FN Weekend Open Thread - Where do the Flames Finish Next Season?

Kent Wilson
July 20 2013 10:55AM

 

 

The roster is more or less set. The schedule is done. New divisions have been created and with them a new post-season cut-off format. It's time to start guessing where the Flames will land next season.

Things to keep in mind

- Calgary was actually only mediocre by a lot of measures last year. The thing that sank them to the bottom of the league was NHL-worst goaltending.

with Karri Ramo coming in as the incumbent starter, it's difficult to guess how much better the puck stopping will be for the Flames: merely bad? Middle of the road? Whatever happens, there's a little chance it will be sub-.900 awful like it was for most of the lock-out shortened year.

- The Flames new division (the "Pacific") features the Oilers, Kings, Ducks, Coyotes, Sharks and Canucks. The Oilers, Coyotes  and Ducks have some obvious faults, but both figure to be better than the Flames next year. Everyone else is at least a cut above. The top-3 teams in each division make the playoffs, while the next highest two finishers in each conference (regardless of division) round things out.

- The kids are going to get a lot of reps. There's a good chance guys like Corban Knight, Sean Monahan, Sven Baertschi and Roman Horak will see a bunch of NHL time this year. Mark Cundari, Chris Breen could see time on the blueline as well. That's not a bad thing per se, but it will mean suffering through some growing pains.

- Related, the Flames depth at all positions is fairly dreadful. A significant, long-term injury to any of the top-3 defenders (Brodie, Giordano, Wideman) and things get ugly in a hurry on the back-end. Up front, the team has maybe three guys who shift play in the Flames favor at even strength (Backlund, Glencross and Stempniak) and only three guys have scored more than 50 points in a season at some point in their career (Cammalleri, Hudler and Stempniak). Cammalleri is the only player to ever top 60 points and there's a good chance he doesn't last the entire season with Calgary.

- Related: Matt Stajan and Lee Stempniak are also good bets to be moved around the deadline. Jiri Hudler could go in the next 12 months as well, depending on his performance and appetite for enduring the rebuild. An already veteran thin roster may be completely decimated by the deadline this season.

- There will be next to no help from the Abbotsford Heat. All of the Flames noteworthy youngsters will either make the parent squad or are a year or two away from turning pro. Possible exceptions are Max Reinhart and Tyler Wotherspoon, both of whom strike me as guys who could become competent middle-tier players down the road, but will likely need to ripen on the vine.

Taken altogether, I think the Flames are decent bet to finish bottom-10 in the league. The big wildcard is obviously goaltending - if Ramo is competent and the Flames stay relatively healthy, they should at least be competitive. If he's mediocre or worse, however, and if the Flames few capable vets get injured, it's bottom-5 city for this club.

Whereas the previous incarnations of the Flames have been in the 7-10 range for the last few years, my guess is they settle into the 9-14 range (given the new 14-team wetsern conference) this season, particularly because I expect the club to shed ever more talent (like Cammalleri, Stajan and Stempniak) as the season progresses.

Share your thoughts in the comments.

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Former Nations Overlord. Current FN contributor and curmudgeon For questions, complaints, criticisms, etc contact Kent @ kent.wilson@gmail. Follow him on Twitter here.
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#101 loudogYYC
July 22 2013, 12:05AM
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Pat Sieloff's game is pretty straight forward, nasty defensive defenseman that moves around the ice well. Maybe playing in the AHL where the players are bigger and faster is best for his development. I doubt staying in the OHL for 1 more year would turn him into a PP QB, so maybe let him try to play his game at the next level. I'm totally fine with this signing.

Regarding where the Flames will finish next season, I say somewhere between 28 and 30. This teams strength is its bottom 6 and its weakness is everything else. Those types of teams mostly only win when the other team doesn't show up. I doubt that will happen enough to put us in the top 25 like last season.

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#102 jeremywilhelm
July 22 2013, 12:54AM
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@loudogYYC

Straight forward or not, he isn't ready for pro. Rushing him is stupid.

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#103 chillout
July 22 2013, 06:39AM
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@jeremywilhelm

I don't think they are rushing him. They had to sign him eventually. Just because he has a contract doesn't mean he won't go back to junior. So just relax a little and wait and see how he does at camp and what happens at that point. No sense getting as worked up over it as you are.

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#104 RexLibris
July 22 2013, 07:53AM
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After mulling it over, poring over the numbers and double-checking against historical precedents, I believe I can now definitively answer the question in the article's title, Where Do The Flames Finish Next Season? Answer: in the Pacific Division.

I hope that has cleared everything up.

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#105 PrairieStew
July 22 2013, 10:00AM
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@Kurt

Sorry I didn't reply yesterday, busy.

My pithy Flames observation would be this; subtract a future hall of famer & 3 veteran all stars from a team that finished 14th in the conference and what are you left with? Not much, especially considering last seasons mid year prospects rankings had this team@28th.

as a close follower of the team though we know the story is much broader than that. The goaltending is unproven, but it is unlikely that it will be worse than it was last year. The defensive intensity improves with the subtraction of Iggy &Tangs and several guys are in their contract year.

Ok,i am probably not being fair to those other teams looking for th deeper reasons to be positive. Guilty as charged, Don't have the time or inclination to do so; this is still a Flames "fan" site right?

Oh,btw I missed one: Philadelphia k; Replacing your overpaid average goalie for cheaper below average ones, adding

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#106 PrairieStew
July 22 2013, 10:07AM
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Oops ....adding Vinny & Streit makes them older but not better.

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#107 aloudoun
July 22 2013, 11:48AM
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Flames have signed Monahan :)

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#108 jeremywilhelm
July 22 2013, 04:25PM
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@chillout

I'm not worked up. I have no idea what you are talking about.

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#109 Jeff In Lethbridge
July 22 2013, 08:23PM
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@PrairieStew

"....as a close follower of the team though we know the story is much broader than that. The goaltending is unproven, but it is unlikely that it will be worse than it was last year. The defensive intensity improves with the subtraction of Iggy &Tangs and several guys are in their contract year."

Hard to imagine the goal-tending being any worse... wow it stunk around here in net! I totally agree with the defensiveness liability of Iggy and Tangs - Don't get me wrong, I love Iggy and am thankful to have had him here for so long, but the last several years anyway he never back-checked, was always cherry picking, and most of the time was caught flat footed standing still by the blue line and unable to generate any kind of threat.

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#110 DoubleDIon
July 23 2013, 03:32PM
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Kent, do you think there is merit in re-signing Stempniak given our lack of depth on the right side?

I think you look at his trade value and think hard before you do it. If he gets you a 1st, obviously you pull the trigger. What if his value is a 3rd round pick though? I think I'd rather give him an extension than move him for that.

Stajan and Cammaleri can go even though both have been useful NHLers for us. I think we can replace them internally, perhaps not entirely, but with developing youth. I can't say the same for Stempniak. Any of our other RWers will get eaten alive against decent competition.

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