FlamesNation Mailbag: Goalies and rookies

Sometimes, things don’t change from the preseason to the regular season. What are we worried about? Goaltending. What are we excited about? Rookies. Let’s dive in.

Remember that you can write into the FlamesNation mailbag at flamesnationmailbag@gmail.com.

BendingCorners writes:

Who would the Flames have to trade to acquire Nylander and how could the team create cap space for his contract (assuming BT gives him the 8MM he is rumoured to be seeking).

Well Toronto is immediately going to be down their young, top line right winger. That means Calgary is probably going to have to send their young, top line right winger back. So buh-bye, Elias Lindholm. William Nylander is younger and has a better track record than Lindholm thus far (two 60-point seasons versus zero), so you have to probably throw in a sweetener too. Toronto needs young defensive help, so sending them Rasmus Andersson or Juuso Valimaki is a starting point.

That’s not enough cap cleared to make the deal work though. If Nylander wants $8M (irrelevant if the Flames think they can talk him down below the Giordano cap, but probably not happening), you need about $1.8M more freed up. That’s one Sam Bennett cap hit. Throw in a few more picks, and that seems like a plausible deal to me.

But you have to wonder if Nylander would be that much of an upgrade on Lindholm, and whether it would be a good look to essentially trade your first line RW (who was partially acquired through trading your previous #1 RHD, your previous #1 RW, and a potential blue chip RHD), a blue chip defenceman, your highest overall draft pick, and picks to maybe get a few goals better? Lindholm also has more of a defensive game than Nylander, so perhaps the entire thing becomes a very expensive wash.

There’s also the issue of needing to pay Matthew Tkachuk next season, and a lot of the cap taken up by Nylander in this hypothetical would be less to allocate to Tkachuk. If you’re paying Nylander $8M, you probably have to pay Tkachuk the same number. That’s definitely not digestible.

Tl;dr, too expensive, not happening.

I think it’s too late to hit the panic button. The Flames knew Mike Smith was old and had injury issues before acquiring him. It shouldn’t be any surprise to them that he is playing like an old goalie with injury issues.

Even with a pretty good sample of him playing poorly post-injury, they decided to press forward with him as the starter and one of Jon Gillies or David Rittich as the backup, even though both were sketchy in the role and certainly don’t have the experience or talent to take over the starting gig this year. They took the bet that he would return to form and so far have been let down. If they were going to press the panic button, it would’ve been in the offseason. They gave him a vote of confidence instead.

Obviously, these first two games aren’t 100% indicative of what’s going to happen with Smith this year. He’s not going to be an .800 goalie for the rest of the season. But don’t count on him bouncing back to being a .920 goalie anytime soon, because he will probably just be a .910 goalie. The Flames certainly could use an upgrade.

But the known quality goalie market has dried up, if it ever existed in the first place. Teams that have goalies that can be quality starters for the majority of the season tend to keep those goalies, and those with the potential to be starters are also difficult to pry out. Their most affordable option might be to sign Steve Mason, honestly. They missed the boat on finding a proven, quality starter.

I can’t predict the future, but I’m going to say maybe to the first question and definitely not to the second.

If the Flames can outscore their opposition every night, maybe Smith just needs to be average for them to get into a playoff spot. The team is certainly built to give him more cushion in case he has an off game (case in point, the home opener) and if he creeps back up to maybe .910, that might be enough to keep the Flames afloat.

Consistent starter is iffy. Smith has been plagued with inconsistency throughout his career so you’re probably not going to be able to guess what goalie you get on most nights. If the Flames have faith in Rittich/Gillies, they should certainly steal starts. Smith’s injury history has also limited to under 60 in his past three seasons, so don’t count on him to hit that number this season.

They are addressing it, not through taking a major swing, but through their own, slow process.

The Flames have been trying a tricky balancing act between bright-futured goalies and proven NHL puck stoppers under the current management. The logic being that you’ll develop a goalie into being your starter without rushing him while also keeping things steady in the NHL. It’s clear that the Flames have yet to master this, or even see results. Bad luck or bad decisions, it’s a process that has worked out poorly.

Let’s look to the Karri Ramo/Jonas Hiller years. The thinking was that at least one of them would be good enough to stick around while the other would be easily cut loose. Whichever one went, Joni Ortio would ascend to their spot (oof). That ended in the three-headed monster debacle that was partially responsible for Paul Byron’s departure. Neither goalie is in the league now.

Then it was Brian Elliott and Chad Johnson. One would be given a chance to establish himself as the starter, the other would be a fine backup, and they would reassess at the end of the year. With Gillies returning from injury and a surprising new addition in Rittich, the Flames looked like they would finally pull it off.

Spoilers: they didn’t. Elliott was too inconsistent to stick with and Johnson was only good for about one month. Gillies didn’t rebound well from his injury, and there wasn’t enough info on Rittich to proceed further.

