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.

  • icedawg_42

    2. THE FLAMES WILL FINISH ABOVE THE OILERS

    No they don’t.

    Flames have got 13 of 24 remaining on the the road, and they ARE going to be selling. Oilers have got 14(!) of 22 remaining at home and they’re 3 points up.

    I totally agree with points 1 and 3 though.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    @Kent – would you trade the entire Oilers roster for our entire roster? Straight up, just switch teams. I would in 1 second flat, and I think 30 out of 30 GMs would. Not sure how that lines up with #2.

    I hope you are right about Iggy. PLEASE trade him.

    I hope #1 is wrong too, but you are probably right… sigh.

      • D

        you meant the Brown trade? or the Eager on waivers this morning!or the Fistric trade? c’mon Kent you are better than that!!!I would trade the Oil roster in a heartbeat for Calgarys roster….plus if Tambo does not finish ahead of the flames he sure will be fire in summer time.

      • McDavid's Comet

        Kent, I would agree with you that the oilers management are mismanaging the team to a degree and that obviously there needs to be changes made at that level. I find it confusing that you are cofiden the Flames managment considering Feaster almost gave Colorado 2 very important draft picks and O’Riely essentially away to the last place team in the NHL for absolutely nothing in return. Considering this years draft is especially deep; that gaff would have set the team back at the very least 3-5 years maybe more. Yet you are essentially saying flames fans have nothing to worry about because Feaster is a very compitant GM even though he and all of his management team have very little knowledge of how the current CBA works. Sure Edmonton have issues but if you are saying Calgary doesn’t you like all flames fans are going to find out the hard way. If Calgary knows what is really good for them blow it up at at the deadline and start rebuilding at a draft that is deep. The sufferage will be nothing compared to what edmonton welt through.
        Good Grief.

      • RexLibris

        AHA! I’ve spotted the flaw in Kent’s logic! He says he wouldn’t take the Oilers management and then says that the decision makers are the problem.

        The Oilers management don’t make decisions! They simply assess, describe, consult, reassess ad infinitum!

        So there. 😉

        (Please apply copious amounts of sarcasm to the above statement)

      • Ya I agree. I hear their owner has a man crush on Kevin Lowe, so it’ll never change for them. But I’d like their team. They re-hired MacTavish, and now just hired Scott Howson. Haha….. They seem to like hiring and promoting failures. Maybe they can have Feaster after we fire him.

        You’d have to think if they screw it up, it’ll go down in the history as one of the most epic rebuild fails of all time. Here’s hoping.

      • I think that the exact same thing can be said of the Calgary Flames. The problem has more to do with Edwards, King, and Feaster than it has to do with the players on the ice. With better management the current assets could be moved for younger assets and accelerate any rebuilding process by 2-3 years.

        The Flames will end up drafting 10th or 11th because they always seem to have a good burst just before the trade deadline.

        Would like to think that Iginla would be moved, but I think that it is only 20% that he goes. In my opinion his family situation is more important that his hockey situation.

  • Danger

    @Kent

    Good calls, IMO (even though #1 is just a logical consequence of #2). Thanks especially for the link in #2, made me feel better! At least Feaster likes to mix in some decent additions in between boneheaded ones…

    … and now that I’ve realized that’s how low the bar is currently set, I no longer feel better. *sigh*

  • NHL93

    I always was envious of Edmonton’s stable of young talent but always felt that the team rushed all of them out of Junior and into the bigs. I just don’t see teenagers being nhl players (unless they are generation-like talents ie Crosby/Ovechkin/etc).

    There must be some sort of study out there that rates teenagers in the nhl and how many of them didn’t mature into franchise players. Malholtra is one that always jumps to mind. He was a can’t miss Rangers prospect that never turned into the Franchise centre. Was it due to him being rushed, or was he always going to be a checking/faceoff specialist? Joe Thornton was similar to Malholtra, but was coddled in Boston by Burns. These two may be a very unfair comparison however. Judging how a 19yr old is going to turn out is like prediction next year’s weather.

    Long story short: Edmonton might be ruining these kids by giving them the shot at the ‘bigs’ right-away.

  • icedawg_42

    I bet you could count the number of remaining “winnable games” on one hand – namely a couple vs the Oilers..CBJ..maybe Dallas…they always seem hungry to win vs the cOilers.

    Plenty of chances left for embarrassment though as well. I too think they will leapfrog the Oilers…which as of today would put them at 12th in the West. That’s probably where I’d see them finishing either way. Twelfth. In the West. Twelfth……….twelfth. fml

  • MC Hockey

    Agree with you but perhaps Oilers come close to beating Flames by year end. I predict Kipper to Buf for younger Miller and Iggy to Bos for great 2-way centre Bergeron

    • Mitch2

      Are you on crack?? Boston gives up Bergeron for Iggy the rental. Dream big.

      As to Wilson’s 3 predictions. Well 1 out of 3 ain’t bad. Iggy will be gone. 1st rounder (somewhere in the 20s + prospect). As to the Flames always in the hunt. When was that ? Finishing 9th or 10th ain’t hunting its golfing.

  • jeremywilhelm

    I can’t wait for the tried and true media story lines we get to see every year. It’s amazing how unoriginal mainstream media people are.

    Regurgitate, regurgitate, regurgitate.

  • jeremywilhelm

    I can’t wait for the tried and true media story lines we get to see every year. It’s amazing how unoriginal mainstream media people are.

    Regurgitate, regurgitate, regurgitate.

  • Truculence

    Wholeheartedy agree with 2 of 3. But don’t count out chances of finishing last. They play 15 games in 26 days
    in april, and if they do trade a few vets for prospects by the deadline it will only compound matters.

    Plus by finishing last i mean finishing last in the west.

    • Ironically, the Flames wiould be lucky to continue to be this unlucky – meaning, a really low finish would be indicative of bad luck rather than a terrible team and it would deliver them a blue chip prospect to boot.

  • Chris Fairfield

    I can accept him going to the Penguins,Bruins or Blues, just not the Kings. I remember Ray Bourque even willing to take a pay cut to finish his career in Boston, but, again, given his age at the time, he accepted a trade to Colorado and retired after he had his SC ring. I feel that Iginla will waive his NTC and go to the Pens, get his elusive cup and will not just be a rental as I think he resigns with Pittsburgh for at least 2 more years. On a side note, Avangard Omsk is down 3-1 in their playoff series against Traktor.