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Who was Craig Button?

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Old
03-19-2008, 06:39 PM
  #1
Al Bundy*
 
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Who was Craig Button?

In mt "Worst General Managers thread," Ol' Jase said, "Ask a Calgary fan about the 'Craig Button' era."

Please explain to me who he was and what he did that made one consider him terrible as a GM.

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Old
03-19-2008, 07:04 PM
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I loved Craig Button but I'm an Oilers fan... Some of his more impressive decisions include:

- releasing Martin St. Louis because he was too small... They already had one scoring small guy in Sergei Krivokrasov after all.
- trading Giguerre for a 2nd round pick because an aging Grant Fuhr and budding superstar Trevor Kidd were higher on his depth chart
- trading Marc Savard for a bag of pucks because he didn't get along with Gilbert (the coach at the time) and then firing Gilbert a few weeks later. [I still laugh about this one]
- Signing Roman Turek to a LARGE contract because he played 20 or so good games to start a season

This guy makes Fergy look like a tactical genius. I wish he was still running the show in Calgary.

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Old
03-19-2008, 07:10 PM
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I think Button is one of the reasons Savard was traded away.

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Old
03-19-2008, 07:21 PM
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button was the reason the flames made their 04-05 playoff run

the core of the team was assembled by him and he hired darryl sutter as coach

'nuff said

/thread

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03-19-2008, 07:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chriss_co View Post
button was the reason the flames made their 04-05 playoff run

the core of the team was assembled by him and he hired darryl sutter as coach

'nuff said

/thread
Actually, that run was because they fired Button and gave the job to Sutter. Sutter went out and got Kipper and the rest is history. You really think they go on that run with Turek leading the charge?

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03-19-2008, 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by chriss_co View Post
button was the reason the flames made their 04-05 playoff run

the core of the team was assembled by him and he hired darryl sutter as coach

'nuff said

/thread
And Button actually resisted the hire of Sutter as coach. He wanted Playfair who was coaching the St John Flames, the Flames farm team at the time, and it was actually Ken King who overrode Button and interviewed Sutter himself.

Despite that, I don't think he was anywhere near the worst GM ever, or even in Flames history. That honor would go to Doug Reisborough. Reisborough was given a Stanley cup calibre team and manage to guy that down to a fringe playoff team in about 2 years.
Button wasn't that bad. His worst most was sining Turek when Turek was on a hot streak so his value was inflated. Button did bring in names like Leopold, Conroy, Turek (who he acquried for very little), Donovan, Gelinas, Lombardi, Yelle, Commodore, Ference etc. And one thing he never gets credit for, was retaining Jarome Iginla when most GMs in his position were letting their stars go.

He did build a bulk of the 03/04 roster, but it was clear that he was never gonna get the organiation very far. He just didn't understand the economics of the game. But definlty not the worst GM in history. He also helped turn around the Flames drafting. he brought in his brother (i believe) Tod Button and also dafted guys like Morris, Moen, Kurtis foster, Jarret Stoll, Lombadi, Curtis Mac, Maki, Taratukhin, etc.

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03-19-2008, 07:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LawnDemon View Post
- releasing Martin St. Louis because he was too small... They already had one scoring small guy in Sergei Krivokrasov after all.
Craig Button made alot of questionable moves, but this isn't one of them. St. Louis wasn't a very good NHL'er at the time, and he was on the market awhile before the Lightning took a random chance on him.

Letting Martin St. Louis go doesn't make anyone look foolish, teams weren't lining up for him when he as a free agent again.

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03-19-2008, 08:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LawnDemon View Post
I loved Craig Button but I'm an Oilers fan... Some of his more impressive decisions include:

- releasing Martin St. Louis because he was too small... They already had one scoring small guy in Sergei Krivokrasov after all.
- trading Giguerre for a 2nd round pick because an aging Grant Fuhr and budding superstar Trevor Kidd were higher on his depth chart
- trading Marc Savard for a bag of pucks because he didn't get along with Gilbert (the coach at the time) and then firing Gilbert a few weeks later. [I still laugh about this one]
- Signing Roman Turek to a LARGE contract because he played 20 or so good games to start a season

This guy makes Fergy look like a tactical genius. I wish he was still running the show in Calgary.
St louis sucked and wasn't producing. He couldn't (still can't) play a two way game
Most teams in the league would have passed on him and did.

