Would another lame FJM cheer anyone up?
Eric Francis, come on down. The Link!
CALGARY - In a summer in which it appeared Jay Feaster’s hands would be tied in so many ways, the Flames GM found some wiggle room in one of the most unlikely of places: Up the middle.
Stupid is starting in the first sentence. Let's be fair to start: at the very start of the offseason, it appeared to people only observing the surface that the Flames GM, Ken King, may have had his hands tied in regards to payroll flexibility entering the off-season. But then, you know what happened? The team traded Robyn Regehr, and also spent a 2nd round pick to get rid of Ales Kotalik's salary. You may have heard about it. Freed up over 7 million dollars in cap space.
Anything else happen? Actually, yeah, something else did happen. Ken King also happened to offer Brad Richards 64 million dollars over 9 years to play CENTRE (!!!!) for the Flames.
If you were paying attention, you might rewrite Diane Francis's boys sentence like:
In a summer in which Jay Feaster had already shed 7 million dollars in salary commitments, the Flames GM* found more cap savings at the one position he had already offered Brad Richards 7 million dollars a year to play, centre, ostensibly because there was a weakness at the centre position.
Wait, he isn't done...
For more than a decade, the Flames have struggled finding quality centremen to not only complement Jarome Iginla, but to round out the other three lines with capable pivots.
Interestingly enough, one of those guys the Flames 'struggled' to find was named Daymond Langkow.
(As an aside, can you believe we got Langkow for Gauthier and Saprykin? What a fucking steal. Like, holy shit.)
Yet, when asked what prompted the move that sent 34-year-old Daymond Langkow to Phoenix for Lee Stempniak Monday, Feaster cited the team’s depth where it matters most.
That, or the fact that CNQ has gone from a high of 51.90 in 2008 to trading today at 36.87. Ohhh burn! Salary dump smack beeeyoi!
Also, just as an aside, what is this shit about centre depth. Honestly. We have depth at centre? Two things: One, no we don't. Crosby, Malkin, and Staal is what depth at centre looks like. We don't have one centre on the team, let alone four of them. Two, can you ever have too much depth at centre? That's like saying your baseball team has too many pitchers. If you have depth at centre, you move them to the wings. Oh...that's right, Ken King and Feaster have continued the tradition of giving every god damned player on the roster a one way contract with a no trade.
Make no mistake — and with no disrespect to Langkow — the move makes sense on every possible level for the Flames as they save US$2.6 million in salary and nab a younger, more flexible player in the prime of his career.
'Every possible level' is defined as, apparently, salary, age, flexibility (?), and age (again). Notice what isn't in Diane Francis's bundle of joy's definition of 'every possible level'? Ability.
Anyways -and with no disrespect to Stempniak- Stempniak couldn't carry Langkows jockstrap.
Lee Stempniak may be younger, but he also comes with more suck. Stempniaks best year came in 2006-2007, where he recorded 52 points (27 goals). Langkow has had 52 or more points in seven seasons. But wait, that's a product of one being older than the other. Well, ok. Let's look at what Stempniak did last year, compared to Langkows last healthy year. For those too lazy to click, Langkow is one of the few on his team above water, while Stempniak is drowning. And while Stempniak does have tougher starts (ie more zone starts in the defensive zone), in the regular season, check out what they look like in the playoffs, and throughout Stempniaks career. Langkow is clearly the superior player.
Also, remember that 'saved 2.6 million dollars' part, because it's going to make another appearance later.
But it was the startling depth at centre that made the move the biggest of no-brainers.
Does anyone else see the irony of Francis writing 'the biggest of no-brainers', especially considering he admitted a few words before that he was 'startled' by the 'depth at centre' the Flames have had on their roster since training camp of last year?
Although Brendan Morrison worked well with Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay on the top line last year, the club is going to give young Mikael Backlund every chance to start the season between the big boys as Morrison’s knee heals.
First: Brendan Morrison sucked when he played with Elvis and Alex.
Second: This, ladies and gentlemen, is what 'depth at centre' looks like: A centre with a bad knee (that needs healing!), and a sophomore who may or may not be able to handle the job. Stajan and Jokinen are still in the house, though, so...fuck, sorry, we need to go grab some whiskey. Depth at centre sucks.
Olli Jokinen played a solid second-line role last year and David Moss has the full confidence of the coaching staff that he can continue to improve on his switch last season from wing to centre.
The Flames have so much depth at centre, point in fact, that they had to convert a winger into one. And that winger turned out to maybe be the best of the bunch.
Pricey Matt Stajan is very much a work in progress as the team hopes his conditioning and confidence improved over the summer so he can contribute in a third-line role, at best.
Look, we aren't Stajan fans either, but the teams 'best case' scenario for the cat isn't the third line, it's the first. We are killing this shit now folks: Matt Stajan has expectations on his shoulders. Don't allow yourselves or the media to let him off the hook from them with this third line shit.
Also: Depth at centre, featuring bad knees, question mark kids, and third liners 'at best'!
Someone needs to inform Francis, or Feaster for that matter, what 'position of strength' means.
When Morrison returns, he’ll fit in nicely wherever needed.
Unlike that piece of shit Langkow. No talent asshole was never moved up and down a lineup. Too selfish for that.