And so now we are in the third cycle of this process under Brad Treliving. They have promising young players in Tyler Parsons and Gillies, but it’s hard to gauge just how far away they are, which is a problem when Smith’s deal ends this year. They’re basically banking on Gillies being close enough by next season (hence his deal, which is two-way this year and one-way next year). If not they have to hope Parsons is close enough to the NHL to actually be worth at least 20 games.

But if this iteration of this process fails, they have to take a major swing at the goalie market (they tried with Ben Bishop a few times, to be fair to them). There’s just too much talent on the team to be consistently let down through the same old nonsense.

Bennett is unfortunately heading towards a Nail Yakupov return territory right now if he were to be traded. Yakupov received an ECHLer (Zach Pochiro) and a conditional third (would’ve been a second if Yak scored 15+ goals that season. He didn’t). Not great.

Yakupov was rocking a 0.44 PPG before being traded to the Blues. Bennett currently has a 0.36 PPG. Factor in the disappointing results versus draft position hype, the gradual demotion from top six to fourth line, and being passed over and becoming a non-factor on the roster, and the parallels couldn’t be more similar.  If you’re convinced that this is Bennett’s destiny, Yakupov was traded in his age 22 season despite having signed a two-year, $2.5M AAV deal the year before. This is Bennett’s age 22 season, and he signed a two-year $1.95M AAV deal the year before. If the Flames trade him, a third is probably a fair price.

I think if Treliving wants to use Bennett to address a need, he’s going to have a rough time. The major need is, of course, goaltending. How many good goalies can you get for a player who is worth around a third? Probably none.

I would lean towards “no one” because the Flames don’t have any high end picks left in their system, but I think the player with the best odds is Dmitry Zavgorodniy. He’s been dynamite for Rimouski so far and is still relatively young, having turned 18 just in August. With maybe two more years of seasoning, he could immediately factor in on the wings. He scored three goals and picked up an assist while I was writing this. He’s good.

Juuso Valimaki has certainly had his moments, good and bad. The first game wasn’t his best showing, but he was strong in the home opener, mostly because he was stapled to the dynamite MMA line. He had the tough task of carrying Dalton Prout (81.82 CF% together, Prout had a 11.11 CF% apart) around but generally looked fine. If this is just a taste, you can’t help be excited for what he’s like in five years.

For the nine games, it’s going to be a tough call. Since they traded Brett Kulak, there’s no reliable, tried-and-true option for that third LHD spot. I doubt they would demote Valimaki for being inexperienced when the next man up, Oliver Kylington, is also inexperienced (more pro-seasoned, but less NHL action). I think they’ve handcuffed themselves to Valimaki for better or worse.

Dillon Dube is showing well despite the weird scenario he finds himself in. He’s been a spark plug who has come oh so close to scoring at least twice and has generally been fine in every scenario he’s been put in, but Dube’s been held back by his linemates, which isn’t really their fault either. His entire line has just finished playing their first two games in a Flames sweater, so there’s kind of no chemistry yet. While every other line has some sort of consistency on it (Monahan-Gaudreau, Tkachuk-Backlund, Bennett-Jankowski), these are all guys who have just met each other.

Given that plus Peters’ faith in them (matching them up against the Elias Pettersson line was bold), we could see Dube explode with the rest of that line in quick order. Dube is a speedy, strong two-way player with a clinical finisher in James Neal and an effective 3C in Derek Ryan. There seems to be some frustration after two games (which, seriously?), but it should come together shortly.

As for the nine games, it’s irrelevant to Dube because his contract is running regardless. He’s already proven that he’s too good for the AHL, so sending him down is probably a waste of everyone’s time.

  • brodiegio4life

    Really think they need to get Neal on the second line. The Tkachuk Backlund has been notorious for dominating possession but having a lack of finish when it matters. Well you just signed a guy for over 5mil a year who is literally a pure goal scorer. Neal needs to be on a line where he doesn’t have to carry the load but instead can be more of a passenger who cleans things up in the O-zone. Putting him with 2 dominant possession players who struggle to finish is a perfect match. Make it happen BP!

    • Hockeysense9393

      Good post BrodieGio! You hit it right on the mark. Wouldn’t a reliable 2-way RW like Frolik be somewhat perfect with Ryan and Dube? Dube taking FO’s on the left side. Really good defensive zone line with some offensive upside? That kind of makes sense to me. Tkachuk can play pretty much anywhere, so having him with another hardnose winger like Neal and one of the best 2-way centres in the game watching the backend. But why does everybody always forget Czarnik?? Flames really want him in the middle six.

    • Phockey

      Don’t disagree that Neal should move up but I think his mobility needs to be countered with two speedy players. I love Tkachuk but he doesn’t have blinding speed at this point.

    • Sol Goode

      Czarnik has looked great playing with Backlund and Tkachuk. Keep them together and let them form some more chemistry. I would like to see Neal play with Bennett and Janko instead. I feel like they should should get a bit more ice time to see if they can get going. It’s hard playing 7 to 8 minutes a night.

