The NHL season begins tomorrow. Excitement is at a high for those that follow the Calgary Flames, because they’re coming off a rare season in which they wildly exceeded expectations.
We did our roundtable yesterday to share with you our thoughts. But we thought we’d collect some predictions from around the various mainstream (and alternative) media to see if anybody else agreed with us.
(Spoiler: yes, they mostly do.)
The Flames might be in for a bit of natural regression after exceeding
expectations last season. Just the fact the team had so many comeback
wins (10 victories when trailing after two periods) seems hard to
duplicate. But they added two very good players and didn’t lose anyone
who matters from a roster that has balance and depth. Some of the
younger core players are one year older. And while the goaltending
leaves me a bit nervous, the Flames will finish behind the Ducks and
Kings and make the postseason. Third in the Pacific Division.
The great sportswriter Kevin Allen predicts that the Flames will be one of two Canadian teams in the playoffs. (The other’s Montreal, for what it’s worth).
Previewing the Flames as part of his Middle of the Pack grouping, Sean McIndoe is a bit less enthused by the local hockey heroes for reasons you could probably guess.
Bold prediction: Goaltending is an issue, and the
Flames’ starter down the stretch run is a guy who’s not on the roster
right now. It’s too little, too late, and Calgary misses the playoffs.
Greg Wyshinski penned a pretty lengthy preview, starting with a bloody excellent “Last Season in One Tweet” that you need to read if you haven’t seen it already. Go on, we’ll wait. And he has a fairly straight-forward assessment of the 15-16 Flames:
Fourth in the Pacific, back in the playoffs. They’ll regress, but not
enough to have the Canucks or Oilers catch them in the division. And
even if they do, they’ll be fun as hell to watch, especially now that
the Battle of Alberta seems worth a damn again.
Michael Blinn has a pretty to-the-point preview, predicting a second-place finish for the Flames in the Pacific.
The Hockey News
The folks at The Hockey News seemingly prepared a preview by committee, with only specific sections credited. Anyhow, they suggest we’ll see a third-place finish and a playoff spot this year.
The Flames now believe they belong. They won’t sneak up on anyone, but
they won’t have to. They’re skilled enough to hang with the West’s best.