Welcome back to the season primer series. The Calgary Flames were the team that everyone expected to come crashing back to earth all year last year and somehow they never did. The analytics crowd was screaming that the teams PDO had to come back to an even level and there was little to no chance that they could sustain their productivity through-out the entire year. Well they did and that just allowed the media and analytics crowd to change their tune to they won’t be able to duplicate that success next year. The Flames had solid defense all season, even when Captain Mark Giordano went down with a season ending injury the rest of the rear guards picked up the slack and soldiered on. Add in up and coming top pairing defender Dougie Hamilton to the mix and Calgary now has one of the best defense cores in the league.
Key Additions: RW Michael Frolik, D Dougie Hamilton
Key Subtractions: D David Schlemko, RW Brian McGrattan, D Corey Potter, D Raphael Diaz
Calgary only added two players this summer but the two that they did add are excellent additions to the team. Dougie Hamilton has the ability to be a top pairing guy in the NHL for a very long time. Michael Frolik brings decent size but more importantly he brings a veteran presence and should be good for between 15 and 20 goals.
Projected Lines (All Players Healthy):
Johnny Gaudreau – Sean Monahan – Jiri Hudler
Sam Bennett – Mikael Backlund – Michael Frolik
Mason Raymond – Josh Jooris – Joe Colborne
Michael Ferland – Matt Stajan – David Jones
TJ Brodie – Mark Giordano
Kris Russel – Dougie Hamilton
Deryk Engelland – Dennis Wideman
Roster Contenders: D Ladislav Smid, LW Brandon Bollig, C Lance Bouma, C Paul Byron, C Markus Granlund, D Tyler Wotherspoon, and G Joni Ortio.
Calgary seems to have a roster that is pretty much set even before we enter training camp. A player like Ladi Smid will likely end up being the 7th defender but will still see significant time because we all know how hard it is to keep six healthy defensemen all season.
The key concern with Calgary is going to be their forward depth again this year. Outside of the top line there isn’t anyone on the team that can be counted on for a 20-goal season. Frolik is a possibility but since he hasn’t gotten there yet I wouldn’t hold my breath.
The Flames defense is what is going to power them through for the most part this season. We know Monahan is good for 20 plus goals and so is Gaudreau, well as long as he doesn’t hit the dreaded sophomore slump.
People have been expecting a Calgary regression since November of last year and it never happened. Sorry Oilers fans but it isn’t going to happen this year either. Calgary will be in the playoff picture come April. In what slot is anyone’s guess though.
If you are a Flames fan or know of one please direct them to our t-shirt shop. We have 16-Bit Johnny Gaudreau, Sam Bennett, Sean Monahan, Dougie Hamilton, and Mark Giordano all waiting to go to a caring home where they can keep you warm throughout those “miserable” Calgary winters…
Thanks for reading and let us know in the comments below if you think the Flames are due to make the playoffs again this year?
Stay tuned for the next installment of the Beer League Heroes Season Primers series!