April 11 2016 01:00PM
"I love it in Calgary." - Joni Ortio, who is an RFA this summer pic.twitter.com/Et1MpJiyTm— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) April 11, 2016
We're in day two of the Flames' season being over, and with that, off-season activities are well underway. While there are still a ton of things Brad Treliving needs to do - re-sign his restricted free agents, sign an actual goalie or two, prepare for the draft, get ready for the World Championships - first things first: exit interviews and garbage bag day.
Who's injured? Who's going to Worlds? Who's coming back, who's not? All that after the jump.
April 11 2016 08:00AM
So that's all she wrote. The Flames ended the 2015-16 season better than they began it, but the team's decision makers will be on the hunt for some answers this offseason nevertheless.
Despite the disappointing year, the org has some nice things to build on, from the Gaudreau and Monahan duo to the dynamic backend featuring Giordano, Brodie and Hamilton. The club's holes are still significant, but obvious - the way forward includes a legitimate starting goaltender, at least one more top-6 winger and (maybe) a new coach.
Even under ideal circumstances, the Flames may face at least one more year of desert wandering thanks to the restrictive cap situation Brad Treliving finds himself in. After next year, things open up significantly with the end of a lot of undesirable contracts (Mason Raymond, Brandon Bollig, Ladislav Smid, Deryk Engelland, Denni Wideman). So while the goal this summer will be to take another step forward, the Flames executive team may be forced to institute a holding pattern for 2017-18, when they will have legitimate budget flexibility.
April 10 2016 03:30PM
Three players made their National Hockey League debuts for the Calgary Flames last night in a 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild. Turner Elson, Patrick Sieloff and Oliver Kylington were summoned on short-notice from the American Hockey League's Stockton Heat and pressed into service without so much as a morning skate.
So how did the three greenhorns do? All-in-all, they were actually pretty darn good considering the circumstances.
April 10 2016 01:30PM
The Calgary Flames finished their 2015-16 season last night in Minnesota. Since there are no longer games left to be played, the Flames are no longer in an emergency roster situation. And since the emergency situation is over, the team officially announced earlier today they've returned five players – all up on emergency recalls – to the American Hockey League's Stockton Heat.
So farewell (for now) to defensemen Oliver Kylington and Patrick Sieloff and forwards Drew Shore, Turner Elson and Hunter Shinkaruk. They'll rejoin a Heat club that's desperately trying to stay alive in a playoff race and will be stoked about the additions.
Not heading back to the AHL are Joni Ortio and Derek Grant (both eligible but requiring waivers to go back) and Jakub Nakladal (who wasn't on the Heat's playoff roster).
April 10 2016 12:00PM
So this is how it ends.
Not with the quiet deflation met 11 months ago, an acceptance at having been bested by a superior opponent while clinging to life with the skin of teeth. Rather, with personal bests across the board and smiling, youthful faces living out their dreams and getting a shot.
The latter is much more pleasant, but much more hollow. It shows a promise of a future: a future already met by the former. We already lived it. Not for long, but we did. And in comparison, this is cheap.
Two steps forward, one step back. This season was the step backwards. It was coming, it was expected, but that doesn't make it any easier to swallow.