      • TheBear64

        That was the pre-season. Czarnik just doesn’t have the scoring skill to hang with that line, and it will become painfully apparent the longer he stays there. Neal needs to be in that slot, if you truly want that line to be an effective scoring threat. Why would anyone think that Czarnik would be better than a proven consistant 20 goal scorer earning more than $5 mil a year? Just because he had a good training camp? Look at his previous NHL numbers with the Bruins, and you’d realize that there’s no way he can come anywhere near what Neal brings.

    • MontanaMan

      Not sure I agree. Young defensemen are tough to assess but others, with less credentials than Vali, have made the transition well, like Charlie McEvoy. Yes, he played with Chara but the point is to put him with a veteran that can mentor him on and off the ice, like Hamonic. My opinion is that the Flames need to be patient with him but, given there will be low points in the year, if the big club is the best place for Vali to grow, leave him up for the year.

    • Bawcos

      I agree. Forget the trashes, 2 months ago everyone on this site had Kulak good enough to be 2nd pairing (or at least good enough to try). How much of an impact could Vali make over Kulak on the 3rd pairing? One more slide year is the difference maker.

  • FlushedOut

    Seriously how many times does it have to be pointed out the 9 game thing has no relavincy to Dube. His contract can’t slide another year anymore no matter if he plays 3 games or 82 games in the NHL this year. Only Valimakes can slide if he plays less than 10 games in the NHL

  • supra steve

    Why is anyone thinking about adding Nylander at this time? Seems to me to be lass about filling a team need, and mostly about “I want that” style consumerism.
    Add to that the fact that he’s a Nylander, and Nylanders suck. Skilled, yes. I’d put money on him disappointing just as soon as the ink is dry on his overpriced new contract.

    • JoelOttosJock

      Makes sense coming from a guy who drove or still drives a supra. Nylander wouldnt come here with our cheap ass GM. Nylander is a true talent. He is an upgrade on any line. Shake your head Supra..wait..dont..something will come lose.

      • supra steve

        If you’re going to attack a man’s choice of automobile, it is only common decency to disclose what you yourself drive.
        My DD is a ’13 Subaru WRX STi. My fair weather/weekend car is the ’88 Supra turbo.
        So, go ahead, make me regret my choices, what is it that a JoelOttosJock drives?

        As for Nylander, I stand by my Nylanders suck comment.

          • JoelOttosJock

            2008..edit button!
            I would only want to see the Flames sign Nylander to an offer short and if he came here, flip him or something for some goaltending. I’d like to know what it would take to get a SergeiBob.

          • supra steve

            As a car guy, I will rarely disparage another guy’s automotive choices, not to their faces anyway 🙂
            I assume you like your Durango for many of the reasons that I like my Subaru hatchback (lots of room, AWD, etc).
            I will further assume that your Continental, like my Supra, satisfies some nostalgic automotive need. I had been looking for a supercharged 5L Fox body Mustang/Capri, but when I compared prices to the Supra’s asking price, condition, power (500HP), targa top, and the Toyota quality of build, I made what I thought of as a smart compromise. I have had very little trouble with this Supra in the two years I’ve owned it. I do not regret this purchase, I believe it’s a better car than I would have got had I spent twice as much on a Ford.
            The motorbike thing, I get it. I rode Honda dirt bikes, a LOT, on our farm in my youth. I rode them enough then to not feel any desire to have one now…but I can understand the lure of them, though my tastes would again lead me to a Japanese brand over HD.

            Sorry for rambling, Happy Thanksgiving.

          • JoelOttosJock

            Not rambling! I took a shot at you because I figured you could handle it and be able to be witty and have a fun back and forth. Very nostalgic. Especially the 81 Harley it’s the year I was born. The Lincoln sorta fell in my lap. Enjoy your turkey day Steve! Gobble gobble!

          • Getpucksdeep

            I drag raced an old Camaro for years before Race City closed. Those WRX’s haul freight. 13.5-14 out of the box! I wouldn’t own one but love those 60s era Lincolns!

          • Score When I like Nieuwendyk

            Bennett and Hamonic for Nylander. Play Nylander with Tkachuk and Backlund. Play Dube on second line with Jankowski and Neal. Bumps Ryan to fourth line where he should be playing right now with Frolik and Czarnik.

    • BendingCorners

      It’s always a good idea to add high-end talent if you can. Most Cup-winning teams have enough talent that they also have room for a Reaves or two. Since the Flames are still building toward that (I hope), looking for ways to add talent seems sensible.

      • supra steve

        But…you can’t add that particular talent without giving up a bucket load of talent you already have. Then you have to pay the man, probably $7-8 million per season. Then, if I’m correct, you watch him give half effort for the next 5-6 years until he’s playing for his next contract. Subtraction by addition, no thanks.

