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  1. 8 points
    Gentlemen ( ladies if there are any here). Last night was a turning point for me, it will be my final watched game. The aggitaiton frustration, emotional lows for years will now end. Have I been hard on this club, negative yes, but it has been justifiable. Been a Flames fan longer than some of you have been alive, but its time. For the past god for as I can remember I would schedele my nights around watching this team play, if there was a game on i watched it. When the forum was down for me was a hard adjustment. I read posts from eveyone that like me is a die hard fan of the Flames. It was a great day when it came back on line, didn't realize how much I missed the comments and individauls who wrote them. I just wanted for what its worth, to thank those who have taken the time, effort and energy for these forums. The conversations comments and readings have been a huge part of my daily routine. I am a competive person and watching this is extremely frustrating to me. When I am more agitated than the players and staff, its time. This organization is a shell of what it once was, I truely hope that one day it finds it self again. As the sabres fan stated so perfectly, If I had a cardboard cut out in the stands I would remove it to not make them suffer watching this. This is a hard chapter to close, been a routne for years this forum has meant alot to me. I truely and sincerely wish everyone nothing but the best and once again thank everyone for their efforts.
  2. 6 points
    7GP - 4G - 6A - 10P (+7) 19 PIM which was mostly a fight when he stuck up for his teammate Averaging just over 18 Minutes a night, and is on the 1st PP unit I am overjoyed for Benny, and exhaustingly frustrated that we weren’t able to realize his potential. I hope this is an eye opener for people calling for chuckys head. Players need to be put in a position to succeed, just look at Benny.
  3. 6 points
    Other guys on the team don't have daughters who were hospitalized and almost passed from a respiratory illness a year prior. I am fine with not wanting him on the team from an on ice stand point, but him opting out of the bubble was 100% legit and shouldn't be held against him.
  4. 6 points
    Just want to take this Moment to Give a Big helping hand and Thank to Jtech for all the Signing And trade updates on friday it was a huge help to all of us
  5. 6 points
    ffs why do people have to be so freaking negative all the time. Opinions are fine but he constant bashing of the Flames and thier scouts. I came looking for some good info on our draft choices and found a bunch of wannabe GMs and Scouts who are basically clueless whether this kids will pan out or not.
  6. 6 points
    You know, I have been watching this team for decades, and am quite accustomed to frustration. Watching them develop Sam Bennett has been one of the most frustrating endeavours yet. I have been reading a few boards, and I'm also a bit surprised that anyone considers his playoffs performance like it's some kind of revelation. He's always been there, but the Flames have never really given him an opportunity to succeed. Of all of the year-end interviews, his was my favourite because I got the distinct impression that he was happy to play for our team. If I were Sam Bennett, I probably would have made that phone call a few seasons ago - you know the one: I am happy to read Conroy's remarks, and I am hopeful that they'll make good on it. He may never be the top line center that you hope you draft at fourth overall, but I have always believed that he'll be a damn good player, and the type of player that you need if you want to ice a winning team. Love.
  7. 5 points
    Didn't want to bury this in other threads. Mangiapane is becoming one of the best play drivers in the league and one of the most important pieces the Flames have. What a career this guys is starting to carve out for himself after being over looked in a draft and then taken in the 6th round. one of the better Flames draft picks in the last decade. I'm not sure his point total will ever get him enough credit for some fans, but he is turning into one of the Flames best all around players. He should be viewed as part of the the core moving forward.
  8. 5 points
    Also being able to talk to Barkov can't hurt. Only a year older, but Barkov is likely the best 2 way C in the game today. Add in the coaching, and Tre definitely have Sam the best opportunity out there. That can't be overlooked either. He really did what was best for team and player.
  9. 5 points
    Scratched again....Wardo's favorite whipping boy. For gods sake BT, trade the young man already......this is getting beyond ridiculous and making the organization look extremely bad in my opinion.
  10. 5 points
    So picking on a goalie's stats, which were incredible up until his last 2 games, and performance in said 2 games may have been altered because of injury,. Not at all surprised, when you have it out for him to begin with.
  11. 5 points
  12. 5 points
    Seems like a lot of disappointment already from many on the board. I liked how BT maneuvered and gained the extra 3rd round picks. I’m not Sam Constantino nor do I want his handlebar moustache but at this point these are just names to most of us. I’m trusting the scouts at this point to make the right call. No franchise goes into a draft trying to make themselves a worse team so there has to be some real upside to some of these picks. It’s wait and see before i can grade our 2020 draft haul. Nothing sexy about any of our picks but pretty sure Rasmus and Mangiapane weren’t thrilling any of us when we heard their names called. Let’s atleast give the kids a chance before we write them off. For all we know this could turn out to be one of best draft years down the road. Give it time
  13. 5 points
    Not pointing anyone out here, but it's a little silly to get too worked up over these picks. I get that we all have our preferred players, but most of us haven't watched majority of these players play, we are going off their eliteprospects page or a couple of highlight videos on YouTube. Basically we all have really uneducated guesses at these players. The Flames scouting staff has earned the benefit of the doubt at this point.
  14. 4 points
    i take it you did not listen to his press conference then. He literally said all these things. People.. the off season hasn’t even started yet. I get he’s burned the faith of some and that’s fine but the amount of anger and frustration that is backed up by no actual facts or logic is crazy to me.
  15. 4 points
    Nope, this team needs to stay away from 30+ players
  16. 4 points
    Larry FF52 you would have loved last nights game. Jets with the sweep of the Oilers. 3 OT games and a 3OT in game 4 for the Jets to get it done.
  17. 4 points
    The biggest difference I see in the coaching with Benny is that even though he has had the two calls, Coach Q throws him right back out there. In Calgary he’s benched and then he’s reeled in and can’t play his game.
  18. 4 points
    One thing I see is that the Flames are no where near these team’s play. there’s a huge difference in how the teams are built in comparison to the Flames.
  19. 4 points
    😁👍🏻🔥🔥🔥 10 games with FLA. 6 goals, 9 apples, 15pts, +11 and kicking Hash Rate with 29 hits. Love it!
  20. 4 points
    Some food for thought. This GM assembled a team that also came in 2nd overall in the league a few years ago, and even in that year it was the PLAYERS that took their foot off the gas and got steam-rolled by COL. BT may be heading for the chopping block, but this rests on the players more than anyone else. I'd rather have a less talented player that goes balls-out than a talented player who's effort is half-assed. What we have are many players with character flaws and a poor mindset.
