Calgary Flames: NHL 2017-18 Season Preview & Expectations
The Western Conference playoff picture has been lit up by the Calgary Flames for the last two seasons. As the league and fans gear up for 2017-18, one question remains. Can the Flames keep building optimism that comes from being in the playoffs for two of the last three seasons?
The Flames will come into this season with some familiar names, and some new names. Leading the way for the Flames, will be the man many fans refer to as “Johnny Hockey”. Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk, Sean Monahan, and Mikael Backlund will all be counted on for scoring.
Gaudreau led the Flames last season with 61 points (18 goals, 43 assists). Sean Monahan led the Flames in goals with 27 goals, and Tkachuk held his own with 48 points (13 goals, 35 assists). With this group as the foundation of the team, it may be safe to assume they’ll only get better. And, with examples like the players named above, Tkachuk may be one to watch for years to come.
On the defensive side of the puck, the Flames still bring a strong D-corps to the table. Team captain Mark Giordano leads the way, and along with him comes names like Dougie Hamilton and TJ Brodie. Looking to bolster the backend of their team, the Flames also signed Michael Stone. Knowing these moves weren’t enough to succeed, the Flames acquired Travis Hamonic in a trade with the New York Islanders.
In goal, the Flames will bring Mike Smith to the table, a 35-year old goaltender who has been with Arizona for the last few seasons, and Eddie Lack. Both of which, coincidentally, were brought in via trade. These two new faces could help the Flames in net in a big way, as the goalie position hasn’t been as prominent for the Flames since the days of Mikka Kiprusoff.
Mike Smith: Acquired in a trade with Arizona.
Eddie Lack: Acquired in a trade with Carolina.
Michael Stone: Acquired via trade on February 20, later signed to new contract.
Travis Hamonic: Acquired in a trade with New York Islanders.
Chad Johnson: Acquired by Arizona in trade for Mike Smith.
Ryan Murphy: Acquired by Carolina in exchange for Eddie Lack.
Thoughts on the Flames chances to make it to the Stanley Cup,Final:
Predicting the Stanley Cup playoffs before the season begins is brave. One could say a prediction such as this isn’t very smart. However, the Flames haven’t had to change players at every position. A team that doesn’t have to add or delete players left and right is an indication of a good group. Are the Flames guaranteed a Stanley Cup title? Not by any stretch. However, of the four Western Conference Canadian teams, the Flames may have the best season.