Breaking Down The Remaining Schedule

After last night’s triumph over the Arizona Coyotes, the Calgary Flames have a 23-18-3 record in 44 games. 38 games remain in the 2014-15 season.

As you can see here, the schedule isn’t horrible.

THE PACIFIC

The Flames have at least a game remaining against each of their divisional foes:

  • Three each against San Jose, Anaheim and Los Angeles
  • Two against Edmonton
  • One each against Vancouver and Arizona

Calgary’s record right now against their own division is 12-3-1. And, as good teams need to do, they’ve won all of the games against the division’s bottom-feeders, Arizona and Edmonton. But I think it’s safe to say that the remaining 13 games in the division will ultimately determine whether the Flames are working into mid-April or not.

Nice touch though: the games in the Pacific are evenly split between home and away games (seven home, six away), and the Flames have no back-to-backs in the division. This is probably as favourable as a schedule gets.

THE CENTRAL

The Flames have a dozen games remaining against the rest of the West. They’re 5-4-0 against the Central so far.

  • Three games against Minnesota
  • Two each against Winnipeg, Colorado, St. Louis and Dallas
  • One more against Nashville

The Flames haven’t played Minnesota at all, and given the Wild’s goaltending woes, it might be a good place to pick up points. The rough part here is this: Calgary faces both Colorado and Dallas in the back end of back-to-backs (on the road). Granted, the Flames have been fairly sharp in back-to-backs, but that’s tough sledding nonetheless.

THE EAST

The Flames have 13 games remaining against the remainder of the league. They’re 6-11-2 against the East so far. (That’s gotta change if they wish to be a playoff team.)

  • Two each against Boston and Philadelphia
  • One each against Buffalo, Pittsburgh, the Rangers, New Jersey, the Islanders, Detroit, Ottawa, Toronto and Columbus.

The schedule is skewed towards the road side, with six home and seven away games against the East. The Flames also have two back-to-backs, and face both Detroit and New Jersey in the back-end of back-to-backs.

TRIPS

The Flames have two big road trips left after this trip is over and we hit the All-Star Break.

  • A seven-game trek during the Brier, where the Flames play all seven remaining road games they have against the East. They have two sets of back-to-backs during that trip.
  • At the end of March, they have a five-game trip through the Central Division (and Edmonton).

The flip-side of that is that Calgary has a bunch of long-ish homestands between now and the end of the season – including a six-gamer, a five-gamer and a four-gamer.

SUM IT UP

There’s 38 games remaining and the schedule is both favourable and well-structured. The Calgary Flames very much have their playoff destiny in their hands.

  • Byron Bader

    The schedule doesn’t look horrendous. They’re already done being drop kicked by Chicago so that’s amazing.

    The East is going to be a killer (for whatever reason) as is the Pacific as it starts to even out.

    The chances are slim of playoffs but the schedule is not dreadful. Especially if they can hold their own against the Californias.

    Come on! Come on!!!!

  • ChinookArchYYC

    At the risk of hijacking this thread. Anyone hear Derrick Wills suggest that Backlund may have become redundant because of the Shore acquisition? I really don’t like this, but I really wonder of he knows something or has a seen something that gave him reason for this idea.

    • Bean-counting cowboy

      Or he has no idea what he is talking about! The idea is a ludicrous one. Shore has proved nothing yet. If management isn’t smarter than this then this team is in big trouble. I swear… 75% of the City of Calgary and Calgary fans don’t appreciate what Backlund does for this team on a night in, night out basis. (I am not referring to you Chinook – I know you get it!)

    • ChinookArchYYC

      I thought that at first, but they way Backlund has played lately… I don’t see how they could compete without him.

      Not unless the return was huge. A lot of teams would kill for a player like Backlund, not too mention he’s up for a huge raise!

    • Byron Bader

      I don’t think there’s any risk of that. Everything I’ve heard lately sounds like management and coaches love what Backlund does. I think we’ll see him resigned for 5 before the year is done.

      Shore’s a big body right shot with skill that can play RW if need be. They traded away spare parts to get him. Nothing more than that. Another bullet in the chamber.

      Monahan, Bennett, Backlund are the centers going forward. I have to believe.

    • Byron Bader

      I have listened to all of Derek Wills’ interviews and he has NOT suggested what you are saying…may I suggest you check your facts (or your hearing) before you incorrectly quote others…..

