The Big Gainers - Part 1: Chicago Blackhawks

Kent Wilson
May 22 2015 09:00AM

In my recent look at the Flames cap situation, I noted the club is probably going to want to accelerate the rebuild somewhat in the face of an impending cap crunch. All of the franchise's cornerstone kids (and their cornerstone captain) will be expensive come 2017. It's one thing to be a rebuilding club with cap space, but it's another to be capped out and still struggling to get over the hump. 

This is a not insignificant challenge, despite the Flames' success this year. Calgary was the third worst possession club in the league 2014-15 and history tells us teams like this face overwhelming odds to make the post-season every year (they miss the post-season almost 98% of the time), let alone win a Stanley Cup. 

To be true contenders, the Flames need to become a positive possession team, preferably north of 52%. That's the threshold annual favourites tend to meet or exceed every season. But is it possible to improve a club's underlying numbers so drastically in such a short period of time? 

As it turns out, yes it is. In this series I will investigate six modern NHL teams who have rapidly improved their possession rates over the course of just a few years. We'll take a look at what changed for each club and if there are lessons the Flames can apply to their own situation. 

First up, we look at the Chicago Blackhawks.

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Flames Cap Situation Moving Forward

Kent Wilson
May 21 2015 09:00AM

The Calgary Flames had so much cap space heading into 2013-14 they were actively looking for ways to acquire other club's bad deals in return for assets. This coming year, even with raises to a bunch of pending RFA's and a free agent signing or two, the org will still be south of the cap ceiling. 

The sense is that the Flames have a lot of budget to work with, but the truth is more complicated than that if we look two years down the road. We're reading tea leaves a bit, but it's possible for the Calgary's cap situation goes from casual to dire in the space of a couple of the seasons. That's relevant now because implications may well stretch backwards to influence their decision making this summer. 

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Flames Courting D Jakub Nakladal

Kent Wilson
May 18 2015 06:16PM

According to Elliotte Friedman, the Flames are one of three NHL teams trying to sign 27 year old Czech Jakub Nakladal. Those of you who have been following the World Championships closely probably recognize him as one of the Czech team's top-4 options.

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Random Thoughts - The Rebuild isn't over

Kent Wilson
May 17 2015 11:00AM

random thoughts

The Calgary Flames were supposed to be strong Connor McDavid contenders this year. They entered 2014-15 with the cheapest roster in the NHL. Their opening night line-up featured youngsters, hopefuls, support veterans and fringe players (and Mark Giordano). The new regime opted for a prudent wait-and-see approach in the summer of 2014, acquiring marginal beef to bulk up the line up and dollars to reach the cap floor.  

Instead, Calgary's season was perhaps the most incredibly unlikely success story of the modern era. 

What this means to followers of the team varies. To some, it indicates the organization has jumped the rebuild queue and re-entered the contender fray ahead of schedule. The truth, however, is that there is still a lot of work left to be done. 

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FN Mailbag - May 10, 2015

Kent Wilson
May 10 2015 07:15PM


Calgary is on the brink, so this might be the final mailbag article of the 2014-15 season. Even if the Flames ultimately fall to the Ducks in the second round, it's been one hell of a ride. 

Where does the org go from here though? Most of this week's questions are concerned with this topic. After the jump, we get into Bouma's contract extension, what the Flames should prioritize this summer and whether they can use picks to plug some holes at the draft. 

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