The Calgary Flames were one of the league’s best teams last season.
They won the Pacific Division and were the league’s sixth-best team with a record of 50-21-11 and 111 points. The team made it to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs only to be ousted by their arch-rivals, the Edmonton Oilers, in four straight games.
That is all gone, folks. There is no more Johnny Gaudreau or Matthew Tkachuk, who led the team’s offense in a big way last season.
Instead, the Flames are a team currently (As of Tuesday, March 21) out of a playoff spot, fifth in the Pacific Division, and 18th in league with a 31-25-15 record and 77 points. Yes, the team is just four points out of the second wild-card spot, but they do not deserve to make the postseason with how the team has played this season.
For starters, this team is having trouble putting the puck in the net consistently. The Flames are 17th in the league in goals scored, as they have scored 221 goals in 71 games (3.11 goals per game).
Jonathan Huberdeau, acquired from the Florida Panthers in the offseason, has been a bust this season. He has just 47 points this season after having 115 last season.
Nazem Kadri has also been a disappointment this year for the Flames. After having 87 points with the Colorado Avalanche last season, he has just 49 points this season.
Because the team is struggling on offense, their power play has been dreadful this season. The Flames are 22nd in the league with the man advantage as they have converted on just 19.6 percent of the opportunities they have been given so far this year.
The team’s offensive statistics are alarming. The fact that they are currently second in the league in shots per game (35.4) but still struggle to find the back of the net does not make anyone on the team look good.
The Flames have also had trouble keeping the puck out of their net. They are currently 17th in the league in goals allowed, as they have given up 221 goals (3.11 goals against per game).
After being a Vezina Trophy finalist last season as one of the league’s top goaltenders, Flames starting goaltender Jacob Markstrom has taken a step back this season. Markstrom is currently 19-19-0-10 with a 2.98 goals-against average, a .889 save percentage, and one shutout.
Markstrom looks nothing like the masked man he was last season. Last year, he was 37-15-0-9 with a 2.22 goals-against average, a .922 save percentage, and nine shutouts.
The team’s backup goaltender, Dan Vladar, has not improved much. Vladar is currently 12-6-05 with a 2.99 goals-against average and a .894 save percentage.
It should be as clear as day that this team needs a change. The question is, what kind of change? Where does the group begin?
The easy one would be to fire head coach Darryl Sutter at the end of the season. It looks like he has lost the room, and when things are going wrong, he is not making a significant change to reverse course.
Another option would be to fire the team’s general manager Brad Treliving. He got fleeced in the Tkachuk/Huberdeau deal and could not get Gaudreau to resign. Obviously, some things were out of his control, but those two things occurring certainly did not help him.
Even if the Flames somehow manage to get into the postseason, they will more than likely get knocked right out in the first round. As such, it will be time for the franchise to look at changing things up to get this team back on the right path.