The 2013-14 season is over, and now it’s time to begin the lengthy process of the annual post-mortem. To kick things off, here’s a look at how each player that suited up for the team (all 44) fared this season.
Karri Ramo: B+: Pre-injury, he was decent. When he recovered from his MCL sprain, he was on a whole other level. Very even-keeled, he’ll anchor the team’s net for the near-future.
Joni Ortio: B: Would’ve been higher had he spent more time in Calgary, but Ortio went from being a fringe guy in the organization to one Brian Burke wants to see getting lots of playing time next year. It’s not a regular NHL job, but he’s well on his way.
Reto Berra: C+: Berra was equal parts athletic and unpredictable (especially with his positioning). He did have flashes of greatness, though, and got the Flames a second-rounder from Colorado.
Joey MacDonald: C-: MacDonald was not great in his first stint and a bit better in his second, but he’s earned praise from his teammates for being his usual, affable self (and a steadying influence on the younger players). That said, unlikely he’ll be back.
Mark Giordano: A: A nearly-Norris caliber season for the Flames captain. The only negative is that he couldn’t play all 82 games.
T.J. Brodie: A-: Occasionally caught out of position (I have to keep reminding myself how darn young he is), Brodie and Giordano faced the tough sledding on the club. Most of the time, they fared quite well.
Kris Russell: B-: Good on PP, but even-strength play suffered a bit since he came back from injury.
Tyler Wotherspoon: B-: Only played 14 games, but was surprisingly poised and alert for a 20-year-old.
Chris Butler: C+: Basically slotted in everywhere. Decent minute-eater on PK, but didn’t really move the dial at all at even-strength.
Ladislav Smid: C: He was a steady shot-blocker, penalty-killer and a good role-model for Tyler Wotherspoon. But he also hemorrhaged shots and scoring chances a-plenty.
Dennis Wideman: C-: Expensive, not really great five-on-five and became less useful on the PP as the year wore on. Injuries didn’t help that, though.
Derek Smith: C-: Perfectly acceptable bubble guy. Never played, but occasionally made gaffes when he did.
Shane O’Brien: D+: Not great at even-strength, and not quite strong enough on either side of the puck to get any special teams time.
Chris Breen: D+: Steady AHL veteran struggled at times with the pace and speed of the NHL.
Chad Billins: Incomplete: Had two recall stints and barely played in his first one. Fairly shielded third-pairing guy. He was fine, but I didn’t see enough to really judge him.
Mark Cundari: Incomplete: Played four games. Had some nice spurts, but also got hemmed in own zone a bit.
Mikael Backlund: B+: Prior to his late-season injury, was arguably team’s most consistent forward for about three and a half months. Strong two-way player with good offensive instincts and some face-off skill. Consistency (and health) will need to continue to be there.
Jiri Hudler: B: Good offense numbers, but often played the disappearing man act (where you’d wonder if he was playing because you didn’t notice him…and then he’d make a pretty play).
Mike Cammalleri: B: Was excellent post-deadline, but seemed to be fighting the puck and struggling with positioning and battling through traffic before that.
Sean Monahan: B-: Great around the net, but face-offs need a bit of work and occasionally his defensive coverage is a bit iffy. But he’s really tightened up his two-way game since October.
Matt Stajan: B-: Seemed to be fighting the puck a bit post-injury, but he’s arguably the team’s top shut-down pivot and a strong leader. Offensive consistency may be a concern, though.
Joe Colborne: C+: Winger Colborne uses his size well and sets guys up. Center Colborne loses face-offs at key times and doesn’t have the defensive game down. Split the difference.
Curtis Glencross: C+: Horrible luck with injuries, and seemed to fight the puck all year. But hey, for a guy with so many negative qualifiers, he did put up respectable numbers.
Lee Stempniak: C+: Was never quite entirely “on” this year, perhaps due to injuries, but he was quietly effective without putting up a lot of offensive stats.
Lance Bouma: C+: Shot-blocking machine. Good on PK. Not really a great defensive player, though, but he’s usually as good as who he’s paired with.
Paul Byron: C+: Wasn’t great for a stretch, but got healthy and really found his game post-Olympics. Underrated two-way player, but probably best served on third-line in an energy/agitator role.
Sven Baertschi: C: Brilliant with the puck, a tad lost without it. Only played 26 games before getting demoted.
Blair Jones: C-: Was perfectly acceptable in limited duty, but never really found a niche for himself the way Paul Byron did.
David Jones: C-: Just couldn’t find (a) his scoring touch, (b) his consistency, and (c) time without an injury.
T.J. Galiardi: C-: Perhaps the player with the best underlying numbers that just couldn’t find the damn net. Bounced all around (and in-and-out of) the line-up.
Ben Street: C-: Decent face-off man, but couldn’t do a heck of a lot to move the dial offensively.
Brian McGrattan: C-: Resident pugilist “only” racked up 100 PIMs, but did start generating scoring chances as the year went on. Hidden depths or over-achieving?
Kevin Westgarth: D+: Didn’t play a lot. Didn’t play amazing well. Arguably the Diet Coke to McGrattan’s Coca Cola Classic, if that makes any sense.
Ben Hanowski: Incomplete: Played 11 games, but didn’t play a lot. Skating’s a bit better, but needs some work. Uses size decently well, but skating limits his effectiveness.
Tim Jackman: Incomplete: Played 10 games. Traded to Anaheim.
Kenny Agostino: Incomplete: Played 8 games. Good instincts in the offensive and neutral zones. Defensive play could use a bit of work (and he could add a bit of muscle to help with that). Not a bad start, though.
Max Reinhart: Incomplete: Played 8 games. He was fine, but didn’t do too much in the NHL to set himself apart from other call-up forwards.
Markus Granlund: Incomplete: Played 7 games and was really great before getting hurt. Would’ve been a B if he played a tiny bit more.
Corban Knight: Incomplete: Played 7 games. Scored a goal.
Bryce van Brabant: Incomplete: Played 6 games. Seems to use his size well enough.
Johnny Gaudreau: Incomplete: Played 1 game. Scored a goal.
Bill Arnold: Incomplete: Played 1 game. Won 55.6% of his face-offs.
Lane MacDermid: Incomplete: Played 1 game. Demoted. Retired.
Roman Horak: Incomplete: Played 1 game. Became an Oiler.
SUM IT UP
What’s your take? Was I overly harsh on anybody? Overly kind? Sound off in the comments.