The biggest developments of the summer (so far)

Its been a busy summer for the Calgary Flames, and it’s not done yet. The Flames still haven’t signed Sam Bennett while some wonder if there is another addition or two to be made before training camp starts.

Even with new stories still to come, though, Calgary has made a number of significant decisions this summer, and I’ve put together the five most important.

1. Acquiring Travis Hamonic

In adding Hamonic, and his cap friendly contract, at the NHL Draft, the Flames addressed an area that hampered them last season. While the pairing of Mark Giordano and Dougie Hamilton was one of the NHL’s best, T.J. Brodie was left in no man’s land on a second pair that saw a rotating door of partners. The addition of Hamonic is aimed directly at fixing that, as the projected starting pairs look something like this:

Mark Giordano-Dougie Hamilton
TJ Brodie-Travis Hamonic
??????-Michael Stone

Ideally, having Hamonic as a regular partner will see Brodie return to the outstanding form we saw from him for two seasons prior to last year. Projecting whether that happens isn’t a perfect science, but I think there’s reason to be optimistic. I say that because I think Hamonic is a superior defenceman to any of Brodie’s regular partners from last season (Giordano not included). Below is a breakdown of Brodie’s outputs with the four partners he spent significant time with at five-on-five, courtesy Natural Stat Trick.

For my money, Brodie looked at his best while playing with Stone, especially after seeing Wideman in that spot for so long. Statistically, those two outperformed their zone starts while still taking on tough competition, while Brodie admitted he felt most comfortable after Stone’s acquisition. For me, though, Hamonic is the better of the two when compared to Stone, even if they’re coming off comparable years.

Both players had difficult 2016-17 campaigns, but a look at the bigger picture tilts the scale Hamonic’s way. His possession outputs have historically been stronger and he’s been more productive on the offensive side of things, too. As such, Hamonic looks like the right call to slot into the number four role for next season and I think there’s a good chance that rubs off positively on Brodie.

2. Addressing the goaltending situation

While Calgary’s acquisition of Hamonic gave them a clear upgrade on the back end, I’m uncertain if that applies the same way in net. We all expected the Flames to make goaltending changes this summer, and they did by acquiring Mike Smith and Eddie Lack in separate trades, while letting Brian Elliott and Chad Johnson walk in free agency. But how much better is Calgary’s new tandem?

There’s no doubt Smith was the best of the four when looking only at last season. In fact, Smith was one of the few positives in an otherwise miserable season in Arizona. When looking at a larger sample size, though, Smith’s numbers are far more comparable to both Elliott and Johnson.

If Smith performs at last season’s level, then he’s definitely an upgrade. But, if Smith is closer to his averages over the last few years, we aren’t talking about a huge edge from what the Flames were working with in 2016-17.

As I wrote in July, I do think Smith has a couple things going for him in this conversation. First, he’s been a more consistent goaltender in recent years than either of Elliott or Johnson were last year. Smith has also shown he can carry the workload of a number one goalie and has averaged 56 starts since 2011-12. Calgary hasn’t had a goaltender able to shoulder starts like that since Miikka Kiprusoff was eating up 70+ per season.

Slightly lost in this is Lack, though. Smith is 35 and has battled injuries the last two seasons so it’s not inconceivable he might miss time again this year. Looking at Lack’s recent track record, asking him to take the ball for a long period of time is risky.

Regardless of how much better this year’s goalie duo will be compared to 2016-17, there’s no doubting how significant a story it was this summer. In replacing both of their goaltenders from last season, the Flames addressed things in a big way. Now we wait to see if it pays dividends or not.

3. Drafting and signing Juuso Valimaki

Calgary’s first selection at the NHL Draft in Chicago won’t affect plans for the coming season, but it was a big moment for the organization nonetheless. I really do think the Flames nailed it in selecting the Finnish defenceman 16th overall; scouts rave about him and he comes off like a really mature and determined player when you talk to him.

And, by signing Valimaki to his entry-level deal this summer, Calgary got some value added to their first round pick. Because of his late birthday and the fact they signed him to a deal before Dec. 31, the Flames will essentially get a free year of AHL development for Valimaki. Providing he doesn’t play more than nine NHL games the next two seasons, Valimaki’s ELC will slide for 2018-19 and won’t kick in until the following season.

