: News Article:
Brian Burke-President of Hockey Operations for the Calgary Flames
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09-08-2013, 07:16 PM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Originally Posted by
I see the Flames at the same point as the Oilers were in 2006-07 when they finally got smart and moved Ryan Smyth. That was the same signal to the fans that the team was going for a major change. The Iginla era in Calgary is officially over and the Flames are turning the page, just like the Oilers did when they traded Smyth. How Calgary elects to move forward will define whether they are going to end up further ahead than Edmonton or suffer the same fate and go through a horrendously long rebuild. Burke's hiring could be beneficial in making the deals that make the team more competitive in a shorter time frame. Burke definitely has an advantage as the foundation has been laid for the future. He just has to build on that foundation.
There are some interesting comments about the bad shape Calgary is supposedly in. Can't prove it either way but on paper they look like they aren't in bad shape. Supposedly they have no future goaltending. Edmonton hockey fans can certainly tell you Brossoit is a damn good goaltender and a very solid prospect. He isn't even Calgary's best goaltending prospect. They have a kid by the name of Jon Gillies who dominated Hockey East and piled up the individual awards in his freshman year. This kid stoned Canada in the recent Lake Placid summer mini-tournament and should be the starter for the American team at this year's world junior tournament. There were comments coming out of Calgary during their developmental camp that indicated they believed Gillies was their best prospect. High praise considering their prospect depth.
Prospect depth is another area that is being ignored. The Flames have surprisingly good prospect depth all of a sudden. Their picks have stepped up and developed. People may want to rag on Calgary for taking a calculated risk in drafting Mark Jankowski, but he was very good at the summer Team Canada eval camp and was identified as a player, along with Emile Poirier, Canada was missing during the 5-1 loss to the Americans. His skill and size were missing in the mix. When you look at the Flames young center group you have to admit they have interesting potential. Jankowski at 6'3, Monahan at 6'2, Corbin Knight at 6'2 and Reinhart at 6'1 all have good size and skill. That doesn't include Backlund, Horak, Markus Granlund, or Boston College standout, Bill Arnold, another big body with skill. On the wings the Flames have the much talked about Baertschi that everyone is focusing on. Forgotten is Hobey Baker finalist and Boston College star, Johnny Gaureau, and Frozen Four hero for Yale, Kenny Agostino. Both players have top six potential. Then there are recent picks Poirier and Morgan Klimchuk, also top six potential players. The Flames also have some solid grit in Ben Hanowski, Michael Ferland, and Lance Bouwma. They are thin on the blueline but have some excellent young defenders in Pat Sieloff, Tyler Wotherspoon, John Ramage, and Oiler goal scoring hero from yesterday's young star game, Ryan Culkin. None of these guys are top pairing defenders, but are solid defenders who excelled at each level they played at and show great potential. The Flames system has a real interesting mix of quality young players who will be filtering into the ranks over the next two years. That is a huge benefit for Brian Burke and something the Oilers did not have working for them when they started the rebuild when they dealt away Smyth.
I don't see the Flames situation very similar to the Oilers because they have some good depth going into the rebuild. They are headed to a couple of early first round picks, no doubt. This is a freakishly bad hockey team right now and is only going to get worse when they finally move Cammalleri, Stempniak and Stajan this season. But they are not going to be as bad off as the Oilers, where they are working from a scorched earth position. The Oilers are in tough because they are trying to build some depth to support their first overall picks. Time is working against them. The Flames have that depth in development and as they add those top end picks, say Ekblad and McDavid, they will already have good depth to support them. The Flames rebuild is looking more like that of the Blackhawks, where much of their depth was drafted in 2003 and 2004, and then Toews and Kane were drafted in 2005 and 2006. The two star players are going to be drafted by the Flames in 2014 and 2015, but is the foundation laid in the 2011, 2012 and 2013 drafts and moves at the deadlines that catapult the team to the next level. There are no guarantees of anything, but if they Chicago model is accurate the Flames could be pretty damn good in a few years and vault past a lot of teams.
The Oilers at the beginning of their rebuild had a plethora of prospects and draft picks that we swore would turn this team around by the time our top draft picks were at the end of their ELC's. We followed the Chicago and Pittsburgh model, and we had the exact same kind of hope you have right now with your sub-pro prospects.
Let's take a look at who the Oilers drafted, starting with 2005.
That was our prospect pool heading into our first #1 overall selection, in which we selected Taylor Hall in 2009. We also had at the end of 2008-2009 season
Who had graduated to the NHL very recently.
From that point, our 5 year rebuild officially began. That means we had a very healthy and robust pool in our system and a handful of prospects freshly graduated at the time Taylor Hall was drafted:
Along with a very healthy goaltending pool of Devan Dubnyk and Jeff Deslauriers who were considered the future of our goaltending.
And that's only year 1.
Year 2-4 saw the additions of:
So what does that mean? We must just suck balls at drafting, right? About to laugh at the prospects we had? These weren't just ordinary draft picks. Many of these prospects had the backing of some very reputable scouts and publications that catapulted our prospect pool into some high number, very similar to how the Flames view their own pool.
The biggest problem with assuming that your prospects are enough alone to vault you past 29 other teams who have also been drafting over the last 5 years is that you have no clue as to who is going to make it and who is going to bust.
I look at all these high hopes from Flames fans and I can't help but laugh. Many of them aren't even playing pro yet and you're already expecting them to be major contributors in the coming years. 75% of your top prospect pool won't be ready for when those veterans get moved or sign elsewhere.
There is no "Shorter time frame" for your rebuild. Your scouting is just as good as anybody else's, and that's only because I believe the scouting methods of today's scouts are so archaic they remind me of that movie "Moneyball" where they evaluate players based on their looks.
Expect more than half of your GOOD prospects to fall well short of expectations or bust completely. Then expect much of your long shots to never even make it out of the AHL, and those who do to be unprepared for the task of taking very important roles onto their shoulders. And truth be told, while the #1 overall is almost a sure thing, it too is subject to the trials and tribulations of carrying a franchise on their back. We were lucky Taylor Hall is able to. But Nail Yakupov and RNH don't have the character (IMO) to do what Hall did and not many players do. With a lack of veteran leadership as the prospects graduate, it will add another level of stress to an already stressed team.
And we're not even talking about the severe toll that losing has on a team and a franchise as a whole. Avoiding a losing culture is literally half the battle and is something that the Oilers organization has done very well at.
Food for thought about your supposed all star prospect pool.
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