect, if you keep all the picks, would you try to trade up from 15, and what would you sacrifice to do so?

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So a season none of us expected.

What does it mean moving forward?

Does it mean we put the rebuild into retool, or do we stay the course with patience?

Undoubtedly expectations have risen, is now the time to make deals? We have the picks to be able to do a few things, but we also have the picks to crush the prospect pool.

I know a lot goes into who you let walk and who you don't, but as for the picks, would you like us to wield them, say, to get a prospect or 2 with a year or 2 of pro under their belt, or should we stay steadfast in stocking the cupboards?

One other aspect, if you keep all the picks, would you try to trade up from 15, and what would you sacrifice to do so?

I would stay the course building from the net out, which for me means resigning Ramo and taking all 3 Hiller, Ramo and Ortio into camp. If using a trade package I would want to obtain a player we see as long term for our top 4 D corps. I see us with a lot to work with when it comes to our forward lines and see next season as a real test for those who want to remain Flames.

 

I would maybe use one of our 2nd round picks in the trade package if need be but I use this draft to stock the pipeline.

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Some say making the finals in '04 was the worse thing that could've happened to that team.  Expectations went through the roof and that team was probably 3 or 4 players away from really being Cup contenders.

 

Fast forward to today, making the playoffs this season puts a lot of pressure on this team to make the playoffs again next season when really, we are probably 2 or 3 players away from getting back into the playoff picture on a consistent basis.  The playoffs are not automatic next year but the sentiment is that we automatically improve next year.  I think we have to be careful and not get too ahead of ourselves.

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I would from the looks of the playoffs we need 2 guys in our top 6 and 2 guys on D, then with yearly improvement from all of our players, we stand a good chance of being contenders.

 

I would stay the course building from the net out, which for me means resigning Ramo and taking all 3 Hiller, Ramo and Ortio into camp. I see us with a lot to work with when it comes to our forward lines and see next season as a real test for those who want to remain Flames.

 

 

I agree with resinging ramo, but if  a good deal comes along for ramo or hiller on draft day, im not sure I would pass on it. I dont know if we need alot of work on our forward lines, our bottom 6 is in a pretty good place with  a couple tweaks. Also, I would say when bennett takes the 2nd line centre job, we are a couple wingers away from having a ridiculously good top 6.

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I would from the looks of the playoffs we need 2 guys in our top 6 and 2 guys on D, then with yearly improvement from all of our players, we stand a good chance of being contenders.

 

 

I agree with resinging ramo, but if  a good deal comes along for ramo or hiller on draft day, im not sure I would pass on it. I dont know if we need alot of work on our forward lines, our bottom 6 is in a pretty good place with  a couple tweaks. Also, I would say when bennett takes the 2nd line centre job, we are a couple wingers away from having a ridiculously good top 6.

We are not really in the driver's seat with Ramo so have to see what happens. Yes they will have to keep sorting out the best players for top 6 positions.

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This was a spectacularly successful season. Sure the second round appearance was nice. But the progression we saw in our prospects and as a team were the big wins.

Gaudreau, Brodie, and Monahan are looking like young central pieces. Giordano rocked it as captain. Bennett looked good to end the season. Ferland and Bouma look like promising depth players. There is a lot to be happy about.

That said, we are clearly in a rebuild. It took some unlikely heroics to make the playoffs and you can't count on that again. Our roster has a lot of major holes in it that can't be addressed without giving up picks and prospects we can't afford.

Fortunately Treliving seems to recognize that. He traded Glencross at the deadline and didn't bring on rentals for a run. He has referenced "stay the course" numerous times.

I expect a lot of roster turnover this off season. I think Treliving has a good idea who is part of the future and who isn't. I think he will continue to build with the future in mind.

That isn't to say he won't improve the club for next season. I think he will target tweeners in our price range because we need those players to help today and in the future. But I doubt we see him go after short term pieces. I also doubt he holds on to players where "staying the course" dictates we are better off moving them.

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Some say making the finals in '04 was the worse thing that could've happened to that team.  Expectations went through the roof and that team was probably 3 or 4 players away from really being Cup contenders.

 

Fast forward to today, making the playoffs this season puts a lot of pressure on this team to make the playoffs again next season when really, we are probably 2 or 3 players away from getting back into the playoff picture on a consistent basis.  The playoffs are not automatic next year but the sentiment is that we automatically improve next year.  I think we have to be careful and not get too ahead of ourselves.

 

I agree with this. The Flames must learn from the past. I think we all, myself included, were blinded by the Cinderella run of 2004. With so many years out of the playoffs at that time and then to go within a win of the Cup, everyone lost perspective. No one really saw the team for what it was. The Flames were a consistent playoff team but they never went to the level of top tier team. 

This Flames made several mistakes under D Sutter after 2004. 