  21. 4 points
    Mainly Alex Wennberg, occasionally Noel Acciari. I'd have loved to have been a fly on the wall between Zito and Treliving. I don't rain fire and brimstone on the Flames for this move. It clearly wasn't working. Treliving gave him a great spot with an org that I believe clearly wanted Bennett badly. This was excellent TDL mgmt for Florida imho. Don't over-spend, get pieces you're missing. Both Bennett and Montour were excellent adds. It bolsters their already dangerous lineup with the right kinds of pieces. Again, Treliving did excellent by BOTH the player and the org. That had to have been the easiest, "I've traded you" exit interview he's ever had. "I've talked to Bill, and they're really excited about getting you". All a player needs to hear, and he's surrounded by great players. Watch Florida games. Bennett looks great. He's such a great skater. 2 games ago vs Chicago, he was hashmarks to the net with the 2 dmen literally draping him on each side. Remarkably, he made it look like a breakaway. If he'd have scored, you would never see the end of that clip. He's doing well, mainly, because he's such a great skater and he's been great on reads, on both D & O. Just watch their games, tell me if I'm wrong. He's exactly what the Panthers needed, a 200' game center with a physical game for all situations.
  22. 4 points
    Sure, and you should! For me, I'm a hockey fan that happens to love the Flames. I don't mind watching them lose if I got to watch a great game, or a great series. This year it has been very frustrating because it has been no fun at all to watch them lose. It has only been marginally better watching them win. That said, they're my boys, and my team! I'll always pull for them, but it's good to be an honest fan. Love.
  23. 4 points
  24. 4 points
    Small, soft, perimeter player, who only plays when it's easy. I mean he would fit right in here.
  25. 4 points
    I've been lurking around but not responding, knowing all that I have is venom. I can only use an analogy to stay away from being downright nasty. The Flames are a batch of chili with no spices. Bland and evokes nothing when you taste it. No garlic, no jalapeno, no cayenne, no smoked paprika, no brown sugar, not even a hint of worcestershire, no chili powder, no oregano, no basil, no salt, no pepper. Fix goaltending, done, you've added more beans. Tkachuk tries to be chili powder, gets told to tone it down. We need to be blander than vanilla. So you sit down to a nice, hearty, comforting bowl of chili. The first mouthful you say, "wtf is this? Did you rinse the fat flavour off of the beef too"? That is the flames in a nutshell. Tomato, ground beef and beans, call it chili. So if you don't understand my analogy, at least I told you how to make chili, you decide how much of what. But use stewing beef, not ground.lol And don't forget the onions and sweet and hot peppers and beef stock. You're welcome.
  26. 4 points
    Hey guys, my opinion may differ from yours but that’s what debate on these forums are for. It would be a pretty boring place if we all shared the exact same opinion. In fact, that’s exactly what happened here not too long ago when we were almost all on the same page regarding the team and the way Wardo was coaching/scratching players. I sure as H-E-double-hockey-sticks don’t have all the answers, and quite frankly it’s usually posts that have an opposing opinion to mine that remind me of things I’ve forgotten or hadn’t considered along the way. The back and forth is not only informative but entertaining as well. I can say quite candidly that robrob and I have very similar views and ideas, but we also debate our differences of opinion here as well. I also have a lot of respect for JJ here because he’s very firm on his belief as to what this team needs - despite the opposition he receives (even from me) here - he sticks to his guns and makes some valid points and arguments. Quite frankly, we’ve got a lot of passionate flames fans here and I love reading everything from everyone here. I know how most of you feel about my Eichel obsession lately because you’ve responded - good or bad, agree or disagree, it’s all good. This is our team. This is our common ground. We all want this team to win a cup and we all have our opinions about how to get there. It’s all good folks - please keep contributing because I want to hear what you have to say. 🍻
  27. 4 points
    if nothing else, we should enjoy the heck out of this
  28. 4 points
    Wow i'm surprised I had just honestly assumed it had been closed down. But happy to hear it's back. I was missing it.
  29. 4 points
    I can’t think of a pro sports franchise in recent memory that has done less with what they’ve been gifted than the Oilers. it’s almost amazing at this point.
  30. 3 points
    Without question. Coleman's a terrific player. Helluva forechecker and boards player. $4.9 is what it is in the current market. We want to be harder to play, he certainly helps with that.
  31. 3 points
    hmm thought this was the Mangipane thread..................
  32. 3 points
    I’m pretty confident Darryl wasn’t BT’s hire.
  33. 3 points
    BPA will be a <5'10" LW.
  34. 3 points
    My frustration is equal, but I'm okay with Sutter. Peter's left the Canes and they became likely the most disciplined team in the league. Sutter has credibility, our coaches since his last departure don't. In Bennett's Instagram interview he said he liked Sutter and thinks he's similar to Quenneville. The blaming coach game ends here. Sutter's job, for me, is just teach these guys to compete at the NHL level. But he's hardly going to accomplish it overnight, lots to fix.
  35. 3 points
    Totally agree. One of my favourite things about him was his professionalism. Guy's a gem! I wish the Flames had done a little bit better on the development front, that's all I mean by "it went down this way." Love.
  36. 3 points
    I was really pulling for Sammy. I'm a big fan, and I'm very sad that his days as a Flame are over, and that it went down this way. Hopefully he does well in Florida. Love.
  37. 3 points
    I think the discussion really has to be had of sending Dube and Valimaki down to the AHL. It's not warranted by their play, at least it isn't for me, but with how things are going around here I don't think i'd want them around. Get them in a better environment, give them a few things to work on and let them have some fun.
  38. 3 points
    Bennett's first comments. Totally get where he is coming from. Be interesting to see what Sutter sees his role as. Center vs wing, score vs checker, pk? Few options
  39. 3 points
    Aside from I believe Ward got the shaft from the players , I love this. I've firmly believed if Sutter had stayed coach for 1-2 more seasons he'd have had a cup here . Him only knowing crash and bang is a misnomer . The team he had in 2004 was not a very talented team..they played to the best of their ability.. that's what Sutter does. Every player in this team will be told what they are and what they will do..or else . I don't expect Bennett to suddenly get his wish to be a center .. he will be put where he will do the best..Sutter will decide that . We will never again ask " what is Sam Bennett?" Question is , whether Sam will like the answer Skill players thrive under him.. I think of Dustin Brown.. his career was essentially over until Sutter showed up. But we will know what D is..and if you are a physical player , you will play physical. Id argue this is the most talented team he's been given.. now we find out what they can and can't do
  40. 3 points
  41. 3 points
    I am pumped.....actually excited to watch a Flames game again! Called for Dutter after Gully and after Peters. Finally! Makes absolute sense in my mind, the guy just wins. If he can’t turn this team around, this team ain’t turning around.
