The Calgary Flames begin their regular season on Thursday night, with a home date with the Colorado Avalanche! As we prepare for the onset of hockey excitement, we delve into the mailbag!
There are a few good spots here and there. I’m partial to Bottlescrew Bill’s, but there a bunch of places a train stop or two away that are also really good. (I’ll name-drop the Unicorn and St. James Corner, too.)
The key to a good pre-game establishment, for me, is good beer and good nachos. Your mileage may vary.
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Here are the lines I have pencilled in for Game 1:
Huberdeau – Lindholm – Toffoli
Mangiapane – Kadri – Dube
Coleman – Backlund – Lewis
Lucic – Rooney – Ritchie
Weegar – Tanev
Hanifin – Andersson
Zadorov – Mackey
Markstrom
Vladar
The extras would be Ruzicka, Meloche and Stone (if they sign him).
On one hand, he’s a veteran right shot forward and the Flames always seem to covet those. He’s played over 1,000 games and knows what teams need to do to get through a long season. Stylistically, he feels like a Flames fit.
But he’s 34 and not quite what he used to be, due to a combination of injuries and age. The Flames don’t have a ton of cap space, and I’m not sure if the Flames need a second Trevor Lewis (who doesn’t have quite the playoff success that Lewis does).
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If it were up to me: Mikael Backlund, Jonathan Huberdeau and Chris Tanev. But I could also see them doing a broader rotation and getting Nazem Kadri or Blake Coleman involved, too.
Honestly, the top six they have – Huberdeau, Toffoli and Lindholm, and Dube, Mangiapane and Kadri – might be a close-to-ideal situation. And if you have the ability to swap Coleman into the top six if you need to mix up the wingers or if you need somebody with a bit of a more two-way skew to his game.
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Considering the personnel and salary cap constraints they’re under, they’ve found a pretty solid set-up for the style of game Darryl Sutter wants them to play.

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