Flames Playoff Chances

 

 

While I’m sure would rather talk about the Flames long term plans, the truth is the club is no doubt going to continue to push for the postseason this year as long as that goal is reasonably within reach. As such, it makes sense to consider the Flames chances of climbing up to 8th by the end of the year.

Calgary currently has 45 points, good for 12th place in the conference some four points behind 8th placed LA. The teams in their way include Phoenix (46 points), Colorado (47 points), Dallas (47 points) and the aforementioned Kings. Expect the Wild (50 points) to enter the conversation as well. Every team in question holds at least one game in hand over the Flames aside from the Avalanche.

If we say 95-points is the minimum to make the dance, the Flames need to garner 50 points from their final 38 contests, or a record of roughly 24-12-2 (61.3 win%). To put that in context, the Flames win% so far is about 45%. The Vancouver Canucks, who currently lead the West with 57 points, have a win percentage of 61.36% in 44 games.

So the Flames have to essentially become the Canucks for the rest of the year in order to get a chance at 8th place. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that this is faintly possible for a number of reasons.

First because even middling teams can get really hot for 20-30 games. The Flames proved that in the second half last year and the New York Rangers have proven that this year. The Rags have banked on some outstanding goaltending and unlikely shooting percentages to climb up the standings in the East, so if Kipper gets hot or if everyone on the club finds their inner Glencross, perhaps Calgary can enjoy another miracle run.

Secondly, Calgary has had a lot more success at home than on the road this year and a huge bulk of their remaining games are on Saddledome ice. Calgary’s home record is 12-5-2 and it’s not just luck that has them well above .500 at the saddledome – even their underlying numbers are superior at home, including the second best possession possession rate (56.52) with the score close in the league. Only Detroit is better currently.

I’m not sure why there’s such a huge discrepancy between the Flames at home and on the road (likely a combination of luck, strength of schedule and team construction) but that suggests Calgary’s home record isn’t all smoke and mirrors.

On the other hand, another injury or so will sink the Flames for good. It’s probably not news to anyone who has watched the Flames the last few weeks that the team is playing some fairly dismal hockey. With so many regulars down, Calgary is struggling to get shots and chances on a nightly basis and it’s not like they’re going continue to shoot 50% like they did vs the Devils on Tuesday.

Until guys like Giordano, Smith, Moss, Bourque and Tanguay return the Flames are going to continue to spend a lot of time in their own end. The challenge for them will be to hold the fort long enough to get healthy and also not suffer any more long-term injuries to major pieces.

Depending on your perspective, you may either be hoping for the team to avoid the unlikely hot streak, sell at the deadline and finally choose the rebuild path or roll a bunch of sevens and sneak in so they can play some meaningful hockey in April. The fact is right now the players, coaches and management have their eye set on 8th so until that goal changes we may as well go along for the ride.

  • icedawg_42

    Well – this is exactly what happened last season. They’re “close enough” that management will probably stand pat at the trade deadline, and we’ll have to settle for a 9th place finish again. The bright side is that with all the pending UFA’s on the roster, things MUST change. If a 9th place finish nets us someone like Baertschi at the draft, then im not so disappointed I suppose. I said it long ago, being in the ‘middle’ in the cap era is the worst place to be and the hardest place to get out of.

  • RKD

    January is a lighter schedule than December. The Flames need to keep winning their home games but as well have to win some on the road if they have any hope of making the playoffs.

    Feb. is the same, the Flames only play 12 games that month. March will be a killer with 17 games They seem to run out of gas like other teams in March.

    I don’t think they will go on another .800 run, but if they can start winning at a level of .613 or higher then they might be in good shape.

    We need to get healthy first to have any kind of chance. An eight seed would probably mean a first round dance with the Canucks or the Hawks.

  • Vintage Flame

    I’m with Icedawg. Hat ebeing in the middle and standing pat. If you’re going to go for then do somethin gbig and go for it. Odds are that the team just stands pat for the most part and then blames everything on injuries and more hope for next year.

    Fan 960 was talking about bringing back Cammalleri. Anyone here ready to give up Gio or Brodie?

    • loudogYYC

      Montreal’s done a great job of dropping Cammalleri’s trade value. I doubt it would take any of those 2 Dmen to land Cammy this time around.
      I say Bourque + Nemisz and maybe a low pick is enough.

      • icedawg_42

        Agreed – Cammi had a career year here, and may not be what that year showed him…then again he could have a resurgence here. I’d give up Bork and Neimsz for him in a heartbeat..but not much more.

        • Vintage Flame

          I was thinking Bourque & Babchuk for Cammi especially seeing Gio may be back soon & I’ve really liked Clay Wilson’s play these last couple of games.

          • Well I think Cammi has 4 more years at 6.0mill, Bourque has 3.3 for 4 more years & Babchuk 2.5 for 1 more year after this. Knock on Montreal is their small forwards so Bourque would be a good fit & Babchuk would be OK there too. It is actually a make sense deal from both sides. Cammi would be a huge addition if we are still sniffing 8th place.

  • icedawg_42

    How about a new Pub called ‘8th’ where everybody knows your name.

    Cant believe we beat NJ so this team always seems to do what I dont expect. So at this time I will with hold any comment until mid February. I have been thinking about contingency plans in case of either scenario:-)

    • loudogYYC

      18 games till the trade deadline. I doubt they’ll lose 12 of those, as I doubt they’ll win 12.

      Man it sucks when your team is the definition of mediocre…

  • Captain Ron

    I hate the thought of just making the playoffs and spending money on tickets only to watch this group get handed their lunch by a top seeded team such as Vancouver (oh the pain) who would use us as a tune up series until a real opponent came along.

    Hows that for a run on sentence!

    Now its off to see what Teemu has left in him.