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Photo Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel / USA TODAY Sports

Is now really the time for the Flames to go for it?

Talk this offseason has shifted to one direction in particular: contention. The moves the Calgary Flames have made this summer seem to indicate that they’re going for it, effective immediately. Just making the playoffs isn’t good enough: it’s time to win, now.

But wait. Just a couple of months ago, the Flames’ season ended at the hands of a first round sweep by the Anaheim Ducks. The Flames had to ride a 10-game winning streak to make the playoffs to begin with, and once they clinched, they seemed to fall off a cliff. Isn’t talk of contending a little premature, all things considered?

Should the Flames really be gunning for a Stanley Cup starting in the 2017-18 season?

Yes – the time is now

  • The Flames are still, all things considered, a young team. The majority of their top players are still in their early 20s, Mark Giordano being the lone exception. Most of their secondary players – not necessarily core guys, but incredibly valuable contributors you want to keep – are still under 30.

    The contract structuring isn’t perfect, but most everybody of value is locked into their deals, pending an extension here or there. For better or worse, these are the Calgary Flames for years to come.

  • There’s no sense in waiting around anymore. The Flames’ decision to start trading away picks signifies a belief that this is the group that can get it done. And besides, that 2018 first rounder may not be ready until five years from now. Five years is a long time; Johnny Gaudreau will be fast approaching 30 by then. Keeping an ever-present stable of quality prospects is important, but there’s a difference between being a quality team and being a contending team.

    Windows open and close for when you’re truly contending, and when you see your window opening, you have to take that chance. When might it come again? Is that potential first round pick who may not see any NHL action until Gaudreau is 30 worth more than Travis Hamonic is right now?

  • Earlier, Kent detailed some markedly improved steps forward the Flames have made. And this is key: he’s citing corsi, which is more of a predictive stat. Teams with positive corsi tend to make the playoffs more often than not. The 2014-15 Flames aside, teams with negative corsi tend to not make the playoffs at all, and if they do, tend to get thoroughly embarrassed (Calgary running into a similarly weak Vancouver team doesn’t change that; whoever won that 2015 first round series was always going to get annihilated by the Ducks).

    Over the past couple of seasons, the Flames have been steadily climbing up in that predictive stat. Corsi suggests the Flames should be improving, and they have been. There’s another step forward to take, and it’s fast approaching, if we’re not at it already.

  • Thanks to the divisional playoff format, in order to have success, the Flames will have to perform well against the Pacific Division. In 2016-17, they were 13-17-3 against their division, with a goal differential of -17. They’ll have to be much better next season, but the good news is that the division has lined up so they should be.

    Vegas, as an expansion team, probably isn’t going to have a great season, and the Flames get to play them four times. Vancouver is still in the early stages of its rebuild, and even with offseason improvements, Arizona has quite a hill to climb. Los Angeles and San Jose both look to be on the decline, L.A. in particular. That leaves just Anaheim, who has remained a thorn in the Flames’ side for seemingly forever now; and Edmonton who have, you know, Connor McDavid, a player who pretty much singlehandedly made them stop picking first overall, so.

    The competition isn’t stacking up to be great – and it’s very easy to see the Flames as one of the top three teams in the Pacific next season.

No – not yet

  • There’s a lot of things to like about the Flames, but they’re far from perfect. The 2017-18 season will be the second year in a row the Flames are starting out with two completely different goalies, and they still haven’t really had consistency in net since Miikka Kiprusoff retired four years ago.

    Is Mike Smith the answer? Maybe, but if he’s not and Eddie Lack can’t regain his form, the Flames are in for a rough season, despite their other improvements.

  • They’re also counting on bounceback years from a couple of defenders. Hamonic and Michael Stone were two of the worst defencemen in the entire NHL this past season. Their stories are similar: previously good results, but in 2016-17, both played for bad teams and both seemed to suffer for it more than their teammates did. Both players also have histories of knee injuries that could be of concern.

    The Flames are making a decent bet on the two of them to rebound – their playing histories say they should be better than they were, and they’re still too young to have fallen off a cliff as steep as they did – but if those bets fail, then they’ll be in trouble.

  • Unless Micheal Ferland or a prospect can truly solidify himself as a top line right wing pretty much right away, then the deficit in the forward group is still very real. There are a few too many question marks to truly label this team a contender at this time. The Flames have one of the most solid defensive lineups in the NHL – probably – but outside of Gaudreau’s scoring prowess, Mikael Backlund’s two-way play, and the potential of Matthew Tkachuk being the best of both worlds, the Flames don’t really have any truly elite forwards.

