FN Mailbag - February 8, 2016

Kent Wilson
February 08 2016 08:00AM

Mailbag

The big topic for Flames fans remains the trade deadline. Calgary's players and management are still solely focused on an unlikely playoff drive (chances at about 16% after the win over the Canucks), but pragmatism has begun to sink in for just about everyone else. 

I've actually liked how the Flames have played post-All Star Game. If the team can continue to play at this level, it should result in one of two positive outcomes: either they go on a fantastical run and make the post-season or they fall short and their collection of sellable assets grows in value. 

After this season, Calgary is entering into the "get competitive" phase of any competent rebuild. As such, it may be their final chance to leverage a mass "selloff" at the trade deadline. Here's hoping if the playoff bid falls short they'll be able to collect some noteworthy pieces instead - something they too often failed to do at the onset of the current restructuring project. 

This week in the mailbag we look at what the Flames should be selling and targeting at the deadline. 

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Is Johnny Gaudreau's lack of scoring on the road a problem?

Ari Yanover
February 07 2016 12:00PM

Johnny Gaudreau is, clearly, an incredible player. Not even two seasons into his career, and he already has 114 points to his name. In just his sophomore year, he's been hovering around point-per-game status all season, and is tied for top 10 in NHL scoring. All that, and he's only 22 years old - not to mention one of the smallest players in the league.

Gaudreau's size has been the most frequent criticism of him, and it's even reached out to his scoring stats. Clearly, he can put the puck in the net - at home. Thirty-six of his 49 points so far this season have come at home, while he's only scored 13 points on the road.

A coach can control match-ups at home, which could account for Gaudreau's greater success at home than on the road this season: a suggestion that because he is smaller, he needs to be sheltered in order to play as an elite player. But is this actually the case?

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Flames 4, Canucks 1 post-game embers: Vindication

Ari Yanover
February 07 2016 08:00AM

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Photo credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin/USA TODAY Sports

And lo, just when the Flames fall into a six-way tie for last place in the NHL, they snatch up another two points and get themselves in a tie with Winnipeg as the teams with the third-worst points record in the league. 

The better fate the Flames deserved against Columbus came against Vancouver. The Flames were roughly controlling play until they scored; once they were on the board, the Canucks finally kicked it into gear. (Though you'd suspect if it had been the other way around, the Flames would've been the one generating more shot attempts.) (They still only had four over the final 11:44 of the second period, which, yikes.)

They generally played well. When they didn't, Jonas Hiller did. Throw in a couple of empty net goals and Calgary got themselves an out-of-proportion score (and are now 22nd in the NHL in goal differential! Moving on up).

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Post-Game: Putting The Fear of Ferland Into Vancouver

Ryan Pike
February 06 2016 11:09PM

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(Anne-Marie Sorvin / USA Today Sports)

On Friday night, the Calgary Flames hosted the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets and lost a tight one by a 2-1 score. They weren't great at managing the puck and really wasted their puck possession edge. They headed to Vancouver tonight, with everyone hoping for a better effort (and maybe some points).

Mission accomplished.

The Flames were engaged in every area of the ice, battled for three periods, and took advantage of some miscues by the Canucks en route to a 4-1 victory on the road.

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Six Questions with Stockton Coach Ryan Huska

Ryan Pike
February 06 2016 02:00PM

With the Calgary Flames playing the way they are this season - and sitting where they are this season in the standings - it's natural for everyone's thoughts to drift from the present to the future. And organizationally, the future of the Flames is exemplified on their farm team, the Stockton Heat.

During the All-Star Break, we had a chance to have a chat with Stockton's head coach Ryan Huska on a few topics of interest to Flames fans. Most notably: how are the team's recent high draft picks doing this season?

(Questions and answers edited for clarity.)

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