Back to the deal, and it’s a beauty for Flames fans who wondered how on Earth Feaster was going to wriggle out of the fiscal handcuffs he inherited this summer.
You know, the Flames fans who had not heard of the Regehr and Kotalik and a second round pick for hope, sunshine, and cap space trade. Those ones. Or the ones who think that there are still worthy free agents out there to sign.
Feaster insists it was the Coyotes’ interest in Langkow that started the conversation — a chat that ended with the Flames asking Langkow to do what Robyn Regehr did earlier this summer: Waive his no-trade clause.
Gotta call bullshit on this one, folks. The organization offered big money and term to Brad Richards. If that wasn't marketing to the hoi polloi and the team was super serial about signing the cat, something else would have had to give. Something else being code for 'Langkow trade'.
Langkow did so most likely because of his history in Phoenix, allowing the Flames to sever ties with a $4.5 million contract that would have ended unceremoniously next spring.
Or maybe Langkow wanted to play for a playoff team?
Despite his stirring comeback from a neck injury late last season, the gritty leader is still a risky proposition given his age, his injury, his style of play and the year off — a gamble the Flames couldn’t afford to lose given his price tag.
Why couldn't they afford to lose it? We have 'depth at centre' on this team, we thought. So much so that we don't need Langkow in the lineup, and can trade him for a redundant part. Buildings full every night regardless of whether the team wins or losses. Tickets are priced relatively high. So why couldn't the Flames afford to lose this dice roll?
Honestly, Langkow is the better player. If he comes back and is healthy, that would be a huge plus for the teams ability to compete. If he doesn't, so what? We just played a season without him, and 'discovered' all this 'depth at centre', right? And the team had cleared up the cap space for this year already when it traded Regehr and Kotalik. Langkow's contract ends at the end of this year, so there is no issue there...
Seriously, why couldn't the team afford to lose this gamble? Just a really stupid thing to write, unless, of course, you waive pom poms for the team for a living.
With the 28-year-old Stempiak, you have a two-time 27-goal scorer who is in search of a new contract next year when his $1.9 million (cap-hit) deal runs out.
28 years old is young in real life, and it's young on the Flames, but it isn't young in hockey terms, not post lockout. Also, Stempniak has two 27 goal campaigns, sure, but one of them was 06-07 when he shot 16.3% (which, predictably, because he isn't a Hall of Famer, he has never been able to replicate), and the other one came in 09-10 when he scored 14 goals in 18 games, which is about the definition of fluke.
If you take the 06-07 and 09-10 campaigns out, Stempniak averages 73.5 games played and 15 goals.
Even Feaster said Monday what everyone in the hockey world already knew about Stempniak, which is that the versatile winger has always played his best hockey in contract years.
Is this the same Feaster who talks about adding character to the roster? Oh, that's lawyer speak for 'blowing smoke up your ass'? Ok then.
If he’s comfortable in Calgary, produces as a top-six forward and returns to form, chances are good he and the club will be able to come to terms moving forward.
Oh wow, fucking stupid. Francis, a sentence before, literally writes that Stempniak plays well in contract years, implying that the guy, once signed to a contract, takes his foot off the gas. Now he writes that if Stempniak has a good year, we should sign him to an extension?
Congratulations, Mr. Francis. You have to really work hard to be that retarded.
After all, thanks to moves like these, the Flames will certainly have the cap room.
Which we would have had regardless, because Langkow's contract was ending! Seriously, does Francis's stupid annoy the rest of you, or is it just us?
For those unable to read between the lines, this most certainly means Niklas Hagman has all but been written off as a Flame. Given his $3-million price tag, he’ll have to be one of the best goal scorers in camp to avoid being sent down to the minors, where he’d collect the final year of his deal outside of the Flames cap.
Yeah, we are going to send Hagman down. You know, to make room on the roster for Ivanans.
For reals, remember back at the beginning of this journey through the land of moron, that Diane Francis's rug rat was talking about how the Flames saved 2.6 million dollars with this move? Are we to now surmise that an organization who's latest moves have been to cut costs would now turn around and spend money it didn't have too on burying Hagman? Or should we assume that the money they saved by trading Langkow is going to be used not on salary, but on burying Hagman?
And a little more knit-picky, but if they don't want Hagman on the team, then why the hell didn't they make the Coyotes take on Hagman in this deal? We didn't need to trade Langkow, we could have played hardball here.
All told, Feaster now has more than $3 million to peruse waiver wires, trade options and even free agency from now until season’s end — a number he could double should Hagman be sent down.
Teemu Selanne, bitches.
Not a bad off-season for a fellow whose goal was to shed salary and get younger while also retaining key building blocks moving forward.
Oh, ok, we get. We thought the goal of a GM was make his team better, and by better we mean more competitive. Turns out we should judge it on the ability to shed salary, and how much younger you can make your team. Our bad.
Few could have guessed the team’s newly-perceived flood of talent up the middle would help the cause.
That's because few would describe Brendan Morrison, Olli Jokinen, Matt Stajan, and Mikael Backlund as 'depth at centre'. In fact, that could properly be described as 'lack of centre', as in, we don't see one centre in that group that affects the game in a noticeable fashion. Well, positively, that is.
And Olli Jokinen should be playing on the wing anyways.
Furthermore, I think