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06-30-2008, 05:44 PM
Red Deer Rebel
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No need to blow up the team, but the OS is correct in pointing out that the Flames are standing still at best. In fact, Sutter has the Flames going backwards.

Let's compare major roster transations concluded by the Flames since the 2007-08 trading deadline, and those completed by the Oilers. IIRC, the Flames and Oilers have completed the following major roster moves since the trade deadline:

Players Added - Calgary
Mike Cammalleri

Players Added - Edmonton

Lubomir Visnovsky

Players Subtracted - Calgary

Alex Tanguay
Rhett Warrener

Players Subtracted - Edmonton
Jarrett Stoll
Matt Greene

Comparison (Players Added)

Visnovsky >>> Cammalleri ... Advantage Edmonton

Comparison (Players Subtracted)
Tanguay, Warrener >>> Stoll, Greene ... Advantage Edmonton

With just a few hours to go until UFA season starts, I would have to give the advantage to the Oilers on the roster moves that have occurred since the trade deadline. Lowe has done more to improve the roster of the Oilers than Sutter has done for the Flames. In fact, I would argue that the Flames have a worse roster now than they did at the trade deadline.

Once UFA season starts, the Flames are set to lose Kristian Huselius, Stephane Yelle, Jim Vandermeer, and Curtis Joseph. The Oilers are set to lose Curtis Glencross, Marty Reasoner, and Geoff Sanderson.

Huselius >>> Glencross
Yelle >>> Reasoner
Vandermeer, Joseph >>> Sanderson

Once again, advantage Edmonton. The assets the Oilers are losing are less significant than the assets being lost by the Flames.

Furthermore, the Oilers emerged from the draft with a more significant prospect (Jordan Eberle) than the Flames best prospect (Greg Niemisz), despite the fact that the Oilers entered the draft five positions behind the Flames.

With the exception of the 2005-06 season, Sutter's teams have prevailed in the Battle of Alberta. However, if the regular season were to begin tomorrow, I take the view that the Oilers would be favoured to beat the Flames. After all, they finished only six points behind the Flames in the 2007-08 regular season with an injury-riddled roster full of rookies. The young core of the Oilers should be a little better, while the older players on the Flames - Iginla, Kiprusoff, Langkow, Aucoin, Conroy, Nolan, Primeau - have all played their best hockey. Kiprusoff's play notably tailed off last year, and we are likely to see that trend continue. Conroy and Nolan are mere shadows of their former selves, and had to agree to pay cuts in order to remain with the club (at least in Conroy's case; Nolan's pay cut has yet to be confirmed). Langkow is turning grey, and even Iginla will begin to lose a step one of these years. Maybe this will be the year that Iginla starts showing some wear and tear.

It will be interesting to see what Sutter does between now and the beginning of training camp to keep the Flames from sliding back any further.

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