Having suffered through a 22-year old re-build of the original Oilers dynasty, I can offer this much advice to fans of the Calgary Flames - "This is going to suck, and you're already off on the wrong foot. Good Luck."
Some people get queasy when the conversation turns overtures of certain doom and utter failure. But not me. I am comfortable with these themes. Because the fact of the matter is that there is a better way to these things. And by these things I mean re-engineer a team. A re-building process is ugly, lengthy, and unsuccessful when it's a radical strategy change from what the team had endeavored upon to begin the season. Instead, a continuous commitment to re-engineering a team to be better, more competitive, and with a brighter future is where the smart management prevails.
Take the San Jose Sharks for instance. San Jose has been a model NHL club for the past decade or so ... but the team is ageing and has lost its elite edge. So what does management do? They've traded a depreciating asset for two quality draft picks, and my bet is that there's more to come. San Jose likely won't scorch the earth entirely, but they will re-engineer the team in a way that will make them younger and ultimately more competitive in the future, but what they won't do is delay the inevitable and obtain returns of cents on the dollar.
Because why should management begin the season by waving a white flag to its paying customers? Why can't in-season competitiveness be balanced with future objectives?
The Bruins won the Stanley Cup roughly 19 months ago, yet they boast one of the best 21-year old players, perhaps the best under-20 defensemen, and one of the best goaltending prospects in the league. Oh, and they're a threat to winning the cup this year as well.
Meanwhile the Calgary Flames had an opportunity two years ago to trade Jarome Iginla for Brayden Schenn + a 1st rounder. They could've gotten a healthy return for Kiprusoff at the time, too. They could've picked higher than 10th or 12th and selected some impact players to make up the core of their new team. Instead they iced a team that was sub-50% Fenwick, failed to make the playoffs, and let their assets depreciate to where they have or had little to no value. An absolute case study in piss-poor management.
Ultimately it draws a funny parallel to the Oilers of fair Edmonton. The Dennis Wideman signing is akin to that of Khabibulin - the wrong piece for a puzzle that is about to change for the worse. The team was already on the precipice of major change, but the management group responsible for stewarding change wasn't even aware of it.
Four years later and the most competitiveness the Oilers have demonstrated is being 5 points out 2/3 the way through the season, a rotten output by way of Fenwick and Corsi metrics, and fans clamoring to trade a young star for something resembling established NHL talent. It hasn't been fun, and the roadmap from here is totally unclear.
Maybe Tambellini will get canned, a smart manager will turn the team into the Chicago Blackhawks 2.0, and we can all have a good laugh in a few years time. But I give that about a 15% chance, and for fans of the Calgary Flames - load up on sun tan lotion because the desert climate is cruel and unforgiving.
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this FanPost are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or position of the staff.