      • supra steve

        I heard it too, yesterday on my way home from work. Wills was discussing the possibly of trading Backlund if Shore (or one of the other young C) looks like a long term solution as a #3C. Wills did emphasize that he has not heard anything from the Flames, he was just speculating.

        It is an intriguing idea, as I should think that the return for Backs would be substantial. Possibly the way to get a strong young stud D?

    • Derzie

      What I heard when listening to Wills was that with the center depth, including Shore, Backlund becomes moveable for a rebuilding team. He said that if we are to get a true defender worthy of a 2nd pairing, we need to give up something good. Backlund is the best center but it is getting crowded and winning now is a crapshoot. We can’t keep everything. We won’t get good return on other pieces.

      • Derzie

        Backs is only 25! He is in the prime of his hockey career. The Flames organization, especially Hartley, spent a lot of time developing Backs into a good all-round centre. To give him up now is sheer folly! Just because Wills is the “voice” of the Flames he is just giving his opinion, like we are. Shore? Give me a break! He hasn’t shown the Flames anything yet…

  • ChinookArchYYC

    The owner of the Yotes has given GM Maloney the OK to begin rebuilding….Yandle and Michalek could be available.

    Anyone have any thoughts about who Flames would offer the Yotes for either D-man?

  • Word from San Jose is no Glencross tomorrow, Ortio gets start #3 and Raymond slots back in. Unclear if Smid swaps in for Diaz as of yet.

    If Glencross needs to go on IR, the Baby Flames are at home this weekend.

    • Derzie

      Likewise Bouma has 5A and is +6 with minutes cranking up from 10:55 each game to lately 20:17! (Granted Glencross went down so more mins for him) Not to mention a whack of hits and blocks mixed in for him

    • Kybb79

      WOOOOW Yandle is valuable but no where close to what you’re purposing.

      I wouldn’t trade Backlund either. He’s a 25 year old player that’s taken a little longer to reach his potential. He’s finally put it all together and showing that he still has more to offer. He’s the perfect example of developing a player and being patient. His stat’s aren’t impressive but anyone with an analytic background puts Mikael in high regard and that make’s a lot of sense to me.

      Could you imagine Backs in Detroit?

      Can you imagine how much our young guys respect him?

      I hope the new contract talks have already started.

      • Kybb79

        I get why you think that is overpayment but sometimes you overpay to get what you want! Can you imagine Yandle in a Flames Jersey or would you rather have Wideman?

  • supra steve

    Backs is valuable, no question. I’m not saying that he SHOULD be traded, but if there is a surplus at the C position, then it needs to be considered (along with a lot of other possibilities).

    The Flames have, by most accounts, had a great season. Backs has played in 15 of their 44 games. He has a history of injuries. In previous seasons he played 76/83 games, 32/48, 41/82, 73/82.

    Again, I like his play. But no one is above being traded, if the price is right.

    The dreams of moving Glencross (or some collection of spare parts) for a young top 4 D-man are just that–DREAMS.

    So what other options are out there?

    • supra steve

      The rental market is going to be very weak, you the likes of Jersey, Columbus, Oilers & Buffalo like usual, Carolina, screams of selling in Leaf land, Arizona to name a few looking poised at being sellers in the next month or so. Combine that with the fact the buyers want bargain basement prices for rentals that are UFA pending & that adds up to not a lot of value for the likes of GlenX & Ramo (still don’t know how we got a 2nd for Berra but he did score a goal in the AHL last night).

      So trades are going to have to be value for value. I wonder, & be gentle on me because I know initial reactions will be WTF. But I read that Kassian might be getting shopped in Vanc. Yeah I know he had a high pedigree & has struggled living up that hyped up power forward Buffalo thought they had when he was playing in the WJ’s & hasn’t faired much better in Vanc. But he is still young enough. Would a trade like GlenX & Reinhart for Kassian be sensible for both teams. GlenX may waive because it’s only a 1 hour flight & 1 hour drive to the ranch. & I think Reinhart will actually have a better shot cracking the 3rd or 4th lines in Vanc. GlenX would fit pretty good in Vanc with Bonino. I know everyone thinks Ferlund will be our power forward, but I wouldn’t mind having a Kassian in there as well as Ferlund has been injury prone to some extent. Not that Im writing him off but he’s falling into that category with Seiloff of intriguing potential if they could ever stay healthy.

