The vibe may have already started to change in Calgary

Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
7 months ago
As we’ve discussed here quite a bit, things didn’t go all that well for the Calgary Flames in 2022-23. After getting great results under Darryl Sutter intense scrutiny in 2021-22, the group saw diminishing returns last season and the vibe around the team – particularly late in the year – was one of disappointment and frustration.
Per Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, in his weekly 32 Thoughts column, it seems like the vibe might have already changed.
Here’s Friedman:
There is a chance some conversations and potential outcomes changed over the summer. One example is Calgary, where many of the Flames who departed frustrated and unhappy in April cooled down and returned to Alberta with positive mindsets — featuring a player-created pre-camp golf day that got social media run. That doesn’t mean negotiations will be easy, but it is noticeable among the players and organization how much better everyone seems to feel. I do think the Flames will re-engage with several potential UFAs. Tarot cards indicate Mikael Backlund and Elias Lindholm are probably the first attempts. We will see where things go. Colorado took a run at Backlund, before landing Ross Colton and Ryan Johansen.
At the end of the season, the Flames had an exit interview day with the media that was… well, it was weird. Several long-time Flames were non-committal regarding their futures, and it led to a summer of uncertainty.
The departures of Brad Treliving and Sutter over the off-season, and replacement by Craig Conroy and Ryan Huska, were theorized to potentially change up the atmosphere around the team and lighten the mood. Considering the Flames have six major pending unrestricted free agents – most notably Elias Lindholm, Mikael Backlund and Noah Hanifin – lightening the mood could be the key to keeping key players around and cementing the team’s direction for the next few seasons.
Based on what’s circulated on social media, particularly the golf outing that Friedman mentioned, they’re off to a decent start.
The Flames begin training camp for the 2023-24 season on Wednesday.

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