Like with all major Flames news and events, I put out the call to our writers for brief opinions on the Robyn Regehr trade; here's what they sent in:
On the surface, trading Reggie makes sense for a team looking for cap room and needing to re-stock the prospect cupboard. He's 31 years old, still plays tough minutes, but isn't the puck-mover that you'd like to see and clearly gets beat in space. I like the guy, but moving on isn't a franchise-killer like trading Jarome would be. When rumors of Luke Adam and the Sabres 1st rounder came through, that seemed like a decent haul to me.
However, it seemed that by not trading him (or Reggie not giving the thumbs up in time) until after the Burns and Campbell deals had been done, Feaster had lost his competitive offers. The return of Butler and Byron isn't stellar and that's what hurts. Dumping Kotalik is fantastic, but to be honest, he was only on the cap for one more year so we shouldn't overpay to be rid of him.
Looking at the Burns deal, if Calgary could have grabbed 2 of the three assets that Minnesota got (Setoguchi, Coyle and 1st round pick), for Reggie and the 2nd rounder we gave up, I'd call that a huge victory. Instead, we used him to get rid of Kotalik and get some middling players back. Byron may turn into a top 6 forward, but I'm not holding my breath.
In the end, the Flames have $7.5m in cap space and the freedom to do some things in free agency, which is a win. However, we're down a top-pairing d-man without an immediate replacement in the top 4 and didn't get a blue chip prospect coming back the other way. That's disappointing.
Even if it means getting rid of Kotalik and his contract, getting slightly younger, and opening up some cap space, I'm very sad to see Regehr go. The fact that he was such an integral part of this team for more than a decade is a big part of that, as is the fact that Flames fans haven't yet received a positive review of the pieces coming back in return, defenceman Chris Butler and forward Paul Byron. The fact that the Flames had to give up a second round pick along with their best shutdown defender in the deal doesn't exactly help sweeten my disposition either, nor does the thought of what Calgary's blueline could potentially look like at the beginning of the 2011-12 season..*shudder.*
I didn't think I'd see the day this summer when re-signing Anton Babchuk and/or Adam Pardy might be a necessity rather than a luxury. Given what Brent Burns fetched from the Sharks and the return for John-Michael Liles, the package the Flames received from Buffalo looks even more pathetic in comparison, which is probably a function of the timing of the deal and the fact that Regehr didn't want to be forced into a decision and allowed time to explore his other options, which, as others have said, was his right as stipulated by his no-movement clause, but which also amounted to some bad luck for the Flames.
I suppose you really have to wonder what other teams were offering if Feaster did indeed like the Buffalo deal best (or if it was just the chance to dump Kotalik that sweetened the pot), but then again he's not exactly a candidate for GM of the year. Re-signing Tanguay at the cost of his annual cap hit ($3.4M) probably could have been done without moving Regehr and/or Kotalik considering that there will be a number of unrestricted free agents whose salaries come off the books next Friday, so it seems Feaster has something else up his sleeve, which is, understandably, terrifying.
Overall, it's hard to feel the least bit positive about this deal. It's simply a continuation of the awkward middle-ground the Flames find themselves in between being average/capable enough to get by and horribly awful, although now we're probably leaning more towards the 'horribly awful' side after dealing our best defenceman, which I suppose could be a plus in the long-run.
I don't know, I think I've gone delusional
What a mess this whole trade was, from beginning to end. The short term effect on the team: not good. The long term effect: also not good.
We basically gave up a quality defenseman for unknown assets, and lets not forget the second rounder as well.
That being said, there's a lot more going on here than meets the eye. But I'll address the whys and hows in a different post. I'd like to talk about what this means for the Flames and their defensive corps going forward. The first thing is obviously the acquisition of Chris Butler. Now while he hasn't been "great" so far in his career, it's important to remember the development curve for defensive defensemen is exceptionally late. If Butler can develop as even a 3/4, the Flames won't have terrible defensive depth. Just pretty bad defensive depth.
This is what I expect to see next year, barring any free agent signings:
It's clear to me that the organization's scouts view Butler with a lot of upside, and chances are he's already in the 5 spot on the depth chart, if not #4. The only reason I see Brodie as lining up with Sarich on the second pairing instead of Butler with Sarich is that Sarich needs someone who can actually play a transition game and generate offense.
The shock of this trade has worn off for me at this point. Without repeating too much what everyone else has already said I think it has to be seen as a hit the Flames had to take to try and clean up the mess Sutter left. I also agree with Ryan that Regehr's delay on clearing the trade lowered the original return. All the rumors prior were 2 for 3 with the Flames on the receiving end for 3 players.
The Sabres went from a position of seeking Regehr as a pro-active buyer to a position of negotating strength knowing there were no other offers. Like the Realtor who pressures you with, well multiple offers are on the table, you better increase your asking price for the house. Once you know there are no other offers, you drop your price.
I also want to add that I think Regehr is overvalued by a lot of us.
In my view Regehr did not look last season like the dominating force he was prior. Yes, he certainly has several years of top 4 play left in him and his leadership qualities are also valuable for Buffalo but was he really going to get a Burns like return at his age? The tunnel of death certainly looked under renovations for a lot of last year and I noticed Jbo covering for him on several occasions.
I don't think many teams out there are seeing Regehr playing much past his current contract. He is a D man who has to play physically to contribute, if that dimension of his game begins to soften what else does he have to contribute? Is he that incredible first pass out of the zone, is he that bullet from the point and PP QB, is he that fast D man who can save a goal on a broken play with a diving poke check? I don't want to slag Regehr, I love the guy as much as any Flames fan but how he was seen on the market may not have been as high as many think.
His body has taken a lot of abuse over the years and he is not going to play till 41 like Lidstrom, I don't think anyone is going to dispute me on that.
Ultimately this trade is all about Cap space for the Flames and trying to clean up a Sutter mess. Nothing else, they have taken some very high risks on Butler and Byron which may or may not work out. So if you were expecting this trade to improve the team for the season you have to be disappointed.
Regehr was a sacrifice that was made to create Cap, not much else to say. It remains to be seen what, if anything, the Flames will do with the extra Cap space but it should be pretty clear they need to shore up the Defense now before the season starts.