More than anything, the potential of Valimaki’s contract sliding for a year gives Calgary some added flexibility. If he’s NHL ready come the 2018-19 season, then great! If not, though, his first year in the American League doesn’t count as a burned year and the Flames get four years of entry level restrictions for the price of three.

4. Re-signing Versteeg and Stone

While both depth signings, getting these two players back in the fold was still significant. Versteeg’s one-year, $1.75 million deal is a big jump from last season, but it still gives Calgary great value on one of their most productive players last season. Both at five-on-five and on the powerplay, Versteeg put up points at a really nice rate in 2016-17.

Versteeg’s deal also carries next to no risk. While I’m not expecting it, Versteeg could really drop off next season and it would come with very little penalty to the team. He’s on a one-year deal at a very reasonable cap hit and it’s more likely we’ll see Versteeg give the team great bang for their buck for a second straight year.

As for Stone, we already made the case as to why Hamonic is the better option on the second pair. However, that doesn’t mean re-signing Stone won’t prove helpful for the coming season. In fact, when looking at most of his outputs, he’s a much better fit in a third pairing role (HERO Chart courtesy Own the Puck).

Stone’s three-year, $10.5 million extension was deemed steep by some and I can understand that. However, he should be just fine on the team’s bottom pairing for the coming season. Furthermore, I can see a duo with him and Brett Kulak being an effective unit to cut down on top four minutes when needed.

5. Winning the Spencer Foo sweepstakes

While they were definitely one of the teams reported to be in the mix for Foo’s services, I think most were surprised when the prized college free agent chose the Flames in June. This was an important development for the team for a couple different reasons.

Most important, Calgary is getting a nice prospect. Foo put up 62 points in 38 games during his junior season at Union College and, at 23, looks ready to make the professional jump. We have no clue if Foo’s breakout college season will translate in any way to the NHL, but he still became one of the team’s top prospects immediately after signing.

But this was also a big win for the Flames as an organization. Calgary has signed NCAA free agents in the past, but none of David Eddy, Brady Lamb, or Bryce Van Brabant qualify as impact additions. They’ve missed out on bigger names in the past, though; they went hard after Danny DeKeyser in 2013, for instance. To land one of the summer’s biggest college catches was big and a departure from prior years.

  • BringtheFire 2.0

    I would have placed getting Foo at number two, because of the fact that he choose us over Toronto and the dastardly one up north. It says a lot about our organization that a young person who basically had their pick of teams choose us. Young players see stability and a plan in Calgary, and that’s a good thing.

    • Off the wall

      BTF, I don’t know that I’d place Foo in the #2 spot, yes he’s an exciting prospect but most importantly we shored up our D, got a work- horse in Smith and re-signed Versteeg who had notable chemistry with Bennett.

      These were the most glaring needs for us. Foo is just a bonus at this point.

      • BringtheFire 2.0


        You’re absolutely right about our “glaring needs” . But I was more talking about the image of our franchise. If Foo had ended up in Toronto or Edmonton we’d never hear the end of it. It speaks well of us that we have that kind of reputation.

        For example, I think Chucky and his pops actually wanted to come here. I mean, every player says that at the draft, but I think Chucky seemed honest and sincere at his draft interview.

        • Sven

          ” I mean, every player says that at the draft…”

          well almost every player

          A tale of two cities:

          He didn’t go first overall – he went sixth. But it’s possible Matthew Tkachuk was the happiest draftee of them all when the Calgary Flames called his name. He simply could not stop gushing about how excited he was to be a Flame – and it didn’t sound quite like the things you’d expect a draft pick to say.

          “I have 80, 100 friends and family here that are so excited for me because deep down they know how much I loved Calgary, and how good of a fit it is,” Tkachuk said. He then added: “They’re smart hockey people so they know what’s good and what’s not so good, and they know Calgary is the spot to be.”

          High, high praise for his new team.

          Tkachuk was particularly enthused to land in Calgary, describing the Flames as his best draft combine interview. He was impressed by Treliving and the management ranks he came upon and says he heard glowing reviews about the organization from family as well as his agent.

          “A couple picks in I knew that this was going to be the team,” Tkachuk said. “And I had them circled since I talked to them at the combine and visited them after the combine.

