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The Mike Cammalleri-Rene Bourque Trade Roundtable



Arik's busy with preparations for something called a "child", but the rest of us have decided to toss our opinions about the trade to the interwebz. Mitch's take is in the post below.

The question: Are you happy with the Mike Cammalleri trade?


At first glance, the trade appears favorable to the Flames. Calgary gave up more significant extras (Holland and a 2nd vs Ramo and a 4th) but got the best player in the deal. Cammalleri has average 11.2 GVT over the last 3 seasons while Bourque has averaged 9.9. Gabe Desjardins hypothesized on twitter that the difference in Corsi between the two players showed Cammy being worth one win more than Bourque.

To be clear, both players are performing well below their talent levels. Cammalleri's 97 points in the last 2 seasons were his worst since he broke into the NHL for a full season in 2005-06. Last season he wasn't nearly as good possession-wise as he had been earlier in his career. I don't have to explain Bourque's declining effectiveness to anyone here, as we collectively groan louder each season he's away from Langkow. When two slumping players are swapped, I typically look at the player with the highest upside and that's Cammy – hands down. As a final point to drive home the advantage, I look at the contracts. Even if Cammy's cap hit is $6m to Bourque's $3.33m, his contract is up in 2013-14, whereas Bourque's runs a full 2 seasons longer. In the case of both guys underperforming their contract, I'd rather have the better player who's contract runs out earlier.

As a fan, I’m happier than French Canadian at a poutine shop (you can now commence language-based hatred comments). Cammalleri is a more dynamic player to watch, had his best season in Flames uniform and saying “Cammy” always sounds like you’re talking about a younger cousin or something. On top of all that, I’ve rarely rooted for a player as frustrating as Rene Bourque. On any given night he looked like he could be one of the best 5 power forwards in the league and would follow it up with a dead stretch that lasted 3 weeks. The biggest disappointment in the whole trade is that it signals the Flames are “going for it”, rather than being sellers at the deadline. Another year and another patch on the leaky dam.


My initial reaction to the trade was great excitement. Cammalleri enjoyed huge productivity in his one season in the Flaming 'C' and at first thought I was looking forward to having that shot back in the lineup. Another guy who can create his own scoring chances wouldn't hurt, after all.

But, my thoughts returned to the plight of the team. I've been preaching a re-build of sorts for just over 3 years now. My belief heading into this season was the same as last, maybe minutely less expectation actually. This team appears to be capable of finishing anywhere from 6th to 13th depending on what kind of work ethic they bring to the table game in game out. So, adding another large contract with a bit of term (2 years after this), could prove to be just another burden – right? Yeah, it could – but the fact is that he's still only 30, even by the time his contract has expired and he's 32, he'll still be in his borderline "prime" and worth being paid top dollar. Cammalleri is a guy you can move forward with. Thankfully, Jay Feaster never mortgaged the future to get him (ie. No Bartschi and no 1st rounder) so this moves stands to make the Flames a better team this year and in those to come. It may also make Calgary a more attractive destination for UFAs. It may not be part of a picks/prospects, tear-it-all-down re-build – but I like the acquisition for the team whether or not playoffs – or improving for next season – is the goal. I don't like Feaster's penchant for trading picks, but when it nets you a sniper like Cammalleri, I can live with it.

As far as playoff chances go, I think the Flames’ improved only slightly. I read today that Cammalleri over Bourque should add 1 total win to the Flames record. To me, hardly enough to guarantee 8th spot. And, with the news that Tanguay is on LTIR – that further clouds the playoff chances. I’ve been on to see the odds of the Flames making the playoffs and the fact they can only lose in the neighbourhood of 11 games down the stretch, but really, all they need to do is keep pace with the teams in the hunt with them. They may need 96 points, but it could end up that they only need 90, a difference of 3 wins. An improved road record and avoiding consecutive losses would give them a fighting chance. But, IMO, without a full roster, or more specifically, no Tanguay – I say, no playoffs. And, I’d look for David Moss and Tom Kostopolous to be among those moved to create the necessary cap space should our full roster ever return.


