The Calgary Flames are quite possibly one of the most frustrating teams to cheer for, just ask any fan. Why? Well, since their cup win in 1989, this team has been on a downward spiral, with bad coaches, bad GM’s and nearly zero playoff success outside of their miraculous run to the cup in 2004 which saw them lose in game 7 to the Tampa Bay Lightning, and a trip to the second round in 2015 before being eliminated by Anaheim. So, after another disappointing season in which the Flames missed the playoffs, what was the plan for this season exactly?
According to GM Brad Treliving there would be changes to the core, that much was clear. And at the expansion draft in June, a change happened. The Flames neglected to protect Giordano, not wanting to give up assets that could hurt their future, and lost the former Norris trophy winner to the Kraken. Now, this has turned out poorly, strictly for the fact that the Flames, who should be heading for a major retool or rebuild, instead hardly changed. They added an unproven Vladar as the backup and signed a bunch of vets, rough customers that will adapt to Sutter-style-hockey. On forward they’re not bad, but on defense this team is loaded with questions and what ifs.
Can Tanev stay healthy and play just as good as last season? Will Hanafin take another step forward, or was last year the exception not the rule? Can Andersson have a bounce back year or will be continue a downward spiral? Is Valimaki ready for the next step? Or is he turning into a bust? Can Zadorov and Gudbranson fill in the lost piece of Giordano?
The answer to the last one is a big fat NO...
Looking at the expansion draft again, I feel like the Flames should have let the Kraken have their first-round pick. If the Flames had made REAL significant changes for a retool or rebuild, it makes sense to lose Gio. If the plan is to keep competing, losing Gio makes no sense, especially if you’re not going to replace him properly or you’re relying on GREAT years from everyone, which I’m not convinced will happen.
Looking back, I think it’s very clear they should have just kept Gio. I think it makes way more sense especially with where the team is headed.
Thanks for Reading!