Stanley Cup Playoffs Team Preview: Calgary Flames

Regular season record: 36-27-7 79pts (3rd place Pacific Division, 8th place Western Conference)

Today we are going to take a look at and preview the Calgary Flames as they enter the qualifying round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Looking back at the regular season before the coronavirus pandemic, this is not the season the Calgary Flames had envisioned compared to the previous season when they dominated their division and Western Conference. This season saw the Flames put up a 36-27-7 record with seventy-nine points. What’s really noticeable from last season to this season is the goal differential. Calgary went from a plus sixty-two team to a minus five goal differential. Obviously, the Flames struggled defensively this season. Offensively, the Flames weren’t as good offensively this season as they were the previous season when you saw their top players Johnny Gaudreau put up ninety-nine points and Sean Monahan with eighty-two points respectively. Obviously this season didn’t finish out completely, but the writing was on the wall that the team wasn’t having their best season scoring wise. What I do find interesting is that the Flames special teams were very solid. Their penalty kill was tied for eighth overall with an 82.1% success rate. The power play was just outside the top ten with a 21.2% success rate.

Defensively the Flames just weren’t as good as they were last season. Reigning Norris Trophy winner Mark Giordano has struggled to replicate last seasons form. Noah Hanafin has really struggled this season. TJ Brodie took steps back compared to last season. The defense was a glaring issue and why the Flames went out and acquired Derek Forbort and Erik Gustafsson at the trade deadline to help improve and give it more depth on the back end.

Goaltending has been up and down as Cam Talbot and David Rittich split the starts in net. Rittich took the majority of the starts with 24-17-6 record 2.97 goals against average and .907 save percentage. Talbot on the other hand while backing up posted a 12-10- record with a 2.67 goals against average and .919 save percentage. Talbot in less starts has faired better than his counterpart Rittich.

Playoff outlook for the Calgary Flames

Overall, I don’t see the Flames lasting very long in the playoffs. I see the the Calgary Flames being extinguished in the qualifying round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. There just doesn’t seem to be as much promise to the team this season when you compare it to last season when the Flames were considered a Stanley Cup contender. Can the Flames turn up the heat and get things going? I’m sure they could but they have a lot of work to do in order to make that happen. It just isn’t in the cards yet for the Calgary Flames to win the Stanley Cup. Maybe someday.

 

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