First off can anyone spare Ian White $5?
The Flames and Ian White avoided arbitration minutes before they were to head into seeing the arbitrator, agreeing on a 1 year deal worth $2,999,995. As I had said in a few of my previous blogs I thought Ian White was worth around $3M so it is good to see they got this deal right. The major sticking point was that Ian felt he was worth more than $3M (probably in that $3.5M range) and the Flames felt he should be coming in under $3M (I’m hearing $2.5M) so in a symbolic gesture the White camp took $5 less to avoid arbitration.
Avoiding arbitration is a very good thing for both sides first off the ruling could have been anywhere between $2.2M and $4M if you read what can be used in arbitration I could have made a good case for both sides of that pay range. Most importantly they don’t go through the ugliness of a hearing. According to White, Darryl Sutter told him “I am going to have to destroy you in front of the arbitrator.” To his credit Ian understood that and appreciated the fact that Darryl was up front about what would have to happen in a meeting like that.
More positive news for the Flames regarding Ian White was that Ian has already stated that come January he is ready to talk about an extension. Also when AGM Jay Feaster was being interviewed on local radio he said the same thing that they will talk in January as well. And to quote Feaster “It gives Ian the opportunity to prove that he is worthy of being paid as a consistent 50 point player as opposed to a consistent 25-30 point player” as he was in his previous two seasons.
Now on to the development camp. I didn’t get out to as much of it as I would have liked but I did get to see a few on ice sessions and I have come away with a couple observations on players…
Mikael Backlund – This kid is CLEARLY the best prospect in the Flames system. Especially in regards to the forwards, and is ready to play in the NHL on a full time basis. Whether or not he does will depend on the Langkow injury, as well as the cap situation. However I would be shocked if Backlund is not centering the 3rd line to start the season in Calgary.
Leland Irving – Leland needed a big camp imo and he has delivered as the top prospect of the 4 at the camp. In fairness with his age and experience he should have been. I honestly think he is ready for backup duty in the NHL but one more year in the minors is the most likely scenario. Leland also has a fantastic glove hand! reminiscent of Trevor Kidd’s without the great exaggeration that Kidd would throw on his saves.
John Negrin, Matt Pelech – These two are almost ready for prime time! Negrin is just an amazing skater with a great first pass and truly could be a solid offensive defenseman for the Flames soon. Pelech reminds me a lot of Robyn Regher and Cory Sarich, and players of that mold. He will be a miserable bastard to play against, and provided his health holds out could honestly make this team this year. However I think the best move for these two guys is to let them start the year in the AHL and go from there.
Keith Seabrook, Tim Erixon – Really solid players! Both guys have a bit of offensive upside and play solid defensive games. Erixon’s positioning is a hair better but Seabrook brings a bigger physical aspect. Both of these guys are a year away from being able to be regulars in the NHL. The Flames are about to have a glut of good young NHL caliber defenseman, and training camp this year and next is going to be a dogfight for jobs.
And finally the Flames as we all know are about $2.3M over the cap as of right now, so someone is getting traded out of town or demoted. However listening to Jay Feaster I don’t know that it will be Ales Kotalik who gets moved. Feaster said “Ales will be in training camp competing for a job.” I think the Flames are hoping they can find the Ales Kotalik that can score 25 goals and rack up 120 hits while being an even player. So take your best guess as who gets moved. I thought Kotalik or Staios was obvious, but now who knows what will happen between now and September.
Have a good one!
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About the Author
Written by Shane Hoopfer
Die hard Flames fan since 1980, and a closet baseball junkie. Also a big Dolphins, and Stampeders fan!