Giguere was the goalie of the future and if you knew anything about hockey you would understand that Giguere had to go. He was not NHL ready and Calgary had two goalies. They needed to try for another failed playoff attempt. Giguere was backing up which ever goalie didn't get injured and had to be sent back to the minors. Calgary would have lost him for nothing on re-entry waivers so they traded him for a second. Every flame fan hates that this happened but kipper is better and was acquired the exact same way.

Savard was a mistake and everyone knew it. You can have that one

Trust an uneducated oiler fan to trash the turek signing because Salo also performed well for a few games and was given the exact same ludicrous contract.

Button wasn't great but he wasn't terrible. He made some good and bad moves like all GM's.

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03-19-2008, 08:15 PM
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Savard demanded a trade. Conroy and Iginla got hot so Gilbert put them together and thus cut Savard's ice time. Savard complained about it, started to hate gilbert and pretty much gave up on the team. He forced Button into trading him, but Button had this weird love affair with the player he traded him for, Zanuillin who has never seen the NHL.

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Old
03-19-2008, 09:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMastodonFarm View Post
Craig Button made alot of questionable moves, but this isn't one of them. St. Louis wasn't a very good NHL'er at the time, and he was on the market awhile before the Lightning took a random chance on him.

Letting Martin St. Louis go doesn't make anyone look foolish, teams weren't lining up for him when he as a free agent again.
St. Louis was never given a chance on a scoring line in Calgary, which arguably is the fault of the coach and, to a lesser degree, the GM. After all, Button also ignored St. Louis's AHL numbers and let him go without compensation, nor insisted the coach to give him more ice-time when we were a non-playoff team.

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03-19-2008, 09:45 PM
  #11
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The Craig Button era started at the end of the 99-00 season. The young dynamo was part of the management team that saw Dallas shoot into the upper echelons of hockey power. The bad signs started when he wasn't allowed to take part in the Flames 2000 draft because of his extensive knowledge of the Stars scouting system. The draft did actually nab some future NHLers (Kurtis Foster and Jarret Stoll most notably).

The 2000-01 season started with a good young core returning at the height of the 'Young Guns' marketing campaign. Valeri Bure was coming off an All-Star season, Marc Savard was finally coming into his own, Jarome Iginla was a budding star. Some of Button's own moves in the offseason were rather surprising (the scoring emergence of Dave Lowry for example). Button also preached his plans in going forward. The 'Group of 4' (real name forgotten) were the young defensemen to propel the team forward. Derek Morris, Denis Gauthier, Toni Lydman and Robyn Regehr would solidify the Flames blueline for a decade or more and everyone of them was considered untradeable in the first couple seasons.

The Flames however missed the playoffs, Cory Stillman was traded for Craig 'WHO?!' Conroy, Valeri Bure had quickly fallen out of grace and things didn't look much better, aside from Saint John winning the Calder Cup with an impressive crop of minor league talent. The draft saw us trade fan favorite FREDDY! Brathwaite and a couple of said minor leaguers for Roman Turek, who had followed up a Vezina worthy season with a big playoff choke job, and Valeri Bure was traded for Rob Niedermayer and a 2nd Round Draft Pick (which I believe turned out to be Andrei Taratukhin). Chuck Kobasew, the teams 1st Round Draft pick tore up the preseason and turned heads in training camp, Button's eye for talent looked as good as advertised.

The Niedermayer acquisition sparked a new mission statement. Along with our 'Group of 4' we had '3 Down the Middle' (again, not the actual name) in Savard, Conroy and Niedermayer. Every team needs to be strong down the middle and have a good defense core, just like Dallas.

The 2001-02 season started off like nobody could believe. Roman Turek was the unquestionable Vezina favorite a quarter of the way through the season, the Flames were in 1st (in the division at least) and Jarome Iginla was on pace for a career season, Greg Gilbert was looking like the coach of the year, everything fell into place. Unfortunetely Marc Savard and Gilbert didn't get along, and to make things worse, the top line centre spot went to Conroy after his chemistry with Iginla was helping produce an MVP candiate. Then came the contract to Roman Turek. An impending UFA, Button quickly made him the highest paid Flame (I believe ever) and Turek quickly became a horrible goalie. The effects from this change still make Flames fans worry at the sight of a large contract to a goalie. The Flames started to win less and quickly fell to the outside of the playoff picture. There were positives, Iginla, along with Conroy and Dean McAmmond formed one of the best lines in the league, Iginla capturing the Art Ross, Maurice Richard and Lester B. Pearson trophies and losing out on the Hart only because some writer left him off the ballot completely.

