UFA Options: Calgary Flames

Jonathan Willis
May 01 2009 12:20AM

Flames  Cammalleri Hockey

UFA Options is a continuing series that gives a brief run-down of the unrestricted free agent market this summer, team-by-team. Our next team for consideration is the Calgary Flames.

The Flames have a few impending free agents of significance and eight players in total eligible for the NHL’s summer cash grab. We’ll consider six because a) with all due respect to Carsen Germyn (who is a fine AHL player) he’s probably not on anybody’s high-end target list (with the possible exception of Kevin Prendergast) and b) Marcus Nilson seems done as an NHL’er after an 8-point showing in the KHL. Only five of those six played in the NHL this season; Anders Eriksson was a very pricey minor-leaguer.

Notes

  • Age is calculated based on how old the player will be during the 2009-10 season.
  • QualComp/QualTeam are the Quality of Competition/Teammates rankings from Behind the Net; the number appearing is each player’s ranking by position (forward/defense) on his own team.
  • Def/Off Faceoffs is a comparison of the total number of shifts starting in the defensive and offensive zones, courtesy of Vic Ferrari’s Time On Ice. A positive number indicates starting more in the defensive zone, a negative number the opposite.
  • All advanced statistics are courtesy of Behind the Net.

Mike Cammalleri

Vital Stats: 27 years old, 5’9”, 185lbs 2008-09 Cap Hit: 3,350,000 US$ 2008-09 Basic Stats: 81GP – 39G – 43A – 82PTS, -2 2008-09 Contextual: 5th QualComp, 2nd QualTeam, -102 Def/Off Faceoffs 2008-09 Advanced Stats: +12.2 Corsi/60, 2.62 EVPTS/60, 3.30 GFON/60, 2.96 GAON/60

Mike Cammalleri’s a very interesting player, and he’s received less attention than I would have expected for an almost-forty goal scorer. Calgary had a very good team this year so it’s difficult to read too much into which zone Cammalleri started in, but he’s awfully high-event for a guy getting so much time in the right end of the rink. He’ll get a big payday this summer, almost certainly not with Calgary, but the truth is that he was placed in a position to succeed this past season and while he deserves credit for taking advantage of it and putting up big point totals he isn’t a complete player. Given what Cammalleri’s likely to cost on the open market, if I were an NHL GM I’d likely look elsewhere for a goal-scorer.

Todd Bertuzzi

Vital Stats: 35 years old, 6’3”, 231lbs 2008-09 Cap Hit: 1,950,000 US$ 2008-09 Basic Stats: 66GP – 15G – 29A – 44PTS, -13 2008-09 Contextual: 10th QualComp, 3rd QualTeam, -73 Def/Off Faceoffs 2008-09 Advanced Stats: +5.9 Corsi/60, 1.64 EVPTS/60, 2.62 GFON/60, 3.14 GAON/60

I’m not a fan of Bertuzzi, who got plenty of powerplay time but put up pedestrian numbers (including in the GFON/60 department, which is usually a high number for forwards of Bertuzzi’s ilk), and was sheltered in a deep lineup but still bled chances against. A team looking for bulk on their second line might pick him up, but at this point I think he’s such a defensive liability that he isn’t likely to be a positive difference maker and whichever coach gets him will need to manage his situational play very carefully.

Jamie Lundmark

Vital Stats:29 years old, 6’, 197lbs 2008-09 Cap Hit: 600,000 US$ 2008-09 Basic Stats: 27GP – 8G – 8A – 16PTS, +2 2008-09 Contextual: 12th QualComp, 11th QualTeam, -14 Def/Off Faceoffs 2008-09 Advanced Stats: +6.2 Corsi/60, 2.50 EVPTS/60, 2.70 GFON/60, 2.31 GAON/60

Lundmark got a good thing going this season in Calgary, and if both sides are smart he’ll return there. From the Flames’ perspective he should be relatively cheap and has shown an ability to chip in offense; something they’ll need this coming season. From Lundmark’s perspective, he isn’t likely to get the same crack at a roster spot on another team, and a few good seasons in Calgary could move him from fringe player into a more comfortable position.

