FN Mailbag - January 2, 2017

Kent Wilson
January 02 2017 08:00AM

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That's it for 2016. It was a year marked by both modest frustrations and modest growth for the Calgary Flames. They came back down to earth after their Cinderella 2014-15 season, settling back into draft lottery territory before ultimately picking Matthew Tkachuk at sixth overall. 

Luckily Tkachuk has been a revelation so far in his rookie season, settling in on the left side with Mikael Backlund and Michael Frolik to help form one of the best two-way forward units in the entire NHL. Usually kids - especially teens - struggle to play a complete game at the NHL level, but Tkachuk has leapt fully formed into the show. 

On the other hand, the Flames haven't yet seen the growth they likely expected from other notable youngsters like Sean Monahan or Sam Bennett. Those guys essentially running in place has made Glen Gulutzan's life much more complicated, leaving him trying to find a way to shelter everyone who isn't playing with Backlund in the top nine rotation. 

So what will 2017 bring? Can one of the other kids take another step? Can the club get back into the playoffs? Who is going to be sacrificed in the expansion draft? Lots of interesting questions will potentially be answered this year. 

For the first edition of the FN mailbag for 2017, we take a look at Sam Bennett, Matthew Takchuk and the Flames' defensive prospects. 

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Flames at the World Juniors: Round robin wrap-up

Ari Yanover
January 01 2017 02:00PM

The 2017 World Juniors round robin is done, and all five of the Flames prospects playing have made it to the quarterfinals. Each played in all four of their teams' round robin games, with the exception of Tyler Parsons, who started two games for Team USA while Joseph Woll took the other two.

Four games is a tiny sample size. Then again this entire tournament is a tiny sample size, but it's a hell of a lot of fun regardless. So let's take this moment to sum up just how Dillon Dube, Adam Fox, Parsons, Oliver Kylington, and Pavel Karnaukhov have been used - and how well they've done in their roles, too.

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The 2016 Flames organizational review

Mike FAIL
January 01 2017 12:00PM

It's that time again. Another year has gone by, another ring has been added to the trees, and we're all a little wiser. The year 2016 in itself was a tale of two Calgary Flames teams: a team exiting one era under a now-former coach and a team entering the next phase of their rebuild. The entirety of 2016 itself for Brad Treliving had a number of highs, wins both small and large, and some lows.

It's a year where we can attempt to benchmark Treliving, management, and ownership for things he has done that hopefully pay off in the future rather than become negatives in the short and long runs.

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Flames 4, Coyotes 2 post-game embers: Still learning, still growing

Ari Yanover
January 01 2017 08:00AM

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Candice Ward/USA TODAY Sports

It took a little over 15 minutes for the Calgary Flames to break out a four-goal lead.

This is a story we've seen before. It's not a common one - the Flames' still-negative goal differential (-6 heading into the new year) would point to the fact that this is not a team that experiences many blowouts in their favour - but the Flames have started to really punch down other teams as of late.

That's four or five in the month of December. Well, almost; the Flames still have this pesky habit of not quite knowing what to do when they've got a big lead like that - though that third period was much better.

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Post-Game: Flames beat bad team to close out 2016

Ryan Pike
December 31 2016 11:17PM

The Calgary Flames are in a very favourable section of their schedule. After facing a lot of good clubs on lengthy road trips, the Flames are spending a lot of time at home and playing games against teams below them in the standings. But, as the saying goes, you still have to win those games.

The Flames weren't amazing tonight, but they polished off the 2016 section of their schedule with a 4-2 victory over the lowly Arizona Coyotes. They were good in the first period and then good enough for the remaining 40 minutes.

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