Jay Feaster was a Dead GM Walking and everybody knew it. The once-mighty Calgary Flames have been a case study in mismanagement for a long, long time.
Feaster only made things worse with his reign of error.
Brian Burke could have waited until after the holidays to make this change, but why bother? The Flames aren’t going anywhere this season.
He’s had time to assess the situation. He saw the mess Feaster made. Drafting, trading, free agency . . . the Flames had more misses than hits in all those areas.
The team waited too long to move Jarome Iginla. Feaster let Miikka Kiprusoff get old and retire before the team anything in return for him.
The Flames virtually gave away prime-age defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, who is starring for the St. Louis Blues this season. Feaster also botched the Ryan O’Reilly offer sheet, putting the franchise in position to lose O’Reilly on waivers after spending three high draft picks as compensation.
We could go on and on. The results on the ice speak for themselves. Change is needed.
With the Buffalo Sabres also looking for a GM, Burke decided to jump into the search process while all of his options were open.
“I feel for us to take the next step we'll do it quicker and better with a change,” Burke told reporters after whacking Feaster.
Watching the Flames hasn’t been easy on Burke. “I was born impatient,” he said. “I will die impatient.”
Burke is shopping for a top talent evaluator to reverse the franchise’s fortunes at the NHL Draft. Among the candidates: Dave Poulin, Claude Loiselle, Paul Fenton, Joe Nieuwendyk and Jim Benning.
Feaster left behind an elite young player in Sean Monahan. But Sven Baertsch remains a source of frustration. Not surprising, Burke shipped him out after canning Feaster.
Naturally, Burke will want the new guy to add additional muscle. “There's room for the small player in our game,” Burke said, “but you better surround him with some beef.
“I like teams that bang. I don't like the way we play."
Then again, who does like the way the Flames play? They don’t have a goaltender, they have big money sunk into twilight-year finesse players and they don’t have many assets other teams covet.
Wish the next GM luck.