What They’re Saying About The Calgary Flames



Earlier this week, we looked at what some of the major off-season publications had to say about the Maple Leafs and the Canucks; now it’s time to do the same with the Calgary Flames.

Hockey Prospectus 2011-12

Projected Finish: 8th, Western Conference

The Report: The biggest of the hockey annuals clocks in at just under 500 pages, and spends anywhere from 11 – 14 on each team. Kent Wilson’s (yes, that Kent Wilson) 15-page write-up is one of the longest in the book and a stunningly comprehensive account of both the strengths and weaknesses of Jay Feaster’s roster. More statistics-based than any of the other publications listed here, Prospectus is the only publication to use a stats-based team projection guide. Tom Awad’s VUKOTA system has been in place for two seasons now, and during that time has proven remarkably accurate – giving better projections than pretty much any of the other hockey annuals. It does stand out as one of the more optimistic projections for the team this coming season. Full disclosure: I worked on the Prospectus magazine, though not on the Flames’ segment.

Price: $9.90, Available online.

Sporting News Hockey

Projected Finish: 8th, Western Conference

The Report: The Sporting News’ hockey annual is fairly strong overall, comparing well to other publications. While the Flames’ portion acknowledges some of the challenges, it is an unabashedly cheery look at general manager Jay Feaster and gives him credit for much of the team’s mid-season improvement. According to the magazine, the change from Sutter to Feaster “so positively transformed the environment, dissipated the paralyzing pall created by the hyper-intense and joyless Sutter… that the Flames were reborn in midseason.” If that seems a logical connection to make, this is absolutely the magazine to purchase.

Price: $9.99 at newsstands.

The Sports Forecaster

Projected Finish: 9th, Western Conference

The Report: Another magazine that is technically more for fantasy hockey enthusiasts, Sports Forecaster has a three paragraph write-up for each team and then blurbs and projections for a wide range of players. The write-up for the Flames is possibly the worst for any hockey team in any magazine, pitching an identity transition without evidence, and then asininely suggesting that Lance Bouma (20 points in 61 AHL games last season) was a serious threat to Niklas Hagman (and then noting that Hagman wouldn’t be an asset with anything less than 20 goals) – they’re obviously fighting for different jobs, and if Hagman scores 19 I doubt anyone will be complaining.

Price: $9.99, Available online.

McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook

Projected Finish: 10th, Western Conference

The Report: Properly a pool yearbook rather than a general guide, McKeen’s spends half a page giving a brief overview of each team and then focuses on high-end scouting reports for the team’s most significant offensive players, top goaltender, and best prospects. The 2010-11 recap does a good job of covering the high and low points of the season, while the prognosis for the future does a depressingly good job of explaining why the road ahead will be a difficult one for Jay Feaster to navigate. Full disclosure: I received a copy of this publication for review purposes.

Price: $7.99 at newsstands, $14.99 online.

The Hockey News Yearbook

Projected Finish: 10th, Western Conference

The Report: The subtitle for Randy Sportak’s Flames capsule lacks subtlety, making the prognosis painfully clear: “One bad break or under-performer will snuff all hopes.” Pessimism reigns for the most part, although Sportak is a little more generous with Miikka Kiprusoff than last season’s performance really warrants. The loss of Regehr and the inability of Jay Bouwmeester to generate offense are quite rightly regarded as significant weaknesses.

Price: $9.99, Available online.

Poolers’ Guide Hockey

Projected Finish: 12th, Western Conference

The Report: Poolers’ Guide has a unique – and busy – design that at times makes comprehension more than a little challenging. Although Poolers’ Guide is a poolers’ guide (a real shock, no doubt) the magazine does devote significant space to both a recap of 2010-11 and a projection for 2011-12. I’ve found the recaps in this magazine to be quite thorough despite their relatively short legnth, and the Flames write-up isn’t an exception, hitting most of the main points though not going into a lot of detail in any one area. The outlook is pessimistic, and forecasts no forward movement for the team.

Price: $9.99, Available online.

Nation Network Fantasy Hockey Primer

Projected Finish: N/A

The Report: As Flames Nation currently offers this magazine for sale, we will avoid editorial comment here and simply note what the magazine provides. No team write-up is included – just player projections along with some general articles. However, the fantasy projections are broad – 500-odd player write-ups, along with statistical data. Shockingly, Jarome Iginla projected as the team’s scoring leader with 77 points.

Price: $5.00, Available online.

The Hockey News Ultimate Fantasy Pool Guide

Projected Finish: N/A

The Report: THN’s other fall annual focuses specifically on hockey pools rather than broader league coverage. As a result, its team page offers just the basics: player point projections, top-10 prospects, and a single general overview of the team along with a depth chart and some statistical data. Aside from the team essay, the annual does offer a wealth of statistical data on the individual player pages, along with a brief blurb for 325-odd players (the magazine offers 500+ projections, but in-depth analysis only of the most important players). Draft guru Murray Townsend’s projections are typically more conservative than most publications – and consequently more realistic. He has Jarome Iginla leading the team in scoring with 80 points.

Price: $7.99, Available online.

  • Emir

    difference between 8th and 12th, huge since one makes the playoffs.

    the difference between 8th and 12th this upcoming season, 4 pts. I’d be suprised if any of these projections actually gets it right.

    • icedawg_42

      I think Emir is spot on…we’ve all seen the crap shoot that is 6 through 12 in the Western Conference over the past few years. My personal prediction is that the finish to this season will have them floating at or just above .500, and landing around 9th again…the only difference between this season and last is that I think the ride to 9th will be a lot smoother, and they wont be the “hottest” or the worst team in the league for any stretch of time. — I do think that the future is much brighter today than it was a year ago.

  • I predict “Pain” (MR.T Rocky 3) for all the Flames fans who believe that this over the hill gang is going to do anything other than fall short of the playoffs once again. Kipper can stand on his head and it still won’t amount to a hill of beans in April when the Flames finish 9th once again.Oiler hate aside. Your team has one line. Maybe, if you can find a center to play with Iggy. Where is the scoring going to come from? You tell me.

  • icedawg_42

    They way I see it: The Flames are another year older with again not a lot of upside in the prospect pool.

    Iggy is a warrior and the face of the franchise. Case closed. However Calgary is also pinning all their Playoff hopes and dream on the Captain. He is getting older and his body is taking a toll. IE: Back issues already and he hasn’t played one game this season. Where does this team finish if he misses 35-50 games due to injury??

    Kipper has been in the top 3 of goalies for the past decade. Great goalie. Case Closed. However Kipper is getting older and has the past work load caught up with him? We saw it last year, how devastating giving up one bad goal or weak, softy can kill an entire game. There is also something to be said about how confident the team plays ahead of him knowing Kipper or any starting goalie is less than confident.

    Iggy and Kipper have been 2 of the leagues best players in their respective positions for a long time now. The Flames have won many one games because of the stellar play of #34, and have been fortunate to have #12 score big timely goals.

    But having made it out of the first round only ONCE since 1989, who is gonna step and lead this team?? Joker, Hagman, Tangs??? These are not front line go to guys, they are support players – Not Leaders. Their playing history proves it.

    The Calgary flames will be semi-completive for the next year or two. With NO playoffs. After that, there’s gonna be some long long seasons in Cowtown.