    Not a lot of teams do, but having a stronger forward lineup could be the difference.

  • Playing in a weak division is nice, but also has the potential to make the Flames look better than they are. Playoff seeding is important, but it means nothing if you can’t compete against your opponent. What happens if the Flames play a Central Division wildcard team who’s just better than the Pacific Division is?

    Those Pacific Division points will help them make the playoffs, but all bets are off once the postseason actually starts – and that’s to say nothing if they run into a team that gives them fits again.

Unanswered questions

Honestly, this boils down to one thing: if now isn’t the time, when will it be?

And a followup: what’s to be gained by another year of waiting?

  • C Watson

    Teams should be striving to win every season. That is why they play and that is why fans pay big money to watch them. Going for it should never be a discussion, it should clearly understood.

    • supra steve

      Every team should go into every game thinking “this is a winnable game”, I agree with that. But there’s a difference between that and a belief that “we are a legit contender for a championship this year”. This is the territory the Flames (and Oilers) are just entering. I’ve seen too many seasons go by where that attitude/reality was not there, but it’s there now.

    • HOCKEY83

      Agree…somewhat silly article. Every team try’s to go for it every season unless like Toronto and Edmonton they purposely tank the season for high draft picks

      • supra steve

        Placing Toronto (1 single 1st overall pick) into a category with the Oilers, well it’s a bit insulting to the Leafs isn’t it? If Toronto can be placed in that category, then I think you’d need to also include Colorado and Buffalo (who tanked pretty blatantly for McJesus, though we all know how that turned out).

        • Ryan68

          Edmonton played .500 hockey after the all-star break and had 4th best odds at McDavid. Toronto, Buffalo and Arizona deliberately tanked that year. So, suck on that. McDavid took a discount to stay in Edmonton. So, suck on that too. When we win the Cup before ANY other Canadian team, suck on that as well. Calgary and Toronto are going to be the also-rans. And why? Because, they’re Calgary and Toronto. And before you start with, “If the Oilers didn’t have McDavid they wouldn’t even be a play-off team!” mantra. Get it through your head, we don’t live in the world of “what if?”

      • Leichs

        I dont think there was ever a year that we actually tried to tank for first overall, we just sucked haha. And we got pretty lucky on the only one that truly mattered ( See McJesus).

        • supra steve

          I don’t entirely disagree with you. Your management team was completely inept at that time. Result was multiple first overall selections, and yes, that one very fortunate lotto win. For Edmonton fans it will be something to celebrate for years to come. For fans of other teams, it will put an * beside any future Oiler success.

          • Rockmorton65

            Plus, every hockey fan knows that without McSaviour, the Oilers aren’t even in the playoff conversation. They are not a good team, they are a bad team with a player good enough to drag the rest of them into the playoffs.

          • The Ghost of Alex Plante

            Rockmorton, the NHL isn’t like the NBA where 1 superstar can play 90% of the game and carry a team into the playoffs completely on his own. While I agree that McDavid is the biggest reason the Oilers made the playoffs, the argument that they are a bad team holds no weight. McDavid can only play 20 minutes a night (33% of the game). Doesn’t matter how good McDavid or any other player is, you can’t drag a bad team into the playoffs playing 33% of the game.

          • Ryan68

            You can put as many asterix next to our cup wins as you like. Toronto was the team that deliberately tanked to get McDavid. They’re just butt-hurt they got the consolation prize. The Oilers played .500 the last 30 games that year. Is that a team tanking? Flames Nation is upset because their best player is a dwarf who couldn’t be on our top line. Do you remember the 80’s. We do. And it’s all going to play out again.

        • oilcanboyd

          The Oil management was so inept at picking first overall draft picks that the current Management has already DUMPED 3 out of the 4 first picks..with the fourth one set to be sent packing this year!

          • Ryan68

            Who’s the 3rd? Eberle was 22nd overall. Nuge will have to go because Leon and Connor need that money. As far as Hall and Yakupov go, oh well. Live and learn. If the Oilers had have taken the best players in those draft years they’d be gone too. Because McDavid is by miles the most valuable player in NHL, and he needs to get paid! Sorry Syd, but you’re 30 now. And Connor’s better anyway.

