Tag: calgary flames

My Top Three Picks To Be Crowned Stanley Cup Champions 2018-2019

Based off the odds of Vegas, what teams have a legitimate shot at the Stanley Cup?

Tampa Bay Lightning +300

Toronto Maple Leafs +550

Calgary Flames: +1000

Nashville Predators:  +1200

San Jose Sharks: +1200

Winnipeg Jets +1200

Washington Capitals +1400

Pittsburgh Penguins +1700

Boston Bruins +1700

Columbus Blue Jackets: +1800

New York Islanders +2200

All betting odds aside, my top three choices for a Stanley Cup this season.

  1. Tampa Bay Lightning: Is there any need to get into much of a discussion about this? From line one to four they produce, their back end is strong with plenty of experience and mobility and the icing on the cake. A healthy, solid number one goalie, Andrei Vasilevskiy. The Lightning are 34-8-2 with 70 points, they lost a combination of 10 games all year and only EIGHT in regulation. With a +67 goal differential.
  2. Calgary Flames: In all honesty the Western Conference does not look to difficult this year. The Flames have played well in their division and if the season were to end today they would have to go through Minnesota, Vegas or San Jose then Nashville or Winnipeg. The Flames have been a great team on both sides of the puck if they can figure out their goaltending, between Mike Smith and David Rittich they are a top-pick for the West Conference finals. The Flames are 28-13-4 with 60 points but a point ahead of San Jose for the divisional lead.
  3. Winnipeg Jets: The Jets have to get through the Predators again one more time to get to the Conference finals and from there if you come out alive in the West it is a possibility. The Jets will need Connor Hellebuyck to wake up and play a big role in their success from here until June. The Jets will need to see Patrik Laine step up big time as well, along with more depth players and a solid game from their backend.

Those are my top-three choices for the Stanley Cup Champions 2018-2019, what are yours?



NHL Around The Boards; Here Come The Penguins, The Flames year? The Devils and Wild Struggles…

This is an edition called around the boards, essentially giving you the top five headlines from the last weekend of play. This will be playoff talk, individual team talk, player talk, whatever is the most important news.

Here Come The Penguins…

First off, the Penguins, people do not look now. But, they are going to probably win the Metropolitan division, ok maybe not the Metro but the Penguins have propelled from below .500 to 18-12-6 now with 42 points and five points behind Washington. The Penguins are 7-2-1 in their last ten games and on a three-game win streak. This short break could be detrimental or monumental for the Penguins. Looking at their schedule up until the All-Star break, of their 11 remaining games they play three playoff teams, one Metropolitan division team and two Eastern Conference teams. The Penguins can very easily head into the All-Star break a top of the Metropolitan division. The Penguins are back, great.

Flames Year?

Is this Calgary’s year? The Flames have been consistently a top the Pacific division for about two months now. Even with a two-goalie tandem the Flames have made it work and a lot of it comes because of their tremendous scoring and great play of Art Ross nominee Johnny Gaudreau. The Flames are a top the Pacific by two points with one game in hand on San Jose. The Flames have won six of their last ten games and top-four team in the NHL right now. The Flames have the fourth most goals scored in the NHL (127) and score around 3.43 goals per game. Over their last week of six wins even though the Flames only out scored their opponent’s 20 to 19 of their six wins four of them they scored 5+ goals in. the Flames are coming into what everyone expected them to be. If Mike Smith can be more consistent and the Flames can continue this scoring surge they will have a nice first round opponent come April. 

There Have Been WILD Struggles 

What happened to Minnesota? This is not good news for the Wild, after starting out the year on the right foot and being one of the best teams in the NHL, the Wild have fell drastically out of a playoff spot now. They have just 37 points on the year, have dropped 6 of their last ten games and have a slim chance of even making a divisional top-three finish. The Wild are two games above .500 luckily they are still within a Wild Card spot but it has been a slow and painful slump for the Wild. They have seen very little depth scoring the Wild have seven of their top 9 forwards with 20 points or less, five with 15 points or less. Players like Eric Staal, Mikael Granlund, Jason Zucker and Nino Niederreiter have 12 goals or less, with just one player with 15 goals on the year the Wild have struggled greatly on the offensive side of things. I would not be surprised if Charlie Coyle and Nino Niederreiter get moved before the deadline this year.

