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2022-23 NHL team preview: Calgary Flames

 

Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk, and Sean Monahan are all gone ... but, somehow, the Flames might not be much worse for it.

 

Published -

USATSI_17658680_168383996_lowres.jpg
Feb 10, 2022; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames left wing Andrew Mangiapane (88) celebrates his goal with teammates against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the second period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Flames-Projected-2.png

LAST SEASON

The Calgary Flames had a highly successful 2021–22 regular season. Although Sean Monahan had another tough year, both Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk surpassed 100 points in a season for the first time in their respective careers. Cheap UFA signing Erik Gudbranson exceeded all expectations on the third pairing, and the Flames bought Calle Janrkrok from the Seattle Kraken at the trade deadline.

Anyway, those players are all gone. Every single one of them.

 

Once the Edmonton Oilers eliminated the Flames in the second round of the 2022 playoffs, all focus shifted to Gaudreau’s contract situation. The superstar winger set new career-high marks in basically every offensive category as a pending unrestricted free agent last season, putting himself in a great position to cash in on the open market.

 

After weeks of rumors and speculation, Gaudreau shocked the hockey world on July 13 by signing a seven-year deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets (joining Gudbranson, who inked a deal with Columbus earlier the same day). Shortly thereafter, reports surfaced indicating Tkachuk would not sign a long-term extension with the Flames, effectively closing the team’s contention window…

 

…that is, until July 22, when the Flames stunned basically everybody by trading Tkachuk to the Florida Panthers for Jonathan Huberdeau, MacKenzie Weegar, Cole Schwindt, and a 2025 first-round pick. Flames GM Brad Treliving subsequently signed Huberdeau to an eight-year contract extension (Weegar remains a pending UFA).

 

The cloud of Gaudreau and Tkachuk needing new contracts hung over the Flames throughout the 2021–22 season. Even as the team cruised to a 50–21–11 record, few onlookers in Calgary felt truly comfortable with the state of the team. That uncertainty became a reality this summer.

 

But Treliving has made the most of the Flames’ situation, most recently signing Nazem Kadri – one of the top UFAs on the market and a 2022 Stanley Cup champion – to a seven-year deal. Kadri, Huberdeau, and Weegar combined for 246 points last year; Gaudreau, Tkachuk, and Monahan managed 242.

KEY ADDITIONS & DEPARTURES

Additions
Jonathan Huberdeau, LW
Nazem Kadri, C
MacKenzie Weegar, D
Kevin Rooney, C
Nicolas Meloche, D

Departures

 


Johnny Gaudreau, LW (CBJ)
Matthew Tkachuk, LW (FLA)
Sean Monahan, C (MTL)
Erik Gudbranson, D (CBJ)
Calle Jarnkrok, C (TOR)
Ryan Carpenter, C (NYR)
Brett Ritchie, RW (UFA)
Glenn Gawdin, C (ANA)
Michael Stone, D (UFA)

OFFENSE

Under Treliving, the Flames’ attack has always been strongest on the wings. Not anymore. With Elias Lindholm, Kadri and Mikael Backlund down the middle, the Flames’ center depth is the best it’s been in decades.

Backlund has been a strong two-way center for years, but his inconsistency (particularly in the early months of seasons) limits him to being more of a middle-six forward than an ideal top-six option. Adding Kadri gives the Flames even more flexibility at the most important forward position.

 

Huberdeau should replace Gaudreau relatively seamlessly as the Flames’ top winger, and Andrew Mangiapane will have a chance to play a significantly larger role with Matthew Tkachuk out of the picture. Mangiapane scored 35 goals last season despite spending most of his time on the Flames’ second and third forward lines.

 

The Flames will also count upon Blake Coleman and Tyler Toffoli to eat significant minutes in all situations next season. Coleman struggled to finish at times last season but consistently drove 5-on-5 play; Toffoli got off to a hot start after being acquired from the Montreal Canadiens but took a step back down the stretch.

DEFENSE

Last season, the Flames’ defensive group was better than the sum of its parts. Even after losing team captain and longtime No. 1 defender Mark Giordano to the Seattle Kraken, the Flames surrendered just 208 goals in 82 games – the third-best mark in the league.

 

While goaltender Jacob Markstrom – more on him later – played a big role in the Flames’ stinginess during the regular season, so too did unheralded defenders Gudbranson and Oliver Kylington. Gudbranson was surprisingly steady on the Flames’ third pair after some rough years with multiple teams, while Kylington came out of nowhere to form an excellent two-way partnership with Chris Tanev.

 

Kylington is still with the Flames, but Gudbranson parlayed his success into a massive UFA deal with Columbus. No matter: Calgary went out and acquired Weegar as a secondary piece (!!) in the Tkachuk deal with the Florida Panthers.

No disrespect intended to Noah Hanifin, Rasmus Andersson, Tanev, or our lineup graphic, but Weegar is the Flames’ new top defenseman. The 28-year-old right-hander scored eight goals and 44 points while averaging 23:22 in 82 games with the Panthers in 2021–22, spending most of that time with Aaron Ekblad on the team’s first pairing.

