The 2017 Playoff Chase: getting bye

Welcome to the fifth week of our Western Conference playoff race coverage. The Calgary Flames are on a break. Unlike Ross and Rachel on Friends, this is a regularly scheduled break in the hefty NHL schedule that every team gets and isn’t something for us to debate. As a result of the Flames’ bye, expect the standings to change quite a bit over the next seven days,

Let’s check out the race as we begin the weekend!

WHERE THEY STAND

Team
GP
W
Pts
Pct
ROW
Div
Chances % Change
Wild 53 35 76 .717 33 CEN 100% none
Blackhawks 55 33 71 .645 31 CEN 99.8% up 0.7%
Sharks 55 33 72 .636 31 PAC 99.9% down 0.1%
Ducks 56 29 68 .607 27 PAC 97.4% down 0.7%
Oilers 55 29 66 .600 25 PAC 98.8% up 0.1%
Blues 55 28 61 .555 27 CEN 83.8% up 21.8%
Predators 54 26 60 .556 24 CEN 79.7% down 6.3%
Kings 55 28 60 .545 27 PAC 83.0% down 3.7%
Flames
56 28 59 .527 25 PAC 41.9% up 10.9%
Canucks 54 24 54 .500 20 PAC 5.3% down 1.7%
Jets 56 25 54 .482 23 CEN 7.6% down 12.6%
Stars 55 21 52 .473 21 CEN 2.7% down 8.6%
Coyotes 52 17 41 .394 12 PAC 0.0% none
Avalanche 51 15 32 .314 15 PAC 0.0% none

(Chances courtesy Sports Club Stats.)

The Flames head into the weekend ninth in the Western Conference by either commonly-used measure – points or points percentage. They’re basically in the same situation they were a week ago, though the playoff picture has simplified around them.

There are basically nine teams fighting for eight playoff spots right now. Minnesota, Chicago, San Jose, Anaheim and Edmonton are pretty much locks. St. Louis, Nashville, Los Angeles and Calgary are vying for the three remaining spots. Winnipeg, Vancouver and Dallas are in “win or fall entirely out of the picture” territory, while Arizona and Colorado are flat-out done.

If the playoffs began today, the Flames would be golfing.

THIS PAST WEEK

The Flames won two of their three games since last Friday, and they played pretty well in all three games. They beat New Jersey (in overtime) and Pittsburgh (in a shootout), and narrowly lost in regulation to the New York Rangers.

THIS COMING WEEK

The Flames play twice in the next week. They play Monday against Arizona and Wednesday against Philadelphia, with both games taking place at home.

As for the teams the Flames are chasing?

  • St. Louis (one game in hand, two points up) plays three games against Montreal, Detroit and Vancouver.
  • Nashville (two games in hand, one point up) plays twice against Florida and Dallas.
  • Los Angeles (one game in hand, one point up) plays just once, against Arizona, as they too have their bye week this week.
  • Graham

    We have several teams in a bind as to who to protect and who not to expose. Can the Flames trade for one of the guys that a club has to expose (and doesn’t want to loose)for the remainder of the season and flip them back to the original club next season. We will trade a 2017 3rd rounder for player X and then trade X back in the off season for a second rounder?
    Kind of a rental in reverse. Would this be allowed?

  • cunning_linguist

    It’s crazy, just goes to show how important our season start is. Imagine if we could somehow erase that 5-10-1 start. The encouraging thing is, despite our growing pains this year, we’re still in the conversation. Next year, even if we somehow didn’t manage to upgrade our roster, I truly believe we can start to consider ourselves a perennial playoff team.

  • freethe flames

    The Flames remain in the playoff hunt and with a couple of the right moves could make the playoffs and this would go a long way into helping this team be better in the long run. The first move is addition by subtraction and means GG has to give a little on the whole L/R defenders; sitting Wideman and playing Kulak with TJ could improve this team w/o doing any additions. This would cost nothing.

    The Flames could use an upgrade on the third line which is now Versteeg/Bennett/Chiasson. In other articles today we have discussed a number of possibilities and quite frankly we could upgrade all 3 of these guys, if we somehow found a center to help Bennett(I still think he has a long term future) develop by playing lW and sharing duties on faceoffs he might respond. For me Versteeg is the trade bait; his playoff experience makes him valuable to some team that considers themselves a contender. He’s also a rental and a team with too many forwards might be willing to swap for him because he still has an offensive upside and they don’t have to protect him. He is also a minimal cap hit. Chiasson is bigger and a bit more grittier and a team may like him for the long grind but you will not get as much for him.

    We also could use adding another defender an preferably a RH with a little bit to him.

  • ThisBigMouthIsRight

    Speaking of playoffs…. Something Has to be Done down in Stockton!!!!! The Heat have Lost 10/11 and are not doing Anything on the PP… Its Abysmal and Not a good surrounding for up coming players to be around a consistent losing culture… I think Huska has lost the room. Time to make some Positive changes down there before its too late! Everything has tanked down there since the end of WJrs… Unacceptable!

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      It really has dried up for Stockton since the start of he new year. Mangiapane and Shink have disappeared. Our few bright spots are down to Janko and maybe Gillies. The older players are not strong enough and the younger players are not capable of taking over a game. I will be surprised if Huska survives past this season.

