The 2012-13 season was disappointing for two key reasons. The first was a lockout that reduced the National Hockey League season to 48 games. The second was the much-overdue beginning of the Calgary Flames rebuild, beginning in earnest with the team trading away Jay Bouwmeester and Jarome Iginla prior to the trade deadline.
But there was a fair amount of mediocre hockey between the season beginning and Jay Feaster finally, mercifully, pulling the ripcord.
The 2012-13 season is somewhat mis-named, as the NHL’s latest lockout knocked out the entire 2012 portion of the schedule. The league finally got going in mid-January and played a 48-game schedule.
The Flames brought in Bob Hartley to coach and his first training camp was truncated. As a consequence, the club never really came together the way Hartley said he hoped they would. The team were quite inconsistent, alternating pairs of wins and losses, and going on five different losing skids over the course of the year. With the team flirting with a playoff spot in mid-March but not quite there yet, they went on an 0-3-0 California road trip which finally prompted them to begin exploring a Jarome Iginla trade.
The team went on their longest losing skid of the season – five games long – immediately following the trade. Their first three-game winning streak didn’t happen until Games 43-45 of the season, and was immediately followed by a season-ending three-game losing streak.
If the 2012-13 season was a game, you would burn the tape.
In Miikka Kiprusoff’s final NHL season, he started just half of Calgary’s games and won only 8 of them. Joey MacDonald, Leland Irving and AHL journeyman Danny Taylor shared the net with Kiprusoff and combined for 24 starts and 11 wins. MacDonald, a waiver pick-up, ended up starting 17 games and had the team’s best even-strength save percentage (.904), which was enough to earn him a shot at the team next season.
Kiprusoff and Irving started the year, so they traded away Henrik Karlsson (see below) rather than lose him on waivers. This left them with Barry Brust and Danny Taylor in the AHL but not under NHL deals. Kiprusoff went down with a knee injury and the Flames had to sign Taylor so they would have two goalies. A week later, they claimed MacDonald off waivers and sent Taylor back down. Irving underwhelmed, so he was sent back to the AHL when everyone got healthy, and the season ended with Kiprusoff and MacDonald in net.
This campaign featured some of the most substantial trades in Flames history. The Flames also traded away Mitch Wahl and Blake Comeau for draft picks.
- January 21, 2013: traded Henrik Karlsson to Chicago for a seventh round pick.
- February 25, 2013: traded Mitch Wahl to Philadelphia for Mike Testwuide.
- February 28, 2013: traded Joe Piskula to Nashville for Brian McGrattan.
- March 28, 2013: traded Jarome Iginla to Pittsburgh for Kenny Agostino, Ben Hanowski and a first round pick.
- April 1, 2013: traded Jay Bouwmeester to St. Louis for Reto Berra, Mark Cundari and a first round pick.
- April 3, 2013: traded Blake Comeau to Columbus for a fifth round pick.
- June 17, 2013: traded a fourth round pick to Florida for Corban Knight.
- June 27, 2013: traded Alex Tanguay and Cory Sarich to Colorado for David Jones and Shane O’Brien.
Feaster also made some prudent moves in the summer of 2012, signing Jiri Hudler, Ben Street and Steve Begin. He also signed Danny Taylor early in the season to a contract when the Flames ran out of goalies.
Give Jay Feaster’s scouting team some credit: the 2013 Draft was one of the better in Flames history. Granted, Kanzig, Harrison, Rafikov, Roy and Gilmour may never pan out. But that first round gave Calgary a rock-solid NHL center, and a pair in Poirier and Klimchuk with great potential.
RETHINKING THE 2012-13 FLAMES
The Flames were pretty rough possession-wise in 2012-13.
Their 47.4 Corsi For percentage was seventh-worst in the NHL. Their 8.0 shooting percentage was basically league-average. But the thing that really sunk them was their goaltending. Their 89.4 save percentage was the worst in the NHL by far. And by “far” we mean nearly a full percentage point behind the 29th-best team.