Handicapping the Western playoff race

Ryan Pike
February 11 2017 03:45PM

Despite playing bad hockey throughout October, the Calgary Flames are in the midst of a playoff race with roughly a third of the season to go. The bad news is they're up against three other teams for just three playoff spots.

The Flames, St. Louis Blues, Nashville Predators and Los Angeles Kings are vying for three playoff spots in the Western Conference. They all have roughly the same number of games left. How do their games remaining compare to each other? Who has the easiest schedule? The toughest?

Let's dive in!

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A lot of arena-related news is on the horizon

Ryan Pike
February 11 2017 10:00AM

If you're looking for new information about the possibility of a new building for the Calgary Flames, you've probably noticed there hasn't been much openly discussed in the past few months. While there's a flurry of activity going on behind the scenes in various agencies and with various entities, nothing has been trumpeted about it publicly.

Well, we're starting to see the very tip of the iceberg in terms of arena-related announcements and activities. This week, the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation formally announced what had been informally mentioned in the past: they're working on a master plan for Victoria Park. The unveiling of that master plan is one in a series of dominoes that will begin to topple during this spring and summer.

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The 2017 Playoff Chase: getting bye

Ryan Pike
February 10 2017 02:00PM

Welcome to the fifth week of our Western Conference playoff race coverage. The Calgary Flames are on a break. Unlike Ross and Rachel on Friends, this is a regularly scheduled break in the hefty NHL schedule that every team gets and isn't something for us to debate. As a result of the Flames' bye, expect the standings to change quite a bit over the next seven days,

Let's check out the race as we begin the weekend!

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Looking at the upcoming Sam Bennett extension

christian tiberi
February 10 2017 11:00AM

The big drama of the previous offseason was how the Calgary Flames would re-sign Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau. The entire saga was dragged out over the summer, and involved a lot of nervousness, ridiculous trade rumours, a Kanye West tweet, and a surprisingly cheap deal right at the eve of the season.

This year is Sam Bennett's year, and it should go smoother. With a projected $22.5M available this upcoming offseason, there's plenty of space to get a deal done. He also doesn't have two 60-point seasons under his belt, so he should come in significantly cheaper. At best, he could come 75% off.

The Flames have a few options when it comes to Bennett, but they also have a few things that should concern them. Let's take a look.

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Could the Flames use the expansion draft to target a forward?

Ari Yanover
February 10 2017 08:00AM

The expansion draft is what it is: a means to bring a 31st team into the NHL, and in the meantime, a means to hold up the other 30 NHL teams from actually doing much.

We know the Flames need another top four defenceman; however, the draft complicates things by making it far from a sure thing that they'd even be able to keep him beyond this season. This is a team on the playoff bubble, not one that can afford to spend assets on rentals; upgrading the defence now is going to be tricky.

Upgrading the forward group, though? Not so much. And the Flames may be able to take advantage of some other teams left in a bind due to protection restrictions.

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