Broken Logic: Flames Offer Avalanche 3 First Round Picks for #1 Overall

It is generally thought that laughter is the best medicine.  This writer certainly tends to think so, and my armoire full of now obsolete DVDs can attest to the value of good humour.  Light, highly quotable, and entertaining, my collection stretches from the slapstick of Leslie Nielsen into the sublime of Seinfeld.

One film that figures to be a semi-permanent fixture in my DVD player is Broken Lizard’s Super Troopers.  The ridiculous one-liners and witty repartee of the comedy troupe’s portrayal of highway patrolmen have diffused their way into my daily vernacular to what can only be described by my friends as “feverishly annoying.”

Meow, how all of this relates to hockey and the Calgary Flames in particular.  As per Jeff Marek’s twitter, the Colorado Avalanche have apparently rebuffed the Flame’s offer of their three first round picks (6th, 22nd, 28th) for the 1st overall pick at the June 30th Draft.  The 1st overall pick is currently a debate between stud Portland Winterhawks defenseman Seth Jones and Halifax Moosehead linemates Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin.  The Flames spent the majority of the season in lottery contention for one of these three potential franchise players until a late season surge saw them escape the cellar of the NHL. The cellar, by the way, is rumoured to be nine by nine. No big deal.

Spurbury Police Chief Bruce Grady smugly states that “desperation is a stinky cologne” and one can smell the musk of general manager Jay Feaster and the Flames from here.  The franchise has created an interesting existence of dichotomy with this move.  Flames fans are to be excited about prospects such as Sven Baertschi, Roman Horak, and TJ Brodie as well as the franchise-proclaimed “two best goaltenders outside of the NHL” in Switzerland’s Reto Berra and Finland’s Karri Ramo yet the franchise continues to aggressively attempt to improve their on-ice product with as much public embarrassment as being hosed down and covered with powdered sugar.

One can glean two possible revelations by this attempted move.  If the Flames wish to acquire the first overall pick in order to draft Seth Jones, it would appear that while their young blueliners such as TJ Brodie and Tyler Wotherspoon have good potential upside, the Flames are still actively searching for a rock on the back-end.  Jones could be that stud number one defender that the team perceives themselves to lack.

Nathan MacKinnon
Nathan MacKinnon is in contention for #1 Overall at the draft.[photo: David Chan]
The other scenario is far more troubling.  If the Flames want the #1 pick for the purpose of selecting MacKinnon or Drouin, there are some serious problems in the forward ranks at more than just the NHL level right meow.  Mark Jankowski was the alleged “next big thing” as far as the center ice position was concerned and is going to be worth the developmental wait if his full potential is realized.  Mikael Backlund is unfortunately in and out of the team infirmary despite showing flashes of skill and Sven Baertschi had a disastrous season that saw him demoted to the AHL- a staggering fall from Calder prognostications.

At their current position at 6th overall in the draft, a very strong forward prospect could find himself hauling on a Flames sweater June 30th.  Sean Monahan, Hunter Shinkaruk, Alexander Barkov, and Valeri Nichushkin all had excellent seasons and in a different draft year would likely find their pre-draft rankings elevated.  The fact the Flames were willing to package that pick up with their two in the bottom third of the opening round is a testament to not only just how elevated Jones, MacKinnon, and Drouin are when juxtaposed with their peers but also how the Flames are already fearing their lack of star power and decline into ambiguity.

This, like most front-office moves from the franchise as of late, will likely be met with some positive spin and rationalized as just another attempt to improve the team.

It’s desperation, a back-against-the-wall move akin to the Islanders offering all of their picks at least year’s draft to Columbus for the right to select Ryan Murray.  Unfortunately, the most recent managerial misgiving of the Flames will likely not be feted with the same deserved criticism.  This was a ham-handed idea right from its inception, and it will be believed as an attempt to drastically improve the franchise almost overnight “when me crap turns purple and tastes of rainbow sherbert.” Meow.

3 thoughts on “Broken Logic: Flames Offer Avalanche 3 First Round Picks for #1 Overall”

  1. Hmm, strange. Another heavy-handed attack on a Flames franchise that is definitely down but not out. I grant that they have been slow in changing the dynamic of the on ice product the last few years, but this is a franchise that is not afraid to make intelligent changes in the front office and behind the scenes. Since the Sutter era, they have:
    1.Surrounded the team with proven winners (Feaster, Hartley and Weisbrod all have Stanley Cups on their resumes)
    2.Improved their scouting department significantly by adding scouts, expanding regions in Europe and the US, adding video/data analysts
    3.Have created a unified vision/game plan with their minor league affiliate in Abbotsford and their coach Troy Ward to develop talent. Craig Conroy is overseeing this area this year to help facilitate this
    4.And are looking to add another hockey mind to the upper ranks that has a pedigree of winning to focus on the team and to allow Ken King to focus on the business side.

    The team has a solid fan base and an ownership that is willing to spend money to win. You can argue the choices made, sure, but for a team only just recently thrust into rebuild mode, they have certainly been working hard over the last three years to increase how the franchise operates on a daily basis. This should eventually lead to wins on the ice, which should be reason for optimism.

    • While those are fair critiques, Chad, I would hesitate to credit Feaster with the Tampa Cup. His biggest acquisition was Darryl Sydor, the core of that championship was Rick Dudley’s team and everyone knows that.

      Furthermore, Feaster should have been fired at least twice in the past year. The O’Reilly offer sheet is beyond reprehensible. I agree with the Hartley hiring, and would like to see Weisbrod have his hand as the GM, as I have a good feeling that the recent surge of NCAA players entering the system is his doing.

      However, Feaster’s attempts at Brad Richards, Ryan O’Reilly, and now the 1st overall pick are comical at best which I think is the spirit of the article. Also, I will eat my shoe if Reto Berra plays more than 25 NHL games.

      Lastly, this is a funny article. Humour much?

      • Ha, fair enough Mike. The article is well written. Guess I’m finding some difficulty with laughter after the last few years of being a Flames fan! Just trying to see the silver lining.

        Feaster is only part of the point I’m trying to make about organizational depth being set up for long term success. I agree he has had some atrocious missteps and we may soon see Weisbrod or someone else step in as GM. But also gone are the dogmatic days where Sutter traded/signed/drafted/fired/hired who he wanted without input from other hockey minds. They are bringing in others and their ideas to help destroy the general malaise that set in over the better part of a decade. This I’m excited about.

        And ya, not holding out much hope for Berra. I’m always wary of the “best player/goalie outside the NHL” moniker bandied about. It often means they’re not playing in the NHL for a reason.

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