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02-28-2013, 12:32 AM
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Drafting, even for the best of teams, is still a gamble after the first five or 10 picks of the draft. Which is why rebuilding teams stockpile draft picks and focus on development. It increases their odds of getting the necessary talent to compete and build a winner. Instead of depending on a one first round pick on panning out, you hedge your bets with two or three, and in that way, don't waste a year if the pick ends up amounting to nothing.
And rebuilding does necessitate selling off assets. It's just a matter of intellectual honesty - if you're an older team with a poor prospect pool, you're not in the playoffs by the deadline and have no real chance at winning the cup, you sell. It's that simple. Look at Ottawa - after losing Heatley, they understood that they didn't have what it takes to win it all. Instead of blindly hoping for a miracle and stubbornly refusing to change, they accepted reality as it was. So, at the deadline, they moved assets like Vermette, Fisher, and Kuba for high picks. In the process, they managed to land their future franchise goalie in Lehner.
The problem is, the Flames will always be a short win streak away from a playoff spot. That's been the case for the last three years and has always been the excuse for why management avoided selling off assets. One would think they'd have the brains to realize after at least the second occurrence that maybe, just maybe, the core of this team simply doesn't have what it takes. And that's not a knock on Iginla or Kipper, rather, it's a marked condemnation against an organization that thinks you can build a core without a dynamic group of centres involved. The NHL simply doesn't work that way.
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