The Nashville Predators were never able to beat the Flames last season. Did they get better or will they regress? We take a look:
Today we look at: Calgary Flames
Fansided Blog: Flame For Thought http://flameforthought.com/
2014-15 record: 45-30-7, 3rd in the Pacific, Lost in five games to Anaheim in the Western Conference Semifinals
How the Preds did: 3 games, 0-2-1
Schedule this year against the Preds: Tue 12/15 Home, Wed 1/27 at Calgary, Wed 3/9 at Calgary
Notable subtractions: D Raphael Diaz
Coached by: Bob Hartley (4th year)
Who’s in Net: Calgary will enter camp with the same goaltending combination they had last season: Karri Ramo, who re-signed as an unrestricted free agent; and Jonas Hiller. The added wrinkle is 24-year-old Joni Ortio, who played six games last season and will be in the mix as his contract converts to a one-way deal. Three is too many and one will have to go.
Quick thoughts about the Flames:
- The big question is can the Flames improve after a 20 point jump in the standings and their first playoff spot in six years. Or do they pull a Colorado and regress like the Avs did last season?
- They made a huge splash in the offseason, arguably the biggest in the Western Conference in trading for 22-year old defensive star in the making Dougie Hamilton from cap strapped Boston. They also added winger Michael Frolik as a free agent.
- The biggest thing holding them back could be their three-headed goaltender problem. Three solid backstops but none elite. Can Coach Hartley ride the hot netminder back to the playoffs?
- They also have a lot of youth spearheaded by Calder finalist Johnny “Hockey” Gaudreau. Will he hit the very real sophomore slump?
Why the Flames will win the Stanley Cup: They had an increase of 35 and 20 points in the standings the past two years. If they can somehow ride the improvement of their youth and their additions and have another substantial increase, they are on the way.
Why the Flames won’t win the Stanley Cup: They actually exceeded their fancy stats last year and several players had personal best seasons. Can they repeat that with the help of the new additions or do they regress?
Three Things We Like About You:
- It sounds like Calgary is very similar to Nashville in a lot of ways: a growing, nice-sized city that is a little bit country and little bit rock and roll.
- We like the fact that your hockey team is thought of very much like ours. Nice try guys but you aren’t supposed to be able to compete with the big boys. How about we meet you in the Conference Finals this season?
- Like we told Winnipeg, we aren’t that fond of Atlanta as a city. We always get compared to them and we are a much better sports city. They are two-time losers in hockey and don’t expect to have to worry about it again. Congrats on being the first Atlanta gift.
Three Things We Don’t Like About You:
- Okay, we are a little upset that Johnny Hockey rode his media numbers to a Calder cup finalist and stole it away from our Filip Forsberg who should have actually been there.
- We still think you should have renamed the team to something more “Calgary” than Flames. Put some Cowboy in the moniker or something.
- Harvey the Hound. We know that he was the first NHL mascot and all, but he is getting a little dated and needs a major upgrade. He is looking like that old rug your grandma wouldn’t get rid of for sentimental reasons.
Prediction: Even though the Flames outplayed their own stats last year and several media members are predicting their demise, we are really worried about this team. We didn’t beat them at all last season and don’t seem to match up well. We think the youngsters improve and if you can get your goaltending down, there is a real chance that the two of us could meet in the Conference Finals. See you there.
Click on the team below to see more team previews:
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