While Calgary struggled with signing one young potential cornerstone defenseman, they are making sure to at least keep one young guy in the fold. The Flames announced they’ve signed Brett Carson to a two-year $1.15 million deal to keep him in town for the short term future.
Jay Feaster announcing this signing just a week after having to trade the rights to former first round pick Tim Erixon to the Rangers because they were unable to get him signed may have some Flames fans pitching a fit. If anything else, it should prove that the situation with Erixon was a unique one in that he may have just not wanted any part of Calgary regardless of which GM was trying to sign him.
Many Flames fans blamed Feaster for not being able to get Erixon signed to an entry level contract but it was Daryl Sutter who drafted him and then couldn’t get him locked up for so long. In Carson, Feaster had this to say about him.
“Based on his solid play at the end of last season, we believe Brett can be an every day defenseman for us,” said Flames General Manager Jay Feaster. “In our end-of-season meetings a number of our top forwards commented on his consistent ability to get the puck to them in transition, and we are confident he will continue to develop his overall game.”
Signing a guy to a deal worth just $575,000 against the salary cap isn’t likely to get anyone too excited but Carson will provide the Flames with depth and the deal is inexpensive enough to not further hurt the Flames’ brutal salary cap situation. Carson was due to become an unrestricted free agent this summer but this deal will keep him in the fold and the defensive rotation cheaply.
It’s safe to say that Flames GM Jay Feaster isn’t endearing himself to many Flames fans today. Calgary has been attempting to negotiate an entry level contract with 2009 first round pick Tim Erixon since he was picked in June 2009. The Flames had to get a deal done and signed with Erixon by 5 p.m. ET today or else Erixon would’ve been able to re-enter this year’s NHL Draft.
With Feaster unable to work out a deal and looking to get more than the one second round pick compensation the Flames would have received had Erixon re-entered the draft, Erixon was traded to the New York Rangers along with a fifth round pick in exchange for prospect Roman Horak and two second round picks.
Erixon was rated as Calgary’s top prospect by Hockey’s Future and as a defenseman at 6’2″ 190 he’s a physical kid with the ability to move the puck as well. He’s got NHL roots as his father is former New York Rangers forward Jan Erixon. For the Rangers it works out to be a potential steal yet again on defense for an organization already loaded up with good prospect depth on the blue line.
They were able to get former Montreal first round pick Ryan McDonagh from Montreal in the Scott Gomez deal and now with Erixon in the fold the Rangers new plan of building with talented youth gets even better. At 20 years-old there’s the chance that Erixon starts next year with the Rangers out of training camp. That possibility and high ceiling for him is a good reason why Flames fans are furious about this severe lack of ability to get what should’ve been a basic deal done. In this situation the Flames’ poor salary cap management might be to blame.
With the possibility of bonuses factored in and the likely wont by Erixon to be a part of the big club right away, his deal would’ve been pricey for the Flames to add. According to CapGeek the Flames are alreaday at $55 million against the cap for next season. A deal with Erixon would’ve added anywhere from $2 to $3 million per year on his entry level contract. Even with the cap supposedly slated to go up next season, the Flames would’ve been left with little cap space and the need to get a few more players signed. It’s not a good position to be in but for Feaster if the choice broke down to deciding to sign a top prospect or continuing to manage toxic assets and he chose the latter, that’s pretty inexcusable especially for an organization severely lacking top end prospect depth.
If Erixon pans out at all this is a runaway victory of a deal for the Rangers. The best the Flames can hope for is that they find some great picks in the second round of the draft and that Horak becomes a NHL starter. We know he was under the gun to get a deal done with the deadline being today, but this shapes up to be a very poor deal on paper for Calgary and one that will send Flames fans into a frustrated tizzy over.