GOALTENDING

As long as Darryl Sutter remains head coach of the Flames, expect Markstrom to start at least 60 games per season for the duration of his current contract. The 32-year-old Swede made 63 appearances with the Flames last year, posting a 37–15–9 record, a .922 save percentage and nine shutouts en route to being named a Vezina Trophy finalist and a member of the NHL’s end-of-season Second All-Star Team.

 

Even if Markstrom goes down at any point during the season, the Flames should be in relatively good shape. Backup goaltender Dan Vladar, who only just turned 25 over the weekend, went 13–6–2 with a .906 save percentage in 23 games last season; meanwhile, 2019 seventh-round pick Dustin Wolf exploded onto the scene in the American Hockey League with a 33–9–4 record and a .924 save percentage in 47 games. Wolf helped the Stockton Heat win three playoff rounds last year and won the Baz Bastien Memorial Award as the AHL’s top goaltender – in his first year of professional hockey.

COACHING

Sutter replaced Geoff Ward as Flames head coach late in the 2020–21 season. Although Sutter wasn’t quite able to turn the ship around that year, he certainly made his mark on the Flames in 2021–22.

 

With the 64-year-old Viking, Alberta product at the helm, the Flames played a fast, responsible, and tough brand of hockey. They finished with the sixth-most goals in the league and allowed the third-fewest. Sutter helped turn the Flames into a dominant possession team and deployed very effective top-six line combinations and defensive pairs. Before Sutter came back to Calgary, the Flames seldom played Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk together during 5-on-5 action – look how that turned out.

Sutter won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s top head coach last season. If he can turn Gaudreau into a passable 200-foot player, there’s no telling what he can do with somebody like Huberdeau.

ROOKIES

We already mentioned Wolf, but he’s not the most likely Flames prospect to break into the lineup this season. That would be Jakob Pelletier, the Flames’ 2019 first-round pick, who is coming off an excellent debut season with the AHL’s Stockton Heat. The 5-foot-10, 180-pound left winger scored 27 goals and 62 points in 66 games with Stockton in 2021–22.

Pelletier is a strong two-way forward with high-end offensive skill, and he meshed well on a line with fellow tiny winger Matthew Phillips in Stockton last season. Phillips turned 24 in April and has led Calgary’s AHL team in scoring over the last two years, most recently amassing 31 goals and 68 points in 65 games with the 2021–22 Heat. He’s a 5-foot-8, 165-pound right winger who could push for a spot with the Flames in training camp this fall.

 

BURNING QUESTIONS

1. Who steps up to fill the void left by Matthew Tkachuk? Huberdeau is a pretty convincing Gaudreau facsimile, but the Flames lost two 100-point players this summer, not just one. Tkachuk is going to be very difficult to replace in his own right. This question would have been more difficult to answer before the Flames signed Kadri, but he probably won’t be able to do it all by himself – and he’s not a winger. Someone will have to step forward and fill Tkachuk’s shoes on the right side of the Flames’ top line. Expect Mangiapane and Toffoli to both audition for that role during the pre-season.

 

2. Will MacKenzie Weegar sign before the season starts? Huberdeau inked an eight-year contract extension with the Flames shortly after the trade, locking him in with the team at a $10.5 million cap hit until 2031. However, Weegar remains a pending UFA after this coming season and will almost certainly command a raise over the $3.25 million he takes home annually on his current deal. An eight-year extension would take Weegar until he’s 37.

 

3. Can Markstrom bounce back from his poor playoff performance against Edmonton? The Flames’ starting goaltender went toe-to-toe with Dallas Stars netminder Jake Oettinger in the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs. After that, Markstrom completely faltered against the Edmonton Oilers in the second round, allowing 24 goals and posting an .852 save percentage in five games. If the Flames get back to that point in the post-season, Markstrom needs to be better for his team to have any hope of getting past the Oilers (or the Colorado Avalanche, for that matter).

PREDICTION

The Flames should be a pretty good team. Their only major competition in the Pacific Division will likely be their provincial rivals – that is, unless the Vegas Golden Knights can somehow emerge unscathed after losing Robin Lehner and Max Pacioretty. Teams like the Vancouver Canucks and Los Angeles Kings have their strengths and could very easily make the playoffs, but the Flames’ depth at all positions puts them firmly ahead of both teams on paper.

 
 

We’ll say the Flames finish second in the Pacific and get past the Canucks in the first round of the playoffs to set up a rematch with the Oilers. This time, the Battle of Alberta will go seven games.

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13 hours ago, Brewin Flames said:

2022-23 NHL team preview: Calgary Flames

 

Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk, and Sean Monahan are all gone ... but, somehow, the Flames might not be much worse for it.