Adrian Aucoin

Vital Stats:36 years old, 6’2”, 212lbs 2008-09 Cap Hit: 4,000,000 US$ 2008-09 Basic Stats: 81GP – 10G – 24A – 34PTS, -8 2008-09 Contextual: 4th QualComp, 2nd QualTeam, -37 Def/Off Faceoffs 2008-09 Advanced Stats: +13.3 Corsi/60, 0.92 EVPTS/60, 2.62 GFON/60, 2.72 GAON/60

Adrian Aucoin was one of the many big-dollar men on the Flames blueline this season, but I don’t think his contract was an outrageous overpay (although I have difficulty seeing him getting another one at that rate). He’s got a hard shot and a well-rounded game and has rebounded nicely after a post-lockout slump in Chicago. He’s got fair size and for a Flames defenseman was reasonably low-event (although of course Regehr and Sarich are the real stars in that department).

Jordan Leopold

Vital Stats: 29 years old, 6’1”, 200 lbs 2008-09 Cap Hit: 1,500,000 US$ 2008-09 Basic Stats: 83GP – 7G – 17A – 24PTS, -15 2008-09 Contextual: 7th QualComp, 7th QualTeam, -125 Def/Off Faceoffs 2008-09 Advanced Stats: +2.3 Corsi/60, 0.84 EVPTS/60, 2.42 GFON/60, 3.31 GAON/60

One of only two Colorado defenseman with a positive Corsi (Daniel Tjarnqvist was the other), Leopold was sent out almost exclusively for offensive zone work and was never exposed to high-level opposition. While the ugly goals against totals were at least partially the fault of the incredibly incompetent duo of Budaj and Raycroft, Leopold isn’t reliable defensively. Making matters worse, he’s constructed entirely of glass.

Anders Eriksson

Vital Stats: 35 years old, 6’3”, 224 lbs 2008-09 Cap Hit: 1,500,000 US$ 2008-09 Basic Stats: 64GP – 4G – 45A – 49PTS, +8 (AHL) 2008-09 Contextual: N/A 2008-09 Advanced Stats: N/A

Ever the butt of jokes, Eriksson’s actually a relatively useful 6th/7th defenseman. He was overpaid this year but a team looking for some puck-distribution on it’s back end could find a bargain here. I’ve also read a lot of very positive things about his character and affability in the dressing room, so while he’s prone to the occasional glaring brain-cramp on the ice, if expectations are kept reasonable he could be a very pleasant surprise for some team.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 Ogden Brother
May 01 2009, 08:28AM
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If a couple of our Offensive Dmen are shipped out for Defense/top end forwards, I'd be interested in Aucoin/Leopold on the cheap...

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#2 Rick
May 01 2009, 08:38AM
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I wouldn't touch Aucoin with a ten foot pole.

I recall a radio interview with the Chicago GM just before the draft that saw Aucoin traded to the Flames.

Aucoin had pretty much spent his entire time in Chicago in the trainers room with groin problems and the GM said that they were concerned that his groin was so bad that it could threaten his career all together.

Obviously his time in Calgary was much more healthy but it has been suggested that Aucoin was again playing with a buggered groin during the playoffs this year.

The risk/reward of adding a health risk for what would still be significant dollars (Staios money maybe?) wouldn't be worth it. Particularily if Souray is still here in October.

That said, I would love to see Calgary bring him back.

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#3 Archaeologuy
May 01 2009, 08:47AM
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~Cammalleri is too small to play in the NHL. No one can succeed in the NHL if theyre short and weigh less than 220 lbs. The Oilers have too many small players and Mike would make this team worse. Now that Bertuzzi kid sure has the right dimensions to make the Oil better. He's big and only big players are good~

*barfs all over his computer like a Monty Python Sketch*

Offer Cammalleri some coinage and tell him he might play with Jagr and Hemsky if he signs. He might consider other (winning) teams but thats why the Oilers need to hire the Hypnotist that cured Brownlee of his Nicotine addiction to be their chief contract negotiator...that guy cured Brownlee, right?

we're hosed.

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#4 RossCreek
May 01 2009, 10:00AM
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As a Flames fan, Jamie Lundmark is probably the only guy I'd expect back. And he isn't a lock obviously, but is a decent depth guy thats familiar there. Cammalleri is pretty much a goner... I'm fine with that, I guess. Not too interested in bringing Aucoin, Leopold or Eriksson back. Bertuzzi's interesting because if he were to take the same type of $, he's probably worth it. However, he has a target on his back. How many bad penalties did he take AND how many bad calls were made against him. He doesn't get many breaks (some would argue he doesn't deserve any), so I gotta think I'd rather look elsewhere for a replacement.

They had luck with the 3rd tier (?) signings last year - Bourque & Glencross as well as bringing Giordano back from Russia. Can't see them doing much better in the free agent market this summer (not a lot of cap room). Get a freakin backup goalie that the coach can trust!

