No Russian to make move

GM says Flames won’t trade for pending free agent


Despite his club’s offensive struggles, Darryl Sutter sees no scenario in which he’d be part of the Ilya Kovalchuk sweepstakes he’s been linked to.

“He’s a star player who is unrestricted next year, so you’d have to give up players under contract for a guy who isn’t — I don’t think that’s a move that’s in the best interest of the organization,” said Sutter, who told the Sun Saturday he has no plans to do anything radical such as trading Dion Phaneuf or Robyn Regehr before the deadline.

“When you have a $7-million player (Jarome Iginla), you aren’t going to be able to have a $10-million player, too.”

Kovalchuk is currently a $6.4-million cap hit but is asking for $11 million annually from Atlanta, prompting a likely move as a rental player.

Sutter insists that while a lack of cap space will restrict many teams from being active at the March 3 swap deadline, it’s not an issue tying his hands.

“Today, we are 17th or 18th in payroll and 22 teams are over $55 million (the cap is $56.8 million) — not a whole lot of teams can move. For us, salaries are not the issue.”

Sutter simply believes his current crew can work its way out of a funk that has the rest of the city up in arms.

Another concern many Flames have these days is the possibility of losing forward Rene Bourque to unrestricted free agency this summer.

“We’ve talked to Bourque and Olli (Jokinen) off and on all year, but it’s not to the point we’re going to talk about finalizing any sort of deal,” said the Flames GM.

“I think it can be a distraction. It’s not a priority.”

Now more notes, quotes and anecdotes from a sports scribe who can’t help but believe former Red Deer Rebels sparkplug Colby Armstrong will be a Flame by season’s end.

19 Responses to No Russian to make move

  1. cam7777 says:

    Sutter is so sly.  Isn't this exactly what he said about Olli Jokinen last year?  "There is no truth to the notion that this club is looking for a big center".  If anything, his denial shows that he is in fact interested in landing Kovalchuk.

  2. broc says:

    Good thing he's not hitting the panic button, but the NHL is so competitive these days. Get in one bad funk of games, and you can be out of the playoff picture just like that.

    Boston and Calgary are on the outside looking in… crazy.

  3. mojo19 says:

    If they could pull it of, could you imagine going into a playoff series against Regeir, Bouwmeester, Phaneuf, Kovalchuk, Jokinen, Iginla, and god forbid a hot Kipper on his game? Not to mention good depth behind those stars with the likes of Langkow, Bourque, Sarich, Moss, Glencross, Conroy etc.

    Obviously at least 1 roster player would be involved in a trade so you can take 1 name out of there but still, that would be f**ing scary to come up against.

  4. cam7777 says:

    It doesn't make any sense to me though, to lose a major asset like Phaneuf, for someone who might not sign with you.  I don't think Sutter is bluffing this time around.  If Kovalchuk wants to be a Flame, he can just sign there on July 1st.

  5. reinjosh says:

    Yeah, I can't see him trading Phaneuf for a couple months of Kovy.
    Maybe they trade Regehr for him though, plus other stuff.
    Aulie, Kronwall, Pelech, Baldwin and Palin are all in the same mold as Regehr. While Regehr hasn't been fully on his game this year, he would be very valuable to Atlanta. Having them add one of the league's premier defensive defenseman to Enstrom and Bogosian who are more offensively inclined would make them a very solid defense. Add Boyd and some other pieces and its possible.
    Like Mojo said, the team would be scary to go up against with Kovalchuk, Iggy, Jokinen, Bouwmeester, Phaneuf and Kipper along with good capable support players.
    I think Sutter will pull off another big trade deadline move. Maybe not getting Kovalchuk, but someone else by giving up one of Phaneuf or Regehr. Then watch out for the team.

  6. cam7777 says:

    Yea, but if that's all they have to offer, why would the Thrashers be down?  The Hawks can throw more at them without blinking an eye (starting with Versteeg, Barker, etc…).

  7. reinjosh says:

    its true. It would all depend on the Market. And maybe the hawks are not willing to ruin the chemistry they have (i wouldnt if i were in charge, it would be dumb).
    But yeah, I would expect that not to work. Maybe he peddles that package for a center, a true one.

  8. mojo19 says:

    Okay Cam and Reinjosh, how about this:

    To HotLanta:
    – Robyn Regehr, age 29, $4 million cap hit for 3 more seasons
    – Dustin Boyd, age 22, $0.65 million this year, RFA this summer
    – Greg Nemisz, age 19, needs/has entry level deal?
    Calgary 2nd round pick 2010 or 2011, not sure what they have. I think the 2011 came to Toronto in the Primeau trade…. if they don't have 2010 either then make it 2012.

    Atlanta would get an awesome shut down d-man in Regehr, a solid young roster player and promising prospect (plus some kind of pick).

