Category Archives: C of Red

Time for Change?

The Dallas Stars have not been the dominant team they were expected to be this season. The Calgary Flames however, have been RED HOT. In their last ten games, the Flames have been 7-2-1, while the Stars have struggled at 4-5-1 and sit 11th in the Western Conference.

In their most recent faceoff, the Stars showed that they need to clean up their defensive coverage. Johnny Gaudreau had two breakaway opportunities, only to score on the third try off a pretty 2-on-0 with Alex Chiasson.

http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/gaudreau-monahan-fuel-flames-win-stars/

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As We Wait

The future is bright for the Calgary Flames. Goaltending has finally been solidified, defence will continue to strengthen, and the forward group continues to toughen.

Throughout the month of June, Flames’ GM Brad Treliving was active for competent goaltenders after having the most goals against per game in 2015-16. Brian Elliott was acquired from the Blues and immediately signed to a one-year, $2.5M deal. Chad Johnson was signed to a one-year deal worth $1.7M to be the Elliott’s backup, one of the best moves by the Flames’ brass. With Brian Elliott signed to only a one-year deal, the Flames anticipate youngsters in Jon Gillies or Mason MacDonald to be the next starter in the near future.

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Flurry of Goalies

These were my ideas before the Flames acquired Brian Elliott. Twas a great move to get a veteran goalie.

As expansion looms closer and closer, teams are reviewing their roster for who they protect and who they leave to be taken in the expansion draft. Teams with two goaltenders will be tasked to trade either the veteran goaltender or a young, potential starter.

The Tampa Bay Lightning have an expendable Ben Bishop and a promising up and coming starter in Andrei Vasilevskiy. The Red Wings have publicized that Petr Mrazek will be their starter out of training camp. The Penguins saw Matt Murray ‘replace’ Marc-Andre Fleury. Anaheim had the ‘controversy’ of Frederik Andersen and John Gibson.

If you have been living under a rock, the Toronto Maple Leafs got a starting goaltender. Who did they get? Frederik Andersen, who played 123 career NHL games with the Anaheim Ducks. Andersen went 77-26-9 with the Ducks in three seasons, never playing over 55 games. The Leafs hope to have a goaltending tandem in Bernier and Andersen, where the Denmark native will likely grab the starting position.

So who should the Calgary Flames chase after? Fleury? Howard? Bishop?

First, Marc-Andre Fleury needs to be crossed off the Flames’ list. According to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston, Penguins’ general manager Jim Rutherford wants to retain Fleury for 2016-17 because he is still the franchise goaltender. Murray was the goalie who carried the Penguins to the franchise’s fourth Stanley Cup championship, but was shaky in the finals.
Fleury is a full-time starter. In May, Fleury was envisioned by fans as the goalie that the Flames could snag as their starter entering the 2016-17 season. However, because Murray hasn’t played a full season, Rutherford would like to keep Fleury if Matt Murray is unable to carry a majority of the workload.

No Fleury? What about Jimmy Howard of the Detroit Red Wings? Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lightning?

Petr Mrazek has been realized as the starting goaltender for the Detroit Red Wings entering the 2016-17 training camp. That leaves Howard on the bench, wastefully eating five million dollars out of the Red Wings $73 million dollar cap 2016-17 cap. If the Red Wings want to sign Stamkos in the summer, they have to clear their cap space.

The Flames could grab Howard, but his inconsistent play in the past two seasons poses to be extremely risky because of his cap hit.

Ben Bishop is the best candidate. He’s been a vezina candidate numerous times, where he has been a rock behind several good Tampa Bay Lightning rosters. Bishop had a .918 save percentage in 2015-16, and went down to injury in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Two years ago when Bishop went down to injury, he was the reason why the Lightning were swept by the Montreal Canadiens. Anders Lindback simply wasn’t good enough. Against the Penguins in the Eastern Conference Finals, Bishop’s backup Andrei Vasilevskiy was stellar for the Lightning. Vasilevkiy wasn’t amazing, but he always gave the Lightning a good chance to win.

Chances are that the Lightning would like to hold on to a young, 21 year-old Vasilevskiy, and look to trade Bishop. Will the Lightning trade Stamkos in the summer of 2016 for peak value? or trade his rights for a lower price at the conclusion of the 2016-17 season before free agency?

A dark horse that the Flames could snag is the Blue Jackets ‘ Sergei Bobrovsky. Korpisalo showed that he’s capable of playing in the NHL. Anton Forsberg backstopped the AHL affiliate Lake Erie Monsters to a Calder Cup Championship. Acquiring Bobrovsky would be a huge relief to a Blue Jackets team that only has three million dollars in cap space. AND THEY NEED TO SIGN DEFENCEMAN SETH JONES. He’ll probably ask for a deal worth five million over several years.

