Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Gentlemen, We Can Retool The Flames, We Have The Technology
That chart (which is from here) pretty much backs up what I was saying yesterday, which is that the fans in this city really seem to only have time for a winner. From an ownership perspective, I think blowing this team up and rebuilding is completely out of the question. They run the team to make money, and to win a Stanley Cup, in that order. I really doubt that they will give up 4000 tickets so we can draft higher. the cheapest seat at the Dome is $44.75, and the most expensive non-box seat is $308.75 (from http://www.ticketmaster.ca/). In the real world, your most likely to see that lost 4000 tickets come from the more expensive sections, but for this little exercise let me be real simple and put the ticket price at $100. $100*4000 = $400,000 a game in lost revenues, or $16,400,000 over the season. You think the owners are giving up 16 million dollars so we can draft in high in the first round? Where can I get the shit your smoking?
Even at 3000 lost tickets, that's $12,300,000. It simply isn't happening. If the Flames had collected an Oiler-esque 50 points on the year, then hells yeah, the team gets blown up, because the owners wouldn't be expecting to sell out the building the next couple of years anyways. But we aren't that terrible, so the team is going to stay largely intact, by which I mean I don't think Mikka and Iggy are getting traded. As long as those two fill the building, they will stay. Unless Kipper demands a trade, of course.
With all that said, this then becomes a very important offseason. The fanbase indeed wants an elite team, not a good team that always gets tossed in the first round. Even if we make a miracle run this year and make it into the playoffs, another first round loss won't please the fanbase. After four years of first round exits, and the expectations going into this year, the minimum level of acceptance would probably be the West Final. Even if this group of losers gets into the second round, people will be skeptical about their prospects of winning for next year. This team, through their own indifferent and no heart play, going back several seasons, has lost the benefit of the doubt. That isn't on the coaches, and that isn't on the GM.
The team has a lot of suck on it. Obviously, I don't want to see a rebuild. But clearly the team needs to retool, both in the player personal department, and more importantly, philosophically. This isn't football, where a great defense can win you a championship even if you have no offence. This is hockey. People will point to the Ducks cup. Well, having Niedermeyer and Pronger helps, obviously, but having Getzlaf, Perry, and Selanne as well probably had something to do with it. And JBlow is no Niedermeyer, and Reggie is no Pronger. Hell, Reggie isn't even Gio good anymore. I think it is time to end this defence first nonsense. The game has changed. A team sporting Gonchar on the point won a Stanley Cup, for fucks sake. If the Sutters want to go dinosaur, fire them, let them go dinosaur on someone else's payroll. The team needs to switch from defense oriented to offense oriented.
Rebuild, no. Retool, yes. Would I be spending 6 million dollars on defencemen? Fuck no, shut down guys are cheaper than that. Gio can move the puck. JBlow is a luxury some other team can try to figure out. I don't see how you pay anything more than 5 million dollars on a defenceman, unless the cat gets you 40 - 60 points a year, year in year out. It is impossible to justify the 6.3 million cap hit for Sarich and Staios. Honestly, GM Sutter should be fired just for that. It's tough to pay wingers who don't score 25 goals 3 million plus dollars. That's Kotalik, Hagman, and Bourque I am talking about. I'd rather one of those 3 and then 6 million dollars on an actual point producing forward.
The Flames have a lot of contracts on their books that are not really market efficient. These can be moved to create the cap space necessary to upgrade the teams talent without necessarily hurting the team in another area. In English, that means that if you trade Sarich and Staios and replace them with farm kids GM Sutter is always talking about, that saves you 5 million dollars without really hurting the competitiveness of the team. Kotalik is another 3, so we are at 8 million in cap space without significantly effecting the teams ability to win games. This is what I am talking about when I say retool.
Should GM Sutter be the one making these decisions? No, he shouldn't, in my opinion. You need to be able to add and subtract to be a GM, and you get the feeling that isn't GM Sutters strong suit. Should Brent Sutter be the coach to implement the changes? Obviously not, the players play shows they don't respect him. Rebuild the front office, retool the team.
Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired.