FlamesNation Roundtable: Will The Flames Make The Playoffs?

There are now nine games remaining in the 2014-15 regular season.

Rather than beat around the bush, we went to our crack team of writers and asked one simple question. (Well, two…)

Will the Calgary Flames make the playoffs?

Here’s how the responses shook down. For the sake of posterity, bear in mind that these responses were all written prior to last night’s game against Colorado.

Do you think the Calgary Flames make the playoffs?

Kent Wilson: It’s almost too close to call, but I’ll say yes. The Flames have enjoyed the favour of the hockey gods this year and I think they will ride it into the post season.

Ryan Pike: My gut says yes, especially when you factor in that Calgary doesn’t need to be the best team down the stretch, they just need to be better than the Kings. (And the Kings have a rough, rough schedule.)

Byron Bader: I’m on the fence. The fan in me says of course but more and more it looks like it’s between LA and Calgary. I just don’t see the reigning champs not making it. But I’ll say yes because I want them to!

Mike Caderette: Despite a tough-ish stretch ahead, I’ll say yes. Most likely into the final wild card spot ahead of Winnipeg.

Arii: Nah. I don’t trust the Flames to stay ahead of the Kings. Also, I kind of have to say no because I’ve been doubting them all season long, and they’ve been doing this all season long, so I can’t change now. I will not be responsible for them going down. I WILL NOT.

Beloch: Many thought this team was done when Giordano was injured. They’ve gone 0.591 over 11 games since then. If they continue to put up points at that pace, they’re in. It’s not a certain thing, but I think their odds are very good.

The Book of Loob: My gut tells me no, that it’s going to come down to an agonizingly painful last week where I forget that this team was never even supposed to sniff the playoffs this year and that it was a free pass that was all about developing and growing the youth, and in forgetting this I will fall into yet another postseason funk where all joy is lost, smiles fade forever, the songs of children will be dull and terse.
In this darkness, I will turn to drink, and with the drink, will be grim introspectives into my own life; will I ever feel the capacity to love again, to even feel at all, or will this ever present numbness where my heart once pumped life giving blood ever return to it’s normal state. Also, when are they going to re-sign Backlund? Why is Bollig still a thing? Why are all the worst players on this team still holding contracts that have 2 or more seasons left on them?

Justin Azevedo: I still think the Kings take the last spot. Flames probably miss on the last or second last day or the season. I just can’t see it with the dearth of separation they’ve “gained” the last 10 days.

Taylor McKee: I think the Flames will miss and it will be heartbreakingly close, perhaps even the final two games or so. Losing points like they did against Columbus on the weekend may certainly come back to sting even more.

If so, what are your expectations for how long they last?

Kent: Not past round 1. Just making the playoffs is a remarkable feat given the Flames roster this year, but there’s still a lot left to be done before they are truly a contender.

Ryan: If they play the Canucks, which it looks like they will if they make it, they may squeak out a series win. But my expectations are them bowing out in the first round.

Byron: Out in six. I see them getting outperformed (especially without gio) but pull off a couple victories, maybe a few comebacks, like 2007 and 2009.

Mike: If they face Vancouver, I’ll say they might have a halfway decent chance of getting into the second round. If they end up facing the top-seeded Ducks, the Flames will be eliminated in five games at the most.

Arii: That said, if they do make it, they’re probably out in the first round. However, I think if they play the Canucks there’s potential for them to take the seven-game series. Neither team is super great, and the Flames were one own-goal away from taking the clear season series victory, so… (Then they’ll be out in the second round, and out real quick.)

Beloch: There are actually a few things working in the Flames’ favour if they make the playoffs. First, this team just seems to get better as games go on. Playoff overtime isn’t 4on4 unfortunately (for the Flames), but I am willing to wager they can translate their third period prowess into overtime magic. Second, the Flames’ best players seem to be just heating up. The Monahan-Gaudreau-Hudler line has never played better than they are now. Gaudreau, in particular, seems like a clutch personality. However, this team still hasn’t fully compensated for the absence of Giordano. Can the Flames beat Vancouver, who is their most likely first round opponent? If they can play tight games and force the aging Sedins to go the distance in OT, then their odds are actually not bad.

Loob: Guess probably first round. Either that or it’s 2004 again, in which case, please ignore my previous answer.

Justin: They lack in too many areas to make it out of the first round if they do get there. This team has some nice pieces – especially when Mr Bennett gets into the fold – but having only one true top four defenseman and just 6 or 7 noticeably-better-than-replacement-level forwards makes it impossible to match up with teams that are running three effective lines, let alone four.

Taylor: There are a number of things I’m currently thinking about Flames-wise that I never expected to this season, one of which is the fact that a lack of secondary scoring may keep them out of the playoffs.The Flames are currently a one-line team but wow, that line is sure fun to watch. If the Flames are going to prove me wrong (and damn, they have done a great job of that so far) the Mason Raymond’s and Joe Colborne’s on the roster are going to have to start putting the puck in the net.

SUM IT UP

The consensus appears to be “Yes, probably,” and “out in the first round.” Neither are guarantees, and your mileage may vary.

  • Könniek

    Ideal scenario is to miss by one point, win the draft lottery and take McDavid.

    But that won’t happen, so better that they get in and nail their 1st round pick anyways.

        • Parallex

          I think the odds are actually a little better on winning the cup.

          Bubble team has a 1% chance of winning the lotto. The more conservative projection on the Flames winning the cup would be 3.75% (% chance #8 seed wins the cup multiplied by the current % chance the Flames get in).

          … I’ll shut up now.

    • Parallex

      Gotta agree with Dave, the ideal scenario is to draft 30th via winning the Stanley Cup… top picks come and go but flags fly forever.

