“Ah well,” people who believed Jay Feaster didn’t completely bungle the Jarome Iginla trade and totally embarrass himself and his organization in the process, “you can’t judge or blame him by this.”
Last week on Puck Daddy I broke down some of the many reasons you very much could blame Feaster for punting the Iginla deal, despite the player’s last-minute mind-change, but as I said then, those who would prop him up in this vague manner had half a point at the very least.
And hindsight being what it is, it’s now officially extremely easy to look back and giggle with schadenfreudian delight at the thing they often said next: “Let’s see how he handles the rest of this dismantling.”
Make no mistake about it: Iginla being traded signalled the long-awaited switch in managerial philosophy that no, this crap team wasn’t going to magically get good with the passage of time, and last night’s move of Jay Bouwmeester to St. Louis put an exclamation point behind that point. When or if they hopefully are able to unload Miikka Kiprusoff on anyone dumb enough to take him aboard it will also have been double-underlined and circled a few times, and have arrows drawn to it.
Those three have long been the standard bearers for the Flames’ appalling lack of intellectual honesty — that’s Feaster’s term, by the way, not mine — about the quality of their team, and to see two of them go now is no small miracle. The only hindrance to moving Kiprusoff, and this is on Feaster too, is that he’s now too old and bad to fetch much of a price, and also he doesn’t seem too amenable to going elsewhere given that his wife had a baby just a few weeks ago.
So okay, if we can’t judge Feaster on the return he pulled for Iginla, and we’re unlikely to get the chance to do so for a Kiprusoff deal, then the only lens through which we can view him with total clearheadedness is apparently the Bouwmeester trade. And he ate it hard, as Feaster is wont to do. (Ed. note: This was not originally intended as a fat joke, at least not consciously, but could certainly be viewed that way in hindsight.)
The return for what some see as a steady, 29-year-old defenseman with one year remaining on his contract (whose numbers might only look bad because he’s playing 30 minutes a night against the toughest competition the Flames see by far and is by the way on one of the worst teams in the league) was much the same as what Feaster pulled for a declining, 35-year-old forward who is a pure rental. Except for the fact that it was worse.
Where Iginla earned Feaster a return of two middling prospects with marginal chances to become NHL regulars as well as a late first-round pick, he didn’t even get that much out of St. Louis. Oh, the two middling prospects with marginal chances to become NHL regulars came, for sure. But that first-round pick? A bit muddier. They don’t get it if St. Louis misses the playoffs this season, and will instead have to settle for a fourth-rounder and whatever first-round position the Blues pull next year.
So yes, let’s judge Feaster by that: A far more desirable player than his captain, whom he could have moved to any team with the interest, couldn’t even fetch the same return. The reason for this is obvious, though. Other GMs know Feaster is horrible at his job and are looking to rob him blind at every turn. One of the pitfalls of being in open rebuild, I suppose, but when Douglas Murray and Robyn Regehr are fetching a pair of second-round picks, not even being able to get that much for someone who’s demonstrably better than both of them is a true sign of how bad this guy is at his job.
And of course, when considering just how dumb he is, one must also note that he actually said, perhaps in an attempt to save face, that this move frees up a lot of cap space for next season. Some people never learn, I guess.
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