The Calgary Flames need to be good in four key areas to make the playoffs

Photo credit:Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
7 months ago
Folks, almost nobody is all good or all bad. For all his faults, former Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter was a pretty astute thinking, and he was quite good at bench-marking what his hockey clubs needed to do in order to make the post-season. We’ll be borrowing one of his concepts here when we say that, to get back to the playoffs, the Flames will need to be good in four key areas of their game.
Early in the run-up to the 2021-22 season, Sutter mused that the Flames had to be in the top 10 in a few categories – among them five-on-five offence and defence, plus power play and penalty kill. In a 32-team league, being top 10 means you’re in the top third of the league. That’s not quite elite, but it means that the club has distinguished themselves as decided above-average in a good hockey league.
Here’s how the Flames fared in those four categories over the past couple of seasons:
5v5 GF6th9th
5v5 GA1st18th
If you’ve read this site over the off-season, you’ve probably read some stuff that we’ve written about how close the Flames were to being good. Heck, their underlyings were magnificent. Their results? Not so much.
But how far off were they from being top 10 in these categories?
  • 5v5 scoring: they were already top 10.
  • 5v5 defending: they needed to allow 13 fewer goals.
  • Power play scoring: they needed to score 7 more goals.
  • Penalty kill defending: they were already top 10.
The Flames weren’t a great performer, but if they tightened up their details just a smidge, they would have been top 10 in the four big categories. These are the types of improvements they’re probably aiming to focus on as training camp begins and the 2023-24 season moves.
In short: they don’t need to be that much better than they were in 2022-23 to get to where they want to go.

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