Put The Fork In Them…

The Devils are probably done right? The surprising playoff team from last year seem to be the complete opposite of what they were. The Devils are ranked 30th in the NHL, last in the Metropolitan division and last in the Eastern Conference. They have a -23 goal differential, have dropped five of their ten games, only picking up three wins in their last ten games. During the month of November the Devils won just three of their 15 games during that month. the Devils have been so bad this year for multiple reasons. (1) They score just 102 goals on the year (21st) while allowing 123 goals (4th). They score 2.91 goals per game while allowing 3.51 goals per game. (2) The players like Jesper Bratt and Nico Hischier are not the same players as they were last year. Bratt has 13 points in 21 games (2 goals), Hischier has 23 points in 31 games (9 goals), other players though like Will Butcher have 11 points in 34 games (2 goals). Aside from Taylor Hall (37 points) and Kyle Palmieri (33 points) the next top scorer is Hischier with 23 points. Their has been no depth on the Devils line up and those role guys are just not performing like they were last season. The Devils will at least get a good draft pick because they are not turning this around anytime soon.

NHL Power Rankings: From 20th on up…

20. Dallas Stars: 38-36-8

The Division is too competitive right now, sure the Stars have a lot of good options on their front end, they have two superstars in Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn but lack offensive depth Martin Hanzal has been a bust and Jason Spezza is on the way out. Past the Stars top 3 forwards who else is chipping in? Jason Klingberg is a now solidified number one d option, losing Dan Hamihus is a blow and they have not gained much offensive depth this offseason and their defense is very young. Ben Bishop is a solid goaltender but seems to not be himself since his departure in Tampa Bay. Missing the playoffs is reasonable for Dallas.

Key acquisitions: Valeri Nichuskin, Blake Comeau, Marc Methot, Miro Heiskanen

19. Calgary Flames: 40-33-8

Calgary Flames 18-19 previewThe Flames definitely improved in the offseason and this may come back to bite me but taking a look at the Pacific division it is going to be a dog fight once again the Golden Knights, Sharks and Ducks did not get worse, the Kings got better and the Flames are the team battling for that final wild card spot at the moment. The Flames have James Neal to add some insurance in the goal scoring department, with already Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, but after Matthew Tkachuk and the second line what are the Flames going to do? Same on the back end, losing your top scoring defenseman is tough luckily adding Noah Hanafin is a plus but Hanafin and Hamilton are at different points in their career where Hamilton may have the upper hand right now. Flames have to hope Travis Hamonic finds his way this season and Mike Smith stays healthy and remains a solid number one option. For me I don’t see the Flames ending anywhere that much better than last year.

Key acquisitions: James Neal, Noah Hanafin, Elias Lindholm, Troy Bouwer

18. Colorado Avalanche: 45-30-7

The Av’s finished way above and beyond than what anyone thought they were going to, but with St. Louis has done this offseason there is a slight chance the Avalanche finish above St. Louis this season. The Avalanche and Flames will be the two battling for that final wild card spot in the West, or even missing it. The Avalanche have a superstar in Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Ratanen coming off an unbelievable year with a ton of young talent surrounding these two with Tyson Jost, Alex Kerfoot, Sven Andrighetto and some other solid veterans in Matt Calvert, Gabriel Landeskog, Matt Nieto. With a solid back end in Tyson Barrie and Erik Johsnon with some great tools in Ian Cole, Nikita Zadorov and Samuel Girad this won’t be the end of the Avalanches playoff years but like I said St. Louis has improved drastically they won’t miss the playoffs this season.

Key acquisitions: Matt Calvert, Ian Cole, Phillip Grubauer

17. New Jersey Devils: 39-33-10

New Jersey Devils 18-19 previewThe Devils had a fantastic and unimaginable run last season sparked by Taylor Hall and some small additions in some young forwards but to do it again will be very difficult for the Devils. With an aging goalie in Corey Schneider, Keith Kinkaid not being a viable number one option and losing John Moore on the back end the Devils have a lot of holes in their line up. Without the same year by Taylor Hall, the Devils will be missing the playoffs in my opinion. The Devils do not have much forward depth nor do they have a study blue line. The Devils could possibly make a run at the wild card with the Islanders, Rangers and Hurricanes not being great but I think Florida bumps them for that final wild card spot.

Key acquisitions:

16. Florida Panthers: 45-30-7

The Panthers have now Mike Hoffman a 30-goal scorer, on top of Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Evegnii Dadanov, Vincent Trocheck and Nick Bjugstad with a solid number four defenseman and the only question mark remains in the crease for the Panthers sure, Roberto Luongo is a solid goaltender but at this age what can he do more? Jonathan Reimer going to be able to withstand the pressure and be a solid 1-2 option for the Panthers. The two will split time for most of the year but the Panthers had a hot run at the end of the year last season and with the addition of Mike Hoffman it will give a ton of fire power to this already solid Panthers defense. If the Panthers back end and Luongo can stay healthy they will make a playoff run, a short lived one but a run at least.



Calgary Flames: Offseason additions make them contenders? Fantasy value in Calgary is soaring

The Flames have had an eventful off season, the signing of James Neal is one their big acquisitions, receiving a 30-goal scorer and veteran winger is big for this Calgary team. Neal is slatted to play with Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau. Gaudreau being already a top 10 player in the NHL and Monahan being a top 20 center in the NHL, the Flames line one is now looking even better than before.

