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Calgary Flames: Season preview 2017/18


Calgary Flames

Calgary made the playoffs again last season and added some necessary pieces to their team during the off-season. But, did Calgary do enough to continue to be in postseason contention?

Additions

Travis Hamonic (RD)

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Travis Hamonic was acquired by the Calgary Flames during a tumultuous two days in the 2017 NHL entry draft. The Flames gave the New York Islanders a 2018 first round pick, a 2018 second round pick, and either a second round pick in 2019 or 2020.

The Flames did acquire a fourth round selection in 2019 or 2020. Hamonic has three years left on a seven-year deal which has a cap hit of about $3.85 million.

Hamonic is more of a defensive blueliner, and only had three goals and 14 points last season. He is skilled at blocking shots with an average of 1.98 blocks a game. He’s adept at taking the shooting and passing lanes away from attacking players.

He should be a good addition to the Flames’ blueline on the right side, joining Michael Stone and Dougie Hamilton.

Mike Smith (G)

Calgary Flames

Dealing Mike Smith was one of the big trades which GM John Chayka of the Arizona Coyotes pulled off this summer. Strapped with Smith’s huge $5.667 million cap hit for the next two years, the Coyotes decided to unload the aging netminder.

The Arizona team will still retain $1,416,667 of Smith’s salary through the term, but it was time for a change.

He’s never really played up to the level that he did during the 2011/12 run when the Coyotes went to the Western Conference Finals. Smith’s numbers then earned him that big contract, but it’s been all downhill since then.

He seemed destined to be a top-notch goalie during that magical season. He accumulated a 38-18-10 record with a.930 save percentage and a stellar 2.21 goals against average.

That was then, this is now.

It is true Smith will have a better defensive team in front of him than what he had in Arizona. Whether or not that will assist him in turning around his statistics is still unknown.

Michael Stone (RD)

The former Arizona Coyote joins Mike Smith as he signed a three-year $10.5 million contract to stay on the Flames’ roster. Stone contributed two goals, four assists in 19 games last season, including one goal in the playoffs.

Always a physical player, as displayed by his 27 hits, and 41 blocks in a Flames’ uniform last season, it is hoped that he can solidify the blueline for Calgary.

Stone’s one weakness was his +/- numbers which improved to +5 last season after seeing numbers more like -5 while in Arizona.

With a three-year contract the Flames are banking that Stone can step up to the level of a good top six defenseman and help the Flames in their quest to move further along in the playoffs.

Eddie Lack (G)

Lack signed a two-year $2.75 million contract to be the Flames’ backup goalie. Last season with the Carolina Hurricanes he had an 8-7-3 record, a .902 save percentage and a 2.64 goals against average.

Subtractions

Brian Elliott (G)

Elliott just didn’t seem to fit in in Calgary. He had a horrible start, but finished the season strong. He had a 26-18-3 record with a respectable .910 save percentage and a 2.55 goals against average.

Elliott signed a two-year $5.5 million contract with the Philadelphia Flyers. Michal Neuvirth will be the backup in Philadelphia. At 32, Elliott hopes to show the Flyers he’s still a quality netminder.

Chad Johnson (G)

Johnson was dealt to the Coyotes for Mike Smith. He was a free agent, and the Coyotes needed a goalie to protect in the expansion draft, and Johnson fit that bill nicely. He then went on to sign a contract with the Buffalo Sabres worth $2.5 million for one year.

Derek Engelland (D)

Due to become a free agent, Engelland was taken by the Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft. It helped Calgary in that they didn’t need to figure out how to pay his salary cap hit of over $2.9 million.

Moving on up

Jon Gillies (G)

The lanky (6’6″, 223lb) goalie can take up plenty of space in the crease, and looks to be in the mix for a roster spot soon. He will more than likely continue to play for the Stockton Heat of the AHL.

Last season, Gillies appeared in 39 games and accumulated a 2.93 goals against average and a .910 save percentage. Look for him to progress into the Flames’ lineup in another year or sooner.

Curtis Lazar (RW)

The 21-year-old right wing came over to the Flames last season at the trade deadline and only participated in four games. In those four games he registered one goal and two assists. He signed a two-year contract worth $950,000 per season.

Lazar was selected 13th overall in 2013 by the Ottawa Senators. He has the potential of being a top-nine, or even a top-six forward if he can fulfil his potential.

Matthew Tkachuk (LW)

The big question for Tkachuk is whether he will suffer through a sophomore slump, or progress to the next level. With 13 goals, and 48 points last season he showed he has what it takes to be in the NHL.

The Flames approve of Tkachuk’s physical play to compliment Johnny Gaudreau and Sam Bennett. That style of play will only augment the Flames’ chances in the playoffs where he needs to show the team he can produce in the atmosphere of the post season.

Spencer Foo (RW)

Foo hopes to crack the Flames’ lineup this season. He was a sought after college player, and the Flames acquired his services.

Spencer Foo
Right Wing
Born May 19 1994  -- Edmonton, ALTA 
Height 6.00 -- Weight 180 -- Shoots R


                                            --- Regular Season ---  ---- Playoffs ----
Season   Team                        Lge    GP    G    A  Pts  PIM  GP   G   A Pts PIM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2012-13  Bonnyville Pontiacs         AJHL   55   13   17   30   59   9   1   1   2   2
2013-14  Bonnyville Pontiacs         AJHL   60   40   27   67   67   3   4   1   5   2
2014-15  Union College               ECAC   39   11   14   25   24
2015-16  Union College               ECAC   36   12   13   25   14
2016-17  Union College               ECAC   38   26   36   62   24

What can the Calgary Flames achieve this season?

Anytime you have a player of Gaudreau’s talents on your team you have a shot at being a quality team. They managed to qualify for the playoffs with 94 points showing a 45-33-4 record.

Unfortunately, they lost in the first round to the Anaheim Ducks in four games. The improvements that GM Brad Treliving made should help them move to the next level. The Western Conference is strong, and very competitive.

The Ducks may not be as strong this season, due to age and not doing much to improve their team in the off-season. The Edmonton Oilers are surging quickly as the team to beat in the Pacific Division and the Western Conference.

Even the Arizona Coyotes will be starting to make their move to get to the playoffs for the first time in five seasons. All of this adds up to some very important games against teams in the same division.

They become four-point games, in effect.

The Flames have talent, and adding Hamonic certainly won’t hurt. They will now possess a top-four on defense to match the Nashville Predators, and we all know how far they went last season.

Calgary’s blueline will have some offensive power from the blueline with the likes of Dougie Hamilton, Mark Giordano, and T.J. Brodie who combined contributed 95 points last season.

Adding Hamonic who can be an offensive player, but is more of a skilled defender will put them in an entirely more elite standing.

Projected finish

The changes made to this team should allow them to at least finish with about 92-98 points in the Pacific Division. They will be fighting against the Ducks, Oilers, and Sharks for a playoff position.

The Sharks are ready for a downgrade in the standings, as they are aging similar to the Ducks’ lineup.

The Flames finished fourth in the Pacific Division last season, and will match or exceed that this season. If the goaltending can be stable, and with their increased talent level on the blueline they should be in the playoffs again.

Now if they face the Ducks again we should see a whole different, more competitive playoff series than last year.

The Flames will make it to the second round, but beyond that is debatable.

How do you think the Calgary Flames will do this upcoming season? Let us know in the comments section below.

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William Grigsby

I have been a hockey fan since I can remember. I grew up in Chicago, so I followed the Blackhawks.  When I moved to Phoenix, AZ  I became a Coyotes' fan. There's no other sport like NHL hockey!

Calgary Flames: Season preview 2017/18

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