In today's Western Conference Outlook we take a look at the Calgary Flames. Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Western Conference Outlook: Calgary Flames

In this installment of our Western Conference outlook series we take a look at another Western Canada hockey club, the Calgary Flames.

In case you missed it, we took a look at the Edmonton Oilers and predicted how the Predators will fare against them next season here.

The Flames A Year Ago

The Flames, like their northern neighbors in Edmonton did not have their ideal season. The Flames finished thirteenth in the Western Conference and were the twenty-seventh worst team in the league when it was all said and done.

Nashville played Calgary three-times last season and each game was a high-scoring back and forth contest for the most part. The first meeting between the teams came in Nashville in early January and the Predators took the win at home 4-2. The next two games would take place in Calgary and prove to be high-scoring, somewhat bizarre games.

The first trip the Predators took to Calgary Eric Nystrom decided he wanted to score four-goals, and Devan Dubnyk decided he wanted to let in four-goals on 27-shots. The game went into a shootout where the Flames took the win 5-4. That was a tough pill to swallow; a third/fourth line player scores four-goals in regulation and the Predators couldn’t sneak out of Calgary with a win.

The final game between Nashville and Calgary was a 6-5 thriller and the Predators took the win in Calgary. Predators captain Shea Weber lit-the-lamp twice and Matt Cullen had a four-point night.

Kris Russell was the Flames player that caused the most havoc in the three-games against Nashville; Russell had five-points against the Predators a year ago. Calgary’s leading goal scorer last season was Mike Cammalleri who tallied 26-goals in 63-games played.

Flames Off-Season Moves

The Flames haven’t done too much in the trade-market nor made a major splash in the free-agent pool this off-season; most think that the Flames could be in contention next year for the number-one pick in the NHL Draft which means Connor McDavid.

The Flames most recent acquisition was the signing of free-agent Devin Setoguchi who played in Winnipeg last season. Setoguchi is a good-skater who could fit in nicely with Flames forward group. Setoguchi had 27-points in 75-games last season and the Flames signed him to a very-cheap contract at $750,000 for one-year.

Other off-season signings were defenseman Deryk Engelland, and forwards Brandon Bollig and Mason Raymond.

Out of that bunch Raymond is the guy that sticks-out as the player who could have a major impact very early in Calgargy. Raymond is a speedy-guy who can get up and down the ice. Last year in Toronto, Raymond had 45-points in 82-games and his new contract with Calgary is at $3.15mil/season until 2016-2017.

Predators Predictions Against the Flames

I think that the Predators will post the same record this year as they did against the Flames a season ago. The Predators play the Flames very early in the season this year in just the third game of the season. The first contest is at home and is the final home game of the three game home stand; I see the Predators and their new offensive minded schemes beating the Flames in that one.

The next match-up comes in Calgary during the dreaded Canada road trip, I think this is where the Flames catch the Predators and beat the Predators on their home-ice in a closely contested game. Here’s to hoping for another Eric Nystrom four-goal night and maybe this time, if that happens, a Predators win.

The final game between the Predators and Flames comes very late in the season in Smashville. The Predators, in my opinion, will be battling for a wild-card playoff spot at the end of next season and beating Calgary on home-ice in the later half of a playoff-push is a must and I think the Predators get the three-points in a must-win game.

 

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