March 28 2016 10:51AM
Ask and you shall receive. Yesterday Pat Steinberg wrote that he'd like to see Derek Grant, Brett Kulak and Hunter Shinkaruk get a chance to play some games before the Flames season end. Well, all of those guys, (plus Emile Poirier) were called up by Calgary from Stockton today.
March 28 2016 08:00AM
Welcome to the (almost) all goaltending edition of the FlamesNation mailbag! In the wake of the latest below average goaltending performance (Backstrom vs. Minnesota at the time of writing), the Flames' crease seems to be the top priority in the minds of fans heading into the offseason.
For good reason. Calgary has suffered through the worst goaltending in the entire league this year (.912 SV% at ES). Although the club still has a lot of wrinkles to iron out, puckstopping is definitely the number one culprit behind the Flames' lack of success in 2015-16.
Problems in goal can be a kind of blessing or a major curse. A blessing, because goaltending is the only position that can be instantly fixed with a single acquisition: one, good goalie. Everywhere else a GM needs to build a depth and variety of players, but not in net. A single guy can make a major difference.
A curse because that single guy can also sink an entire roster. This is doubly problematic because decision makers in the NHL stink at evaluating goaltender talent relative to forwards and defenders. Put these two things together and you have conditions for some very bad decision making. Think "Ilya Bryzgalov in Philadelphia".
Brad Treliving faces this conundrum in the offseason. His roster is maturing to the degree that he has to start writing big cheques and making tough decisions. That means the Flames are starting to enter "win now" territory, but without any clear answers in net. A misstep could be another few years in the Western Conference basement, while a good bet could mean a huge stride forward next season.
March 26 2016 10:22AM
The imminent return of Deryk Engelland to the lineup caused the Flames to send Tyler Wotherspoon down to the Stockton Heat today. In 11 games this season the 23-year old has acquitted himself reasonably well, albeit in a limited, support type role. He only has a single assist in those games, but his underlying numbers are relatively good from a possession and scoring chance perspective.
Still with the team on an emergency basis is Freddie Hamilton. It will be interesting to see how long the team can keep him around. Or, alternatively, if they will give anyone else a look before the season ends.
March 23 2016 08:00AM
It's been a while since the Flames released anything new on CalgaryNEXT. After the initial concept and website reveal, Ken King has been engaged in a media and PR junket to try to sell the project.
It hasn't gone well.
Gary Bettman's ill-advised attempt to give the project a shot on the arm backfired on the club. With the commissioner's visit increasing, rather then assuaging, scepticism, it's fair to say the organization has lost the initial battle to capture hearts and minds. Even the ardent fans at Calgarypuck give CalgaryNEXT an overwhelming thumbs down.
Ken King's PR update video above is the Flames' latest salvo in the PR war. It's therefore worth examining the claims and statements he makes in detail.
March 21 2016 02:00PM
As the season winds down, Flames fans continue prepare ourselves for the challenges of next year.
Draft simulators, RFA cap hits and expansion drafts dominate the discussion in the latest mailbag. Oh and let's talk a bit about Jon Gillies and Joe Coborne...