FlamesNation 2012-13 Season Preview Roundtable:



With training camp finally opening on Sunday we here at FN figured it was time for another roundtable. I asked VF, Ryan, Justin and Lambert for their take on a variety of topics, from their feelings on the lock-out to what they expect to see in terms of line combinations this year. Here’s what they had to say…

1.) So…are you happy the NHL is back? Or are you bitter?

Ryan Lambert: Oh I’m very bitter. I don’t think they should have had a season at all. I hate the owners a lot because of this and I hate how everyone just dove right back in to being all excited. I can’t stomach it. I’m obviously going to watch because I am compelled to do so, both by work and compulsion, but man am I not happy about it.

Justin Azevedo: Eh, I lean towards bitter. Mostly because I didn’t really miss it at all and I’m pretty pessimistic about the team’s chances this year. Plus, Iggy’s 30-goal streak thing is probably going to end and it isn’t fair. *tear*

Ryan Pike: A little of both. The fan in me is both excited and frustrated at another work stoppage. But at least we’re having a season.

Vintage Flame: I’m one that’s in the "happy it’s back" camp. I didn’t take sides during the lockout, I think both sides showed apathy and disregard. That being said, the game is bigger than the sum of its parts and I’m just happy they’re getting back on the ice.

2.) More to the point, how do you like the Flames chances in a shortened season?

RL: Certainly better than their chances over 82. They (well, Kiprusoff) could get hot and win a bunch of games in a row and I wouldn’t be especially surprised.

JA: I really don’t subscribe to the "slow start"/"fast start" theory, so I don’t think that the amount of games matters. However, I don’t think this team is all that much better than last year’s edition. There will probably be a bit more offence from the back end with the addition of Dennis Wideman, but it will be marginal. The team still lacks a true tough-minutes line and I have no idea how the new coaching staff will utilize players. The forward group will probably produce the along the same lines as last year.

The only thing that comes to mind that has the potential to have a big impact is the whole "Kiprusoff-playing-every-game-except-for-like-4" thing. It could have a positive impact if he stays a league average goaltender, but as we’ve seen he can vary quite a bit year to year. Obviously, the less games Leland Irving and Henrik Karlsson play, the better. Another 9th/10th place finish wouldn’t surprise me.

RP: I’m uneasy. The team’s core is just as old as it was and, outside of the emergence of guys like Mikael Backlund, Sven Baertschi and T.J. Brodie as key contributors, I’m not sure how the team’s performance will be all that different than last year. The shortened season merely means much less margin for error.

VF: It’s easy to say as a fan that they have just as good a chance as any other team starting with a stunted training camp. It’s also easy to say that this team really hasn’t done that much to improve its station in the Western Conference. Right now, I’m somewhere in between, but they have a very small window to either make or break their season. If the team struggles off the bat then, they better get the phones going and get ready for the trade deadline.

3.) What interests you most about the Flames in 2012-13? What will happen with guys like Iginla/Kipper? The play of young guys like Baertschi and Brodie? Or Newcomers like Wideman, Cervenka and Hudler?

RL: I’m most interested in what they do this summer, to be honest. I expect nothing from them during the season itself. I think Iginla and Kiprusoff both stay and sign extensions. I am interested to see how the young guys do in a 50ish-game schedule but I doubt Baertschi lives up to these huge expectations everyone seems to have for him. Finally, I’m of the opinion that all the free agent signings will either be outright terrible (Wideman, Hudler) or underwhelm (Cervenka, if he’s even healthy). We’ll see how it goes but again, I’ve come to expect very little.

JA: Honestly, I don’t feel like there’s a lot to be excited about for this particular season. Next season, sure. I feel as though the vets (Tanguay, Iginla, Giordano, Kiprusoff, etc.) will have comparable seasons to last year. While I’m excited to see Sven play at the NHL level, I just want him to play every game without serious injury more than anything. Brodie is intriguing, and he could probably play top-4 minutes this year, but due to the addition of Wideman and the presence of Bouwmeester, Butler, and Giordano, he’ll probably be relegated once again to 5/6 minutes with Sarich (ugh) or Smith.

I disliked the signings of Wideman and Hudler right for the start, so I’m not bullish on their chances to be huge contributors. Cervenka would interest me more if there were a line that could open up a ZS% of about 60 for him. As it is, I think he’ll be a perfectly average #2 guy at best.

