FN Weekend Open Thread - What are you Looking forward to in 2013-14?

Kent Wilson
August 10 2013 10:47AM

 

 

The Calgary Flames will enter next season as one of the favorites to finish last in the league. The club lacks offensive fire power, will probably be playing kids at key positions and its goaltending is a complete enigma. If everything breaks right, the Flames might be competitive night-to-night, but it's much more likely to be a long, painful winter here in Calgary.

Which doesn't mean there won't be reasons to watch. Ironically, I've found a lot of fans are actually more interested and optimistic about the team than they have been in a long time, if only because this year represents a new dawn which has been too long delayed. The overall record won't matter as much as the development of certain key pieces.

With that, here's what I'm looking forward to this year:

- Watching TJ Brodie

The kid went from possible NHLer to possible top-two NHLer in the space of 40-games last year. His development over the last 12 or so months has been incredibly rapid - in fact, one of the steepest curves we've seen out of a blueline prospect of his age in a long time.

Brodie has his bridge deal and I'm willing to bet he's at least top-3 on the back-end in terms of points and ice time this season. In fact, if he somehow manages to take another step forward, he'll do better than that.

- Mikael Backlund emergence

If he can stay healthy, Backlund is poised to put together a career best season and finally establish himself as a primary contributor. He's already the best two-way center on the team, so all he needs is to stay out of the infirmary and put a few more points on the board. It will be very interesting to see how Bob Hartley deploys him this year.

- Sven Baertschi development

Sven had an up-and-down first season, but it ended with him putting together a seven game point streak and lookin much more comfortable at the NHL level  than he did on his initial foray in January. While the wings will be somewhat crowded in Calgary to start the year (Glencross, Cammalleri, Hudler, Jones, Galiardi, Stempniak), there's no question Baertschi is perhaps the most naturally talented offensive player amongst them.

It's easy to forget that Baertschi hasn't even turned 21 years old yet (he will in October) and that last year was essentially his 19-20 year old season, year most prospects spent in junior hockey. For him to simply make the team and play a regular shift will mean he's ahead of most player's development curve, let alone if he plays a top-six position. Keep in mind Claude Giroux (my personal "hopeful" comparable for Baertschi) played in just 42 games as a 20-21 year old and  scored 27 points (0.64 PPG).

That is my benchmark for Baertschi - if he can match or exceed around 0.60 PPG this year, it will probably be a really good season for the kid (who is still technically a rookie BTW).

- The debut of Corban Knight

I don't really know what to expect from the college stand-out, so I really just want to see how he handles himself against NHL competition. I am assuming he'll make the team out of camp and that he'll play a "two-way" role from the outset, but beyond that, who knows...

- What can Feaster get that the deadline?

The Flames are almost certainly going to be sellers again at the trade deadline. They liquidated all of their "big ticket" items last April, but they still have some guys who might bring in a few useful futures, performance depending. Mike Cammalleri could land another first rounder if he can put together a strong season. With an expiring contract and 25-30 goal pace, Cammalleri should be one of the most sought after rentals on the market.

After him, guys like Lee Stempniak and Matt Stajan may attract some interest. If either guy has another good season the Flames may try to re-sign either or both, but I wouldn't be surprised if they decide to move on to greener pastures. If so, Feaster should put them on the auction block.

What are you looking forward to this year? Share in the comments.

39d8109299a9795cb3b41a4e9b49d501
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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#1 Prairie Chicken by-the-Sea
August 10 2013, 11:37AM
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I'm also looking forward to the Canucks continuing to deteriorate as their window slams shut. They are in the early phases of denial that plagued us in the Sutter era. I told my Canuck friends out here three years ago that the Flames would win the cup again before the Canucks did and I stand by that. Of course they laughed at me - the poor fools.

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#2 BurningSensation
August 10 2013, 03:53PM
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"Life's a piece of sh*t, when you look at it..."