      • EST. 1980

        I agree with this being a silly article. Mid summer regurgitation of what has been said on FN since the beginning of July. Killing time until a real fresh story surfaces.

      • Ryan68

        This is why the Flames will always be also-rans. Whining and winning are only spelled similarly. The Oilers never tanked, we sucked legitimately. But no more. Go on thinking you’re close. I think it’s cute. Like when my dog can’t quite reach the food on the counter. It must suck knowing that you’ll have to go through a superior team to get to the cup. But hey, you’ve got history with it.

    • Ari Yanover

      “Teams should be striving to win every season” is the exact attitude that had them hold on to Iginla way too long, resulting in a drastically reduced return for him and a significantly delayed rebuild. Teams should not be striving to win every season. Teams should be striving to set up for a window that can see them win as much as possible during then. Winning every season is unrealistic.

      • I sort of disagree, Ari. I think the players have to be insulated from management throughout the season. Meaning, the players have to believe they can win every night, but management realizes that is unrealistic, and plans accordingly.

        If a team is permitted to believe they can’t win and aren’t expected to, the product you’re selling-on ice-becomes poor and people won’t buy it.

        It’s the same as any business.

      • Skylardog

        Add Kiprusoff to the list of those held on to long, and in that case, we got absolutely nothing for a guy who was one of the best goalies in the NHL for almost a decade.

      • C Watson

        It may be unrealistic to expect to win every season but it is not unrealistic to strive to win. It could be argued that holding onto Iginla way too long was not “striving to win”, but rather “holding onto the past”. The purpose of every single game in every single sport is to win. Excellence may be difficult to achieve but it is the ultimate goal. Anything else should be unacceptable.

        • Ari Yanover

          So would you say the Canucks are striving to win the Cup this year? Because they’re clearly nowhere close – and it was their management’s delusion the past couple of years that has left them as far back as they still are.

          Was it the right play during the latest playoff drought for the Flames to strive to win, even though they clearly didn’t have the personnel to get it done and were only delaying the inevitable?

          Excellence is the ultimate goal but if you don’t have the pieces in place it isn’t going to happen, and trying to force is it only setting you up for a longer failure. As Flames fans we’ve already experienced this firsthand. Absolutely no team in any professional sport, ever, is going to contend for a championship every single year of its existence – and the smart ones will recognize that and do their best to set themselves up for periods when they can.

          • Baalzamon

            The Red Wings are kind of paying for that now. Worst roster in hockey and narry a worthwhile prospect to show for it. Doesn’t help that Holland is proving himself an incompetent when his franchise needs him the most either.

          • C Watson

            I have already agreed with you that it may be unrealistic to win every season but if you are not trying to win you are cheating your fans and your organization. Whether the Canucks or any other team finish first or last is really not even germane to the conversation as long as they are “striving to win”. If the goal is not to win but to wait for a window which may never open is to mire yourself in mediocrity.

          • But there’s also the danger that your fans cheer opposing teams when they score because they want a lotto pick. You need to remember Buffalo. That was an embarrassment.

            Also, when was the last time you heard a GM say; “We need to finish dead last to be successful”?

            There’s a balance to be struck, that’s all.

          • Flames fan since 83

            It doesn’t work to try to win every year. C Watson/Supra Steve, if a team were to truly go for it every year, then by that measure, your team should trade away your draft picks every year to win today and not care about tomorrow.
            You mention that fans pay big money to see them “go for it every year”. I’m a fan, and I would be very disappointed if Calgary went for every year. Because I feel that methodology would never get a Stanley Cup back to Calgary.
            Ari is right. Between Kipper and Iggy, Calgary was fooled into thinking they had a chance for too many years past Calgary’s actual win window.

          • Flames fan since 83

            C Watson, you said “teams must strive to win and teams must go for it every season”. “and it is clearly understood that fans pay big money only for this reason”.
            1. I interpret the word “team” to also mean management. And when management goes for it, that means trading assets to win this season. Assets include draft picks like a first and two seconds for Hamonic. Assets could also mean trading prospects like Parsons, Anderson or Fox, to win this season.
            2. I’m a fan, and I clearly understand that you can’t have long term success if your team “goes for it” every year! That would be a poor tactic and strategy.

            Now if you mean the coach and players should try all out to win each game and season, I totally agree. But that is not how Ari or I interpret your comment above. You did imply doing anything to win this season.

