Yes, once again, the Calgary Flames seem to be burned out. It’s been another roller-coaster season full of ups and down and twists and turns ending with some people probably vomiting. What the heck happened? Where did things go wrong? Let’s break down how we got to where we are.
The Calgary Flames made some big moves during the off-season. They brought in the “big guns”, as they say in the biz. The biggest being Goaltender Jacob Markstrom from the Vancouver Canucks and Defenseman Christopher Tanev, also from the Canucks. To round out the off-season acquisitions was Josh Lievo, another former Vancouver Canucks player, and Nikita Nesterov from CSKA Moscow of the KHL. The upcoming season was looking very good in the eyes of Flames fans.
The acquisition of Jacob Markstrom turned out to be a huge deal. His record of 15 wins, 16 losses and 2 overtime losses is a bit deceiving. Markstrom has played a lot of games in a short amount of time and faced a lot of rubber. Aside from a couple blowout games, he has given the team a chance to win almost every game. He has no doubt been the Flames best player this season.
The Ottawa Senators
There is no doubt the Ottawa Senators have lived this season rent-free in the heads of the Calgary Flames and their fans. The Sens have been terrible the past few seasons and were really bad to start this season. They no doubt looked like easy points to pick up for the Flames. Boy were we wrong!
The Flames have just 2 wins, 5 losses and 1 overtime loss so far against the “crappy” Ottawa Senators. That’s only five points out of a possible sixteen. We get to play them one more time. Maybe one more win will look a tiny bit more respectable.
Burned Out Scoring
Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Elias Lindholm, Matthew Tkachuk, Mikael Backlund, Andrew Mangiapane and Dillon Dube. Those are seven solid names on paper. On the ice, they have been cold and none are even close to a point per game. The Flames are 24th in the NHL with only 2.6 goals per game. They are also 23rd in the NHL with a shooting percentage of 8.7%.
Matthew Tkachuk just hasn’t been the same since Jake Muzzin flipped a puck at him after the buzzer in a losing effort. Bottom line… when you give up more goals than you score, you lose games. Funny how that works hey!
Burned Out Defense
Ok, let’s be honest for a minute Flames fans. Mark Giordano is aging and in today’s NHL, is just not good enough to compete against the speed and skill of guys like Marner, Matthews, Draisaitl and McDavid. Although, nobody is at McDavid’s level. Good news is, the Seattle Kraken will likely take him in the expansion draft. If not, now is the time to move him while he still has some contract left and still has a bit of value.
I’m not totally counting the Flames out of this year just yet. But even if they do squeak into the playoffs, they won’t go very far. Some big decisions will have to be made in the off-season if this team wants to contend for a Stanley Cup.
I’m Jason Beisick and I’ll be covering the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers for the Belly Up Hockey team. You can follow me on Twitter as well for general sports talk and likely some trash talk and check out my podcast.