The Calgary Flames have had a tough season thus far. It has been full of ups and downs and the biggest thing being that the Flames aren’t living up to their potential. This team was projected to do well, and to succeed without looking back. The thing is.. projections are never 100% correct. In fact, the Columbus Blue Jackets were projected to be one of the worst teams in the NHL this year. And yet, where are they in the standings? Sitting third in the Eastern Conference.
January Has Been Tough
The Flames have been weak in the month of January, putting together a 4-8 record. As I wrote this article, they lost 5-1 to the Montreal Canadiens. Flames’ fans are dealing with a tough month of January, but there are many positives to look at when you talk about this team. Calgary has one of the most talented and youthful forward cores in the NHL. Their defence isn’t lacking in young talent either, with Dougie Hamilton and T.J. Brodie on the blueline. Still.. time to get back on topic!
‘6th Pick Is The Charm’
Even though the Calgary Flames aren’t living up to their potential, their 6th overall pick from the 2016 NHL Draft is. In fact, Calgary Flames have now had two solid 6th overall draft picks; Sean Monahan in 2013 and Matthew Tkachuk in 2016. Matthew Tkachuk, the son of USA Hockey Hall-of-Famer Keith Tkachuk has been incredible this season. In 46 games this year, he has 9 goals, 21 assists for 30 points. Currently he is leading the Flames in plus/minus with a +8.
Tough and Gritty
His tough, gritty play is what rewards him with the points he gets, and playing on a hot second-line in Calgary, the opportunity could not be better. Tkachuk is a multi-dimensional player. He adapts well and he consistently puts up points. He is playing on Calgary’s second line, with Mikael Backlund and Michael Frolik. They have arguably been the Flames’ most effective line this season and without that line, it’s hard to imagine where they would be in the standings without it.
Tkachuk ended his junior career with strong play and a Memorial Cup with the London Knights. It was another strong outing for him, scoring 107 points in 57 games. 50 of those points being goals. Jumping right to the NHL isn’t easy, but Tkachuk has made the transition look easy. Nevertheless, he has surpassed expectations this year, and really helps to solidify the young forward-core the Flames have.
Bright Future Ahead For Tkachuk, Flames
Well, even though the Flames aren’t playing that great, it’s been a great start to the 19 year old’s career. Tkachuk provides a silver lining for Flames fans this year, regardless of where they end up in the standings. Anyway you look at it, the future for Tkachuk is bright, as is the future of the Calgary Flames.