Why The Calgary Flames Failed At the NHL Trade Deadline


Reaction to this year’s NHL trade deadline continues to pour in from around the league.  Which teams were declared winners and which were declared losers.  Some big names are changing uniforms while some will remain where they are.  But in Calgary,it was supposed to be a fire sale of sorts to help kick start the unenviable task of starting over for Jay Feaster and the Flames.

The dismantling did start with the trading of Jarome Iginla, followed by Jay Bouwmeester but that’s where it stopped.  No Miikka Kiprusoff trade, no Michael Cammalleri trade and no Curtis Glencross trade.  Why not?  Let’s dig a little deeper.

We already know about the Kiprussoff story.  He didn’t want to leave Calgary because his wife just gave birth to their newborn baby a few weeks ago and now he’s said this will be his last year in the NHL and that he plans to retire.  Ok, fair enough.  But shouldn’t this have set forth a sense of panic in Jay Feaster’s brain?

We heard in the days leading up to the deadline that the Ottawa Senators were interested in forward Curtis Glencross and that they may be willing to part ways with Ben Bishop, a young netminder who has a lot of promise.  Hmmmm.  Sounds like the Flames need a goalie next season and Bishop would be around for year’s to come, someone to re-build around.

Today we get reports that the Flames received plenty of calls on Glencross but didn’t want to move him unless they were blown away by an offer.  I fail to see the value in Glencross as that type of player who would fetch a king’s ransom in order to acquire him.  He’s 30-years old and has never scored more than 26 goals or registered more than 48 points in a season.  His contract is attractive at just $2.55 million for the next two years and he plays an aggressive, gritty game that appeals to many clubs.

But if Feaster had the opportunity to part ways with Glencross for Bishop why did he not take it?  Feaster doesn’t want to use the word re-build.  Well what is it then Mr. Feaster?  A re-tool?  If that’s the case you then plan on holding on to guys like Alex Tanguay, Cory Sarich, Matt Stajan, Lee Stempniak and the aforementioned Cammalleri.  This cast of characters was not and is not strong enough to propel this club into the playoffs this year, next year or the year after that.  In fact, with every passing year with these burdening contracts weighing on the Flames books, those players are one year older and decline in production that much more.

Maybe this club will string together a few wins between now and the end of the season.  Produce enough points to climb the standings just far enough to take them out of the Seth Jones sweepstakes, should he go number one. Or lose out on Jonathan Drouin or Nathan MacKinnon, someone who could serve as a building block for this re-build or re-tool if you will.

Did Feaster not learn from his predecessors’ mistakes of handing out ridiculous free-agent contracts in the summer to players who are past their prime?  Dennis Wideman is the perfect example that perhaps Feaster is in over his head.

The return for both Iginla and Bouwmeester could be argued that Feaster could have gotten more, but we’ll save that debate for later this summer.

For now, the question needs to be asked if the Calgary Flames did enough unloading at this year’s deadline so that the re-build can be effectively carried out.  Looking at the baggage that remains, it’s easy to say that Feaster either has a pile of work to do in the summer to gut this roster and start from scratch or he’s willing to follow the footsteps of the previous GM and continue to make bad hockey decisions that will see his club meddle in the bottom of the conference, but not bad enough to acquire the top draft picks where players can make an immediate impact.

Jay Feaster shouldn’t have to look very far.  Just to the north to his provincial rivals to see how the re-build is done.  I”m not saying the Edmonton Oilers are perfect but years of misery and the top pick three year’s in a row has this club in much better shape this season.  That and the fact that they are playing like they many expected them too.  For the Flames, it may be hard to admit, but a re-build is the only term that is worth using.  Everything else will just lead them down the road to nowhere.