RP: I’ll be looking keenly for two things: can Iginla continue to play the way he has for the past five or so years, and can the emergence of the younger guys take a bit of the heat off of him offensively?

VF: First and foremost, I’m excited to see Baertschi play a full season (you mean about half a season – ed.), with Brodie right in the conversation. We got a glimpse of what Sven can do last year and the energy he brought into the team. You could tell he invigorated the vets and that’s a positive going forward. Brodie took a big step in his development in Abby. I’m looking forward to seeing him as a top 4 D-man for the Flames, and I think he’s just about there.

4.) Give me your top-six forwards and their line combinations.

RL: I don’t know how things will start but I think it’ll end with Cervenka centering Iginla and Baertschi then Tanguay (if they insist on keeping him at center) between Hudler and Cammalleri. Man, those lines aren’t pretty at all hey?

JA: Well, obviously Iginla, Tanguay, and Cammalleri will be the first line. I guess with the revelation Monday that the coaching staff asked Tanguay to center the line Cammalleri will be on the left wing and Iginla on the right. On the second line, a SVEN-Cervenka-Glencross comination wouldn’t be outshot too badly, allowing for a "tough" minutes line of Hudler-Backlund-Stempniak, which doesn’t look too bad. The fourth line would then be Jones-Stajan-Comeau, which would be a great checking line.

RP: Tanguay – Cammalleri – Iginla, Baertschi – Hudler – Stempniak

VF: Cammalleri – Tanguay – Iginla, Baertschi – Hudler – Cervenka

5.) How will the top-4 defense rotation end up?

RL: Bouwmeester, Wideman, Giordano and Butler are your guys, for better or worse. (Hint: Worse.)

JA: If I had my druthers, the defense would be Bouwmeester-Wideman, Giordano-Butler and Brodie-Smith.

RP: Bouwmeester – Giordano, Butler – Wideman

VF: Bouwmeester – Wideman, Giordano – Brodie

6.) Do you think Hartley will be able to make meaningful changes in terms of systems/player usage? What you would like to see different to how Brent Sutter used to handle the roster?

RL: I think he will, yeah. Mainly because he hasn’t been in the NHL in years and things are likely to be very, very different from what an established NHL coach like Sutter would bring on a nightly basis. I’d like to see Hartley bring a little more flexibility to the lineup. If things aren’t working, it would be nice to see him not-stick with them. This is especially true if young guys are making a better case for expanded roles than the guys ahead of them.

JA: God, I hope so. What, you want more? I’d like to sit Bob Hartley down in front of a TV showing Canucks games from 2010-2011 and say "do it like this". Basically, more line matching and situational deployments (read: 1st line after icings ALL THE TIME) would be what I want. Oh yeah… death to the shell.

RP: I think Backlund (and his line, presumably with Comeau and Glencross) will be given a lot of defensive zone starts to that the Iginlas and Baertschis of the team will be given the high ground. That may be the only "real" change.

VF: The biggest thing being said is just how "offensive" oriented Hartley is. I’m hoping that means he is going to be able to recognize, early, the strengths and weaknesses of this roster; and make the appropriate changes. To be blunt, hopefully he stops playing Iggy in a power vs power situation and we start to see the captain getting far more sheltered minutes and offensive zone starts.

7.) Would you like to see anyone bought out in the summer?

RL: Stajan, obviously, but no one really beyond that.

JA: Personally, I don’t see much point in buying out contracts with only one year left on them unless there is absolutely no other way to become cap-compliant in 2013-2014 (and there will be: Iginla et al account for 19 million coming off the books this summer).

With that in mind, there’s 5 players left on the roster that could be bought out: Hudler, Tanguay, Glencross, Wideman and Giordano. Glencross’ contract is minuscule, so there’s no reason to buy him out. Tanguay and Giordano’s contracts likely won’t be high-value (or break-even value for that matter) by the time each of them are in their 2nd last years, but there’s no point in buying out those guys next year because they’ll still be good.

