A third straight first-round playoff exit has Flames fans frustrated and GM Darryl Sutter under the gun to take the team to the next level. Sutter has made an attempt to address the team’s lackluster special teams with key additions on the pk and pp.
The Flames are a team with high potential that could become a serious contender as the season progresses. Anything but a Northwest division title and playoff success will be a big disappointment and could spell the end of days for both Mike Keenan and Darryl Sutter.
The much-criticized Alex Tanguay was sent packing to Montreal in a three-way-deal, as Los Angeles Kings speedster Mike Cammalleri joins the Flames. Calgary also traded for Chicago’s Rene Bourque and signed sophmore Curtis Glencross in an attempt to shore up it’s mediocre penalty kill.
Sutter made perhaps the most controversial signing in Flames history as former Calgary nemesis Todd Bertuzzi will suit up in the “Flaming C” next season. Bertuzzi and Iginla together will form one of the most daunting power-forward combinations in the league. The Flames will also be relying secondary scoring from Matthew Lombardi and youngsters Dustin Boyd and David Moss.
Given the flames depth at forward, Calgary’s production won’t suffer from the loss of Kristian Huselius. Expect Mike Keenan to juggle the lines early in the season until the right chemistry is found. Bertuzzi, Cammalleri and Iginla will likely see time together but don’t be surprised if the recently re-signed Daymond Langkow ends up playing alongside Iginla.
Expect to see Robin Regehr and Cory Sarich continue to shut down opposing teams’ top-lines. Pierre McGuire favorite Dion Phaneuf and Adrian Aucoin will start on the power-play.
In order to improve their defensive zone puck movement Calgary has brought back Marc Giordano from Russia. Giordano is a welcome upgrade over David Hale and Anders Ericsson.
By his standards, Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff had a down season last year. Flames fans are hoping Kiprusoff’s return to his former off-season training routine in Finland will help him return to his Vezina winning form. Though this team has significant offensive capability, they will still be relying heavily on their all-star goaltender.
On paper, the Flames have one of the most talented line-ups in the Western Conference, but it remains to be seen if they can have a strong start and win consistently throughout the season.
Ceiling: First in Northwest division, second in Western Conference
Floor: Third in Northwest Division, seventh in Western Conference
Note: Special thanks to Flames Superfan Kyle Sundstrom for information used in this preview.
Picture Perfect Commercial Janitorial Services in Calgary | Mold Removal Calgary