June 15 2015 11:19AM
photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
The National Hockey League's annual entry draft is a hugely important event in the history of each of the league's member clubs. In essence, the draft is a once-a-year "Get Out Of Jail Free" card: every team gets a free asset, with the NHL's drafting system set up to theoretically help the league's worst teams catch up to the pack.
Of course, poor drafting and asset management often conspire against the draft's designs, and keep mediocre teams spiraling down the standings. A good (or lucky) general manager can find players that play for their club for a while, or at least can get some value out of that player and then trade them to another club to perpetuate the draft pick's value into the future. A bad one? Well, they grab terrible players, or they trade away the picks for next-to-nothing and fail to maximize the asset's value.
In the first of several trips down memory land between now and the 2015 edition of the NHL Draft, we take a look at the drafting and transactional history of the old Atlanta Flames. Who did Cliff Fletcher select? And once he added these free assets, how did "Trader Cliff" manage them?
June 14 2015 01:00PM
It would seem the Flames are not satisfied with where they currently are. That's good: ultimately, the goal is to win the Stanley Cup, and the Flames, in their present incarnation, aren't even close.
The Chicago Blackhawks are one win away from their third Stanley Cup in six years. Do you think the Flames can contend with them? No, they can't. They played surprisingly tight games over the regular season, but this is a team that's next level.
From the Flames' perspective, they're probably still a few levels away yet. They're the team they should be aspiring towards, though, and at present time, it certainly looks like they're trending that way.
Will being aggressive now, as we enter the third year of the rebuild, help?
June 14 2015 11:00AM
Photo Credit: Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports
The Calgary Flames had their most successful season in years in 2014-15. They made the playoffs for the first time since 2009 and won a playoff round for the first time since 2004. And all this in just the second year of the club's long-awaited rebuild.
Their reward for such a successful campaign? They get the best draft selection of any of the playoff teams, by virtue of being the club with the lowest point total to qualify for the post-season. On June 26, Flames general manager Brad Treliving will step up to the podium to select at 15th overall.
Here are the five most likely candidates to be selected by the Flames with their first round pick.
June 13 2015 01:30PM
Well that was one heck of a season. Goals, come-from-behind wins, Hiller standing on his head, a rookie-filled team shooting the lights out, Norris-calibre season from O Captain, My Captain!
Too bad it'll never happen again for as long as the Sun shines down on the this fair Earth.
Or will it?
The Flames went from the bottom to the, um, middle like a rocket this season. Other fans might use metaphors to illustrate a sense of alacrity based on geese and their fecal excretory systems, but we'll stick with the rocket comparison today.
June 13 2015 10:12AM
Photo Credit: Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports
The Calgary Flames began a youth movement this past year, with the team's offense in the post-season being driven largely by 18-year-old Sam Bennett, 20-year-old Sean Monahan and 21-year-old Johnny Gaudreau. In addition to those talented youngsters, the Flames also saw a bunch of youngsters from their American Hockey League club in Adirondack. Some of them turned out really well. Some seemed to need more seasoning.
Here's five youngsters from the AHL ranks that are closest to making the jump to full-time NHL employment.