The funny thing is that they seem to forget that from 2004 until 2013 the entire mission statement of the Calgary Flames was to win a Cup. They had the pieces in 2005-06, but failed. So then the focus was to add a center so Iginla had a true setup man and not second tier middle-men filling in through a rotating door.
It never happened. Almost a full decade goes by and they never acquired that guy, a decade is long enough to develop such a player too. They never did.....and they finally let Jarome go for a fraction of what they could have gotten if they had read the writing on the wall 2 years ago.....
Let's have a look.....
In 2004 the Flames were a team that were on the playoff bubble until Daryl Sutter took the reigns behind the bench, they then went on a tear, played tough defense first hockey, and everyone bought in. They also acquired Miikka Kiprusoff from San Jose because Sutter knew he wanted him. So let's look at that roster.....
Iginla, Kobasew, Yelle, Simon, Donovan, Clark, Lombardi, Saprykin, Lyons, Conroy, Gelinas, Nieminen, Sonnenberg, Nilson, Oliwa, McAmmond, Commodore, Gauthier, Leopold, Montador, Ference, Regehr, Lydman, Warrener, Kiprusoff, Turek.
On that team there are very few names that would be much sought after outside of Iginla, Regehr, and Kipper. Beyond those guys that team was a group of fringe 2nd liners and bottom 6 forwards backed up by a couple of #4 dmen and a handful of 6's and 7's. Kipper then stole the show behind them. A good many of those guys were starting show their age, and the majority of them are no longer playing. I suppose go figure, it's been almost a decade.
So then along comes the lockout. A year is lost. October 2005 rolls around and hockey is back, and the Flames are the favourites to win it all. I remember laughing every time I heard that. Here's why. First off, I knew they were a one-trick pony who had gotten lucky and over-reached on the backs of Kipper, Iggy, and Gelinas. Secondly I saw the additions/subtractions that had been made.
Langkow replaced Conroy. Bad move. Conroy had great chemistry with Iginla. Phaneuf was a rookie defenseman who everyone thought was the second coming of Scott Stevens.....until Bertuzzi man handled him with one arm while controlling the puck with the other (I'll never forget that). Amonte came on board as did Huselies. One long in the tooth, the other soft and somehow expected to be "the guy" to setup Jarome. Hamrlik looked like a good addition. As did McCarty and Marchment. Giordano, Nystrom, and Hulse also joined the lineup. Everyone thought this team was stacked now. But nowhere in there do I see a top 3 forward other than Iginla. I see a rookie dman who has top 2 potential, and Regehr who is a top stay home blueliner. Unfortunately it seems that the Flames over looked the fact that the NHL was hell bent on changing the game and making it faster. Stocking up on older and slower meat wagons who were great at clutch and grab hockey proved to be a bad move. Go figure.
I'll jump ahead now to 2008-09. Caglary was bounced in 6 games btw.
Cammalleri has been added, he's a top scoring center, but not much of a setup man. Conroy has been brought back, but it would appear as though age and time away from Iginla has eroded whatever chemistry they had. The now oft-injured Bertuzzi has joined the lineup, and Olli Jokinen is acquired. There are a few new names but the core is the same and has not been supported properly. They are still, by and large, a slow team built to play clutch and grab hockey and win the game along the wall and in the corners.....a game that the NHL has demonstrated for the better part of 4 seasons (come deadline day) that they want gone and forgotten. Oh, and no top 3 linemates for Iginla yet either. Jokinen was supposed to be, but I have no idea how they figured that would be the case.
Now we jump to 2011-12. New management by this time. Let's see what changed.
Iginla, Jokinen (round 2), Tanguay, Glencross, Bouwmeester, Stempniak, Giordano, Cammalleri (round 2), Stajan, Bourque, Comeau, Butler, Brodie, Hannan, Kostopoulos, Morrison, Backlund, Babchuk, Horak, Smith, Moss, Sarich, Jackman, Byron, Hagman, Jones,Bouma, Kolanos, Kipper, Karlsson, Irving.
Some new names. Woot! Woot!. None of them what the team needed. Not even close. At this point gone is the rookie stud dman from post cup run. Added is a puck moving, smooth skating blueliner who has NEVER tasted playoff hockey in his entire hockey career going all the way back to junior. This is now a team of plumbers and over-rated "stars" And NOWHERE in here is there a center who would play top 6 minutes on any of the top teams in the league.
If you were to examine this team's prospects you would probably have a laughing fit. Nobody in development, and I mean nobody. No top picks coming their way. Just the bull-headed belief that they have the pieces and the tools to get it done and contend for a cup.
I'm not sure how that translates at all to what Vancouver has now or will have in a few years.