Photo Credit: Sergei Belski / USA Today Sports

Calgary Flames 2017-18 preseason schedule released

Circle your calendars for Sept. 18, because that’s the first day the Calgary Flames will play once again.

For the preseason, of course – the regular season will still be a bit further off, but preseason is the sign it is fast approaching. The Flames will play seven times over the second half of September in final preparation for the 2017-18 season.

The Flames will be seeing the exact same teams they saw a year ago in 2016-17’s preseason. All games will be played in western Canada, and the Arizona Coyotes are the only non-Canadian (but still western, and in-division) opponent they will face. Why mess with what works?

Once again, the split squad games against Edmonton will start at the same time, because staggering starts is unheard of. In this day and age it is impossible for a person to watch two hockey games at the same time, and the NHL knows it. Or something. (Seriously, they hold these games every year, they could just trade off who starts at 7:00 and who starts at 7:30. I don’t get it.)

Interesting to note: Vancouver and Los Angeles will play two preseason games in China (because growing the game is important, unless you have direct access to the untapped Asian market on the world’s biggest stage, in which case, it is actually bad, apparently), on Sept. 21 and 23. The Flames will be Vancouver’s first preseason matchup following their return from China.

Fewer preseason games may mean fewer chances to get ready, but they also minimize chances of injury. And this preseason should hopefully be different. While we can’t predict what ailments may befall a player in the offseason, like Sean Monahan’s strained back, we know there’s no chance of Mikael Backlund getting injured in the World Cup of Hockey this year. Also, Johnny Gaudreau has a contract now, and the Flames’ most prominent restricted free agents – Sam Bennett and Micheal Ferland – aren’t going to be worth a big enough deal like Gaudreau’s that saw him hold out until October.

So fingers crossed for everyone to be able to participate in preseason this time, and fingers crossed for a better start to the regular season, which should come soon after.

    • Puckhead

      Drouin is skilled but would not solve the pillowy soft (albeit highly skilled) issue of our first line. The second line is best suited as a development line for younger guys with good potential, and putting Drouin on the 3rd line would be a waste of talent.

    • Skylardog

      The boat pulled out from the dock, and apparently, the Flames weren’t on it.
      Drouin proved he could play in the playoffs 2 years ago, has been given a raw deal by Jon Cooper. We could easily have bettered what Montreal offered. Looks to me like TB got taken to the cleaners.

      Sorry BT – were you talking to TB on this one?

    • freethe flames

      We may value Andersson rather highly but I doubt Tampa does. It would have probably been Andersson and either or first this year or the second next year. Would you do that?

    • Skylardog

      Love it. Hey Raffy, how about Gaudreau, and Backlund (who we will lose next July when he commands about $6.0 Million over 7 years, for Tavares (who the NYI will lose due to them being a joke with a horrible GM).
      What I am really saying is that I hope it is JG’s last season as a Flame, because the closest comparison to him is the 2 Sedins. They will get you to the playoffs, but after that they will disappear when the hitting starts.

        • Skylardog

          You really think Gaudreau is a strong playoff performer based on what happened this spring? No even strength points, minus 4, 0.50 points per game, all of it on the powerplay. He had the most PP time of any Flame. Bennett got just 1/8 of the PP time JG got, and had as many points as JG in the playoffs. JG matched Brouwer as far as production goes. Giveaways coming out of his ying-yang. He is an amazing talent, but he will not lead this team to a Cup.
          Shall I go on, or are stats not good enough? Whoops, he also failed the visual test…

        • Skylardog

          Whoops – missed the giveaway stats – led the Flames with 8, Hamilton was next with 6. Whipping boy Brouwer had 2. Ferland and Mony had 3 and 1 respectively. Obviously Ferlands fault the line struggled, you know, with his 13 minutes of ice time.

          • Lucky 13

            Hey Skylardog and alter ego Raffydog why bother with all this nonsense?

            My father gave me good advice many years ago:

            “The world is full of nice people,
            If you can’t find one be one.”

            Be nice or just go away please!
            Thanks dog

          • Skylardog

            Really – Me? Puckhead says I am a “Tit” and Newbietwo says I only have 2 fingers.

            Raffy hasn’t said anything. At least be accurate in your attack.

            I only bite back when the attack is personal. And I only questioned Puckhead based on hockey stats – no personal attacks.

            Read the post again – Jibberish, jiggling… How am I the problem?

