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05-08-2005, 05:28 PM
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Ice Cream Man
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Button's Top 3 Best and Worse Moves

Hi gang,

So I stole this idea from the Oilers' board. In you opinion, what were Craig Button's top 3 Best and Worst moves as General Manager during his tenure with the Flames?

Sutter has not been GM long enough to warrant a thread like this, plus everything he's done so far has been positive.

I'll begin with my Top 3 Best Moves, in no particular order:

1) The hiring of Darryl Sutter. Although pretty self-explanatory as to why, I'll elaborate a little bit. Greg Gilbert's firing was long overdue, control was needed within the dressing room and an actually-effective playing system needed to be implemented. Enter Sutter. Mr. Viking turned our team of perennial playoff-missers into a winning franchise with a bright future. In a twist of irony, Darryl eventually replaced Craig as GM, and the rest has gone up from there.

2) The Stillman-Conroy trade. This trade, IMO, was a symbol of switching from an old regime to a new one; while the trade wasn't popular amongst fans at the time, it gave Calgary a legitimate defensive center, and a new look to the team. We all know how this trade turned out.

3) The Leopold-Nazarov trade. This was sheer brillinace on Craig's part. Touted as one of the best defencemen to come out of Minnesota, Leopold has become a core defenseman that the Flames have integrated into their team. All we gave up was an overacheiving brute in Nazarov. These days, I have no idea where Nazarov is playing, but that's exactly my point.

Top 3 Worst Moves, in no particular order:

1) The Bure-Neidermayer trade. During the weeks before, there were rumours of Bure heading to San Jose for an underperforming Patrick Marleau, as well as to Anaheim for Jeff Freisen. There was also one swirling around including Luongo. Instead, we got Neidermayer (who subsequently earned the nickname Special Neids), who Button thought could re-discover his game with a change of scenery. The silver lining in the aftermath of all this was that we got Commodore in the end, and Weimer is now back with us.

2) The Lowry/Saint John incident. Boy, was this ever handled badly. While it was more likely that Gilbert sent down Lowry, Button probably has his hand in this cookie jar too. The demotion of Lowry was classless, and Captain Dave still took it like the consummate professional that he is. Luclkily, Sutter retreived him from the minors, and Lowry atleast finished off his career in style with the Flames last year.

3) The release of Martin St. Louis. While at the time it didn't seem like that big of a deal, Button's decision to send him packing was premature, IMO. At least another try should have been in order, considering Calgary was very offensively-challenged at the time. Perhaps another six-eight months would have sufficied for Martin to display the potential in Calgary that he has in Tampa Bay - his non-presence in last years' playoffs would have been quite the blessing.

Honorable mentions go to the Giguere for a pick trade, that resulted us getting Mikka Elomo. Ick.

I'm curious to hear everyone else's Top 3's.

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05-08-2005, 05:48 PM
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Eb0la11
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All I have to say is, what the hell was he thinking when he traded away Savard and then Fired Gilbert only weeks later... That one really ticked me off cause savard is worth way more than fricken Zainullan who may never cross the pond.

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05-08-2005, 06:09 PM
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Picking up Andrew Ference and Shean Donovan from Pittsburgh in separate moves for basically nothing (Micki Dupont and a #3 pick) were fine moves that ended up contributing greatly to the finals run. Leopold and Conroy also great deals.

Biggest failure was his inability to address the team's goaltending in his three seasons as GM. Dealing away Giguere and protecting Fred Brathwaite not a great move. Neither was getting fooled by Turek's hot start and throwing a huge contract at him. Aside from the first 20 games of 01-02, Calgary received below-average goaltending throughout his tenure as GM.

It's hard looking at his record to point out many really bad deals, where poor value was received for quality assets. There just didn't seem to be much of a cohesive plan for moving forward.

And you can't really blame him for releasing St. Louis after he scored 3 goals in 60 games that year. Even St. Louis himself has said he received a fair shot in Calgary and just didn't cut it.

