With new coaching staff in place, the Calgary Flames will try to revamp their special teams
Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike2 months ago
Speaking to the media on Saturday afternoon, following the third day of training camp practice sessions, new Calgary Flames head coach Ryan Huska summarized the importance of strong special teams very succinctly.
“You’re not winning games if your power play, penalty kill aren’t very good.”
In 2021-22, the Flames’ power play and penalty kill were both very good and they won a lot of games. In 2022-23, the Flames’ penalty kill was very good but the power play was not. They didn’t win nearly as many games, and that contributed to this summer’s changes to the coaching staff.
Former Flames sniper Marc Savard returned to the organization as an assistant coach, inheriting the power play from the departed Kirk Muller. The Flames’ power play in 2022-23 was middle of the pack in terms of various underlying metrics, and 19th in terms of conversion percentages.
While Huska noted that personnel-wise the power play likely will look similar to last season’s, Savard’s creativity should influence some tactical differences.
“Marc’s got a creative mind, so I think you’ll see some different things off face-offs,” said Huska. “I think you’ll see them try some different things off entries. The challenge is making the guys understand the importance of, when they’re on the ice on the power play, they have to be guys that build momentum for our team. And at the end of the day, score or not score, they have to get momentum shifted, and we have a bunch of guys that are capable of being a very good power play this year and a lot of that falls on their shoulders in regards to how they come together and what they expect from each other on a nightly basis in those key critical situations.”
On the other side of special teams, new assistant coach Dan Lambert inherits the penalty kill from his new boss, Huska. The penalty kill ranked fifth in the NHL in 2022-23 in preventing opponent conversions, and was among the league-leaders in most underlying metrics.
“It’ll look similar,” said Huska. “That’s the one nice thing, we have guys that have played it for a long time so they understand it. It’ll look similar. Dan will put his own flavour onto it for sure, but we’ll still expect them to do a lot of the same things there.”
The Flames begin their pre-season schedule on Sunday night when they host the Vancouver Canucks.
Recent articles from Ryan Pike