  42. 3 points
    I see no ending where Bennett stays a Calgary Flames. He's either traded during the season or he's lost in the expansion draft. He's scratched again today and i'm getting more to the point where the Flames just need to cut bait and move on. This is getting ridiculous.
  43. 3 points
    You forgot to add the music choices to the poor coaching decisions.
  44. 3 points
    A few things: - I’d like Ward to be consistent with the current line formation, and give them some time together to develop some chemistry. - That said, if the Lindholm line continues on the same trajectory, my immediate swap is Mangiapane and Dube. Mange’s play driving metrics is the shot in the arm that line could use. Mange already has shown chemistry with Chucky. Dube seemingly took his shackles off in the playoffs last year and grew in confidence 10-fold playing with Looch, with Backlund being the difference at Center. - Benny is still finding his way on the top line, but he gives JH an option for a pass. How many times have we seen JH in the offensive zone alone, do a button hook, and a risky play/pass follows at the offensive blue line? Benny can skate, and will drive to the net, while Mony continues to develop his D zone play. I think it’s a matter of time before that line starts clicking. - I did like MP’s line formations above if these line configurations need a different look. If Lindy goes back to RW on the top line, they should try Benny at C with Chucky and Mange/Dube, leaving Backlund with Looch/Leivo/Mange/Dube for wingers. Now, some coming clean: - Tanev. I jumped the gun on you and I was wrong. You have not only exceeded my expectations, but you’ve now completely changed my tune about trading away Hanifin as well. I’m also protecting you in the Kraken draft. Bravo! - Looch. I remember my initial response to the trade wasn’t in your favour. I’ve since become a big supporter of you on these boards. My initial assessment was wrong, and I’m super happy to have your presence on this team. You keep doing you! - Backlund. I called you out a few games ago, and caved and joined those who’ve wanted to trade you for some time. I should’ve bit my tongue for a while longer. I’m happy to see you’ve found your game again. Don’t let it slip because we need that kind of play from you! Go 🔥 go!
  45. 3 points
    Just trade the guy already. At this point I don't really care what the return is, I just feel bad for the way Bennett has been jerked around since he got here. It's time for Treliving to do the right thing and move Bennett.
  46. 3 points
    To me there is a quick easy fix for next game: Tkachuk-Lindholm-Dube This line was very good last night keep it intact. Gaudreau-Monahan-Simon Simon looked great on this line in the scrimmage. Bennett-Backlund-Mangiapane Looked great in the 3rd period. Lucic-Ryan-Leivo This line won't get hurried in their own zone. I think those lines allow you to roll 4 lines pretty effectively.
  47. 3 points
    Different styles... Different strengths and weaknesses... They let a Chevy truck go and and got a Dodge instead... Try and think of Tanev as another piece of the puzzle with a different purpose and not a replacement for Brodie... Hamonic is gone, and I think that is for the best... Maybe we can try and give Treliving a little time to see what he might park in the driveway next... If it doesn't work out, I'll be as pissed off as anyone else. but it's still to early for the pitchfork and scythe mob...
  48. 3 points
  49. 3 points
    Note: It's still being completed and edited so keep checking back as I update throughout the night. Sorry it took so long! 11. RW Seth Jarvis, Portland Winterhawks (WHL) [01/02/2002] [5'10", 172 pds][Shoots Right][PROSPECT GRADE: A] [58 GP, 42 G, 56 A, 98 Pts, 24 PIM, +53][NHL Comparable: Jonathan Marchessault] Potential Peak: Top line scoring winger Projection: 2nd line scoring winger, 55+ point player in his prime Bust Factor: Moderate; needs to develop strength and adapt to the pro style game Offense: 9.0 Defense: 8.0 Physicality: 7.5 Skating: 8.5 Intangibles: 8.0 NHL-Readiness: 7.5 Potential: 9.0 Aggregate Score: 57.5 Report: Opportunistic all-around offensive threat. Jarvis has excellent hands, and is able to stickhandle around defenders as well as catch errant pucks and passes with consistency. He uses this to create havoc both offensively and defensively and usually finds himself in scoring areas where he can capitalize on mistakes. His hockey sense is overall very good, although he has shown some propensity for forcing the play that bears watching as he moves up levels. Jarvis could use a bit more strength overall; he will drive the net and excels in the tough areas of the ice when he is in control, but he’s not very effective without the puck as he doesn’t have the strength or leverage to beat guys straight up which brings down his all-around effectiveness in those areas quite a bit. It would also bring his skating from very good to elite, as he lacks a little in terms of straight line speed for a player of his size. Jarvis has a lot of little qualities to his game that stand out that make him interesting, too, such as his ability to move through the neutral zone with fluidity. Overall, Jarvis is already arguably the biggest offensive threat in the WHL and should absolutely tear the league to shreds over the next 2 years. Draft Range: Jarvis is one of the few players left at this draft range who have both the potential to become a top line scoring threat, and the resumé to back it up right now. There are minor questions, however, about his defense, physicality, and skating that could drag him to being a mid-late 1st round draft choice (not necessarily concerns, but differing opinions among the scouting community as a whole). He also has the potential to sneak into the tail end of the top 10 if teams feel his skating and potential are elite. I would classify him as a relatively safe pick overall; not necessarily likely to be the best player in the draft in 10 years but a pretty good bet to be some sort of useful NHL asset just on the basis of how he flows within the game and finds ways to contribute. Expect him to be in play anywhere from 8 to 25, with a strong expectation of somewhere in the mid-late teens depending on team needs and how the first half of the round shakes out. 12. LW Rodion Amirov, Salavat Yulaev Ufa (KHL) [02/10/2001] [6'0", 168 pds][Shoots Left][PROSPECT GRADE: A] [21 GP, 0 G, 2 A, 2 Pts, 4 PIM, -6][NHL Comparable: Max Pacioretty] Potential Peak: Top line scoring winger Projection: 2nd line scoring winger, 55+ point player in his prime Bust Factor: Moderate; needs to develop strength and continue developing his offensive game Offense: 8.5 Defense: 8.0 Physicality: 8.0 Skating: 9.0 Intangibles: 8.0 NHL-Readiness: 7.5 Potential: 8.5 Aggregate Score: 57.5 Report: A speedy scoring winger with a two-way flair. Amirov is one of the older prospects available, but has spent