SUN Hockey Pool

Dead quiet day for Flames

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:48 AM ET

CALGARY - It was less than a week ago Jay Feaster compared last season to this year for the Calgary Flames.

Sure, it was in anger, but the Flames GM pointed out last year’s squad was kept intact because it was close enough to garner an NHL playoff spot.

This year’s edition is in the same boat at this point of season, albeit faltering lately.

In turn, Feaster said, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

Each and every player wearing the Flaming C on their chest owes it to Feaster to not make him look like a fool after the GM didn’t make a single trade by the deadline and send anyone packing.

As we all remember, the Flames failed to join the 2011 Stanley Cup tournament.

Feaster stuck out his neck Monday by not making any moves in the hopes this collection can write a different tale.

In fact, Feaster probably did it to the long-term detriment of the franchise.

To his credit, Feaster was smart enough to realize this team had no business overpaying for depth players as the clock counted down to the final seconds. Could you imagine the outcry in the Stampede City if the Flames dealt away a young player along the Cody Hodgson mode for an unproven commodity in Zack Kassian?

That deal may work out for the Vancouver Canucks, who need toughness, but the Flames aren’t in a position, with a championship a very real possibility, to deal away talent.

However, Feaster should have taken advantage of the seller’s market, even if it didn’t mean dealing away one of the core players. Sure, the Flames weren’t putting any Manhattan penthouses on the market, but that two-bedroom apartment on the west side could fetch a good dollar.

If the Winnipeg Jets could garner second- and third-round picks from the Chicago Blackhawks for Johnny Oduya, wouldn’t the Flames drum up something of value for veteran blueliners Scott Hannan or Cory Sarich?

Couldn’t the same be said for Tom Kostopoulos or Tim Jackman, who the club decided instead to sign to a two-year contract.

Obviously, the league’s GMs collectively decided it was best to be frugal — “If people were throwing first-round picks at us, we would have had different conversations,” Feaster noted — but this is a team which should have taken any draft picks it could get.

The Flames sent this year’s second-round pick to the Buffalo Sabres in the Robyn Regehr deal and a fifth-rounder to the New Jersey Devils for Pierre-Luc Leblond, while their 2013 second-round pick belongs to the Montreal Canadiens in the Michael Cammalleri-Rene Bourque swap.

Surely, dealing one of those defenceman and/or one of those forwards would have been worth it without sacrificing this season.

The Flames haven’t stood pat over the year — the Cammalleri for Bourque deal last month is bigger than anything which took place Monday — so it’s unfair to paint Feaster and his regime as doing nothing with a middling squad.

Likewise, there can always be the hope seeds were planted for moves in days ahead which have the future in mind.

“In some instances, things that didn’t happen (Monday) doesn’t mean they won’t be revisited in the spring approaching the draft,” Feaster said. “There were conversations that both sides said that’s not something we would look at right now. As it relates to the trade deadline, we would have those conversations closer to the draft. We did some groundwork (Monday), as well.”

We all knew the Flames weren’t going to burn it to the ground, not only because a playoff spot is close along with the reluctance to deal away aging stars such Jarome Iginla and Miikka Kiprusoff, but because Feaster is hamstrung by many players’ no-trade clauses.

But it wouldn’t have hurt this team to show ‘intellectual honesty’ by nabbing some assets for the future.

Because if the Flames don’t somehow vault into the playoffs, we know how often people will throw Feaster’s words back at him in the future.

randy.sportak@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter: @SUNRandySportak


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