          “This is the place I wanted to be and the place I’m going to have the best shot.”

          meanwhile north of Red Deer:

          Jesse Puljujarvi’s command of English is limited, but the look of shock is universal.

          Puljujarvi was standing in the bowels of First Niagara Center some 15 minutes after his world was flipped upside down when a reporter asked him if he was excited to fall to Edmonton at No. 4 overall.

          “Um, no,” Puljujarvi answered. No translation necessary.

          • Anonymoustrollpolice


            “I couldn’t be happier to be here for at least the next 9 years of my career. To play in front of the best fans in the NHL and in our brand new gorgeous building has me beyond excited.”

            “I knew this is where I wanted to be and I knew a deal would get worked out. What peter is building here is something special. We have size, speed and skill and the best fans in the league.”

            “I really love the city… the fans are always amazing down here. I have so many friends and family here. It would be awesome and I can’t wait to play in Philly one day”

            No explanation necessary.

          • Sven


            all responding to local media in a way to ingratiate themselves with the media and to look good locally…..

            Puljujarvi responds truthfully – without coaching or guile

            The economist puts Calgary in the top 5 cities worldwide for livability annually………
            Despite being the provincial capital Edmonton doesn’t make the list… perhaps suggesting that it exists somewhere below Damascus, Lagos and Tripoli

          • Hockeyfan6778

            Anonymous you mean players who will be playing in same market long term are Saying good things about the market they signed in. Well that’s shocking. Unlike every contract ever.

          • Avalain

            I feel a bit dirty defending the Oilers, but who the hell would be excited about falling in the draft? I do believe that Tkachuk was genuine when saying that he wants to

          • Anonymoustrollpolice

            Lmao did you even read the article??? Nice try, next time read it first. Did you read why Pulj was shocked? He was upset about falling out of the “Big Three” like the article states. Dubois wasn’t supposed to be in the Big Three according most scouts. No where does he diss Edmonton or have a single bad thing to say about the organization lol In fact the article is a positive for the Oilers if you would have actually READ it. Here I will help you, here are some quotes from it. Great article thanks for showing it.

            “Puljujarvi was the third wheel of the can’t-miss “Big Three” prospects. He was the MVP of Finland’s 2016 World Junior Championship – not Patrik Laine, who went as expected at No. 2 behind Auston Matthews. Everything lined up for Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen, the NHL’s first European manager, to select a fellow Finn.
            It turns out that even when the Edmonton Oilers fall out of the top three in the draft lottery, they still end up winning.”

            “Puljujarvi somehow landed in Edmonton’s lap at No. 4 after Kekalainen went off the board with the third pick to select rugged two-way forward Pierre-Luc Dubois. His surprising availability put to rest any temptation the Oilers flirted with to slide down or trade the pick outright.
            Peter Chiarelli and Co. couldn’t get to the podium fast enough after the capacity crowd hushed when Columbus called Dubois’ name.”

            “I’ve seen quite a bit,” Puljujarvi said, with the help of a translator. “Connor knows everything. Very good hands, very fast skater.”

            “It’s a real hockey town,” Puljujarvi said. “That’s my image — that the Oilers play in a real hockey town.”

          • Hockeyfan6778


            You mean the one where he said he loves playing in Calgary and looms forward to his to be hear but mentioned playing for his home town team before he retires?

            1. He has many years before he retires and could even sign in Calgary after this contract and still go back.

            2. Practically every NHL player talks about how they grew up dreaming about playing for there favorite NHL team. Even us non NHL players do. So really nothing new there.

          • Sven


            Dude get a grip
            of course I understand the context –

            It was just too funny not to comment upon

            (nothing uncovers the insecurity of an Edmontonian like a negative comparison to YYC)

            but thanks for clearing that up


    • JoelOttosJock

      I think it more says Foo looked at the depth charts of Toronto and Edmonton objectively and came to a pretty apparent conclusion that his best chances of playing in a top 6 or 9 role over the next year or two was in Calgary. Both of the two mentioned organizations have a lot more depth at the NHL and prospect pool at the winger position.

