Waiver status could factor into the Flames' deadline decision-making

Ryan Pike
February 19 2017 12:00PM

As you have probably heard if you have working eyes or ears these days, the National Hockey League's trade deadline is rapidly approaching. On March 1, teams have to make a ton of quick decisions as the door to make transactions slams shut. 

The Calgary Flames are one of the teams who have to not only figure out their options for the rest of this season, but also project out what their plans are for next season. Waiver eligibility could be a big factor in the decision-making.

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Canucks 2, Flames 1 (OT) post-game embers: Little room for error

Ari Yanover
February 19 2017 08:00AM

The game reset for overtime.

That was a bad first goal on Brian Elliott, there's no denying that. That said, the Flames outplayed the Canucks the entire way, and to an extent that you can't simply brush it off with a cry of "score effects!" Not with the amount the Flames pushed, and definitely not with all of those penalties they had to kill.

And they wouldn't have been pushing as hard as they did in the final minutes if they weren't down 1-0. The Canucks scored a goal Elliott shouldn't have let them; the Flames broke Ryan Miller's dam in the final six seconds. 

After that, it was a matter of overtime. Three-on-three play makes mistakes deadly. Mikael Backlund and Michael Frolik got caught on the wrong side of it. It happens, and the Flames were able to crawl away with a point to keep them just barely relevant. (They're ninth in the West with a winning percentage of .525. The Kings are at .526.)

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Post-Game: Flames Leave A Point On The Table

Ryan Pike
February 18 2017 11:54PM

(Anne-Marie Sorvin / USA Today Sports)

Saturday night's collision between the Calgary Flames and the Vancouver Canucks was big for both teams. The Flames had a golden chance to effectively end Vancouver's playoff hopes. The Canucks had a chance to claw closer to the Flames and keep their post-season dreams alive for another night. In a tight-checking, playoff-like atmosphere, it ended up being largely the performance of the two netminders that determined things.

The Flames lost 2-1 in overtime to Vancouver. They were both extremely unlucky to only get the single point and extremely fortunate to get anything at all considering how close they came to leaving empty-handed.

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Johnny Gaudreau is playing much longer shifts this season

Ari Yanover
February 18 2017 02:30PM

On Jan. 24, Elliotte Friedman offered up some thoughts about shift lengths in his 30 Thoughts column. Specifically, it was about how much time Erik Karlsson spends on the ice over the course of a single shift (#17):

A year ago, Karlsson played the most in the NHL (2,375:55) and had the longest shift length (1:04). But he was tied for 72nd in shifts per game and 34th in overall shifts taken. It’s not like he’s stapled to the bench, as his overall time is eighth. But he’s now second in the NHL in shifts per game, going from 27.1 to 32.2 per night. His length has dropped to 0:50, which is 38th. He’s agreed to stay out a little less, but the trade-off is minimal as they put him out there more.

What does this have to do with the Flames? Well, shorter shifts generally result in more effective shifts. And Johnny Gaudreau has gone from being tied for 64th among all forwards in average shift time in 2015-16 to fourth this season.

That's quite a jump, wouldn't you say?

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FGD 59: Hockey day on the west coast (8pm MT, CBC)

Ryan Pike
February 18 2017 12:00PM

(Candice Ward / USA Today Sports)

We love HOME games; have Liquor Depot deliver in under an hour. Click, pick, sit back and watch the game.

The Calgary Flames had a rough start to the season, going on a skid that included a shootout loss in Vancouver where the only goal they were credited with was scored by the Canucks on their own net. Given their respective starts, it's somewhat ironic that the Flames can virtually kill the Canucks' playoff chances tonight at Rogers Arena.

The Flames and Canucks are probably each others' biggest rivals at this point. Between the importance of their games of each other, the level of emotion displayed by both teams, and occasional craziness like line brawls and other shenanigans, these guys really don't like each other. The Flames won their first playoff round in over a decade against the Canucks in 2015, they can go a long way towards returning to the post-season this year with a win tonight.

The puck drops at 8 p.m. MT on CBC and Sportsnet 960 The Fan!

Check out a view from the other side over at Canucks Army!

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