I realize the optics of buying out the contracts of two guys signed just last summer would be, uh, bad, but those are the worst contracts on the team and the least likely to provide value (in my opinion) in two or three years time, when there will be a clean slate for Feaster or whomever to work with (5 contracts total, $19 million committed and 4 contracts total, $17 million committed as it is right now.) Get those two contracts off the books and you’d have another 9 million free for both of those years. The timing works well with the Backlund and younger ("prospects") group as well.

RP: Matt Stajan. A perfectly fine (and occasionally quite good) depth option, but way too expensive at $3.5 million.

VF: This is a trick question right? Like do you mean someone OTHER than Stajan?

8.) What do you think the Flames will do at the trade deadline?

RL: Get someone underwhelming in an effort to continue "going for it."

JA: Nothing. They have nada in terms of assets that they can get rid of, and they’ll be close enough they won’t be able to justify selling.

RP: Depends on where they are. If they’re with the pack, I can see them doing nothing. If they’re a bit behind, they may be tempted to sell off a Bouwmeester.

VF: Like I said at the beginning, if the Flames season stumbles off the bat, then it’s over pretty quick for them. If that’s the case then they have to start paving the way to deal Iggy and Kipper. That’s easier said than done, and if they can’t, then it is what it is and I’m not going to be broken hearted about Iggy ending his career as a Flame.

Once again, we are talking about Calgary’s "BIG 3", only this time it’s Bouwmeester instead of Regher. If Ramo is ready to come over then, I think that makes Kipper a target for Calgary to make a deal with a Cup runner.

  • icedawg_42

    Two things intrigue me this season: first, I want to see Sven of course, add Cervenka and Brodie to that mix – mostly out of curiosity than excitement. I think Sven will be pretty good though. The second thing I’m curious about this season is what’s going to happen WHEN the team falls off the map. Will we see a fire-sale? I haven’t read capgeek in MONTHS so I have no real opinion on what I think is or isn’t a moveable asset.

    • It’s hard to predict the trade market now. The cap is going down next year, so bigger dollars become a bit less palatable. That said, cap space has been commodified in trades as well and I’m not yet certain how that will effect things.

  • Brent G.

    I appreciate I am biased being a devout flames fan. That being said, I don’t think their top 6 and top 9 is as bad as this article makes it sound at times. Will they blow the doors off this year? Not likely but if you look around the league I do like their top 6 better than teams like Detroit.

    To put it in perspective detroits top 2 lines are:

    Fillipula-Datsyuk-Bertuzzi; Franzen-Zetterberg-Cleary. Now I appreciate Datsyuk and Zetterberg are awesome and Franzen and Fillipula are good but look at their RW options. Subtract Lidstrom and Stuart as well and you have a bubble team that I don’t see being all that good or making it. Sure we have no one of Zetterberg of Datsyuk calibre but Bertuzzi is their top line RW.

    Vancouver I see falling a bit as well. They are getting older now and Kesler is going to miss a lot of time it sounds like. The sisters need to regress at some point and they will only go as far as they will take them. They have great compliment players and goaltending but I wouldn’t expect much from them in the playoffs. They are about 3 years behind where calgary is today and will reach this soon. Their prospects are mediocre, their key players are older and have a bunch of contracts that do not meet the contract payment (I.e. Booth)

    • Detroit’s line-up is just okay for sure…the issue is Datysuk and Zetterberg are superstars. They far outstrip anything the Flams can put on the ice in terms of overall effectiveness (a healthy Franzen is quite good too).

      Replace those two guys with your average top-6 NHLers and Detroit is middling at best.

      • Purple Hazze

        Far outstrip anything the Flames can put on the ice? Last season, Zetterberg had 22G, 47A for 69pts, Iggy had 32G, 35A for 67pts. I’d call that a wash.

        They have Datysuk, we have kipper; who by himself can win at least 10 games a season, I don’t know if Datysuk can do that.

        Having said that I do agree with your later comment that Detroit is not what Calgary has to worry about as I don’t see the wings making the playoffs anyways. Its the other teams in the NW that we have to worry about. With the exception of Vancouver, I think all our other divisional opponents got better.

        We all know pretty much what the vets will bring to the table, I think success or failure for the Flames hangs on: Backlund, Brodie, Baertschi, and Cervenka. Those are the guys I’m looking forward to watching, if they all perform the team could be pretty decent.

