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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    Report: Leafs in process of acquiring Brian Boyle

    TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 13:  Brian Boyle #11 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrates a goal against Detroit Red Wings during a game at the Amalie Arena on October 13, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
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    The Toronto Maple Leafs are buyers.

    According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the Leafs are in the process of acquiring forward Brian Boyle from the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    The deal hasn’t been finalized yet, so no word on a return for the Bolts.

    Boyle, 32, is a pending unrestricted free agent. Given the Lightning are fairly well back of a playoff spot and have a number of young pending RFAs — including Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, and Jonathan Drouin — it makes sense for GM Steve Yzerman to trade Boyle now, a la Ben Bishop.

    Boyle has 13 goals and nine assists in 54 games this season. He also has a ton of experience, having appeared in 100 postseason games for the Rangers and Lightning.

    The Leafs are not assured of a playoff spot quite yet. Barely clinging to the second wild-card spot in the East, they kick off a three-game California trip tomorrow in San Jose.

    Another Canadian team, the Edmonton Oilers, was also reportedly interested in Boyle.

    Trade: Wild and Coyotes pull off another, as Pulkkinen heads to Arizona

    NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 23:  Teemu Pulkkinen #17 of the Minnesota Wild skates against the New York Islanders at the Barclays Center on October 23, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Islanders defeated the Wild 6-3.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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    Chuck Fletcher and John Chayka might want to consider a friends and family phone plan.

    For the second time in as many days, the Minnesota and Arizona GMs have combined on a trade, as the Coyotes have acquired winger Teemu Pulkkinen from the Wild in exchange for future considerations.

    Yesterday, in a much more significant deal, the Wild acquired forwards Ryan White and Martin Hanzal in exchange for a package of draft picks.

    Pulkkinen, 25, has been a terrific scorer at the AHL level, but hasn’t seen that form carry over to the NHL. Detroit, the team that drafted him in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, waived him just prior to the start of this season. He was claimed by the Wild, but only appeared in nine games before getting waived again, and then spent most of the year in Iowa.

    True to form, Pulkkinen played very well in the American League, and made this year’s All-Star team.

    With the Coyotes, Pulkkinen will get another look at the NHL level, as he’ll join the team in Boston rather than report to their AHL affiliate in Tucson. Chayka has tried to find similar reclamation projects this year — Peter Holland, Alex Burmistrov — and the Coyotes could end up needing bodies should they continue to sell off veterans.

    Radim Vrbata could be moved by Wednesday’s deadline, as could captain Shane Doan.

    Shattenkirk has to look out for himself

    ST LOUIS, MO - MAY 23:  Kevin Shattenkirk #22 of the St. Louis Blues skates against the San Jose Sharks in Game Five of the Western Conference Final during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scottrade Center on May 23, 2016 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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    If the St. Louis Blues can’t turn Kevin Shattenkirk into something significant, don’t expect a warm reception whenever he returns to Scottrade Center as a member of a different team.

    The 28-year-old defenseman is a pending unrestricted free agent who’s not expected to re-sign with the Blues. He may be traded prior to Wednesday’s deadline. If not, he’ll likely walk away for nothing this offseason.

    Given the above, Shattenkirk understands why many Blues fans were upset that he nixed a trade with Tampa Bay by turning down the Bolts’ contract offer.

    That being said, this is a big decision for the high-scoring d-man. He’s in line for a huge payday, and he wants to make the right call for the sake of his future.

    “It’s not trying to hold things up or hold anything back from these guys,” Shattenirk told the Post-Dispatch, “but that’s where the tough part of this decision comes, doing what’s best for yourself and what could be your only chance with this opportunity in your entire career.”

    The Blues, of course, lost two players to free agency this past summer when David Backes signed with Boston and Troy Brouwer with Calgary.

    Earlier this month, after Ken Hitchcock was fired as head coach, GM Doug Armstrong said he felt the Blues had turned into a group of “independent contractors.”

    “One of the things I’ve learned about being around St. Louis is the Cardinals,” Armstrong said. “They don’t have independent contractors. When they do, they get rid of them.”

    It’s hard now not to see a relation between that comment and Shattenkirk’s situation, given the nixing of the trade with the Lightning apparently came a couple of weeks before Armstrong made the remark.

    Trade coming? Devils healthy scratch Quincey

    NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 21:  Kyle Quincey #22 of the New Jersey Devils skates during an NHL hockey game against the Ottawa Senators at Prudential Center on February 21, 2017 in Newark, New Jersey. Senators won 2-1.  (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
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    The writing’s on the wall for Kyle Quincey.

    Quincey, the veteran defenseman on a one-year deal in New Jersey, will be a healthy scratch for tonight’s game against Montreal.

    As is often the case for healthy scratches around the trade deadline, many are assuming this is a safety precaution and precursor to a move. You can count Quincey among those thinking it.

    “It’s not done yet, that’s kind of where we’re at right now,” said Quincey, per NorthJersey.com. “Whatever happens, it’s out of my control. I’ve been through it. It’s another day.

    “I’ve had a great year with these guys. It’s not over yet but, if it is, I’m very thankful for the opportunity with the boys here.”

    Quincey, 31, carries a modest $1.25 million cap hit — that comes off the books this summer — and has been good value for the Devils this year. He’s scored four goals and 12 points through 53 contests, averaging 18:38 TOI per night, and is an ideal defensive depth addition for playoff-bound clubs.

    What’s more, Quincey’s appeared in 54 career postseason contests.

    Among the teams rumored to be looking at defensive help? Edmonton, and it’s worth noting that head coach Todd McLellan was an assistant in Detroit when Quincey broke in during the 2005-06 campaign, and the pair spent three seasons together.

    What’s more, Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli has a history from his Boston days of adding depth d-men at the deadline — Andrej Meszaros in ’14, Wade Redden in ’13, Greg Zanon/Mike Mottau in ’12 and Tomas Kaberle in ’11 — and McLellan did say the club could use another body on the blueline.

    Don’t forget Chiarelli has history with Devils GM Ray Shero, as the two pulled off the Taylor Hall-for-Adam Larsson trade last summer.