Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Looks Like We Have a Number One Goalie (and other observations)


So it looks like Hiller gets the second start in a row. The biggest story so far this season has to be the goaltending. Hiller and Ramo have been outstanding so far, giving the Flames a chance to win every game this season. Hiller has been on his game every night; especially against the Hawks, making an outstanding forty-nine saves in Chicago. The quality of Hiller’s game I like most is his ability to never be caught out of position. Playing deep in the net seems to help his size to cover the net.

His size covers most of the net he simply plays the percentages, getting himself in front of the puck.


I have also observed the defense pitching in and causing scoring chances. When they get the chance, they seem to be burrying it. Of late, in fact it seems like they have been getting the bulk of the scoring. Gio, Brodie, and Widemen are jumping in quite comfortably. That is why they are successful. I love the fact they are jumping in with confidence. Without them, the Flames would have no offense at all. They will have to continue to contribute. Without their contribution, there would be no scoring at all.


Mr. Glencross really has to start getting into the game. He has not been playing with any emotion. He is making silly mistakes on a regular basis. He is one of our best forwards, but he has to want the puck. He has been playing without any energy. He does not seem to want to do what he has to in order to be successful. Things have to change. Curtis has a chip on his shoulder, but he has to keep in focus. Seriously, Glencross has remember this a team game. He must learn to a team player. Stop being a ‘me’ player. If he does, he can be a huge asset.


With Raymond and Stajan both being put on the IR, someone has to pick up the slack. Add the possibility of Backlund and Colborne being injured, and we have a problem. The answer could very well be Sean Monahan; he will have the bulk of the responsibility. Another player who needs to pick it up is Hudler. He has pick it up and be the player he can be. He is a highly skilled forward who is capable of being a leader and will have to be in order for the Flames to be a successful team.

When it comes down to it, the Flames have very few assets, and the ones they have must perform. This team is too good to be a lottery team. But if Glencross, Monahan, and Hudler do not perform, the Flames may very well become one.


Granlund has earned the opportunity, let’s hope he runs with it. I love his skills; he has the tools to be a stud. He is a great playmaker. He will have to contribute in a big way while Stajan and Monahan are on the IR.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Jeff's Season Preview

Hey everyone! With puck drop only hours away I figured it was time to set out my expectations of what I see happening this season for our Calgary Flames. The rebuild is upon us and I am very excited with the direction the team is going in. I'm sure in the coming months you will read a blog or 3 where I talk about tanking or how I would love the Flames to get another top draft pick. Just keep an open mind and know it's only because I firmly believe in rebuilding the right way and I think one more year of finishing at the bottom of the league will truly help the process. With that out of the way let's get to my Top 5 things I expect to see this year.

1- Calgary will finish last in the Western Conference
Starting off with a big negative, that should hold the readers attention..... Problem is I don't see how the Flames are better than any other team in the West. It will pain me to see the Oilers finally finish ahead of the Flames but that's how I see the season playing out. I'd love say I hope I'm wrong but that would be a lie (circle back to my getting a high draft pick but we won't go there today). Edmonton should finally make that leap and climb up the standings a little bit. Winnipeg is decent to solid team in my opinion and should be better than Calgary. Nashville, Arizona, Vancouver and Minnesota all have stronger teams than Calgary doers on paper. That doesn't leave many teams for Calgary to pass and there lies the problem. Last in the West seems like a safe bet to me.

2- The Goaltending will be better than last season
This one is a no brainer for me. Jonas Hiller will definitely be an improvement to the Berra/MacDonald/Ortio combo from last season. Having Hiller and Ramo battle to be the #1 goaltender will make them both better and it will be a nice little competition between them. I'm sure both guys feel like they can be the main guy between the pipes and will want to out do their counterpart. This is going to make for some interesting times in net and I only see it as a positive.

3- At least one veteran will be traded this season
Might be another no brainer for some people but if the team isn't looking like they will be making the playoffs by the time the calendar reads December, I think it will be time to start looking to move some players. The 3 players I think are likely targets are: Dennis Wideman, Curtis Glencross and Jiri Hudler. If I had to chhose I would say Mr. Glencross is the most likely to go. He is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year, right now has a really nice contract and I think has the skills a lot of teams would love to add to their lineup.