most of the year playing against men in the KHL. His main offensive tools are his excellent hands and natural finishing abilities, and he combines that with a willingness to get in front of the goal to generate scoring chances. He’s a good playmaker, but not a very creative player; he’s more likely to make the reliable support pass than wow you, but the flip side to that is that he plays a very pro-style offensive game as a result. Tenacious on the forecheck and while he’s clearly underweight for his age group he’s got above average defensive chops with his smarts and workrate. Draft Range: A potential sleeper who doesn’t get a ton of attention from the general public due to his location, but could easily surpass his ranked position on draft day. I am a little higher than most on him but there’s a chance some guys will knock his hockey sense and IQ and possibly his skating, which would push him back into the 20s. He is a good bet in the middle of the 1st round though, due to his combination of upside and floor. Bear in mind that team lists vary wildly from here on out, and decisions will change based on the different lists and who s drafted where. 13. D Kaiden Guhle, Prince Albert Raiders (WHL) [18/01/2002] [6'3", 187 pds][Shoots Left][PROSPECT GRADE: A] [64 GP, 11 G, 29 A, 40 Pts, 56 PIM, +23][NHL Comparable: Jaccob Slavin] Potential Peak: Top pairing two-way defenseman Projection: 2nd pairing shutdown defenseman, 25+ point player in his prime Bust Factor: Moderate; talent is there but the upside hasn’t quite been tapped into yet Offense: 8.0 Defense: 8.5 Physicality: 8.0 Skating: 9.0 Intangibles: 8.0 NHL-Readiness: 7.5 Potential: 8.5 Aggregate Score: 57.5 Report: The former 1st overall WHL draft pick would be consistently ranked higher if he was playing on a lesser team and organization. Guhle, younger brother of Brendan, is an excellent skater and possesses all the mobility and puck skills required out of any modern defenseman. He’s not a very creative player (relative to some of his 1st round peers) but he does have good awareness overall and is a threat offensively, with his ability to pinch in deep and read the play. Defensively, he shines with his gaps and with his size and skating can control incredibly large areas of ice with his stick and physicality; however, he will need to pick his spots better on the big hits. Don’t expect an offensive dynamo, but he is the type of player teams need to win. Draft Range: Bit of a wide spread, but if things break right Guhle could be an easy top 15 selection (and in my mind he is). Some teams might knock some points off on his skating or offensive chops which would put him into the mid 20s at the draft podium. The thing to remember with Kaiden is that he plays for a pro-style organization in Prince Albert and he doesn’t get the same opportunities and ice time that he would playing elsewhere, and I think that just looking at the stats doesn’t tell 100% of the value of his impact on and off the ice. That being said, expecting any large offensive totals at the NHL level would likely be a foolhardy venture. 14. (16) W Jack Quinn, Ottawa 67s (OHL) [19/09/2001] [5'11", 176 pds][Shoots Right][PROSPECT GRADE: A] [62 GP, 52 G, 37 A, 89 Pts, 32 PIM, +48][NHL Comparable: Kyle Palmieri/Jeff Carter] Potential Peak: Elite scoring forward, All-Star sniper Projection: 2nd line scoring forward, 55+ point player in his prime Bust Factor: Moderate; late-bloomer who is highly rated partly based on projection rather than sheer skill Offense: 8.5 Defense: 8.0 Physicality: 8.0 Skating: 8.5 Intangibles: 8.0 NHL-Readiness: 7.5 Potential: 8.5 Aggregate Score: 57.0 Report: A middling AA prospect turned potential NHL star, Jack Quinn is a pure sniper. His ability to finish in a variety of different ways makes him arguably the most dangerous goal scorer in the entire CHL. Improvements to his skating have enabled his offensive jump, as he has a combination of speed and mobility that allows him to get around defenders. Quinn has good hockey sense that allows him to be a pest at both ends of the ice. He’s a pretty good playmaker, but he plays a straightforward game that doesn’t lend itself to fancy assists or highlight-reel plays via passes or stickhandling. Overall, Quinn is a very well-rounded player and his skillset should translate well into the NHL in some capacity. Draft Range: Some scouts are very high on him and it’s very telling that it’s the OHL-centric scouts and staff who are high on Quinn as a player. His sheer progress from a 17-year old rookie to now has a lot of teams wondering if his ceiling couldn’t be even higher. There’s a legitimate argument to be made that Quinn could be drafted earlier than Rossi, based on whether teams like Quinn’s potential more. A realistic estimate is that Quinn is going to go around the 8-12 range, with a possibility that some teams go for the boom-or-bust player instead that bumps Quinn a little lower. 15. C Dylan Holloway, Wisconsin Badgers (NCAA) [23/09/2001] [6'1", 203 pds][Shoots Left][PROSPECT GRADE: A] [35 GP, 8 G, 9 A, 17 Pts, 49 PIM, -3][NHL Comparable: Jonathan Toews] Potential Peak: Top line scoring forward Projection: 2nd line scoring forward, 45+ point player in his prime Bust Factor: Moderate; a likely NHLer, but needs development time Offense: 8.0 Defense: 8.0 Physicality: 8.5 Skating: 8.5 Intangibles: 8.5 NHL-Readiness: 7.5 Potential: 8.5 Aggregate Score: 57.5 Report: Holloway is the definition of “safe” pick, if such a thing exists. There is no major weakness to his game, and his drive and well-rounded skillset make him the type of player that wins games in the playoffs. His skating is very good, with a good mix of power and mobility. Offensively, he can be creative (as shown by his time in the AJHL, where he was the best player in the league at 17) but he’s shown the intelligence to adapt to a different role and style of play in the NCAA, where he plays a simpler, but more powerful game. His excellent puck handling and good vision allow him to find open players and open ice, and hint at more upside at the NHL level than perhaps initially would seem based on his raw numbers. A physical player with the frame to be a punishing force as he fills out, Holloway could be a great pickup for a contending team in need of depth and young potential up the middle. Draft Range: The Calgary kid is very likely to go in the teens, if chatter means anything. A character player, Holloway is not likely to jump too high on just his well-roundedness and his off-ice work ethic, but he’s too good to fall too far just because of his ability to be a difference maker in the highest stake games. This is an intriguing one because any number of teams could use a player of his caliber but there’s no instant “that’s the one” team for him among the franchises in the middle of the draft. 