The issues I have with this trade are twofold. The first is that, like others have said, this move does not make sense for a team that, in all likelihood, will finish outside of the post-season for a third consecutive season. A team in the position that the Flames are in should not be taking on salary like Cammalleri's and should not be trading a draft pick and a prospect (even if he was a 7th round pick) in order to do so. It's counterproductive and probably won't change anything.

Most if not all of us agree that Bourque needed to go and without a doubt, Cammalleri is the better player in the deal and a good return for him, but the fact that the Flames had to give up a second round pick again to make a salary dump brings the Regehr deal to mind. The second issue I have with this move is that although Cammalleri is a good player and I am happy to have him on the team, he's almost 30-years-old. He's not the same player that he was here in 2008-09 and it's unlikely that he will be for the remainder of his contract, which counts for $6M against the cap for the next two seasons. The 2008-09 Flames team was one that was pretty good at pushing the puck in the right direction if I recall correctly and I'm going to hazard a guess that that is not the case this year. Can Cammalleri change that? I don't know.

The cap implications of this trade for a team already comparatively too close to the cap ceiling when the on-ice product is considered are not negligible. Once players like David Moss and Alex Tanguay return from LTIR, Feaster will have to make a move to unload some more salary with the trade deadline approaching.

Taking back a goalie in the deal also makes little sense to me, despite the fact that he is playing the KHL this year. Ortio is signed for the next three years and Karlsson is on the books for another year while Leland Irving will be an RFA this summer and has finally made something of an impact this season. Why add another goalie to the mix, unless he isn’t planning on playing in North America any time soon? It’s just not an area that the Flames really need to focus on in prospect development right now, in my opinion, and the area they do need to focus on (forwards) is probably not going to be helped by the fifth-round pick they received in this deal.


I think it’s a good trade. The Flames get extra breathing room when it comes to term-which is what’s important when the team you’re talking about is a cap team-and they get the better player. Holland is easily replaceable in free agency, a 2nd rounder isn’t that big of a deal, and Karri Ramo might actually, you know, be good.

Listen-this deal won't hurt the Flames right now, isn't likely to hurt the Flames in the off season and the player that's going to be drafted with that 2nd round pick has an 85% chance to be a bottom sixer-or, someone who's on the waiver wires. There is less risk in a contract like Cammalleri's because there is less time committed and there is more reward because Cammalleri's a better player.

The mindset of the team is to make the playoffs, not rebulid. They added a piece last night that will help them do that for little cost in return.



I'm adding a link because the interesting angle on this one long term to me is Ramo. Yes Eric Francis is not cool but he does get some direct quotes from Ramo, his Agent and Feaster.

Karri Ramo and why the Cammy trade might lead to a Kipper trade.

Few quotes to make you want to click on a Eric Francis article.

News of the deal didn’t go unnoticed by Ramo himself, who was in immediate contact with his agent, Todd Diamond, to share his excitement all the way from Russia.

“His desire is entirely to return to the NHL,” said Diamond. “He’s very excited about the trade. We never had any dialogue with Montreal because he knew the situation with Carey Price and that he wouldn’t get a shot there. It made his decision to sign a two-year deal with Omsk easy last summer.”


Flames GM Jay Feaster wasted no time letting people know his European scouts were convinced the star goaltender of the Kontinental Hockey League’s Avangard Omsk is “the best goalie in Europe.”

Few in the hockey world disagree.


“Whatever the role (in Calgary) is, he’s ready to challenge for it,” said Diamond, whose client is familiar with Feaster as he played parts of three seasons in Tampa’s organization.

“Jay indicated to us he was by no means a throw-in. He’s really developed and worked hard with (Finnish goalie coach and former NHLer) Jari Kaarela and is a top goalie.”


So? What do you think? Sound off in the comments below.

by Richard Hammond