 

(1) They started trading picks in an attempt to get that missing player for the final tweak. Fact is, I don't think it was just one missing player. 

 

(2) They never addressed balance. The huge hole in Calgary was that Center position. Despite attempts via Joker / Langkow / Conroy the Flames never acquired that true #1 C. Through the draft is the only way imo to acquire these elite players because they are so rarely ever traded. 

 

(3) Despite a couple of top D in Neuf / Regehr - the Flames never found real defensive depth. Having an elite goalie like Kipper largely covered up the short comings of D at this time and one can only speculate if the Flames had kept Neuf and then acquired Jbo how this would have played out. 

(4) BIG contracts all went out in 2007. These were huge contracts at the time - yes they were for core players but the Neuf one is debatable as he was too young to command that kind of money. 

+++++++++++++

So as many have echoed here.

 

(1) Watch the core contracts and the cap

 

(2) Stop handing out the NTC / NMC and stay real about where the team is at. At this time I am not convinced the team is even a solid playoff team yet. They may or may not make it next year. They are not a playoff lock like they were off after 2004.  

I think the Flames have a great young core right now in Sam B / Johnny and Monny. It is ironic that the short coming of the Flames for over 20 years is now a surplus at C with two young potential star C's.

But the weakness is also clear once again. The Flames do not have a star G anymore, this is not the end of the world if the D is strong but it needs much greater depth. An iron clad position of the Flames was RW and ironically they now clearly have a weakness there. 

Over and over it has been said but D Depth and that top line RW and the team is ready to go imo - younger players are where we want to be... 

 

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And some say making the playoffs is never a mistake, or making it to the finals or possible coming within one 1 instant replay of winning a SC in game 6.

This mentality of we need to lose before we can win is BS. I'm tired of losing.

Achieving 97 pts to make the playoffs will be difficult every in the days of team parity.

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The Flames need to stay the course as far as the rebuild is concerned.  I think there are at least 3 contracts that are going to make it hard for the Flames to improve on last year's results.  In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if the Flames regress a little bit this coming season.  Ten come-from-behind wins is playing with fire.  They won't be able to pull that off again. 

 

I'd like to see them re-sign Ramo and then shop both Hiller and Ramo to see which goalie gets a better return.  Defensively, we really need one or more of the farm hands to show that they can be solid 5th or 6th d-men.

 

As far as the draft, 6 picks in the first 3 rounds is an embarrassment of riches.  I'd be happy to come away with 6 prospects, but it'd be nice if we could package a couple of picks to move up.  Moving up or adding a pick in the first round would probably be cost-prohibitive, but there are still a number of interesting prospects in the 31 - 40 range. 

 

I think the biggest priority is to find a way to off-load Bolling, Engelland, Raymond, and/or Smid.  These players and their contracts are the biggest obstacles standing between the Flames and the playoffs.

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Nobody said lose to win. We are saying don't declare the rebuild over and start making short term moves at the expense of the future.

Our roster:

Gaudreau-Monahan-Hudler

Bouma-Backlund-Jones

Ferland-Bennett-Colborne

Raymond-Stajan-Shore

Giordano-Brodie

Russell-Wideman

Smid-Engelland

Hiller

Ortio

Chicago's roster:

Saad-Toews-Hossa

Versteeg-Richards-Kane

Terravainen-Vermette-Sharp

Bickel-Kruger-Shaw

Keith-Hjmarlsson

Oduja-Seabrook

Rozsival-Rundblad

Crawford

Raanta

We have Gaudreau and Monahan going up against their Kane and Toews. We have Giordano and Brodie going up against their Keith and Hjmarlsson. Hudler vs Hossa. Wideman vs Seabrook. Hiller vs Crawford. Backlund vs Vermette. Russell vs Oduja. Bennett vs Terravainen.

Even if you think we match up okay on those battles (we don't in many) you still need to take on Richards, Saad, Versteeg, etc and we don't have the pieces to do that. Plus they have generally better depth.

If the Flames are happy returning to mediocrity then sure, the rebuild is over. But if we want to match up against the best we still have work to do. Part of that is giving our young guys time to develop. Part of that is making smart hockey moves for pieces that will still be helpful when those young guys are ready. And part is protecting our draft picks and prospects.

We shouldn't try and lose. But we shouldn't do what we did in 04 either and start trading away our future for short term pieces.

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^^ I agree with this post, I was only disagreeing with a statement that said some felt making it to the the 04 finals was a mistake. We are 7 yrs behind the CHI team, I'd say we are in pretty good shape. In 7 years time, Mony will be crushing Toews and Johnny will be skating circles around Kane.

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I believe the hawks are headed for cap purgatory. I really wonder what they look like next year.

I'd consider any combination of Sharp, Vermette, Versteeg, Saad, Seabrook, Oduya could be gone.

