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FlamesNation Mailbag: Cold snaps and road trips

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Photo credit:Mike Gould
Ryan Pike
5 months ago
Friends, it’s cold in Calgary. Quite cold. But the Calgary Flames are headed to warmer climes as they trek through California.
And you never know, maybe they’ll be able to warm up and move up in the standings, too.
Honestly, the systems are pretty consistent from last season and the challenges the Flames are facing are likely due to a combination of brand-new players learning that system, as well as execution challenges as players learn the systems and each other. The Flames didn’t exactly make changes along the fringes of their lineup: they added two forwards that play a lot in offensive situations, as well as a blueliner that plays a lot in all situations. It takes awhile for Darryl Sutter’s checking system to become second nature. It’s more execution of the system, I think, rather than the system itself.
The NHL doesn’t have a specific penalties by period tracker, nor do the fine people at Natural Stat Trick. But using 3v4 penalty kill time as a proxy, the Flames have seven 3v4 penalty kills (and 9:57 of 3v4 PK time) this season. That’s three and a half minutes more than the next-worst team.
Last season, the Hurricanes had 11 3v4 PKs (for 11:21 of PK time). The Flames aren’t close to the record, but they have taken a lot of OT penalties this season.
Matthew Phillips will become a Group 6 unrestricted free agent on July 1. He has zero leverage to request a trade, because any team can just get him in July without giving up an asset. Nobody’s gonna offer the Flames much of anything for him.
I like Noah Hanifin. I like William Nylander. Hanifin’s cap hit is $4.95 million. Nylander’s cap hit is $6.96 million. The Flames are likely facing salary cap issues next season without making any trades that add cap hits. And with the Flames without Oliver Kylington, the Flames really are leaning on Hanifin. From a cap perspective, I don’t see it. And from a hockey perspective, I don’t see it.
Let’s put this out there: aside from Brad Treliving’s last update, we don’t have much information about Oliver Kylington and we’re unlikely to get much until such time that he’s ready to return. He’s entitled to his privacy as he works through whatever he’s working through. (Best wishes to him, hope he’s doing well.) But if you’re the Flames, you probably want to know if he’ll be back this season before the trade deadline. Because if he’s not going to be in the plans for this season, the Flames can go into long-term injury reserve and use his cap space to upgrade the roster for a stretch drive.

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