Today we move on from taking a look at the disappointing season of the young Edmonton Oilers to another disappointing team in Alberta, the:
The Calgary Flames finished 27th overall with a record of 35-40-7, good for just 77 points. They finished 6th out of 7 teams in the Pacific Division and 13th of 14 teams in the Western Conference.
Going into its first full season without one of its all-time icons, Jarome Iginla, as well as long-time core stars Jay Bouwmeester and Miikka Kiprusoff, expectations were low entering the 2013-2014 campaign. The Flames entered the season in a full-fledged rebuild mode and it was known that Calgary was entering the season with a young group and question marks between the pipes. It came as no surprise for the Flames to finish near the bottom of the NHL’s standings.
- Mark Giordano earned rave reviews in his first season as Captain in Calgary. The defenceman had big shoes to fill as the successor to Jarome Iginla and put together the most successful season of his career. Despite missing 18 games after breaking his ankle in the opening month of the season, the 30 year-old set new career highs in goals (14), assists (33), and points.
- After being selected 6th overall in last year’s NHL Entry Draft, Sean Monahan emerged as a go-to forward for the Flames. In an organization that has been lacking in top-end prospects, Monahan proved why he was ranked as the 5th best North American skater going into the draft. As a player eligible to return to junior, it was unknown whether or not Monahan would return to the Ottawa 67’s. He quickly put this issue to bed by scoring 6 goals in his first 9 games to become the first junior-eligible player to make the full-time jump to the Flames roster in 33 years. Monahan ended the season with 22 goals, good for 2nd on the team, and was among the best rookies in the NHL.
- Although it officially came after the 82-game schedule came to a close, the Calgary Flames got their man for GM in Brad Treliving. Although the name may be unknown and new to most hockey fans, the consensus among experts is that Treliving has been a “general manager in-the-waiting” for quite some time and has paid his dues moving up the ranks. In his time as assistant GM in Phoenix and GM of their AHL affiliate, Treliving oversaw the development of players like Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Mikkel Boedker. He also inherits a clean slate in roughly $26 million in available cap space and a 4th overall pick in the upcoming Entry Draft.
- Calgary began a new era this year as they started their first campaign in quite some time without Jarome Iginla, Miikka Kiprusoff, and Jay Bouwmeester (who were probably their 3 best players). Smack dab in the middle of a rebuild, the overall state of the franchise has been at a low this season. The fact that Calgary is lacking in high-end prospects will make it even more difficult to get back to relevance. Aside from Sean Monahan, Mikael Backlund, and Sven Baertschi, the Flames do not really have a player that you can look at and picture being a productive top six forward moving forward. Calgary will look to address this issue with its 4th overall pick and its multiple second round picks.
- Calgary began the season with question marks looming between the pipes and its lack of a bonafide starting goaltender appeared to be an issue for the duration of the year. Karri Ramo led the Flames with 37 starts, while there were 18 starts combined between Joey MacDonald and Joni Orto. With a team GAA of 2.90 (24th ranked), the goaltending position is certainly an issue Brad Treliving will have to address.
PROGNOSIS FOR NEXT SEASON
The Calgary Flames are in a top-heavy division that includes the likes of Los Angeles, San Jose, and Anaheim, so a playoff spot will always be tough to come by for the foreseeable future. In terms of next year, it is difficult to the picture the Flames even improving, let alone challenging for a playoff spot. The organization is really lacking in elite prospects (especially for a team that hasn’t been relevant for a while now) and the current roster is really lacking in high-end talent.
FIVE QUESTIONS WITH FLAME FOR THOUGHT
We asked the editor of Flame for Thought, Traci Kay, about the Flames’ season. Below are the responses:
1. What was the biggest surprise for the Flames?
The biggest surprise this season, during the rebuild, has been the rate at which the team has progressed. Not only has the team as a whole progressed, but each of the individual players has progressed at quite a rapid rate as well.
2. What was the biggest disappointment for the Flames?
The biggest disappointment has been not only that Mike Cammalleri didn’t get traded before the deadline, but he also hasn’t been resigned as of yet.
As well, the goaltending issues at the beginning of the season seem to still be plaguing them at the end of the season (Ramo got pulled in the last game against Vancouver).
3. What is the biggest need going forward?
The biggest need going forward will be veteran players to lead the young team to victory. With Cammalleri not yet being resigned (and I honestly don’t think he will be) and with rumours of Wideman possibly being traded, they will need some good vets to take their place.
4. Who was Calgary’s MVP this season?
There are so many!
Paul Byron – the small, shy forward didn’t look very intimidating at the beginning of the season, but he’s shown the league that he is a scorer to be feared.
Sean Monahan – at age 19, he was thrown into the NHL with high hopes, and, in spite of his lull midway through the season, he has proven that he’s NHL worthy.
Mark Giordano – had big shoes to fill as captain, but he stepped up and took Iginla’s place better than anyone has expected.
Lance Bouma – could have easily faded into the background, but has stepped up his game on the EnergyLine to become an influential play-creator.
Joe Colborne – in the beginning, he was young, inexperienced, and shy. Now he’s really come into his own as a confident goal-scorer.
5. What #hashtag would you use to describe the Flames’ season or state of the team?
Thanks to Traci for answering our questions. I seem to be much more skeptical about the overall state of the Flames but the optimism is surely something to admire.