The Flames prepare for their stretch drive

Ryan Pike
February 13 2017 10:00AM

After four full days away from the rink, the Calgary Flames gathered at the Stampede Corral for their first practice in almost a week. The top thing on everyone's minds when chatting with the media was the impending beginning of the homestretch for their club: 26 games over 55 days which will determine whether the Flames will be playoff competitors or spectators.

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FN Mailbag: February 13, 2017

Kent Wilson
February 13 2017 08:00AM

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Mailbag

We're nearing the final quarter of the season and the Flames are still playing meaningful hockey. That might seem like a marginal accomplishment, but it's worth celebrating given the club's start to the season. 

Whether they keep playing meaningful games in April will depend very heavily on how they perform through the rest of February and what Brad Treliving accomplishes at the trade deadline. For Calgary to have a legitimate shot at the playoffs, they will have to fend off at least one of the St. Louis Blues, Los Angeles Kings or Nashville Predators down the stretch. To have a better chance at that, they'll need to firm up one of their real areas of need. 

Complicating this whole dance, of course, is the upcoming expansion draft. Not only will it influence the Flames' choices when it comes to trades, but it will skew the marketplace around the deadline as well.

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The Nation Notebook: Setoguchi's comeback ends, Burns' historic season, and notes on the seller's market

Christian Pagnani
February 13 2017 07:00AM

NNNotebook

The Nation Network Notebook is a regular feature that rounds up interesting news, stories, and rumours from around the NHL that don't quite deserve their own article. 

The L.A. Kings have put to bed Devin Setoguchi's comeback, as he joins all of the major signings the team made last summer on the waiver wire. Brent Burns is on pace for the best season we've seen from a defenceman in a long time (don't tell Erik Karlsson). And a seller's market has massively upped the asking price for good-but-not-great players, making this deadline likely to be a slow one. 

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Stepan Up: Falkovsky's first pro season

Taylor McKee
February 12 2017 12:00PM

FalkovskyMAN

courtesy Andy Camp / Adirondack Thunder

The seventh round of the NHL draft is a fascinating place. The players that are drafted in these slots largely fall into the category of home-run swings: that is, drafting a player with limited information in the hopes that your team strikes gold. I believe Stepan Falkovsky fits neatly into the category of 'home-run swing' and there is reason for cautious optimism halfway through his first season as a professional. 

We have to start in the most obvious place: Falkovsky is tall. No, wait, Joe Colborne is tall; Falkovsky is staggeringly tall. The guy is kid-hitting-puberty-early-playing-grade-8-basketball tall. On the ice, it's almost unnatural looking. However, he is having a pretty good rookie season in the ECHL and is starting to garner a fair amount of attention for a player drafted where he was. 

Let's learn about him after the jump.

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How does Tkachuk's rookie season compare to Monahan, Gaudreau, and Bennett's?

Ari Yanover
February 12 2017 08:00AM

For the past four seasons, including this one, the Calgary Flames have had the chance to feature a prominent rookie in their lineup. Taken at sixth overall in 2013, Sean Monahan was the first draft pick of the rebuild, and he made the NHL right away. Johnny Gaudreau, having taken every challenge the NCAA could have possibly thrown at him, played his rookie year the season after. Sam Bennett followed up with his the next season.

This season, Matthew Tkachuk has been that rookie. Just like with the previous three, there were questions as to whether he'd be able to make the team full-time at all. Now, over 50 games through the season, we're seeing him be one of the Flames' most impactful players.

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