        • supra steve

          OK, now how about looking at +/- (or any number of other stats). Iggy -10, Pavel +21, Z +14. If Detroit offers up either of these two for Kipper or Iggy in a trade, I’m taking it in a hurry.

        • loudogYYC

          That’s a pretty incomplete comparison between Zetterberg and Iginla.

          Iggy’s a defensive liability, Z is a defensive specialist. He can play in all 3 zones, Iggy can only play in the offensive. He has one of the top 3 players in the NHL as a teammate, Iggy doesn’t and finally, Z plays on a playoff team and Iggy doesn’t.

          I think Iginla is awesome, but in a role the Flames can’t afford. That’s why he’d be so much better on a team that has it’s sh*t figured out.

        • Points don’t even remotely capture how valuable a guys like Datsyuk or Zetterberg are to their team. They play the toughest minutes and they grossly outshhoot/outchance their opponents. That’s why Detroit is a heavy weight and the Flames aren’t. The issue isn’t gross points for, it’s net points won.

          Kipper isn’t elite anymore. He had a very good season last year, but overall he’s been average over the last 5 years or so. If he could win 10 games by himself a season the Flames wouldn’t have missed the playoffs 3 years in a row.

          The success or failure of the team hangs on the heavy weights who soak up the majority of the ice time and pay roll: Iginla, Tanguay, Cammalleri, Bouwmeester, Hudler, Kipper. The reason the Flames aren’t a true contender anymore is that they pay elite prices for guys who were elite 5+ years ago.

    • Matty Franchise Jr

      Replace either Bertuzzi or Cleary or both with a bag of pucks and Detroits top 2 lines are better than anything Calgary can put together to start the season.

      • Brent G.

        Datsyuk and Zetterberg are good enough to carry them but look at defence as well.

        Kronwall is a great #3 and weak #1 guy. It’s a HUGE drop off after him with White being next on the list. White was good last year playing with Lidstrom but will become more of the player we saw in calgary. Okay at times but not fantastic. Then it’s Ericcsson. A guy is better known for being the last player selected in a draft than any note able play.

        I’m just saying calgary won’t be good this year. I actually hope Kipper gets injured and everyone (with the exception of the younger players) fall flat on their face and we get a lottery pick. This team is better off getting Drouin, Jones, Mackinnon than making a push for the playoffs being one and done or falling short at the finish line. That being said the high water mark if all goes well the Flames could get as high as 6, they may drop to 12th too. It’s going to be interesting to see which teams will prevail. I’m thinking Minnesota and LA will run the west and expect LA to challenge for a second cup.

        • Yeah the DET blueline is definitely an issue. Lidstorm is a huge loss.

          Frankly DET isn’t who the Flames have to worry about. It’s everyone else in the NW and teams not name “Columbus” getting better.

  • Brent G.

    Wow! I just heard on the TV is Burke has been relieved of his duties. I wonder what that does to Luongo… I hope they have to buy him out or get a terrible return.

  • Matty Franchise Jr

    You didn’t ask me for some reason, but here are my answers to some of the questions:

    1-I’m glad NHL is back so that we can talk about hockey and not CBA.

    2-Despite Justin’s complete lack of math skills, the Flames could go on a statistically unlikely yet still possible winning streak that vaults them into the playoffs, so their chances of making it are sadly increased. I don’t think the team is top 10 in the West and a flukey 7th place finish could delay a much needed re-think by management.

    3-I’m interested to see how Backlund, Baertschi, Brodie, and Cervenka do.

    4-I think I agree with VF on the line combos.

    5-I wouldn’t disagree with Lambert on his assessment of the D.

    6-I don’t know.

    7-Can they buy out Stajan NOW?

    8-Again, I think Lambo nailed this answer.

    • Vintage Flame

      I think it makes sense if the Flame do in fact move Tanguay to centre. He is the playmaker and Iggy and Cammalleri are the shooters. Leaving Tangs on the wing limits his distribution to either guy.

      Can they buy out Stajan NOW?

      Nope. Have to wait until after this season is completed.

      • Stockley

        From a passing point of view it definitely makes sense to have Tangs in the middle. From a faceoff perspective it’s a terrible idea. Not that Camm was any better on the draw unfortunately. This team is in desperate need of a couple faceoff aces. Not having the puck from the get-go is a huge part of why this team concerns me. They always seem to be chasing it instead of possessing it.