        • BendingCorners

          I really don’t know how BT plans to accomplish further upgrades. Without them however I don’t think the Flames can win a Cup. To me they appear to be missing one more top forward, one more top D, and a goalie.
          Nylander IMO is a top forward; I expect him to average 75-80 points per season for the next few years. But, not obtainable.
          If you can see a path forward, please share.

  • freethe flames

    Happy Canadian Thanksgiving everyone. Here are my responses to the questions:
    1. We are not trading for Nylander.
    2. If the Flames were going to do something about goaltending they would have done it in the off season or at least during the waiver wire. They seem convinced what they have is better than what was available. Time will tell.
    3. Sam Bennett; we keep expecting him to live up to the 4th overall pick on the offensive end of things and I doubt he will. What they need to do is set Bennett/Janko/Frolik loose as a checking line that can create it’s own offence; that I believe they could do.
    4. Valimaki has been okay but could be better.
    Dube has been okay as well. The line he is on has zero chemistry; I worry about the kid loosing his offensive confidence and wonder if he might not be better served at some point being the #1 center in Stockton.

    • Score When I like Nieuwendyk

      Sam Bennett’s body language during player introductions appeared to be someone who was not excited about the upcoming season here in Calgary.

      Perhaps there’s the perfect storm of the Nylander holdout in Toronto; Bennett’s former GM Doug Gilmour’s closeness to the Leafs, the Hamonic Injury giving Rasmus Andersson the opportunity to prove he’s a top four defenceman, to trade Bennett and Hamonic to the Leafs for William Nylander.

      • HOCKEY83

        Throw in a first and you might have Toronto interested. Otherwise they have no need to rush trading him away for anything less than the best possible deal. Getting rid of just Hamonic and Bennett doesn’t cover what he wants to get paid. Plus Tkachuk needs to get paid as well so adding anyone moving forward who’s worth anything would require getting rid of at least one of the higher paid talent on the flames.

  • Vertigo

    Regarding Bennett, our highest draft pick ever, it is time to cut bait. There are better, cheaper alternatives out there. If he gets more than 5 minutes a game we are in trouble.

    • _vntony

      I was a huge Bennett fan when he was drafted, but it’s painfully obvious that he’s never going to reach that 4th overall draft hype (at least on the Flames). I agree that it makes sense to trade him while he still has some or any value.

      Elliot Friedman was on the fan960 a few days ago and mentioned something along the lines of teams being interested in Bennett.
      Could be a good time to cut bait and see what a guy like Mangiapane could do in the NHL.

      • BlueMoonNigel

        Damn straight. If the coach has no faith in the struggling and underwhelming Bennett, the time had better soon be here where he is jettisoned so his spot is opened up for someone more promising. Mangipane comes to mind. Remember how long Tre hung onto Lack when it was painfully clear to all that his teammates and Gully had lost faith in Lack.

        How bad is it for Sam and the Flames that coming out of training camp, the new coach nails Sam’s tuchus to the bench on game night? Unless things change soon, Bennett is just taking up space.

        • Raffydog

          And how is Mangiapane a better option than Bennett? At least Bennett has a physical element to his game, and is a tenacious forechecker. The only stat that Mangiapane beats Bennett in is how many times he picks himself up up off the ice after he gets knocked over.

          • Mickey O'Reaves

            Agree. If Treliving wants to thumb his nose at Burke’s truculence mantra, then getting rid of Bennett to make room for Mangiapani would be the perfect tonic! Team Charmin to the rescue.

          • Skylardog

            Tell us how Mangi is an NHLer again? Not on the ice for a single GF in 10 NHL games and one the ice for just 1 GF in 67 minutes over 6 games in the preseason. That is a 1.78 GF/60. Only 4 players were worse in the preseason with 0.00 GF/60s, and they played a combined 6 games. None of them are NHL quality.

            We really need to be done with the Mangiapane thing. He isn’t even close.

      • Kzak

        Gee, if only the Flames had listened to me and others two seasons ago when Bennett had some value. I watched him play in Jr and wasn’t impressed; no idea how he was ranked so high. Damn shame.

  • First Name Unidentified

    Wow Christian, way to dump on Smitty. The guy was an all-star not that long ago. It’s been 2 games into the season, look around the league, some of the best goalies have surrendered a ton of goals already. Smitty will not be the reason if the Flames don’t make the playoffs, he’s a fierce competitor. I’d be a little more worried about Jankos, Sammys, Ryan’s of the world. Take a few games on Smitty.