          • Newbietwo

            I didn’t say you just had two fingers? I was laughing at the joke completely not associated with you.. you didn’t even read your comments nor would I waste my time on a forum to debate

          • Puckhead

            Ok Skylardog, but remember you asked me for an answer. The problem is that sometimes you can be like that annoying dog who gets under people’s skin when they come over to visit because you relentlessly try to dry hump their leg and just don’t stop.

          • Skylardog

            Puckhead. The difference between you and I is that I come here to talk Calgary Flames hockey. I stick to hockey. I have fun with it, I agree with some, I disagree with others. I ignore most. I respect all, but will argue with facts and stats to make a point.

            You turn it from hockey to name calling and personal bashing. You jumped into me commenting on Raffy’s post and our mutual belief that JG is not all he is cracked up to be. But it is not hockey that you comment on, it is name calling, and personal trashing. You don’t want me to post, don’t poke the bear with a non hockey attack. I don’t and won’t do that to you. But I will debate you on hockey. For the most part I don’t start by answering a post, I start a thread. Nobody forces you to read what I post.

            I could say the Flames wear red at home, and you would trash it.

            You have no tolerance for a difference of opinion. You personally trash anyone you has a view that is not your own.

            Stick to hockey, I am sure you have lots to offer.

            As for me I will tell you this. I have an agenda. My goal is to get this team back on the right path by building a group of fans that want GG fired. When enough are heard, I am sure the Flames will begin to hear the backlash and make the move.

            Until then, I believe we will flounder with a darn good core of players.

      • Raffydog

        Guadreau can’t be gone soon enough for me, but Backlund I like, and would be sad to see him go, but if you can get Tavares, I think you make that deal. Tavares, Monahan, Bennett, and Jankowski down the middle, sounds pretty formidable to me

        • Skylardog

          How about Tavares between Tkachuk and Lazar (much like Crosby between Guentzel and Sheary).

          I don’t think you have to give up Gaudreau and Backlund for Tavares. How about line 2 being Mony, JG, and Bennett, with someone like Hayes with Frolik and a player like Klimchuk, and Janko centring 2 competent wingers on the 4th.
          JG suddenly becomes more effective because when you send out 2 great lines, the opposition can’t match them both of them. He gets away from guys that can dominate him.

          I too like Backlund, but would take Tavares for 8 years at $10.0 way ahead of Backlund for 8 years at $6.0.

          What I actually like is Backlund, Ferland, and D Hamilton for Tavares and Hamonic. (or another competent NYI DMan). We would miss Ferland, but they we won’t use him the right way anyways.

        • Jumping Jack Flash

          There has to be better things to do than hijack the post with your JG venom…it gets tired. It is even more sad that you two dogs are probably posting while sitting across from each other. We get it….Johnny small so Johnny bad (use your best ca e man voice).

  • Skylardog

    Funny how so many on here think the season was a failure. So many are frustrated by what was one of the worst playoff performances we have seen in recent memory.

    Yet many stick to their opinion that we saw growth last year. I do not totally disagree. We saw improvement. We saw some great progression. Backlund, Tkachuk.

    But were we not all more hopeful at what we saw in 2014/15 when we went to the second round? We had way less talent in that season, but way more heart. We saw career performances in 2014/15, and 2015/16.

    How many players had career years in 2016/17? How many of the core had career years last season?

    Yet there is an opinion that all is trending the right way, and a steadfast view that we are on the right track.

    On what statistical basis, other than possession, do you make that claim? And by the way, the top possession team in the NHL, LA, didn’t even make the playoffs. 4 of the top 10 possession teams missed the playoffs and 5 of the top 11.

    But other than possession, what stat can you provide that says the Flames are better today?

    So slam me all you want, and most of you do. But the season was a backslide. We all slam Elliott, but he and Johnson were the only difference between 2015/16 not in the playoffs, and 2016/17 making the playoffs. Ramo and what’s his name were brutal. Elliott and Johnson were disappointing but the difference.

    So go ahead – slam and trash, but produce stats on why we are better – other than possession. Convince me you are all right and I am wrong that GG needs to go, JG is a playoff underperformer, D Hamilton without Gio is a defensive liability. Convince me that we are better today than we were in 2014/15.

    • Purple Hazze

      Better PP%, better PK%, more shots/game, less shots allowed/game, better face off %.

      Now convince me you are right, that the 14/15 flames were better. What stats do you have?

