Sunday, June 29, 2014

Tick Tock, Tick Tock!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. All of the General Managers are tucked in their beds while visions of Vanek, Raymond, or Brad Richards dance in their heads. Or maybe Ehrhoff, as he became a free agent today.  

So my blog today is on the different options the Flames will have during the off-season. The Flames are looking for... let see… oh, that's right... everything. Seriously, they need pretty much everything.  So they first of all have to set their priorities. My  blog will concentrate on goalies, defence, and a center.

Back-up Goalie or 1B Goalie

I think the first need is a back-up goalie. The Flames have a couple of options. 

Free agent  options

Thomas Greiss

Thomas has a history with the GM. He is a solid net-minder who is not outstanding, but he is solid and dependable in his game. He a solid option who is good for 30-35 games. I really like this option. He is exactly what the team needs. The key point here is that the Flames can offer him something. Most of the other teams can't give him an opportunity to play.

Chad Johnson

Chad was outstanding for the Bruins last season.  He simply gives the team a chance to win every night. Another good, cheap option for the Flames. Chad is a goaltender who plays a solid game and rarely gets caught out of position. He is a late bloomer who is capable of being a solid back-up.

Justin Peters

Peters was outstanding  for  Carolina last season. He was battling for head job there on a team with three goalies. The Canes could not find a home for him. He would battle Ramo for a starting job. I am not sure he would be willing to come to Calgary as a back-up.


The next need for the Calgary Flames is a solid defencemen, which the Flames could really have used last season. Especially now that it looks like Butler will not be in a Flames uniform next season. Some of the best options I could see the Flames getting are:

Tom Gilbert 

Tom was a solid offensive dman who fit well for a while in Edmonton, but never really fit in with the Panthers. If he could just get back to where he was as a Oiler. Apparently, it is out there there that the Flames have interest in him. He may well be a asset to the Flames defence.

Matt Niskanen

Niskanen may well be the best dman on the free agency market. I love this guy’s game. He is a great option for the Flames, who need a good powerplay quarterback. I know you are thinking the Flames do not have salary cap problem. I sure do hope they at least talk. Matt could score 10 goals and 50 points and really help a dried-up powerplay. 

Anton Stralman

The main problem is how much Stralman would cost, but I like his game. He is an offensive dman, who would be a solid, top-four dman. He would stabilize our defence, and help our defensive zone coverage. I love his ability to stay calm and not panic. 

Kyle Quincey 

Kyle Quincey may very well be the most gifted defencemen out there. Kyle can pitch in with the odd assist and goal. Kyle should be affordable. The Flames can give him a bigger role, and more ice time. 


I really hope the Flames try to get a second-line center. I prefer a veteran who can help Monahan, and maybe take him under his wing and give him some hints on improving his game.

Paul Stastny

Simply put: the best option out there. Stastny is the best of the bunch. If the Avs cannot sign him, the Flames need to put this man under contract. Give him the money he wants and get it done. He is a solid center with the the skill to add the supportive scoring the Flames so badly need.

Jussi Jokinen

Jussi can play wing or center. Versatility is essential in his game.  He also may take less money to sign. I love his ability to help in the penalty-killing.  His speed his a vital asset to the Flames, who need to get faster.

Brad Richards

I know I am going to get slammed for this, but I really think Brad’s ability could help the Flames. I think he can score 20  goals and get 50 points for the Flames. He could really help Monahan and help him get the experience he needs. 


I could mention plenty more, but these are the first options. I know some of you are going to ask about Bolland. I just like Jokinen better. There are plenty of options out there. 

The Flames are going to be busy. Sit back and enjoy the ride!

Image: Flickr CC license: Aldaron "Parliament Clock" (modified)

Originally posted on Flames Jambalaya

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Flames Mock Draft 2014

Yes, its the annual event known as the NHL draft. For some reason, I volunteer to make a fool out of myself by attempting to predict what the Flames are going to do.  Actually, the name of it is good: a mock draft, which mean all of you can mock my picks. I actually want you to know that I take this seriously, which really embarrasses me even more. I really should not tell you that; but I digress— on to the picks.


This was a very hard choice for me to make. The main problem I have is that I do not think the player the Flames want will be there. The next problem I had while doing my research is that so many people have them picking different players. Most have us picking Sam Bennett or Leon Draisaitl.  There were a few who had us choosing Sam Reinhart. But that is  bit optimistic; there is no way he is available at number 4. 


The lack of depth in this this draft has been highly criticized. Most seem to think after the first 5 picks there is a huge drop off in talent. This makes it vital that the Flames make this pick count. They have to get it right.  My choice more than likely won't be there, but I still chose him: Leon Draisiatl. I have two reasons for this choice of Leon. One is for his size. The Flames' number one priority is to get bigger and more skilled.  Leon is a highly skilled centre who is also highly intelligent.  He is a great stick handler and has the ability to get a shot off quick. Mr Draisaitl is a tank, and he will prove that he is  hard to knock off the puck.  He has some grit and will stick up for himself. Leon may not be the fastest skater, but his speed is good enough. Like I said earlier, the Flames' number one priority is to get bigger and better. Leon fits his criteria. He is a solid, big body who will contribute to this team offensively. More importantly, he will not hurt this team in their own zone.  