16. C Hendrix Lapierre, Chicoutimi Sagueneens (QMJHL) [09/02/2002] [6'0", 181 pds][Shoots Left][PROSPECT GRADE: A] [19 GP, 2 G, 15 A, 17 Pts, 10 PIM, +1][NHL Comparable: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins] Potential Peak: Top line, two-way center Projection: 2nd line playmaking center, 50+ point player in his prime Bust Factor: High; multiple major injuries in the last 2 seasons make him a huge risk Offense: 8.5 Defense: 8.0 Physicality: 7.5 Skating: 9.0 Intangibles: 8.0 NHL-Readiness: 7.5 Potential: 8.5 Aggregate Score: 57.0 Report: Hendrix Lapierre has all the pure skill required to be a championship-caliber contributor to an NHL squad. The only question is whether he can physically handle the pro game. An excellent skater and puckhandler, Lapierre is a dynamic player through the neutral zone and is an excellent playmaker as well, making him a dangerous threat offensively. He is a strong defensive player relative to his league due to his hockey sense and skating, which allows him to be an aggressive player and focus on covering lanes and attacking the puck carrier. Overall, his lack of strength probably holds him back but in theory some more bulk would allow him to protect the puck better as well as be tougher to play against along the defensive boards. Draft Range: Most scouts will like the player but more than a few teams will have Lapierre as a DND due to his aforementioned injury history. The lack of a scouting combine and individual workouts honestly could work either as a favor or a detriment depending on how Lapierre looks at it; if he’s healthy with no lingering conditions or muscle imbalances but cannot actually meet with performance staff to prove it, that might end up lowering his draft stock relative to his overall talent level, but if he’s struggling then teams will have no choice but to fall back on just his potential which can be good for draft position. I think there will be a team that takes him in that 20-25 range, but Lapierre could also just drop out of the 1st round entirely. 17. D Topi Niemela, Karpat (Liiga) [25/03/2002] [6'0", 163 pds][Shoots Right][PROSPECT GRADE: A] [43 GP, 1 G, 6 A, 7 Pts, 8 PIM, +4][NHL Comparable: T. J. Brodie] Potential Peak: Top pairing two-way defenseman Projection: 2nd pairing two-way defenseman, 30+ point player in his prime Bust Factor: Moderate; slight of size and lacks a standout offensive skill Offense: 8.5 Defense: 8.0 Physicality: 7.5 Skating: 9.0 Intangibles: 8.0 NHL-Readiness: 7.5 Potential: 8.5 Aggregate Score: 57.0 Report: A smooth-skating, heady and intelligent defenseman from Finland, in the mold of a Heiskanen. Niemela has excellent skating abilities and uses his feet, excellent reads, and passing skills to be an elite neutral zone defenseman. Highly intelligent, Niemela is able to use his shiftiness to open up driving and passing lanes. He’s also very good defensively as a result of his smarts and skating, being relied on in all situations when playing amongst his own age group. He needs strength in order to continue his growth in all facets of the game, and doesn’t have the booming shot that some other prospects at his position might have this year. Slight but not afraid of contact, Niemela has been a big contributor in all situations at the junior levels and could be a huge sleeper pick out of the Finnish league. A somewhat raw diamond, Niemela will definitely need 2 years of seasoning if not more. Draft Range: Niemela is an interesting one, because by all accounts he should be a 2nd round selection based on consensus rankings. That being said, he stole a job in the top league on a team that is considered a top contender as a 17 year old, and like I said with Heiskanen 3 years ago that basically never happens. His skillset screams modern NHL defenseman, and though he played a relatively responsible game this year at the top level, in previous seasons he demonstrated a flair for the dramatic which tells me he has the intelligence to adapt and evolve his game as the situation requires. The best odds are still a likely 2nd round selection, but there are teams interested in Niemela (especially after watching this year’s playoffs) and there’s a chance he could sneak into the late 1st round. 18. C Mavrik Bourque, Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL) [08/01/2002] [5'11", 185 pds][Shoots Right][PROSPECT GRADE: A] [49 GP, 29 G, 42 A, 71 Pts, 30 PIM, -4][NHL Comparable: Travis Konecny] Potential Peak: Top line playmaking center Projection: 2nd line playmaking center, 50+ point player in his prime Bust Factor: Moderate; not ideally suited for a bottom line role but plays with jam Offense: 8.5 Defense: 8.0 Physicality: 8.0 Skating: 8.5 Intangibles: 8.0 NHL-Readiness: 7.5 Potential: 8.5 Aggregate Score: 57.0 Report: The QMJHL pivot has been the number 1 center in Shawinigan ever since he joined the team 2 seasons ago. An excellent playmaker with some scoring punch, Bourque’s hands, hockey sense and creativity make him one of the biggest threats in the QMJHL. He’s a little inconsistent, and I think that prevents him from breaking through into that true top grouping as he can leave you feeling like he was capable of more. Bourque is much improved defensively this year and I would be comfortable calling him above average, with his skating, hockey sense and competitiveness allowing him to cover a lot of room in the neutral and defensive zones. I really like Bourque because of his motor and hockey sense, both of which suggest a decent chance that he could outperform his expected draft position. Draft Range: Unsure, but I would expect to see him starting to get some consideration somewhere around the 20 spot. While he shows a lot of good things on a relatively consistent basis, the times where he doesn’t put it all together makes teams give a bit of pause. I think certain teams will look at his smaller size and take some marks off on his overall physicality because of it. That being said, I would be shocked if Bourque fell below the early 2nd round based on his pedigree and skills. 