"That's something Jay Feaster would have done." - My first thought when hearing of the Matt Stajan extension.
Of course, point being, that should be the first indicator of the quality of move just made by Calgary Flames brass. I prepared for the twitter explosion. This is gonna be good. Safe to say it went a little differently than I thought it would. Article after article began to go up, applauding the effort. Eh, maybe a year too long but overall, good move.
-Our own Arik Knapp, Stajan Probably Extended
-Former FlamesNation Overlord Kent Wilson, In Favour of the Stajan Re-Up
-King of Snark, Ryan Lambert, The Stajan Extension
-Best Hockey Journalist on the Planet, Elliotte Friedman, (hmm, link seems to be broken here, but he says the Flames need someone to play against the bigs so Backlund and Monahan don't have to).
Everywhere I turned someone was writing about what a great move this was while I'm thinking the Flames barely have a pot to piss in and a Matt Stajan extension is getting everyone all hot and bothered?
Is everyone so numbed by the infinite mediocrity that such a poor (at best) move is lauded? What are we, Oilers fans?
I'm then reminded of one of the greatest moments in The Simpsons history.
Mr. Burns: And a stunt like that impresses people?
Homer: Oh yeah, and I'm not easily impressed. Oh look! A blue car!
Easily impressed? Just a bit. Talk about setting the bar low. Thankfully, someone emerged as the voice of reason and went on a twitter rant, summed up by the following:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>We have a guy who is a UFA, who is 30 plus, and instead of getting picks for him we are re-signing him? Why?</p>— Dome Beers (@DomeBeers) <a href="https://twitter.com/DomeBeers/statuses/425347109361958913">January 20, 2014</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Really, it's not too terribly hard a concept here. The Flames are floor-licking bad, which of course, is one step above Edmonton Oilers bad on the historically bad chart.
The following is a list of 1st line players currently on the Calgary Flames.
1st Line LW:
1st Line C:
1st Line RW:
2D: Mark Giordano
I don't know about you guys, but I'd love to fill some of those holes. Those are moves I care about, not the re-signing of a 30 point centre. And especially not the re-signing of a 30 point centre to a ludicrous 4 year deal.
Really. Matt Stajan is the face of everyone's rebuild? Must be his oodles of playoff success. *crickets*
Ok, so a top 5 pick in this year's draft will hopefully land the team another nice piece to fill one of those holes - at this point, Aaron Ekblad is probably the great hope. That still leaves arguably three more important pieces left to be filled.
The team is unlikely to acquire any of these pieces by free agency and they currently don't have the pieces to go making offers to acquire any via trade at this point, so how on earth do they go about filling those holes?
By trading your depreciating assets and collecting assets of value to either help land you nice players in the draft or stock-pile picks and prospects to use to acquire these types of players when they become available.
Matt Stajan's value in Calgary will never be higher. Of course, the Flames way is always to re-sign that person. But it's the wrong move. You have to capitalize on it while you still can. Matt Stajan sticking around to play tough minutes is really more valuable going forward than Matt Stajan being turned into a 2nd/3rd rounder? (I think you can get a 2nd).
Cammalleri should be able to net you a 1st. Stempniak, like Stajan, maybe a 2nd/3rd. All of a sudden you've got a top 5 pick, another 1st in the 20-30 range, your own 2nd in the 30-35 range, another late 2nd, your own early 3rd (provided Colborne doesn't score 10 goals) and possible another 2nd/3rd for Stempniak. With that haul, you could easily move back into the top 15 of the draft and get another blue-chip prospect. Or, again, you might be able to package some of that together and acquire a stud. It happens.
At the very least, it gets you a heck of a lot closer to filling more of those open holes than having Matt Stajan eat salary cap space.
When Jay Feaster was hired he had one goal, to make the team better. He never did. Not even close and not for one second. Yet, I see his work described as "admirable" on Flamesnation. The easiest thing a GM can do is shed assets. He wasted them. Admirable. It was laughable.
We are far too easily amused.
Brian Burke's current job while being a stop-gap between GMs is to fill those holes. Lead a rebuilding team out of the basement. Well, this is only the beginning and while important to remember that fact in spite of its lateness it's also important to note that re-signing Matt Stajan to a FOUR (!!) year extension is the complete opposite of that.
The stockpiling of assets hasn't worked for the Oilers, not because they didn't get good enough pieces, but because they made a large number of poor moves and overvalue the decent ones (Ference/Gordon etc). No goalie and no defense in E-Town. Pretty straight forward. So, the Edmonton Oilers are not a good defense in the signing of Matt Stajan.
Flames fans need to demand and expect more. Remember, outside of a fairly flukey run to the finals behind Iggy, Kipper and Darryl, this is a franchise that has been incredibly poorly run. Yes, that is why I greet most moves with pessimism, but especially ones as seemingly obvious as this one. Don't be like that, Flames fans, or we'll be the ones tossing jerseys on the ice like Teddy Bears.
"Oh look! A blue car!"