The Turek situation is hardly Button's fault however, it was really just bad luck. Most people were applauding him for locking up one of the best goalies in the league and finally putting this team in the right direction. I'd imagine every other GM would have made the same decision. Another sign Button was had a keen eye for up and coming talent was the trade for Jordan Leopold, which would allow some flexibility on our defense core.

Come 02-03, it was apparent that we needed secondary scoring. And the only way to get that was trade one of our young defensemen. So off went Derek Morris and Dean McAmmond (and Jeff Shantz, one of the worst player I have ever seen wear a Flames jersey) for Chris Drury and Stephane Yelle. The rumours about Drury's unhappiness in Calgary (the Canadian Denver) started from day 1. He was moved around alot by Gilbert (playing everywhere from 2nd line LW to point on the PP) because the idea of stacking our first line was just ridiculous. This was the season we finally saw the disgruntled Marc Savard get traded for the Russian dynamo Ruslan Zainullin (a player I doubt even Atlanta knew they had on the books until Button broight it up). It may be one of the worst handled situations in NHL history, as not long after, Greg Gilbert was fired. The debate of who the Flames would hire went on for a couple weeks. Ted Nolan? Scotty Bowman? Jim Playfair? It instead went to Darryl Sutter, who had recently been fired from the Sharks. It was a move that saw mixed results. Some Flames fans were still wary from the Brian Sutter days, others just really thought Bowman would like the challenge.

The Flames were going to miss the playoffs again, and the talk of replacing Button started to heat up. After a couple of "trades for Sutter" the talk that Button wasn't making the decisions got even bigger, until Button was finally fired at the end of the season, replaced by one Darryl Sutter (to the surprise of many. Surely most thought Cliff Fletcher would want to return). The Sutter era started off with a bang, nabbing Dion Phaneuf, trading Drury for Reinprecht and Warrener and following it up with a plethora of deadline deals that saw us one win away from the Cup.



So, not that the essay is done, here's a synopsis.

Good moves:
Andrei Nazarov and a 2nd for Jordan Leopold
Fred Brathwaite, Sergei Varlamov and Dan Tkaczuk for Roman Turek
Trading down to get Kobasew and a 2nd (despite using it on fat tub of lard)
Bure for Niedermayer and a 2nd (Taratukhin)
Morris, McAmmond and Shantz for Drury and Yelle
Cory Stillman for Craig Conroy and a 7th
Drafting Matthew Lombardi just to get back at the Oilers
NOT trading Jarome Iginla and/or Robyn Regehr for Mike Peca

Bad moves:
Marc Savard for Ruslan ****ing Zainullin
Kurtis Foster and Jeff Cowan for Petr "1 time All-Star" Buzek
J.S. Giguere for a 2nd
Whatever he gave up for Mike Vernon
The afformentioned Andrei "pass the gravy" Medvedev draft pick
Not signing Jarret Stoll AND screwing up a potential trade
Not understanding the CBA trying to get McAmmond back


The worst of the bad outweigh the best of the good, but he wasn't as bad as many made him out to be, though he didn't have as much time as some other GMs

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Old
03-19-2008, 11:09 PM
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From how I remember it is that Button DID want to trade Iginla to Buffalo for Mike Peca but the Sabres didn't want to do it. It was because he thought the Flames needed the leadership that Peca could bring.

So, if true, Wow, what a bullet dodged there. The Flames would be in the midst of a 11 year playoff drought if that deal would have went down.

Button would have been okay as player personnel director but he clearly couldn't judge NHL level talent. He seemed to believe too much in intangibles and not enough in pure talent. The Savard trade proved that.

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03-20-2008, 04:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roughneck View Post
Drafting Matthew Lombardi just to get back at the Oilers
can someone elaborate on this?

