It’s time for another screenshot column where we’ll briefly cover and comment on some hockey topics for you to read. As always, we’ll eliminate as many ideas as possible and go straight to business.
– The Philadelphia Flyers responded as best they could After head coach Alain Vigneault was sacked. On Dec. 6, they won five of the six games through Dec. 29, improving their record to 13-12-5. Reality set in after that, however, as the Flyers lost four straight games in a 6-2 loss to their main rivals in Pittsburgh.
The Flyers are now closer to the bottom of the Mets division than to a playoff spot. The last-placed New York Islanders are 6 points behind them in the Metro standings, but the Isles have 6 games at Philadelphia, and the seventh-placed Columbus Blue Jackets are 1 point behind Philadelphia, but have 4 games at the Flyers . All of this has led to objective doubts that they won’t make the playoffs and have to look ahead to next season to have any real hope.
Part of next season’s predictions for the Flyers is the possibility of captain Claude Giroud playing for another team in 2022-23. Giroud is in the final year of his current contract — capped at $8.275 million per season — and will be 34 midway through next season. There’s going to be a lot of bidders for his service, and now that the Flyers are in position, he’s going to have a better position than Philly from a competitive standpoint. That’s why Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher needs to trade Giroux instead of losing him in open unrestricted free agency.
It will be painful for Flyers fans to see their team leader go, but the harsh reality is that they haven’t accomplished much in the Giroux era, if they can trade him to speed up the necessary rebuild, including top draft picks and/or future Ten years will be the prospect in Philadelphia. The rebuilding began last summer when winger Jakub Voracek was traded to the Flyers, but with Giroud’s departure it will go into high gear. He was an admirable competitor in Philadelphia, but it’s time for a clean, productive break.
— One of the strangest parts of the Calgary Flames’ rebound as a team this season: They’re definitely a rough team at home, going 4-3-4 in Calgary, but their road record As a 13-6-2 team, they are tied with the Carolina Hurricanes (13-4-1) for the most road wins this year. That leaves the Flames as only one of two teams — the other being the Boston Bruins (9-6-1 at home) — of any team in their current playoff spot that has played at home this season. Get less than 10 wins.
If Flames head coach Daryl Sutter knew what was wrong with Calgary’s performance at home, he might have fixed it. But there’s a clear link here — namely that the Flames could miss out on securing home-court advantage in the playoffs simply because they’re underperforming at home in the regular season. However, if they continue to perform well away from Calgary, home-field advantage is irrelevant.
– Finally, congratulations to journalist Chantal Machabée on being hired by the Montreal Canadiens this week. Machabée will serve as Montreal’s new Habs vice president of communications, a stressful role that will draw all her attention and media expertise. She’s not there because she’s a woman, but she’s still an improvement as part of a new, diverse era for Canadians, and as the team charts a different direction, she’ll help them convey their overall message to Montrealers . Good luck to her.