    • Kevin R

      Yeah the stigma of goalies. F. Anderson, Sparks, Lundqvist, Rask & Murray are getting lit up like Christmas trees as well.
      We can gripe about Smith all winter coming up but the Flames will not be in a position to bring in anyone even close to being considered a top 10-12 goalie. Next summer is where the big decision will ride. & there will be some interesting choices. That next blockbuster Tre seems to like pulling off at the drafts may very well be that high end goalie. Until then, lets try to play better hockey & make Smith’s job easier. Forward lines should be Gaudreau/Monahan/Lindholm then Tkachuk/Backlund/Czarnik then Bennett/Janko/Neal & follow up with Dube/Ryan/Frolik
      Then I would play Anderson with Hanifin while Hamonic is down (we should get a pretty good sample size. If they work well, then I would play Hamonic with Valamaki going forward.

    • Bawcos

      Completely agree FNU. Can we all be a little bit patient for this team? This team, on paper, is the best Flames team I’ve seen in many, many years. That includes a 2018 all-star goalie. Let’s see where these guys are at in 20 games. Also, to the body above, “If the Flames can outscore their opposition every night, maybe Smith just needs to be average for them to get into a playoff spot.” – if the Flames can outscore their opposition every night the Flames win every night!

  • Chucky

    Maybe people should go back and rewatch the 15 minutes and 48 seconds that Bennett has been on the ice. He has worked hard, played physically and had scoring opportunities. He has definitely outperformed Ryan, Neal and Frolik.

    • JoelOttosJock

      I agree Chucky. Bennett will quietly do his job waiting for an opportunity to play big minutes and with TALENT. Bennett has never been given a proper chance. He has more than earned it with play. Derek Ryan was a silly signing. Clogged up a already crowded forward group. He is the new BrouwerPlay. Janko, Bennett, Frolik, or Backlund..one of these guys needs to be moved. Get some assets. No future studs in the minors. Backlund and a third to Columbus for Sergei Bob on a trade and sign?

      Gaudreau Monahan Lindholm
      Tkchuck Bennett Czarnik
      Dube Janko Neal
      Hath Ryan Frolik

      • HOCKEY83

        I agree that Bennett has not been given a good long look on a top 1 or 2 line playing with talent since joining the flames. There’s is just no way Bobrovski gets traded for less that first overall plus a Tkachuk or a Gaudreau plus more. It doesn’t matter anyway because he’ll be looking for 8 to 10 mil for his next contract. This is the new NHL. 10 mil goalies 10 mil Dmen and 10mil forwards. Pick and choose which position you want to pay the 10 mil to because you won’t be getting it all.

    • Mickey O'Reaves

      Peters may see it differently. But Treliving loves him some Sam Bennett.
      If anything Bennett will be asking for a trade before Treliving cuts him loose.
      But Bennett in the play-offs is a different animal, you’re gonna need him, if you get there.

      • BlueMoonNigel

        Might be that the cost of a punching a playoff ticket is one Sam Bennett.

        Let’s hope that when differences arise between Tre and Peters over who Peters should play and how often, Tre will stick his nose out and let Coach do his job.

        • Porcupine at a balloon party

          How is Sam Bennett going to cost us a playoff ticket? There’s not a better fourth line option out there right now. If anything he’s underutilized there, but that’s hardly a reason for him to be a liability

    • aye

      Agree with you 100%. Don’t know why people are dumping on Bennett, I’m abig fan of him and always watch hi closely when he’s on the ice, he plays hard, and has been better than Ryan and Neal so far in limited action. Hope he and Janko get more chances to prove themselves.

    • Raffydog

      I agree. Bennett has been working hard but isn’t getting rewarded with any extra ice time. I like Bennett, he may never become that 1st/2nd line centre we were hoping for, but he’s a serviceable bottom six winger who works hard every shift. If you removed where he was drafted from the equation, I don’t think many would have a problem with his game. Trading him away for spare parts makes no sense to me.

      • TheBear64

        I really liked Bennett when the Flames first drafted him. while I didn’t think he would develop into a top scorer for the Flames, I thought he had potential to be a consistent 20 goal man, with a bit of a hard-nosed edge. Unfortunately, both his scoring and physicality haven’t lived up to my expectations. It’s too bad; I recognize that he works hard every night and tries his best, but it seems he just doesn’t have the skills he needs to live up to the expectations placed on him.

        Actually, I see a lot of parallels between him and Austin Czarnik. Flames management is pretty high on Austin right now it seems, but so was the Bruins management, yet in a very similar way to Sam Bennett, Czarnik disappointed in Boston and never lived up to the high expectations placed on him.

        While I would love to see either of these guys have a big breakout season and prove me wrong, time is running out on them. They have both been given plenty of opportunities and haven’t stepped up in any significant way, so I have to think the reality is that they both will never be anything better than third liners in the NHL.

    • MDG1600

      Apparently we all see different things when we watch Bennett. I think Bennett and his tenacity can be a contributor to this team however it seems clear to me that his offensive potential is nowhere near what we all thought early on.