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Old
03-20-2008, 08:33 AM
  #14
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Originally Posted by guzzy View Post
...Giguere .... Calgary would have lost him for nothing on re-entry waivers ...
this is not true .. there was no such thing as re entry waivers back then .. from what i recall they dealt Giguere because they could not protect him in an expansion draft ..

hindsight sure makes it easy to be a great GM!

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03-20-2008, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Roughneck View Post
The worst of the bad outweigh the best of the good, but he wasn't as bad as many made him out to be, though he didn't have as much time as some other GMs
He certainly wasn't a great GM in any sense, his coaching choices all left something to be desired and despite some gems, he really knew how to blow a trade. I will credit him for improving our god awful scouting system and setting a foundation for the future, most of the team under Sutter in 04 were Button acquisitions. The three most important might not have been from Button's work but Sutter wasn't given a poor hand to play with that year.

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03-20-2008, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Beetmaster General View Post
can someone elaborate on this?
The Flames couldn't sign Stoll to a contract so he went back in the draft and Edmonton picked him...the same year Lombo and Edmonton had the same issue, so the Flames took him.

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03-20-2008, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Fleury14 View Post
St. Louis was never given a chance on a scoring line in Calgary, which arguably is the fault of the coach and, to a lesser degree, the GM. After all, Button also ignored St. Louis's AHL numbers and let him go without compensation, nor insisted the coach to give him more ice-time when we were a non-playoff team.
He didn't show he deserved to be on a scoring line.

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03-20-2008, 10:34 AM
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The Flames couldn't sign Stoll to a contract so he went back in the draft and Edmonton picked him...the same year Lombo and Edmonton had the same issue, so the Flames took him.
It's quite amazing how the careers of Lombardi and Stoll have marched along in unison. Drafted originally the opposite teams. Both had strong, and perhaps surprising rookie seasons, have suffered serious concussions, and are now going through what can only be described as dissapointing seasons.

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03-20-2008, 11:20 AM
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From how I remember it is that Button DID want to trade Iginla to Buffalo for Mike Peca but the Sabres didn't want to do it. It was because he thought the Flames needed the leadership that Peca could bring.

So, if true, Wow, what a bullet dodged there. The Flames would be in the midst of a 11 year playoff drought if that deal would have went down.
Not the first bullet. From what I remember he wanted Todd Harvey over Iginla from Dallas in the Nieuwendyk trade, but Dallas said no.

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03-20-2008, 02:40 PM
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This guy changed all the dates around.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LawnDemon View Post
- releasing Martin St. Louis because he was too small... They already had one scoring small guy in Sergei Krivokrasov after all.
Already explained, but St. Louis was used on a checking line. He said himself that the Flames didn't mistreat him, but he was kind of lost in the shuffle with the change of management.

Quote:
- trading Giguerre for a 2nd round pick because an aging Grant Fuhr and budding superstar Trevor Kidd were higher on his depth chart
Not an excuse, but there was worry that Giguere was going to be lost in the expansion draft.

Quote:
- trading Marc Savard for a bag of pucks because he didn't get along with Gilbert (the coach at the time) and then firing Gilbert a few weeks later. [I still laugh about this one]
Personally, I would've driven Savard to the airport. Obviously, not many people know the full story about what happened b/t Savard & Gilbert. Gilbert had agreed to dispatch a conditioning coach to Savard's summer home, and Savard did not show for the appointment. The incident was symbolic, as Savard has never gotten a whiff of NHL post-season action before or since. Meanwhile, the Flames got better without him, and Savard still enjoys the long vacation of April through October. This year might be different, but the Bruins haven't been serious about winning since Cam Neely had two properly-functioning knees.


Quote:
- Signing Roman Turek to a LARGE contract because he played 20 or so good games to start a season
Without question, the worst move. Everybody was fooled at the great start at the beginning of '01-'02. This blunder has since been corrected.

Quote:
This guy makes Fergy look like a tactical genius. I wish he was still running the show in Calgary.
No great fan of Button, here, but the fact that his former team made went through 4 rounds, less than 12 months after he departed, shows that some of his moves contributed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rudolf Yaber View Post
Not the first bullet. From what I remember he wanted Todd Harvey over Iginla from Dallas in the Nieuwendyk trade, but Dallas said no.
That was long before Button became Flames GM. That was an Al Coates trade.




What's with the Oilers fans here just to troll? Is it to deflect attention away from the environment that Kevin Lowe helped to create in Edmonton?