    • Mr. J

      Leafs- Matthews, nylander , zaitsev, brown, Hyman, jvr, Marleau, bozak
      Oilers- Mcdavid, drai, cagg, rnh, kass, luc, maroon, letestu, strome

      Some of the guys foo will have a chance to beat out…. stajan, brouwer, lazar, hattaway, catch my drift?

      Foos quote when asked how tough of a decision to not pick your childhood team to play for instead picked a rival in the Calgary Flames. “It was really tough but at the end of the day this is a BUSINESS and my agent and I thought I would have the best opportunity to grow in Calgary.”
      Yeah no kidding. He knew with the forward depth oil and leafs have he would have no chance at making those teams. Then his agent looked at the Flames forward roster and I bet he grinned lol if Foo was a dman chances are he would have picked leafs or Oilers cause there d core is not as strong as the Flames. So cmon btf 2.0 lay off the “it says a lot about your organization” lol it’s a business.

      • BringtheFire 2.0

        Your post is wrong.

        Foo and Chucky both looked into the future and found that ours is a team that looks good for three, four years out. Yours is questionable in the same time frame.

        As a young player in a cap era, the money is all the same. The reason why Foo was so excited and Chucky was so excited is because the best chance for a cup is here.

        That’s why Foo came here. That and we know how to develop young talent properly. If Foo thought there’d be a better chance at a cup in Edmonton or Toronto, that’s where he’d be.

        • Mr. J

          Foo and chucky looked into the future? You do remember you guys picked tkachuk right? He didn’t pick you. That’s what happens in a draft. Read Foos interviews. No where does he say he picked Calgary over TO or Edm because of winning a cup. He said it was about opportunity to play. Facts btf facts. I see others even agree with me. Flames need 2-4 more effective NHL forwards before they even think about a Stanley cup. Look at recent cup winners… look at there forward depth and then look at the Flames current forwards roster. Ain’t Happenin.

          • BringtheFire 2.0

            I was saying they looked into the future and that’s why they were happy. No player is going to say; “I don’t want to go to Edmonton because their “success” is dependant on two players (Cam and Connor)”.

            And speaking of which, Foo had a chance to play with Connor McDavid, and said no.
            A guy who turns down playing with potentially the best player since Gretzky I-in his hometown!- HAS to see something ugly
            In Edmonton to make that call.

            Maybe it was the fact that Edmonton hasn’t been been winning against the Flames his his whole life, except for last season?

            And dude, please don’t go back to trolling. But if you do, make sure you’re around to take your lumps if Edmonton regresses this year.

            I’ll do the same if Calgary fails.

          • Mr. J

            I am not sure how or why you think Foo would get to play with Mcdavid. That statement Is absurd. Foo would not make the Oilers roster. He may not even make the Flames roster this year. Like I said look at foos interview. He says nothing about winning a cup which is a concern imo. He is thinking how does Spencer get paid! You actually think a almost 24 year old rookie is going “maybe i will get to play on the top line with Connor Mcdavid” pffff not a chance. He and his agent are thinking about 1 thing. Payday. That can’t happen in Edm with all the forwards that are better players than Foo at this point.

            And deal. If oil regress I will take my lumps and hang around.

          • HOCKEY83

            Mr.J are you this much of a blind homer or do you think the Oilers actually have more than McDraisaitl? Next season you will be worse office to your 11 UFA RFA main roster players so better make it happen this season. McDavid, Draisaitl, Klefbom and Talbot…one major injury to anyone of these 4 and you’re season is over. To think you have more depth than the Flames have is just such an uneducated fan boy rose colored glasses homer comment to make.

          • Carl the tooth

            No Foo said he believed trevling over cherrelli saying trevling was honest and genuine. It doesn’t really matter what the reason is Foo took his time and it was clear to him Calgary was the best fit .flames had him at previous camps .so he was on flames radar first .

      • Hockeyfan6778

        Oh no we have one weakness at rw. Our defense and goaltending depth is far superior then Edmonton or Toronto. It’s almost like every team has strengths and weakness with depth. *mind blown*

      • FlamesFanOtherCity

        You do understand that Foo plays RW. So that really leaves Draisaitl (assuming he plays RW with McDavid), Kassian, and Strome (assuming he plays wing). Players with little NHL showing to date include Slepyshev (LW shoots R), Pakarinen and Poolparty.