    • benfr

      I think people need to forget the draft position of Bennett and just evaluate the player. He adds physicality to a team that is lacking in same.
      He has been similar to Janko so far yet many still view Janko at 24 as a prospect with big upside yet view Bennett at 22 as a writeoff with no upside who we should rid ourselves of for a 3rd round pick. I agree Mangipane may still be a player but is small, soft and who must play top 6-no room for that.
      In our 2 playoff appearances in recent years Bennett was one of our best forwards-his game is suited to that style of hockey which is much tougher and more physical. Some step up in that environment while many others fall back.
      I think Bennett fills a role, not measured by goals and assists. How many think that Mangipane if (when) he comes up, and doesn’t fill the net can play a good defensive role, kill penalties and provide grit?
      Time to forget and move on from the draft position, and appreciate what the player gives you.

  • Off the wall

    Good morning FN. Happy Thanksgiving!

    In line with being thankful, I thought I might chime in with some positive thoughts.

    1. Lindholm looks like he’s going to be a great addition to our team.
    2. Czarnik has been a good surprise.
    3. Valamaki is getting better each game.
    4. Tkachuk is a leader.
    5. Brodie is definitely better on his off side with Giordano
    6. I love Hanifin’s game.
    7. Dube is showing he belongs.
    8. Our face off % is in the top 4 of the league.
    9. So far, we’re dominating 5 vs 5 play.
    10. Our PP scored 3 goals. We went from 0-7, to 3 for 6. Very few drop back passes. Give me that effort and we’ll be fine.

    My turkey is in the oven. I basted it first. It takes time and patience to cook a turkey. You can’t rush it, otherwise it gets burned.
    It also takes time to make a team come together as a group. I’m patiently waiting for my food to cook evenly. I’m willing to do the same for our team!


    • Chucky

      From such a negative guy that was uplifting:)

      Turkeys do take time, hope everybody enjoys theirs and they don’t need to be mentioned here until Christmas.

    • Skylardog

      Not taking a shot at your comments OTW but wanted to put a bit of a rebuttle on some of the comments so far, both positive and negative. You just gave me a nice list that I could work on.

      1. The line with Lindholm has not shown anything as of yet. In game one, the JG-Mony line scored when Lindholm was removed in favour of Neal. It took just 3 shifts for that combo to hit the scoresheet. In game 2, they did get credit for 2 GF, but the second was really a PP (Vancouver was out of the box just 3 seconds when it went in). That goal was also scored by Gio with an assist to Brodie and Lindholm not at all an even strength goal created by the line. The first goal was just a faceoff win where Lindholm didn’t even go to the front of the net. It hit him while he was off to the side of the net and deflected in. It counts, and it was a great start, but other than that the line has produced no points against one of the weakest teams in the NHL. On the other hand, the PP looked good in game 2, and Lind was a part of that. The jury should still be out on Lindholm being a good fit for JG and Mony.

      2. Czarnik has been a very pleasant surprise and has hit my list as the player who has most impressed me compared to what I expected. With that said, he has to be playing with finishers as he isn’t going to shoot and wouldn’t score much if he did. Tkachuk fits that bill. Backlund does not. I suspect Czar will disappear when the going gets tough and the checking gets close. I will continue to tell everyone that Boston let him walk because they know exactly who he is. But so far, he gets an A from me.

      3. Vali needs the right guy to play with, and that is a stay at home, defensive guy. Vali’s strengths are moving the puck up the ice and getting into the play in the opposition end. To back him up, Prout is far better than Stone. As much as we all think Prout is bad, his style of play is suited to Vali’s. Vali had a horrid game in the first one, but looked much better in game 2. He stays for the season with Kulak gone. I will add (and you will all hate this) that the defense was more stable with Prout in over Hamonic. And frankly I thought Stone was the weak link in game 2, but an upgrade over Hamonic.

      4. Tkachuk is the man. Everytime he does something great, or annoying to the oppositionas hell he gets a “Byng” from me.

      5. Of coarse Brodie is better on his off side with Gio. Everyone is better with Gio. But Brodie does look to have a renewed confidence this season.

      6. Hanifin is great. He needs to play with Ras to really make him most effective. Hoping we see that tomorrow.

      7. We all knew Dube belongs. Just got to find him the right line. Ryan should not be his centre.

      8. Can’t argue with stats. But some caution as we have only played one team. Maybe we are only better than Vancouver in the faceoff circle.

      9. We may be dominating 5v5 in terms of CF%, but facts are we have been outscored with 5 against and only 4 for. Again, I remind you, against Vancouver. We should have easily won the scoring battle 5v5. One of the goals for was just after a PP and a weak effort by Markstrom. If we can’t win the 5v5 battle against Vancouver over 2 games, there should be reason for concern. As for CF%, score has been a big factor. It was fairly even through 2 periods in game one, and while we did dominate in game 2, we were behind for a large portion of the game. It was 4-3 Vancouver until midway through the 3rd. Not a very impressive 5v5 start in reality. The Flames only led for roughly 18 minutes in the first 2 games combined. They should be much better.