It stresses the importance of keeping the cupboards stocked with prospects, some ELC's (teuravainen, saad).

I kinda think someone is going to offersheet Saad while the Hawks are ripe for the picking due to cap issues.

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I believe the hawks are headed for cap purgatory. I really wonder what they look like next year.

I'd consider any combination of Sharp, Vermette, Versteeg, Saad, Seabrook, Oduya could be gone.

It stresses the importance of keeping the cupboards stocked with prospects, some ELC's (teuravainen, saad).

I kinda think someone is going to offersheet Saad while the Hawks are ripe for the picking due to cap issues.

 

Absolutely.  Teams are so close that, barring luck, you need multiple cracks at winning a cup with your elite core.  The only way to do that in a cap world is to keep the youth coming in.  A producing ELC can be the biggest difference between a great team and a good team.  

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It speaks to the pace of the game also, it's getting faster with fewer whistles.

I would guess that means the window for prospects gets smaller.

Is there any longer a pt to 25yo prospects?

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I think contracts are too big. I don't think the players deserve to get paid as much as they do. I don't believe that Kane and Toews are really worth as much as they're getting paid. Nor is Subban or anyone else for that matter. I was thinking that 7 or 8m was the way to go. Do we really think the NHL is on par with the other sports? I don't get why there was a strike at all with the way the contracts go. It's pointless. 

 

With that said, now I don't know where Monahan will be after his entry level. He's up at least 6m per year now. THe same goes with Gaudreau and yet they haven't proven anything by that point. Sure, playoffs and consistency is one thing, but winning is another. 

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I think contracts are too big. I don't think the players deserve to get paid as much as they do. I don't believe that Kane and Toews are really worth as much as they're getting paid. Nor is Subban or anyone else for that matter. I was thinking that 7 or 8m was the way to go. Do we really think the NHL is on par with the other sports? I don't get why there was a strike at all with the way the contracts go. It's pointless. 

 

With that said, now I don't know where Monahan will be after his entry level. He's up at least 6m per year now. THe same goes with Gaudreau and yet they haven't proven anything by that point. Sure, playoffs and consistency is one thing, but winning is another. 

Just like actors or musicians you pay the 1s the crowds come to see. Big league sports are entertainment. Crosby & Malkin, Kane & Toews are the stars that draw crowds even in away games. The Leafs & Habs will always draw crowds as the 2 Canadian based entries from what is known as the "Original 6" in Canada.

Like all in the entertainment business they know it's a short shelf life so they better get the $s while they can.

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The Flames need to stay the course as far as the rebuild is concerned.  I think there are at least 3 contracts that are going to make it hard for the Flames to improve on last year's results.  In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if the Flames regress a little bit this coming season.  Ten come-from-behind wins is playing with fire.  They won't be able to pull that off again. 

 

I'd like to see them re-sign Ramo and then shop both Hiller and Ramo to see which goalie gets a better return.  Defensively, we really need one or more of the farm hands to show that they can be solid 5th or 6th d-men.

 

As far as the draft, 6 picks in the first 3 rounds is an embarrassment of riches.  I'd be happy to come away with 6 prospects, but it'd be nice if we could package a couple of picks to move up.  Moving up or adding a pick in the first round would probably be cost-prohibitive, but there are still a number of interesting prospects in the 31 - 40 range. 

 

I think the biggest priority is to find a way to off-load Bolling, Engelland, Raymond, and/or Smid.  These players and their contracts are the biggest obstacles standing between the Flames and the playoffs.

We still have plenty of cap room and are not likely to bring in any big salary UFA. Why not sign Ramo to a decent contract to have both him and Hiller again to start the season. Why not explore trades with Ortio in them ? Hiller is gone after next season along with the salary. Gillies and MacDonald sound like very good goaltenders coming up the pipe.

 

Hiller and Ramo provided solid goaltending for us.

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One of my biggest concerns going into next season is how many players had career years this season. It will be hard to duplicate that this coming season, I think guys like Monahan and Gaudreau can be just as good or better but it is hard to imagine Hudler and Wideman having just good a season.

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One of my biggest concerns going into next season is how many players had career years this season. It will be hard to duplicate that this coming season, I think guys like Monahan and Gaudreau can be just as good or better but it is hard to imagine Hudler and Wideman having just good a season.

If hudler and wideman dont have a good season again which is totally possible. How far do we fall back is the question?

 

It would be nice if this off season we were able to add another top 6 winger and a top 4 D, so that we had the extra scoring/stability.

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One of my biggest concerns going into next season is how many players had career years this season. It will be hard to duplicate that this coming season, I think guys like Monahan and Gaudreau can be just as good or better but it is hard to imagine Hudler and Wideman having just good a season.

