February 09 2017 02:00PM
The Calgary Flames used to be pretty bad at drafting and developing hockey players.
During the tenure of former general manager Darryl Sutter, the Flames frequently traded away high draft picks and often drafted players due to their physical attributes rather than, y'know, their potential to be effective hockey players at a higher level. If you were physically large and possibly Western Canadian, you were selected. It worked for Dion Phaneuf, but it didn't really work out otherwise.
Thankfully, Sutter's successors made some changes that have seemed to result in more success in Flames draftees (a) becoming professional hockey players and (b) playing in the National Hockey League. Let's take a look at the changes that were made by each GM.
February 09 2017 12:00PM
Yesterday, Kent opened up the forum to the possibility of the Flames trading their 2017 first round pick at trade deadline. If the return is good and the gain long-term, it's something to consider.
In the more likely event that nothing happens, let's consider the options the Flames have by using the pick the way it is intended to be used. With the CHL top prospects game having happened recently and with scouting services releasing their halfway lists, it's about time to get briefly acquainted with the likely 2017 first rounders.
February 09 2017 08:00AM
The Calgary Flames are aware they have a problem on defence.
Considering how Dennis Wideman is regularly playing over 20 minutes a game, you'd hope that would be the case. And, at least according to a drive-by mention on Sportsnet, they absolutely are looking to upgrade their top four.
The Flames only have three defencemen - Mark Giordano, T.J. Brodie, and Dougie Hamilton - signed beyond this season, so they're going to have to do something at the position no matter what. Complicating things, however, is the expansion draft; there's a pretty decent chance the Flames won't even be able to protect their new asset, lest they want to risk giving up, say, Michael Frolik.
Which is probably not going to happen.
That said, the Flames have both a short- and long-term need for a defensive upgrade. They're a playoff bubble team; they're not good enough to give up assets for a rental at this point in time. Whoever they target should be able to play for years down the line, and we should hope he's on the team next season, too.
February 08 2017 02:00PM
(Neville E. Guard / USA Today Sports)
Last year, the National Hockey League revamped the All-Star Game by making it a three-on-three tournament featuring teams from all four divisions. As a way to get the NHLPA to sign off on that format change, the players were granted a five-day bye week inserted into every team's schedule for this season.
For teams in each conference, it's made standings watching effectively useless because the difference in games played between teams in the playoff races can often be massive. The byes are all going to be complete by the trade deadline. But when will the games played gap even out?
In short, it'll take awhile.
February 08 2017 10:30AM
We're three weeks away form the 2017 trade deadline and the Flames are in a dogfight for the final playoff spot. The difference between making the dance and not is likely going to come down to a couple of points between Calgary, Los Angeles and St. Louis.
Brad Treliving has gone on record as not being interested in a pure rental situation. That means if the Flames add anything by March 1, it will probably be something long term and significant.
That also means the acquisition cost will be higher. With a lot on the line and their eyes on a bigger prize, is it possible the Flames could move their 2017 first rounder at the deadline?