Most will point to the September 5th hiring of Brian Burke as the beginning of the end for Jay Feaster, but I still maintain the moment he was hired was the beginning of the end.
I've been writing about his tales of woe for as long as I can remember on this site.
I've offended many. But the truth often hurts.
And so, an actual search for an actual general manager can take place.
I'm not enamored by Brian Burke and especially his want for grit and not maybe say, skill, but the fact that he made this decision now, rather than waiting any longer gives me the belief he did his full due diligence on the reign of Feaster and came to the proper conclusion. Now, the team can move forward and extract as much as is humanly possible from the remaining thin crop of assets.
Yesterday I happened to be driving and caught a question on Sportsnet 960 from Ryan Leslie to Neil Smith, former NHL GM.
"Will Jay Feaster ever be a general manager in the National Hockey League again?"
Great question. We were all wondering if he would ask it.
Smith, of course, danced around the question- he's actually a surprisingly poor interview IMO- and mentioned the likes of Craig Patrick not having a gig and so you can't say anyone will or won't ever get another job.
Fortunately, I have the answer for you!
No. He won't. In fact, he should consider himself very lucky that Ken King was calling the shots after Big D's firing because he never should have had the chance to be a GM following the monstrosity of a performance he put on in Tampa.
"Oh but he won a cup with Tampa!"
Shut up. He was handed 95% of that team from Rick Dudley and then proceeded to burn the franchise to the ground.
I'm a long-time season ticket holder with the Calgary Flames. Yet, I haven't been to the Saddledome in just over two seasons. The Jay Feaster era is one I refused to be a part of. I will consider returning depending on who Burke brings in and the direction that the team starts moving. But, I'll be a hard sell, watching this team spin its tires for nearly 5 seasons has been incredibly painful.
In the end it came down to asset management. And while the faithful tried to sell us all on Mark Jankowski and the Iggy and J-Bo deals it was very clear that they just didn't get enough. It rings especially true with Jankowski.
Remember the 2012 draft? Remember how excited they were to acquire MJ? Also remember how - before John Weisbrod stumbled upon MJ dominating 15 year olds - they were going to trade that 1st rounder? That's a thing they were going to do. Then, had they kept the pick, they could have had the likes of Zemgus Girgensons, Tom Wilson, Tomas Hertl, Teuvo Teravainen or Olli Maatta? All of whom are fantastic NHL prospects and all but Teravainen are currently in the NHL.
You can't whiff on 1st rounders. And you especially can't proclaim them to one day be the best centre in the NHL and then have them be not even an actual NHLer.
To be fair, Feaster did acquire Patrick Seiloff alongside the pick he used to get Jankowski but had he already not given the team's 2nd rounder to Buffalo in another one of his many wastes of tradeable assets (Regehr/Kotalik deal) they wouldn't have had to trade down and acquire a 2nd rounder to get Seiloff.
Regehr, Langkow, Iggy, J-Bo, Tanguay, Kipper - these fellas, the total core of the team - are gone with but a couple late 1sts and Lee Stempniak remaining of actual quality return. This doesn't even count the assets that went with some of those guys. And, I would argue, as much as Stempniak brings, that a young prospect or pick would have been a better return because he doesn't actually contribute to a rebuild and is very unlikely to be around once they're looking to move out of the rebuild.
The trading of a core like that should have brought this team a wealth of assets. It did not. And while many still defend the state of the Flames prospects and system, the truth of the matter is that it could and should be much better. Is it good? Sure, it's fairly solid, maybe even above average - but it should be elite.
If we go back even further and include the boneheaded moves of Big D the Flames should be sitting on one of the greatest collections of young talent the NHL has seen, instead, the franchise continues to tread water with a middling system and a lack of direction (hopefully this is now changing).
Had the Calgary Flames organization did a proper search for a GM following Darryl Sutter they might have snagged one of the top available candidates in Jarmo Kekalainen or Jim Nill, both of whom were looking for gigs and have since landed spots.
Now, I'd say Paul Fenton and Ron Hextall would have to be on the wish list, if they're looking. Maybe Jason Botterill or Julien Brisebois.
But will Brian Burke even look in that sort of direction or will he look for experience? That is now the burning question. How would anyone feel about Darcy Regier? He was only let go a month ago and has a ton of experience... that's not my suggestion, just one I bet is near the top of Burke's list.
The actual rebuild begins now.