 

Published -

August 23, 2022
USATSI_17658680_168383996_lowres.jpg Feb 10, 2022; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames left wing Andrew Mangiapane (88) celebrates his goal with teammates against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the second period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Flames-Projected-2.png

LAST SEASON

The Calgary Flames had a highly successful 2021–22 regular season. Although Sean Monahan had another tough year, both Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk surpassed 100 points in a season for the first time in their respective careers. Cheap UFA signing Erik Gudbranson exceeded all expectations on the third pairing, and the Flames bought Calle Janrkrok from the Seattle Kraken at the trade deadline.

Anyway, those players are all gone. Every single one of them.

 

Once the Edmonton Oilers eliminated the Flames in the second round of the 2022 playoffs, all focus shifted to Gaudreau’s contract situation. The superstar winger set new career-high marks in basically every offensive category as a pending unrestricted free agent last season, putting himself in a great position to cash in on the open market.

 

After weeks of rumors and speculation, Gaudreau shocked the hockey world on July 13 by signing a seven-year deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets (joining Gudbranson, who inked a deal with Columbus earlier the same day). Shortly thereafter, reports surfaced indicating Tkachuk would not sign a long-term extension with the Flames, effectively closing the team’s contention window…

 

…that is, until July 22, when the Flames stunned basically everybody by trading Tkachuk to the Florida Panthers for Jonathan Huberdeau, MacKenzie Weegar, Cole Schwindt, and a 2025 first-round pick. Flames GM Brad Treliving subsequently signed Huberdeau to an eight-year contract extension (Weegar remains a pending UFA).

 

The cloud of Gaudreau and Tkachuk needing new contracts hung over the Flames throughout the 2021–22 season. Even as the team cruised to a 50–21–11 record, few onlookers in Calgary felt truly comfortable with the state of the team. That uncertainty became a reality this summer.

 

But Treliving has made the most of the Flames’ situation, most recently signing Nazem Kadri – one of the top UFAs on the market and a 2022 Stanley Cup champion – to a seven-year deal. Kadri, Huberdeau, and Weegar combined for 246 points last year; Gaudreau, Tkachuk, and Monahan managed 242.

KEY ADDITIONS & DEPARTURES

Additions
Jonathan Huberdeau, LW
Nazem Kadri, C
MacKenzie Weegar, D
Kevin Rooney, C
Nicolas Meloche, D

Departures

 


Johnny Gaudreau, LW (CBJ)
Matthew Tkachuk, LW (FLA)
Sean Monahan, C (MTL)
Erik Gudbranson, D (CBJ)
Calle Jarnkrok, C (TOR)
Ryan Carpenter, C (NYR)
Brett Ritchie, RW (UFA)
Glenn Gawdin, C (ANA)
Michael Stone, D (UFA)

OFFENSE

Under Treliving, the Flames’ attack has always been strongest on the wings. Not anymore. With Elias Lindholm, Kadri and Mikael Backlund down the middle, the Flames’ center depth is the best it’s been in decades.

Backlund has been a strong two-way center for years, but his inconsistency (particularly in the early months of seasons) limits him to being more of a middle-six forward than an ideal top-six option. Adding Kadri gives the Flames even more flexibility at the most important forward position.

 

Huberdeau should replace Gaudreau relatively seamlessly as the Flames’ top winger, and Andrew Mangiapane will have a chance to play a significantly larger role with Matthew Tkachuk out of the picture. Mangiapane scored 35 goals last season despite spending most of his time on the Flames’ second and third forward lines.

 

The Flames will also count upon Blake Coleman and Tyler Toffoli to eat significant minutes in all situations next season. Coleman struggled to finish at times last season but consistently drove 5-on-5 play; Toffoli got off to a hot start after being acquired from the Montreal Canadiens but took a step back down the stretch.

DEFENSE

Last season, the Flames’ defensive group was better than the sum of its parts. Even after losing team captain and longtime No. 1 defender Mark Giordano to the Seattle Kraken, the Flames surrendered just 208 goals in 82 games – the third-best mark in the league.

 

While goaltender Jacob Markstrom – more on him later – played a big role in the Flames’ stinginess during the regular season, so too did unheralded defenders Gudbranson and Oliver Kylington. Gudbranson was surprisingly steady on the Flames’ third pair after some rough years with multiple teams, while Kylington came out of nowhere to form an excellent two-way partnership with Chris Tanev.

 

Kylington is still with the Flames, but Gudbranson parlayed his success into a massive UFA deal with Columbus. No matter: Calgary went out and acquired Weegar as a secondary piece (!!) in the Tkachuk deal with the Florida Panthers.

No disrespect intended to Noah Hanifin, Rasmus Andersson, Tanev, or our lineup graphic, but Weegar is the Flames’ new top defenseman. The 28-year-old right-hander scored eight goals and 44 points while averaging 23:22 in 82 games with the Panthers in 2021–22, spending most of that time with Aaron Ekblad on the team’s first pairing.

