Currently on a four-game skid, the Calgary Flames are an organization in chaos.
Jay Feaster must be a masochist, because having to take on the problems the Flames face is a complicated and intricate job, one that is probably going to take years and an insurmountable amount of criticism.
The amount of demands for a rebuild that I’ve heard from fans has been unbelievable; in other words, Flames fans are more than prepared to accept that course of action.
Besides the obvious personal feelings I have about the road to a rebuild (Jarome Iginla is my favourite player and I’d hate to see him go), I have doubts about the whole “rebuild” course of action in general.
After all, it’s a guaranteed Stanley Cup, right?
In general, no. While people like to point to Pittsburgh, Washington, and Chicago in particular, it’s not all as clear as it seems.
Pittsburgh was terrible for years in the process of rebuilding. Due to this, they were able to first draft Marc-Andre Fleury first overall in 2003, Evgeni Malkin second overall in 2004, Sidney Crosby first overall in 2005, and then Jordan Staal second overall in 2006.
One can see the process the Penguins had to go through to get to the point they did. It was long and painful, even after acquiring Crosby. Not only this, but let’s not forget that the year Crosby was drafted was the year that supposedly everyone had an equal shot in the draft, so really, anyone could have snatched him up. However, I sincerely doubt the supposed equality involved in the draft that year. Additionally, how often does a Crosby or Alex Ovechkin come along? It’s not every year, I’ll tell you that much.
As far as Washington goes, yes, they were able to acquire a gem in Ovechkin. A fast and incredibly skilled player, there was no doubt he was going to turn things around in Washington. However, the playoff success of the Capitals has been underwhelming thus far, and if they fail to make it to the finals this year, they will probably bid farewell to Bruce Boudreau and expect further changes to come.
Lastly, in terms of the Chicago Blackhawks, it seems as though everyone forgot about their cap troubles last year. When all things were said and done, it turned out that the Blackhawks were four million over the cap. Four million. After having a team yard sale, the Blackhawks were able to return to a reasonable cap situation, but it's led to a slightly disappointing season so far.
As far as the Flames go, if a rebuild is the only answer, I would love to see it happen in order to help my team develop into a Stanley Cup contender. But looking at the circumstances, and the Flames’ draft history, I really don’t see how anyone can have a guaranteed solution at the moment.
The Flames need better scouts. They’ve needed them for years, and since Detroit won’t lend us theirs (aww, come on guys!), the Flames are going to have to try to come up with a solution for that.
A classy organization that pretty much hasn’t had to blow things up since drafting Steve Yzerman, Detroit is a team I would love for the Flames to model themselves after. But really, who wouldn’t want that?
In short, there are no definite or simple answers for the Flames. Really, all I can say is, “I’m glad I’m not Jay Feaster.”