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yave1964

Flames offseason outlook

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2016-17 A QUICK LOOK BACK:  Calgary Flames Sean Monahan signs jerseys in the Flames workout room at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alta. on Friday April 21, 2017. Leah Hennel/Postmedia

A lost season the year before ion which the Flames missed the postseason, Coach Hartley was fired, the teams two best players were suspended for dogging it and showing up late for practice and everything going wrong, the team hoped to be a contender for a bottom tier playoff spot.

  I will be honest, I thought they were going to slip, the not so dynamic duo of Elliott and Johnson did not impress me in net, I have never been a fan of Gulutzan and conversely I think Hartley is one of the best teaching coaches in the game and I figured that they would be one of the games worst teams. 

  Turns out I was wrong. Elliott was awful early but righted the ship, Gaudreau was brilliant, Monahan continues to be among the games most underrated players, the defense led by Gio and Hamilton propped up the pop gun offense from the forwards with serious firepower from the back end. Matt Tkachuk showed serious promise as a rugged power forward, Backlund finally looks to be contributing. They made the playoffs, they were swept by the Ducks in the first round but the season would have to be considered a success.

  As for what went wrong, Wideman absolutely hit the wall (but not a ref, at least not this year) Troy Brouwer and Alex Chiasson were non factors most of the year as the new forwards they were inadequate. T.J. Brodie was horrible to start the year and had a lost year. Whispers of Bust are going around about Sam Bennett who did nothing. Lance Bouma continues to erode after signing a big contract. 

 The offseason found the Flames kicking Elliott and Johnson to the curb replaced with former Coyote Mike Smith, Travis Hamonic coming over from the Isles to add a nasty stay at home defender, Spencer Foo signed as the top rated undrafted free agent, Stone and Versteeg resigned, and Eddie Lack replacing Chad Johnson.

 

FREE AGENTS

 

CHAD JOHNSON AND BRIAN ELLIOTT were found wanting and shown the door after one season.

 

ALEX CHIASSON was a bust in Calgary and wont be back.

 

LANCE BOUMA was allowed to leave for Chicago.

 

OFFSEASON QUESTIONS:

 

1) DID THEY DO ENOUGH TO BECOME RELEVANT?

 

 They are in a very tough division, the three Cali teams and Edmonton but Calgary will be awfully difficult to play against with arguably the games top defensive combo, Gio, Hamilton, Stone, Hamonic and Brodie are all incredibly skilled. Bennett and Tkachuk have not come close to reaching their top end. 

  But to me it comes down to Mike Smith, nothing was expected of him in Arizona, if he takes this as a challenge and is solid they could contend for a playoff spot, maybe more. They were a playoff team last year and had a hell of an offseason.

 

2) SHOULD THEY BRING BACK IGINLA?

 

That seems to be the talk right now, Iggie is an UFA who wants another year and Calgary genuinely needs third line scoring but I do not see it. He looked done for the last two years at least. I think that they have better options. Vanek for instance.

 

3) DO THEY HAVE ANY TRUE GOAL SCORERS?

 

Gaudreau had 43 assists and only 18 goals, Backlund had his best ever season with 22 goals. Monahan struggled to score at times but managed 27 goals. Nobody else scored more than 17.

  What carried them was unusual depth, 12 players scored 12 or more goals. But they need Gaudreau to step up and come closer to the 30 that he scored the year before, he really needs to end up in the mid thirties IMHO as the team is deep with solid two way players who are strong spear carriers and two way players but they need the stars to be stars.

 

  A surprisingly strong season followed by a very strong offseason improving the team in net and on the back end as well. They have a history of late of following a good year with a bad one but that may end this season.

 

Edited by yave1964

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