Things I am looking forward to;

- Kari Ramo establishing himself as a #1 goaltender

- TJ Brodie arriving as a legit 1st pairing defender

- Beartschi scoring 30 goals and winning the Calder

- The signing/debut of Johnny Gaudreau

- Corban Knight's two-way game

- Backlund's offense improving with his underlying stats being EXCELLENT

- Sean Monahan absolutely tearing up the OHL

- Mark Jankowski sticking it to Ryan Lambert by leading Providence in scoring and making a run at the Hobey Baker

- John Gillies winning the Hobey Baker

- The aquisition of another 1st rnd pick (or multiple 2nds)

- The Oilers missing the playoffs. Again.

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#3 Prairie Chicken by-the-Sea
August 10 2013, 11:04AM
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I'm looking forward to seeing how our very interesting goaltending situation plays out. Will we see a real starter arise from the crowd? I am also looking forward to seeing Monahan back in junior - this is the best situation long term for both the team and the player.

BTW, has anyone else noticed that the quality of examples in the ads for older women seem to be deteriorating? We've gone from a cougar cheerleader theme to 'hey, check out Madge the truck diner waitress.'

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#4 coachedpotatoe
August 10 2013, 02:12PM
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First I want to say why I joined the flames nation; it had to do with part in the comments code that says write as if your mom was reading over my shoulder. So in saying this I must say how disappointed I am at the picture attached comparing the Flames season to the Christ on the Cross. I get the freedom of the press etc and I won't keep people bored by talking about my faith but I had to mention this. As a Flames fan what excites me most about this season is finally seeing what the plan is; are they paying lip service to the rebuild by hiding the prospect or are they going to see them play in every situation. This will be along season but player development at the NHL, AHL, CHL and in the US college system is what I look forward to, I can't wait.

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#5 coachedpotatoe
August 10 2013, 08:35PM
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chillout wrote:

wow seriously??? I think someone needs to look on the bright side of life.....instead of looking for anything to somehow offend you and your religion. Totally sick of the hypersensitivity hardcore religion types display all the time. Just looking for a reason to complain and twist the meaning of things so that you can sensor it.

Dear chill; Have you not read my apology for being over sensitive, I get the point. I have moved on,hope you can.

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#7 Skeittari
August 12 2013, 03:07AM
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MC Hockey wrote:

Where do you live if its 330am when games start?

Finland. My pet polar grizzly is a die hard-oil fan. We debate a lot during the season. Then we wrestle.

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#8 NHL93
August 10 2013, 10:57AM
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I'm looking forward Feaster's truffle-shuffle.

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#9 Prairie Chicken by-the-Sea
August 10 2013, 03:38PM
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coachedpotatoe wrote:

First I want to say why I joined the flames nation; it had to do with part in the comments code that says write as if your mom was reading over my shoulder. So in saying this I must say how disappointed I am at the picture attached comparing the Flames season to the Christ on the Cross. I get the freedom of the press etc and I won't keep people bored by talking about my faith but I had to mention this. As a Flames fan what excites me most about this season is finally seeing what the plan is; are they paying lip service to the rebuild by hiding the prospect or are they going to see them play in every situation. This will be along season but player development at the NHL, AHL, CHL and in the US college system is what I look forward to, I can't wait.

I don't think it was meant to be insensitive to any particular faith. The photo is a still from the scene in 'Life of Brian' where they are singing 'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life', as a reference to an optimistic outlook. And, if I may say, crucifixion was a common form of execution back in those days - Christianity does not have the monopoly on 'cross' references.

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#10 RexLibris
August 10 2013, 03:54PM
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Personally, I'm looking forward to Feaster's next contribution to the sporting lexicon. We've had intellectual honesty, post-apex, and so many wonderful other witticisms. I can't wait for this season to start.

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#11 coachedpotatoe
August 10 2013, 05:16PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

This isn't a reference to JC: Christ isn't the only person in the world who was ever crucified. The joke is the juxtaposition between being crucified and looking "on the bright side of life".

Unfortunately that was how I took it, so my apologizes. I get the joke. I even enjoyed the movie although it has been years since I have seen it. I'm moving on.

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#12 Kenta
August 11 2013, 04:21AM
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I'm looking forward to seeing if any of our European goalies will pan out.

