Sunday, 22 April 2012

Cleaning House: Addition by Subtraction

I'm going to go over a few of this years upcoming UFA's and RFA's and give my thoughts on them. In addition, I'll comment on whether or not I would like to see those players offered new contracts. The Flames have 10 NHL contracts expiring this year, and this will be GM Jay Feaster's opportunity to put his mark on the on the team.


After a MVP type of season, Olli Jokinen will be one of the more interesting players to watch this off season. The 33 year old (turning 34 in December) managed to put together a 61 pt season (23G-38A) this year and really seemed to find his game, and change his game for the betterment of the team. Although finishing a -12 on the season, Jokinen was a very good two-way player this year for Calgary.

Re-sign or Walk:

The issue I had with Olli Jokinen this year, is when the chips were down, and the Flames needed a big game from him, he failed. Jokinen was a -11 in the last 10 games and only managed to score 3 points. Given the position the Flames were in down the stretch, needing 2 points every game to have a shot at making the playoffs, they needed big games from their big players, and Jokinen couldn't pull through. At this stage of his career, Jokinen will want 2 years or more at around $4 million per at least. Unless he would be willing to accept a one year deal, I don't resign him.


The Calgary Flames claimed Blake Comeau off waivers on November 25th, from the New York Islanders. Comeau managed to put together a 24 goal season last year for the Islanders, but did almost nothing this year for the Flames. When the Flames picked up Comeau, I wasn't too sure what they were looking at. Grabbing a player that was a -17 in 2010-2011, and had 0 pts with a -11 in 16 games this year with the Islanders and trying to fit him into Brent Sutter's defencive style game plan wasn't going to work in my eyes, and it didn't. Comeau managed to only put together 5-10-15 in 58 games with Calgary.

Resign or Walk: 

I don't really care what Comeau asks for in a new contract, I don't want to see him back next year. At $2.5 million, I found Comeau to be a weak and ineffective player throughout most of his stint with the Flames, and despite being only 26 years of age, I don't see much in the way of improvement with this guy. This video pretty much sums up Blake Comeau's season:

Go to 4:30
Thanks to for the video


Due to injury, David Moss was only able to step on the ice for 32 games this season. During that time, Moss rounded up 9 points. When healthy, Moss is a 15-20 goal guy, and a decent depth player. Being a part of the Flames organization for 8 years, Moss has been an inconsistent player, and tough to read. Having only played one full regular season with the Flames, I'm not sure if David Moss is a guy the Flames should continue with.

Resign or Walk:

Having a cap hit at $1.3 million a year for a guy like Moss isn't a bad contract. The problem is the fact that Moss has a history of being injury prone. Turning 31 this season, he's probably not the type of player the Flames should have under contract again. Understanding that you need to fill out a roster, I think the flames would be better off bringing in a younger player by trade, or making a guy like Greg Nemisz a regular. Although I think Moss can still be an effective NHLer, his inconsistency and injuries leave me a little concerned, and I wouldn't resign him.


Mikael Backlund is another one of those injury prone guys, and inconsistent when in the line up. Many Flames fans were hopeful this season would be a break-through year for Backlund. Many expected him to center Iginla and Tanguay. Injuries early and late in the year, crushed those hopes. At age 23, Backlund still has time to improve.

Resign or Walk:

I'd like to see the Flames resign Mikael Backlund to another 2 or 3 year deal, at the same dollar. I don't think it would hurt the team in any way, because it won't get much for him through trade due to the fact he hasn't proven much at the NHL level. If the Flames plan on going through any sort of youth movement in the next year, it won't hurt having Backlund and his experience in the lineup.   


Cory Sarich had a tough start to the NHL season.He was a healthy scratch for an extended period of time in the early going. Sarich returned to the line up and never looked back. He turns 34 this off season and is coming off a contract that had a $3.6 million cap hit. When in the line up, Sarich adds a lot of toughness and leadership. Although being fairly slow on his feet, Sarich was a good depth defenseman for Calgary this season and I think the Flames coaching staff and management were pleased with his game.

Resign or Walk:

I think Jay Feaster will have to make a decision. He'll have to keep either Sarich or Scott Hannan. Both are 33 years old. Although Hannan's a little faster, I like Sarich due to the physical presence he brings to the line up. The Flames have a few good mobile defensemen in Bouwmeester, Giordano, and Brody. I would like to see the Flames sign Sarich to a 1 year, $1 million dollar contract, and walk away from Scott Hannan.


I think the Flames locker room is in drastic need of a culture change. Although you don't change culture overnight, or through minor trades/signings, this year will be a good opportunity for the team to start pushing in that direction. With 10 NHL contracts expiring, including those I've listed above, Feaster will finally be out of cap jail and have a solid chance at putting this team back on track. 

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