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Old
03-20-2008, 03:33 PM
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rudolf Yaber View Post
Not the first bullet. From what I remember he wanted Todd Harvey over Iginla from Dallas in the Nieuwendyk trade, but Dallas said no.
This was long before Button was GM of the Flames. In fact, Button was probably part of the management team that wanted to keep Harvey instead of Iginla

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03-20-2008, 03:47 PM
  #22
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He certainly wasn't a great GM in any sense, his coaching choices all left something to be desired and despite some gems, he really knew how to blow a trade. I will credit him for improving our god awful scouting system and setting a foundation for the future, most of the team under Sutter in 04 were Button acquisitions. The three most important might not have been from Button's work but Sutter wasn't given a poor hand to play with that year.
At the same time, almost none of the players Craig Button drafted that are NHLers on the Flames. He didn't even get much for them. Drafting is a two step process. First step, draft talent. Second step, develop talent to help your team. There is a reason Todd Button was retained and Craig Button was fired.

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03-20-2008, 03:49 PM
  #23
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Originally Posted by Rudolf Yaber View Post
Not the first bullet. From what I remember he wanted Todd Harvey over Iginla from Dallas in the Nieuwendyk trade, but Dallas said no.
No, that was Al Coats (who took over from Risebrough?) back in 1995 or 1996.

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Old
03-20-2008, 04:23 PM
  #24
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Originally Posted by BubblyLovin' View Post
At the same time, almost none of the players Craig Button drafted that are NHLers on the Flames. He didn't even get much for them. Drafting is a two step process. First step, draft talent. Second step, develop talent to help your team. There is a reason Todd Button was retained and Craig Button was fired.
Well, part of the reason that NHLers, drafted by Craig Button are elsewhere, is reflected by Daryl Sutter's need to put his stamp on the organization. We could go off about the need for the Alberta Division of the San Jose Sharks Alumni Association, but that's a story for another day:

http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/draft/teams/dr000043.html

Button was not involved directly with the 2000, as part of the agreement with Dallas. For 2003, most/all of the draft data and scouting reports should've already been compiled by June. So, he had to have had a significant amount of involvement in the process. Case in point, brother Tod still has a job, as was already mentioned.


Quote:

2001

14 R Chuck Kobasew
41 C Andrei Taratukhin
56 G Andrei Medvedev
108 R Tomi Maki
124 F Igor Shastin
145 D Jim Hakewill
164 C Yuri Trubachev
207 R Garett Bembridge
220 R David Moss
233 D Joe Campbell
251 R Ville Hamalainen

2002

10 L Eric Nystrom
39 F Brian McConnell
90 C Matthew Lombardi
112 Yuri Artemenkov
141 R Jiri Cetkovsky
142 Emanuel Peter
146 Viktor Bobrov
159 R Kristofer Persson
176 G Curtis McElhinney
206 R David Van Der Gulik
207 R Pierre Johnsson
238 D Jyri Marttinen
If his record was compared with other organizations, over that same span of time, it's probably somewhere in the middle or slightly above average. Still, the flops with Daniel Tkaczuk & Rico Fata had a lot to do with sealing Coatsy's fate. By comparison, there was improvement from that perspective. Some prospects from 2000-onward were used before and since as trade pieces (Greg Moore, Kurtis Foster, Micki Dupont, Chuck Kobasew) while others were flubbed up on entry contracts (Jarrett Stoll, Travis Moen).

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03-20-2008, 04:55 PM
  #25
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I think many people forget the hot start the Flames were on in the beginning of the 01-02 season. They were on top of the division, which stunned me since Colorado, Vancouver and Edmonton were the usual teams that were first by then. Then, that big signing by Roman Turek turned into catastrophe as he struggled big time. Even though the top line of Iginla/Conroy/McAmmond was hot, the goaltending wasn't. Marc Savard fell of the map since Valerie Bure was gone and Jarome was playing with Conroy.

Then in 2003, many people including me thought that the Flames would challenge for a playoff spot AND give the Northwest Division some competition to Vancouver, Colorado and Edmonton, who were the usual NW division reps in the playoffs. How wrong was everyone when Minnesota got hot in the season and the Flames never managed to recover EVEN getting Chris Drury and Stephane Yelle didn't help at all.

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