December 21 2016 12:00PM
The Flames are facing a bit of a conundrum in net.
Chad Johnson has cooled down after setting a torrid pace through November and the start of December. In his last three appearances, he has posted a SV% of .882, .862 and .810. Brian Elliott's last three starts, in contrast, have been .926, .923 and .926.
Johnson still owns, by far, the better results for the season of course. On the other hand, up until this season Elliott was certainly the better puck stopper, which is why the Flames acquired him in the summer to be the club's new starter.
So who should Glen Gulutzan bet on moving forward?
December 19 2016 08:00AM
It's been a week since the last mailbag and that was enough time to seriously temper much of the optimism the Flames fanbase was feeling at the time. Since then the Flames have dropped a couple of games to the Tampa Bay Lightning and Columbus Blue Jackets. Of course, losing a couple of games isn't unexpected or dire, but it's perhaps the way Calgary lost those games that might be giving people pause: they got completely run over and looked more like the befuddled squad we remember from October.
Calgary has vacillated wildly from great to terrible (more the latter than the former unfortunately) in 2016-17, but the likely truth of the team in the middle, more leaning to mediocre or worse than better.
All of the Flames' underlying numbers, from possession to expected goals, puts them above the worst in the league but just below middle of the pack. At this point we have enough data on the club to conclude that's probably what they are this year. Unless something changes drastically, the Flames are a middling team who will settle in the 8-11 range in the west.
On the positive side, that's a real improvement from last year. On the negative side, that tips the odds in favour of another season out of the playoffs without the attendant benefit of another top six pick. That was always one of the realistic outcomes of a team in the process of rebuild, though, so if the Flames finish ninth, it can still be seen as a sign of real progress.
In the mailbag today we tackle the upcoming expansion draft, developing Calgary's prospects and what to do with Iggy if he returns.
December 18 2016 12:00PM
Something weird is going on with Frankie Corrado.
The 23-year-old RH defender was picked up off of waivers by the Leafs last year. He suited up for 39 games with Toronto in 2015-16, scoring six points in a depth role.
This year, however, the former Canuck can't crack the roster. What's strange is the Leafs won't demote him to the AHL either and the situation is starting to become a bit contentious in Leaf land. Partially because it's a strange way to treat a player and partially because the coaching staff is picking to play doddering Roman Polak over him.
Like Peter Holland, who was traded for next to nothing after experiencing something similar recently, this might mean that Corrado could be had for pennies. Should the Flames be interested?
December 14 2016 08:00AM
It's been a while since the Flames were completely healthy up front. If nothing happens in the interim, the approaching return of RW Kris Versteeg is going to force Calgary's coaches to make some decisions among the forward group as a result.
Who is going to sit in the press box once the 31-year-old returns from the infirmary? And perhaps more importantly, what are the lines going to look like?
December 12 2016 08:00AM
Christmas has come early in Calgary.
After almost two months of bad play, bad bounces and bad special teams, the Flames have gone on an unholy tear to vault themselves back up the league standings. Almost everything that wasn't working to start the season is on overdrive right now - the PP, the PK, the goaltending, offense, etc.
The resurgence came in the nick of time. Another month or so of middling or worse results would have consigned the club to jockeying for position in the draft lottery for another year. Instead we can start talk to about competing for a playoff spot again. Happy holidays everyone!
In this edition of the mailbag we look at Chad Johnson's continued excellence, potential trade additions and who has been pulling the wagons during the turnaround.