GOALTENDING

As long as Darryl Sutter remains head coach of the Flames, expect Markstrom to start at least 60 games per season for the duration of his current contract. The 32-year-old Swede made 63 appearances with the Flames last year, posting a 37–15–9 record, a .922 save percentage and nine shutouts en route to being named a Vezina Trophy finalist and a member of the NHL’s end-of-season Second All-Star Team.

 

Even if Markstrom goes down at any point during the season, the Flames should be in relatively good shape. Backup goaltender Dan Vladar, who only just turned 25 over the weekend, went 13–6–2 with a .906 save percentage in 23 games last season; meanwhile, 2019 seventh-round pick Dustin Wolf exploded onto the scene in the American Hockey League with a 33–9–4 record and a .924 save percentage in 47 games. Wolf helped the Stockton Heat win three playoff rounds last year and won the Baz Bastien Memorial Award as the AHL’s top goaltender – in his first year of professional hockey.

COACHING

Sutter replaced Geoff Ward as Flames head coach late in the 2020–21 season. Although Sutter wasn’t quite able to turn the ship around that year, he certainly made his mark on the Flames in 2021–22.

 

With the 64-year-old Viking, Alberta product at the helm, the Flames played a fast, responsible, and tough brand of hockey. They finished with the sixth-most goals in the league and allowed the third-fewest. Sutter helped turn the Flames into a dominant possession team and deployed very effective top-six line combinations and defensive pairs. Before Sutter came back to Calgary, the Flames seldom played Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk together during 5-on-5 action – look how that turned out.

Sutter won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s top head coach last season. If he can turn Gaudreau into a passable 200-foot player, there’s no telling what he can do with somebody like Huberdeau.

ROOKIES

We already mentioned Wolf, but he’s not the most likely Flames prospect to break into the lineup this season. That would be Jakob Pelletier, the Flames’ 2019 first-round pick, who is coming off an excellent debut season with the AHL’s Stockton Heat. The 5-foot-10, 180-pound left winger scored 27 goals and 62 points in 66 games with Stockton in 2021–22.

Pelletier is a strong two-way forward with high-end offensive skill, and he meshed well on a line with fellow tiny winger Matthew Phillips in Stockton last season. Phillips turned 24 in April and has led Calgary’s AHL team in scoring over the last two years, most recently amassing 31 goals and 68 points in 65 games with the 2021–22 Heat. He’s a 5-foot-8, 165-pound right winger who could push for a spot with the Flames in training camp this fall.

 

BURNING QUESTIONS

1. Who steps up to fill the void left by Matthew Tkachuk? Huberdeau is a pretty convincing Gaudreau facsimile, but the Flames lost two 100-point players this summer, not just one. Tkachuk is going to be very difficult to replace in his own right. This question would have been more difficult to answer before the Flames signed Kadri, but he probably won’t be able to do it all by himself – and he’s not a winger. Someone will have to step forward and fill Tkachuk’s shoes on the right side of the Flames’ top line. Expect Mangiapane and Toffoli to both audition for that role during the pre-season.

 

2. Will MacKenzie Weegar sign before the season starts? Huberdeau inked an eight-year contract extension with the Flames shortly after the trade, locking him in with the team at a $10.5 million cap hit until 2031. However, Weegar remains a pending UFA after this coming season and will almost certainly command a raise over the $3.25 million he takes home annually on his current deal. An eight-year extension would take Weegar until he’s 37.

 

3. Can Markstrom bounce back from his poor playoff performance against Edmonton? The Flames’ starting goaltender went toe-to-toe with Dallas Stars netminder Jake Oettinger in the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs. After that, Markstrom completely faltered against the Edmonton Oilers in the second round, allowing 24 goals and posting an .852 save percentage in five games. If the Flames get back to that point in the post-season, Markstrom needs to be better for his team to have any hope of getting past the Oilers (or the Colorado Avalanche, for that matter).

PREDICTION

The Flames should be a pretty good team. Their only major competition in the Pacific Division will likely be their provincial rivals – that is, unless the Vegas Golden Knights can somehow emerge unscathed after losing Robin Lehner and Max Pacioretty. Teams like the Vancouver Canucks and Los Angeles Kings have their strengths and could very easily make the playoffs, but the Flames’ depth at all positions puts them firmly ahead of both teams on paper.

 
 

We’ll say the Flames finish second in the Pacific and get past the Canucks in the first round of the playoffs to set up a rematch with the Oilers. This time, the Battle of Alberta will go seven games AND CALGARY WILL WIN THIS TIME.

Fix the last part of the article haha😁

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For the burning questions I'd say this:

 

1. The void will be filled as entire team effort...just the way Sutter wants it.

 

2. Weegar won't sign long time yet...firstly because Treliving isn't being as generous as for Huberdeau since Weegar isn't as proven as Huberdeau is...Treliving too shrewd to overspend on Weegar especially defence isn't an area Calgary is lacking in...

 

3. Damn right Markstrom gets revenge this year and makes another run for the Vesna.

 

---

 

Now that Calgary given PTOs to Stone Eakin and Milano, I think that means most of the non NHLers will be going back to the farm, Sutter likes dependable older guys instead.

