After a bunch of games at home – aside from a brief jaunt to Winnipeg – the Calgary Flames are back on the road. They began their five game trek through the Central Division in fairly disappointing fashion, with a 4-3 overtime loss to Chicago.
With that sting still lingering, let’s dive into the mailbag!
Early on, on both sides of the puck, Jonathan Huberdeau seemed like he was trying to figure things out. You could see some hesitation in his game where he was seemingly trying to process where everybody was supposed to be and what he was supposed to be doing within the system.
Offensively, especially with the puck, a lot of that hesitation is gone. I wouldn’t say he’s at full Florida swagger with the puck quite yet, but he seems to be playing with a lot more direction and confidence. Defensively, he’s still a bit clunky, in that you can see him still trying to process the defensive details of the Flames’ system. But he’s much better than he was early on, and he seems to be trending in the right direction on both sides of the puck.
Honestly, I think there’s enough goodwill between Brad Treliving and Flames ownership that if the team makes the playoffs, or gets agonizingly close to doing so, he’ll be given the opportunity to continue on in his role. He told Sportsnet’s Eric Francis that he’s already had some conversations
about a new deal. That tells me that Flames brass wants him back, especially given how he navigated a wild off-season.
If Treliving wants to be the GM of the Flames next season, there’s a really good chance that he will be.
It feels very much like a “buy at the deadline” type of season.
I gotta go with Nikita Zadorov. With a team lacking speed from the back-end and transition threats without Oliver Kylington, Zadorov has really stepped up. He’s consistently good and occasionally very good, especially offensively.
My bronze medalist is Dan Vladar, who’s been superb for the Flames as a secondary goaltender.
Right now, I would say 98 points to make the playoffs and 103 points to have home ice in the first round. Based on how tight the standings are, a few teams that have had very good seasons will be on the outside when the playoffs begin in mid-April.
Right now, it’s a bit of a toss-up for me. Based on how their overall game is trending, I’m leaning yes. But they’re a significant injury or a bad week away from falling out of the pack.
Darryl Sutter is under contract until the end of the 2024-25 season. (So two more seasons after this one.)
If I’m thinking about wingers that can generate offence, the names in my mind right now are guys like Timo Meier, Anthony Duclair or Ivan Barbashev. (It all depends on how much the Flames are willing to spend in assets.) Gustav Nyquist could also be a nice secondary target, somewhat akin to the Flames’ pursuit of Calle Jarnkrok a year ago.