Thread: Speculation: Rebuild Flames already
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07-31-2012, 12:57 PM
Stewie Griffin
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The Flames are rebuilding - thing is most people just don't realize it (or are simply ignorant) because it's happening on the fly, and their best players haven't been moved out for spare parts. For those not paying attention, this upcoming season will be year four of the rebuild.

Year 1 (2009-10): Hire assistant GM Jay Feaster. Revamp scouting department; increase number of eastern and US scouts. Implement PUCKS system.

Year 2 (2010-11): Fire Darryl Sutter. Promote Jay Feaster to interim (then permanent) GM. Undo some of Sutter's damage. Acquire youth via trade (Butler, Byron, Horak, Stempniak). Begin a trend of drafting smart, skilled players instead of beefy plugs (Baertschi, Granlund, Gaudreau)

Year 3 (2011-12): Hired assistant GM John Weisbrod. Fired Head Coach Brent Sutter (finally) and hired Bob Hartley. Continued with drafting players with skill (Jankowski). From last year to this year, the team's average age has dropped two years - from around 29.7 (according to CBC) to 27.7 (QuantHockey).

Interesting trivia: the Flames' third second round pick in two years is more 2nd rounders than Darryl Sutter picked in six years.

Year four (2012-13): Acquire scoring punch in Denis Wideman & Jiri Hudler. Roman Cervenka also expected to add help up front. For the first time since Dion Phaneuf, it looks like a player from the WHL will crack the big club on opening night (Baertschi). A handful of AHL players (Aliu, Nemisz, Reinhart) also have a legitimate shot of cracking the lineup full-time as well, at the expense of some veterans (Stajan, Jackman) - which would be unheard of during Sutter's reign.

Also of note - the Flames tried the scorched earth rebuild before. It failed miserably, but not necessarily because of a lack of effort; more like a lack of commitment. It was marketed as "The Young Guns" campaign. As a fan, I hope never to have to go through that again, and I can't blame the owners - who also want to avoid that at all costs. However, had the Flames owners & fans been a bit more patient during that process (nobody was after basically ten years of failure) our top line could have been St. Louis (bought out) - Savard (traded for fighting with coach who was fired a week later) - Iginla (was almost Todd Harvey)...

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