One of the best things about doing this blogs/articles/a disgrace to writers everywhere, whatever you want to call them, is that you can write something in them to see just who is paying attention. I have an old buddy of mine, Brad Ollen, who doesn’t tweet that much. But he’s a Flames fan and more so a Seahawks fan. He’s never said anything about the Seahawks stuff I write (would have LOVED last weeks), but he spoke up when I mocked Brian Burke yesterday on twitter. So I guess we’ll see if the pride of Hillmond, with all due respect to the Mann brothers and Redden brothers, is reading! If he is…he won’t like it.
First of all, as an Oiler fan, let me say this: Good on the Flames for the amazing start to the season! This organization is so much more competent than the Oilers right now, it really is night and day. Jay Feaster who I mocked a lot on here while GM of the Flames, actually did an ok job assembling talent. Now, he needs to grow up and check himself when it comes to mocking the Oilers because the last time I checked Feaster had been fired for a year and has very little to do with what the Flames are doing this season. But respect where it is due.
I said it before the season, the Flames are on the right path. They have snagged 2 centre’s (Canadian spelling today for a Canadian team) in the last 2 drafts who are going to be great building blocks, and with T.J. Brodie emerging this season their blueline is one of the best in the league.
But this leads me to my issue. So Brian Burke comes out the other day and declares that the Flames are opening the vault and that GM Brad Treliving has instructions to go to the Cap if the right deals come along. Nooooooo!
Brian, you did this already and it failed MISERABLY!!! He had the Leafs rebuild going right and just couldn’t keep his hands out of the cookie jar in trading two 1st round picks for Phil Kessel. A stud centre and a young stud D-man for a 1 dimensional winger later….and the Leafs are stuck where they are. Not bad, but they aren’t contending any time soon.
Here we are just over 5 years later and the Flames rebuild is going good. Better than the Leafs was, but as most Flames fans have heard all season, the analytics would disagree with that and things should start evening out (if they haven’t already after playing great in their last 3 and walking away with nothing).
Now maybe Burke just meant what he said as a hypothetical. But you know full well fans aren’t going to take it that way. Fans take that as “we’re going for it!!” And no way should the Flames be going for anything, not yet anyway.
I’m with Burke in that the Flames should be looking to add, but you need to get guys who are both short term and long term answers. And they shouldn’t be moving a 1st round pick, nor should they be moving certain guys (Giordano, Brodie, Monahan, Gaudreau, Bennett, etc). I worry Burke will do this.
Going back to my buddy Ollen for a minute, his response to me was how Burke isn’t the GM this time. No, but he has the final say and make no mistake he will be in on trade talks. For the flack I give Burke and will never stop giving Burke over the Kessel thing, he’s hit a lot more out of the park than failed like he did with Kessel.
So who makes sense for the Flames? Well, Ryan O’Reilly is one guy who comes to mind, ironically whom they signed to an offer sheet in 2013. The Avs and O’Reilly seem likely to part ways at some point due to a couple of lengthy contract squabbles and the depth the Avs have down the middle.
Now the Flames moving forward might not have a huge need for a centre, but they sure do now. One of the worst teams in the league down the middle, especially in the dot. O’Reilly is one of my favourites. He is one of the best all around centre’s in the league (even though the Avs have been using him on the wing). Very similar to Patrice Bergeron.
O’Reilly makes the Flames a lot better down the middle now, next season he would allow Sam Bennett to be eased in, and if Bennett and Monahan moved past him on the depth chart he would be the best 3rd line centre in hockey. You can’t lose acquiring this guy…if you can get him without giving a 1st, or any of the untouchables for the Flames I mentioned earlier. Not likely.
And guys like O’Reilly who make a lot of sense for the Flames are very few and far between. It has to be centre if they do make a big move, and it has to be a guy with size in my mind. Chris Stewart is a power forward, but they have plenty on the wing and he’s an impending UFA. Antoine Vermette I would guess is moved before the deadline and is a fit, but like Stewart is an impending UFA.
It just doesn’t look good to me for the Flames to make a big splash, without giving up pieces they shouldn’t give up. So why is Burke coming out and proclaiming that they’re ready to make moves and will go to the cap? I just think you stay the course this season. It is gravy you make the playoffs this season. Should they, then look to take the next step in the offseason. I’m not saying you can’t make small additions, but now is not the time to make the big splash. But making the big splash is what Brian Burke is all aobut. Can he keep his hands out of the cookie jar this time around?
It’s like a QB with a great arm. They have so much confidence they can make all the throws, that they tend to have a lot of picks. Burke has so much confidence that he can make great trades, that he sometimes horrifically fails. Of course, it’s all Brad Treliving making the deals…just like Santa will be at your place in just a couple of weeks…
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