Well, another Calgary Flames season has come to an end. Along with it, so have the playoff hopes and dreams of their fans. It was your typical Flames roller-coaster season. Some wins, more losses, some players stepping up at times, more players not contributing enough. Let’s break it down and see what needs to change.
There’s no doubt to be a successful team, you need great goaltending. Especially when you’re a team that isn’t scoring! The addition of Jacob Markstrom during last off-season was huge. This season Marky was no doubt the Flames’ best player. He kept the team in most games and gave them a chance to win almost every game. But when you don’t have any offensive scoring to work with, it’s hard to be successful.
Things may have also been different had Markstrom not got injured and missed some games. Next season Markstrom will come back strong as ever, carry about 75-80% of the workload, and continue to give the boys a chance to win every night!
What we do need is a strong back-up goalie to win games when Markstrom has the night off. Something they may want to pick up in the off-season.
Remember back when the Flames had Mark Giordano and T.J. Brodie firing on all cylinders and they were pretty much the best D-pairing in the league? Those days are gone, and our Defense needs a bit of retooling.
Gio did alright, but in my opinion, if the Seattle Kraken don’t take him in the expansion draft, I think it’s time to move him while he still has a bit of value. Guys like Christopher Tanev, Rasmus Andersson, Noah Hanifin and Juuso Valimaki are quite capable of stepping up their game and making up for the loss of Giordano.
Where do I even begin with this group of Forwards? All through the regular season I complained about Johnny Gaudreau not producing. To my amazement he ended up leading the team in scoring, not that that was hard this season. If he had only bumped it up to a point per game, would things have been different? Maybe. There has been so much talk about Johnny being traded or wanting out of Calgary, and that’s just from Eric Francis. Maybe he does, maybe he doesn’t. But right now he is in Calgary, and I hope he remains focused on the task at hand.
Elias Lindholm and Matthew Tkachuk round out the top three in scoring. To be honest, I expected more out of both of them. Lindholm should be at least at a point per game. I don’t expect Tkachuk to be a top scorer. But a little more scoring would have been great, and what happened to the pesky side? What happened to the guy crashing the net, bumping guys and chirping? Jake Muzzin appears to have exorcised those demons right out of Chucky with the flip of a puck.
Am I forgetting anyone? Let me see… Oh yah… Sean Monahan. Monahan scored 28 points in 50 games. He is also being paid almost the same amount as Johnny Gaudreau. Now, to be fair, he had a lot of chances and his shots on goal total was very close to Gaudreau. Pucks just weren’t going in the net. Unfortunately, like the saying goes, “they don’t ask how, they ask how many?”
Looking at this Calgary Flames season, my first thought is, they are all close. If everyone just had a couple more points. What if they had just won a few more one goal games. If only they had made a coaching change earlier. What if only we could have beat one of the worst teams in the league, who also happened to be a division rival this season, we wouldn’t even be talking about this right now.
I’m Jason Beisick and I am covering the Calgary Flames and more 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.