      As an add on Back line have dominated in a big way, yet have just 1 GF to show for the 4 guys on the line (Matty, Czar, and Fro) all being over 70% CF%. Matty is even at 1GF and 1 GA. Frolik is -1. Lots of chances with not much going in. Smells like last season for that line.

      10. PP was great in game 2. They figured out how to gain the zone, and once set up were very effective. One could argue they were 4-6 so it is even better than the stats say. PP2 should feature 2 defensemen so that when the PP ends, we are prepared to defend. That is a softening of my view on that issue after watching the effectiveness of the first unit on Saturday. We have Hanifin and Brodie that can play on the second unit.

      As for turkey, we had ours last night. It was darn good, but took a long time to cook. Part of the problem is that the rack collapsed part way through and I had to clean the oven and add more wine and broth as lots of the basting juice escaped. It turned out really good but I had to make some adjustments part way through the cooking process. Just hope that isn’t a sign of a need to fix the goalie situation part way through.

      • Off the wall

        Thanks Skylar, I appreciate your thoughts. I must admit I’m looking at things with appreciation today, and my outlook could be somewhat skewed.

        You may be right about some of the points brought up, ( items 1 and 2) I’m possibly looking at this with my own bias.

        I’m hoping Peters makes adjustments as needed – it appears he’s doing that, with the exception of Ryan. He must really love him. Or perhaps he notices something we don’t?

        We’re all going to have leftovers for a while. At least your turkey is well marinated. Sounds delicious!

        When we eat the same thing for days, we tire of it quickly. I guess the same thing could be said for our team. When players don’t seem to blend well together, we get a bit impatient, hoping the marinating comes together faster then we should expect.

        Maybe we just need to be more patient. What’s the expression, “Good food takes time? “
        I’m sure the same concept can be applied to our team.

        • Skylardog

          Peters is moving guys, and if the lines are correct as reported below, then Ryan is dropping to 4C. Not sold on Peters yet, but so far a huge improvement over what we saw the last 2 seasons.

          Love your post OTW.

  • Stu Gotz

    Nylander will be signed by someone at $6-6.5M. Flames larger need however is in goal. Been watching Neal closely and my view is that he is badly out of shape. He will eventually find his way onto the top 6 but not now…..

  • Off the wall

    I just thought I’d do a shout- out for Chucky on FN.
    We got together for our first time, watching the Flames- Canucks game together at his home. What a great host!

    He picked me up at my hotel, unaware that I was wearing my wife’s Canucks jersey (spit) over top of my Flames hoodie.
    They don’t call me off the wall for nothing. Chucky had a good laugh at my antics, but what was most endearing was his BIG smile and that he welcomed me into his home. How many people do that nowadays?

    The evening was spent drinking beers together and not only talking about hockey, but getting to know one another. I love how Chucky sees things so differently from me. I think we all have valuable insights into the game. We shared many stories together. Who’d have guessed?

    But what’s most outstanding, is our complete and utter love for the game and our Flames.

    It was so funny, I immediately took my Canucks jersey off and placed it on the chair in Chucky’s kitchen. His wife came home, took one look at the Canucks jersey and said “ We don’t allow those in our home!”

    I almost died with laughter. It seeps into our very veins, the disdain for other clubs, and our devotion to our club. It transcends all other language spoken.

    I must say, that I thoroughly enjoyed my experience and evening with Chucky. Our nation may be spread across continents, however our Flames fans are the absolute BEST.

    I even got a ride back to my hotel after the game, because we both had been drinking.
    I was willing to take a cab back to the hotel, but Chucky and his wife weren’t having it. Chucky stuffed his body into the back seat, while little off the wall, rode up front in luxury. Haha

    Chucky is a bear of a man, and I loved giving him a BIG bear hug.
    It’s not often I get to experience hospitality from our Nation, however that was one I’ll never forget.
    Cheers to Chucky and his wife for dinner and a great night together!!

  • FlamesFanOtherCity

    A few interesting changes in lines at practice:

    #Flames lines and pairings at practice:




    By the looks of it, Prout will be eating popcorn, along with Janko and Peluso. Bennett to join Dube and Neal. Ryan to the 4th with Frolik and Hathaway. In other words, 2 – 3rd lines. Hathaway coming in over Janko is odd, but I guess that playing Dube (or Bennett) at center results in needing a RW to play with Ryan. I would have gone with Frolik-Janko-Ryan and let Ryan take the majority of draws, but otherwise it isn;t a bad set up. Better for Neal.

    • Stu Gotz

      I think part of this with Janko is sending him a message. Consistency has been his main problem throughout his career. Although he has had about 10 min in his first 2 games he has been ineffective.

    • Skylardog

      Peters may be starting to figure this out. He hopefully is making slow easily measurable changes to figure out what works rather than an all out blendering where there is no clue as to what changes worked and what ones did not. For Hath this will be just his 2nd game of the season. Hope he is ready. Janko sitting surprises me. I really felt the message needs to go to Frolik.