        • Vintage Flame

          From a passing point of view it definitely makes sense to have Tangs in the middle. From a faceoff perspective it’s a terrible idea. Not that Camm was any better on the draw unfortunately.

          That sort of makes it moot then right? If Cammy and Tangs are equally poor in the faceoff circle then it doesn’t matter who is at centre… from that point of view anyways.

          That being said, I completely agree with you that the Flames NEED a true centre that can win faceoffs.

          • MC Hockey

            I think you all forget that while a RW, Iginla is our second BEST faceoff man so perhaps his actual Centre man matters less. I am measuing among those who took a decent amount – meaning 82 faceoffs – last season). And very surprisingly, Stajan was the BEST. I checked NHL.com for statistics and found this (FOW% is Face Off Win percentage)

            Stajan – FOW% = 51.8% on 331 wins to 308 losses

            Iginla – FOW% = 50.2% on 214 wins to 212 losses

            Glencross – FOW% = 50.% on 41/41 ratio

            Jokinen (gone of course) – FOW% = 46.5%-with ratio of W/L of 620 / 713

            Everyone else with 82 or more faceoffs taken (or under for that matter) were well under 50% so that’s brutal. This includes Tanguay at a horrible 37.3% but he only took 67 of them and had a win/loss ratio of 25/42.

      • I concur – Tanguay at centre makes sense, even though he’s a natural winger (as far as I know). Rather than having Iginla or Cammy feeding pucks to each other or to Tanguay, he can dish them out (what he does best!) to the two scorers. Sounds good to me. Only question is: can Tanguay actually win faceoffs?

        And isn’t Cervenka supposed to be our #1C according to the Feast?

        Everyone’s line combos seems to forget that Cervenka knows very little English. He got introduced in what… July? September? and at that point he was getting some English lessons. But then he went to play in Russia immediately after that. My point is that Hudler was, at least partially, brought in to communicate with Cervenka.

        What’s the point of having Cervenka on the ice if he can’t communicate with his linemates?

        • JumpJet

          Pavel Datsyuk has pretty bad english (absolute no offence intended, it`s his 2nd lagnuage) and yet he is able to play with Zetterberg, Filpula, Bertuzzi, Cleary, etc.

          When Evgeni Malik first entered the league, he spoke very little English, but he still had 85 points

  • jeremywilhelm

    Tanguay is not a natural centre. It’s not an easy position to transition to and he has expressed in the past he is uncomfortable there.

    Don’t count on it.

  • marty

    Im happy that the game is back but am still bitter over how long to get this deal done.

    As for the flames… Honestly I dont know where to put them. They could be anywhere, but I think they will be where they have been for the past few seasons.

    No matter the outcome I don’t see the organization doing the fire sale unless we are literally losing all 48 games. Especially when you look at the prospect pool the org has developed, they don’t see the need to tank it and load up on picks. They will be a mediocre team hoping for lighting in a bottle while they slowly restock the youth in the team.

    I don’t think our prospect pool is replenished by any stretch of the imagination, but we can safely say that it appears to be headed in the right direction.

    Plus considering the battered state of the NHL and the bitterness from the fans, its a really bad time to fire sale the team and try to play the lottery game. That could easily drive away whats left of the money spending fan base and then we are left with an org with no talent, no money to invest in developing talent, and just become an even larger joke than we already are.

    So lets get settled in for the mediocrity era, and frankly i’d rather cheer for that. I’m still a fan and I still take pride in this team.

  • Vintage Flame

    I am stoked about hockey again but for selfish reasons, I am in 3 very competitive die hard hockey pools that get me through winters. I would go to Flame games & just watch players I have in my pools or scout who I’m looking at trading for. Personally, I didnt miss going to the games & since I have already paid for this year, I will be using these tickets but have no intention of renewing. I think there may be more of me than people think. I will pull for the Flames, whine & complain but what I donate to the HRR will be minimal going forward.

