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Things to look forward to for Calgary Flames fans over the final 13 games

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Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Munnich
24 days ago
The death march is officially upon us. The Calgary Flames have 13 games remaining of their schedule and are 12 points out of a playoff spot. The hunt for a position in the Stanley Cup playoffs, for all intents and purposes, is over.
However, there are still some things to look forward to over the next few weeks despite not being able to watch meaningful games.
Let’s take a glass half full look at the rest of the season and discuss some positive storylines.

Play the kids!

One thing we normally see for a team that is out of playoff contention is shutting down veteran players who have lingering injuries. The Flames announced last week that Dan Vladar would be having season ending hip surgery. We will likely see a few more players end their season early to get healthy. That is going to open up some roster spots.
Now is the time for the Flames to start to play their young players in important roles on the team. We’ve seen that with Martin Pospisil and Connor Zary since November. But now it’s time to see Dustin Wolf get the majority of the starts over the last 13 games. Play Matt Coronato in the top nine and on the first power play unit. Call up Jeremie Poirier for a few games and get him to run the top PP unit. Give Artem Grushnikov an opportunity to show what he’s got on the blueline. Play Sam Morton as the 4th line center for the last couple games.
It’s important to give these players a taste of what it’s like to play in the NHL, or what it’s like to play a meaningful role on the team as they head into the offseason. There is no need to continue to trot out every single veteran player when you know your season is over.
Having said that, there is one player I would keep in the AHL and that’s Jakob Pelletier. His season has been derailed by injuries. It would serve him best to continue to play big time minutes in the AHL to help regain his confidence and form. For him, it’s all about getting ready for next season.

Chasing milestones

There are a few players who are chasing career highs and milestone numbers.
Look no further than the team goal scoring race between Yegor Sharangovich and Blake Coleman. Each player has 28 goals on the season, both career highs. It’s going to be fun to watch who comes out on top.
Jonathan Huberdeau is 11 assists away from 500 in his career. That’s not totally out of the picture as he has 27 points in his last 32 games, 22 of those being assists. He just needs a couple of multi-assist nights to come close to that number.
MacKenzie Weegar is five points away from setting a new career high of 45. He put up 44 points in the 2021-22 season when the Panthers won the Presidents’ Trophy.
If he is able to stay healthy, Nazem Kadri will play in his 900th game of his NHL career on April 12th in Anaheim.

Draft position watch

This is something #TeamTank is going to be watching a lot over the coming weeks.
There are going to be some fans who don’t want to hear this, but it’s a good thing if the Flames lose the majority of their final 13 games.
This is an organization that desperately needs to pick in the top 10 of this years draft. Getting the 14th overall pick compared to the eighth or ninth overall pick could be the difference in being able to select a Tij Iginla, Berkley Catton or Carter Yakemchuk… or not. The type of players who project to be star players in the NHL.
63% of 45 of the most elite players in the NHL were picked in the top 10 of the draft. (Check out my article from Mar. 13 on where the best players in the NHL were drafted)
The Flames are missing that elite, game changing player to build their franchise around. They might be able to get one of those players if they can get a top 10 pick.
Getting the 13th-16th overall selection is only going to continue to keep this organization in the mushy middle.
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