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Wednesday, August 1, 2001
Users: Turek not enough to spark Flames


The glory days are long gone in Calgary and regaining respectability would seem to be GM Craig Button's top priority. After posting another disappointing season in 2000-01, Button shuffled the roster by exchanging goalie Fred Brathwaite and winger Valeri Bure for Roman Turek and Rob Niedermayer. Financial constraints and poor deals have doomed the Flames in past years. Will Button's spending spree pay off or should Calgary concentrate on developing the team from within?

Here are your thoughts on what the Flames need for next season:


Let the kids play
Calgary stands about where they stood at the end of last season. Roman Turek is very inconsistent, although he is slightly better than Fred Brathwaite. The best thing for Calgary to do would probably be to let some of their goaltending prospects get some time between the pipes. Rob Niedermayer will add some offensive spark, but not enough to give the Flames a decent shot at making the playoffs. Calgary needs to get a couple more guys who can score. They can't afford to go out and sign a big name, but if they were to sign a couple of guys who could score 20-30 goals per year, they would be in good shape. The Flames have some good goaltending prospects, so when Turek goes into one of his two-month slumps, the coaching staff should see what the young guys are capable of. At worst, they'll play at the same level as Turek would if he were in net. If the Flames sign a couple of guys who can score and one of their goaltending prospects turns out to be next year's Evgeni Nabokov, they could have a legitimate shot at making the playoffs.

Steve
Detroit

Team's future is in jeopardy
This Calgary team worries me. They're a small-market team that is not faring well against much of the NHL, skill wise. The addition of Rob Niedermayer is big. He can add a big spark to a team that appears to have no confidence. I actually think it could do the team some good to have lost Valeri Bure. Sure, he was the closest thing to a true scorer they had, but look how well the Devils have done without one in previous years. They need to get a couple of veterans on that team who will make them believe they can win. There's really no short-term solution, since Calgary can't go buy all its talent like some other teams.

Steve
Portsmouth, R.I.

I hate the fact that at the beginning of the season, you can narrow it down to half a dozen teams that have a shot at the Cup. It takes the suspense and excitement out of the season and the playoffs.
Arthur, Barrie, Ontario
Flames came up short in trades
Is anyone else bothered by the fact that Calgary gave up more to get Roman Turek than the Red Wings gave up to get Dominik Hasek? After all, like Hasek, Turek isn't guaranteed to be in Calgary beyond the 2001-02 season, especially with unrestricted free agency dawning. I mean Turek is good, but he's no Dominik Hasek. I think Turek will shine under Calgary's system. In St. Louis, he struggled getting into game mode with only a few shots allowed. But with the poor defense in Calgary, I believe he'll thrive. However, his acquisition. He wanted out of St. Louis, and St. Louis wanted him out of town -- it's not like Craig Button had to pry him away from Larry Pleau. To give up the only goalie who made Calgary a .500 team and two respectable prospects is just bad management on Button's behalf. And let's not forget the horrid Valeri Bure trade. Maybe Bure needed to be moved, but for underachieving Rob Niedermayer? Send Jason Wiemer Southeast as well, and you have the most one-sided trade of the offseason. Maybe Calgary added some grit? Determination? I think not. What they have definitely added is salary, which is especially bad for a small-market Canadian team -- they still won't come close to the playoffs. This kind of payroll hike only makes sense in a "win now" strategy, but Calgary simply doesn't have the talent to win. They'll be lucky to be .500! Hands down, the worst offseason in the league!

Matt
Jefferson City, Mo.

Playing field is uneven in NHL
Lack of money will be Calgary's worst enemy yet again. Even though they possess a lot of promising young talent, they lack scoring ability and experience. Defensively, they are a sound combination of veterans and youngsters who should fair well against the opposition. Unfortunately, they don't have the cash to fill a solid first line. Marc Savard and Jerome Iginla are good players, but they are not at star level yet, and when they get there, Calgary won't be able to afford them anyway. The NHL really should administer a salary cap. I hate the fact that at the beginning of the season, you can narrow it down to half a dozen teams that have a shot at the Cup. It takes the suspense and excitement out of the season and the playoffs.

Arthur
Barrie, Ontario

Still a few steps away from postseason
The Flames did well to improve their team in the offseason. Unfortunately, I do not believe the moves they made will be enough to get them into to the playoffs any time soon. They will be a better team next year, but will still be out of contention for a playoff spot. The Flames will continue to get better, but they need to sign more quality players before they get a chance to play in May and June.

Andrew
Airdrie, Alberta

Panic Button
What can you say about Craig Button's moves so far other than mind blowing. Considering the financial position they claim to be in, it would only make sense to trade expensive veterans for young prospects or picks and develop a good team from within your own system. Instead, they send away quality young players for unproven, overrated, high-priced veterans. What next? Derek Morris for career AHL player? Jerome Iginla for a guy approaching UFA status? Oleg Saprykin for a bag of used pucks? Would it really surprise you after the comical moves that have been made thus far? This team is only headed in one direction ... Portland!

Nate
Mount Vernon, N.Y.

The only bright spots on this hockey club are Derek Morris on 'D' and Marc Savard at forward -- everyone else is just taking up space.
Pavel, Phoenix
Team can't keep up
The Flames will be in the same boat as they have been in throughout the last four years --not making the playoffs. It was a bad idea getting Roman Turek and giving up Fred Brathwaite. Turek was very unstable at the end of last season, and I doubt that he'll be any better this year. Also, they shouldn't have given up Jason Wiemer and Valeri Bure because they were the team's only big-time scorers last season. Even if they fare better than last season, the Flames can't compete with the Avalanche, Stars or Red Wings. Not even close.

Sean
Worcester, Mass.

A move to the states is only hope
Strange. With all the changes it made, Calgary still looks the same. The Flames are constantly young and up-and-coming, but they are never any closer to making the playoffs. Looks to me like yet another year watching Marc Savard, Jerome Iginla and Derek Morris look awesome while the Flames lose. If only a magic fairy would come and buy the team -- an American fairy.

Shane
Tallahassee, Fla.

What next? Derek Morris for career AHL player? Jerome Iginla for a guy approaching UFA status? Oleg Saprykin for a bag of used pucks?
Nate, Mount Vernon, N.Y.
Need for speed
We need a speedy scoring left winger. The Flames are barren on the left side with the lone hope being a talented sophomore, Oleg Saprykin. The rest are at best minor league call-up talent, only good for a game or two. If Calgary can get a first line left winger, we might squeak into the playoffs.

Brad
Calgary, Alberta

Turek will struggle behind poor defense
The Flames are another poor Canadian team fighting to stay alive. I think trading Valeri Bure for Rob Niedermayer was a very good deal, but trading Fred Brathewaite for Roman Turek was garbage. Don't let Turek's sparkling record fool you. The only reason it got that way was because of the Blues' defense. The only bright spots on this hockey club are Derek Morris on 'D' and Marc Savard at forward -- everyone else is just taking up space. I'm sure Calgary will do about as well as it did last season, if not worse.

Pavel
Phoenix