I also look forward to the day Ken King no longer has any meaningful role with the club.

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#13 Flamesbrain
August 10 2013, 11:44AM
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From a flames perspective I am looking for that surprise story like Horak, Hanoski or someone else surprising everybody.

From an NHL perspective I am looking forward to seeing how the dynamics of the reallignment and new divisions plays out. I think that it might take some teams down to the Flames level that we may not anticipate?

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#14 Kurt
August 10 2013, 11:17AM
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This is SOOOOO true.

"Ironically, I've found a lot of fans are actually more interested and optimistic about the team than they have been in a long time, if only because this year represents a new dawn which has been too long delayed. The overall record won't matter as much as the development of certain key pieces."

I hope we get exactly the amount of wins it takes to get 30th place. 1 less point than 29th, whatever that is. But I'm excited and not completely frustrated for the first time in 4 years.

I'm cheering for the Cammy types this year more than the Sven's. I want the kids to develop, but I'm good with slow and steady progress without any crazy expectations. But the vets with value, I want to pump and dump, so I hope Cammy gets a boatload of goals by the trade deadline. That would be ideal.

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#15 beloch
August 11 2013, 04:25PM
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I think it's too early to start talking about what we're going to do with a top pick next summer. The Flames may prove to be counterproductively mediocre this season, especially if Ramo turns out to be good.

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#16 Baalzamon
August 10 2013, 02:10PM
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I'm looking forward to "The Flames are pleased to select, from the Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League, Defenseman Aaron Ekblad!"

Mostly, I'm looking forward to a season that isn't mired in doom, gloom, nostalgia, and denial.

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#17 chillout
August 10 2013, 04:22PM
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@coachedpotatoe

that's from a monty python movie so don't get your feathers too ruffled. Besides....actually never mind not going to talk religion. just get over yourself is all i'm going to say.

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#18 suba steve
August 11 2013, 01:59PM
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@Robear

"I fear that people underestimate how much it sucks to lose regularly, as this team will over the next 3-4 yrs before the kids get enough game to compete at the NHL level."

I've been watching the team since 1980. I have seen them lose...a lot. I know exactly what it is like and I say...bring it on!

Not like we are coming off a string of strong years lately and are suddenly in the basement. We haven't seen a play-off win since the cup run in 2004, and before that the cup win in 1989.

So yeah, will be real tough for me to adjust to seeing the Calgary Flames near the bottom of league standings. (Read that last sentence with sarcasm)

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#19 Jeff In Lethbridge
August 11 2013, 06:26PM
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chillout wrote:

wow seriously??? I think someone needs to look on the bright side of life.....instead of looking for anything to somehow offend you and your religion. Totally sick of the hypersensitivity hardcore religion types display all the time. Just looking for a reason to complain and twist the meaning of things so that you can sensor it.

who are you calling hypersensitive? talk about calling the kettle black... why don't you quite being so sensitive?

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#20 negrilcowboy
August 10 2013, 11:26AM
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Personally,I am looking forward to an exciting season with Intellectual Honesty throughout the nation. Lets hope the fans, ownership and organization as well as the players are realistic in their veiws. This is going to be a year of ups and downs, of growing pains, therefore exceptance on all levels is paramount. Lets hope and pray there is not any ridiculous statements of dilusion or grandeur permeating from the ivory tower.

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#21 Demetric
August 10 2013, 01:48PM
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looking forward to the surprising amount of chemistry, heart and desire the team will have this year and the wins that will follow inexplicably.

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#22 suba steve
August 10 2013, 03:40PM
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@coachedpotatoe

The attached pic is an out-take from Monty Python's Life of Brian. That scene includes the song Always Look on the Bright Side of Life. That I believe is the "message" in the pic. The bearded man is Brian.

I find no offence in the inclusion of this pic and can't imagine that any was intended.

Jesus is often displayed on a cross in church, where people may use him as inspiration to get through any crisis (large or small). Why does that depiction not offend you, where one relating to the Flames would?

p.s. You probably shouldn't see the film, and you should skip The Meaning of Life as well.