 

Stone will be the extra man on defence...and having Eakin and Milano means that Pelletier will be going back to the farm...

 

As for lineups...can't see Weegar and Taniv being a pairing since they both shoot right...it'll probably be Weegar and Zadorov since Kylington used to playing with Tanev already...and on forward Eakin and Rooney will be the extra forwards with Milano getting a spot...and I think Dube and Mangepanne will be on same line since they play well together and both speedy...🔥🔥🔥GO FLAMES GO🔥🔥🔥

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1 hour ago, Brewin Flames said:

Milano is depth, nothing more, perhaps a waste of a spot.

 

Gee; I dunno. I think that's kind of a harsh assessment, actually. Decent size, really good wheels, strong playmaker, responsible-enough defensively. He would be depth, as you say, and I think he would provide strong value on a league minimum contract.

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5 hours ago, JR Ewing said:

 

Gee; I dunno. I think that's kind of a harsh assessment, actually. Decent size, really good wheels, strong playmaker, responsible-enough defensively. He would be depth, as you say, and I think he would provide strong value on a league minimum contract.

 

 

Meh, all i see is a guy who has bounced back and forth between NHL/AHL and does not make the most of his chances.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Brewin Flames said:

 

 

Meh, all i see is a guy who has bounced back and forth between NHL/AHL and does not make the most of his chances.

 

 

 

I mean... What do you think you find among a lot of NHL 4th line player in the age of the salary cap? Two-way deals, tweeners, reclamation projects, guys who struggle to put together an all-around game, etc.

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Some lines so far at training camp:

 

Huberdeau/Lindholm/Toffoli

Eakin/Kadri/Milano

Dube/Backlund/Coleman

Lucic/Rooney/Ritchie

Pospisil/Ruzicka/Lewis

 

I'm thinking the Backlund/Coleman duo from last year will continue on this year so all they need is anyone to fill a spot on their line...and that Kadri will end up with two others that play like him which I think we'll end up being Dube/Mangepanne since those two play well together and are hard on the puck going into corners same style as Kadri...

 

The last line are all going back to the farm except for Lewis who Sutter loves...

 

Mangepanne is injured so won't play till closer to opening night...so if he's out most likely Ritchie/Lewis/Eakin/Milano will be bouncing around different lines finding chemistry...whoever are the faster grittier players will get a chance with Kadri on the second line...whoever more responsible defensively will get a chance on the Backlund/Coleman line...and whoever leftover will get the odd chance on the Lucic line...

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7h ago

 

Huberdeau flexes offensive muscle in Flames win over Canucks

Jonathan Huberdeau scored in his Flames debut as Calgary scored three times in the second period in a 4-0 NHL pre-season victory over the Vancouver Canucks split-squad.

The Canadian Press

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CALGARY — The game-winning goal in his first game made for a solid first impression for Jonathan Huberdeau in his Calgary Flames debut.

Huberdeau scored the first of three second period goals in a 4-0 NHL pre-season victory over the Vancouver Canucks split-squad.

“I'm used to training camp, but this year is different,” said Huberdeau. “Obviously, new team. I was comfortable in Florida and here, it's different and it's been a lot of fun so far. Great group of guys and we're just going to go forward from here.”

Cody Eakin, Blake Coleman and journeyman forward Brett Sutter, Darryl Sutter's son, also scored for Calgary. The Flames iced a far more experienced lineup than the Canucks, who kept all of their top players back home for the other half of two split-squad games. The Flames also prevailed in Vancouver, winning 3-2 in overtime.

Huberdeau was the centrepiece addition in a busy off-season for general manager Brad Treliving, who acquired the 29-year-old from Florida in a blockbuster trade that also included defenceman MacKenzie Weegar. Matthew Tkachuk went to the Panthers. The trade came nine days after star left-winger Johnny Gaudreau left Calgary to sign as a free agent with Columbus.

Two weeks after he was acquired, Huberdeau agreed to an eight-year contract extension that will make him Calgary's highest paid player at $10.5 million per season starting in 2023-24. Huberdeau finished tied with Gaudreau for second in league scoring last year with 115 points.

The two high-profile departures means a new No. 1 line for Calgary and as they've been practising since training camp began, the new top trio made its debut with Elias Lindholm between Huberdeau and Tyler Toffoli.

"It's good to get out there with new teammates, get some chemistry,” Huberdeau said. “It wasn't my best game so I think I've just got to be better and I think we're all gonna get better as a line. First game, you have some rust from the summer. We're gonna build chemistry over our next practices and we're going to have some more games, too, so it's gonna be good.”

Playing together on the top power-play unit, it was a five-on-three that produced the game's opening goal 2:11 into the second period.

Huberdeau got the puck at the top of the crease and after his attempt to set up Toffoli at the side of the net didn't get through, the puck bounced right back to him and he slid it past Collin Delia as the Saddledome crowd erupted.