      • freethe flames

        Huska is likely part of the problem but I think our whole development program from drafting to development to transition has to be examined. Looking at our prospect pool and I’m using Haynes list of top 20 and 5 honourable mentions; I wonder if part of the problem is that we aren’t as skilled as we need to be (as fans we tend to get overly excited about prospects) and we then don’t surround our prospects with skilled enough non prospects. Of the 25 listed 14 are playing either in the eCHL or the AHL of these only 3 have been given a cup of coffee in the NHL this year, Spoon/Shinkaruk/Janko. Instead a tweener like FHamilton is with the big club. The Flames have shuffled Spoon and Kulak between the farm but they tend to sit more than they play; instead playing JJ as the 5th/6th defender. We also play a guy who is at this point a marginal NHLer 20 minutes a night in the 4 spot. How does this help in assessment or transition or even motivation?

        Up front we have 4 centers only 1 in the AHL.(janko and he appears to be a solid prospect) At the end of last year management purged our AHL team of overaged centers and replaced them with less skilled guys. Of the other 3 centers 1 in the CHL and is too young to be in the AHL even next year, 1 is in Europe, and the other is in the uS league going to the nCAA next year. So when I suggest BT should be looking for center ice help for this organization I really believe it. Our lack of talent and depth at C I believe has hurt the development of our skilled wingers.

        There are currently 4 goalies on the list 3 playing in either the ECHL or the AHL and the best might be the Parsons playing in the CHL. We do seem to have depth on D with Andersson(#2), Kylington (#5), Spoon (#13), Falkovsky, Morrison both honourable mentions playing in either the ECHL or AHL. 2 other highly thought of guys playing in the nCAA Hickey(#4) and there is an outside chance he might leave this year. Fox (#10) is a freshman and will not likely bolt the NCAA f0r a couple of more years.

        We are reasonably deep at the lW position with Mangiapane, Shinkaruk, Klimcuk(one of these 2 is currently RW with Janko) and Phillips in the CHL. However this might be our strongest position in the NHL at the moment. On RW Pribyl(has played center this year) and Poirier in the aHL with Tuulola in the CHL. Not very deep at all. This is probably our weakest position in the NHL as well.

        Other teams in the NHL have made room for their young guys to move up and down between the AHL and NHL and are either in a playoff position or have remained a bubble team. The Flames on the other hand continue to have tweeners or over the hill guys(overpaid) with the big club. Hopefully after this season and the likes of Wideman and to a lesser extent Engs are gone they will rethink their whole system.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    From at least the time Don Rickles made his famous joke, “I went to a boxing match and a hockey game broke out,” we Canadians have been told by one source or another that hockey will never sell nationwide in the US because of fighting. The American hockey fan hates fighting in hockey. Not too long after the Great One went Hollywood, he too denounced fighting in hockey and said that it was preventing the game from maximizing its huge potential in the US market.

    Was Gretzky shooting straight with us or was he telling us hockey fans in Canada what his American spin doctors wanted him to say? Was he ramming the Americanization of the NHL down our throats? For this discussion let’s assume that the average US hockey fan abhors fighting in hockey for whatever reasons. I don’t buy that assumption for a second, but if the Commish and Gretz say it is true, it must be, eh?

    I really wonder if the same is true for Canadian hockey fans because from the time I was introduced to hockey, I have known that we Canadian hockey fans love our goons and we love fighting in the game. That was true in the past and I maintain that it is still true today in spite of what the poohbahs of the new NHL and their lackeys say when they scold you with the oft-repeated messages that “Fighting has no place in today’s game” and “Those who approve of fighting in hockey are a tiny minority of knuckle-draggers who are being weeded out.”

    I don’t think that is true, not in Canada or the US. Fighting has always been an integral part of the NHL. We Canadians from the time we are kids are taught to revere the great fighters on our team. Timmy Hunter who in more than 500 games with the Flames amassed a grand total of 108 points in the fire-wagon era still remains one of the most revered players in Flames’ history. Archie Henderson has made millions of dollars as an investor, yet most Calgarians who meet him and recognize him as an ex-pro hockey player want to talk about his minor pro career where he was the biggest and baddest goon in every league he played. According to the new NHL, Calgary is a city where everybody is already a millionaire because average folk who speak to Archie are far more interested in all the fights he had a Hershey Bear or a Nashville South Star than how he parlayed a measly $5000 investment into a multi-million dollar investment portfolio. I defy anybody to talk to a true fan of the San Jose Sharks about the most popular Shark players in the history of the club without hearing the name Link Gates mentioned early.

    The keepers of the new NHL—the Americanized NHL—are telling us Canadians that fighting in hockey is a relic that must be eradicated from the game. Do you really buy it? I don’t. The American handlers of the NHL are denying your birthrite as a Canadian to love fighting in hockey and revere the goons. Are you going to let the likes of Bettman and Daly tell you that there is no place in hockey for fighting and if you think differently you are an uneducated, violence-prone oaf who more than likely suffers from anti-social abnormalities and pose a risk to the community and yourself?

    • RealMcHockeyReturns

      Wow! Conspiracy theory much? Did you company lose a contract to a US company or did your girlfriend leave you for a “Yank”? You sound ridiculous!!

  • freethe flames

    Here’s a crazy trade idea that I have to share just to get it out of my mind so please be gentle.

    To Pittsburg: One of Elliott/Johnson, Brouwer and a late draft pick or a B prospect for MAF. Here is why I think it makes sense for both teams. They get a back up goalie with a good history. They get a forward who can play in their top 9 with a playoff pedigree and would be a good longer term fit as a replacement for Kunitz as he is near retirement. They are in a window of win now for the next couple of years. The cap hit more or less works. We get MAF who should be highly motivated to prove he is still a number 1 that gives us a couple years breathing space while one of the young guys develops. We also get out of the bad Brouwer contract.(He has not worked out here) Both players are likely to waive their NTC to get the opportunity they are looking for.

    So it’s out there and I can let it go.