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#23 ngthagg
August 11 2013, 05:49AM
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I'm looking forward to most is Hartley playing the team in the way most effective for future development, not necessarily current wins. For example, no Baertschi-on-the-4th-line nonsense.

What I'm hoping to see is a low-hype player surprise, something like what Brodie did. The sort of player who had the talent and was just waiting to physically and mentally mature.

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#24 Michael
August 10 2013, 11:52AM
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What am I looking forward to, a top three draft pick! Day in day out this team isn't likely to be very competitive, so its pretty much snooze though most of the regular season.

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#25 suba steve
August 10 2013, 11:56AM
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I know the conventional wisdom says that Monahan needs to go back to his junior team, and if it is obvious from his play, then that is what should happen. However, every so often a non first overall makes the leap and blossoms (eg. Skinner). Hey, it could happen?

Looking foreward to:

-the trade deadline

-Sven progressing

-TJ progressing

-seeing Monahan against NHL comp.

-following prospects to monitor their progression (Janko, Poirier, Klimchuk, Gaudreau, Kanzig, TSpoon, etc.)

-watching draft eligible high end players, knowing that the Flames will get a chance to call one of their names next summer

Yes, I am more excited about the coming season, because I know we now have hope of improving over the longer term. With last years squad I was just hoping for losses to improve draft position. This year the losses will come, but watching the kids learn and improve, that takes all the sting out of the losing.

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#26 T&A4Flames
August 10 2013, 11:58AM
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The kids, it's all about the kids. Baertschi, Brodie and Backlund I'm very excited to watch with the big club. But who else gets on the big club. Another 'B' in Bouma? Knight? Horak?

I'm also so interested to see what we have in our goalies. Is Ramo the real deal? Will Berra surprise and surpass Joey Mac and Ramo. What about Ortio and Brossoitt? Gillies further development and hopefully a magnificent showing at the WJC's (except losing gold, barely, to Canada).

. Speaking of which, i am excited and hopeful that Monahan, Poirier, and yes even Janko and Sieloff in the WJC's. mot to mention hopefully others like Klimchuk. Janko's development is something I'm very very, nervously excited for. I do expect a good year for him. Sieloff, Wotherspoon, Gaudreau.....so much to pay attention to and get excited for.

There is still stuff to be sorted out league wide, will CGY and their cap space come into play? The trade deadline, the draft. So much anticipation.

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#27 Chris
August 10 2013, 02:47PM
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Kent, I think this is a pretty funny statement:

"there's no question Baertschi is perhaps the most naturally talented offensive player amongst them."

No question and perhaps don't go we'll together. Haha. What kind of writing is that? Kidding aside, I am looking forward to seeing how our goaltending situation turns out... For better or worse.

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#28 piscera.infada
August 10 2013, 03:40PM
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coachedpotatoe wrote:

First I want to say why I joined the flames nation; it had to do with part in the comments code that says write as if your mom was reading over my shoulder. So in saying this I must say how disappointed I am at the picture attached comparing the Flames season to the Christ on the Cross. I get the freedom of the press etc and I won't keep people bored by talking about my faith but I had to mention this. As a Flames fan what excites me most about this season is finally seeing what the plan is; are they paying lip service to the rebuild by hiding the prospect or are they going to see them play in every situation. This will be along season but player development at the NHL, AHL, CHL and in the US college system is what I look forward to, I can't wait.

It's from the Monty Python movie "The Life of Brian", where they sing "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life". I'm not sure that makes it any better but you should take issue with the British comedy troupe, not FN - in context the picture is quite apt for this discussion.

Looking on the bright side is something we're going to need to do a lot as Flames fans over the next couple seasons. As long as everyone progresses there should be light at the end of the tunnel.

"I'm Brian and so is my wife!"

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#29 coachedpotatoe
August 10 2013, 04:49PM
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chillout wrote:

that's from a monty python movie so don't get your feathers too ruffled. Besides....actually never mind not going to talk religion. just get over yourself is all i'm going to say.