        The Oilers have enough good forwards to create 2 lines. Not a lot of depth there. After that it’s a crap shoot. Kassian is about the best of the bottom 6 on wing.

        • TheoForever

          Yes, but when you are trolling it sounds better when you mentioned the best players on TOR/EDM that don’t play the same position as FOO, and then list the worst players on Flames. Makes sense for someone who wants to piss people off.

          • OYYC

            Hey, Zaitsev is a right handed shot. A defenceman though, dang. Mr. J is technically correct that Foo would have a tough time beating him out of a spot on the blue line for the Leafs.

          • TheoForever

            @ OYYC, that’s funny, but how can we expect someone like ‘J’ to know something about hockey and other teams, it is amazing that he can find letters on the keyboard.

          • Hockeyfan6778

            Haha I like how they tall about how drai is such a great center. He was terrible playing center on his own line. Was not getting his stats inflated by mcdavid.

      • MontanaMan

        Well Mr. J – that list outside of McDavid and Drai is sure intimidating. Nobody would want to compete with top wingers like Kassian and Caggiula for a winger spot. Too funny.

      • HOCKEY83

        You have McDavid and Draisaitl…that’s it. Talent wise very few teams can stack up to what Toronto has up and down the line up right now. It’s a joke that you’ve listed anyone beyond McDraisaitl.

      • TriPPiNvdUb

        Its pretty easy to cherry pick the top 9 in the first 2 cities and the bottom 3 in Calgary’s. Your right side is even more depleted then ours and yet Steeger and Foo both choose The flames over the Oilers.

        Ryan Strome
        Anton Slepyshev
        Jesse Puljujarvi
        Zack Kassian
        Iiro Pakarinen
        Ty Rattie

        • McRib

          I’m a diehard Flames fan until the end, but I also follow prospects closely… Jesse Puljujarvi’s numbers in the AHL were second to nobody last year as an Under-20 to boot. Don’t be telling too many Oilers fans how much Jesse Puljujarvi sucks, because you will be eating massive amounts of crow the next couple of seasons. I’ve watched him closely for the last three years and he has never shown me anything, but the elitest of upsides. Patrik Laine has had a great start to his NHL career and he will be among the top goal scorers for the next decade plus, but Jesse Puljujarvi could easily end up being the more complete player of the two. Leon and Jesse are two of the most complete European power forwards to come around in the last decade, there is no reason to dispute this fact. Oilers fans trolling this site are obviously going to make our forward depth sound like crap and theirs sound amazing, which isn’t the case, but McDavid, Draisaitl AND Puljujarvi are all the cream of the crop.

          In terms of defense and especially prospect depth, I think Calgary has Edmonton beat by a mile, but those three forwards in Edmonton are enviable, so don’t show them it.

          • Baalzamon

            Puljujarvi could easily end up being the more complete player of the two.

            That wouldn’t be difficult. Laine is the most one dimensional player I’ve ever seen, and I’m not sure it’s close.

          • TheoForever

            You mean he had best numbers of the handful of 18 year old players, right? Couple 19 year old guys had better seasons. He could be good, but for some reason many Finish fans were not that big on him, citing low hockey IQ as one of the problems. We will see, hopefully he is a bust.

          • Where's the Lamb Sauce

            Theo Forever

            What kind of scumbag actually hopes that a 19 year old kid is a bust? Have some class, or is that not something you practice hear on FN?

          • TheoForever

            He is an oiler and that’s enough. Same, stuff you scumbags say about our guys. You don’t see the stuff your coiler trolls say about Bennett and our other prospects? Don’t be a hypocrite.
            If he was playing for any other team than coilers, I wouldn’t care one way or the other.
            Now, run a long with your fake concern.

  • Just.Visiting

    I believe that the biggest development is one that wasn’t mentioned-that the team has demonstrated through the choices made that the window to be a serious contender has been opened for this season, rather than 2018-2019.

    Another sub-theme is the apparent willingness to start tapping the AHL team to round out the roster (At least one spot upfront currently up for grab and the 6/7 D spots), vs doing Chiasson like veteran signings. I’m hoping there’s a merit based competition for the backup G spot too to try to mitigate a logjam at Stockton.

