When news of the Cervenka signing first broke, the type of contract was unknown.
Was it a regular FA signing, with 3.775 million paid or was it an ELC with the Cap Hit tied into performance bonuses? It has become clear that it is a ELC (entry level contract) and any remaining doubt on the deal has evaporated completely.
This is a big check mark in the Feaster "Win" column.
This deal has absolutely no down side for the Flames. It is only one year, so if Cervenka busts out the Flames move on with no impact to the future. It brings in a potential top 6 C with scoring skill and has the potential for high reward. Even the most fanatical haters of Flames management are silenced on this one.
This is the best part of the signing to me, the first concrete evidence that change has truly come and the usually huff, puff and fluff from Flames management may be finally over.
"Intellectual honesty" on the state of the team has gone from rhetoric to action, finally. Astute analysts, hockey writers and knowledgable fans have recognized for many years the trajectory of the team and Flames management's consistent denial about it. The failure to do anything substantial to correct the situation has been a source of significant frustration for knowledgable fans who care about their team.
Those days may finally be over. The first move of the off-season and an early one at that, is a good sign. Whether or not Feaster and Co are going to take the next step and move one of the two big blue chips is something that is by no means off the table this off-season.
Finally the Flames are truly making moves that may lead to long-term improvement instead of the last several futile years of trying to patch themselves into the playoffs. In regards to Cervenka this is a move that would have been impossible under Darryl Sutter.
Guarded optimism is the best perspective for Flames fans on Cervenka.
The whole "best player not in the NHL" tag has been bantered around many times over the last decade in the NHL. Our own Henrik Karlsson had the best Goalie not in the NHL tag on him, so did Jonas Gustavsson. The Predators signed Alexander Radulov with much of the same aura surrounding him. If you have been watching the Predators playoff run you can see how that label of best player not in the NHL is one to take with a grain of salt.
Personally, I am more excited about seeing Sven appear on the roster next year than Cervenka and will reserve judgement on him until I see him on NHL ice. The transition to the NHL game is not easy but nonetheless the Flames have universal endorsement for this move, as they should.
- Oiler envy here from the Edmonton Journal with NHL projections based on his KHL stats using Gabe's methodology. The Journal
- Vicky Hall from the Calgary Herald on the signing.
- Arik from Flames Nation with a good break-down.
- Eric Duhatschek from the Globe and Mail.
- The Hockey Writers has their take and the assumption Olli Jokinen's days are numbered.
- Sportsnet with some Feaster quotes.
Video of Cervenka
Roman Cervenka hattrick (via hockeyworldcupvideos)
Roman Cervenka #10. First 10 goals KHL 11/12. (via yefremov7)
Interview in Google Translation with Cervenka
The translation is rough but there is a lot to pull out of it.
(1) Cervenka appears to confirm that Jokinen may be finished with the Flames. That is no surprise to anyone, given his age and the fact he probably wants a long term contract to the end his career. Even if you are a fan of the Joker, it is hard to see how that fits the horizon of the Flames, given where they are at.
(2) Cervenka talks about the style of hockey the Flames want to play fitting him. Again that is no surprise given the way the Flames have started to focus on more skill under Feaster in drafting.
(3) The Flames were the first to get over to Russia and the first to start contact with Cervenka, this is another positive sign from Feaster and Co that they are not asleep at the wheel, at this critical juncture for the team. Cervenka was sought after by several teams, as per his comments, but the Flames were the first to be at the table with him in Europe. Something he appreciated.
(4) Cervenka is looking forward to coming to Canada and hopefully he will enjoy Calgary but does not know much about the city. Hopefully the fans will really welcome him.
(5) The language is a bit of concern but he will be working on it.
As a side-note, hopefully the Flames can establish at least one other Czech player on the roster for next season. That can help ease his transition.
The pro-active nature of the Flames is what got him to sign with the organziation. He could have slipped away but the Flames now have a decent player at low risk. You have to acknowledge the good work of Feaster and Co on this one.
Feaster on Cervenka Signing