Hockey

Calgary Flames Season Preview

Calgary Flames
Mandatory Credit: Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

We continue our NHL season previews with the Calgary Flames. The Calgary Flames had a very disappointing season after making the playoffs in the bubble. They only made a couple of big moved in free agency which we will get to, but most of the team is returning. Is this a smart decision? Will in be enough to compete in the pacific division? Let’s break it all down.

The Lines

According to Daily Faceoff, there are the lines as of right now:

First line – Johnny Gaudreau, Elias Lindholm, Matthew Tkachuk

Second line – Andrew Mangiapane, Mikael Backlund, Blake Coleman

Third line – Dillon Dube, Sean Monahan, Tyler Pitlick

Fourth line – Milan Lucic, Trevor Lewis, Brett Ritchie

Coleman is the blockbuster add in the equation. He comes over from Tampa Bay and slides up from a third line center to a second line right winger. This was a surprise addition, especially on a six year contract. Lucic is still going strong but now moves down from the third to fourth line. Him and Richie together bring instant toughness and physicality to that line. They chose not to retain Joakim Nordstrom as the center, who hits everything in sight.

It was rumored that Tkachuk wanted out of Calgary and wasn’t happy with the team. Those have gone to the side for now, and they need him on that top line. Pitlick was traded from Seattle after being taken from Arizona in the expansion draft. It will be interesting to see how he works out on the third line. Dube also just signed a three year extension. Calgary values having players on each line who are fast, physical, and can play the length of the ice.

The Defense

The defense will be without Mark Giordano, and the Flames will need to name a new captain. Here is what it looks like right now according to Daily Faceoff:

Noah Hanifin and Chris Tanev

Nikita Zadorov and Rasmus Anderson

Juuso Valimaki and Oliver Kylington

Goalies: Jacob Markstrom and Dan Vladar

Zadorov was the key addition on defense. His rights were traded from Chicago, and then the Flames signed him to a one year deal making him an unrestricted free agent for the next offseason. These names aren’t ones you hear a lot. However, everyone needs to step up. There is a chance Zadorov move up to the first pair at some point. Vlader spent time with both the Providence and Boston Bruins.

He performed well overall. However, his final showing was in a 8-1 blowout loss to Washington. After that he was sent back to the AHL after Jeremy Swayman out played him, and was traded after the Bruins signed Linus Ullmark. Markstrom will have to fight off the young goaltender to remain the top option. Overall, nobody is really talking about the Flames. It’s understandable why. The pacific division features Vegas and Edmonton at the top with everybody else behind the. Calgary will need to work hard just to finish in the middle of the pack.

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