Flames Counting on ‘Moneyball’ Strategy to Work in Hockey
As a new NHL season approaches, the Calgary Flames sit $13 million below the NHL’s salary cap, and many believe the team is destined to finish last in the Western Conference.
But Flames GM Jay Feaster believes that the group of ‘misfits’ and ‘nobodies’ he has assembled can compete for a playoff spot.
“I watched Moneyball a few months ago, and since then I’ve changed my philosophy on building a winning team. Instead of paying top dollar for quality players, we’re opting for guys who have a general knowledge of the rules of hockey.”
The Flames lost three of their best players last year, including Jay Boumeester, Miikka Kiprusoff, and long-time captain Jarome Iginla. Feaster points out the similarities to Calgary’s predicament and the 2002 Oakland Athletics.
“Oakland lost Damon, Giambi, and Isringhausen in the off-season and still managed to win 20 games in a row the next year,” explained Feaster. "I’m not saying we’re going to do the same thing, but I would be surprised if they don’t make a movie about us.”
A member of the Flames organization who asked not to be identified says Feaster has been quoting lines from the movie all summer long. “He keeps mentioning obscure stats like PSSP (penalty shot shooting percentage) and getting me to research guys in leagues I’ve never heard of.”
When asked who he might want to play him if a movie is eventually made, Feaster smiled.
“I guess it would be quite a stretch for Brad Pitt,” he joked. “Maybe Clooney?”