Monday, July 23, 2007

My best post of the month!

And also my worst...




Yeah, there really isn't too much going on with the Flames since the draft and the opening of free agency. But I will try to shed my own personal light on what the Flames have done lately, some things of interest, and maybe a couple of shots at the boys to the North while I'm at it...


Draft Recap




I actually taped the NHL draft this year (as the first round was on a Friday night, which I think is a BAD idea), but they didn't get to the Flames first pick near the end of the first round, which means that it was pretty much all for naught, with the possible exception of seeing two of the bigger names fall to a point where they got picked up by the Rangers and Penguins (no fix going on there, eh fellas)...

Mikael Backlund, 24th overall

I don't honestly know much about him, but what I've heard from various sources has been encouraging. As always with European players there is a chance that they will choose to stay over there through their developing stages and may have trouble adjusting by the time the cross the Atlantic. Hopefully Backlund will make the move over here early (if not this year, then next year) and he can spend a year or two on the farm. It sounds like he has many of the qualities that Sutter looks for, and I'm sure he would like to play on a Flames team that should be a contender for at least the next 5 years (if the Iginla and Regehr contracts are any indication)...

John Negrin, 70th overall

Another Western Canadian defenceman picked up by Sutter, which is a trend of the last couple of years. Defencemen seem to be safer picks in the later rounds, and Negrin seems like he could develop into a 2nd line pairing offensive defenceman that could get some powerplay time. Although there are questions as to his play in his own zone...

Keith Aulie, 116th overall

At 6'6", Aulie is your typical WHL defenceman and is probably a pretty well-rounded guy (WHL scholastic player of the year and also saved his father's life after he fell through the ice at the family homestead in Rouleau, Saskatchewan two years ago). Although with a weight listed at only 208 lbs, it sounds like he has a considerable amount of bulking up to do before making the move to the big leagues...

Mickey Renaud, 143rd overall

Renaud has good size for a centre (6'2", 217lbs) and was the Windsor Spitfires' player of the year, but with only 54 points in 68 games in an offensive league, its hard to imagine him getting anywhere near the first line at this point. He will most likely be spending at least the next two years in the Quad Cities, unless he chooses to go back to the OHL...

C.J. Severyn, 186th overall

As a part of the U.S. national under 18 program, there isn't a whole lot I have heard of Severyn, beyond what has been posted on a couple of sites. But with only 6 goals and 16 points in 48 games last year, along with his attending The Ohio State University next year, I don't expect him to be in the Flames plans for the next 3 years at least...



Resignings


Obviously some of the biggest news over the last few weeks was the resigning of both Jarome Iginla and Robyn Regehr to 5 year deals. I don't know how this can't be seen as a good thing, as we now have 2 of our marquee players under long term contracts. The only question now is how much space will be left under the cap for Phaneuf and Kiprusoff, and how much they will be asking for...

Free Agency


The Flames have been moderately busy this off-season, with three free agency pickups which should fill out the lineup a little bit, but I'm not sure how they will address the need for scoring up front...


Cory Sarich ($18 million over 5 years)

Sarich is one of those unheralded defencemen that do their job without attracting a lot of attention to themselves. And I'm sure that being in Tampa for the majority of his career hasn't helped his exposure much either. I think he will fit in well with the team that Sutter has put together (especially given the fact that he is a good ole prarie boy) and should do well on a pairing with a more offensive minded defenceman. Of course he will be 34 by the time that the contract expires and they could probably have gotten him for a little less, but I don't have any real problems with this signing...


Owen Nolan ($1.75 million for 1 year, with a bonus structure)

This is one of those signings that always brings back the nostalgia when you hear a name of what used to be one of the better players in the league. Then you see that its only going to cost you less than $2 million a year and its only a one year contract, so there isn't a whole lot of risk. Then reality kicks in a little and you remember that most of these signings don't work out as well as everyone hoped. Let's just hope that the performance bonuses will keep Nolan motivated, as will the chance to be playing for a contender and being out of the desert...


Anders Eriksson ($3 million over 2 years)

I honestly don't know that much about Eriksson, beyond that he played for the Blue Jackets last season and he was previously a prospect in the Flames system (but never made the big show). He actually put up a nice +/- figure with a sub-.500 Columbus team (+12), so I'm thinking he is obviously an upgrade over the likes of Zyuzin. It just makes me wonder where we are going to play all of these defencemen and who is going to be the odd man out...



Goalie problems (the good kind)


With Noodles going off to Russia to play hockey next year, you would think that would simplify things in the Flames crease. But with both Leland Irving and Matt Keetley potentially coming out of junior this year, along with the resignings of both Brent Krahn and Curtis McElhinney, you have to wonder who is getting promoted to the big club, and who is the odd man out in the Quad Cities (read 'who is going to Las Vegas and not in the good way'). I think Krahn will get the chance in Calgary, while it will be McElhinney and Keetley in the Quad Cities, with Irving being kept down in Everett and James Spratt continuing his education at Bowling Green. Kevin Lalande is most likely the odd man out in the whole situation, as he will turn 21 next February, meaning he will no longer be eligible for the OHL's Belleville Bulls...


Defensive Deficiencies

Okay, here's a question for everyone...

If you have a couple of offensive-minded defensemen signed, you've just traded away your most reliable d-man, and you have a questionable number one goaltender, what type of player should you go after next? I know what you're thinking, another stay at home blueliner, right?

Wrong! The Oilers decided to complement Dick Tarnstrom and Joni Pitkanen with Sheldon Souray. Something tells me that Dwayne Roloson will be seeing a whole lot of rubber this season, and will have to be sure to put sunscreen on his neck before each game...


Hall of fame bound


Al MacInnis will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame this year, which brings up the question of whether he will be remembered more as being a Flame or a Blue. I realize that its not really a big question one way or the other in the NHL, as opposed to Cooperstown where they go in wearing one team's cap, but I think its still one worth asking. As I'm sure that most will always think of Gretzky as an Oiler first, MacInnis had his most success as a Flame, especially being the team's only Conn Smythe winner...



And now for something completely useless...

Over on the Battle of Alberta website, Matt seems to have found a site that rates your blog according to the suitability of the content to all ages. I've posted my little disclaimer on my sidebar, although I'm not sure how long I'll be leaving it up there. I do find it interesting that the reasoning behind giving it the PG rating that they did was that the word 'steal' appeared 8 times and the word 'ass' was in it once. I mean seriously, its part of my screen name. But I will give them credit for the ass...


And one more question for the Oiler less-than-faithful...

Since the Oilers could only get Pikanen to sign a one year deal, are they a little concerned that he may want out after one season and didn't want to be stuck trying to trade away his contract for less than fair market value?

2 comments:

MetroGnome said...

but I'm not sure how they will address the need for scoring up front...


Flames are just fine in the offense department I would argue.

Steal Thunder said...

Actually, you're right. I'm not actually sure what I was thinking when I typed that. I was at work, so I must have been sober. But I wrote that part near the end of the day when I was really tired... odd...

The boys certainly didn't get any worse offensively in the off-season, and they put a lot of the pucks in the net last year...

Geez, I'm drunker right now and I'm making more sense...

Note to self: don't post anything until you've had at least a couple of beers (or a bottle of wine, as the cause might be)...