April 27 2016 12:30PM
If there was one controversial moment from the 2015 offseason, it was Lance Bouma's re-signing. The Flames forwent the arbitrator's settlement, giving Bouma $2.2M (far from their initial $1.5M offer) and an extra year on his contract.
Some thought it was a steal. Bouma had just finished his second full NHL season, and had been a key player throughout. In addition to his take-no-prisoners, fearless style of play, he found his scoring touch, scoring 16 goals and adding 18 assists for a decent 34 points. Bouma was an example of a core depth player that could solidify the Flames' roster
Others thought it was a huge mistake. The advanced stats suggested that his scoring was mainly influenced by those he played with, and that he was due to drop back under 20 points soon. At the rate and term of his new contract, and the predicted bad performances, he would soon become hard-to-move deadweight.
Did 2015-16's performance prove who was right? Let's find out after the jump
April 27 2016 10:26AM
One of the questions we often ask when evaluating players is, "does he make those around him better?". It's one of the most sought after qualities in the sport, but also one of the hardest to quantify. My assertion over the last number of years has been that Calgary's Mikael Backlund does just that, never more so than the last two seasons specifically.
Well, now I've got some proof that drives it home: Backlund truly does elevate those around him.
April 27 2016 08:00AM
I had made some basic predictions at the beginning of the season, and this follows up on those initial estimates, so let’s begin.
The Flames’ season began under some peculiar circumstances. The team was coming off a Cinderella season where they not only made the playoffs but won their opening round against the rival Canucks. Yet management was quick to suggest that this was not going to be an explicit expectation again this season but that they would instead continue their rebuilding efforts apace the initial timetable. Otherwise, they would let the chips fall where they may.
Fans however, given last season’s phenomenal output and the anticipated addition of players like Michael Frolik, Dougie Hamilton and Sam Bennett, may have been excused for being a little more bullish on their team’s prospects.
April 26 2016 12:00PM
There's good reason Mark Giordano's name has been in the Norris conversation the past few seasons. Not so much in 2015-16 - a slow start effectively removed him from the discussion this past season - but it's hard to deny he's still one of the top defencemen in the NHL.
The only real downside to Giordano is that he's older than the rest of the Flames' core. He's the only player of note over 30 years old, and with his cap hit going up to $6.75 million for the next six seasons, the hope is that he can continue defying the natural decline that often comes with age.
This past season did provide some fuel for that hope, though.
April 26 2016 10:00AM
This time around I will be looking at a number of currently signed or upcoming restricted free agent goaltenders. These players range from intriguing low cost options, to older goaltenders being forced out of the starting position by their backups, to young up and comers that may be available for the right price, to absolute long shots. I'll leave it up to you to decide which is which.
My intention here is to look solely at the numbers of players that Flames GM Brad Treliving may currently be targeting to shore up arguably their greatest weakness heading into next season.