Western Conference Preview: Calgary Flames

The Flames were bad last year. And they won’t be a playoff team this time around. But some additions to the mix in Calgary will give them a new look moving forward. In the first addition of our Western Conference previews, let’s take a look at what the Calgary Flames will bring to the table for the 2014-15 season.

Bollig

Additions: Brandon Bollig, Mason Raymond, Deryk Engelland, Jonas Hiller

Subtractions: TJ Galiardi, Mike Cammalleri, Shane O’Brien, Joey MacDonald, Blair Jones, Ben Street

Prospects To Watch: Johnny Gaudreau, Max Reinhart, Markus Granlund, Tyler Wotherspoon, Bill Arnold

2013-14 Leaders

  • Goals: Mike Cammalleri – 26
  • Assists: Jiri Hudler – 37
  • Points: Hudler – 54
  • PIM: Brian McGrattan – 100
  • Power Play Points: Mark Giordano – 20
  • Time On Ice per Game: Giordano – 25:14
  • 5 on 5 iCORSI: Giordano – 260

As the Flames continue their post-Iginla rebuild, the rock of the team has been Giordano. He will turn 30 on Oct. 3, and had one of the betterĀ Corsi-for percentages relative to his team’s average at even strength while facing tough competition and zone-start assignments in the league last year.

But let’s not sell this as Giordano’s team. The emergence of Sean Monahan, the team’s first round pick (sixth overall) last summer will turn 20 on Oct. 12 and came onto the scene as a special young center. He is the Flames’ leading returning goal scorer (22 in 75 games last year), and will look to improve this season with the potential of Gaudreau on his line.

Gaudreau had one of the better seasons in recent NCAA history at Boston College last year, and will look to make an impact in his first full season in the NHL.

Monahan, Gaudreau and 24-year-old center Mikael Backlund (18 goals, 21 assists in 76 games) are the hope of the Flames organization this season. As those youngsters mature in the league, so will the capability of Calgary to compete in the deep Western Conference.

Many Chicagoans chuckled this summer when the Flames traded a third round pick to the Hawks for Bollig, and coughing up that much for a fourth line role player is certainly worthy of a few dancing eyebrows. But the money they gave Engelland (three years, $8.75M) and Hiller (two years, $9M) are the hallmarks of a cap floor team trying to bring in players with postseason experience to surround their young core.

Prediction: 78 points

Last year, the Flames finished with 77 points, which was ahead of only Edmonton in the Western Conference. Their struggles were primarily on the road; the Flames were 19-19-3 on home ice, but only 16-21-4 on the road. They’ll look to take advantage of a rebuilding Canucks team to stay out of the cellar, but could be back in the mix for the draft lottery next summer.

Mark Giordano

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4 Responses to Western Conference Preview: Calgary Flames

  1. Nick says:

    It was surprising to me last season that Calgary finished above Edmonton, which has many great young talents (who can’t play defense however) and hardly any big names. It was surprising that Kevin Hayes didn’t sign here since his two college buddies Gaudreau and Arnold are in this organization. You can’t help but wonder if Bollig will be a pain in the Hawks side when they play Calgary. It might actually be the only time he is a physical presence all season for them.

  2. wall says:

    As Tab stated- Monahan (beast), Gdreau, Backlund… all very good, young players…
    They are a team on the upswing… wouldn’t be surprised if they do better than 78 pts.!!!

  3. Sr. Brad says:

    They are finally headed in any direction…and this is a good one…but it will take time before this group learns how to win playoff series…the good news is that people in Calgary have money and nothing better to do with it…CGY should consider using Bollig on the PP as a net presence…

  4. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    I like their goaltenders but their isnt enough talent around the crease to keep this team in the hunt. They could sneak into the playoffs in the east but in the west no chance.

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