    As for the Flames, we did do enough signings/changes to make it very hard to forecast how this team will do. I have no idea. But here’s the thing 18 games will be from our division, how do we fare against our division. Vancouver I think may be closer than many think, we may be 2-3 or worst case 1-4. Colorado I think will be better & I am thinking 2-3. Minny is going to be real tough & they have absolutely improved, I project 1-4. & the Oilers may be the only team we can have a winning record against & at best 3-2 but that could flip flop if they come out flying with confidence & decent goaltending. The math on that makes me think we are 4-5 under .500 based on divisional matchups. 3 games against the rest of the conference will probably be .500 scenario. Sorry but until I see a few games we will be a sub .500 team & there will probably be 6-7 other teams lumped in there with us until the wire.

    • supra steve

      You speak the truth, sadly.

      I also haven’t missed attending games, and I won’t be attending this year…or for the foreseeable future. Note to NHL/NHLPA:I actually have other things I could spend my money on, and I am going to do so.

  • stalbert flames fan

    Hi – One good thing about the lockout: I didn’t have to think about the state of the Flames and try to wring hope out of a lineup that finished out of the playoffs for the past 2 years. I was very disappointed with the moves in the offseason like resigning Sarich. What does that communicate? “We think we’re close and we’re just going to take one more run at it?” Seriously. And what about Bouwmeester? Trade him before his market value completely falls off the map. I am so sick of watching games and hoping the other team doesn’t score so the Flames have a chance.

    The Flames did well last winter when they had all those injuries and the farm team guys played their hearts out. Youth, new blood, housecleaning – that would excite me.

    • stalbert flames fan

      Totally agree with the last line… that would excite me to. I can happily and optimistically cheer for a young up and coming team that isn’t quite there yet. I struggle to get excited about an aging, expensive, never really had it team that has be regurgitated three years in a row.

  • beloch

    Tanguay at center is an interesting experiment. Sure, he’s uncomfortable there, but sometimes being uncomfortable makes you better. He might also fall flat on his face too. Still, if adjusts well to the roll there are upsides to having a play-maker like him as a pivot. Face-off wins are probably a matter of drilling more than anything. Hopefully Hartley believes in face-off drills.

    I can also see Backlund challenging for the #1C job. He’s been there before and didn’t look too bad. The most likely reason that he won’t make #1C is simply because the Flames will need him playing tough competition because all their other centers are complete poofs defensively.

    Brodie has at least a small shot at displacing Wideman or Butler in the top 4. That should be the goal for him. If he can manage that, Wideman’s contract will look mighty ugly unless he’s performing very well. He might be difficult to trade with his contract, but at least the buy-out option will be there.

    I suspect Hudler may be a liability if his zone-start slips below 50%, as it almost certainly will with the Flames. My money is on him battling Stajan for the title of #1 team goat, unless Brodie steps up and makes Wideman look like an even more colossal waste of cap space.

    Baertschi will probably prove to be a solid second-line (this season) player, assuming he can avoid injury. He’s not going to single-highhandedly save the team, but he’s going to be having the time of his life and I expect his enthusiasm will be contagious. His presence will be great for team morale. (Conversely, Baertschi getting his block knocked off might be very very bad for morale!)

    Last year the Flames were lucky to finish as high as they did. In terms of shots for over shots against, only Minnesota, Edmonton, and Tampa Bay were worse than the Flames. The fact that the Flames finished 19th in terms of GF/GA is entirely due to Kipper. If he regresses even slightly, there will be no doubt left at all about the rebuild.

    As for the lockout… I’m both bitter and excited but, more than anything, I’m annoyed with myself for being excited for what will likely be a dismal season in cowtown. If I had to choose one year to take a break from following hockey, this would be it.

  • supra steve

    Easy fix for too many top 4 D-men, move JBow for a young roster player and a draft choice (preferably a first) or two. If Brodie is the real deal after 15-20 games, pull the trigger. Even if they decide JBow is untradeable/untouchable, Butler or Gio are surely tradable assets. Too many good players, not a bad problem to have.

  • supra steve

    It’s undeniable that Detroit has gotten worse, but I stillput them ahead of the Flames.

    I also agree that they have a number of well-seasoned prospects ready to step in to fill some holes.

    I’ve said as much for the last few years. Do NOT ever count out Detroit prospects or their development system. They let prospects develop for a long time by design.

  • BurningSensation

    IIRC, both Tanguay and Cammalleri started their careers at center and then later transitioned to the wing.

    I believe Tanguay was the Av’s 3rd C (behind Sakic/Forsberg) when they won their cup.