  • L.Kolkind

    All were significant moves, I think Hamonic was a solid acquisition although he cost far too much. Stone, yeah he should be in a 3rd pairing or if you look at his shot suppression and generation abilities maybe he would be best in the AHL.

    Smith and Lack, I would rather have Elliot and Johnson, Smith is 35 and costs too much, both in cap hit and acquisition cost. Lack needs a bounce back year he is still young so anything is possible, although graduating either Rittich or Gilles would have been nice. Elliot and Johnson are more likely to have a league average or better season.

    Signing Foo and drafting Valimaki were really big moves. Valimaki I didn’t expect to be available and looks to be a very solid pick. Foo clearly saw the lack of RW depth in Calgary and a very good chance to play in the NHL soon.

    • Atomic Clown

      I’m pretty meh about all the points except one: I absolutely did not want Elliott back. He was a subpar goalie on defensively solid team with the Blues, and that’s why his numbers were good. He couldn’t even handle a starters workload. And he cost us the BoA. I know McDavid is insane, but Eberle and Maroon scoring left and right on Elliott we’re nobody’s fault but his. Good riddance. We should have kept the 2nd rounder we gave up for him and picked DeBrincat

        • Atomic Clown

          I was not in favor of the trade when it happened. I’d rather we’d give up the second and a body for Raanta than Elliott. Watch the flyers suck this year

          • BringtheFire 2.0

            But Raanta was a near-identical scenario. Unproven starter, ready for the workload. If he had been traded for and failed, would anyone be saying we should have went with Elliott?

        • Squishin

          I was cheering the trade when it happened – Elliott’s numbers were so good, even taking into account the Blues good defence. Plus we had had such crap goaltending the year before. I think the problem was that Elliott folded under the pressure of the BoA and playoffs in a Canadian market.

    • TheoForever

      Elliott was bad, and there was no way Flames could have gone with him again. Seriously, doubting that Elliott will do better than Smith this coming year. Stone has been and is a solid NHL defender, at worst #5, on many teams #4, so, how you come up with AHL?

    • Squishin

      Haha. HUGE development right there. The Tanner Glass PTO agreement definitely changed everything. Like, before the Tanner Glass PTO, the Flames were nothing. Not even close. Like, bottom of the league terrible team like the Canucks or Coyotes. The poop under my shoe. But yes, it’s THIS that will make all the difference. Tanner Glass vaults us right into the upper echelon of contending teams.

      I hope you were being as sarcastic as I am right now.

    • oilcanboyd

      By the way, troll rain….Steve Kelly just retired from the oilers after 21 years of yeoman’s service! Oops: that was Shane DOAN, DOAN, DOAN of the Phoenix Cototes…

      • BringtheFire 2.0

        @ Baal

        You are talking to me. My sarcasm chip is BUSTED. I totally thought he was serious and it is OBVIOUSLY SARCASM OH MY GAWD IT’S SO OBVIOUS TO ME NOW.

        Like, I had a whole post planned…and everything…don’t know if I should comment anymore…I think I went from one in three decent posts to one in five…

        But, back to hockey! if he was signed, where would you put Sam’s new contract in the list? I have no idea.


  • Atomic Clown

    I’m pretty meh about all the points except one: I absolutely did not want Elliott back. He was a subpar goalie on defensively solid team with the Blues, and that’s why his numbers were good. He couldn’t even handle a starters workload. And he cost us the BoA. I know McDavid is insane, but Eberle and Maroon scoring left and right on Elliott we’re nobody’s fault but his. Good riddance. We should have kept the 2nd rounder we gave up for him and picked DeBrincat

  • Danomitee

    I may be in the minority but I’m a big fan of the moves made in net. Smith, so long that he stays relatively healthy, will be a big time upgrade over Elliott because he doesn’t turtle when the games on the line. The Lack signing is kind of a risk, but it also buys you some time to get Gilles/Rittitch into game shape and see which one can make the jump mid-season. If Lack sucks, or Smith gets injured you want your AHL guy to step in and not be ice cold from sitting on the bench.

  • Raffydog

    Biggest development is one that hasn’t happened yet, and that is getting Bennett signed. I don’t know what game his agent is playing, but it could seriously ruin this kids career. If anyone on the Flames has to have a good year it’s Bennett. And I don’t see how missing training camp for an extra million on top of the millions already being offered to him, is going to help. If he misses camp and the early part of the season, he will be way behind everyone else, and may never catch up.