      Point is if we add youth to our rentals we have a shot of extracting a better value. Otherwise, I don’t see too much excitement at the TDL for us.

      • supra steve

        I don’t know. Kassian? I can’t say I have really studied his play, but my knee-jerk impression of him is that he is a real yappy, chippy, Neanderthal, D-bag. Not the kind of guy you hate on another team but love on your own team. More the type you hate no matter what team he’s on.

        But, never say never.

      • piscera.infada

        I see what you’re saying, and I agree with the general thought process, but Kassian is a bum. I think he has been largely over-rated for the majority of his career. Best case scenario at this point is he turns into an inferior Marchand–although much more of a headcase. He just strikes me as the kind of player whose on-ice garbage hurts the team more than helps it.

    • piscera.infada

      “if there is a surplus at the C position’, first there is not a surplus of quality centers on this team Currently we have Backs, Monahan, and Stajan as NHL centers. Everyone else has proven they are NHL centermen. To be competitive you need at least 4 and would be better off with 6 (2 playing on the wing) but can be moved when needed.

      • piscera.infada

        I agree with you, but I also agree with the tenor of @suba steve‘s above point. He was never saying “trade Backlund” straight up, but rather that you always have to be open. I would say Gaudreau, Monahan, Brodie, and Bennett are the guys where you would have a very hard time moving the dial on with Flames’ management. Backlund is a big piece of this team, but looking down at some of the upcoming centre prospects there are players that look as though they could potentially hack it as 3c’s in time (ie. Granlund, Arnold, Shore). Yes, we don’t know definitively if they’ll ever reach that, but that’s the point of roster building, right?

        So back to the original point, if Arizona were to come along and offer (purely for argument’s sake–I know this would never happen) Oliver Ekman-Larsson for Backlund and Seiloff, would you not take that offer and run? That would immediately shore-up our issues defensively not only short-term but long-term as well. Like I said, won’t happen with that particular player, but I think you get my point. Everyone is moveable, but I don’t put Backlund (as much as I like his game) in the same category as the above noted four, as I think you can find a player that can replace that role in the future.

        That’s all he’s saying. Don’t go looking to trade Backlund. I’d be perfectly happy with him on this team for the next 6 years. However, you have to be receptive to offers, because you never know when a GM will do something stupid.

        • piscera.infada

          My problem is with the “premise” that we have a surplus at center which has not been proven. I agree with the idea that other than the 4(I think Bennett will be great but he has not proven anything) you mentioned and I would likely add at this minute Gio that we need to look at all options. Arnold is hurt, Granlund still needs more development(I like him but his role will very different than Backs) and Shore is still unproven at the NHL level. How many years did this team fail to meet expectations because of the lack of depth at center.

          • piscera.infada

            Read that again. I agree none of those guys have proven anything. But we know you need to give to get. We know our biggest deficiencies. The thought that some team will give us a young, legitimate top-4 defenseman for one (or two) of those players that “hasn’t proven anything yet” (which again, I agree they haven’t), is patently false. That’s not to say trading Backlund is the only option, but something nags at me that he is the guy most teams are calling about. If that’s the case, they’re offering you a very good return, and you have players with potential at the position, it’s one of those cases where you may have to jump on it.

          • supra steve

            I won’t say you are wrong, cause you are not. But if the plan is to try to convert some of your surpluses to add to your deficiencies, then what are those surpluses? I see a deficiency at RW and at D. Now some of your C depth could fill in at RW, that is reasonable. Short of drafting it though, how do you add to the D?

            If the Flames go into the 2015 draft with, lets say the #8 pick. If their pick is up and the club’s draft list has a C or a LW at #4 on their list (with #1-3 on their list already picked), and their next D man is #6 on their list—then I want them to follow the list. They worked hard on that list and I hope to heaven that they follow it. You pick the most valuable asset, and then fill deficiencies later via trade or free agency.

            Backs is a valuable guy to have on the Flames, but if another club comes along offering a young “sure thing” D-man, you really have to listen and consider such an offer. Where would the Preds be right now if they had just labeled Erat as an untouchable , no matter what the return offered? If someone offers an attractive package for Backs, you have to consider moving him.