“I got a little lucky on that goal, but yeah, it's always fun to find the back of the net, even in pre-season,” Huberdeau said with a smile. “I want to be a really good player on this team and I think I've just got to keep climbing, keep working hard.”

Three minutes later, Eakin scored the Flames' second goal.

With an excess of veterans under contract up front, there isn't expected to be much room but two guys in camp on a professional tryout are Sonny Milano and Eakin. Milano, 26, coming off a career-high 14 goals with Anaheim last season, is auditioning for the one opening in Calgary's top nine while Eakin, 31, is looking to catch on in a depth role.

“It's a hard-working gritty team and I like that,” said Eakin, a veteran of more than 700 NHL games. “That's how I try and play my game. Hopefully someone likes it.”

Milano flashed his offensive skill set in one rush dipsy-doodled past John Stevens, then sent a dangerous backhander on net that Delia had to block. Milano drew a penalty in the process.

“The veteran guys, they're trying to work on their game as they go along and then there's guys who are trying to prove themselves,” said Sutter.

With Jacob Markstrom not in uniform, backup Dan Vladar got the start and was sharp in turning aside all 15 shots he faced in his two periods, before giving way to Oscar Dansk, who made four stops in the third.

Vladar's body of work included a sharp glove stop off Arshdeep Bains on a second-period breakaway.

Delia also played 40 minutes, finishing with 21 saves. Michael DiPietro stopped nine of the 10 shots he faced in the third.

Notable scratches for the Flames included defenceman Chris Tanev and prominent free agent centre Nazem Kadri. Both players have been full participants in practice, but with Tanev coming back from off-season shoulder surgery and Kadri having played deep into the spring with the Stanley Cup-winning Colorado Avalanche, Sutter has acknowledged that neither are expected to appear in any games in the early part of the pre-season.

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FLAMES FALL TO KRAKEN

Calgary loses first tilt of preseason

by TY PILSON @typilson / CalgaryFlames.com
 12:43 AM
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Shots were hard to come by for the visitors - especially early in the contest - and goals proved impossible.

The Flames were blanked in their third preseason game of the year, falling 3-0 to the Kraken in Seattle.

 

 

Dan Vladar got the start for the Flames - his second in as many games - and made 33 saves.

 

Calgary finished with 25 shots in the tilt.

 

The Flames iced a lineup comprised mostly of players likely to be in the AHL Wrangers lineup this season, with a pair of PTOs and only two regulars from last year's team: Vladar and Dillon Dube.

The Kraken had a more veteran lineup skating on the night.

 

Dube and Cody Eakin - the latter in camp on a PTO - wore the As for the Flames on the night.

 

Vladar - who went a perfect 15-for-15 in two periods of work against the Canucks in Calgary on Sunday in a 4-0 win - made a couple big stops early in the game, including robbing a trailing Vince Dunn off a rush.

The Flames went to the powerplay 6:58 in, the best chance a Nick DeSimone one-timer that Philipp Grubauer stopped.

 

On a later rebound in the crease, both Connor Zary and Sonny Milano crashed the blue paint digging for the puck but Grubauer eventually covered it up. 

 

Calgary would kill off a penalty to Ben Jones before the end of the first frame, Seattle holding a 13-9 edge in shots after 20 minutes.

 

Vladar was sharp in the second, stopping Gustav Olofsson on a shorthanded 3-on-2 early in the frame.

 

Grubauer left the pipes midway through the second, having stopped all 10 shots he faced. He was replaced by Magnus Hellberg.

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'FIRST' IMPRESSIONS

Weegar scores first as a Flame, with Kadri - making Flames debut - nabbing the assist in win over Oilers

by TY PILSON @typilson / CalgaryFlames.com
 12:26 AM
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Back on Sunday at the 'Dome, Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar - the other two big names acquired in the off-season - got huge ovations when they were announced as starters prior to that tilt.

Kadri got a similar raucous round of applause when he was announced as a starter, centring a line with usual-pivot Mikael Backlund on one wing and Blake Coleman on the other.

 

Oh, and that goal he assisted on - it came off the stick of Weegar with 3:27 to play in the third period, his first as Flame, eliciting another explosion from the C of Red.

 

The Flames improved to 3-1 in exhibition play with the win, less than 24 hours after they lost 3-0 to the Kraken in Seattle with a much different lineup.

 

Against the Oilers, the Flames iced a significantly more veteran-laden side while the Oilers iced a young squad of mostly AHLers.

 

Brett Sutter scored his second goal in as many preseason home games, while Michael Stone also notched his second after tallying the overtime game-winner against the Canucks Sunday night in Vancouver. 

They assisted on each other's goals. 

 

Huberdeau added an empty-netter for good measure, also his second strike in as many games for him.

 

Jacob Markstrom played the first two periods (his first action of the preseason), finishing a perfect 12-for-12 on the night. Dustin Wolf came on in relief for the third, making nine stops.