      Having said that after winning the Stanley Cup the next most ideal scenario is miss the post-season by 1 point and then win the lotto. I’d rather have a Stanley Cup victory then McDavid, but I’d rather have McDavid then any other outcome.

    • If past history dictates future results the only way the Flames win a Stanley Cup is to have a former Leaf on the team who sports a bushy red moustache like Lanny McDonald. So who will it be, Stajan or Raymond?

  • Kpat99

    My heart says they make it and I am worried that my head is following suit only to be disappointed. I, like loob, am really starting to forget that I had dreams of McEichel dancing in my head to start the season and now I think I may end up crushed by missing the playoffs.

    • mattyc

      Look guys, even under the early season dire predictions it was pretty clear the Flames would never be in the McEichel sweepstakes at 29-30 overall. It was pretty much a consensus we would land let’s say 23-28. This season was all about development and it has exceeded beyond almost everyone’s expectations. Just look at today’s Gio, Hudler, TJB, Monahan, Gaudreau, Wideman and etc versus start of season. HUGE strides. If they make the playoffs, and I believe they have a great chance to do so, it’s a huge acceleration for the team’s development.

    • Avalain

      Ok. McDavid is awesome. Eichel is (perhaps slightly less) awesome. They are both going to be game changers. But honestly, what does it mean for the development of the entire rest of the team if they were fighting for dead last this year? I know our team gets criticized for their advanced stats metrics, but the team simply is not in the “bad as Buffalo” category.

      McDavid may be incredible, but I wouldn’t trade the abilities and growth of all our players for him.

      • Kpat99

        OK we probably were never going to be that bad just based on goaltending alone but has still been tough to reconcile where we thought we would be with where we are. I mean this in the sense that I am absolutely pumped with or position but it has been hard to convince my brain that bottom wasn’t going to fall out all season. I have spent all year with a cautious optimism and I just hope this continues.

  • mattyc

    Agree with Taylor…will come down between the Kings and Flames with the Kings prevailing. They are much more talented, skilled, a bigger team and will prove all of that on this upcoming road trip.

    A real heartbreaker for the Flames for sure…..I like our chances next year with adjustments to the D and goaltending…

  • mattyc

    Against my better judgement I’m going to say we eek out the final playoff spot over then Kings. The Kings are probably the better team, but the Flames have the inside track and tie-breaker, and the margin is so thin that a couple bounces will ultimately decide who makes it.

    Would absolutely love to see them play the Canucks. From a purely entertainment POV I’m rooting against having to watch the Blues who are so painfully conservative that it makes watching the games hard.

  • Bear in mind, also, that these responses were written prior to anyone realizing that Giordano’s primary mutant power is an accelerated healing process, typically referred to as his mutant healing factor, that regenerates damaged or destroyed tissues of his body far beyond the capabilities of an ordinary human.
    In addition to accelerated healing of physical traumas, Giordano’s healing factor makes him extraordinarily resistant to diseases, drugs, and toxins.

    If we do make it he will reemerge, to everyone’s surprise, for Game 1 of the first round.

  • RedMan

    I thought weeks ago they were in for sure, but lately it looks like they are gripping their sticks and getting away from their loosey-goosey nothing-to-lose style… their losses recently and the way they looked against Colorado last night, has me worried.

    that being said, this is the exact kind of scenario these guys need to keep developing to the next level and learning to play through all circumstances.

    My heart says yes, my head says it will be tough to stay ahead of the Kings of they keep playing tight like they did last night against the Av’s

    • RedMan

      it would be interesting to see a chart comparing where teams would finish sice the changes under the old system (with ties) against the new system, and also against a 3 pt system… where everyone would shake out.

  • Burnward

    Flames make the playoffs. In a tense series with Vancouver Sven Baertschi gets called up and scores in game 7 overtime.

    Right? That’s probably what will happen. Advanced stats support the likelihood of this outcome.

  • RedMan

    It’s unbelievable how well all the teams around the wild card spot are playing. We’re getting zero help from others, which basically makes every remaining game a game 7. At times, hockey can be almost unbearably exciting. The thought of missing the final spot by a point keeps me up at night. Dear hockey Gods – let us make it. For MacGyver’s sake. And hellos from Finland. GFG!

  • RedMan

    Gut check for me:

    look at the five game road trip – St Louis, Nashville, Dallas and Minnesota… three excellent teams plus Dallas who seems to have our number most nights. Plus Edmonton, who wants to lose every remaining game except the one against the Flames.

    I just don’t see the Flames making it. Especially if they have even a single period, let alone whole game, with the same energy they had against Colorado.

    Our dearly beloved Flames will, by my best guess, finish 9th. In fact, if they lose both remaining games against Dallas, I’d predict they land tenth in the west – falling off the cliff in the last two weeks of the regular season.

    if this happens – sure it won’t be as fun as the playoffs, but i only see positives from this season.

    Yes, Kings have a tuff schedule with six on the road, but flames have 5 on the road, and while the Kings are rounding into form, the Flames seem to have taken a slight step backwards, gripping their sticks or whatever. Plus, the Flames have a back to back that includes an early (3 pm eastern) game against Nashville then Dallas.

    Yes, I am predicting they don’t make it.

    Bright side:

    1) Phenomenal development year
    2) Win the draft lottery thanks to the hockey gods/karma who simultaneously reward the Flames for putting in an amazing year and not buying into Toronto and Edmonton’s pathetic tank job and punish the Oilers for doing the opposite. for years.

  • cgyokgn

    I thought the Flames had a good chance until LA dominated the Rangers last night, who I had pegged as coming out of the east. LA played like last year’s Cup champs. Basically we have to match LA win for win and with that brutal 5-game road trip coming up it’s going to be extremely tough. The only other team who could fall out is Winnipeg but they’ve played extremely well. But there’s always a chance so Go Flames Go!