          • C Watson

            “Flames Fan since 83”
            When the Flames were consistently losing and missing the playoffs game attendance dropped. They made the finals in ’04’ and the building was full. Attendance dropped of again until they started to win again.
            I don’t know how you can say that “going for it” automatically means trading picks and assets. That may be your interpretation but it isn’t mine and never did I indicate this. Successful teams historically build their teams through drafting and development. They may make the odd trade which may or may not include the trading of draft picks but when they do it is because they are “striving to win”.
            Your interpretations are yours, not mine. Your words are yours, not mine.
            I do believe that the “team”, which yes, includes owners, management, coaches and players should be going for it every single game and every single season. Will they be successful? Of course not, but anything less than “striving to win” is irresponsible and unacceptable.

          • Flames fan since 83

            C Watson, I believe I understand what you are saying, and based on your last response, I think you and I mostly agree.
            But you have to admit, “going for it” was yours, and not Ari’s. Re read your original post at the top. You clearly state that you should “go for it” every year!
            Then, below my comment, you state again, “that it was Ari and not you that said go for it”, and in the next sentence you state again that “you should go for it all the time”. Not my words, your words.
            For me, and many others (including Ari), Interpreting “Going for it” means the time is right to “spend assets” (Treeliving phrase). Spending assets include trading prospects and picks. Translation on your comments on going for it every year = spending draft picks and trading prospects every year.

          • C Watson

            Ari’s summation of her article:
            “Unanswered questions

            Honestly, this boils down to one thing: if now isnโ€™t the time, when will it be?

            And a followup: whatโ€™s to be gained by another year of waiting?”
            And I am still clearly stating that they and every team should be going for it all the time.

          • Flames fan since 83

            I think the window to go for it is now. And most likely for several more years.
            But I believe there will be another time when we will need to pull back and rebuild once again. That is where we will differ I guess.

      • deantheraven

        Iginla had a big hand in the “drastically reduced return”. If the Boston went through, who knows where we’d be now. And you can’t say that teams with long years of success don’t ‘expect’ to win every season. The winning culture is growing here. Just watch.

        • Baalzamon

          Oh come now. The return from the Bruins was Bartkowski, Khokhlachev, and a first. We have Bartkowski now and he’s awful. Khokhlachev is now in the KHL after a grand total of 9 NHL games and 0 points. The first rounder would have been one pick later, and the Flames probably still would have taken Klimchuk anyway.

      • Ryan68

        I feel sorry for Iginla. A great player and a truly nice man. (I played poker with him once). I wanted the Oilers to pick him up just to give him one last shot at it. All kidding aside, I always hated the Flames, but I NEVER hated Iginla.

  • The GREAT WW

    You forgot to discuss the coaching situation……

    We don’t have the coaching staff to be contenders.
    What if after 20 games we have 18 points? Coaching change? Keep driving this team into the ground?
    We don’t have our first round pick…
    Better hope we have a fast start this year!

    WW

    • Lucky 13

      WW I accidentally hit the cheers button this morning… I use the cheers button exclusively, not the trash one.
      But for you I’ll make this exception… I’m trashing it!

    • freethe flames

      WW what if they start well do you then give the credit to GG? You may be indeed right that GG might not be the guy to get us to the top but he could also be much better than you think. How many people had Sullivan turnings Pittsburg around and winning 2 cups? This year GG has more talent on the back end to work with, goaltending is still a question mark(but lets see where it goes) and we still need a number of forwards to step up. My judgement on GG will be based upon what he does with what he has. But where the players end up ultimately is up to them.

      • Skylardog

        Actually Sullivan has the attributes that made the 2 wins predictable. He coached with a coach that has won a Stanley Cup, Tortorella, and coached in an organization that has won 3 cups in the last 8 years.

        Sadly GG has none of the attributes that wins cups (when comparing to the coaches that have won the last 45 cups) with the exception of one coach, strangely enough Tortorella, who won in his 2nd head coaching gig, and when he had only 1 playoff appearance. This almost never happens.

        Coaches with at least one of these attributes win cups:
        1. Won a cup as a player.
        2. Coached with a coach that won a cup, preferably in the year the cup was won
        3. Coached for at least 3 organizations, and at least 5 playoff appearances before winning. 2 & 6 worked for 1 coach.
        A Stanley Cup appearance, not a cup win, as a player or a coach also helps.