 

Hudler had Johnny most of the year, but with Mony only part of the year.  Hudler's best month was March.  There is no reason to believe that Hudler drops off for no reason.  He should be with Johnny and Mony the whole year, which should help him maintain or beat lasy year's numbers.

 

Wideman looks like he has found his niche on this team.  If Gio is healthy the whole year, then Wideman should be able to be used in a advantageous situation; a bit sheltered and play with Johnny on the PP. 

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Hudler had Johnny most of the year, but with Mony only part of the year. Hudler's best month was March. There is no reason to believe that Hudler drops off for no reason. He should be with Johnny and Mony the whole year, which should help him maintain or beat lasy year's numbers.

Wideman looks like he has found his niche on this team. If Gio is healthy the whole year, then Wideman should be able to be used in a advantageous situation; a bit sheltered and play with Johnny on the PP.

Hudler's best season points-wise prior to this year was 57 points, that's a 19 point jump to the 76 points he had this year. To count on Hudler recreating this season would be a mistake. I think somewhere in the 60 point range might be a more realistic expectation for Hudler next year.

With Giordano back and healthy next year, Wideman will for sure take a step back in production as large portion of the points he put up came with Gio out of the lineup. The only other time Wideman put up 50 points in a season he followed it up with a 30 point campaign. I think 35-45 points is what we will see from Wideman next year.

I am not overly confident in counting on 2 guys who career years in their 30's to recreate that again.

I really hope I am wrong and I hope they have career years again next season.

On a side note, I love the optimistic attitude you bring to the boards TD, you always see the best in the players and prospects (well most of them), I tend to see the worst and hope for the best.

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Hudler's best season points-wise prior to this year was 57 points, that's a 19 point jump to the 76 points he had this year. To count on Hudler recreating this season would be a mistake. I think somewhere in the 60 point range might be a more realistic expectation for Hudler next year.

With Giordano back and healthy next year, Wideman will for sure take a step back in production as large portion of the points he put up came with Gio out of the lineup. The only other time Wideman put up 50 points in a season he followed it up with a 30 point campaign. I think 35-45 points is what we will see from Wideman next year.

I am not overly confident in counting on 2 guys who career years in their 30's to recreate that again.

I really hope I am wrong and I hope they have career years again next season.

On a side note, I love the optimistic attitude you bring to the boards TD, you always see the best in the players and prospects (well most of them), I tend to see the worst and hope for the best.

 

For Hudler, I will link the article that was on FN by a M&G writer.

 

http://flamesnation.ca/2015/6/6/how-did-jiri-hudler-s-career-season-happen

 

The section  in particular that leads me to make those WAG's is the following:

 

Hudler has generally always enjoyed a high shooting percentage, but this season was his second highest ever. His 19.6% in 2014-15 is second only to his 19.7% from 2011-12, when he had his previous high of 25 goals. Turns out Hudler being an accurate shooter leads to many Hudler goals.

 

There are, however, a few important differences to take note of when comparing his two most accurate years. First: Hudler played more minutes in 2014-15 than he did in 2011-12, averaging 18:01 minutes (the second highest of his career) over 15:40.  Hudler experienced a career high in ice time in 2013-14, when he averaged 18:51 a game. His shooting percentage then was 15.6%, and he only scored 17 goals, though, so something changed.

 

He shot more, plain and simple.

In 2014-15, Hudler set a new career high for shots in a season with 158, beating out his old 2008-09 record of 155. It's the most shots he's taken per his time on ice since 2008-09. (Not at all coincidentally, these two seasons are also the seasons he's enjoyed the most offensive zone starts relative to his team.)

 

Get a lot of shots, and you're more likely to score. Be an accurate shooter, and you're more likely to score. Be an accurate shooter who takes a lot of shots? There you have it: 31 goals.

 

Wideman had to take on tougher minutes after Gio went down, so I would say that is balanced by reduced easier minutes.  In other words, he will play less, but the competition will be lower, so easier to score.

 

The Flames, all in all, experienced the Johnny Effect.  If you want a player to get some points, throw Johnny-on-the-line.  If I was an agent with a player in a contract year, I would be praying for the Johnny Effect.  I tend to gush a bit too much about the kid, but I have seen some things in him that are superstar quality.  Pretty awesome to see a budding superstar in the making.

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I'm wondering who is good to pretty much stay the course?

If we do nothing, are you good with that?

 

You can never stay still.  Johnny and Mony should improve.  Ferland should take  a step forward.  Our D is still a mess after the top 4, and no depth to replace Gio or some other major injury.  We have no elite wingers beyond the top line.  Bennett will make a case to be a top 6 center.  Backlund should be what he always is.  Goaltending may regress with Hiller in net or if he is traded and they go with Ramo/Ortio.

 

Lots of issues, but we can't fix them all and keep our best prospects.  Smart FA signing, roster construction, weeding out the chaff players, and bringing in at least one top 4 d-man is crucial. 

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