      • Skylardog

        Excellent – Yes the PP and PK are better. However.

        We had more goals for in 2014/15 at 237 vs 222, less goals against in 14/15 at 213 vs 219. This despite the fact that we improved the PP and the PK. That means that we were way worse at 5v5 (which is supposed to be our new strength)
        PP – % is 2% better, but it only translated into 4 more goals over the season. We had 3 SH against in 2014/15 vs 5 in 2016/17. Net improvement – 2 goals over a whole season. 2% in the PP just isn’t much of a difference.
        PK – The improvement here was even less than the PP – 80.6 vs 81.6. Not much difference. But that translated into 36 against in 2014/15 and 51 against in 2016/17. On top of that there were 7 SH goals for in 2014/15, and 8 in 2016/17. Net is 14 goals worse in 2016/17 on the PK. Lack of discipline under GG?
        Flames were more physical in 2014/15 with 1782 hits vs 1550 in 2016/17. We were more physical under Hartley, and more disciplined.
        Shots – yes – better than 2014/15. But we were better in SF in 2015/16 than last year, and were positive in the net shots. Didn’t make the playoffs. Doesn’t really seem to be a factor.
        Face offs are a factor of age for a centre. Mony should be better, Backlund should be better. Important, but not a stat that many of us would attribute to being a better team overall.

        So we scored less this year, got scored on more. We were less disciplined, took more penalties, and were way less physical.
        Oh yah, and we had 97 points in 2014/15, 94 in 2016/17.
        We won a playoff series, and beat Anaheim once in the playoffs in 2014/15. Swept in 2016/17, with the team a combined -41 for the series, with no player a plus, and only 2 players (Lazar and F Hamilton even). But somehow we have improved 5on5. Facts – stats, say no. More goals against 5 on 5, less goals for 5 on 5.

        So lets talk core for a moment. I will use 2014/15 and 2015/16. 2015/16 will hurt the stats.
        JG – 2014/15 points/game = 0.80, +11, 2015/16, 0.99, +4, 2016/17, 0.89, -7. A plus player until GG took over, now a minus, and with better goaltending.
        Mony – 2014/15 points/game = 0.77, +8, 2015/16, 0.78, -6, 2016/17, 0.71, -1. He was better in 2014/15.
        Backlund – 2014/15 points/game = 0.52, +4, 2015/16, 0.57, +10, 2016/17, 0.65, +9. Yup – better – but we knew that and we know he has been developing into the best 2 way centre in the NHL over the last 4 years.

        • Thunder1

          Look at those Monahan god-stats… and you’re sayin’ he’s doing it on a dysfunctional team. Name me a better kid under 24 you’d rather have locked up for the better part of a decade as your undisputed, first line centre.

  • Rexx

    The initial barb of getting a picture of Johnny with the puck was pretty good, but then seeing the conversation evolve into a fantasy scenario where Tavares is a Calgary Flame?

    Yeah, okay. I heard the Blackhawks are looking to shake up and make a splash – guess that means Toews would be chomping at the bit to come play for our club too!

    Back on topic, pre-season is going to be an exciting time – I feel we’ve got a lot of competition internally and it will make each of these games very important for our 2017-2018 regular season roster!

    • freethe flames

      Yes getting back on the topic of the preseason. This should be seen as an opportunity for the young guys to prove their stuff but it can’t be done burying them in 4th line roles. Janko/Shinkaruk/Mangiapane need to be allowed in the preseason to play with better forward options and not be buried with the likes of Brouwer/Bouma/Stajan.

  • freethe flames

    In 72 hours we will know who the teams have protected. It seems like all the hype of movement prior to expansion has been just that.Seems to me that LV may just end up being the broker. Still hoping BT does something.

  • freethe flames

    With the trade and signing of Drouin for $5.5m; what does the cost of acquiring a legit top 6 forward become? Would the Flames be willing to pay the cost? What will the cost of acquiring a Galchenyuk, Niederreiter, or one of Miller, Hayes, Zibanjejad be? Might it not be better to go homegrown and give some kids a chance? Interesting questions for BT to answer. With @$22m to spend on resigning Bennett, Ferland and Lazar and deciding on whether to sign Versteeg and Chaisson, signing 2/3 NHL defenders (one of whom will likely cost$4m+) and 2 nhl goalies; is there room in the budget to go hunting for help up front. Miller and Hayes are at least signed for 1 more year at reasonable contracts but will likely require good size raises the following year.