Earlier today I received a text from a friend of mine who noticed that Calgary Flames assistant general manager Craig Conroy — yes, the same Craig Conroy who was alleged to be the prospective return in a trade involving Daniel Alfredsson — was on his flight from Calgary to Ottawa.
With the Senators set to take on the Boston Bruins at home tonight and their next home game not being until February 1st, it stands to reason that this front office executive will be taking in tonight’s action to get a first-person viewing of a few of the Senators’ players.
Reports have suggested that the Flames have been exhausting the market in search of a forward and with the likes of Derick Brassard, Mike Hoffman, Zack Smith and Jean-Gabriel Pageau generating league-wide interest, it only makes sense that the Flames would be in town to do some due diligence on these forwards.
Naturally, my assumption was that the availability of a goal scorer like Hoffman would be of particular interest, but this may not necessarily be true.
Earlier this month, Postmedia‘s Bruce Garrioch reported on Calgary’s interest in Smith in one of his articles and Garrioch followed up on those thoughts today on Twitter.
With some holes on the right wing, neither Smith nor Hoffman are the natural right-shot forward that the Flames may be looking for, but Smith has played his off-wing before and brings some positional flexibility as a player who can also play centre.
Slated to earn $3.25 million (in real dollars and in AAV) over the next three seasons, Smith is certainly a cheaper solution. Not only will he earn less than the $5.65 million ($5.1875 AAV) that Hoffman will make over the next two seasons, but the opportunity cost needed to acquire him should be significantly less.
That is important for the Flames because they have already dealt their first and second round picks in 2018 and thanks to the conditional picks that were used in trades this past offseason, the Flames are likely set to lose their second round picks in 2019 and 2020 too.
Without this draft pick capital, the Flames may be forced to deal current roster players or prospects.
The Athletic‘s Corey Pronman ranked the Flames as having the 25th best overall system this past offseason for ESPN Insider (paywall), but they do have a few intriguing defensive prospects like Rasmus Andersson, Juuso Valimaki, Adam Fox and Oliver Kylington. Despite his struggles in his first professional season, Tyler Parsons is still regarded as one of the more promising goaltending prospects in the game.
LeBreton Flats Deal Announced
In what’s being billed as a milestone achievement, the NCC formally announced today that is has reached an “agreement in principle with RendezVous LeBreton Group for the redevelopment of LeBreton Flats.”
In reality, today’s announcement is essentially a formality; just one of many steps that have to occur before shovels can ever touch the soil.
According to the NCC, it will take another 12 to 18 months for the parties to negotiate and agree to the super-secretive “ultimate master development agreement“.
In other words, today’s announcement was for an agreement to negotiate and reach another agreement within a specified window of time.
If that doesn’t sound as exciting as you’ve been led to believe, you’re not alone.
Mayor Jim Watson was quoted in a Kelly Egan Postmedia piece on today’s announcement as saying, “I have lots of ideas on how this thing can be derailed but I don’t want to share them because I want the thing to succeed. We’ve waited 50 to 60 years to get something on that site.”
In that same Egan article, the author is right to question the inner workings of the negotiations.
Today’s announcement revealed scant details — the parties agreeing on “a fair market value” for the land and net of remediation costs; how the acreage would be proportioned; and how the development would occur over two separate phases — but, it failed to address questions related to what this “fair market value” of the land is or how RendezVous (and most importantly, the Senators) plans on financing their end of the deal.
Senators owner Eugene Melnyk released a video to commemorate the occasion. It’s the first time that he has spoken since his infamous media availability during the NHL 100 Classic weekend.
Karlsson Interview Cracks on Coaching Staff
In what I assume was meant to be an innocuous post-game interview, captain Erik Karlsson may have unintentionally threw some shade onto the coaching staff and their handling of the players and the team’s tactics.
“It’s tough right now for everyone. You step out there and you can’t seem to get anything going. What we have to do, I’m not really sure, but we have to do something. I think it starts with just start playing hockey and not worrying so much about being right or being wrong because mistakes are going to happen out there. We have a lot of younger guys coming in here. They’re good skilled players and we’ve got to let them play, do their thing and feel good about themselves. We’ve all been in their position and (you’re) allowed to make mistakes sometimes. As long as you know you’re trying to do the right thing, it’s not always going to work out. So right now, we’re a little bit too worried about being in the right spots and even if you are sometimes, it doesn’t mean that it’s the right call.”
From Thomas Chabot’s deployment to seeing prospects be boxed out of roster spots because of waiver claims like Gabriel Dumont, it’s easy to understand the captain’s frustration with seeing how some of his teammates are being handled in light of where the Senators are in the standings. With the games becoming more meaningless, it’s going to be become increasingly important for the organization to evaluate its young options to determine whether they will be factors next season.
Irrespective of whether Karlsson’s comments were calculated or inadvertent, this kind of commentary makes you wonder where his head is at. I never want to make a mountain out of a mole hill, but if he’s expressing these thoughts on the coaching staff publicly and others are reporting on his lack of faith in ownership to deliver a winner, it’s hard not wonder whether Karlsson’s future lies in Ottawa.