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2018-2019 NHL Preview: Calgary Flames

With an improved power play, so go the Flames

Calgary Flames v Vegas Golden Knights Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

In this 31 part series, I will be working my way back from 31st to 1st in my projected 2017-2018 standings. Eighteenth up are the Calgary Flames who are in their 38th season in the NHL. They have spent their last four years dipping in and out of the playoff mix every year so naturally this year they will make it after missing it last year.

2017 – 2018 NHL Stats:

NHL Standings: 20th
Goals for Rank: 26th
Goals against Rank: 19th
PP Rank: 28th
PK Rank: 7th

Projected 2018-2019 NHL Stats

NHL Standings: 14th
Western Conference Standings: 7th
Pacific Division Standings: 4th
Coach: Bill Peters (137-138-53 with Carolina)

Overview:

It seems fitting that I have the Calgary Flames so close to the Carolina Hurricanes. Bill Peters was ousted there and immediately hired by Calgary. Glen Gulutzen’s two year tenure was over. The biggest chance I am anticipating is fewer penalties taken by the Flames, under Bill, the Hurricanes had the fewest penalties called, while the Flames had the most under Glen. I am wildly excited for the top nine in Calgary. I think Sean Monahan is underrated for how much he brings to a team, he will be alongside Johnny Gaudreau and new addition James Neal, certainly a formidable top line. Behind them is Matthew Tkachuk, Mikael Backlund (underrated) and Michael Frolik (also underrated). The third line of Mark Jankowski at center alongside newly acquired Elias Lindholm and Sam Bennett round out a deep set of forwards. The addition of James Neal adds an offensively talented player who has scored 20+ goals each of the last seven seasons (with a shooting percentage above 11 for six of those seven seasons while Calgary as a whole shot sub 8% last year). Defense isn’t too weak either with Mark Giordano headlining the top unit with Travis Harmonic, TJ Brodie heading up the second unit with Michael Stone and Noah Hanifin alongside Rasmus Andersson on the third line, three above average defensive units. Noah will be a nice addition, especially down in the bottom four, he can provide offensive help with his puck movement on the power play (which ranked 28th last year This team was strong last year in the top 10 in shots for and the 10 fewest in shots against, they just couldn’t convert on their chances). Mike Smith does a decent job in net, with a 2.65 GAA (22nd) and a .916 sv% (19th) last year he won’t carry them beyond their means, but he isn’t costing them games either. To me the biggest challenge here is meshing all of the new players together and getting them to play together. They have a lot of fresh faces on both offense and defense who could be valuable but also have a history of clashes with previous teams.

Major Additions:

James Neal, Elias Lindholm, and Noah Hanifan

Major Subtractions:

Dougie Hamilton, Troy Brouwer and Micheal Ferland

Prospects and Picks:

-Rasmus Andersson. Drafted 53rd overall in the 2015 draft, Rasmus got a taste for the NHL in just 10 games last year after putting up 39 points in 56 games with the Stockton Heat. He’s not an offensive d-man though, he much more of a stay at home defenseman. He should crack this year on the bottom line with Noah Hanifan but I would not be surprised if he becomes a top four defenseman within the next two years especially as a Mark Giordano type blocking shots and really stifling opposing offenses.

Sleeper Fantasy Asset:

-Matthew Tkachuk. Ok so I am very unfairly biased towards Matthew. Fresh off back to back 48/49 point seasons he finds himself with Backlund and Frolik on the 2nd line which is more of the same. What is NOT more of the same is his time on the top power play unit with James Neal who should help this power play unit rise at least 5+ points in their NHL ranking. Look for Matthew to crack the 50 point marker this year while still providing the PIM.

Cap Situation:

$64MM Spent; $12M in Cap room; 17 players signed; average team age 26.

Poll

Will Matthew Tkachuk score 60+ points this season?

This poll is closed

  • 76%
    Yes
    (16 votes)
  • 23%
    No
    (5 votes)
21 votes total Vote Now