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05-08-2005, 11:34 PM
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The Donovan deal was Sutters idea that he suggested to Button. He made some good moves, and some bad ones. The Chris Drury trade was a good one, had Drury been a team player. We still got Yelle out of it though.

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05-09-2005, 01:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MS
Picking up Andrew Ference and Shean Donovan from Pittsburgh in separate moves for basically nothing (Micki Dupont and a #3 pick) were fine moves that ended up contributing greatly to the finals run.
edit: Opps, King_Brown beat me to it...

I believe Sutter may have been responsible for getting Ference as well.

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05-09-2005, 01:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eb0la11
All I have to say is, what the hell was he thinking when he traded away Savard and then Fired Gilbert only weeks later... That one really ticked me off cause savard is worth way more than fricken Zainullan who may never cross the pond.
I could not agree more....That situation was handled soooo poorly it's not even funny.....Gilbert drove Savard's value to rock bottom so Button wasn't able to get anything decent in return for him.....The smart thing would have been to fire the coach and let the talented player play.....I'm still miffed to this day as to why Savard was dealt then Gilbert fired.....

Button did have an eye for talent though.....He had great drafts when he was here, and that Leopold deal was grand larceny....I don't know what the Ducks were thinking with that deal....As for the whole St.Louis releasing....you can't blame Button for that....Nobody saw his rise to stardom coming....

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05-09-2005, 07:23 AM
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If the goal is to build a team of winners, Savard isn't the kind of player you want on the squad. Gilbert dispatched a trainer to Savard's hometown over the summer, and the Backstreet Boys #1 fan neglected to show. Then there was the occasion of Chuck Kobasew's first NHL goal. Savard said he thought he got it. Nice teammate. Before that, he pouted about not having talented enough wingers (translation: only Iginla was acceptable). Instead of acting like a man, by trying to make his wingers play better, and eventually earning the chance to play of the top line, he conducted himself like a whiny puffball. He had the skills to be a decent playmaker, and Essa Tikkanen taught him some how to agitate and draw penalties. Savard could've accomplished more, and he deserves most of the blame for that whole fiasco.

The hiring of Don Hay was one of the big blunders. It was regarded as more of favor to Ken Hitchcock then it was as a sound personnel decision. Gilbert had a demonstrated track record in the AHL, but didn't feel he was quite ready yet for NHL duty.

History will show that Button's drafting record was respectable. He inherited the situation, left over by the Al Coates regime. The inability of the few first rounders development, with the exception of Saprykin, sealed Coatsey's fate. Button had learned from his previous mistakes, but by then it was too late.

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05-09-2005, 10:21 AM
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The signing of Iginla was a great move. He was smart enough to give realize Iginla's talent and his value to the team.

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05-09-2005, 01:00 PM
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I 'm not sure Button had much or enough to do with the Sutter hiring or Donovan or Ference trades to look at those further

Worst Moves/Issues

1. the handling of the pre-expansion draft. He had a few rough weeks when he first got on the job. had a tough go with having to move Giguere, but combined with leaving Kuba open and protecting a bunch of older defencemen it clearly wasn't the right combination of moves. as fans we wanted a team that would compete right away after several years out of the playoffs, but really the team wasn't ready. should have protected the better younger assets

2. Ignoring the fact that this was a team with a budget. I don't have a huge problem with the Turek or Val Bure trades--asset wise--but trading for pending UFA goalie Turek, and 2.1 M dollar 3rd liner Niedermayer weren't the kind of deals the Flames could afford to make

3. letting Savardgate fester. the guy obviously had to go,whether you 'blame' Gilbert or not. he must have had better trade value than Zainullin at some point in the story arc though

Good moves

1. Leopold for Nazarov and a 2nd. no question

2. Holding tight on Regehr. I'm sure there were tempations/offers to deal him for a generic 15 goal scorer while he was finding his way in the NHL

3.too close to call. Conroy trade (really stabilized the lineup), Morris trade (set the wheels in motion on turning things around), signings of Gelinas and Boughner (ok these guys were probably a touch overpaid, but it was nice to see 'niche' FA signings in Calgary, getting useful guys to fill important roles)

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05-09-2005, 07:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by looooob
Morris trade (set the wheels in motion on turning things around), signings of Gelinas and Boughner (ok these guys were probably a touch overpaid, but it was nice to see 'niche' FA signings in Calgary, getting useful guys to fill important roles)

Wasn't Button already gone by then?