19. W Noel Gunler, Lulea HF (SHL) [07/10/2001] [6'2", 174 pds][Shoots Right][PROSPECT GRADE: A] [45 GP, 4 G, 9 A, 13 Pts, 16 PIM, +12][NHL Comparable: Kyle Connor] Potential Peak: Top line scoring forward Projection: 2nd line scoring forward, 50+ point player in his prime Bust Factor: Moderate; a likely NHLer, but needs development time Offense: 9.0 Defense: 7.5 Physicality: 7.5 Skating: 9.0 Intangibles: 8.0 NHL-Readiness: 7.5 Potential: 8.5 Aggregate Score: 57.0 Report: Gunler, more than anyone else, likely missed out on the in-person interviews at the combine. As a player, there are very few forwards in this draft who possess more raw offensive ability, and all of them are sitting comfortably in the top of the draft. He’s a one shot sniper, has some good playmaking skills and good hands that allow him to set up shop in the offensive zone and be a threat. Outside of the offensive zone, Gunler is still a work in progress. However, his reads, lanes, positioning and overall aggressiveness are much improved and have helped make him more of a threat on the counterattack. Physically slight, Gunler needs to build up more strength as he isn’t very effective along the boards for a player of his size. The development in his all around game suggest he has more room for improvement which should excite the team that manage to pick him up. Draft Range: I view him a little more favorably than some scouts in terms of his offensive prowess and skating abilities, and there’s also the question of why he is totally ignored by national teams. There is more to the concern than simply team building balance but without the ability to really delve into his personality it’s hard for me to make a judgment call, because by all accounts Gunler has been one of the most skilled players in his age group for at least 2 to 3 seasons now. There is a reasonable chance Gunler goes in the middle of the 1st round because he is one of the few players left with any real gamebreaking potential. There’s also a chance that teams don’t like the info they dig up with their research that could drop him into the 2nd or even off some lists entirely, though I would guess that there will be at least one team that will take him fairly high no matter what, at least late first or early second. 20. C Thomas Bordeleau, USA-U18s (USNTDP) [03/01/2002] [5'9", 179 pds][Shoots Left][PROSPECT GRADE: A] [47 GP, 16 G, 30 A, 46 Pts, 16 PIM][NHL Comparable: Brayden Point] Potential Peak: Top line playmaking center Projection: 2nd line playmaking center, 50+ point player in his prime Bust Factor: Moderate; needs to continue to work on his consistency and two-way play Offense: 8.5 Defense: 8.0 Physicality: 8.0 Skating: 8.5 Intangibles: 8.5 NHL-Readiness: 7.0 Potential: 8.5 Aggregate Score: 57.0 Report: The U.S./Canadian center is sliding under the radar due to a number of different factors, but he’s likely the best 17 year old center in the country. An elite playmaker, Bordeleau has the puck control and vision to be a great in-zone offense generator as well as the mobility to escape his defenders. Not an especially big player, Bordeleau has enough power and strength (as well as willpower) to protect the puck and create havoc. His defense comes and goes, although it has been on a steep trajectory upwards since roughly the start of the season and has allowed him to see regular PK time due to his mobility and smarts. He will need some time before he is ready for the pro circuits in all likelihood, but Bordeleau has the tools and pedigree to be a future top 6 forward. Draft Range: The NTDP was not a great team from a win-loss perspective this year, and that tends to depress some of the expectations for this particular crop of players. That being said, Bordeleau was without question the most impactful forward on the team this year (I believe he also has the most potential, but your mileage may vary on that). Hailing from a prominent hockey family, Bordeleau is likely falling into the 2nd round, although there’s a chance a team really likes his game (and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him jump up into the mid to late 1st as a result). 21. D Braden Schneider, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL) [20/09/2001] [6'2", 209 pds][Shoots Right][PROSPECT GRADE: A] [60 GP, 7 G, 35 A, 42 Pts, 42 PIM, +9][NHL Comparable: Brent Seabrook] Potential Peak: Top pairing two-way defenseman Projection: 2nd pairing two-way defenseman, 30+ point player in his prime Bust Factor: Moderate; should turn into an NHLer, but needs to improve footspeed Offense: 8.0 Defense: 8.5 Physicality: 8.5 Skating: 8.0 Intangibles: 8.0 NHL-Readiness: 7.5 Potential: 8.5 Aggregate Score: 57.0 Report: Braden Schneider is at this point arguably too big for the WHL. Due to his size and strength, Schneider can simply outmuscle guys defensively. That being said, Schneider is not a typical “coke machine” defender with just size. His ability to carry the puck is above average for his draft class and his ability to pass and create all point to a good deal of hockey sense and upside. Defensively, Schneider is very good at pressuring the puck and creating loose puck opportunities. Unlike Guhle, who can occasionally over commit to the hit, Schneider manages his opportunities to use his size better. And finally, while Schneider is a good skater with the mobility to play in the modern NHL, some more footspeed would help open up lanes and allow him to expand his defensive range. Draft Range: Schneider is a very “safe” pick for the middle of the 1st round. While he may not possess the upside of some of the players ranked after him, there is enough to like that Schneider shouldn’t have to worry about falling past 25. He is an interesting take on a traditional “big man” player type, in that he shows how those types of players have adapted to be able to maintain their effectiveness in the modern game. As one of the few highly regarded right-shot defenders in this draft, expect him to maintain a position between 15 and 25; I think most teams have a pretty clear and identical outlook on Schneider. 22. C Connor Zary, Kamloops Blazers (WHL) [25/09/2001] [6'0", 181 pds][Shoots Left][PROSPECT GRADE: A-] [56 GP, 23 G, 45 A, 68 Pts, 64 PIM, -3][NHL Comparable: Mikael Backlund] Potential Peak: Top line two-way center Projection: 2nd line two-way forward, 40-50 point player in his prime Bust Factor: Low; could translate his skills to a depth role if needed, but no dynamic abilities Offense: 8.5 Defense: 8.0 Physicality: 8.0 Skating: 8.0 Intangibles: 8.5 NHL-Readiness: 7.5 Potential: 8.5 Aggregate Score: 57.0 Report: Connor Zary is the kind of player you bring in and keep around because of his intangibles and his influence on winning. Let’s be very clear here: Zary does have skill and he is a very effective player in the offensive zone, with very good scoring instincts, a very good shot, and hockey sense that allows him to create and make plays. But he is a meat and potatoes type of player first and foremost, and his ability to grind, work and just keep pushing are what will get him to the NHL. A strong defensive player, Zary will need to continue working on his skating but with improved strength he should see a corresponding boost in pure skating power and speed. With his hockey sense and work ethic, Zary is very close to being a surefire NHL player Draft Range: Not an especially well-regarded prospect entering the WHL, Zary would be a great fit for a team in need of a 2nd line, shutdown type of center. His ceiling isn’t very high, but without any major holes to his game there are a lot of teams that would be happy to bring him on board. His late-birthday and relative polish make him a good bet to jump into the NHL sooner rather than later, unlike some of the other project picks available around this range. There’s a legitimate argument to be made that Zary could be a sneak-in-before-the-door-closes top 10 selection, but I would expect him to be selected no later than mid to late 20s, with the most likely result being a selection in the teens. 