If you’re a Calgary Flames fan, there’s little to complain about so far in the 2021-22 season. Going into the preseason, this team had fairly low expectations after an ugly 2020-21 season that failed to qualify for the playoffs. However, a few years of rebounds from several players have led to more success.
While progress is a good sign, last week proved that despite their early success, they still have a long way to go before being considered a true Stanley Cup contender. If you look at last week’s schedule for the Flames’ opening game, you’ll notice they have a lot of work to do, coming up against the three best balls in the league against the Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Chargers and Carolina. The team plays the Hurricane. If anyone uses it as a yardstick to measure this team, it’s clear they’re a step below the true elite.
They were easily beaten in all three games. First up was the Panthers, who beat them 6-2. The Chargers won 4-1, followed by the Hurricanes 6-3. The Chargers’ game, in particular, could have been worse, as the Flames were chasing them all night, giving up too many scoring opportunities.if not for some big savings danfradal, the score may be much uglier than the original.
Areas of fire that need improvement
One thing many fans noticed was how out of sync the Flames’ back six forwards looked compared to the teams they were playing. Great teams always seem to have terrific depth, as did all three teams they played this week. Perhaps the best example of this is the Panthers, who have several players in the back six who can produce secondary offenses that the Flames sorely lack.
For example, Frank Valtrano, who currently plays on the left third line for the Panthers, has 20 goals this season and just 18 in 56 games last season. They also had Patric Hornqvist playing on the right side of the fourth line, and despite limited minutes, he still managed a pace of 17 balls and 41 points.
For comparison, the Flames’ four back-six players, Trliving this season in Brad Richardson, Trevor Lewis, Tyler Pitlick and Brett Rich who have either brought in or re-signed only 13 this year combined point. It shows that despite Treliving’s changes to his forward lineup, this team is winning, not because of them. This begs the question that many have asked in the preseason; why didn’t they give their youth a chance?
If the Flames want to try and match talent in other teams’ bottom lines, they have young talent waiting in Stockton.one that comes to mind Matthew Phillips right now, he has been close to one point per player in the American Hockey League (AHL) for several consecutive seasons, but has only played in one NHL game in his career. The other is Jacob Pelletier, who looks ready for the big stage with 31 points in 29 games this season despite being only 20 years old.
And Glenn Gawdin, who took the team out of camp, but Reassigned to Stockton Soon after. He has an impressive 10 goals and 26 points in 27 games with the Heat this season. The last option was Adam Ruzica, who was able to wear the suit in the Flames’ most recent game against the Canes, but was later reassigned to the Cabs. He brings the perfect combination of size and skill and might deserve a bigger look than he’s gotten so far in the 2021-22 season.
While Sutter clearly likes veteran players like Richardson, Lewis, Pitlick and Ritchie, they clearly lack the skills compared to the back-six forwards on elite teams. Maybe Treliving chose to trade to help in this regard, but it might be beneficial to first see if there is a solution within their organization.
To defend Vladal and Jacob Markstrom They haven’t gotten much help in the last three games. Worryingly, however, Vladal was forced to play back-to-back against the Lightning and Hurricanes as Mark Strom got knocked down. That raises the question of whether the Flames should consider adding more shooting depth before the trade deadline, in case Mark Strom may need to miss time now or in the future, given Vladal’s experience despite his stellar season. insufficient.
If the Flames do want to go this route, there are several goalkeepers that can be bought cheaply, with The most famous is Joonas Korpisalo From the Columbus Blue Jacket. Elvis Merzlikins is their clear No. 1 and they want to move Corpisalo before the deadline. Given that he’s a pending unrestricted free agent and he’s had a tough start to the season, he won’t cost much to acquire and might be worth considering.
It’s time to go all out
Whatever Treliving decides to do before the trade deadline to try and improve his team, he needs to make changes and give this team every chance to make the playoffs. Too many times, we’ve seen him get too conservative and need to change this season. With his top forward at Johnny Gaudreau not under contract for next season, this needs to be the year the Flames finally go all out and try to succeed.
Colton Pankiw is a former hockey player who now provides his knowledge of the game through writing. He has been a very active and reliable source for The Hockey Writers for almost two years. He is a senior writer for the Calgary Flames, but also plays for other teams in the league. Other writing contributions include: white oil, NHLtradetalk.com, and Markerzone.com. Colton is also a co-host of both Oil workers work overtime and flame confrontation podcast.Any interview requests or content information can be Twitter. Check out his work here.