Monday, February 12, 2007

Flames go all in with Stuart deal
Bruins' rebuild continues with Kobasew, Ference

Who knew this is all it would cost for two thirds of Boston's take in the Joe Thornton deal?

Eric Duhatschek, mc79hockey and The Battle of Alberta all had some good takes on this trade, so I won't go on and on. As far as I see it, there are two things that are going to determine whether this is a deal that works out in the Calgary Flames' favour or not:
  1. How far do the Flames go?
    It's a short-term rental, so what happens in the short term is key for Calgary. Both Brad Stuart and Wayne Primeau are almost certainly headed out of Cowtown this summer, which means the sum total of what they accomplish in the final 27 games of the regular season and then the playoffs is what GM Darryl Sutter forked out for. If Calgary misses the playoffs (unlikely) or loses in the first round (possible), this one hurts, if only because next year Boston will have two more assets than the Flames.

  2. How good is Chuck Kobasew?
    The first time I saw him, back in 2001 when he opted to jump from Boston College to the Kelowna Rockets, the answer is Kobasew was phenomenal. A scoring star as an 18-year-old in the NCAA, he lit up the WHL in a 55-game audition, scoring 41 goals with a mediocre team and leaving little doubt the Flames had a budding talent on their hands.

    Since then? Well, there have been ups (38 goals in the AHL during the lockout) and downs (this season comes to mind), but I think an important thing to keep in mind is that he's 24 and hasn't quite been given a full shot in a scoring role. Flames fans will likely disagree with me, but this season, Kobasew has averaged 13:13 minutes per game, which is the most he's played in portions of four seasons to this point. And while he managed 20 goals last season in just 12:16 minutes, he was seventh among forwards in power-play ice time on a team that was decidedly middle-of-the-pack with the man advantage.

    Kobasew reminds me a little bit of Brad Boyes in that he is a first-round pick who produced in the minors and didn't flourish until he was a little bit older and had a legitimate scoring-line role. (That Boyes has taken a big step back this season is neither here nor there.)

    I honestly believe we're going to see far bigger things from Kobasew in the NHL, but the question really is just how much better will he get and when will it happen? Because if we're talking about a Dan Cleary like five-year progression, Sutter was right to move him with his team in position to contend for the Stanley Cup this season.
Stuart and Primeau are certainly solid players, and if they can help lift Calgary out of the dogfight they're in as part of the Northwest Division, that might be justification enough for the deal. Still, it's a tough call to toss away too many future 60-plus point players and quality leaders like Andrew Ference and end up with nothing but pixie dust heading into next season.

If there's only one thing you can take away from this deal, it's that we've got a sellers' market on our hands here. Peter Chiarelli made out well for the rebuilding Bruins.

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At 5:40 a.m., February 12, 2007, Blogger J. Michael Neal said...

Something from the Duhatschek article strikes me. He says that Ference signed a lower dollar deal so that he could stay in Calgary. Then, the team turns around and trades him, because that small contract makes him worth more on the trade market.

Assuming that Ference could have gotten more as a free agent (a question I don't know the answer to), or even if he thinks he could have gotten more, and turned down that chance, then this trade is an example of why trust is lacking between players and owners. If Ference had decided to play for the Bruins, he would have asked for more money than he got from the Flames. Really, they took advantage of him.

At 6:08 a.m., February 12, 2007, Anonymous Kel said...

And fans complain how players these days have no loyalty. I think it's only fair that both teams and players choose what's best for themselves and not get criticized.

At 12:56 p.m., February 12, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

See Bronson Arroyo contract in Boston.

At 3:18 a.m., February 14, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's tough to see Ference go...I think he was one of the best 2 way defensemen and maybe, the grittiest of any of them. He's durable, tough, fast and young with a fantastic work ethic and attitude. I loved his off season training routines - very demanding. Accordingly, he was in great shape and rarely injured (if ever?). He played a large role in the Flames Stanley Cup run as well.

Chuck just never seemed to put the talent he has inside him, onto the ice with results. It's not as tough to see him go, but he made a great 3rd/4th liner....I think he'll move up the hierarchy in Boston. A good kid with a good attitude....hopefully over with the concussion thing for good.

Good luck to both of the boys.

I was glad we had Andrew on our team, and I'm sorry to see him go. He'll do very well with the Bruins.

Let's hope the new guys bring the desired success for 07

At 3:20 a.m., February 14, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One more thing - when the Flames play Boston, they'll see just how tough that little defenceman Andrew Ference is....

....ah, but such is the life of an NHL player, and an NHL fan.


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