After a promising season, the Calgary Flames find themselves on the outside looking in with the rest of NHL fandom. The Flames have come a long way from missing the playoffs last season, and no one expected them to come out on top of the division, but they ended up 1st in the Pacific and 6th overall in the league with 111 points. They made it into the playoffs, fighting it out in Round 1 with the Dallas Stars only to lose the Battle of Alberta to the Edmonton Oilers. Losing to the Oilers may not have been what they were hoping for; however, the flip side is that Calgary finally got past the second round. That is something worth celebrating and then building on it next season.
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By the Numbers
Power Play: 22.88 (10th)
Penalty Kill: 83.20 (6th)
Goals For: 293 (6th)
Goals Against: 208 (3rd)
Johnny Gaudreau ended the regular season with 115 points (40 goals, 75 assists), and he managed to add 14 more points to that total in the playoffs. After a few not-so-great years performance-wise, it was great to see him and the Flames back where they belong. He can become an unrestricted free agent on July 13, so it will be interesting to see if the Flames will re-sign him. Gaudreau has 609 (210 goals, 399 assists) in 602 games, the fifth most in franchise history, so the Flames would be crazy to not get him locked in with a new contract.
The biggest disappointment to the team and fans is the loss in the playoffs to the Edmonton Oilers, especially in light of the Oilers being swept by the Colorado Avalanche in the Western Conference Final. After franchise records were set and players like Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk getting more than 100 points for the season, losing 4-1 to the Oilers was certainly a letdown. It might not have been bad if the matchup had gone to six or seven games. Now the season feels unfulfilled, and they have to wait until next season to prove they can do it all over again.
Behind the Bench Analysis
Darryl Sutter took over in the latter part of the 2020-21 season, with a record of 15-15-0. The team finished fifth in the division, missing out on the playoffs. This season Sutter was able to right the ship and get the Flames back to where they belong. He won the Jack Adams Award, which is given to “the NHL coach adjudged to have contributed the most to his team’s success.” The team improved in several areas, including their record, goals per game, and goals-against per game. Sutter took the Flames to the Stanley Cup Finals in the 2003-04 season, and it looks as if he is on track to do it again.
Front Office Analysis
General manager Brad Treliving seems to have almost mortgaged the future in order to have what he wants now. At least that is what it looks like. He has done a great job of it if this season is any indication. However, he has a lot of work to do in the offseason if he wants to keep the team pretty much as is. As of July 13, there will be 16 players who are unrestricted free agents and ten players who will be restricted free agents. So Treliving will need to be creative with the cap and see if there’s a chance of freeing up cap space.
2022 NHL Entry Draft Picks
As of right now, the Flames have three draft picks total, one in each of the second, fifth, and seventh rounds. Unless any trades happen, the front office for Calgary will need to be creative and careful with who they choose. They traded six picks to roll the dice on a playoff run, and it worked. However, reality will set in once they realize they will have a difficult time stocking up on prospects.
Offseason Wish/Checklist for 2022-2023
The Flames were consistent all season; everything is in place for them to continue to perform at a high-level next season. They will need to clear some cap space and allow players like Oliver Kylington and Andrew Mangiapane to continue to grow and improve.
Players showed up in the regular season, but a few of them disappeared in the playoffs when the team needed them the most. Jacob Markstrom will need to find his game that he apparently lost against the Oilers. The Vezina Trophy finalist was top-notch until then. Calgary has talent and the potential to make the playoffs for the foreseeable future.
After a regular season that surpassed all expectations, the playoffs have left the Flames wondering where they go next. However, with a few tweaks from the front office, Calgary will be back again knocking on the playoff door next season.
Follow Liz Pendergraft on Twitter @lizzibear824
Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images