    I’m a little surprised that Tanguay was chosen over Cammalleri for the switch, but I don’t hate it.

  • MC Hockey

    OK, so as a seasoned fan with skin in the game, my replies are here and in much more daring detail than others:

    1. Happy it’s back, it’s like when my 2-year old boy is bad but then smiles at me…I forgive quite easily. I am still a bit bitter however that it took so long and because I sell off half my season tickets, now I may only see 12 games…but getting a partial S.T. refund was nice too for paying other bills.

    2. I think if the Flames are very healthy and Bob Hartley can work magic with his motivational skills, Flames can finish as high as 5th in the West, but more likely 7th to 9th will happen. With team commitment to systems and defense plus a very solid healthy Kipper wanting to prove he can win in playoffs, the chances of playoffs are decent. I put their odds of making playoffs and 10:1 and odds of at winning the Cup at 40:1 which is better than Vegas.

    3. First, I am most interested in them succedding with a new coach/attitude, etc as Hartley explained to me….but at the same time very interested what they will do if they suck in the first 20 games and then decide to blow it up. I think if the Flames suck, Iggy may decide to waive the no-trade for certain teams…I expect he would want to play with a top-notch centre so perhaps Thornton in SJ if they contend (doubtful), Richards at NYR, or various Centres in LA. Second, I think Baertschi and Brodie will do well but not be in the running for Calder. Baertschi gets 12 goals and 14 assists = 26 pts in 45 games, Brodie gets 3 + 12 = 15 pts. Third, I think Wideman sucks defensively but gets 25 pts while Cervenka is quite good and gets 30 pts while Hudler flops without his Detroit buddies and gets under 20 pts.

    4. Top 2 lines: Left Wing – Centre – Right Wing

    1st line: Baertschi – Tanguay – Iginla because maybe Baertschi can re-energize Iggy and be creative with Tangs

    2nd line: Cervenka – Cammi – Hudler because Cammi can drive possession, use the unknown commodities in his wingers well to create goals

    5. Jay Bouwmeester tries to cover for Wideman’s risk taking on top regular pairing and also top PP pairing, 2nd PK pairing. Meanwhile, Brodie plays with Gio as 2nd pairing (versatile) and both are also 2nd pairing on PP, and top PK pairing

    6.) Part 1: Hartley works on merit and thus more players get chance at PP minutes and top 2 lines play nearly identical minutes as talent is similar…perhaps top line players get 19 minutes/game, while 2nd line gets 17-18 minutes and bottom 2 lines similarly get about 13 and 11 minutes respectively and both lines 3 and 4 play lots of PK also. I think these changes can be made since Flames have some balance in the forwards. Also, I hope systems are similar to last year but better zone entry strategies would be useful but adjusted (planned before the game) according to opponents who may have less conventional defending schemes.

    Part 2: Hartley needs to stop the line-mixing during games and give players at least 6 games together to build chemistry, but likely 12+ games together would be better…I would extend those time-periods in a 82-game season to 10 and 20 games.

    7. Unless he plays exceptionally well (either around 28 pts on offense or great 2-way play plus 18 pts), Flames will buy out Stajan’s last year. Second, if Cammi is injured and out most of year or does not get at least 15 goals, Flames may buy out his last year. Third, if Hudler flops, they may consider buying him out also but probably would not because 3 years left and he is “one of Jay Feaster’s prized FA pick up”. Fourth, even if Wideman sucks, Flames don’t buy out as he has 4 years left after this year so he is given chance to redeem himself for a couple years and is another of “Jay’s guys”.

    8. I think Iggy gets traded to a contending team who has a strong first-line centre to feed him (with condition they sign him to 2 year extension) – and the return to Flames being first round choice in 2013, a top/medium forward prospect with some risk to him, and a 2nd round draft choice in 2013 or 2014. Also…

    I think JayBo gets traded to any other team who needs a skating/offensive defensemen as perhaps they count on him scoring more in a different team – and in return Flames get a young all-around defenseman of 2nd pairing quality plus a 2nd round choice in 2013.

  • MC Hockey

    This will be the first year in a long time Iginla doesn`t finish the season with 30 goals or more. Took a abbreviated season thanks to a lockout to break his streak. Amazing consistency.