  • Chris Prongers Rake

    It doesnt matter who you add, you’re grasping at straws if u think these adds will make a difference….still cant score enough even with Jagr or Iginla.

    • TheoForever

      Actually, Flames have enough scoring depth, middle of the pack last year despite rocky start, and a few key guys scoring below their normal levels. Those number will go up a little this year.
      The key here is that our GA should be down, with a close to league average goalie performance and our outstanding defense group.

      • Chris Prongers Rake

        No they dont, they have essentially the exact same forwards but added unproven Foo. They couldnt score enough in the playoffs, didnt score in the 3rd period until game 4 vs the Ducks. Are Smith and Lack really better than Johnson and Elliot? And your defence is overrated…

        • Flames fan since 83

          Your comment “and your defence is overrated”. Translated, you know that Calgary’s D is rated highly by many sources. Sources that make a living at rating hockey.

          And you “Chris Prongers Rake” disagree with those experts… ok, noted.

        • supra steve

          Talk is cheap. The season starts soon, then we will see if you are right, or if you are just wishing ill upon your rival…which is pretty pathetic actually. Good luck to the Oilers and their fans, it has been a long time coming, they deserve some good fortune. As for the Flames, things are also on the upswing, and this rivalry should be fun again.

          • Day1-Cfan

            Two thumbs up supra! I also wish good luck to Oilers and their fans. The 1980’s BOA was some of the finest hockey to ever be played and am looking forward to see the intensity rise again. GFG!

          • The GREAT WW

            (Can’t directly reply to Day1-Cfan because the designers of the comment section are inbred degenerates…)

            Except the Flames are now competitive due to good drafting, trades and player development, and the Oilers are now competitive due to SUCK and LUCK for a decade….


          • supra steve

            Oil did suck for 10 years, but the reason they are now competitive is one single lotto win, without that they would still suck.
            “the Flames are now competitive due to good…player development”. And who do you credit for that? Hartley, Gully, Huska? Kinda contrary to half of your act, isn’t it?

          • The GREAT WW

            (I would like to reply to Supra Steve but the inbred degenerates who designed this comment section won’t let me….)

            None of our player development can be attributed to Huska or GG….


        • Atomic Clown

          Mate, I’d rather have an “overrated” defense, than the defense up north where Klefbom is arguably the only top dman. Sekera is injured, and a year older, Russell, Nurse and Benning are all 5/6 dmen. And btw, please remind me the last time an oilers defenseman since pronger was ever mentioned in the same sentence as “Norris”. Gio has been, every year since he became captain.

        • TheoForever

          Flames will have a couple of rookies Jankowski, perhaps Foo, you probably only heard of Foo because he picked Calgary over Edmonton, but Jankowski is a much better prospect.
          Our top guys should be able to score more like they have in the past, since Monahan should have a good back to start the season. The internal growth that we hear so much from Edmonton in an attempt to cover the numerous subtractions, for instance Tkachuk, Bennett and Ferk just to name a few.
          No point discussing Elliott, the historically bad performance by him in the playoff sealed his faith.
          As for our defense, thank you for acknowledging how highly rated it is, and good luck with your #26 rated d, lets hope Talbot continues to stand on his head.

        • Baalzamon

          And your defence is overrated…

          Overrated huh? Well let’s see what the evidence says.

          Scoring chance suppression: 6th best in the league. High danger chance suppression: 8th best. Shot suppression: 6th best.

          Top ten results in the things defense actually has control over, and that was with Wideman, Engelland, and Jokipakka receiving regular minutes. They’ve been replaced with Hamonic, Stone, and Kulak.

          Yeah. Overrated. Sure. Are you seriously going to argue that Wideman and Engelland are better than Hamonic and Stone? Because that’s adorable.

        • BringtheFire 2.0

          Ladies and gentleman, the ON trolls have changed their names due to the writers of this site finally getting off their duff’s and banning their comments.

          You ON trolls are so smarte!!!

  • Jimmyhaggis

    Stone is a solid dependable defenseman. I question why so many people, especially here, can’t see his value. A lot of teams would love to have Stone in their lineup.