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A Brief Look at NTC’s/NMC’s

March 30, 2010 4 comments

A lot of talk around the Saddlesphere the past couple days has revolved around Jarome Iginla. Trades, captaincy, all of that good stuff. (In the interest of disclosure, Iggy has always been my favorite player and I will defend him to the death.) This then brought on a FanPost on Matchsticks and Gasoline from LawrenceS on trading Iggy. While it’s fun to debate about this stuff, the reality is that he has a large contract, which limits the amount of teams he can play for, and a NMC, which pretty much ensures he isn’t going anywhere. Rarely do players actually waive a NMC/NTC, especially when said player does not want to leave. With that, let’s look the Flames’ players with NTC’s and NMC’s:

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Awesome job, Brent!

(So that mailbag? Yeah, it’s being delayed while I pawn my rage off on my computer. You can still send questions to justin.azevedo20(at)gmail.com.)

Usually when teams are in a playoff race, they are supposed to show some kind of desperation. Desperation is not spelled “Vesa Toskala”. I understand why you started him, Brent-you think that there is no way in hell you are missing the playoffs, so you want to rest Kipper for the run. And while it’s fine to think like that, you also have to realize that you are in 9th place and you have to do everything you can to get this weak-sauce team into the post season. It’s not all your fault. I understand that Darryl made awful trades in order to get you the roster you have now, but this is still a playoff roster. The sum of these parts (no matter how small those parts may be) makes up a playoff team.

But you have made mistake after mistake after mistake. Multiple times, in multiple situations, you put the 4th line on after an icing call when the other team’s tired 4th line is out there. You played Olli Jokinen and Iggy together for 50 games, and you used them against the toughest competition. Then you wondered why they weren’t playing up to their salary. I’ll tell you why-because Olli Jokinen’s only offensive move was the “rape face”; and Iggy has carried this team for 10 years, so the days of him being able to do it by himself are over.

Brent, I know you will never read this, but if it somehow makes your way to you, heed this advice: stop being such a moron and use your assistant coaches. I know 2 of them and have met a 3rd multiple times, and they are all very smart and have immense hockey knowledge. In addition, forget how much you are paying each of these guys and put them in a position to succeed, not to fail. I, and many other Flames fans for that matter, would rather see Steve Staios and Cory Sarich go up against the opposing team’s fourth lines then to have them in positions where their salary makes sense. Ditto for Kotalik, and sadly, Hagman.

(I never thought I would say this, but I would rather be paying Jamal Mayers that 3 million dollar salary that Ales Kotalik right now. Jamal is producing, both with his fists and his stick. Kotalik sucks on toast.)

Well, try to suck less and good luck down the way.

(Edited @ 545 for Grammar.)

The Matt Stajan Signing

March 1, 2010 6 comments

Now first I’d like to suggest we all start off by pretending yesterday didn’t happen.  Not just because of hockey, but for various other reasons too. (Also, I can handle losing to Canada, your roster was absurd, but seriously, goddamn Crosby? I’d take Perry scoring the OT goal over him if it meant that I wouldn’t have NBC shoving more Crosby down my throat for the next 4 years.)

Aaaanyways, no acknowledging yesterday?  Sounds good to me. 

So Matt Stajan just got signed for 4 more years at $3.5M per.  And before I get discussing this, here’s the usual links to other blog’s reactions to the signing:

Kent at Flamesnation

Robert Cleave at Matchsticks and Gasoline

Given his production this year, that’s not a bad deal.  But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t stink on ice.  And it certainly makes the Bourque deal awful too.  Here’s why:

1. We have a ridiculous amount of players who are at best better than average signed to multiple years in the 3M/year range.

  • Langkow at $4.5M for 2 more
  • Bourque at $3.3M for 6 more
  • Hagman at $3M for 2 more
  • Kotalik at $3M for 2 more
  • Sarich at $3.6M for 2 more

Some of these aren’t terrible individually, specifically the Hagman, Bourque, and Stajan deals.  But altogether?  We’re in deep shit in the future.

2. We have zero room in the future for a scoring top line winger.

Let’s face it, Iggy, though we all love him, is past his best days.  He no longer drives possession, plays overly physical, and he all-around just seems a step behind the old Iggy.  This means he needs a replacement.  One we don’t have cash for.  In fact, our cap space next season is a wonderful $6.86M.  Which brings me to my next reason of crapitude (hereafter referred to on this blog as Suttertude):

3. We have 16 players signed for next year.

Yes, 16.  That means to sign 7 players to fill out the roster next year they’ll cost an average of $980,000.  And that’s IF we go to the cap.  Yeah, right now most of the players we don’t have locked up are earning about or less than that, but some are due for a raise (Ian White and his fabulous when-it’s-hopefully-grown-back mustache) and others are worth more in general (Higgins).  Hell, even if Greg Nemisz were to be called up he’d earn more than the horrifying $980,000.