23. D Justin Barron, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL) [15/11/2001] [6'2", 198 pds][Shoots Right][PROSPECT GRADE: A] [34 GP, 4 G, 15 A, 19 Pts, 6 PIM, -19][NHL Comparable: Noah Hanifin] Potential Peak: Top pairing two-way defenseman Projection: 2nd pairing two-way defenseman, 30+ point player in his prime Bust Factor: High; has had an injury and regression filled season Offense: 8.0 Defense: 8.0 Physicality: 8.0 Skating: 9.0 Intangibles: 8.0 NHL-Readiness: 7.5 Potential: 8.5 Aggregate Score: 57.0 Report: Barron is a prototypical modern era top pairing defenseman in terms of his style of play. An excellent skater who is at his best when he is moving with the puck and joining the rush, Barron has the dynamic and fluid transition skills to be a major contributor to an NHL team’s offense and neutral zone game. An above-average defender with an active stick, Barron’s major improvements will need to be maintaining his focus and keeping in front of his man. Physically, he is not afraid to battle and has the size and strength to be a presence. Barron is generally a decently smart player, but his occasional headscratchers make him a pretty risky selection and he is not especially creative as a player. Draft Range: Similar to Lapierre, there are at least 2 teams who have him off their board entirely; while he has the upside and talent to start being considered in that 20 range, Barron’s regression from the prior season and his own flaws could even conceivably drop him out of the 1st into the middle rounds of the draft. Justin was a potential frontrunner for best defenseman in the draft heading into the year but injuries and a terrible team have made him a true wild card in the draft. With teams prioritizing mobility and skating for modern defenders, Barron is still well in play, but it is no longer a sure bet that he goes anywhere in the top 3 rounds tonight and tomorrow. 24. F Tyson Foerster, Barrie Colts (OHL) [18/01/2002] [6'1", 194 pds][Shoots Right][PROSPECT GRADE: A] [62 GP, 36 G, 44 A, 80 Pts, 53 PIM, -17][NHL Comparable: Steven Stamkos] Potential Peak: Top line scoring center Projection: 2nd line scoring winger, 50+ point player in his prime Bust Factor: High; best pure shooter in the draft, but will need a lot of polish and development Offense: 9.0 Defense: 8.0 Physicality: 8.0 Skating: 8.0 Intangibles: 8.0 NHL-Readiness: 7.5 Potential: 8.5 Aggregate Score: 57.0 Report: The one standout skill Foerster has is his ridiculous shooting skills and feel for shooting and scoring goals. The way he adjusts his angles, the way he gets his shot off (any shot, wrist, snapper, onetimer….) are all pro quality at 17. He’s also an underrated playmaker and is going to be the biggest powerplay threat in the OHL next season. Defensively, Foerster is generally good and puts in the work and hustle to not be limited to just a powerplay guy. He’s also pretty good at using his size as leverage. The skating is just average, with above average mobility, but he’s strong on his skates and I think there’s room to improve and refine his stride and speed with more training. I suspect his hockey sense is better than initially would appear, because the nuances he shows in his scoring touch and his ability to find scoring seams point to a guy who gets it offensively in terms of utilizing and creating time and space. Draft Range: I think that I am generally pretty favorable on Foerster, but there are scouts that ding him for his skating and well-roundedness on offense more than me which could drop him into the early second. Unlike some other wildcards in this draft, Foerster is a pretty safe bet to be a top 45 selection. Quite frankly, there just aren’t enough true blue chip scoring threats in this draft to overlook someone with his abilities. A huge boom or bust type pick, he starts getting on the radar roughly around the 20 pick but I would say he is most likely a 30-35 range player unless some teams really like him. 25. C/RW Dawson Mercer, Chicoutimi Sagueneens (QMJHL) [27/10/2001] [6'0", 179 pds][Shoots Right][PROSPECT GRADE: A] [42 GP, 24 G, 36 A, 60 Pts, 25 PIM, +5][NHL Comparable: Chris Kreider/Dustin Brown] Potential Peak: A faster Milan Lucic Projection: Borderline 2nd/3rd line power forward, 40+ point player in his prime Bust Factor: Moderate; should translate into depth role if needed in theory Offense: 8.5 Defense: 8.0 Physicality: 8.0 Skating: 8.5 Intangibles: 8.0 NHL-Readiness: 7.5 Potential: 8.5 Aggregate Score: 57.0 Report: A well-rounded player, Dawson Mercer is not likely to be a gamebreaking talent but his base level of ability makes him an intriguing pick in a draft that lacks a little in certainty. An above average skater overall (though he can fix his mechanics and polish it even further), Mercer plays pretty big for his weight class and is a capable defensive player. His ability to read and pressure the opposing teams is a huge plus, and his experience at both center and wing make him a flexible option anywhere in the lineup. Compared to a Jack Quinn, I would say Mercer is better defensively and is more likely to pressure shots and pick up the loose pucks partly due to that experience up the middle. I think his decision making offensively is generally good enough, but it is a point of concern that might limit his effectiveness in the pros. Draft Range: Mercer has had a lot of attention the last few years due to his productivity and the betting man would probably put him somewhere in that second grouping, somewhere in the teens. The general consensus is that his combination of floor and upside make him a pretty solid bet to be an NHLer at worst. Mercer is not going to be a s*xy pick, but with NHL teams in this particular range needing a sure hit, he’s very likely to hold to that range. That being said, there’s always a chance he drops like any other prospect. 26. C Brendan Brisson, Chicago Steel (USHL) [22/10/2001] [6'0", 185 pds][Shoots Left][PROSPECT GRADE: A-] [45 GP, 24 G, 35 A, 59 Pts, 50 PIM, +17][NHL Comparable: Rick Nash] Potential Peak: Top line scoring winger Projection: 2nd line scoring winger, 45+ point player in his prime Bust Factor: High; proven to score at HS level, but adjustment to the USHL was not pretty Offense: 8.5 Defense: 8.0 Physicality: 7.5 Skating: 8.5 Intangibles: 8.0 NHL-Readiness: 7.5 Potential: 8.5 Aggregate Score: 56.5 Report: The son of one of the most prominent NHLPA player agents ever, Brendan Brisson is one of the biggest risers on the draft board. The quick skating forward has a ton of hockey sense and creativity, and is able to use his smarts and his hands effectively in generating opportunities offensively. He’s also a very solid defensive player positionally, with active hands and solid back pressure. He is not a very physical player, not necessarily shying away but not engaging either. However, his smarts and good positioning allow him to get away with that particular weakpoint. More importantly, Brendan has a tendency to relax and play to the level of his competition, likely a side effect from playing on the league’s best team and not being challenged enough. Draft Range: From what I can gather, odds are getting pretty good that Brendan will hear his name called on the first day. His performance at the WJACs really shone a light on what he can do when he is being pushed and playing higher stakes games. There’s a chance that a team might even chance him in the teens (as you might have guessed, this is starting to become a pattern for basically every prospect in that 20-30 range). I would be surprised to see him slip out of the 1st round but at worst he will be a 2nd round selection. 