      • Chucky

        Janko has given them everything they ask for and more. Hopefully they have some reason for this beyond sending him the message that they don’t want him on the ice. He did not have very much time on ice after making that great defensive play and getting a partial breakaway and drawing the slashing penalty by Boeser.

        • SeanCharles

          I saw a stat that Janko had 1 assist in the final 37 games last season.

          I want him in the lineup too but maybe he does need to watch from above for a game or two.

    • MWflames

      I like these lines better. We’re gonna have a decent player sitting most nights, so people just have to learn not to freak out about that. Surprised they’re leaving czarnik 2rw, I’m not sure he’s right that high in the line-up…

      But it’s very early days, and with all the new faces and new coaches and seemingly endless possibilities up front, people have to understand that it will take time to sort itself out.

    • Mickey O'Reaves

      The Good: Bennett bumped up, Ryan down, Andersson in
      The Bad: Hathaway as the muscle, Janko out of the line-up
      The Ugly: Hathaway as the muscle, and the collective stifled groans from the players

      Sitting Prout: apparently a no-brainer
      Sitting Hamonic: because a no-jawboner

      Really, really hope nobody else gets busted up.

      • Skylardog

        Good things happen when Hath is in the lineup. Players around him play better and have better GF results. It is not always about producing points. Often it is about creating space for others. Hath does this.

        A perfect example. Monahan and Gaudreau were better with Hath than any other line combination last season, except for when with Jagr). They produced a 6.61 GF/60 with just a 1.52 GA/60. Limited minutes, yes, but it is a potential indicator of his effectiveness.

        He was also the second best PK guy on the team in terms of GA/60. 66 minutes killed is significant. We are not looking too good on the PK this season. Maybe we need his presence in the lineup just to right that ship.

  • Justthateasy

    Nope. All you get for Nylander is Lindholm and Stone.
    and if Nylander does not come down off his high horse let him sit.
    Otherwise no deal. We’re fine.

  • Getpucksdeep

    Isn’t there a law of unintended consequences? Everyone including myself wants to see Brodie play better when paired with Gio. I think Gio is playing with more offensive confidence now that Brodie is back. I do, I think Gio is better with Brodie as well.

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    Not really surprised that Janko is the odd man out. Anytime you are slotted on the 4th line there is a target on your back. I am a bigger fan of Janko than most but he needs to show fire in his belly and rub people out. I have not seen that. I would like to see how he would do centering Johnnie and Lindholm. Monny is great but this line doesn’t generate a ton at 5v5.

    If Ryan plays 3C over Janko it is a function of recently bias by Peters and not based on merit of play. Whether they play Janko minutes 7 mins s game or sit him is not going to make much of a difference…either play him right or don’t play him. Janko may be a player that reaches his potential with a new organization.

    • Mickey O'Reaves

      Jankowski was starting to show a physical side at the end of last season. He’s a big guy, and could be a real load.
      As other’s have said…show him tape of Joel Otto. “Be like Joel Otto, Janko.”

      • Jumping Jack Flash

        The problem is that has never been Janko’s game…But he needs to use his size. He does not seem that strong on his skates to park him in front of the net but he needs to use that reach. It seems like both Janko and Johnny get a fair share of breakaways with little success.

      • FlamesFan27

        Wouldn’t that be awesome! Otto was one of my favourite players from the Flames when I first started watching them. Mostly because I hated Messier so much!

  • canadian1967

    As for the nine games, it’s irrelevant to Dube because his contract is running regardless. He’s already proven that he’s too good for the AHL, so sending him down is probably a waste of everyone’s time.

    After reading the sportsnet article on Giroux, I looked him up and after Jr he spent 33 games in the AHL.
    We always made fun of the Oilers for rushing guys and ” destroying” them.
    I’m all for Dube starting in the A.

  • TheBear64

    The Flames don’t need Nylander. The price is way too high, and the Flames are good enough offensively already. It’s not fair to lay all the blame for goals against on Smith, because I also think a large part of their problem is defense. While on paper, I think their defensive corp is good enough, in particular over the past two seasons I felt the defensive coaching was lacking. I hope that with the new coach that will change. I think I’ve seen a few signs of that, but the jury’s still out. Hanifan and Valimaki look promising, and the improved play by Brodie makes me optimistic.

    While it would be nice to see a better goaltender in place, again, who do you pry one from, and what will the cost be? We’ve also seen many times in the past that you can win Stanley Cups with average goaltenders, we’ve seen that from the likes of Detroit and Chicago. I still hope that Jon Gillies can be the guy to step in over the next season or two, but the Flames need to get him a lot more experience at the NHL level than he’s seen in the past in order to see if he’s capable of that.

    I like what I saw of Janko and Hathaway last season, and from Dube this season. Hopefully those young guys will continue to develop and become important pieces in the Flames lineup.