His best move by far was not holding on to Regehr, it was trading for him and trading one of the top 2 or 3 fan favorites in the history of the Flames.

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05-10-2005, 12:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by go kim johnsson
Wasn't Button already gone by then?
No. Button pulled the switch on the Morris to Colorado deal in the fall, Sutter did the Drury to Buffalo deal in the summer.


Quote:
His best move by far was not holding on to Regehr, it was trading for him and trading one of the top 2 or 3 fan favorites in the history of the Flames.
That was an Al Coates deal. The biggest fan favorite that Button traded away was Freddie Braithwaite (because the Val Bure phenomenon had worn off by then).

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05-10-2005, 08:49 AM
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Oh, I had gotten crossed up then. I was at work yesterday and realized that.



Well then that was one of Al Coates' better moves

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05-10-2005, 08:30 PM
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Al Coates traded Theo, not Button. Regher was good, but getting Rene Corbet back is disgusting.

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05-11-2005, 06:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by King_Brown
Al Coates traded Theo, not Button. Regher was good, but getting Rene Corbet back is disgusting.
This is really grasping at straws.

At the time of the trade, Corbet was not a bad player. The only problem was that there were already enough checking wingers on the team. Corbet got flipped with Tyler Moss to Pittsburgh for Brad Werenka anyway.

If Theo Fleury had brought back Robyn Regehr ALONE, that would've been an outstanding transaction.

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05-11-2005, 11:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Badger Bob
This is really grasping at straws.

At the time of the trade, Corbet was not a bad player. The only problem was that there were already enough checking wingers on the team. Corbet got flipped with Tyler Moss to Pittsburgh for Brad Werenka anyway.

If Theo Fleury had brought back Robyn Regehr ALONE, that would've been an outstanding transaction.
Game, set and match.

Regehr for an impending UFA was brilliant, even though Calgary didn't see what the hype was about Regehr until a few years later.

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05-11-2005, 11:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by King_Brown
Al Coates traded Theo, not Button. Regher was good, but getting Rene Corbet back is disgusting.
Huh? It's the same trade? How can you call it good and then disgusting.

Two months of Fleury for Regehr, Corbet, Belak and a 1st/2nd is brilliant. Too bad Button botched it later by not signing or dealing the 2nd round pick (Jarret Stoll).

There's nothing "disgusting" about that deal unless you're looking at it from a Colorado perspective.

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05-11-2005, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Flames Draft Watcher
Huh? It's the same trade? How can you call it good and then disgusting.

Two months of Fleury for Regehr, Corbet, Belak and a 1st/2nd is brilliant. Too bad Button botched it later by not signing or dealing the 2nd round pick (Jarret Stoll).

There's nothing "disgusting" about that deal unless you're looking at it from a Colorado perspective.
I think he may have meant that there might have been better options available on the team than Rene Corbet at the time, FDW. Possibly instead of Corbet and Belak, maybe just one body instead?

In hindsight, Belak and Corbet did have good value back then for their roles, so the point is moot anyway. Corbet was a great 3rd liner (in the mould of Yelle) and Belak was still considered a prospect that could be developed.

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05-11-2005, 11:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ice Cream Man
I think he may have meant that there might have been better options available on the team than Rene Corbet at the time, FDW. Possibly instead of Corbet and Belak, maybe just one body instead?

In hindsight, Belak and Corbet did have good value back then for their roles, so the point is moot anyway. Corbet was a great 3rd liner (in the mould of Yelle) and Belak was still considered a prospect that could be developed.
From my point of view those guys were throw ins. The deal was centered around Regehr and the 1st/2nd rounder.

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05-11-2005, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Flames Draft Watcher
From my point of view those guys were throw ins. The deal was centered around Regehr and the 1st/2nd rounder.
I absolutely agree. Corbet and Belak were throw-ins, but still worth more back then than what they are today.

