In our usual M&G tradition, I am going to deliver some counter-points to our previous articles by Justin. Presenting a case on why the Flames recent moves, are not only understandable but even defendable. It is possible to be happy with these moves, if you have a certain perspective.
I'll make my case and you can decide if you are on the Justin side of the scale in reaction or closer to myself with a more positive perspective or somewhere in-between us both.
The Rebuild Perspective
The perspective you personally have, will dramatically affect how you see these signings. The rebuild argument for the Flames has been in place since the first year they missed the playoffs in 2010, as each year has passed the prevalence of that view has increased.
So, if you are a Flames fan who wants a rebuild, you have a problem.
As each year goes by and you witness, move after move, signing after signing and it fails to go in that rebuild direction you will react in a predictable fashion. Kind of like dating that girl who just never wants to go all the way, at a certain point the frustration just overwhelms you.
The Flames are your team, your girl, the one who won't do what you really want them to do and time is ticking away. So, you have a choice to make. In defense of the Flames or to keep the metaphor going, the girl, she has never been unclear or misleading to you in her intentions.
The Flames have not been teasing the fan base, they have never, ever stated they are rebuilding. Never said they will rebuild, Feaster has even publicly stated that the Flames need to go find a new GM if that is their intention. It is not the Owners intention and that is that.
It has become a perpetual undercurrent in a lot of articles but in all honesty, at this point it is up to you as a fan. When you take a girl out and on the first date she tells you nothing really intimate is going to happen unless you get married and you continue to persist and get the same answer over and over, well, who has the perspective problem?
The Flames are going for the playoffs next season.
Feaster is trying to put the best team on the ice he can. Period, end of story. The Flames have never wavered in their message to the fan base and the recent signings we have seen are all, not only understandable but defendable and even expected if you have the "Going for the Playoffs Perspective" and not the Rebuild Perspective..
Lets start with Wideman - (Note: I have been busy lately and haven't been able to do my usual review of other sites before posting)
An expected and desirable FA for the Flames.
Their top 4 D was not solid and he brings that right handed shot the Flames have been missing. He also brings true offensive ability, he is an offensive D man and certainly head and shoulders above a pretender like Anton Babchuk.
Is his Defensive game elite? Nope, it sure isn't but neither is Mike Green's.
Fair market value for certain, term may appear too long but really it isn't that bad. Wideman is 29 so his contract will be up at age 34 and he could perform and earn his dollars. We will see on that but if he is paired with Jay Bouwmeester, who lacks the offensive game but is defensively very good… Jbo may cover for him and Wideman may turn up the offensive threat with Jbo.
Decent top pairing in my book that may end up complimenting each other like Yin and Yang. If anyone tells me they are surprised on the NMC, I'd say they haven't followed the Flames very long. The usual Flames trick of giving a player security for lower Cap hit has to be predicatable at this point…
The trade to get his rights?
Fine by me. Jordan Henry has not even touched NHL ice once and he is 26. Never even played in a single NHL game. He was the return for Keith Seabrook who is a career AHLer who gets by on his brother's last name. Flames took a look at Henry and decided he is the same thing, big whop. The 5th round pick, well, if you get even a steady 4th line NHL player from that position you are doing great.
Bottom line, fair trade to get the rights to negotiate early with a UFA who would have had good demand on the market and Feaster closed the deal.
This signing tells me we may see a trade on July 1 (please be Babchuk) from the Flames D. The other possible trade which would really upset me, is if Jbo has asked for a trade and is being dealt out on July 1. (Please no)
As Justin pointed out the Flames are pilling up a lot of D men, too many on one-way contracts. I am all for D depth but the Flames don't have enough two-way contracts to make that many D men work on the roster.
I am upset by the price of this deal. I do not feel Sarich is worth even close to that price. If he was a 1 - 1.5 million Cap hit, I would be fine with it, but as it stands now, can't stand the price. Ignoring the Cap hit though you can understand how Sarich slots into the Flames D.
He is still one of the better hitters in the NHL and gives the D corps a physical threat that we know Jbo doesn't. When Gio went down last year the Flames really lacked that physical presence. There is no NTC, so if he is to be dealt in the future to a strong playoff team looking for D Depth, that option is there.
The other aspect to this signing is that the Flames can now get something in return for Sarich either this deadline or next, depending on how season(s) go. Even a couple draft picks in the future is better than letting Sarich walk as a UFA and get nothing in return.
To sum up why Cory Sarich is ok, I will just link Flames Nation and Arik's article which I agree with.
650K and 2 years?
No problem. This is a solid signing for a player that showed what he can do under Brent Sutter. He stepped up his game after arriving from Tampa and I am behind Jones. He fits the team, is young relatively speaking at 25, and I think even the harshest critic of the Flames is going to have a tough time knocking this one.
2.5 million, 2 years, No NTC / NMC
Good signing, Stempniak is a smart player, drives play the right way and I was hoping he would be signed. Strong 3rd line player with the potential to cover the 2nd line RW if needed. I am happy to see Stempy back. Stempy is that two-way player the Flames will need next season, he isn't at the higher end of the scale like Langkow was in his hey day with the Flames but he is positionally sound and I like his game.
This is a great signing to me and I was a little worried going into the off-season that Stempy was not being appreciated out there as much as he should be. The risk he may walk as UFA has now been closed. This does not bode well for David Moss who I do not think will be resigned now.
It is a tough decision on Moss, a career Flames player, but if you cut the heart-strings, the choice between the two is clear.
Conclusion - The Flames have almost all their work done before July 1, 2012, with the exception of Mikael Backlund who is the last player on my list of must re-sign - signings.
P.S. Thumbs up for Feaster on his resigning of Blake Comeau as well. He did it the right way.
Is it Kool-Aid to be looking forward to the start of the season already and for the Flames fighting for a playoff spot?