        Only 5 coaches that have won cups in the last 45 years have won without at least one of these attributes.
        4 of them had stacked teams that had superior talent, Hartley, Hitchcock, Crawford, and Carlyle. They were factors in the win, but the teams were elite, and many coaches could have led those teams to titles. GG has what appears to be a very good team, but it is not elite. For that argument see above.

        That leaves Torts as the 5th and outlier coach that won without the above attributes. He is the closest comparison to GG. His TB team had a ton of talent, but was not an elite team. Torts had coached in the NHL as an assistant for 3 organizations before being promoted to the head coaching job of the Rangers. He was then hired by TB.

        For GG to win a cup would be an extreme outlier in what history tells us is possible.

        And I will maintain that Corsi is somewhat predictive, but a very weak indicator of success. It tends to tell you who the better teams are, but can be near 50% wrong in predicting playoff teams. Regular season Corsi can have even less success in predicting playoff success.

    • Yeah Walter, you need to accept the general wrongness of you existence.

      The mandate for the coach last year was better possession and playoffs. Mission accomplished. Just knock it off until December, put away your tiny crystal balls and wait. If you’re right you can be stupid about it then.

      That’s what I’m doing with Bennett.

      As of now, you’re wrong.

    • DKramer

      I think I’m now convinced that if GG led the team to the presidents trophy WW would be mad at GG going into the playoffs because the presidents trophy team hasn’t won the cup in years.

  • Lucky 13

    I’m pretty excited to see how this team is going to be this season.

    Treliving has done as much as he can to make this window of opportunity available to us (we’re up near the ceiling of cap)

    I really like the signings he’s made and I believe Smith with his fiery personality is what this team needs. He doesn’t lack confidence and is very vocal.
    Should be a good fit for our D.

    Hamonic will be a solid player this year, bank on it!

    Never thought we’d have the window of opportunity open so quickly.

    80 days until official puck drop!

  • freethe flames

    There are a lot of question marks on this team; if things fall into place then they can be a contender. Will Ferland be the RW on the Johnny/Monny line and can it produce 75+goals. Where will young Tkachuk play? Can he build on last year? Will Sam Bennett live up to expectations? Will Lazar prove he is worth the price we paid for him? Will GG sit veterans if they are not playing up to standard?

    My hope is that the Flames allow some players to continue to develop and build towards being a winner. By the end of the season we need to know if either Janko/Lazar can be the teams fourth center. Can the Flames build a 4th line that can produce O while being defensively responsible? Looking at this team as it sits up front: Johnny/Monny/Ferland need to produce @75goals. I would put Janko(he needs to earn the job in camp) with Backs/Frolik allowing Janko time to play in the NHL and take faceoffs early in the year when Backs gets waived out. Tkachuk I would play with Bennett and having Versteeg be the other winger. Then I would go with Stajan/Lazar and whoever earns the other position.

    I do expect both Hamonic and Stone to be better this year as both have had time to truly heal from their injuries.(Orthopedic surgeons all say it takes at least a full year to fully recover from knee surgery; yes you can function and even play sooner than that but natural instincts and natural strength take at least a year to recover).

  • Franko J

    Traditionally this team has struggled when the expectations increase.
    I see no different heading into next year. They will still be in a fight to make the playoffs. If they are going to progress further they have to be better in their division.

  • Connor'sGotHart,Ross,Lindsay!

    By most accounts the Flames had a decent year last year. They showed that they should be ready to take the next step.
    If the new guys they got this year can revert back to seasons they had a few years ago they should be a big help.
    Looks like they are trying to win now. The one guy I really thought took a big jump last year was Backlund.
    Bennett needs to step up or he may be looking at a trade while his value is still relatively high.

    • Puckhead

      Translation: Bennett has the tools to become a star and finished the season strong. I really really hope he falters because what if Chia can actually manage to sign Drai (to an over-priced contract most likely) and the regresses? And he will regress if he’s not playing on the same line as my man crush ๐Ÿ’•. I guess it’s inevitable that we’ll have to trade Drai.

    • RedMan

      you think the Flames are interested in trading Bennett???? hahahaha poor trolling effort. You think Hamonic is a “few years” removed from being good??? hahaha…
      its just as likely Conner and Drai take steps backwards…
      Both teams are far better than they were 2 years ago… things are lining up good to have a real rivalry again. but you do need to up your troll game.

