Recapping my pre-season predictions: ‘The Flames will make the 2023-24 post-season’

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Middleton
1 month ago
Before the season began, I made plenty of predictions about the 2023-24 Calgary Flames team. Some of them were very bold, and others were a bit more tame. So, with the 2023-24 season now ending and the Flames out of the post-season, I figured, why not go back and look over my predictions on a case-by-case basis and see what went wrong or what went right?
So, without further ado, here goes nothing, and of course, we’re starting on a rather sombre note.

Prediction: The Flames will make the 2023-24 post-season

Result: Wrong (by a lot)

After the Flames finished a whole two points out of the second wild-card spot in the 2022-23 season despite playing some very frustrating hockey over the course of the 82 games, I thought that with a new head coach, new members of the coaching staff, a Vezina-caliber goaltender, and potentially some high-threat rookies coming into the fray, there was a chance we could see the “Sea of Red” back in the postseason.
Unfortunately, that was not the case.
After the team’s abysmal 2-7-1 start to the season, including a six-game losing streak from Oct. 20 to Nov. 1 and an embarrassing loss to the Edmonton Oilers during the Heritage Classic, I began to worry about the likelihood of this prediction going my way. Even though the team got back to where they were supposed to be, a bunch of inconsistencies led to them remaining around the .500 mark, sometimes above it, other times below it.
Looking at some of the statistics for players on the roster, it might be a bit hard to believe that this Flames team was as far out of the playoffs as they were. Blake Coleman scored 30 goals; Yegor Sharangovich hit 30 goals; MacKenzie Weegar hit 20 goals, and Nazem Kadri hit 75 points.
The Flames didn’t get the Vezina-caliber goaltending from Jacob Markstrom that they needed to keep the inconsistencies from showing up, and they continued to struggle against bad teams, with two losses to the Columbus Blue Jackets, two losses of three games to the Chicago Blackhawks, and a loss in all three games against the St. Louis Blues.
All of those games are ones they could have taken advantage of to make the post-season, just as the players unsurprisingly said they wanted to do over the course of the season.
The good news is that even though they didn’t make the post-season, it’s hard to disagree that the feeling within the locker room until the 82nd and final game was a positive one, unlike what was felt at the end of 2022-23. It’s a good sign for the future ahead, along with the fact that the team on the ice was more enjoyable to watch under the new regime as well.
All in all, it’s a bit upsetting that this is one of the predictions I got wrong, but when it comes to the team’s future outlook, it’s probably for the best. With some good fortune, the lottery balls will fall their way, and they’ll get their chance at selecting a fantastic player in the upcoming draft.
Be on the lookout for more of these as the off-season continues forward!
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