3 Fearless Flames Predictions



Calgary has played 24 games and only have another 24 remaining in their 2013 season. They probably won’t make the playoffs, but that’s hardly a brave prophecy at this point. Here’s a few other things I expect to happen before the final puck drops for Calgary as well…

1.) The Flames won’t finish last in the West

Although pragmatically the best thing for Calgary would be to finish as low in the standings as possible, the truth is the Flames aren’t as bad as they have seemed through the first half of the year. All of their underlying numbers are at least middle of the road and it’s only league worst goaltending that has sunk them.

So unless Feaster tells the troops to lay down their arms or trades everything not nailed down, the Flames will improve as a matter of course. In the summer I suggested Kipper would regress from his outstanding numbers last season, but I seriously doubt he is suddenly a sub-replacement level puck stopper. Even if he is merely average for the remainder, Calgary’s record should improve.

This prediction seems a little tone deaf considering Calgary’s recent struggles, but really this should be a familiar script for Flames fans. In each of the previous two seasons the club flailed around for the first 30 or so games, only to turn things around in the second half and make a serious run at the post-season. They probably don’t have enough games left to do that this time (the hole is too deep) but expect them to go on a winning streak and pull themselves out of the basement out least.

Aside – when the Flames go on their inevitable run, you’ll hear stories about how they are finally embracing Hartley’s system, or playing relaxed hockey because they don’t feel the pressure of the playoffs anymore, or some other such psychologizing. Don’t believe them.

2.) The Flames will finish above the Oilers

You know who is (still) legitimately terrible? The Edmonton Oilers.

On twitter the other day I asked my followers if they would rather be a Flames fan or Oilers fan right now. I was obviously being a bit facetious (the response was overwhelmingly "neither"), but the question actually does interest me – The Oil have an impressive collection of kids, but that’s about it. They’ve raced through most of the youngsters ELC’s, their management doesn’t seem to know how to build an NHL roster (make sure to click that link) and they still sport some of the worst possession numbers in the league.

It’s arguable that Edmonton is in the better position given their younger assets. Even with those guys, though, they remain below the Flames despite the fact we’ve arguably reached the latter’s post-2004 nadir. It can certainly get worse for the Calgary organization if the next 12-24 months aren’t managed with a deft hand, but Edmonton has been rebuilding in earnest for almost 5 years and are still the NHL’s easy-out.

3.) Iginla will be dealt

After two or three years of writing "trade Jarome" articles, this is the season I think we finally see it happen. Iginla’s contract is up in the summer, the team and player haven’t talked about an extension and it should be as obvious as the nose on Tim Hunter’s face at this point that Jarome is no longer an elite piece to build around.

Eric Francis’ recent article on the subject portends an Iggy deal I think, not because of the subject or content, but because it strikes me as a trial balloon purposely raised by the Flames management (via the media) to test the public’s willingness to embrace a post-Iginla era. A random sampling of the comments there (and here and almost any other fan gathering online) suggests this is the case.

Iginla will likely be the most sought after rental player on the market at the deadline, raising the demand and therefore asking rpice. The Flames won’t realistically be in the playoff chase for the first time since they made their cup run. The franchise is in desperate need of adding to its modest stable of future assets. And Jarome is running out of time to win the cup.

It makes entirely too much sense. Unless Jarome categorically refuses to waive his NTC ala Sundin (which I don’t think will happen), he will be a Bruin, Penguin, Blue or King in April.

  • Jano

    The goaltending alone is not all that is failing for the Flames by a long shot. There are too many multi goal defeats happening for all the blame to be put on the guys in net. They may have good possession numbers, but it’s what they do with their possession that is a major problem. I’ve watched most every game this year, and it’s been rare that Calgary has had the better scoring chances. I really don’t think that the Flames deserve a lot better than what they’ve acheived so far this year. And the schedule is not going to be getting any easier.

    • PrairieStew

      The team is not a complete disaster, but clearly the goaltending is definitely the biggest culprit this year. 28th in save percentage at .883; if they were 15th in the league the would be at .910. With 677 shots allowed going in to the Detroit game, that’s 18.3 goals fewer even if they only have league average goaltending. Sure maybe some of the 3 and 4 goal losses end up being 2 goal or 1, but there is at least 4 more points in the standings,

      In contrast offensive shooting percentage and goals scored per game are 14th and 15th respectively. If the goaltending matches this is a playoff team.

