Chalk me up as one of the Flames fans who reacted with shock and trepidation on this trade when I first heard about it. Despite the frequent and consistent comments from management that the Flames are going for the playoffs, I've allowed myself to mentally slowly board the youth rebuild train over the last few months.
Another "Back to the Future Flame Player" was something I sure didn't see coming, it was a blindside for me. I also had no idea who Karri Ramo was until yesterday. The exit of a 2nd round pick is going to upset someone looking for more youth and wanting to see a younger team on the rebuild emerge.
After sleeping on the deal and having a bit of time to think it all through, do a little research and ponder the horizon I now fully endorse it. In fact it is probably the best trade the Flames have made in a long, long time.
A clear win and one with not only the potential in the short run but not as bad a move for the future as some may initially think in giving up the 2nd round pick.
If you want to read my take make the jump, if not here is Bob Mackenzie's take. I would read him at least...
Straight up Michael Cammalleri is a better player than Rene Bourque. It isn't even close. So on the old stand by of who got the better player the Flames take the checkmark.
Cammy is safely overpaid by anyone's definition. Pay for play is one of my strongest influences. It is why I am one of the rare folks around here who was ok with Olli Jokinen coming back to Calgary. Joker for 5.25 millon? Bad. Joker for 3 million? Good.
Cammy is not worth his annual Cap hit of 6 million but the silver lining is that he only has 2 years left on the deal. So more flexibility for the future. Rene Bourque in contrast despite almost half the Cap hit at 3.33 million has twice the years left. With this line of thinking I see this factor as a wash.
Flames fans will remember the year Darryl Sutter resigned Rene Bourque to that long contract. One of the concerns was Bourque's concussion history. Bourque has largely proven that concern to not be an issue with his last two almost full seasons of play. Cammy has his own injury history so at the bottom line this element may be called a draw.
Passion and Smarts
Hands down this one goes to Cammy. His passion and enthusiasm is something that will dwarf what was one of the primary criticisms of Bourque's bi-polar play. One game Bourque looks like the most lethal player on the ice with his speed and deadly shot, the next game he is invisible and skating around with a broken stick in his hand and taking dumb penalties.
To say nothing of the suspension troubles he has gotten himself into this year. Bourque is not a dirty player he just doesn't always think when he is on the ice.
Is there Cap Problems?
No, not really.
The Flames due to their huge injury list are carrying 30 players, the roster room is 23. As players get healthy and return to the line-up others are going to be sent down. The Cap is calculated on a daily basis and at the end of the day it should all work out.
In a worst case scenario I do not think the Flames will hesitate to drop some players to waivers and then re-entry waivers to make the Cap work if they can not find any takers before the trade deadline.
I had never heard of this guy until yesterday. All I knew is that he was a G and that made little sense to me and was also part of my initial reaction. Now having had a little time to research him and ponder what is going on it makes sense.
Ramo is one of the best G in the KHL right now. That doesn't mean he will be an NHL G but if he does turn into one it turns the trade into not just a win but a huge win. But why would the Flames add yet another young G to their ranks? They already have Henrik Karlsson, Leland Irving and Joel Ortio. By adding yet another young G it doesn't make sense unless...
Is a Miikka Kiprusof trade on the horizon?
Kipper like Iginla has long been one of Calgary's untouchables. Like Iginla he holds an absolute NMC, not just a limited or modified NTC, something that Rene Bourque may be understanding the finer differences of now.
But guess when Kipper's NMC expires?
The end of this season. The plot thickens and suddenly this trade may not be anywhere near as bad for the future as some may have initially thought.
The only reason for the Flames to be building young G depth for next season is because they are prepping for a heir to the Kipper throne.
Kipper very well may be dealt this off-season OR almost certainly by the trade deadline next season. If Kipper is dealt in this off-season the Flames could pick up any number of mid-level UFA G like Ray Emery, Martin Biron, Jose Theodore as a Veteran back-up as they see who emerges as the new young Flames G starter.
While Irving may be the leading candidate at the moment there is no reason to think with Joel Ortio's strong world junior that Irving is a lock. That it is between just Irving and Karlsson. Now with the addition of Roma a real competition may be shaping up to see who takes the crown between Calgary's pipes.
The return from a Kipper trade would probably exceed the return from a Iginla trade. A 1st and a prospect from the right team is not out of the question and suddenly giving up that 2nd round pick doesn't sting half as bad. In fact it makes perfect sense.
From Montreal's perspective giving up Roma with a young Carey Price laying permanent claim to the Habs starting position was probably a shrug of a move.
The Final Pieces
Are really inconsequential, Patrick Holland is a 7th round pick already tagged with the career AHLer moniker. Strong season or not. Gautheir may have been thinking he was getting Peter Holland, the Ducks 15th overall pick in the pressure of the deal ; )
The 5th round pick is nice for the Flames but unlikely to see NHL ice. All in all it is nice as a Flames fan to be on the good end of big trade for once. Note for file - trade with Montreal not Toronto.
Feaster has a plan.
This is the first big trade he has made where the initial optics on it all look good. It looks good for a short term playoff push. It looks good for Cap and contract lengths. It looks good for preparation of a post Kipper era etc.
Provided he continues to make astute and careful moves for the remainder of the year the Flames may be back on the right track. Missing on the small moves for PL3 and Modin are tolerable if the big trades end up being winners like this one.