Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Flames Preview 2013

On today's Flames panel, we have two questions.   How will the Flames do this year? Which Flames players are you expecting to have breakout years?

My answers to start with:

How will the Flames do this year?

This season will not be pretty.  Simply put, they just do not have the talent. But I am excited about the young talent.

For example, our two blue chips Centers, Corban Knight and Sean Monahan; both have exceptional talent, but need time to develop. Backland will be the number one center. The problem is that Mikael would be, at best, a number two center on most of the other rosters in the NHL. 

On the wing, our leaders in Cammy and  Glencross, and to some extent, Hurdler.  These three have to put up the numbers in order for the Flames to succeed.   Glencross has to a be a less of a selfish player.  He must become more of a complete player

Goaltending is a worrisome spot for the Flames. We're relying on an unproven goaltender in Ramo. Joey will be a stable influence who may play more games than people think. 

Defence is our strength, led by Gio, Wideman, and Brodie. There will be a war for spots four through six at camp. 
This season, the Flames are simply cellar dwellers. Young talents need time to develop. There will be growing pains, but I see light at end of the tunnel.

Which Flames players are you expecting to have breakout years?

My pick for breakout player is Jiri Hudler, who knows how to win. He is going to play in another gear this season. Look for him to take this team and run with it. He is in this for the long haul. He knows his role and embraces it.

Dearen's answers

What are your expectations of the Flames for this coming season?

Simple- I expect the team I cheer for to make the playoffs. I do not and cannot cheer for my team to suck or tank it to get another top draft pick. I understand that on paper our team is weak and when I was in Vegas last week, the Flames were paying 150/1. But anything can happen, games need to be played and the Blue Jackets had the same talk around them last season. Plus, have you seen ticket prices to a Flames home game? You ask people to pay that price; you better put a decent product on the ice! Realistically, I may be disappointed with that mentality but if you dress 20 players each game who work hard, anything is possible.

Which player do you expect to have a breakout season?

T.J. Brodie. His play over the past two seasons has many Flames fans taking notice. I however, would like to see a major improvement. In my opinion he had a good 10 game stretch last year when the games did not matter. My big question here is if he can do that for 82 games against top lines? With Bouwmeester gone and the team accepting that young players will make some mistakes while they grow into established NHL’ers, Brodie has to take the next step. No doubt he is talented and contains a lot of upside and I hope we see him take that next step and he should. I believe with another off season gone by and more minutes available, TJ Brodie takes a major step and becomes a vital part of the Flames for the future.

Colin Dambrauskas from Hockeybuzz:

How will the Flames do this year?
It seems that the consensus has been that the Flames will, without a doubt, be basement dwellers in the NHL this upcoming season. Although this is likely not far from the truth, I expect the Flames while coached under Bob Hartley to be a strong character team that works hard and makes it tough on their opponents. Despite missing a lot of top end talent, the Flames will need to play a smart and physical game in order to keep games as close as they can. A strong defensive system, along with a group of guys who buy into their coaches plans, could help them succeed to a few spots out of the NHL’s metaphorical basement.
Which Flames players are you expecting to have breakout years?
During the process of a rebuild, having breakout years for most players is quite a feat. I say this not only because of the amount of uncertainties which is expected coming into this season, but also because of the mindset which most guys will carry. It is no secret that the Flames are amidst a rebuild, and as a result, players may exercise a little more reluctance towards giving 110% than they may have displayed in previous years. With that being said, I expect guys like Mikael Backlund and Karri Ramo to be the two biggest  “breakout” players this year given their experience levels. Being rather weak down the middle, the Flames need Backlund to take his game to another level and prove to the organization that they made the right choice keeping him around. The same can be said with respect to Ramo as the Flames have a dying need to replace the games and minutes logged by former tender Miikka Kiprusoff who has unofficially retired. Ramo has been playing overseas in the KHL and has not played an NHL game for about four years, despite being labeled as one of the best KHL goalies in recent years. While expectations may be somewhat low for the netminder as he accustoms himself to the NHL ice once again, I fully expect him to come in with a purpose; earning a starting position in the NHL.

Honorable mentions: Baertschi, Cundari, Stajan  

Shaune Vetter from Hockeybuzz:

How will the Flames do this year?

It's interesting listening to the complete and utter lack of expectations for the Calgary Flames this season. After so many seasons of what can arguably be called inflated expectations, the complete lack of any chance the Flames have in being anything but a lottery pick is quite sobering. 

Sure, a person could trot out the turn-around of the Blue Jackets last season and base an argument around their great season, which admittedly ended in a sideline seat and a worse draft pick then that club should have possibly had, but the key to that season was the change in attitude of the team on a day-to-day basis.

That's what the Flames fans hopefully have to look forward to! For almost a decade the Flames were a team that simply couldn't find the consistent game they needed in order to be more than an also-ran. Even think back to the playoff appearances after the Cup finals run: The Flames simply weren't able to do what it took when it mattered most, and a lot of that can arguably be attributed to the general attitude of the organization.

It's time to turn the page. It's time to see what some new blood can bring and to see if the team can learn how to win consistently. Sure... It'd be great to imagine a scenario where they turn the world on its side, use the Calgary flood as motivation, surprise the hockey world and at least complete for a playoff spot, but the simple truth is that this is a team that could struggle, but has a chance to at least learn to put for a consistent effort on a night-to-night basis that should benefit them moving forward.

Consider this: If they could find a way to become a team that teams really didn't like playing against again... Not because they won all of the time, but even in losing, they made sure you had to fight for every puck and every inch, wouldn't that have to be considered a huge step forward, regardless of whether or not they even get a sniff at a play-off race?

Which Flames players are you expecting to have breakout years?

When Sven Bartschi was an emergency call-up  2 years ago he immediately made an impact by  netting 3 goals in 5 games, Flames fans were salivating at the possibilities the Swiss prospect would be able to deliver. Of course, somewhere between the fanfare of spring and fall of 2012, something derailed and reality set in and the kid with the boatload of talent and some arguably unfair expectations had a bit of a stumble. It took some time for the kid to get his legs under him at the pro level, but after putting up 26 points for the Heat in the AHL, he was back with the Flames to finish the season and had regained some confidence by putting up 6 points in the Flames last 5 contests.

Although he shouldn't be expected to maintain that pace in 2012-2013. Sven should be able to continue to improve his complete game at the pro level and start to show that he might just be able to turn into a top 6 forward in this league. His work ethic hasn't been questioned, and now that he's a little stumble followed by a little success, he's in a better position to be able to understand what it takes to be successful at the NHL level.

The last word from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun:

How will the Flames do this season?

I see no scenario in which they finish anywhere but last in the NHL this year.

And that's a good thing.

Winning shouldn't be the goal or the focus - developing young talent should be. 

Even the staunchest of fans has to agree this team will be terrible.

The team has struggled for the last few years and now they're without a world class goaltender (even if Kiprusoff did return he would continue to struggle) and their best scorer in Jarome Iginla and have not replaced either with any proven commodities.

Which Flames player are you expecting to have a breakout year?

Curtis Glencross.

He will be given unprecedented ice time and opportunities to shine.

I think he's been capable of scoring 30 goals before but now there is nothing stopping him.


  1. Awesome work guys! Francis joining more in the future?

  2. Get ready for a long painful season boys! And you are right, ticket prices remain insane and parking goes up again. They should be ashamed!

  3. Thomas yes he will thanks


  4. Good work gentlemen! Can not wait for the season to start.


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.