 

The Flames, as one would expect on the night, controlled much of the play early, recording the first seven shots on net before Markstrom saw any rubber.

 

Calgary went on the powerplay at the 8:32 mark, Kadri joined by Huberdeau, Tyler Toffoli, Elias Lindholm and Rasmus Andersson. The five-some piled the pressure on, Kadri tipping a pass from Huberdeau just over the net as they swarmed Calvin Pickard but coudn't beat him. 

 

Not long after a Flames powerplay had expired, Sutter would get the homeside on the board.

 

Stone let a wrister go from up near the blueline of the right-wing boards, Pickard making the save but Sutter getting the puck amid a crowd of bodies and flipping it home.

 

  • 00:55 • September 28th, 2022

 

Stone - known for his absolute cannon of a shot, one of the heaviest in the league - made it 2-0 when unloaded a howitzer from the top of the right faceoff circle that went in and out of the net so fast behind Stuart Skinner, who replaced Pickard, that the fans didn't cheer till they noticed the ref signal a goal.

22

 

Then came the goals from Weegar and Huberdeau.

 

 

 

  • 02:02 • 12:36 AM

 

 

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POSTGAME SUTTER - 28.09.22

 

  • 05:46 • 12:25 AM

 

BY THE NUMBERS:

Shots: CGY 34, EDM 21

Powerplay: CGY 0-3, EDM 0-3

Hits: CGY 21, EDM 13

Face-offs: CGY 47%, EDM 53%

*Scoring chances: CGY 24, EDM 8

*High-danger scoring chances: CGY 7, EDM 1

*According of Natural Stat Trick (5-on-5)

 

THE ROSTER:

Forwards

10 - Jonathan Huberdeau

11 - Mikael Backlund

17 - Milan Lucic

20 - Blake Coleman

21 - Kevin Rooney

22 - Trevor Lewis

28 - Elias Lindholm

38 - Brett Sutter

61 - Clark Bishop

73 - Tyler Toffoli

75 - Mitch McLain

88 - Andrew Mangiapane

91 - Nazem Kadri

 

Defencemen

4 - Rasmus Andersson

8 - Christopher Tanev

16 - Nikita Zadorov

26 - Michael Stone

52 - MacKenzie Weegar

55 - Noah Hanifin

72 - Jeremie Poirier

98 - Ilya Solovyov

 

Goaltenders

25 - Jacob Markstrom

32 - Dustin Wolf

 

NEXT UP:

The Flames and Oilers will renew their preseason pleasantries on Friday in a 7 p.m. MT start at Rogers Place.

 

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Pre-Season Game

 

DAN THE MAN

On a night the Oilers edge Flames 2-1 in preseason play, Vladar stellar with 36 stops

by TY PILSON @typilson / CalgaryFlames.com
 12:06 AM
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Preseason is about players trying to earn spots in the lineup - and there aren't many up for grabs with the Flames.

One guy that came into camp with his spot locked up was backup goalie Dan Vladar.

 

He's been stellar in every exhibition tilt he's played. He kept that up in the provincial capital.

 

On Friday night in Edmonton, he was the star of the show for Calgary with 36 saves in a 2-1 loss.

 

Vladar played the full 60 minutes and was excellent, standing tall in the team's fifth game of the preseason.

 

Dillon Dube was the lone goal scorer for the Flames. 

An NHL-laden Flames lineup skated to a 4-0 victory over a mostly AHL-ish Oilers crew Wednesday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

 

Friday in Edmonton, the homeside iced a veteran lineup, including Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl as well the team's big off-season acqusition, Jack Campbell, between the pipes. 

 

The Flames had some notable names playing up front including Jonathan Huberdeau, Tyler Toffoli and Dube. Check out the Flames lineup below. 

 

Just 3:51 into the game, the Flames went to the penalty-kill when Juuso Valimaki was sent off for holding Draisaitl.

 

The Oilers swarmed with four shots and few more quality chances that didn't hit the net but Vladar stood tall, with an assist from Rasmus Andersson who saved a rebound chance.

 

Calgary got their first powerplay of the game at 6:54 but it was the Oilers who would strike shorthanded, Kailer Yamamoto battling to win a puck behind the Calgary net and then skating out and feeding it cross-ice, the puck going off the stick of Vladar and right onto the tape of Draisaitl who put it home on the back door. 

 

The Flames tied it up 15:49, the puck bouncing around and finding its way right onto the stick of Dube all alone out front and he made no mistake.

 

Vladar was exceptional in the first, making 12 saves in the opening 20, including on a point-blank attempt by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

 

 

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Dube goes top shelf

 

  • 00:37 • September 30, 2022

 

And here's another look from ice level:

 

 

 

Just over five minutes into the middle stanza, Vladar again stoned Nugent-Hopkins with another stellar stop.

Not to be outdone, he stopped Evander Kane in tight not long after.

 

Calvin Pickard replaced Campbell in net, who left with seven saves on eight shots. 