The Flames came out and had a bit of a rocky start last season, they picked things up and slowly pushed for contention as the season went on. But they fell short and missed the playoffs for the 7th time in 9 years. The Flames dealt with their fair share of issues, they had just Gaudreau and Monahan doing the heavy lifting. After Gaudreau’s 84 points and Monahan’s 64 the next player was Matthew Tkachuk with 49 points, that’s a big difference from 84 to 49 points. They also dealt with Glen Gulutzan throwing fits throughout the year.

Calgary Flames 2018-19 Season preview
With Dougie Hamilton out is Giordano bound for a 45 plus point season?

The Flames relied heavily upfront here two top guys upfront and their back end to do most of the work, Mike Smith came out a little shaky but eventually racketed things up, but it was just not enough for the Flames to get back into the mix. The Flames back end had Dougie Hamilton(44), Mark Giordano(38) and TJ Brodie(32) in the top 10 for points on the team. That means, a few things there is a lack of offensive depth and production or these defenseman just had good years, it was a mix of both. On top of Smith coming out a little uneasy, the Flames fell into a hole early and found themselves constantly digging out of it, every game. Smith posted 25-22-6 record with a 2.65 goals against, .916 save percentage and 3 shutouts. He started in 55 games and we can expect him to be in the crease the same amount maybe more next year.

Can the Flames get back into the playoffs? 

Playing out of the Pacific with the Ducks only getting better, L.A. only getting better, San Jose having Evander Kane for a full season and a depth on both sides, Vegas coming off a unbelievable season, Edmonton looking to get back into the mix and Arizona adding some solid pieces to their line up, the only way the Flames having even some what of a chance is a wild card spot. Which would be having to beat out L.A., St. Louis, Colorado, Dallas, Chicago. I don’t see Calgary making playoff, with the talent in their division and in the conference it is going to be extremely tough to crack that wild card or top 3 in the division.

Calgary will need Gaudreau to produce 100 points, Neal to get into the 30-goal mark or upwards of it, Monahan to produce around upwards of 70, Tkachuk to be even better than last year, Backlund and Frolik to be 50 point guys and defense missing their top scorer now and powerplay threat will need for Travis Hamonic to come out of his shell, Giordano to step up big time and Noah Hanafin to push upwards of 35 points. And Mike Smith to win 35 games or more and be ready from game one to game eighty-two. It is going to be a challenge, it is not impossible but I would have to rule out Calgary next year.

Fantasy impact in Calgary…

The positives to this though is that the Flames have a lot of fantasy value on their roster, Gaudreau is a sure lock, Neal could be a huge addition to that line one and Gaudreau’s 60 assists may be 70 plus with Neal now. Monahan will have a big work load on his plate and after a career year and another 30 goal season Monahan will be relied on to do the same and even more. Hanafin and Giordano have huge potential on that backend with their power play time and ability to play both sides of the puck well, those two should automatically be on your list. Tkachuk and Backlund coming off their best years, we should be expecting Tkachuk and Backlund both to crack 50 plus points this season. The Flames will be in the mix all season and with that comes goal scoring and a lot of fantasy value. These guys are my biggest assets when looking at Calgary’s roster.


Kovalchuk watch OVER, Carolina Calgary trade details

Ilya Kovalchuk is heading to Hollywood people! Kovalchuk scribbled a 3 year 18.75 mil dollar deal with the Kings earlier this afternoon. Of the four teams Kovalchuk spoke to on Friday, L.A. came winners of the prized KHL goal scorer and once NHL superstar. Kovalchuk has not played in the NHL since the 2012-13 season. Kovalchuk now joins Selke trophy, William Jennings trophy winner, Norris trophy winner and that tough, physical gritty L.A. style of play for three-years.

Carolina-Calgary deal

Calgary and Carolina sort of did a thing today. Earlier the Flames and Hurricanes worked out a deal no one saw coming.

Carolina received: Dougie Hamilton, Michael Ferland and Adam Fox. 

Calgary recieved: Noah Hanaifin, Elias Lindholm

This will be Hamilton’s now third team in 6 years. Hamilton spent 3 seasons with Boston who drafted him 2011, 3 with Calgary and now will be settling in with Carolina at age 25. Hamilton has 220 points in 423 career games and has been the number two defenseman in Calgary for the past three seasons. Michael Ferland is coming off his best year tallying 41 points last season. Ferland has been with Calgary since they drafted him in the 5th round 8 years ago. Ferland has played three full seasons now, coming off his best year with 21 goals in 77 games. Adam Fox was also sent over to Carolina, drafted in the 3rd round by Calgary has spent the last two years at Harvard tallying 68 points in 64 games. While winning All-Ivy League first team(2016-17), Ivy League rookie of the year(2016-17), NCAA (ECAC) Rookie of the Year(2016-17), NCAA Best Defenseman(2016-17), NCAA All-Star Team(2017-18), Best Defenseman(17-18), All-Ivy League First Team(17-18), Top 3 player at WJC (17-18) and a Gold Medal in 16-17 and Bronze Medal in 17-18.

