The Calgary Flames offer offensive firepower, but can the defense and goaltending allow them to compete at a high level in 2017-2018? They made the playoffs last season and got swept in the first round by the Anaheim Ducks. Calgary was in the basement at one point last season, but they caught fire at one point and won over 10 games in a row.
Calgary is also missing some size as well. When they go up against big opponents, it seems like they have no where to go. Glen Gulutzan is one of the most underrated coaches in the NHL.
Projected lines: Line 1: Johhny Gaudreau-Sean Monahan-Michael Ferland
Line 2: Matthew Tkachuk-Mikael Backlund-Michael Frolik
Line 3: Kris Versteeg-Sam Bennett-Troy Brouwer
Line 4: Curtis Lazar-Matt Stajan-Alex Chiasson
Defense 1: Mark Giordano-Dougie Hamilton
Defense 2: T.J. Brodie-Travis Hamonic
Defense 3: Brett Kulak-Michael Stone
Mike Smith will be the starting goalie and Eddie Lack will be the backup.
Expect these players to step up in case of injury: Freddie Hamilton, Luke Gazdic, Matt Bartkowski, and Jon Gillies.
I like the Flames goaltending duo much better than last season’s (Brian Elliott and Chad Johnson) and the blue line got stronger. What’s funny is the Flames will open up the season on the road against their rivals on the road against the Edmonton Oilers on October 4. I really think it is possible that the Battle of Alberta is possible when the playoffs arrive in April. Calgary will finish in the top 3 in the Pacific Division.