Around The NHL In 30 Days: Calgary Flames


The Fansided NHL Network, that SenShot is proud to be a member of, is embarking on its NHL preview. Each day in September, one of its members will be posting a preview for their club.  SenShot will look at their preview, and let you have a look.  After that, we will provide our own perspective.  Jared will handle the Western Conference teams while Tony will look at the East.

Today’s focus will be on the Calgary Flames, whose 10th place finish last season wasn’t good enough, and cost GM Daryl Sutter his job late in the season.  New GM Jay Feaster took the reins and has started to put his stamp on the team.

Here is what Ryan Patrick over at Flame For Thought had to say about the Flames’ chances:

"If you don’t follow the Calgary Flames that closely, you’d probably be hard-pressed to recognize the differences between last year’s team and the team heading into 2011-12. Not to say freshly announced GM Jay Feaster hasn’t done anything, in fact he played an absolute perfect hand in a very tight salary cap situation. He shipped away guys like Ales Kotalik, Robyn Regehr and Daymond Langkow, all who had large contracts they weren’t performing up to. He also locked up Curtis Glencross and Alex Tanguay to long-term deals and brought in a mix of youth and veteran presence on the blueline. In the end, the Flames now have a little over $3.6 million in cap-space heading into the season, and Feaster has made it abundantly clear he’s willing to spend that money to improve the team. Whether or not Calgary’s off-season roster tweaks can push them into a playoff spot in the insanely competitive Western conference remains to be seen.DeparturesRobyn Regehr – While you have to acknowledge Regher’s solid career as a Flame, he’s making over $4 million this season and the NHL is a business. The reality of that business is that players get older, and in an age of quick transition, puck moving hockey, Regehr’s two goals and 17 points last season aren’t worth the money. It’s time to move on and let Jay Bouwmeester hopefully take over this defence."

You can read Ryan’s whole article HERE

And now for my “outsider’s look” at the Flames.

Offensively, the Flames seem to have assembled a pair of decent scoring lines, although unlike my Calgary cohort, depth up the middle continues to be a concern for me.  They dealt oft injured Daymond Langkow to Phoenix for Lee Stempniak which further weakened them in that area. Olli Jokinen or Brendan Morrison will get the number one centre job but neither has shown the chops to be a true #1.  Most of the playmaking goes through Iginla, and as he goes, so do the Flames.

Defensively, it is time for Jay Bouwmeester to put up or shut up.  He plays more than almost anyone on the team but doesn’t have the numbers to back  up that stat.  He is so skilled that you always expect more, and hopefully he will eventually break out and have that “wow” season that I for one have been waiting for since he was playing for Team Canada as a 16 year old.  The Flames will miss Robyn Regher and his presence on the blue line, but perhaps it was time for a change.  Newcomer Chris Butler has big skates to fill.

In net, Kipprusof will be his usual self, playing 65-70 games and providing quality goaltending.

The Flames slow start last season kept them out of the playoffs and they need to be more consistent from start to finish in the uber-competitive Western Conference.  They should be in the mix for the last few playoff spots, but I don’t know which playoff team from last year they will be able to knock out…except perhaps the Coyotes, who may drop off without Bryzgalov next season. But the Flames will battle with the Stars and the Blues, among others for that coveted post season spot.

Check back tomorrow when we see what the folks at Blackhawk Up see in Chicago’s near future, and also what we see for them from afar.

**Don’t forget to buy your Tickets for SenShot’s Alfie Night in Ottawa on November 11th, 2011. Click here for more details**


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