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#5 Quinn
May 01 2009, 10:09AM
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RossCreek wrote:

Get a freakin backup goalie that the coach can trust!

Part of the problem in Calgary is they have never given a back-up goalie any kind of work to develop properly. When you play your top tender to 70 starts, the next guy better have veteran focus and mental stamina or they will never be ready for any starts. ~Oh, but then again Mike Keenan always did a good job developing young goalie talent right?~

I disagree with Rick, because I think Aucoin exceeded my expectations this year. A big, low-event, reliable defenceman at a reasonable price (<$2 million/year) is a rare and precious commodity in this here NHL. If the Flames fail to re-sign him,the Oil should.

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#6 Rick
May 01 2009, 10:52AM
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Quinn wrote:

I disagree with Rick, because I think Aucoin exceeded my expectations this year. A big, low-event, reliable defenceman at a reasonable price (<$2 million/year) is a rare and precious commodity in this here NHL. If the Flames fail to re-sign him,the Oil should.

My hesitation isn't about what he can give you, it's a question of if he will be healthy enough to give it.

I was surprised that he seemed as durable as he has been for Calgary but from what I understood his groin is pretty much a ticking time bomb.

I would think there are less risky targets out there.

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#7 RossCreek
May 01 2009, 10:53AM
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I'd like to take a look at some Red Wing UFA's if I were the Flames. Ty Conklin & Mikael Samuelsson would both interest me a bit. Samuelsson could add some depth and support for a guy like Backlund if he makes the jump. And a winning attitude, especially if the Wings repeat. I'm sure he'll have some interest accross the league tho.

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#8 RossCreek
May 01 2009, 10:56AM
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And perhaps a guy like D Johnny Oduya out of Jersey on the back-end.

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#9 Colin
May 01 2009, 11:02AM
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Rick wrote:

Quinn wrote: but from what I understood his groin is pretty much a ticking time bomb.
~Insert bad jeanshorts joke here.~
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#10 Jonathan Willis
May 01 2009, 11:09AM
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Quinn wrote:

~Oh, but then again Mike Keenan always did a good job developing young goalie talent right?~

I don't think Mike Keenan should get any blame for the problems in the Calgary net. Sutter signed Kiprusoff to the ridiculous contract, and Sutter has failed to provide anything remotely approaching a capable backup for Keenan's entire time in Calgary.

Keenan has done a good job of standing by Kipper (since he really doesn't have a choice) and I can't imagine that's easy - I know I'd be very tempted to toss him under the bus in the media.

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#11 Jonathan Willis
May 01 2009, 11:12AM
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BofA did a good summary of the Keenan situation.

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#12 roughneck
May 01 2009, 11:12AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

- I know I’d be very tempted to toss him under the bus in the media.

Coaches do that?

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#13 Ogden Brother
May 01 2009, 11:17AM
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roughneck wrote:

Jonathan Willis wrote: - I know I’d be very tempted to toss him under the bus in the media. Coaches do that?

Only in Edmonton, supposedly.

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#14 roughneck
May 01 2009, 01:04PM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

roughneck wrote: Jonathan Willis wrote: - I know I’d be very tempted to toss him under the bus in the media. Coaches do that? Only in Edmonton, supposedly.

Hahahaha..... well to credit MacT.. when he went there.. he left enough road kill for a redneck wedding

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#15 jeanshorts
May 01 2009, 04:13PM
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Colin wrote:

~Insert bad jeanshorts joke here.~

Hey! Thanks for the name drop.

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#16 The Menace
May 01 2009, 04:14PM
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I think Cammalleri would be hard pressed to ever repeat the kind of offensive numbers he had this year. He is going to cash in big time this summer, and some city is going to be dissapointed when he can't score like he did playing beside Iginla.

He was a great signing for 3.5M, but he's going to get a much bigger payday, and I hope the Oilers stay far away.

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#17 The Menace
May 01 2009, 04:16PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

Colin wrote: ~Insert bad jeanshorts joke here.~ Hey! Thanks for the name drop.

did everyone else enjoy seeing Colin drop jeanshorts?

...umm reading that back, I don't like the way that sounds.

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#18 buck
May 01 2009, 11:05PM
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Hey, I have an idea. Let's pretend that Curtis Glenncross is a UFA and when Sutter lowballs him by 200K or so because he's trying to sign Ovechkin, St.Louis, Hossa and Gaborik, good ole Curtis will fall between the cracks.

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#19 Brian O'Neill
May 02 2009, 12:38AM
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I'd take Bert back for 1.8mil. However, I don't know how quick Canucks management would take a bite at that offer.

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