    • Newbietwo

      The kid just turned 21 I believe a month ago.. he isn’t going to be traded anywhere.. he is doing just fine and will end up being a tremendous player overall a lot more than your German.. Show me one full year of your German not playing with either Hall or McDavid and let’s see what he truly is.. Bennett will be a 50 point player plus within the next 18 months

        • Puckhead

          In this eloquently written little piece, Connor with a Man Crush is trying to tell us that he picked up a pair of Fancy Ass blue jeans with the fabled around the bottom of the world zipper the other day from Value Village. He is ‘over the top’ excited because they haven’t made these beauties since the 80’s. Anyway, he jumped into the bathtub and slipped them on. They were everything he expected and more. He put on his Micky D jersey, which helped to cover his mushroom top, and was speechless as he stood motionless, gazing at his brilliant orange and blue masterpiece. Look for Man Crush at home games, as he presses his bum huggin’ camel toe rockin’ dad bod against the glass every time Micky D skates effortlessly by.

      • Ryan68

        You do know that Draisaitl got 77 pts last year, not 50. I’m not saying Bennett’s a bust, but so far he isn’t top 5 from that draft, let alone as good as the best player from it.

  • See, I like the decline of the other teams. Gully referred as a changing of the guard. I think he and Ari are right.

    And our forward group depends on Sam Bennett. He HAS to pay off this season. If he does, it’s going to be a slaughter all the way to the Conference Finals, baby, McDavid be darned!!

  • Jessemadnote

    Predators core last year: arvidson 23, johanson 24, forsberg 22, subban 27, josi 26, ellis 25, eckholm 26. Neal 28

    Flames core next year monahan 23, gaudreau 24, tkachuk 19, hamilton 24, brodie 27, hamonic 27, Backlund 28, Giordano 33.

    I’d say both teams are ideally lined up for their window of contention.

  • RedMan

    Monahan, Bennett, Tkuchuk, and Gaudreau are still in a position to get better. Don’t think for a minute they have hit their ceiling. Still expecting 1, 2 or 3 players from the farm to take a huge step and be contributors, such as Mangiapane, Lomberg, Klimchuck, Jankowski, Fox, Kulak, Andersson
    this team has legitimate depth that we haven’t seen in years.
    A team like Edmonton has no depth…
    Flames are ready to take the step, even if the goalie situation isn’t clear.
    as for the defenders (Stone and Hamonic), I am not at all concerned… Stone is very easily the best #5 defender in the league, and Hamonic will fit perfectly with Brodie and compliment each other, and both players will show the benefits of the union. and we have great depth at D as well.
    Yes, the team has a week side – on the right, but then there are options there, including the potential reemergence of Porier, or trade deadline pickups. This team, while not perfectly ideal, is in a very good place to jump in headfirst and go for it.

  • Newbietwo

    I am really liking how this team is coming along.. there are so many positives but for sake of argument I am going to list some of my concerns

    1. Albeit very positive our top two centres are two way centremen.. on the top line we rely on Johnny to be the play maker and that works.. On the second line both wingers have been the playmakers.. on our third line Bennet has evolved his two way play very well.. my point being we need the playmaking of our centres to start showing more.. Centres need a lot more assists than what they are getting specifically Backlunds and Bennett.. I believe it is coming but it is critical that it does.. True two way players drive from both ends and every cup winner needs them.. they are all very young and this is the element I see them ticking up considerably which in turn will break out the wingers in this system.

    I am a huge Ferland fan and I think he is going to hit 40 points on the top line. My concern is I don’t feel that is where he slots in long term.. Long term I see him either on the LW with Backlund or most specifically on the LW with Bennett.

    I am been consistently concerned with Brouwers role on this team.. his speed and the overall fact that he kills a slot for a younger player to develop upwards.. that aside if he needs to be on this team slotting him on the first PP unit cannot happen anymore.. I see a lot more value on the PP as follows

    Johnny/Mony/Chucky-Giordano/Hamilton

    Bennett/Backlund/Versteeg-Brodie/Stone

    He had a major issue with taking penalties last year.. I am surprised an article on here in off-season hasn’t been produced comparing because it really was abysmal.. guys that were in the area of concern- Bennett, Bouma”gone” Chiason”not sure if coming back” Chucky.. We should be on penalty less given our new d core and that Bennett and Chucky will not do stupid things next year as often