4- John Gaudreau will win the Calder Trophy
I'm going out on a limb on this one but if Johnny Hockey can play most of the season I think he has a great chance on being the rookie of the year. Playing most of the season might be his biggest challenge. He's never played more than 44 games in a season with Boston College so to almost double that could be a problem for the 5'8 phenom.

5- Sven Baertschi will finally make the jump
Yes he will be starting the season in the AHL. Yes he hasn't lived up to the over hyped expectations lumped onto him. And yes when we was sent down last season he had a slow start. I think this is the year everything changes and everything clicks for Sven. Maybe this is wishful thinking on my end but I think Sven will get called up part way through the season and finally stick with the big club.

Thanks for the read folks and follow me on twitter @nhlflamesfan.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Flames Expectation

Flames Expectation

Another Flames regular season is here; but what should we expect?

We are in rebuild, which is obvious. Yet Hartley and Treliving have been quoted saying they expect the team to be better. But how are they expected to be better?

When Treliving came in as the General Manager of the Calgary Flames he said that he wanted to upgrade the team on the blue line. Few months later prior to camp, Treliving was quoted saying the same thing again.

So did he improve the defense?

Out: Butler, O’Brien, Billins and Breen
In: Engelland, Potter, Acolatse and Diaz

So, are they better on the blue line? In my opinion they are not. Not saying the guys we lost are going to be a big loss, but considering I was expecting improvements; I am not impressed. Engelland will be debated for the next three seasons, strictly because of his contract dollars. But is he better than Butler? Sure hope so and we will soon find out. But essentially Treliving changed the #6 & #7 defenseman spots this off season. Looks fairly tame for a guy who on numerous occasions said he wanted to upgrade the team on the blue line. Brodie should be better and having a healthy Wideman should improve the powerplay. In the end thanks to Hiller our defense may come off as better, but no thanks to Treliving.

Since I mentioned Jonas Hiller, clearly our goaltending situation has improved.

Out: Berra
In: Hiller

No argument here, we should be better in net. Hiller will bring calmness back to the team and he should help elevate Ramo’s game. Knowing that Ortio is on a one way deal next year, Ramo is playing for an NHL spot past this season, he will be motivated.

Offense, goals and scoring, three words that is not always associated with the Flames. After Iginla was traded, Cammalleri was viewed as the only real goal scorer, but he is now also gone. So who will score the goals?

Out: Cammalleri, Stempniak, Galiardi, Westgarth and Blair Jones
In: Raymond, Setoguchi, Bollig, Gaudreau and Wolf

I know a lot of fans will say that Gaudreau alone will make us a more offensive team, but is that really fair? Gaudreau has all the talent and we know he can play but can we really expect him to produce at a point for game level? Not in my opinion, heck I think if we get another 22 goals out of Monahan we will be fortunate.

Raymond is a nice addition; he has speed and can score some goals. But unlike in Toronto he will be playing against top pairing defense man, I am hoping for 20 goals out of him. I know Cammalleri was on pace to score 30 goals last year, I don’t expect Raymond to do the same. Oh but Setoguchi will help… unless you are like me and you watched the pre-season. Initially when Setoguchi was signed I was optimistic, and maybe I should remain optimistic. But from what I saw in the pre-season, it would not shock me if come November he is playing on a line with Max Reinhart with the Adirondack Flames.

A healthy Backlund with Colborne taking another step forward should help, and perhaps Glencross scores 26 goals again, if he can stay healthy.

Personally I see a lot of “ifs” and “perhaps” and that is probably the result of being in a rebuild. A lot of things will have to go right for this team to improve on last season. The Flames will not surprise anyone, unlike last year. Jonas Hiller will steal a few extra points and Gaudreau will score the odd shootout goal. But suggesting that this team is that much better? I have always been told I am too positive, but this year I have accepted that a top 5 draft pick is in store once again come June. Let’s just hope McDavid or Eichel is the name called this time, although Hiller may make sure that does not happen. 
Flames Jambalaya is in no way, shape or form associated with the Calgary Flames Hockey Club or the AHL affiliate, the Abbotsford Heat. This is a fans blog for fans. We just happen to love the Flames, so we write about it.