So In Conclusion

What the hell is Shifty doing with this team?  It’s beyond being a joke now.  It seems to me he has no long term plans for how to structure the team, he just signs players he likes, regardless of how they fit.  Either trades (KotalikKotalikKotalikKotalikKotalik) are coming this week, or Shifty is trying to get fired.

On a side note, I like Stajan.  I just wish circumstances were different.  It’s like meeting your dream girl after marrying the one night stand you knocked up.  Not that I know that feeling…

Fun Time Friday: It’s Been A Long Week

February 5, 2010 2 comments

It’s back!  I’ll start off with a few random thoughts before getting to the “Since last Friday”s.

  • First, it’s clear, that since Shifty Sutter is intent on making a playoff run, we need a backup.  Everyone hears about Martin Biron mentioned in this talk, but what about Manny Fernandez?  He’s always been an excellent back-up, sports a career .912 SV%, and is currently unsigned.  He might not be at the top of his game, but he would certainly do better than McElhinney.
  • As much as I hate the Jokinen trade, I’ve got to admit I’m a bit of a Higgins fan.  Part of this is my YAY AMERICA feelings (I am active duty USCG) and part is the fact that he’s still a viable NHL forward.  He plays decent competition, doesn’t get scored on a ton (translation for those readers up north: tonne), and he’s still young and not costing us $3M a year.
  • I’ll miss Jokinen.  He was bad, but not Kotalik bad.  Also, he was great to blame for all the Flames problems.  While frustrating and overpaid, he also looked funny, which made for great jokes and my highest read post of all time.

Since Last Friday (Flames centric)…

…Darryl Sutter traded about half of the Flames away.  There are literally six new players on the Flames.

…Ian White shaved his mustache

…the Flames scored at least 4 goals in 2 separate games (against some of the worst teams in the league) and were shut out in the other

…the Flames actually won one of those too

…the Flames did not trade for Kovalchuk

…Twitter came pretty close to exploding from Flames trade rumors

…Shifty Sutter was incredibly vague and cryptic in a press conf- wait, that’s not anything new

Since Last Friday (league-wide edition)…

…Ovechkin took over the scoring race (as if that was actually unexpected)

…the Senators and Capitals continued winning in completely opposite ways

…Ken Hitchcock finally got fired

..the Oilers snapped their losing streak (boo)

…the Oilers went winless for an entire month (yay!)

…the Tampa Bay Lightning were bought by some guy who also owns the Red Sox

Since Last Friday (blog edition)…

…Kent at M&G takes a look at Sutter’s bizarre midseason rebuild

…timmyf of Bird Watchers Anonymous wrote a tremendously funny column about Kovalchuk rumors

…a beautiful poetic ode to Jokinen was written by Hayley of Join The Rush (she also wrote a fantastic one about Phaneuf, but…Jokinen.)

…the search term that led more people to my blog than any other was “Alex Frolov std”.  That made my week.

…the single greatest image ever placed upon the internet has been circling the Tweets, if someone can tell me who created it, I’d be glad to give credit for this

Finally…

Your Flames weekend drinking game

Drink when…

…Kotalik makes you miss Jokinen

…you get confused when #3 on the Flames doesn’t shy away from, you know, playing.

…you have no idea who’s on the ice

Hell, if that doesn’t get you drunk, I don’t know what will.

Farewell for the weekend (my Sutter thoughts, and hopefully the joint piece with Join The Rush coming next week).

A Stat Look at Ales Kotalik

February 3, 2010 Leave a comment

First of 2 parts (the second is about what this says about Sutter)

So, as far as anyone can tell right now, Kotalik is here to stay. For 2 more years. At $3M a year. So what does he bring to the Flames table, that admittedly has too many chairs pulled up to it? Short answer: Not much. Long answer: Absolutely goddamn nothing. His stats this year are atrocious. Just godawful.