    What is unique is that our first two lines are mixed awkwardly.. on our first line we need a true Powerforward “Ferland or Chucky” and on our second line if Chucky stays there we need a true 2nd line Sniper.. although everyone all off season long have been talking about we need a first line RW I actually strongly believe the greatest impact on this team would be to get a 2nd line RW sniper.. that allows Frolik to slot down which overall would strengthen our third line big time.. imagine Versteeg/Bennett/Frolik with a right shot playing left and a left shot playing right.. now you have a line that is two way with offence upside.. now key traits of a sniper is speed and shot so again we need a 2nd line sniper

    The biggest improvement you are going to see on this team because of the changes are

    First Line: Last year because of our D our first line had a ton of minutes playing with the third pairing which is just stupid.. they will now end up playing a lot more with Brodie and Hamonic which trust me is a major difference in driving play so watch for their CF to go up

    Second Line: Basically the same because they will keep playing with Giordano and Hamilton although I would slot Jagr on the RW here “hear me out”

    Third and Fourth Line: if Jagr on second line you slot Frolik with Bennett who can now be more offensive and with Stone on third pairing you will see Bennett have a good year

    Penalty Kill: Basically the same with Backlund and Frolik-Giordano/Hamonic you have amazing penalty kill then you go with Bennett/Stajan-Brodie/Stone another solid effort

    I see our CF go up 2percent, our goals uptick of I’d say 30, our goals against go down by 20 to 30.. Gents that is a major major difference

  • JoelOttosJock

    If the flames want to be true contenders i believe they need a #2 centerman, a rw to play on the top line, a solid 6-7 dman with experience and a goalie.

    • TheoForever

      They don’t need 6-7 dman with experience. Flames need to give Kulak/Anderson/Spoon a chance to get that experience. And they will not sink or swim because of 6/7 dman. If Flames decide to bring a 6-7 dman into organization, they should give away all their prospects, just give them away for nothing.
      It would cost a lot to bring #2 center, and between: Monahan, Backs, Bennett, Janko we should have enough internal options in the long run.
      As for RW, I really hope we don’t add another geriatric.

        • Puckhead

          He is our #3C though. I thought you were talking about Backlund.

          You have to admit that Bennett has been forced to play with a ‘dogs breakfast’ of line mates. He ended the season strong. If they give him some stability with players he has chemistry with he will be fine. He’s also young. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and see how he looks this season. I think he is going to have great year.

  • dontcryWOLF88

    Im glad the Flames are going for it. If it doesnt work out, then it doesnt work out.

    I dont play a lot of poker. But when I do, I go all in like a mother if ive got a hand I think I can win with. Of course, someone may definitely still have a better hand. Why not, though. At least its exciting.

  • Jobu

    My feelings are that the Flames have hit their window. I’m also sorry to say that we aren’t at the same level as the powerhouse teams. At least not yet. If Bennett becomes a top line player AND every underperforming player steps up AND the kids can come in and produce in the bottom six/last pair AND our goaltending holds up, then I would change my mind – That’s a whole lot of ifs. Worse case scenario we go on 3 half-decent playoff runs in 4 years and ty to retool on the fly. Either way I’m a happy fan.

  • fumanchu1968

    I think we’ll have a good team next year, but you have to be pretty much an optimistic homer to think that Calgary is a contender. Too many if’s to start talking about cups.

  • Bob Cobb

    Contention….seriously? Have another drink. Didnt upgrade forwards, have an overrated Defense, and a unproven old goalie. For all you who say the Oilers are nothing but McDavid…..he can drive his own line, so can Drai, leading scorer for Oilers in playoffs, then theirs RNH and Letestu, so we have the big advantage up front. Klefbom, Larsson, Sekera, when back from Injury and Russell, dont get enought respect as a top 4, then add Benning and Nurse, and u have the makings for the best d core in the division. Goal, please, Talbot over any plug the Flames acquire, so as the saying goes, history repeats itself, well the Flames couldnt beat the Oilers in the 80’s, when we had the best player and now we have McD for 8 years so good luck..but at least u have the Stampede!

      • Ryan68

        The road to the cup for Calgary runs right through Edmonton, so I’d say it’s relevant. To have a realistic chance of winning you have to be one of the 4 best teams in the conference. Calgary just isn’t. To win the Flames need to beat 2 of Edmonton, Anaheim, Chicago or Nashville. I can’t see that happening.