My feathers are just fine, I've seen the movie, many times when I was young and thought it was funny and has it's place. Even here. But comparing whatever our hockey team and us as fans will go through with the cross whoever is on it is a bit much. I will just leave it be and get back to talking hockey.

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#30 Skeittari
August 10 2013, 06:23PM
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I regret waking up 3:30 AM to watch the Flames play and then going to work. But the regret stops at 4:00PM as I get back home to my wife and dog and realize it's only hockey. Repeat.

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#31 Colin
August 10 2013, 01:02PM
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T&A4Flames wrote:

I fully expect Cammi and Stajan to be gone by the time next season rolls around. They should both be moved by or before the deadline. I like both guys, I just don't see the need for them with more youth about to be introduced to the big league. And, we still carry enough veteran presence in Gio, Wideman, GlenX and Hudler.

You still have to ice an NHL lineup, and there is no garuantee that any of our prospects can make a meaningful impact at a top 6 position at this point in their development curves. Having one or both of these guys on another shorter contract is not a bad thing for the Flames. I don't see any value in starting a youth lineup strictly for the fact that we should be younger, I don't mind losing if you can see the goal in the long run as long as we are still competitive, but at the same time, if these kids can't handle top 6 minutes meaningfuly, I don't want to see the team go 10-72 or something simply for the reasoning of being youner.

Again, its the devil you know vs what Feaster might acquire in free agency, if the choice is Matt Stajan for another 2-3 years or for example Legwand for 6-7 years?

Theres a couple of good centers available in the offseason, but not much good after that. Stajan and Camm are young enough that neither of them should fall off a cliff and on a short contract is not the biggest deal if they did. We have tons of cap space and won't be competing for a cup for 2-3 years anyways. I don't mind keep some NHL guys around if it means proper development of our younger talent through the AHL, rather then thrusting them immediately into the NHL.

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#32 s_yav14
August 10 2013, 02:15PM
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Playoffs

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#33 chillout
August 10 2013, 04:24PM
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHPOzQzk9Qo

link to the clip from life of brian. always look on the bright side of life!

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#34 please cancel acct
August 11 2013, 10:00AM
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Iam looking forward to see what kind of game Hartley expects from this group.Last year we started with a quick transition game (nice change) and ended with a defensive game where we apparently required more tough guys,in order to stick up for ourselves.

Will Ward in Abby change his game to suit Hartley or the other way around

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#35 Willi P
August 11 2013, 10:23PM
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chillout wrote:

lol you're hilarious!

Chillout, I think you meant censor not sensor

"Just looking for a reason to complain and twist the meaning of things so that you can sensor it."

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#36 schevvy
August 10 2013, 11:17AM
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I am looking forward to having Red Hot as the team's official goal song. (how awesome would that be)

In all seriousness, I'm looking forward to watching Sven hopefully get as many opportunities as possible to succeed. I have a feeling he's going to be a bright spot this year. Also want to see Brodie continue to develop, and am curious to see how big of a loss J-Bo is to the D core (spoiler alert: huge loss)

I'm also curious to see how bad the line of McGrattan, Jackman and Begin (you just know he'll be re-signed) will be. GRIT

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#37 Prairie Chicken by-the-Sea
August 10 2013, 12:16PM
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Flamesbrain wrote:

From a flames perspective I am looking for that surprise story like Horak, Hanoski or someone else surprising everybody.

From an NHL perspective I am looking forward to seeing how the dynamics of the reallignment and new divisions plays out. I think that it might take some teams down to the Flames level that we may not anticipate?

Great points. This is the best year in ages for the potential for upside surprises. Funny how we're all getting so stoked for what could be their poorest season points-wise ever.

We may also have a long tough road to the playoffs given the new alignment.

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#38 ChinookArch
August 10 2013, 11:42AM
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"Keep in mind Claude Giroux (my personal "hopeful" comparable for Baertschi) played in just 42 games as a 20-21 year old and  scored 27 points (0.64 PPG)."

That is high praise of Baertschi, I hope your right. I"ve liked the comparisons to Eberle myself, but I see why you like Giroux as a template.

