Extinguish The Flames: Is It Time To Rebuild In Calgary?

Steve McSween@dansallowsSenior Analyst INovember 21, 2009

COLUMBUS, OH - JUNE 22:  General Manager Brian Burke (R) of the Anaheim Ducks speaks to General Manager Darryl Sutter of the Calgary Flames during the first round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft at Nationwide Arena on June 22, 2007 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

I hate to say it, though I have known it since the beginning of training camp, but without some major changes the Calgary Flames are destined for another first-round exit this season.

Don't get me wrong the club isn't horrible, but they aren't good enough to challenge for the Stanley Cup just yet either.

Thursday nights 7-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks I'm sure raised some eyebrows amongst the Flames brass as Calgary's play was like watching David Hasselhoff perform Shakespeare.

So now, Darryl Sutter and company are left with a lot of questions, with little answers on how to fix this trend that has haunted the club for the last five seasons.

It may just be time to extinguish the flame and light it again with prospects and draft picks.

The Calgary Flames have never had the first overall pick in the draft, in fact they have never even had a top five selection in their long thirty year history.

Personally I would have preferred the team to get in on the John Tavares and Victor Hedman sweepstakes last season rather than witness yet another quick exit from the playoffs.

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It seems as though Calgary has become the NHL's playoff version of the token black guy that gets killed in the beginning of every horror film, and as a Flames fan and an avid moviegoer I gotta say both are getting really old.

What could be the worst to happen if Darryl Sutter was to tear this thing apart and start a rebuild?

So the team misses the playoffs for a few seasons, in all likely hood they were going to be eliminated sooner than later anyhow.

I highly doubt the Saddledome would even be affected in attendance, and ticket prices would probably still be at an NHL high, as their fan base is very strong.

And with some already impressive prospects in place like twenty-one-year-old goaltender Leland Irving and twenty-year-old center Mikael Backlund, to go with a good core of youngsters like Dion Phaneuf, Jay Bouwmeester, Mark Giordano, Nigel Dawes, Eric Nystrom and Dustin Boyd(all of whom are 26 or younger),one would have to think the rebuild wouldn't take longer than three to five years to make the team a genuine Cup contender.

If Sutter was to rip this off like a band-aid and start quick, though it may be painful at first, it would ease the pain quicker if he could select an up and coming star like Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin. Both of whom are considered to be bonafied NHL stars going into the 2010 NHL draft.

The only bad thing about this entire theory besides the Flames missing the playoffs for a few years would be that Sutter would most likely have to move Jarome Iginla, which for any Calgary fan( myself included), is a dreadful thought.

In any case it is a tough position to be in for the Flames GM, who could keep a very good team together that will challenge for a playoff spot year-after-year, or build one that could challenge for a Stanley Cup year-after-year.

If there is any more 7-1 losses you would have to think Sutter will choose the later of the two.

Which in my mind, may just be the right thing to do.


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