27. D William Wallinder, MODO Hockey (Swe-2) [28/07/2002] [6'4", 192 pds][Shoots Left][PROSPECT GRADE: A-] [18 GP, 0 G, 2 A, 2 Pts, 2 PIM, +4][NHL Comparable: Rasmus Ristolainen] Potential Peak: Top pairing two-way defenseman Projection: 2nd pairing offensive defenseman, 35+ point player in his prime Bust Factor: Moderate; needs much more polish on the defensive end to get more than a cup of coffee Offense: 8.5 Defense: 7.5 Physicality: 8.0 Skating: 8.5 Intangibles: 8.0 NHL-Readiness: 7.5 Potential: 8.5 Aggregate Score: 56.5 Report: Wallinder is the type of player you create when you design a modern defenseman in a video game. At 6’4” William has the ranginess to be a capable 1 on 1 defender, and combined with his above average skating and mobility he has all the tools needed to eventually become an elite defenseman in the NHL. Offensively, Wallinder excels at jumping into the rush or using his passing abilities to open up lanes on the attack. He also has a heavy shot and is willing to play modern, positionless hockey when making plays in the offensive zone. Not necessarily a physical beast, Wallinder will need to grow into his frame but is very much capable of playing physical. Defensively, he is marked with inconsistency and sometimes a lack of interest and focus. When he is locked in, he shows flashes of that great shutdown play, but at this point he is mostly average with plenty of room for growth. Draft Range: A player who honestly is a good bet to be drafted higher than I would rank him, Wallinder has benefited greatly from the changes to the game and has the raw potential to be a star player in the mold of a (Conn Smythe winner) Victor Hedman. I think most NHL teams would look at an unfinished product like that and fully believe they can work with him on the details of the game. On the flip side, if he never really improves defensively he is likely to be a frustrating player in general due to his flaws and a general feeling that his potential is much higher than his performance. I expect him to be drafted in the middle (15 to 20) of the 1st round due to his ceiling, but I would be surprised to see him fall out of the round entirely and he becomes a major name to watch on the draft board starting somewhere in that 16 to 18 range if he hasn’t been selected already. 28. LW John-Jason Peterka, EHC Munchen (DEL) [14/01/2002] [5'11", 192 pds][Shoots Left][PROSPECT GRADE: A-] [42 GP, 7 G, 4 A, 11 Pts, 14 PIM, -6][NHL Comparable: T.J. Brodie] Potential Peak: Top pairing two-way defenseman Projection: 2nd pairing two-way defenseman, 25+ point player in his prime Bust Factor: Moderate; needs to continue developing his all-round game Offense: 8.5 Defense: 7.5 Physicality: 8.0 Skating: 8.5 Intangibles: 8.0 NHL-Readiness: 7.5 Potential: 8.5 Aggregate Score: 56.5 Report: A speedster who plays with energy and pace, JJ Peterka is the 2nd of 3 well-regarded German prospects in this year’s draft. With quick hands and good playmaking and passing abilities, Peterka can create chances off the rush and drive the net. He will need to work on his edges and overall mobility, though his speed is very good. Decision-making is general decent, although his penchant for turnovers and rushed decision making when he’s not feeling hot are a concern for the next level. Peterka has some edge to his game, and plays with some intensity which is very nice to see despite his smaller size. Defensively, he has improved, although he could continue to work on his positioning and avoid cheating for offense. Draft Range: Peterka should be in line for a late 1st round selection, although at this range of the draft everything might as well be thrown out of the window. There’s some high-end skill there that leads me to believe he won’t slip too far if he does, in addition to his relentless motor. Some people might have him ranked higher if they feel his skating and skillset are underrated compared to his numbers here, but I don’t foresee him rising earlier than the middle of the 1st round.
  50. 3 points
    I just checked, 9 teams have won since 04, over a period of 16 yrs. Many of those teams lost for a good many years while picking up guaranteed top draft picks like WAS, CHI, PIT, LA, ANA. Whereas others did it the hard way like DET, BOS, CAR, STL. These few tried to win every year and finally punched through. Underachievement is not what I would call the Flames. Who’s underachieving? Gaudreau, drafted 104 OA? I would argue that he has over-achieved in his time here. 8 pts in the postseason and +/-0. He held his own. Monahan, drafted 6 OA? Not many have scored more goals in this league since he arrived. 7 pts in the post season and a +/- 0, he held his own. Bennet, drafted 4 OA? This guy is a warrior come playoff time. Somewhat of a liability during the regular season. Gio, drafted……opps, found in the dollar store? Gio has been an overachiever his whole career, but certainly showing signs of a depreciating 37yr old now. Hamonic, elected to take summer vacation instead? Tkachuk, who was concussed and missed the last 3 games? Lucic, who turned out to be a true leader for this team? Talbot? I think Talbot was tremendous, minus the last game. We were 11 seconds from going up 3-1 in the DAL series. DAL looks to be having their way with COL now. Fans best be careful what they wish for because if you trade Gaudreau and Monahan now, you may as well have a fire sale and call it “Scorched Earth” because the return for the top two are not going to make us better while the other good players continue to waste or depreciate. Remember the “Young Gun Era”? Flames were close to skipping town for better pastures because there was no support here for losing. If fans are not willing to buy a season ticket (or two) during a “scorched earth” approach, then they have NO SAY on the matter. I’m not saying it’s not the best way to go, simply pointing out another rebuild could put us back 5-6yrs (of losing) with no guarantees. Who is footing the bill in the meantime? With the introduction of the lottery, the old days of losing for the best young prospects are gone. No more reward for losing.
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