What's next for the Calgary Flames?

Kipper.jpgWhat an incredibly disappointing season for the Calgary Flames. What
has to be most frustrating is how the team completely sold out for this
one season, making several big moves in an attempt to spark any sort of
secondary scoring, is that nothing seemed to work. Nearly every move
made has handcuffed the team for the future, and bringing back the same
roster next season has to be unfathomable for fans and ownership alike.

So what’s next for the Flames?

For one, it’s like that Darryl Sutter is on his way as the team’s
general manager. After a season of such catastrophic decisions not
paying off, starting at the very top is the first step to recovery.
Yet as Eric Duhatschek of The Globe and Mail puts it,
changing the
general manager will not instantly make things better.

Sutter’s team-building philosophies kept shifting over
the past half-dozen seasons as he made the move to permanent GM. In that
time, he loaded up on high-end blue-line talent (Robyn Regehr, Dion
Phaneuf, Bouwmeester) only to discover that the way of the new NHL is to
score more goals. So he changed gears in midseason, dumped Phaneuf,
dumped Olli Jokinen, and was probably the only man in town genuinely
surprised when the newcomers failed to right the ship. Collectively, the
quartet of forwards brought in to save the day (or at least provide
secondary scoring) failed miserably. Ales Kotalik, Niklas Hagman, Matt
Stajan and Chris Higgins managed 11 goals collectively in a total of 86
games, not nearly enough considering the premium ice time they received.

As
we stated yesterday, the Flames currently have $53 million locked up
among 17 players for next season. Not much room to make needed changes,
without at least making some major changes in the process. One
suggestion that may be getting whispered in corners around the NHL is to
trade Jarome Iginla. Not a smart idea, says
Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun:

Dealing Jarome Iginla after this disappointing season would be the
biggest folly of them all. It’s the type of move which could backfire in
the same manner as the infamous Doug Gilmour deal, which eventually
crippled the organization for
several years.

Iginla, who has a no-trade clause, said Wednesday he doesn’t want to
go. “I want to be part of the solution, and I don’t think we’re that far
(off),” he said.

Sutter’s constantly changing philosophy for the type of team he wants
to build put the Flames in difficult situations, as it seemed they
never could figure out the type of team they wanted to be. Tough to
maintain consistency when your own general manager fails to make up his
mind. Shifting the philosophy in the middle of your season — and
looking to the Toronto Maple Leafs to fix your scoring woes — is an
even faster way to head straight to mediocrity and disappointment.

Whatever happens, trading Jarome Iginla is not the answer. There are
many issues with the team but Iginla is not one of them. He had a bad
season and didn’t step up when it mattered, but not even he could have
pulled this team away from a season collapse.

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    Vegas has 15 d-men, but won’t keep them all

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    The Vegas Golden Knights suddenly have 15 defensemen.

    Just don’t expect all 15 to remain Knights for long.

    “We’re going to have to move some defensemen,” general manager George McPhee said Tuesday, “because we’re going to claim a bunch.”

    So, who might get flipped?

    Well, a highly touted youngster like Shea Theodore, acquired in a trade with Anaheim, is unlikely to go. Theodore, 21, could be a core member of the Knights for years to come.

    Deryk Engelland probably won’t be going anywhere either. He just signed a one-year contract with the Knights, and he already has ties to Sin City.

    But a 32-year-old like Marc Methot? He could be dealt. The Dallas Stars are reportedly quite interested.

    A few others could be on the move, too, but we’ll have to wait to find out which ones.

    Here’s the full list of d-men that officially became Vegas property today:

    Jake Bischoff
    Deryk Engelland
    Alexei Emelin
    Jason Garrison
    Brayden McNabb
    Jon Merrill
    Marc Methot
    Colin Miller
    Luca Sbisa
    David Schlemko
    Griffin Reinhart
    Nate Schmidt
    Clayton Stoner
    Shea Theodore
    Trevor van Riemsdyk

    Vegas Golden Knights name their team

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    The Vegas Golden Knights are taking shape.

    After completing a cavalcade of trades, the Knights picked 30 players from each existing NHL team in today’s expansion draft. Vegas was obligated to select at least 14 forwards, nine defensemen, and three goalies.

