How did the Flames fare in Thursday's World Cup prelims?

Ryan Pike
September 08 2016 08:59PM

(Jean-Yves Ahern / USA Today Sports)

For the first time since June 12, there was somewhat meaningful hockey to watch today. Of course, World Cup of Hockey pre-tournament games are a far cry from the Stanley Cup Finals, but you gotta take what you can get. For the first time since mid-April, Calgary Flames players played high-level organized hockey.

How did they do in the first day of exhibition World Cup of Hockey play?

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What is a successful season for the Flames?

Ari Yanover
September 08 2016 11:00AM

In the strictest of definitions, there's only one way to have success in a professional sports league: win.

Not just a game. Not just a series. If you don't win the ultimate prize at the end, you didn't win. Period.

In the NHL, that means there's only one winner, and 29 losers. That's a really high bar, and an unfair one for even contenders, let alone those still working to get to that status. The Flames are among that latter group - but even then, we don't know quite where they fall.

With a lot of (bad) contracts soon to come off the books, this is a year of transition. What would make it a successful one for you?

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Waiting for Gaudreau: The biggest contracts in Calgary Flames history

Ryan Pike
September 08 2016 08:00AM

We're now into World Cup of Hockey season, meaning we may be waiting for a while for news relating to Johnny Gaudreau's contract extension. With this lull, it's probably a good time to take a look at some of the richest deals in club history – particularly given Sean Monahan's recent long-term, big-money extension.

Here's a brief snapshot of the most expensive deals in Flames history. Where do you think Gaudreau's deal, whenever it occurs, will fall within these lists?

Active contracts are bolded.

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5 X-factors for the Flames this season

Ari Yanover
September 07 2016 02:00PM

The 2016-17 season looks to be one of transition for the Calgary Flames. No, they aren't ready to contend - not yet. At the same time, they need to move up from the bottom of the barrel. High draft picks are only fun in June; for the other 11 months of the year, they're a miserable reminder of just how much your team of choice has failed.

The goal this year should be to be on the playoff bubble. Preferably inside the playoffs - and it's possible - but at least being just on the outside looking in would be a sign of improvement. It wouldn't carry the baggage of hopelessness like it did at the start of the decade, either; not now that this team actually has a collection of good young players and prospects.

It's a big ask, though. This is a team that finished in the bottom five in the standings the season before. We're asking them to ideally jump up 10 slots or so.

Here are five players who could be key in that happening.

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Treliving has staggered the important expiring deals

Ryan Pike
September 07 2016 11:00AM

As the hockey world – at least the part of it that focuses on the Calgary Flames – waits for Brad Treliving to finally get Johnny Gaudreau to sign a contract, it might be interesting to look ahead a bit.

We may criticize some of the moves Treliving's made, and the deals he's inherited are hamstringing the team in terms of the salary cap. But when you look into the future, this season may be the one remaining pinch point before they have a lot of flexibility.

All of the team's big deals are space out quite nicely.

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