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FlamesNation Mailbag: Once more into the breach

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Photo credit:Mike Gould
Ryan Pike
10 months ago
The Calgary Flames have played 80 games of their regular season schedule and despite a lot of challenges, they’re still mathematically alive in the playoff chase. But the Flames aren’t in a playoff spot and will need to run the table and get help to qualify for a spot.
As we wait to see how things unfold, let’s check in with the mailbag!
I haven’t dug into the All Three Zones transition data for the past couple years, so I can’t speak definitively about the zone entry/exit data for the current Flames. However, Natural Stat Trick tracks rush attempts and the Flames have actually created more five-on-five rush attempts this season (115) than last season (102). The big challenge for the Flames has been collecting rebounds and translating initial chances into second and third chances. They’ve created about 50 fewer scoring chances than they did a season ago.
I don’t think we see any lineup changes, including inserting Matt Coronato and Jakob Pelletier into the lineup, until the Flames are mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. I would suspect we probably see them on Wednesday against San Jose.
Here’s what is generally known: Brad Treliving’s on an expiring contract and has yet to sign an extension, while Darryl Sutter signed an extension in the fall that runs for another two seasons.
That said: this season has definitely not gone according to plan. Given how this season has unfolded, I’m not sure that both Treliving and Sutter return next season. I don’t think it’s impossible that neither of them are back for next season. I don’t think any possibilities are off the table.
We’ll do deeper dives during the off-season, but I’ll offer a forward, blueliner and goaltender. For forwards, Seattle Thunderbirds winger Lucas Ciona, who’ll go pro next season. He’s their captain, and he combines size, smarts and a willingness to muck about around the net to get goals. For blueliners, Calgary Wranglers’ defender Ilya Solovyov. He’s got size and his game has taken a big step this season in terms of consistency and poise in all three zones. For goaltenders, University of Connecticut freshman Arsenii Sergeev. He was excellent in junior and had a really solid first season in college.
I’ll reiterate that Darryl Sutter has a contract for the next couple seasons. But in the event the Flames need somebody new, Ryan Huska and Mitch Love may be the strongest internal candidates. Huska had success in major junior and minor pro before joining the Flames’ bench, and his work with the blueliners and penalty kill has been really solid. Love has coached the AHL’s top team in each of the past two seasons. Huska is more of a teacher and Love is a bit more of a blunt, directive coach, but both are extremely savvy and well worth considering for any future vacancies.

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