    The players were announced in reverse order from last season’s standings.

    From the Avalanche: Calvin Pickard (G)

    From the Canucks: Luca Sbisa (D)

    From the Coyotes: Teemu Pulkkinen (F)

    From the Devils: Jon Merrill (D)

    From the Sabres: William Carrier (F)
    Trade: Vegas acquires 2017 sixth-round draft pick

    From the Red Wings: Tomas Nosek (F)

    From the Stars: Cody Eakin (F)

    From the Panthers: Jonathan Marchessault (F)
    Trade: Vegas acquires Reilly Smith (F), Panthers receive 2018 fourth-round draft pick

    From the Kings: Brayden McNabb (D)

    From the Hurricanes: Connor Brickley (F)
    Trade: Vegas acquires 2017 fifth-round draft pick

    From the Jets: Chris Thorburn (F)
    Trade: Vegas acquires 2017 first-round draft pick and 2019 third-round draft pick, Jets get 2017 first-round pick (acquired by Vegas from CBJ)

    From the Flyers: Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (F)

    From the Lightning: Jason Garrison (D)
    Trade: Vegas acquires Nikita Gusev (F), 2017 second-round pick, 2018 fourth-round pick

    From the Islanders: Jean-Francois Berube (G)
    Trade: Vegas acquires Mikhail Grabovski (F), Jake Bischoff (D), 2017 first-round draft pick, 2019 second-round draft pick

    From the Predators: James Neal (F)

    From the Flames: Deryk Engelland (D)
    Signing: Engelland gets one-year contract with AAV of $1 million

    From the Maple Leafs: Brendan Leipsic (F)

    From the Bruins: Colin Miller (D)

    From the Senators: Marc Methot (D)

    From the Sharks: David Schlemko (D)

    From the Blues: David Perron (F)

    From the Rangers: Oscar Lindberg (F)

    From the Oilers: Griffin Reinhart (D)

    From the Canadiens: Alexei Emelin (D)

    From the Ducks: Clayton Stoner (D)
    Trade: Vegas acquires Shea Theodore (D)

    From the Wild: Erik Haula (F)
    Trade: Vegas acquires Alex Tuch (F), Wild get third-round draft pick in 2017 or 2018
    Signing: Haula gets three-year contract worth AAV of $2.75 million

    From the Blue Jackets: William Karlsson (F)
    Trade: Vegas acquires David Clarkson (F), 2017 first-round draft pick, 2019 second-round draft pick

    From the Blackhawks: Trevor van Riemsdyk (D)

    From the Penguins: Marc-Andre Fleury (G)
    Trade: Vegas acquires second-round draft pick in 2020

    From the Capitals: Nate Schmidt (D)

    ROSTER BY POSITION
    Forwards:
    Pierre-Edouard Bellemare
    Connor Brickley
    William Carrier
    David Clarkson
    Cody Eakin
    Mikhail Grabovski
    Nikita Gusev
    Erik Haula
    William Karlsson
    Brendan Leipsic
    Oscar Lindberg
    Jonathan Marchessault
    James Neal
    Tomas Nosek
    David Perron
    Teemu Pulkkinen
    Reilly Smith
    Chris Thorburn
    Alex Tuch

    Defensemen:
    Jake Bischoff
    Deryk Engelland
    Alexei Emelin
    Jason Garrison
    Brayden McNabb
    Jon Merrill
    Marc Methot
    Colin Miller
    Luca Sbisa
    David Schlemko
    Griffin Reinhart
    Nate Schmidt
    Clayton Stoner
    Shea Theodore
    Trevor van Riemsdyk

    Goalies:
    Jean-Francois Berube
    Marc-Andre Fleury
    Calvin Pickard

    After stockpiling picks, Vegas aims to ‘draft our way to success’

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    On Wednesday night at T-Mobile Arena, the Las Vegas Golden Knights took form.

    But there’s no denying this team will really take shape at the next couple of entry drafts.

    That was the big storyline this evening, as Golden Knights GM George McPhee introduced his 30-man roster, almost in the shadow of an unprecedented stockpiling of draft picks from rival clubs.

