Pacific Division preview: Can the Flames be in the top three?

Ari Yanover
July 22 2016 02:00PM

All the Flames need to do to return to the playoffs is be one of the top three teams in the Pacific Division. Just beat out any four of the Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks, or Vancouver Canucks, and they're in.

It certainly worked in 2014-15: only the Canucks and Ducks had better records.

Well, it hasn't been just a busy off-season for the Flames; a lot of Pacific teams have seen turnovers as we transition between seasons. Let's take a look at what's gone on for the Flames' main opponents.

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Can Troy Brouwer play his game for four seasons?

Ryan Pike
July 22 2016 11:00AM

I'll be honest: when the Calgary Flames announced that they had signed Troy Brouwer to a four-year contract I didn't really see a lot of the downsides. In fact, my first reaction was, "Well, that makes sense."

You see, the Flames likely feel this signing solves two big problems: they were super-thin on their right side, and they were easy to play against. When I use the term "easy to play against," I refer you to the many games where Johnny Gaudreau was slashed on the wrists or hands (and the games he missed late in the season due to those slashes). Teams felt they could get away with it and let's be honest, they largely did; the Flames didn't have enough scoring depth to make them think twice (and their power-play was bad enough that they probably weren't worried abut taking slashing minors).

But let's not mince words: four years is a long time, and $4.5 million per season is pretty pricey. Once the Gaudreau and Sean Monahan extensions get done, he'll likely be the third-richest forward contract on the team – even if you factor in Sam Bennett's eventual extension. What has to happen to make that contract worthwhile?

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A history of Flames numbers: #10, Linden Vey

Ari Yanover
July 22 2016 08:00AM

Aaaand we're rolling back a bit.

This time a week ago, when #10 would have been discussed, nobody had that number. We did talk a little bit about it when Lance Bouma was up, because #10 probably should have been his - but it was gifted to Corban Knight, who didn't stick around long at all.

Since then, the number hasn't been touched. Until now - because it's Linden Vey's.

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The Roundup

Nation World HQ
July 22 2016 05:00AM

ROUND-UP

Leafs stop making Matthews wait, Toronto offer could have given Stamkos highest cap hit, Canucks reportedly have interest in Evander Kane, can ice time make the Brouwer contract worth it, all Chiarelli and Puljujarvi in Edmonton, analytics not as clear cut as people may think, the best and worst NHL jerseys, Tyson Barrie watch, Brad Richards retires and more in this week's Nation Roundup brought to you by Violent Gentlemen.

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Common Misconceptions: "Too small to play in the NHL"

Byron Bader
July 21 2016 02:00PM

Every year we hear some derivative of "skilled, but is he too small to play professionally?" or "has the tools, but can he make it work in the NHL at his size?" 

These types of statements portray that short players almost never make the NHL and the ones that do must be very special. However, what's actually happening tells a different story from this common misconception.

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