    • Puckhead

      Translation: I have absolutely no idea what I am saying or why I am saying it. I think I’ll stick to trolling my pants and have another drink. Sincerely yours, Corn Hole.

    • Atomic Clown

      Hahahahahaha “best D core”. That statement hasnt applied to Edmonton since the days of pronger, and doesn’t look like it will for the next 5 seasons. I will give you McDavid, Draisaitl, and Talbot, two extremely talented players, and one generational player. But does not a team make. Your 3C is making $6 million a year, and your 5th dman is making $4.5

      • Connor'sGotHart,Ross,Lindsay!

        They are not the best in the league but they were a lot better than Calgary’s defence last year and the stats back it up (7th in goals against )The fifth and sixth defenseman on the Oilers both make under 900k per season by the way,while your 5th makes 3.5ml.
        Letestu also scored 15 goals and 36 points . Not bad for their fourth line centre!!!

    • TheoForever

      The insanity is strong in this one. Latescu, you got to be joking. Best d in division, even if your hatred of Flames is blocking your synapses, Ducks and even Sharks have better d than yours. This is why every fanbase hates the coiler fans, you are the shining example of delusional. Your coilers just gotten worse, 9th in the west baby.

    • oilcanboyd

      Regression is in the Oilers cards….Tallbutt played out of his gourd last year..showed signs of slipping back in the playoffs; No Sekera for the first quarter of the season, Russell playing in the top 2 pairings? Losing the goals that Eberle scored (as much as you oil fans hated him) and not replacing them. Tighter checking on McJ like in the playoffs. Oil went under the radar last season – making the playoffs just makes them targets.

  • Connor'sGotHart,Ross,Lindsay!

    For Calgary to improve they can’t afford to start like they did last year. Right now this is essentially the same team that finished off last year with Hamonic Stone and Smith being newcomers.
    They need to be more consistent as well. They started terribly last season and stumbled into the playoffs losing 6 of their last 10 games.
    1 year of Gulatzan and now they should be better. There are a lot of good pieces in Calgary but there are just as many ifs on this team . Good years by Hamonic , Stone,Smith and Bennett will go a long way in helping them improve in the standings.

  • JusAFlamer

    Not sure why all the doom and gloom of “mortgaging future” is coming from.
    Is the team on the decline or incline?
    Are these moves rentals of aging players that are declining, or are they moves for multiple years potential benefit?

    While i do agree price was steep (especially for hamonic) where else going to get a proven D at that cap hit and age that “assuming” they turn it around will either step up and if steps up can get a good return on IF need to trade them a couple years from now?

    Would you prefer that they were staying still with a team that was missing a few pieces, or would you prefer that they were giving up and looking to tank?

    While i agree they tried to force the window of opportunity open longer than possible previously, no idea how can be so critical of the moves made right now. or is the insinuation that the window has already closed (which i do not agree with)

    • Kevin R

      These Oiler clowns are clueless spouting stats of a team that is different than last year by miles. Even with slotting Kulak as #6, our #4 & 5D is so much better than what we started you just can’t compare these two teams. The impact of not having to roll out replacement D at the 4,5 6 level will impact the forwards & how the coach utilizes his forward groups. Not into labelling teams that are contenders at this point, I do know the Flames are a much better team going into next year & look forward to games against any team in the league.

  • madjam

    If Hamonic can do as much for Flames defence , as Larsson did to stabilize defensively and physically for Oilers , then good progress should be made team wise . Finally , a good defensive defenceman ?

  • BlueMoonNigel

    How long will it take the Doomsday Defence to live up to its name?

    No one knows for sure why Monahan and Gaudreau struggled mightily for the first half of last season, so a lot of how the season goes depends on whether these cats are dominant or struggling.

    That is a very tough first 20 or so games for the club. Don’t want to see them get slaughtered in the first 20 and have to play catch-up for the rest of the season.

    Does Ferland continue to grow? Is Bennett going to take the next step to becoming the high-end player his draft position suggests?

    Does old Smitty stabilize the crease and does Lack not live up to his name?

    Many more reasons to be optimistic about the new season, but the games are won on the ice not on paper, so we will just have to see how the season unfolds.

  • Ryan68

    The road to the Promised Land runs through highway 2. It’s the 80’s all over again. A talented and promising team outshone by their hated rivals. Do you remember. Well the North remembers. And winter is coming for the Flames. Oilers domination to follow.