    “[The objective] was to acquire prospects and surplus draft picks that can help draft our way to success,” McPhee explained. “Time will tell if we met those objectives, but we’re certainly delighted with the way that it went.

    “It was a fascinating experience.”

    We’ll get to see the fruits of McPhee’s labor shortly. When the dust settled this evening, he and the Golden Knights emerged with three top-15 picks in Friday’s first round of the draft — the sixth, which Vegas won in the lottery, the 13th, acquired in a trade with Winnipeg, and the 15th, acquired from the New York Islanders.

    In addition to that, the Golden Knights also received:

    • Buffalo’s sixth-round pick on Friday (as part of drafting William Carrier)

    • Carolina’s fifth-round pick on Friday (as part of drafting Connor Brickley)

    • Tampa Bay’s second-round pick on Friday, and the Bolts’ fourth-rounder in 2018 (for laying off the club’s young d-men, and taking Jason Garrison)

    • The Islanders’ second-round pick in 2019 (for taking on Mikhail Grabovski, in addition to the first-rounder listed above)

    • Columbus’ second-round pick in 2019 (for not taking Josh Anderson or Joonas Korpisalo, also in addition to the deal above)

    • Winnipeg’s third-round pick in 2019 (for taking Chris Thorburn instead of Tobias Enstrom, and also in addition to the above deal)

    • Pittsburgh’s second-round pick in 2020 (as part of drafting Marc-Andre Fleury)

    Add it all up, and the Knights now have 12 picks at the upcoming draft in Chicago, with five of them coming in the first two rounds. It’ll result in a huge influx of talent and, given the relatively thin nature of the active roster, a real chance for the kids selected on Friday to have a shot at NHL minutes in the fall.

    But remember — until these picks have been used, they’re assets. And that’s worth mentioning, because the league-wide trade freeze lifts at 8 a.m. ET Thursday morning.

    Stay tuned.

    Connor McDavid captures the Hart Trophy (video)

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    Only one player in the National Hockey League scored 100 points this season. That would be Connor McDavid.

    He accomplished the feat at the age of 20.

    On Wednesday, after such a terrific sophomore season in which he was fully healthy throughout, he was recognized with the Hart Trophy , given to the player deemed the most valuable to his team.

    McDavid scored 30 goals, many in spectacular fashion, and 100 points to win the Art Ross, often showing a dominant display of speed and hands quick enough to keep up.

    The Oilers made the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since 2006, making it to Game 7 of the second round against the Anaheim Ducks..

    McDavid beats out Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby, who has been perhaps the best player in the world over the last two years with Stanley Cups, Conn Smythe trophies and a Rocket Richard Trophy to show for it, and Columbus Blue Jackets Vezina-winning netminder Sergei Bobrovsky for the award.

    McDavid also captured the Ted Lindsay Award earlier in the evening.

    Here is the Hart Trophy voting:

    Points: (1st-2nd-3rd-4th-5th)

    1. Connor McDavid, EDM 1604 (147-17-3-0-0)
    2. Sidney Crosby, PIT 1104 (14-119-19-11-3)
    3. Sergei Bobrovsky, CBJ 469 (4-17-40-29-23)
    4. Brent Burns, SJS 273 (1-3-25-29-30)
    5. Erik Karlsson, OTT 258 (0-5-28-23-14)
    6. Patrick Kane, CHI 206 (0-3-20-20-25)
    7. Brad Marchand, BOS 184 (1-1-14-22-31)
    8. Nikita Kucherov, TBL 119 (0-0-11-15-19)
    9. Nicklas Backstrom, WSH 60 (0-0-3-11-12)
    10. Braden Holtby, WSH 19 (0-0-2-3-0)
    11. Auston Matthews, TOR 17 (0-0-2-1-4)
    12. Alex Ovechkin, WSH 7 (0-1-0-0-0)
    Ryan Suter, MIN 7 (0-1-0-0-0)
    14. Victor Hedman, TBL 5 (0-0-0-1-2)
    15. Devan Dubnyk, MIN 4 (0-0-0-1-1)
    Vladimir Tarasenko, STL 4 (0-0-0-1-1)
    17. Cam Atkinson, CBJ 1 (0-0-0-0-1)
    Cam Talbot, EDM 1 (0-0-0-0-1)