The Flames received Noah Hanafin who was rumored to be working out a deal with Carolina for a contract extension but now finds himself on the other side of things. Hanafin was drafted in 2015 5th overall wasting now time to emerge in the league, perhaps he did not get off to the best start his first two seasons. Now, Hanafin is coming off his best year yet with 32 points in 79 games(10 G, 22A). Elias Lindholm has been on the Hurricanes since 2013 another 5th overall selection, Lindholm has not put up 5th overall mumbers though. Coming off two 40 plus point seasons, perhaps he is starting to come around. Lindholm is 23 years old tallying 188 points in his 374 career games.

NHL Headlines 11/16

Anisimov’s Takeover: The Blackhawks thrashed the Rangers and Henrik Lundqvist 6-3 on Wednesday night off of a third period hattrick by Artem Anisimov. The Blackhawks have been riding a wave of a DeBrincat and Anisimov scoring to carry them to victory. Since October 27th, Anisimov has eight goals and DeBrincat six (combined for 14 goals), while the rest of Hawks have 12 goals combined. With the fire power of Kane, Saad, and Toews, this is a streak that should scare teams if the Hawks’ depth comes around to full fruition.

Big Fights in D-Town: The Detroit Red Wings routed the Calgary Flames on the back of Andreas Athanasiou and Anthony Mantha. The score went to the back burner to this game though, after 111 penalty minutes in the third period alone. This was an intense game from beginning to end and has everything a hockey fan wants, fights and goals. Anthony Mantha turned back time a little with a 3-point game and a whopping 25 penalty minutes. Luke Witkowski led the way in penalty minutes with 37 for the Red Wings. A fun game that reminds us a little that hockey has some bite in it still.

Ducks Fly High Over Bruins: The Anaheim Ducks defeated the Boston Bruins 4-2 to extend their winning streak over Boston to 8 games now. The Bruins heavily outshot the Ducks 27 to 41, but John Gibson came up big for his team stopped 39 of those shots. Anaheim has been riding mediocrity so far this season and need more games like this to pass teams like Vegas and LA in the standings moving forward.

NHL Headlines 10/26

Special Teams Blues for the Flames: St. Louis won last night, extending their point streak to 4 games going 3-0-1 in the stretch. Alex Steen was awarded first star honors with a 4-point game (1G, 3A). Calgary’s special teams once again was a difference. In their last contest against the Predators, the Flames went 0-4 on the Powerplay, and 1-3 on the Penalty Kill. Luckily, the Flames found a way to squeak one out in a shootout. Last night against the Blues, Nashville went 0-2 on the Powerplay, and 1-3 on the Penalty Kill again. These numbers will not aid the Flames if they want to make a push for a top 3 spot in the Pacific division. On the other foot, Alex Pietrangelo is looking like a Norris favourite due to his hot start. Not a bad place for an always underappreciated defenseman.

Columbus Blue Jackets Continue: After a magical season by the Jackets, being stifled by the Penguins, I began to think this team could not pull it off again. There is not enough scoring, Bobrovski will not be a Vezina winner again, and how good will Artemi Panarin be without Patrick Kane on his line? I even had them possibly missing the playoffs. Boy, do I have it wrong. This team, after defeating the Buffalo Sabres 5-1 they improve to 6-3-0 this year and look primed to take control of the hard fighting Metro division. This is a fun team to watch, and I am slowly shifting my opinion about this team and their ceiling this year.

The Curious Case of Alex Galchenyuk: Galchenyuk again is caught in a whirlwind of drama and stunting of growth with the Montreal Canadiens. This article written by Sportsnet’s Andrew Berkshire really sheds light on the whole saga and how a 20 year-old 30 goal scorer is now a winger on the 4th line. http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/analyzing-canadiens-alex-galchenyuk-first-line-centre-depth-line-winger/

Now, what if I were to tell you that drama would surround about 2 of the top 3 picks from the 2012 draft? And those two players were linemates for their junior’s team in the OHL? Alex Galchenyuk and Nail Yakupov have not had it easy in today’s NHL. Even throw in 2nd overall pick Ryan Murray. That was a weird draft, but Yakupov appears to have found a spot in Colorado, Murray is stepping up for Columbus, it is time for Galchenyuk to reach his potential now as he grows into an integral part for this Montreal team.