I'm looking forward (okay wishing and hoping) that Camelleri and Stempniak tear it up this year, so Feaster can garner a real nice return for each. And then that's where the hope fades, since Feaster just hasn't been great at getting good returns IMO.

I'm really hopeful one of the goalies emerges as a true #1.

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#39 piscera.infada
August 10 2013, 12:15PM
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Of the list above (and aside from Knight, because I don't want to beat that dead horse again) I'm most excited to see what Backlund can do with real opportunity. He should get some nice pp time for a change and some awesome offensive opportunities outside of that.

Like most Flames fans, I know this is going to be a long season that will likely be hard to watch, but I'm still extremely excited.

Above and beyond the list Kent created, I'm really excited to see if we sign the two college guys - Gaudreau and Agostino - after their season is over, and if they play a few games at the tail end of the year. I don't think I need to state how excited I am for Gaudreau, but I'm equally excited for Agostino. I really (and I mean really) like the guy as a player. He fits the bill for exactly what I think this team will need in a second line winger in a couple of years. Mark my words, this kid will be similar to Ryan Callahan! Although, obviously not a centre (but you know what I mean).

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#40 Emir
August 10 2013, 12:30PM
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Lots to look forward to this year, and all of it has been mentioned.

what I'm personally looking forward to is actually being able to go to a game. Ticket price isn't an issue, but availability is. Going to make it a lot easier for the people to go and see a game and that makes me happy.

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#41 Hank Williams
August 10 2013, 04:07PM
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Im looking forward to a year of fulfilled expectations. We just had to lower them. The last 6 0r 7 seasons of mediocrity have been tough to take when prospects of winning looked to be better than reality. May the Flames never disappoint again! Here's to embracing mediocrity!

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#42 Baalzamon
August 10 2013, 04:51PM
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@c

Draft-eligible defensemen almost never make the U20 team. Ryan Murray was a rare and baffling exception (though he had a late birthdate, so he was an old draft-eligible). If it concerns you, Dougie Hamilton didn't make Team Canada in his draft year, either.

If you want international success, Ekblad is the Captain of Canada's current Ivan Hlinka entry.

I choose Ekblad because he's a big, mobile, all-around defenseman. Basically, he could be the cornerstone of the back end for about two decades. The Flames need a cornerstone defenseman at the moment more than they need, say, Sam Reinhart.

Also, the Flames will likely be bad enough in the 2015 season that the best player available will be yet another forward (Connor McDavid or, more likely, Dylan Strome).

I guess what I'm saying is the Flames can probably afford to bite the bullet a bit and draft a defenseman high, rather than creating a surplus at center and later trading one for a defenseman who would probably look exactly like Ekblad except not as good and older.

This is probably the only time you'll ever see me advocate drafting need ahead of the best available prospect. I just like Ekblad that much.

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#43 Jeff In Lethbridge
August 10 2013, 07:10PM
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Victoria Flames Fan wrote:

I am looking forward to seeing Jon Gillies in a Flames jersey (maybe not this year), after he stoned Canada today.

That's what I was thinking!!!

next best goalie in the NHL in the pipes!

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#44 Robear
August 11 2013, 12:47PM
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Baalzamon wrote:

I'm looking forward to "The Flames are pleased to select, from the Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League, Defenseman Aaron Ekblad!"

Mostly, I'm looking forward to a season that isn't mired in doom, gloom, nostalgia, and denial.

Getting Ekblad would be awesome, and an outcome that I think is entirely plausible given the makeup of this team. Unless Ramo comes in and steals games regularly, this team will struggle mightily to string wins together.

I do have to say that I'm surprised at the thread of optimism that seems to be surging through the FN threads. Even with all the hope and potential placed on our suddenly more prosperous farm system and prospects, they haven't proven a lick in the Show. I would still much rather be having the debate about Iginla re-signing after another close playoff miss at the end of season.

I fear that people underestimate how much it sucks to lose regularly, as this team will over the next 3-4 yrs before the kids get enough game to compete at the NHL level.

