Pacific Preview: Calgary Flames could see more significant roster changes this year

Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
8 months ago
The Calgary Flames have been in shambles since winning Game 1 of the Battle of Alberta in the playoffs.
Johnny Gaudreau left in free agency, Matthew Tkachuk requested a trade shortly after, and the Flames fell flat in 2022-23 and missed the playoffs. More changes could be on the horizon as the Flames have multiple veterans who are set to become unrestricted free agents next summer.
We’ve previewed the Anaheim Ducks, San Jose Sharks, and Vancouver Canucks. Next up, we’ll take a look at the Flames. 

Calgary’s 2022-23 season:

Record: 38-27-17 (93 points)
Goals For: 260 (19 of 32)
Goals Against: 252 (13 of 32)
Two seasons ago, the Calgary Flames were the best team in the Pacific Division, before being embarrassed by the Edmonton Oilers in the second round of the playoffs in five games. Fast-forward to the beginning of the 2023-24 season, and the team is a mess.
It didn’t help that their additions to replace Matthew Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreau flopped. Free agent signing Nazem Kadri had 24 goals and 56 points in 82 games, a drop from the 87 points he had the season previous with the Colorado Avalanche, and Jonathan Huberdeau, one of the names they got in return from the Florida Panthers in the Tkachuk deal, only scored 15 goals and 55 points, a massive drop off from his career-high of 30 goals and 115 points the season prior.
The Flames ultimately finished their season with a 38-27-17 record, good for ninth in the Western Conference and two points out of the last playoff spot. Shortly after the end of the season, general manager Brad Treliving and head coach Daryl Sutter parted ways with the organization.

Calgary’s off-season:

Notable Additions: Yegor Sharangovich, Jordan Oesterle
Notable Subtractions: Tyler Toffoli, Milan Lucic, Trevor Lewis, Troy Stecher, Michael Stone, Nick Ritchie
The Flames traded Tyler Toffoli, their leading point-scorer last season, to the New Jersey Devils for Yegor Sharangovich, a deal designed to help the team get younger while also giving them a player who can help them compete in the present.
Other than that, it was a pretty boring summer for the Flames in terms of roster movement. Veteran forwards Milan Lucic and Trevor Lewis returned to where they won Stanley Cups, with the Boston Bruins and Los Angeles Kings, respectively. Michael Stone retired and Jordan Oesterle was brought in to fill his spot on the blueline.
They also signed Mikael Backlund to a two-year contract extension and named him captain, filling a role that had been vacant since Mark Giordano was let go following the 2020-21 season.

Calgary’s current outlook:

It’s hard to know where Calgary really stands. While the team and the players certainly underperformed last season, they also definitely overperformed when they won the Pacific Division in 2021-22.
The big question is how are they going to replace Toffoli’s production? Well, Sharangovich may not be the answer, as he scored 13 goals and 30 points in 75 games with New Jersey last season, down from the 2021-22 season where he scored 24 goals and 46 points.
If stars like Nazem Kadri and Jonathan Huberdeau can produce as they have in the past, Calgary could definitely be a playoff team. They have a good core of savvy veterans up front and a very solid group on the blueline, so it wouldn’t be shocking to see the team turn things around. 
But what about the big picture? If the Flames are in the mix for the playoffs, will they not trade the likes of Lindholm, Tanev, and Noah Hanifin ahead of the deadline and risk losing those players for nothing in free agency? Calgary might be next looking a few years down the road.

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