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Calgary Flames players have shown management that they’re not good enough to win

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Photo credit:Saltwire.com
Robert Munnich
5 months ago
Calgary Flames president of hockey operations Don Maloney was interviewed during the first intermission of the Sportsnet broadcast of the Flames’ Sunday afternoon game in Chicago. His answer to Ryan Leslie’s question about the direction of the franchise set Flames Twitter ablaze.
“Well every day since the start of the season, Craig, Dave, Brad, myself have talked about how to improve the club every day, short-term or long-term. Flames fans know we have some contracts that are up. We’d like to keep all our players. The reality is in a cap world you probably can’t. It’s a real balancing act. Ultimately the players sort of dictate who stays and who goes, quite frankly… We’re continuing to look at our team. We thought, okay we’ll get through the All-Star break, see where we sit, see where we stand. Continue to talk to our own players and agents and yet, realistically be in the marketplace and try and figure out how we can better this club. And that’s a daily act on our part.”
His answer left a lot of Flames fans worried that there is not a definitive long term plan in place to get the Calgary Flames back to being a legitimate playoff team, and ultimately, a Stanley Cup contender.
In all fairness to Maloney, it would be difficult for him to come out and say that the Flames are going to rebuild and start selling. How would the players in the dressing room feel about that? This is a group that still believes they can be a playoff team. To have your president come out and say they’re not good enough would be a deflating blow to the group.
There is a fine line general managers and presidents have to walk when talking to the media. They have to worry about the reaction and opinions of fans, players, and other NHL teams.
However, Maloney could have gone about that answer in a different way to show fans that he understands the reality of the situation the Flames are in. And that is that they are not a very good hockey team.
The players have shown this management group that they are not a Stanley Cup contender. Quite frankly, they’re not even close.
Just look at the numbers from this season as of Jan. 7 and where they rank league wide:
  • The Flames are 26th in the NHL in points percentage at 0.488.
  • They are 21st in goals for per game, and 19th in goals against.
  • Calgary has been outscored 78-88 at 5-on-5. That’s a goals for percentage of 46.99%, which is 26th in the NHL.
  • The Flames have spent the fourth most time in the NHL trailing in games, and are 28th in the NHL in time spent with a lead.
  • Calgary has the 30th ranked power play at 12.6%.
  • Their top two scorers (Blake Coleman & Nazem Kadri) are on pace for only 62 points. Great for those two players, but not good enough for a team who wants to make the playoffs.
  • Their highest paid player is last on the team in plus/minus (-15) and is on pace for a measly 41 points.
  • They have an NHL leading 6 third period comeback victories.
Calgary is producing these results while getting high end goaltending from Jacob Markstrom this season. They’re also getting a little lucky with so many come from behind victories this season.
If you eliminate the month of October from their record, you would think that the Flames would be in the top half of the NHL standings. Well, they’re not. Since Nov. 1 they are 19th in points percentage and boast a 15-12-4 record in that span.
This group of players has showed the Flames fan base and management team that they’re not very good. At best they’re mediocre, which is the worst thing you can be in the NHL.
It’s time for the Flames organization to stop kidding themselves. Enough is enough. Stop trying to will this mediocre group of players into the playoffs. What is the point? They’ve shown that they’re not good enough to get there. And even if they do, they aren’t good enough to win multiple rounds.
Stop trying to re-sign veterans. Stop giving out massive contracts. Trade your pending UFAs and players that you don’t see as part of your future.
It’s time to look to the future. Build this team properly through the draft and make them a legit, long term contender for the Stanley Cup when the new arena opens in 3-4 years.
The Flames need to be more upfront with their fans about their future plans for the franchise moving forward. They don’t need to come out and say they’re not good enough, they don’t believe in this roster, or divulge their master plan to the public. They can’t do that and Flames fans understand that. However, there is a way for them to tell their supporters that they’re going to take a long term approach with this team. That’s all people want to hear.

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