According to Behind The Net he:

  • Faced the worst quality of competition on the Rangers: -0.109
  • Had the worst GFON/60 (Goals For For Every 60 Minutes On the Ice) on the Rangers: 1.45.
  • Had the worst GAON/60 (Goals Against For Every 60 Minutes On the Ice, i.e. the opposite of GFON/60) on the Rangers: 3.42
  • In fact, that GAON/60 is now the worst on the Flames. The second worst? Hagman, who plays real competition (0.002), has (by far) the highest GFON/60 (3.19) (for the record, the pre-trade Flame with the highest GFON/60 was Rene Bourque at 2.81).

So yeah, this is a collection of stats. What do they tell us?

Of both Rangers and Flames, he has faced the worst competition. Like, awful. And yet he can’t outscore them, in fact gets outscored by them in a ridiculous fashion.  He and Hagman have been scored on more than any Flames player, but look at who they had behind them in net:

Kotalik: Henrik Lundqvist, .920 SV% and 2.39 GAA.  Regardless of how you view basic goaltender stats, whether it reflects the team or the goalie, not a lot of goals are going in the NYR net.  Except when Kotalik is on the ice.

Hagman: Jonas Gustavsson/Vesa Toskala, .887 SV% and 3.39 GAA.  Something on stunk on ice in TOR.  And no, Hagman did not have the worst GAON/60 in TOR.  Jeff Finger had a GAON/60 of 3.98.  Granted, he’s still in the upper half, but he’s also playing against real NHLers.  With…that thing in the net behind him.  I promise his GAON/60 will go down from here.

So, what have we learned?  This Jokinen trade is quite frankly, terrible.  Horrendous.  Granted, I’m ignoring Higgins, but really, Kotalik is not a good (or even okay) NHL player this year.  And I don’t see that changing with the Flames, a team he didn’t even want to go to.

So unless Shifty Sutter (Darryl) has something coming soon, the Kotalik acquisition will rank as one of the worst trades for the Flames post-lockout.  And that’s ignoring how it happened.

The Jokinen Trade: Insane In The Membrane

February 2, 2010 Leave a comment

So this officially happened.  And I am certainly confused.  In fact, is there a word for super confused?  Because that would be better.

Obviously, from a Flames fan point of view, this is complete crap.  Kotalik is god-awful this year.  At 3 million.  I mean, I make fun of Jokinen, but not because he’s terrible, mostly because we traded some futures away for him and he didn’t produce at the level expected of a $5.5M center.  Also he looks like a monkey.  The fact is, he wasn’t terrible on ice.  Sure, the bounces didn’t go his way, and he may not have played to his salary, but he also played the toughest QUALCOMP of regular forwards, and not counting the new guys (Stajan, Hagman) had the second highest GF/60 of Flames forwards.  Ahead of even Iggy.

My point?  The way he (and Prust) was treated was not right.  Morally and ethically wrong.  I don’t care if Ballin’ Brent and Shifty Sutter (it’s a Thing now) thought Jokinen on the ice last night would best produce a win (and it didn’t regardless), this was down right shitty of them.  The only reason I see this happening the way it did, was because something else is going down.  Not that it would make it right, just more…understandable.

Look at it this way:

Kotalik has been scratched the last 8 games by the Rangers.  Higgins just isn’t that good. Now, whether you believe we didn’t pull the trigger on the trade because Ballin’ and Shifty thought putting Jokinen and Prust on the ice last night gave us a better chance to win or because Kotalik wasn’t waiving his limited NMC, something doesn’t add up.

If it’s the former, then why make the trade at all?  If Jokinen and Prust are really better than Kotalik and Higgins, and you want to win one last game with them- why trade at all?  My thoughts- there’s a second trade coming, and Kotalik isn’t supposed to play with us at all.  Higgins…who knows.  We have tonight off, and then play on Wednesday, giving Shifty all day to make a secondary trade happen while not having to put one or both Rangers on the ice.

If it’s the latter, what caused Kotalik to change his mind? Imagine this: you are earning $3M a year, your coach hates you (and you probably hate him), the system doesn’t work for you, and they want to trade you to some redneck town in Canada from NYC that you have a NMC for.  If you go, your old team (who you probably hate, since they wouldn’t even let you play) gets a decent, if overpaid center who may help them this year.  If you stay, they have to deal with your salary for 3 years and you get to live in NYC and have big fun and rarely have to show up for work a la Michael Nylander! What do you pick? If I’m Kotalik, I take the latter.  So why would he take the former?  Someone convinced him he’d never play a game in Calgary.

So either way, something doesn’t add up.  At all.  My thoughts?  The trade winds are still a-blowin’, and they’re a-blowin’ something big into Calgary.

Still Shifty and Ballin’ should be ashamed of the way they let this occur.  Goddamn ashamed.