With the news that the Leafs are desperately trying to move up, there is a that slight chance of the Flames trading down at the draft. The Flames really like Nick Ritchie of the Peterborough Petes. He is a big, rugged winger who could be a future power forward. What's not to like? The Flames could be enticed by the Leafs to trade down. 


The second round is almost crap shoot.  There is very little to differentiate between picks 30 and 60.  In this round, there will be plenty of off-the-wall picks. It really depends on the team's needs. Going into the draft, the Flames need to improve on every position in order to compete in the Western Conference.  They need to upgrade their scoring  and their defense .  If they can find a dman who can distribute in the scoring; even better.

With this pick, I am leaning towards getting a defensemen.  Three names came to my  mind: Anthony DeAngelo of the Sarnia Sting,  Julius Honka of the Swift Current Broncos, and Travis Sanheim of the Calgary Hitmen. Anthony is a very skilled playmaking defenseman, but I think his lack of size will scare the Flames off.  Julius is a steady, stay-home defenseman who plays a gritty game. I am just not sure he can contribute enough in the offensive zone. 


This pick might be a bit of a gamble on my part, but I like this kid’s game. He improved his game, which gave him a bigger role with the Hitmen.  This role added one vital ingredient to the Flames' recipe for success, and that is his power time.  He might not be as skilled as Anthony, but he won’t be making the mistakes as Anthony will.  He has more offensive upside than Jullis, although he is not quite as good defensively.  But there is one thing  he has that the other two don’t: he is far bigger and uses his size to his benefit.


Remember I mentioned every team will have there wild card? Well, insert that here.  Yes, I might be going off the wall here a little, but I really like this pick.


Lucas Wallmark of the Skelleftea AIK.  Lucas is an average-size centre who is very efficient  at the draw.  He is a very offensively-skilled player who works endlessly trying to score.  Although he may very well be a project, in the end it will be worth it.  He thinks well on the go, always thinking of two plays ahead.  He is a spark plug on wheels; think a Ford Pinto with a souped up engine.  He may very well be another Kenny Linseman.


The Flames will try  their hardest to find their elite player at this draft. With the chances of not landing Cammy, it makes it that much more vital that they get at least the leg work done on a deal.  The  free agent market is not that great, so the Flames will have to either sign Cammy or do it through a trade.  They know darn well they have to get better. Expect a lot of talk, but I am going to throw out one  name I would go after: Dustin Penner.  Not saying it will happen, just saying that is who I would like them to bring in.  Enjoy mocking my draft picks.

Originally posted at Flames Jambalaya.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Who will the Leafs draft #1?

It is common knowledge that the Maple Leafs would love to move up. The question I have is "at what price?"  With the Oilers and Panthers willing to listen to offers, the possibilities seem endless.  Which leads to the next question: Should the Leafs dangle Dion to get it?  I truly think there is a good chance for the Leafs move up, but I am making my first round pick based on the assumption that they do not get a deal done. 

The Leafs are not in as bad as shape as their record shows. Their number one need is finding that elusive top number one Centre.  They need to find a highly-skilled passing Centre, one that can feed the puck to some guy named Phil.  Their second need is finding a gritty forward  who can help with fixing the silly mistakes all over the zone.   Too many times, forwards were pitching in at the wrong time, forgetting the  defensive zone coverage.  Which begs the question: Can they really afford to let Bolland go?  If they decide to let him go, there will be a huge need to fill.  They will have to address this in the off-season.  That is the main reason I feel the need to pick up a two-way forward in the draft.  

With that, who do I pick in the draft?


I had a hard time deciding between two young Centres for the first pick: William Nylander or Robbie Fabbri.  Both are highly-skilled playmakers.  One has better offensive skills, the other is better defensively.  


Nylander could stick-handle his way in a phone booth.  He  is terrific passer who can thread the needle from anywhere on the ice.  He is fine skater with very good passing skills.  Most importantly, he is always thinking two or three plays ahead.


Fabbri is a highly skilled centre with the smarts to go with it.   He has the potential of being a true leader who has tons of heart.  He will not back down from anyone. He has the guts of a champion. Fabbri has wheels to burn and can skate with the best of them in this draft. He is highly skilled offensively and knows how to defend. 


The Leafs have no second round pick, so on with the third round.



Donato is not overly skilled, but has the potential of being power forward.  Adequate skating will improve with experience. He has the heart of a lion and will fight for his teammates. He will do everything that is asked of him. A good two-way player.