The Calgary Flames' Fall Short of Expectations
Coming into the beginning of the 2017-2018 NHL season, many fans and analysts were hailing the Calgary Flames to be one of the top teams in the west this year. There is no surprise to that claim considering if you look at their offseason moves; Trading for Travis Hamonic, one of the top defensive d-man in the league, resigning the highly underrated Michael Stone, and adding the legendary Jaromir Jagr to boost their depth scoring. At of the end of 2017, have these moves payed off for the Calgary Flames? Hamonic has been used heavily on the Flames blueline, especially on the penalty kill and to play the role he is was acquired for, but looks to head into a season career low in points with only 5 points in 34 games. For Michael Stone, it has been disappointing since his 2015-2016 season where he contributed 36 points in 75 games. He has a mediocre point total of 3 in 38 games and has seen his ice-time drop this season to 16:37. While the two defenceman are part of a very elite blueline, fans in Calgary have expected a bigger impact from them which they have not truly shown so far into the season. As for Jaromir Jagr, it’s a season to forget. 1 goal and 6 assists are the stats produced by the expected first ballot Hall of Famer while spending many nights in the press box as well. Considering he had 16 goals and 46 points last season, father time has finally hit the 45-year-old who will turn 46 in February.
Do you know what else that has been hurting the Flames? A lack of scoring from their 2nd and 3rd lines especially since that was one of their strengths from last year that helped the Calgary Flames gain a wildcard spot. This year has seen offensive drops from players like Michael Frolik, Kris Versteeg, and Troy Brouwer. Their powerplay has also dropped from 10th last year to 20th this season while the penalty kill has taken a major sting with the Flames ranked at 26 which is very disappointing considering the elite blueline that was supposed to be their saviour this season.
Two Headed Monster
The bright side for the Flames has been their two-headed monster in Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan. For the winger Gaudreau, he has 13 goals and 28 assists for a point total of 41 in 38 games. Centreman Sean Monahan has 17 goals and 15 assists for a point total of 32 in 38 games which has been what the Flames expected even with the very rough start the 23-year-old had. Those two along with the impressive production of Micheal Ferland who has 15 goals have been the Flames biggest offensive threats this season. Another impressive player for the Flames has been their other key offseason addition which I did not mention earlier and that is Mike Smith. The 35-year-old Kingston native sports a 14-13 record with a goals against average of 2.56 and a save percentage of .920% which is pretty impressive considering the Calgary Flames sit 3 spots behind the final wildcard spot and have surrendered 111 goals so far this season.
Have the Flames had a disappointing season so far? For sure considering the inefficient performances most of the team has had but I believe with the acquisitions of a couple of scoring forwards at the trade deadline should hopefully fix the Flames offence. I see them competing in a very tough Western Conference and into the playoffs where I think they will perform better than last years first round sweep to the Anahiem Ducks. They have a very good roster and a 2nd half turnaround can change a lot for this organization.