by OddsShark (@OddsShark) – Sponsored Post
Each season is its own entity, but the Calgary Flames will be trying to avoid an organizational pattern that has seen them follow a playoff season by regressing the following year. Going all the way back to 2009/10, the last three times the Flames were coming off of a season where they made the playoffs, they dipped by an average of 12.67 points from the prior year’s regular-season finish.
There is a chance it could be different this time given that Calgary has developed a nucleus built around forwards Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Matthew Tkachuk, who along with Elias Lindholm are all in their peak-performing years, but it’s also a reason why their 2019/20 points OVER/UNDER is 96.5 at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com after a 107-point campaign in 2018/19. For what it might be worth, that is the biggest gap among teams that had 100-109 points last season.
2018/19 Points Total: 107
2019/20 Points OVER/UNDER: 96.5
Odds to Win Division: +400
Odds to Win Conference: +900
Odds to Win Stanley Cup: +2000
With that said, the bar to clear for the OVER on those NHL odds is not exceptionally high. The Flames did not make any splashy summertime moves and still have the loose end that is Tkachuk and bottom-six forward Andrew Mangiapane being restricted free agents to tie up, but should have strong continuity in what might remain a shallow Pacific Division.
They are the second favourite on the Pacific Division championship odds at sportsbooks between the Vegas Golden Knights (+125) and San Jose Sharks (+450), but Vegas could be a shaky favourite due to its salary-cap complications. The veteran Sharks, who went all the way to the Western Conference final, also don’t seem suited to going all out to finish in first place in the regular season.
The Flames are more of a proven commodity on the attack than they are behind their blueline. Their top four remains Mark Giordano, T.J. Brodie, Noah Hanifin and Travis Hamonic, and while Giordano won the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenceman, he will turn 36 years old during the season, which is ancient in a league that seems to get younger every season.
The Flames did not trust goalie David Rittich to be their starter in the playoffs after he played more minutes in the regular season than the departed Mike Smith, but he is the de facto No. 1, with Cam Talbot also pushing for the job. It typically takes elite goaltending for a team to win its conference, never mind the Stanley Cup.
The Flames begin the 82-game regular season on October 3 with a playoff rematch against the Colorado Avalanche.