 

Sonny Milano made Pickard work for a big save when the Flames player - in camp on PTO - found open ice in the slot and snapped a great shot the Oilers 'tender gobbled up.

Then there was scary moment for the home crowd when Kane collided with McDavid in the neutral zone, the Oilers captain down for a bit before skating off.

 

Vladar was massive save again when Zach Hyman took a pass from Jesse Puljujarvi on a 2-on-1 but was robbed.

 

The Flames goalie contined the heroics in the third, stopping Philip Broberg and then Kane in quick succesion. Both were jaw droppers. 

 

Brett Kulak's long shot from the left point at 8:55 found a hole shortside to put the Oilers up 2-1. 

 

Darnell Nurse and Mitch McLain had two fights in the tilt. 

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Today's pratice lineups:

 

 

 

Huberdeau/Lindholm/Toffoli

 

Mangiapane/Kadri/Dube

 

Rooney/Backlund/Coleman

 

Milano/Ruzicka/Ritchie

 

Lucic/Eakin/Lewis

 

 

Hanifin/Andersson

 

Zadorov/Weegar

 

Poirer/Tanev

 

Mackey/Stone

 

Valimaki/Meloche

 

 

Looks like Sutter will keep the Backlund/Coleman duo from last year  and will probably be the best defensive forward line no matter who ends up with them...Sutter also trying out Kadri with Dube/Mangepanne so hopefully they have chemistry since this would be the fastest line for sure...

 

Ruzicka going back down for sure since he's the youngest and that leaves the 14 veterans forwards with Ritchie/Eakin healthy scratches most nights...

 

On defence looks like Valimaki/Poirer/Meloche should be heading back down since they don't have to clear waivers...and Stone/Macky will take turns sitting out...but since Macky/Stone are getting practice time together Tanev might not be ready to play yet and could get more rest to make sure not to reinjure...

 

Actually since they're practicing with Rooney moved up with Backlund/Coleman maybe Mangiapane needs for rest too so not too reinjure too...in that case Milano would probably take his spot with Kadri/Dube...

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Pre-Season

 

TRIUMPHANT RETURNS

Tanev scores and Mangiapane gets a helper as Flames dump visiting Kraken

by TY PILSON @typilson / CalgaryFlames.com
 October 3, 2022
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Chris Tanev is a quiet, reserved fella.

 

Neither his personality nor his game are flashy. He's a workhouse who makes all the little plays, sacrifices his body, and is undoubtly one of the most underrated defensive blueliners in the game.

So then, it came as no surprise that after scoring his first goal of the preseason - on just his fourth shift of the night - in his first game back after off-season surgery, he simply skated back to the Flames bench, sat down and wiped the snow off the blade of his stick matter-of-factly as he was shown on the jumbotron and the crowd cheered loudly for a fan favourite. 

 

 

Michael Stone also tallied a big marker as the Flames beat the visiting Kraken 4-1 at the Scotiabank Saddledome Monday night.

 

Stone - in camp on a PTO - has been on an absolute heater this preseason, now sitting with three goals in exhibition play.

 

Noah Hanifin and Blake Coleman also scored, while Jacob Markstrom made 21 saves in the victory.

 

Andrew Mangiapane also made his preseason debut, skating on a line with Nazem Kadri at centre and Dillon Dube on the other wing. He collected an assist.

 

Calgary was without the trio that has skated as their top line so far in Jonathan Huberdeau, Tyler Toffoli and Elias Lindholm as they had the night off.

 

Big Nikita Zadorov was in fine form early, pasting Oliver Bjorkstrand along the boards, sending the Kraken forward's stick flying as he crashed to the ice. 

 

Not long after, Tanev got the puck up high by the blueline and walked down main street, snapping a shot that Jones deflected high.

 

His goal then came at 7:44 after he stepped into a shot that dropped young star Matty Beniers, the rebound coming back to him and making no mistake on the second attempt with a low, farside snipe.

 

 

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  • 00:44 • October 3rd, 2022

 

Markstrom made a 10-beller early in the second, denying Shane Wright's doorstep attempt off a nifty pass from behind the net.

 

And what's a preseason game this year without a Stone marker? As his goal song says, he's been 'solid as a rock' so far.

 

He scored at 5:33 with the Flames on the powerplay, taking a pass from MacKenzie Weegar and debating a one-timer, before settling it down and unloading one of his patent clappers.  

 

 

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Mangiapane had a crack just past the midway point when Kadri hit him with a long pass in full stride, but Jones was there for the stop.

Hanifin made it 3-nil when he took a backhand pass from a circling Kevin Rooney and stepped into a long-distance shot as he faded backwards over the blueline with 4:11 to go in the middle stanza.

 

 

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Beniers finally cracked the goose egg on the powerplay 2:22 into the third period, Markstrom coming across the net on his one-timer blast and getting a piece of it but the puck squeaked in.

Coleman - who was buzzing all night with centre Mikael Backlund - restored the three-goal lead at 9:32 when he beat Jones from a tight angle. 

 

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