January 04 2016 10:00AM
Happy new year and welcome to the first FN Mailbag of 2016!
After a brief two-game slide, the Flames beat up the Avs in Colorado recently to get themselves right back into the playoff conversation. However you want to characterize the first three months of the season, most Flames fans would have accepted a fair chance at the dance come January if given the option in September I think.
The recent losses to the Ducks and Kings show that the Flames still have some ground to gain if they're to become contenders. In this mailbag, we look at some of the things the org can do to continue to improve the roster including potential trade targets, trade assets and what's to be done about Joe Colborne.
December 30 2015 01:00PM
In his final year of college hockey, Johnny Gaudreau led his team in scoring by 15 points over just 40 games. The second and third best scorers for Boston College were his regular line mates Kevin Hayes (65) and Bill Arnold (53). The best point total managed by a "non-Gaudreau" player was Patrick Brown (30).
This situation is playing itself out again in the NHL with the Flames. Gaudreau currently has a team-best 39 points. Second and third on the team are Sean Monahan (25) and Jiri Hudler (20). At this pace, Gaudreau could lead the Flames by 30+ points by the end of the year.
Gaudreau's offensive potency is relevant in a discussion of Sean Monahan because the two players have been connected at the hip since about December of 2014. Like Gaudreau, Monahan is set to become a restricted free agent this summer and as Pat Steinberg recently reminded us, he's going to get paid.
It is therefore vital for the Flames to evaluate Sean Monahan's individual contributions, which means: how good is Monahan without Gaudreau?
December 28 2015 05:00PM
Happy holidays FN readers! Thanks for making 2015 one of the best ever for the blog, not to mention consistently providing the weekly mailbag feature with ample fodder for discussion.
For the final edition of the FN Mailbag of 2015, we look at Flames roster decisions, Gaudreau's ceiling and whether the club should keep Mikael Backlund or not.
December 26 2015 04:00PM
(This article was originally published on August 14, 2008 on my now defunct personal blog. It stands as perhaps my most seminal piece so I wanted to re-share it here. To some degree, it explains the goaltender market and why teams have generally moved away from drafting puck stoppers in the first round. I have edited it slightly to remove overly dated references.)
During my look at Sutter's draft history as the Flames GM, I commented that I was surprised the club drafted two goalies in a single year (Keetley and Lalande in '05). That and the preponderance of goaltending prospects the organization (the two above plus McElhinney, Irving and James Spratt) has got me wondering about goalies recently, in particular the draft/develop part.
I've come to the shaky but ever strengthening conclusion that drafting goaltenders is just about a complete waste of time.
Bear with me.
December 23 2015 02:00PM
Last night Sportsnet noted that Johnny Gaudreau is the 5th fastest Flames to manage 100 points in franchise history behind Joe Nieuwendyk, Sergei Makarov, Carey Wilson and Eddy Beers.
The thing that is immediately apparent when we look at that list is all those other guys played in the '80s, when goals were much easier to come by than they are today. And because we're stretching across multiple eras, we're comparing apples to oranges when it comes to putting Gaudreau on that list. So I wondered how Gaudreau would look if we corrected for era-scoring.
Spoiler: he's #1.