    Flames line up would be this:

    Kovalchuk – Langkow – Bourque
    Glencross – Jokinen – Iginla
    Nystrom – Conroy – Moss
    Dawes – Lundmark – Sjostrom
    x – Prust, McGratton

    Bouwmeester – Phaneuf
    Sarich – Giordano
    Pardy – Johnson
    x – Kronwall


  9. cam7777 says:

    Meh, Boyd is a dime a dozen, and I think Nemisz is a flop.  It's Regehr, and a 2nd some years from now, for Ilya Kovalchuk – not enough.  What they should do is this trade:

    To ANA: Beauchemin, Langkow
    To CGY: Hagman, Grabovski, Sbisa
    To TOR: Phaneuf, Giguere

    -sign Ilya Kovalchuk on July 1st, 115.5 million for 14 years.

    Ilya Kovalchuk (8.25) – Mikhail Grabovski (2.9) – Jarome Iginla (7.0)
    Niklas Hagman (3.0) – Olli Jokinen (4.0) – Nigel Dawes (0.85)
    Curtis Glencross (1.163) – Michael Backlund (0.875) – David Moss (1.3)
    Eric Nystrom (0.925) – Dustin Boyd (0.85) – Fredrik Sjostrom (0.85)

    Jay Bouwmeester (6.68) – Cory Sarich (3.6)
    Robyn Regehr (4.02) – Luca Sbisa (0.875)
    Mark Giordano (0.892) – Adam Pardy (0.7)

    Mikka Kipprusoff (5.833) – Curtis McElhinney (0.525)

    CAP HIT – 55.083 million

    At next year's deadline, you try and package Jokinen and Grabovski for Brad Richards. 

  10. cam7777 says:

    In other news, I just thought HTR'ers should know that I am absolutely raping the HTR hockey pool.

  11. reinjosh says:

    yah, youve been killing it lately
    and erd had such a lead too

  12. CofRED says:

    It's an interesting plan but it seems unlikely to me that Jokinen would be willing to take a 1.5 million cut in pay to stay in Calgary (despite the fact that he's not playing well enough to even deserve that).  Also, the only way Calgary doesn't walk away clear losers on this deal, in my opinion, is if Hagman can somehow plays consistently way over his head.  That little hot streak he went on a couple of months ago would have to become a regular thing.  I don't feel he has the talent to do that, and if I'm wrong and he does, I don't think the Sutter system would give him enough freedom to really use it.
    And I definitely don't think a Sutter would commit that much money or term to Kovalchuk.  While the Flames need a guy like him, he's not exactly a Sutter type player and I'm starting to think DS has too much pride to admit that you can't win a championship on defense alone.

  13. reinjosh says:

    Jokinen would be lucky to be offered 3 million anywhere
    i wouldn't bet against him taking a paycut for the flames
    Hagman is a legitimate 30 goal scorer (25 plus at the very least)
    he did it the year before last (as a third liner), he would have done it last year (but missed a good chunk of games) and he will do it this year. He is very much a Sutter type player (im a fan of both teams passionately) The rest of the deal isn't bad
    don't expect fair value for Phaneuf. Two bad seasons and apparent problems with his character are really going to hurt his value. Alot.

  14. CofRED says:

    Personally, if the Flames are seriously thinking Cup, I think they'd be better off taking their chances on flipping Phaneuf than Regehr.  First off, a defenseman with a good potential for offense while still playing capable defense(if he can get his game together) will bring a better return from a "rebuiding" team that a strictly defensive defenseman, even if he is one of the best.  Also, factor in the 5 year age difference and the fact that the first open ice hit would render Phaneuf an instant fan favorite in a small market and it's plain to see who would fetch a better return.  As for the Flames, like I said, Regehr is one of the best shut-down defenseman in the league when he's on his game.  And while it's becoming obvious that defense alone doesn't win a Cup anymore, you can't win it without a quality shut-down guy, and Regehr is the best the Flames have.

    What about trading Jokinen??  He's a UFA at the end of the season, and since they likely can't afford both, based on performance, Bourque would be the better chip to hang on to.  Obviously this won't be attractive to a rebuilding team, but to trade to another competing team who could use a guy like Olli could work with the right package coming the other way.  Say, a younger centre with some skill, and another decent winger.  Just throwing that out there anyways, I know it wouldn't be easy to pull off but for all the good Olli is doing the Flames right now it would be worth exploring.

  15. CofRED says:

    My apologies, I meant Kovalchuk isn't exactly a Sutter type player, not Hagman.  Don't get me wrong, I'd love to have him, but I don't see Sutter throwing that kind of money his way.  Like I said, I'm starting to think Darryl doesn't have it in him to admit his team plan may have a gaping hole in it, even though everyone else already knows.

  16. reinjosh says:

    something needs to be done
    and I just found out Regehr has a NTC so thats out the window. I think Sutter is going to seriously consider moving Phaneuf. His NTC kicks in after the season so now would be the time.
    The thing is, his value is severely diminished.

  17. reinjosh says:

    Sutter is a pretty down to earth guy
    I don't think he will admit he made a mistake outright but I also don;t think he will just let the hole stay unfilled.
    I'm betting a player like Hagman (Kovy is too expensive and doenst fit the team) or Ray Whitney will come to the team by the time the trade freeze hits.

  18. cam7777 says:

    so you should be hoping the Leafs get him then.  that way, you win altogether.  even if sutter doesn't get top dollar, the leafs get a top drawer d-man.  everyone's happy, except potentially some flames fans…

  19. reinjosh says:

    yeah i am a leafs fan first

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