Major Changes Coming for Bearsby Guy Flaming | October 12, 2010, 9:36 PM ET
SICHL free agency is two thirds of the way through it's 3-week cycle and as teams throw money at unrestricted free agents in order to fill holes on their roster, clubs are also looking to pilfer teams of restricted free agents too. And some teams aren't happy about it. Acadia's free agency season began fairly quietly. The club added depth for the farm in forward David Desharnais and 19-year-old netminder Alexander Pechurskiy. Neither are expected to contribute at the SICHL level this year. However, the Edmonton Supersonics issued offer sheets to a trio of Golden Bears players; Mike Cammalleri, Freddy Meyer and Greg Zanon. In the end, Acadia opted to match the offers and all three players will be back with the Bears this year. "I understand that some GMs in the league like to make bids on some RFAs simply as a means to keeping teams a bit honest with their payrolls," said Acadia GM Guy Flaming. "It's in the rule book so it's allowed - just like teams are allowed to qualify their RFAs at 75% of what they made a year ago. That's fine, but what we're seeing this week is just getting a bit ridiculous." Flaming is referring to the second week of free agency where his list of RFAs again came under attack from teams around the league. Edmonton was again at the forefront having given offer sheets to defenceman Tom Gilbert and forward Peter Mueller. Winnipeg and Fredericton both gave offers to David Krejci and Amsterdam backed up the truck to entice netminder Jimmy Howard. "It happens once, it's annoying... it happens twice and you start getting a bit upset..." Flaming said, "But when teams start throwing money at unproven guys like they are seasoned veterans with Continental Cup wins notched on their résumés... well... that's a completely different story." "Tom Gilbert has played two seasons in this league and Peter Mueller and David Krejci have only played one!" snapped Flaming, "They are promising young players but they how can I justify paying them that kind of money when guys who have actually won the Cup are making half that much??" "Jimmy Howard has played exactly ONE game in this league and here we have some GM offering him $6.5 Million!" So with some serious decisions to make, Flaming began weighing his options. "Peter Mueller is one of my favorite prospects in my system but I just can't justify that amount of money for him at this point in his career," said Flaming, "It really hurts me to do it but because he wasn't scheduled to play on our SICHL roster again this year... I'll be taking the compensatory picks from Edmonton and wishing Peter the best of luck." Those picks coming back from the Supersonics will be a pair of 1st rounders. "As for Tom Gilbert, like with Peter I am a fan of the way he's performed for us in his two seasons as a Bear," Flaming began, "But again, with the depth we have at that position, we can live without him on our roster and so I'll be taking more compensation from Edmonton there too." For Gilbert, Edmonton will have to cough up another 1st round pick as well as a 3rd rounder. "When it comes to Krejci, well David is our top center and just like we did with Mike Cammalleri, we've decided to match the offer Winnipeg gave David," said Flaming, "Unlike with Tom or Peter, David is providing us something that we don;t have without him in the line up and that's a top line center. We need to keep him in Acadia." And that brings us to the goalie position, one Acadia was feeling pretty good about heading into the season. "Jimmy Howard was expected to be out starter, no question." Flaming confirmed, "With Tim Thomas moving on and a stable of raw guys behind him, we knew Jimmy was going to play 65-70 games for us this year. In fact, I was busy this week trying to sign a couple of veterans to help back him up. Now that's all changed." With Amsterdam's $6.5 Million offer, the Admirals really forced Flaming into a corner. "We don't have another SICHL caliber netminder so what am I supposed to do?" he asked to no one in particular. "Well, luckily I was able to ink not one, not two but three UFA SICHL goalies this week so that makes the decision much easier." Acadia has decided to let the unproven but top rated Howard go to Amsterdam and will accept the three 1st round picks as compensation from the Admirals. "We think Jimmy is going to have a terrific year and we hoped it would be with us but I can't realistically pay an untested goalie that sort of money, I just can't." said Flaming throwing up his arms in disgust. "I just signed three guys who have about 1500 SICHL combined games under their belt... for less than what Amsterdam is giving a guy who hasn't started a single game..." Newly acquired netminders for Acadia include Nikolai Khabibulin, Brian Boucher and Mathieu Garon. The trio will battle for the starters position when camp opens. Acadia also signed tough guy Frazer Mclaren and are apparently close to inking another young player although confirmation on that has yet to come. Flaming's frustration seems to stem from the belief that some teams have targeted his because they are desperate to fill out rosters depleted by their own mismanagement. "I look at the number of player Edmonton has under contract and it's no surprise they are sending offer sheets out all over the league," Flaming said, "They barely have enough guys to dress a team. Maybe they should figure out how to run an organization... maybe concentrate on better drafting or something, oh wait... they won't have much for picks left after this." When reminded that Edmonton has had more success recently than Acadia, Flaming changed his target. "Amsterdam has been a bottom feeder in this league ever since they came into it... talk about a Mickey Mouse franchise!" Flaming sneered. ""If I had run my team into the sewer like that, I wouldn't throw a grenade at the other 25 teams, and my own indirectly," said Burke Flaming. "What I do know is that those two teams won't have much fun at the draft for the next three years and as of now, Acadia is going to be very busy with three first rounders each year." Flaming smiled, "I hate losing those three guys but we'll survive and in the end we might just be better for it."