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05-11-2005, 02:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ice Cream Man
Belak was still considered a prospect that could be developed.
Remember, Chris Dingman also went to Colorado in that deal. Pierre Lacroix and Al Coates probably saw it as an opportunity to exchange former 1st round picks, that didn't turn out, and give each a fresh start with a new team. Georges Laraque admitted that Belak gave him one of the toughest fights he'd faced. Belak ended up being Don Hay's albino whipping boy. Then he ended up being an important member of the defensive corps in Toronto. Strange how these things sometimes turn out...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flames Draft Watcher
From my point of view those guys were throw ins. The deal was centered around Regehr and the 1st/2nd rounder.
In retrospect, it was centered around Regehr, but he was the PTBNL. It took a couple of weeks before the entire transaction was completed. A choice of Regehr or Martin Skoula was offered. If it was such an easy decision, at the time, one would've thought that Regehr would've been announced as coming to Calgary, at the same time as Corbet and Belak.

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05-11-2005, 02:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Badger Bob
Remember, Chris Dingman also went to Colorado in that deal. Pierre Lacroix and Al Coates probably saw it as an opportunity to exchange former 1st round picks, that didn't turn out, and give each a fresh start with a new team. Georges Laraque admitted that Belak gave him one of the toughest fights he'd faced. Belak ended up being Don Hay's albino whipping boy. Then he ended up being an important member of the defensive corps in Toronto. Strange how these things sometimes turn out...
Well exactly. Belak was thought of as a player that could still be developed; hence the switch for Dingman.

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05-11-2005, 07:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ice Cream Man

3) The Leopold-Nazarov trade. This was sheer brillinace on Craig's part. Touted as one of the best defencemen to come out of Minnesota, Leopold has become a core defenseman that the Flames have integrated into their team. All we gave up was an overacheiving brute in Nazarov. These days, I have no idea where Nazarov is playing, but that's exactly my point.
Actually it was:

Mighty Ducks of Anaheim traded Jordan Leopold to the Calgary Flames for Andrei Nazarov and a 2nd round selection in 2001 (Andrei Taratukhin).

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/teams/player_b...86&hubname=CGY

The Ducks then traded the 2nd rd pick to Phoenix for Keith Carney who would anchor their 2003 Western Conference Championship team.

Then Phoenix traded the 2nd rd pick with the 14th overall pick (Kobasew) back to Calgary for the 11th overall pick (Sjostrom).

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Still a good trade for Calgary but just wanted to point out that it wasn't Leopold for Nazarov straight up.

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05-11-2005, 09:07 PM
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RObyn Regher was a great pick up, but Rene Corbet is a checking line player, if thats what you get for a superstar your not a good gm. Wade Belak, and a 2nd rd pick common man. We all know now Regher for Theo is amazing, but back then Button could of gotten more then Corbet. Maybe Stephane Yelle, we have him now, but just a thought.

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05-11-2005, 10:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by King_Brown
RObyn Regher was a great pick up, but Rene Corbet is a checking line player, if thats what you get for a superstar your not a good gm. Wade Belak, and a 2nd rd pick common man. We all know now Regher for Theo is amazing, but back then Button could of gotten more then Corbet. Maybe Stephane Yelle, we have him now, but just a thought.
for one month rental of a 'superstar' an above average prospect, a 2nd round pick , another prospect and a utility player is a good return actually. even though coates wasn't a good GM necessarily I can't fault him on this one

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05-11-2005, 10:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by King_Brown
RObyn Regher was a great pick up, but Rene Corbet is a checking line player, if thats what you get for a superstar your not a good gm. Wade Belak, and a 2nd rd pick common man. We all know now Regher for Theo is amazing, but back then Button could of gotten more then Corbet. Maybe Stephane Yelle, we have him now, but just a thought.
All depends on how hyped and coveted Regehr was back then. It would be like the Flames trading Iginla (somewhat) for a top end prospect and a few utlility players in hope the prospect lives up to the great hype for the team's rebuilding, in which Regehr did.

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