I'm also a believer that success breeds success. Being brought up in a losing culture like that up North, extends out the losing seasons for several years, as a "winning" attitude gets re-learned. Hopefully those people who are excited for the 2013-14 season are still "excited" in 2015-16 for anther season where we will be out of the playoff discussion before the beginning of March.

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#45 seve927
August 11 2013, 04:56PM
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Robear wrote:

Getting Ekblad would be awesome, and an outcome that I think is entirely plausible given the makeup of this team. Unless Ramo comes in and steals games regularly, this team will struggle mightily to string wins together.

I do have to say that I'm surprised at the thread of optimism that seems to be surging through the FN threads. Even with all the hope and potential placed on our suddenly more prosperous farm system and prospects, they haven't proven a lick in the Show. I would still much rather be having the debate about Iginla re-signing after another close playoff miss at the end of season.

I fear that people underestimate how much it sucks to lose regularly, as this team will over the next 3-4 yrs before the kids get enough game to compete at the NHL level.

I'm also a believer that success breeds success. Being brought up in a losing culture like that up North, extends out the losing seasons for several years, as a "winning" attitude gets re-learned. Hopefully those people who are excited for the 2013-14 season are still "excited" in 2015-16 for anther season where we will be out of the playoff discussion before the beginning of March.

I've been following prospects more than the big team for a few years now, I think since Reinhart had his big playoff performance. Iginla re-signing would have quite honestly turned me off the Flames for good. I'm not looking forward to 3 or 4 years of sucking. This year is pretty much a given, but the cupboards should be pretty well stocked with another 6 to 10 prospects this year. If the kids are progressing well, I think you become a free agent destination and you start re-signing the Stempniak Glencross types and look to get back in the hunt in 14-15. Not to say we won't suck again that year, but I want to be actively pursuing playoffs again by then, not waiting for 6 top five picks by gutting the roster, then trying to fill in 10 gaping holes.

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#46 Pete
August 11 2013, 11:40PM
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MC Hockey wrote:

Where do you live if its 330am when games start?

Skettari sounds finnish to me. I watch games from Finland early in the morning 3.30-5.00, depends. Good way to start your morning coffee with speedy game.

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#47 Burnward
August 12 2013, 09:40AM
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Skeittari wrote:

Finland. My pet polar grizzly is a die hard-oil fan. We debate a lot during the season. Then we wrestle.

Miikka?

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#48 coachedpotatoe
August 13 2013, 08:48AM
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theartfuldodger wrote:

THe photo is from a MOnty Python movie. During the scene thay sing a song "always look on the bright side of life"

Dear Dodger: this has been hashed to death if you have read all the comments; I get and have moved on.

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#49 Glenn
August 10 2013, 12:14PM
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"Ironically, I've found a lot of fans are actually more interested and optimistic about the team than they have been in a long time"

I think fans are excited by the unknown and the hope that comes with that. In the last number of years it has been only the fear that comes withing already knowing the same old same old.

Hopefully their one of the goalies will work out. If not, we should easily get a top 3 pick. See, that's not all bad either.

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#50 RKD
August 10 2013, 01:07PM
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My list is pretty much identical, I am looking for Backlund to have a career high this season if and only if he can stay healthy.

I'm expecting Baertschi to keep progressing and take some larger steps forward, he said in an interview a while back he wants to be the face of the franchise. He's going to have play really strong and be consistent.

Brodie should be about the same as last season, I don't see him going backwards if he can keep progressing that is certainly going to pay big dividends for the Flames and himself down the road.

Corban Knight was one of Florida's top guys in the system, if he can be a strong face-off guy then his value to this team will be crucial.

What about the vets? I'm watching to see if Gio can regain the form he had before his left leg hamstring injury. Is he going to be the Gio of old or the Gio who struggled in a top 2 role and made some of the most brutal giveways last season? It wasn't just his body, his head wasn't in the right place at times.

Can Cammy regain his scoring touch, how will Glencross do in a larger role? Will Hudler be checked out on rebuilding team or will he excel. Without Iggy, Tangs, other guys don't have to be in shadows, the spotlight will shine brightly on a lot of the vets too.

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