The Calgary Flames are in an excellent spot in this year's Entry Draft. Unlike Edmonton, the Flames fan base is excited about picking this high, it's new and fun. The selection will help their rebuild, and the truth is Calgary has some nice things (a top pairing, some useful forwards) as we move into the future.
The key to Calgary's season is the goaltending. They're going to build up the middle, they're going to be truculent, and they're going to get a good player this year. We'll know they're serious about contending when the goaltending tandem looks average or above, and it isn't there now.
The defense has some very nice things.
That Giordano-Brodie combination is really top drawer, the Oilers would give their left nut for those two. The rest of the blue is a dog's breakfast, but like the goaltending I'm not certain Treliving/Burke should or will be in a hurry to get better.
Jones and Stajan are in a tough area and their Corsi Rel (both of these graphs are Rel) look okay. Backlund and Cammalleri overlap here, they're silly good, still can't believe a team didn't take a shot at the deadline. In a weak draft year, you'd think there was a way. St. Louis for sure should have come calling.
Monahan struggled, but he's a kid and scored like crazy. I'm sure there are people who believe Monahan is going to be a superstar, but I don't think we'll know for another year or so. I do know that he wasn't a killer, but that's not really surprising. Kid scored a ton, and by eye looked like he's going to have a future.
No, add Draisaitl or Bennett this year, and finish in the bottom 3 next season, and we're talking about something very good. Flames management can afford it, just can't look like it's planned. Edmonton presented their dive like a master plan, and now it's giggly-worthy even if you're an Oiler fan.
Fact is it would be pretty easy for the Flames to finish down the standings in the west even if they went in guns blazing. Spending the year with denver boot goaltending is a good way to ensure a high pick and maybe McDavid ends up as the real Alberta advantage.
Bill Torrey: "the one thing Oakland (Seals) taught me very clearly was how precious draft choices are. When I say that, and the reason for it, is that first of all, they bring instant excitement."
The Edmonton Oilers were the first Alberta team to end the constant battle for eighth place and step into an elevator shaft. It hasn't worked, but part of that may be their timing was all wrong.
The Calgary Flames may have fallen ass over tea kettle into their golden era. After all, how hard is it to acquire a mediocre goaltender?