The Montreal Canadiens clinched the fourth and final playoff spot in the North Division on Monday evening, earning one standings point in a 4-3 overtime loss against the Edmonton Oilers.
With Montreal in, the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks are finally out. The Flames current sit fifth in the North with 49 points in 52 games and could achieve a maximum of 57 points by winning their final four contests.
Montreal has one game remaining and has 58 points. The Canucks have six games left to play and could also, theoretically, reach 57 points.
The Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers, Winnipeg Jets, and Canadiens will be the four North Division playoff teams this season. Toronto and Edmonton have locked down the first and second spots, respectively; Winnipeg and Montreal are still jockeying for the third and fourth positions.
The Flames will miss the playoffs for the first time since the 2017–18 season. In 2018–19, they won the Pacific Division and placed first in the Western Conference with 107 points before losing in five games to the Colorado Avalanche in the first round.
The following year, the Flames defeated the Winnipeg Jets in the qualifying round before being defeated by the Dallas Stars in six games.
Barring any trades, the Flames will participate in the NHL Draft Lottery for the first time since the 2015–16 season. The Flames traded their 2018 first round pick to the New York Islanders for Travis Hamonic in June 2017; after Calgary missed the playoffs, the Islanders did not win the lottery but selected Noah Dobson with the Flames’ pick (12th overall).
Were the season to end today, the Flames would possess the 11th-best odds at winning the first overall pick in the lottery.
The Buffalo Sabres, Anaheim Ducks, New Jersey Devils, Columbus Blue Jackets, Detroit Red Wings, Vancouver Canucks, San Jose Sharks, Ottawa Senators, and Los Angeles Kings all currently boast worse points percentages than Calgary; the Seattle Kraken will automatically be given the third-best odds.
Through 52 games, the Flames have a 23-26-3 record. Their .471 points percentage is the 12th-worst in the club’s 41-year history in Calgary and the sixth-worst since the 2000–01 season.
Worst Flames records since 2000–01
The Flames drafted Matthew Tkachuk sixth overall after their disappointing 2015–16 season. In 2014, they picked Sam Bennett at the fourth slot. Sean Monahan came to Calgary with the sixth selection at the 2013 draft.
After recording a disappointing 75 points in the 2002–03 season, the Flames were able to pick Dion Phaneuf with the ninth selection in the stacked 2003 draft. At the 2001 draft, the Flames traded down from 11th overall (Fredrik Sjostrom) and received the 14th (Chuck Kobasew) and 41st (Andrei Taratukhin) picks.
With 23 wins in 52 games, the 2020–21 Flames would be on pace to win just 36 times in an 82-games season.
The Flames’ lack of scoring likely sealed their fate this season. Despite holding their opponents to just 149 goals in 52 games (tied for the ninth-fewest in the league), the Flames have scored just 138 of the own (ranking in a tie for 26th).
Only Columbus (137 in 56), Vancouver (135 in 50), Detroit (127 in 56), and Anaheim (126 in 56) have scored less often than Calgary this season. Vancouver, with two games in hand, looks like a safe bet to possibly pass the Flames in that department.
The Flames will conclude their season with a four-game series against the Canucks. They’ll kick it off in Calgary on May 13 at 7:00 pm MT.