April 21 2016 10:12AM
It is mid-April and after a difficult and disappointing season marred by injuries throughout the lineup, the Edmonton Oilers are looking at a top end draft pick and facing some significant roster changes under their new General Manager.
Is it 2010 or 2016?
April 21 2016 08:00AM
Back in August, the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation unveiled their concept for a new arena (for the Calgary Flames, Hitmen and Roughnecks) and combined stadium/fieldhouse (for the Stampeders). The idea was to replace the aging Scotiabank Saddledome and McMahon Stadium with newer facilities, and do to so in a centralized manner in the underutilized West Village area west of downtown.
In early November, City Council set some terms of reference for evaluating the CalgaryNEXT proposal and the city manager's office got to work on Phase 1 of their evaluation – effectively crunching the basic numbers and seeing how everything shook out. The report was made available today on the City's website.
In short? (Emphasis added.)
Administration has come to the conclusion that CalgaryNEXT is not feasible in its present form or location. It is recommended that CSEC be given an opportunity to respond to this report and that The City and CSEC work together to investigate potential locations on or near Stampede Park for an innovative new arena/event centre that benefits Calgarians. It is also recommended that Council reconfirm the Foothills Athletic Park as the preferred location for The City of Calgary fieldhouse project, and that work continue with respect to addressing the contamination issues in West Village.
So what doesn't the City like about the proposal? We dug into the report to find out.
April 20 2016 02:00PM
[ed. You may recognize Christian Tiberi, or "ctibs", from M&G - please welcome him to FlamesNation!]
In the 11 years since the dreadful 2004-05 lockout, NHL hockey has changed dramatically. Thanks to cap-consciousness, the rise of analytics, declining scoring, or what have you, "checking" and "energy" lines have nearly disappeared from the game. There are no longer two tiers of players on forward corps; every forward must be able to drive play and score. If teams want to stay behind the times and check, let them. They're only allowing you offensive zone time.
The ability to roll four effective lines night-in, night-out is an absolute game changer. Teams shouldn't just own the game when their top six is on and sit back when they're off, they should try to own it at all times. A good bottom six won't save an overall bad team, but they'll boost a good team immensely.
To an extent, this sounds like the 2014-15 Flames. With regards to the bottom six, a few players stepped up and helped carry a formidable top six into a surprise playoff appearance.
So how did that carry over into 2015-16? Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...
April 20 2016 11:00AM
Generating points from the blueline is an important component of a successful team. These days in the NHL, the more players you have in on the offence, the better - and that includes defence. And as commenter "smith" pointed out:
What I find interesting is the bottom 10 teams [in defensive scoring] looks like it contains 8 or 9 of the worst teams in the NHL.
This comes from our look at just how impressive the Flames' top defenders are when it comes to scoring points: they're at the very top of the league.
Also important for defencemen? Actual defending. The Flames allowed the second-most goals against in the NHL at 5v5. Teams scored against them 168 times at even strength over the season; the only team worse than the Flames was the Edmonton Oilers (surprise!) who had 170 goals go against them at 5v5.
And as Brad Treliving was certain to emphasize in his post-season presser: that's not just a goaltending stat, that's a team stat. For as much as the Flames' blueline has been great at putting points on the board, there was something fundamentally wrong with the team as a whole when it came to actually preventing goals.
So let's take a look at how individual defencemen performed there.
April 20 2016 08:00AM
[ed. MattyFranchise is back with another great guest post! Today, we're looking at soon-to-be UFA goaltenders, which I'm sure is something we're all very much interested in. Read the breakdown below!]
With the Flames season coming to an end and a complete lack of signed goaltenders for the 2016-17 season I've decided to take a look at possible options for an upgrade in net from the unrestricted free agent market. There aren't many options, though, so the player list I've put together is pretty small and while some are excellent backups, only one established starter is available on the UFA market.
All players listed are aged 25 to 32 so most of these goaltenders should be entering or are in the prime of their careers. For comparison's sake I've included the Flames' best two goaltenders and the most likely to return for next season: Karri Ramo and Joni Ortio.