  • Brick

    I think that Iggy stays a Flame until the end of his career. My guess is that they retool, hopefully getting bigger and adding a good centre along the way. Steps will be taken to improve the hockey club.

  • Victoria Flames Fan

    I hope we nab top pick. Watching Wotherspoon and Jones man Portland’s point last night I went home dreaming of a bright future in Calgary. The two are connected telepathically.

    My preference would be to see Iggy take a back seat like Ryan Smyth but I think he’ll get traded to Pittsburgh. Pensburgh.com is suggesting: “The Pens, very likely would have to give up one or two of their blue-chip defensive prospects (Olli Maata, Derrick Pouliot, Scott Harrington, Joe Morrow, Brian Dumuolin), this year’s first round pick and maybe a young professional player with a future like Simon Despres or Beau Bennett.” I think that is a little overstated. If we got Pouliot (Portland’s other #1 defenceman) and a first rounder I’d be stoked.

    As for where the Flames will finish, I agree with Kent, we’ll be fighting for the playoff spot again (even fighting for #1 in the NW, since it’s become the worst division in hockey).

    I’d rather we finish last this year (or ahead of Edmonton and grab the top pick).

  • McDavid's Comet

    Yes- i am an Oilers fan BUT !
    What has happened to these teams, i yearn for the day both
    clubs dominate again. A mix of Flames Vets and you have some good ones
    and we dont, combined with the Oilers Youth , would be great.
    It kills me to look at the standings and see the OIL and Flames
    near or at the bottom. Rebuild your damn team Calgary,
    and give us Glencross back please. We will take Iggy as well.

    May the hockey gods be with our Alberta Teams.
    And i can Get a Hate on for he Flames again. Right now i can’t
    as i know the feeling.

    Chin up Flamers- it sucks but we will both be Back.

  • D


    Pretty fearless publishing this article on a day when the Flames are dead last in the West and trailing the Oilers.

    To be fair though, there is a good chance you end up right. The Oilers’ schedule to the end of the season consists of many games against some pretty good teams.

  • D

    Love watching you all cry. Keep knocking the Oilers.
    and it seems like years before you are competitive
    again …. enjoy the ditch we are vacating just for
    you cowtowners.

      • McDavid's Comet

        Potlicker, nice one, are you 15 yrs. old; what a shame?
        I bet your uncle Jed had to say that to you more than once in your life.
        Way to represent Calgary fool, stop posting so you don’t give the impression to all whom visit the flamesnation that Flames fans are cut from the same cloth as you goof.
        Want to send a message, go to oilersnation and troll there.

        Grow up

        Good Grief

  • Stockley

    Calgary is Edmonton 5 years ago (In 2007-08 the Oilers finished with a 41-35-6 record)

    A team that is completely unwilling to accept the fact that they aren’t good enough to compete for a Stanley Cup and not headed in the right direction to ever be.

  • internuncial


    If Jarome’s reasons for wanting to stay in Calgary are family-related (reasonable assumption), and he’ll be a UFA this summer, why don’t we hear more about the possibility of a trade for prospects and re-sign for next season? Helps everyone.

    I like that you threw Blues in there. Thinking Rattie and Baertschi together again?


  • Oilers21

    This is a good read, but I’m not sure why all the fanfare about possibly finishing ahead of us in the standings. Ultimately is it a point of pride to finish 13th instead of 14th? When you say “It can certainly get worse for the Calgary organization if the next 12-24 months aren’t managed with a deft hand” I’d argue that’s pretty much a sure thing; where’s the evidence that Feaster and Co. are any more competent than the Tambellini Brothers travelling comedy show we call a front office staff? Being a fan of either team is very depressing but you could easily argue that at least we’re not in the position of having to trade our 2 best and most marketable players to make any sort of headway, after having waited until most of their value is gone. At this point, finishing ahead of Edmonton is nothing to brag about; the rallying cry of “at least we’re not quite as terrible!” is pretty empty

  • internuncial

    Flames/Oilers: who’s bottoming out deeper, who’s less bad, who’s got a longer road to being good…

    It’s all pretty embarrassing. In the ’80s? Yeah, that was a rivalry. Now? Meh. Why don’t we just shelf the Battle of Alberta until we can say it with a straight face.