The Flames need a goalie now, and Ben Bishop would be the perfect guy. He’s had proven success, and would be a solid addition to a young Flames group that includes Dougie Hamilton, TJ Brodie, Mark Giordano, Johnny Hockey, Sean Monahan, Sam Bennett, and Hunter Shinkaruk.

If the Flames however, want to continue their youth movement, they could resort to John Gillies, the goalie that could have been the Flames’ starter entering last season if it weren’t for injury.

Who do you think the Flames should chase after?

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Choose Wisely

The Calgary Flames are in the midst of an important offseason. They need a goalie to work with their future starter Jon Gillies and a head coach after the firing of Bob Hartley.

The Flames put FOUR goaltenders into a carousel; Joni Ortio, Jonas Hiller, Karri Ramo, and Niklas Backstrom. It took more than half the season for Dougie Hamilton to adapt to the playing style of Western Conference teams. He slowly improved, and eventually became the solid defenceman they traded for during the summer of 2015. TJ Brodie was injured for 12 games at the beginning of the season, and his defence partner Mark Giordano continued to play his strong two-way game.

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Growing the Fire

It’s been a musical chairs kind of season for the Calgary Flames’ goaltending depth. Four goaltenders. A high goals against average. Exactly what Flames fans expected entering into the 2015-16 season, right?

WRONG.

The Flames expected that one goalie would emerge as the go-to-goalie, but none produced results. Karri Ramo posted a 17-18-1 record with a 2.63 GAA and .909 save percentage, while Jonas Hiller posted a dismal .883 save percentage and 3.39 GAA. In wake of Ramo’s season-ending injury, Joni Ortio did not live up to expectations. Ortio could not produce NHL-calibre numbers, with a .901 save percentage and 2.87 goals against average in 16 games played. In two games with the Flames, NHL veteran Nicklas Backstrom has been unable to find his form, posting a 3.51 GAA and a .863 save percentage in just two games.

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Gambling Protection

2017 might be the year of the Expansion Draft. Las Vegas might be the first expansion team that will be granted an expansion draft. Per Lighthouse Hockey and Darren Dreger of TSN, the basic outline before the expansion draft will be as follows:

  • Teams can protect either 3 defensemen, 7 forwards and 1 goalie, or 8 skaters and 1 goalie, per Darren Dreger.
  • However: Teams can only lose one player per expansion team. (So if there’s only one team, you only lose one player).
  • Prospects and “first- and second-year pros” are exempt and don’t need to be protected.

2017 might be the year of the Expansion Draft. Las Vegas might be the only team that will be granted an expansion draft. If so Which players will be protected by each Canadian NHL team?

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Tackling Regression

The Vancouver Canucks have surprised a number of hockey fans in the past few days with their questionable transactions. The biggest splash began Tuesday when the Canucks traded 24th overall pick from the 2013 NHL Entry Draft Hunter Shinkaruk to the Calgary Flames in exchange for Markus Granlund. The Canucks pushed forward Wednesday afternoon, letting teams know which players were available to teams around the league, and finished off the day by acquiring defenceman Philip Larsen from the Edmonton Oilers.
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Protecting Hockey’s Cops

Calgary Flames defenceman Dennis Wideman is suspended indefinitely for his “barbaric” hit on National Hockey League linesman Don Henderson. After taking a hit from Nashville Predators forward Miika Salomaki in the defensive zone, Wideman was dazed on his way back to the Calgary Flames bench. As he skated to the bench, Wideman hit Henderson the second he looked up, trying to get out of the way.

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Hitting the Delete Button

Going into the 2015-16 season, the league increased the salary cap by $2.4M from $69M 2014-15. The salary cap could increase by a maximum of $3.1M for the 2016-17 season, but with the free-falling dollar, the NHL will not likely rise by the max of $3.1M from the cap of $71.4 in s2015-16.

The need for more salary cap space has never been higher (except for the Winnipeg Jets who have $25M of space). Ten of the stronger NHL teams are restricted to less than three million dollars of cap space. The Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning likely want to improve their roster for a deep playoff run, but are restricted by a lack of cap space.

Each team in the NHL has at least one bad contract, in assessing performance for money. Ryan Callahan of the Tampa Bay Lightning is effective, but overpaid at $5.8M. Brandon Dubinsky is paid to $5.85M be a second/third line center.

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Step Back to Reality

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New York Islanders’ right-handed defenceman is seeking a trade, not because Hamonic doesn’t like Brooklyn or the Islanders organization. Hamonic has private family concerns that he wants to address by being closer to home. Islanders’ general manager Garth Snow has addressed that he wants Travis Hamonic in return, essentially a right-handed defenceman in return. Which teams would trade for Hamonic?

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