Weekend Open Thread: Moving Forward or Moving Back?

Ryan Pike
July 12 2014 08:30AM

Pages have fallen off the calendar this summer and we're quietly in mid-July. As such, we're transitioning at FlamesNation from picking at the corpse of the 2013-14 Flames towards projecting what the 2014-15 Flames will be. Or do.

So, in the interest of stirring the pot: WILL THE FLAMES FINISH BETTER OR WORSE NEXT SEASON?

THEIR MOVES

Calgary finished with 77 points in 2013-14. Are they better or worse on-paper?

In my mind? The Flames more or less treaded water with their moves. However, the goaltending upgrade has the potential to steal games for them, and if Gaudreau turns out to be a real NHL talent, his addition could easily recoup the loss of Cammalleri (even ignoring Raymond's arrival).

Not a guarantee, though, and Calgary's defense is still pretty thin outside of the top pairing.

DIVISIONAL MOVES

So Calgary will probably be about as good/bad as last year. Maybe a tad better, but it's unlikely the bottom will fall out (they still have Backlund, Brodie & Giordano). What about their divisional neighbours?

Anaheim [39 points ahead]: Added Ryan Kesler and some depth. Lost Nick Bonino, Luca Sbisa, Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu. They're about as good, maybe better if Kesler and Heatley gel with their new mates.

San Jose [34 points ahead]: Added some beef (John Scott, Taylor Fedun, Tye McGinn), lost some big defenders (Brad Stuart and Dan Boyle). They're a little better and a little worse, and their core is another year older.

Los Angeles [23 points ahead, won Cup]: Basically made no major changes.

Arizona [12 points ahead]: Added Sam Gagner & B.J. Crombeen, lost Radim Vrbata. They're (at worst) just as good, probably a bit better depending on how Gagner falls into Tippett's system. (Also lost Ribeiro, who scored a lot despite other stuff going on.)

Vancouver [6 points ahead]: Added a lot of bodies (Ryan Miller, Radim Vrbata, Nick Bonino, Luca Sbisa, and a new coach/GM). Lost Ryan Kesler. I'm not wholly convinced that Miller's a big upgrade, and I'm not sure that the addition of Vrbata and some good depth guys makes up for losing Kesler. They definitely under-performed last year, so they should be better just because of competent coaching.

Edmonton [10 points behind]: Added Keith Aulie, Benoit Pouliot & Mark Fayne. And lost Sam Gagner. I have no idea how they finished so far behind Calgary with their roster, and I don't know why I think they'll be about as good next season. On-paper, they're probably a little bit worse than last year.

SO?

I think the Flames will probably be a bit further away from the playoff pack next year, as the big guns stayed as good or got bigger. But the Oilers probably aren't catching 'em. Not sure about the Sabres or Panthers yet, though.

FN FACEOFF ON MONDAY

If you have questions or topics you'd like us to discuss, fire away in the comments!

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Ryan Pike is a Calgary native and FlamesNation's managing editor. He's covered the Flames and the NHL since 2010. His work can also be found at The Hockey Writers and The Wrestling Observer.
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#101 Deef
July 16 2014, 11:13PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Props
2
props

Even if Bennett and Gaudreau make the team, it wont be enough to top the moves of all the other 2014 bottom feeders, save maybe Nashville. Plus we lost Cammalleri and his 20+ goals which really helped out during the stretch.

So unless Hiller and Ramo stand on their heads all year long, or some other team implodes, I can see the flames landing in the 28-30 spot.

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