The Calgary Flames were a definite success this year. They proved that without a doubt, they could fight hard every game and play three periods of solid hockey. The team this year, which we saw several young players step up and have their time of fame, was very successful. The year in which was supposedly still part of the rebuild, ended up being a substantial playoff run, getting into the second round for the first time since 2004. With the new GM in Brad Treliving, the Flames looked more confident and the young guys took their opportunities and surpassed all expectations. It was definitely something special to watch, every game, nail biting.. will they come back? No.. then they do. It was ridiculous, four goal deficits, three, two, it didn’t matter. They had a never quit attitude, which was something we did not really see much of last season.
This year shows that there is a ton of talent on this roster, and many more playoff runs and hopefully a Stanley cup in the near future. It is well needed as the Flames could not capture it in 2004. With many young guys, with the likes of Gaudreau, Ferland, Bennett, Granlund, Brodie, Ortio, Monahan, and the upcoming of Jon Gillies and Hunter Smith, this Calgary Flames team is going to be a powerhouse. I myself do not believe this year was a fluke, I think the young Flames are just giving us a taste of whats yet to come. They beat the old, slow Vancouver team and played strong at the end of the Anahiem series in the playoffs, which showed elite potential.
This team is solid, and with powerhouse teams like Chicago, LA, etc, eventually running into cap issues in the near future, the Flames could capitalize and score a big player in free agency. If you were a player and watched the Saddledome during the playoffs you would know that Calgary has some wicked and dedicated fans that could possibly attract a superstar player. With Anze Kopitar’s contract ending next season it will be interesting to see what the LA Kings will do to find the cap room to resign their elite playmaker. As for the Flames, they have a busy offseason ahead of them, figuring out their goaltending situation, with Joni Ortio on the edge of becoming the starting goalie they have some decisions to make.
Top Free Agent Priorities for the Calgary Flames
LW Lance Bouma
Stats: 78GP 16G 18A, 264 hits (regular season); 2GP (post season)
Last contract: RFA was on a one-year, one-way deal worth $775,000, inked on Aug. 27, 2014.
Important? – EXTREMELY. Blocks shots, does it all, A grinding genius.
LW Micheal Ferland
Stats: 26GP 2G 3A (regular season); 9GP 3G 2A 50 hits (the most among rookies in the NHL) (post-season)
Last contract: RFA was on a three-year entry-level deal worth $825,000 (average annual value), signed on Dec. 5, 2011.
Proved to be one of the team’s most relevant pieces in their post-season run. There was a time when many wondered if the rough-and-tumble left winger would even be in this position. But, after a year’s worth of sobriety and commitment to the game, Ferland made an impact. Led the rookies in hits during the playoffs with 50 in nine games and also contributed three goals and two assists.
Important? – EXTREMELY. Looks like a young Lucic, could become better. Good Power Forward.
C Mikael Backlund
Stats: 52GP 10G 17A (regular season); 11GP 1G 1A 30 shots on net (team high) (post-season)
Last contract: RFA was on a two-year, $3-million deal, signed on July 10, 2013.
After missing a big portion of the season with an abdomen injury, the 26-year-old rejoined the group in January and was one of the team’s most consistent pivots. Went on a goal scoring spree from Jan. 7 to Jan. 21 where he produced five goals and three assists in seven games. In total, he had 10 goals and 17 assists in 52 games. Nearing 300 NHL games, Backlund, the 24th overall pick in 2007, could be a complimentary third/fourth line centre down the road.
Important? Yes. Lots of potential, and his two-way game has improved a ton.
C Josh Jooris
Stats: 60 GP 12G, 12A (regular season); 9GP 0G, 0A (post-season)
Last contract: RFA was on a two-year two-way entry-level deal worth $925,000 (average annual value), inked on July 30, 2013.
One of the biggest surprises of 2014-15. Turned heads in the pre-season and started the year in the AHL with Adirondack. But when the team was hit with some early injuries, it opened the door for Jooris and he eventually earned himself his first NHL contract. Undrafted and often considered undersized, the former Union College centreman contributed 12 goals and 12 assists in 60 games. A flexible fit either on the wing or at centre, the 24-year-old is only going to improve and could be an inexpensive way to round out the team’s depth while they still groom their youngsters like Emile Poirier and Morgan Klimchuk.
Important? Yes. Grinds it out, every shift, looks to have lots of potential.
G Karri Ramo
Stats: 15-9-3, .912 GAA, 2.60 SV (regular season); 2-3, .906 GAA, 2.86 SV (post-season)
Last Contract: UFA was on a two-year, $5.5-million pact, signed on July 5, 2013.
The Finn with ice in his veins was impressive in the post-season in relief of Jonas Hiller. His 44-save performance in Game 5 was his best performance. But re-signing Ramo poses an interesting dilemma. With Joni Ortio’s contract going from a two-way to a one-way contract, that leaves the door open for a few scenarios. One being that Brad Treliving can re-sign trustworthy Ramo, move Hiller in the off-season, and Ortio is your backup or 1A/B goalie. That’s providing that a team is interested in picking up Hiller’s contract. He might not win a Vezina Trophy in his lifetime, but he can certainly win you a few games if you need him to.
Important? So-so, solid goalie when he needs to be.
Flames’ restricted free agents: LW Lance Bouma, LW Michael Ferland, LW David Wolf, LW Kenny Agostino, LW Turner Elson, C Mikael Backlund, C/LW Paul Byron, C Josh Jooris, C Drew Shore, C Max Reinhart, C Bill Arnold, RW Ben Hanowski, D Sena Acolatse, D John Ramage
Flames’ unrestricted free agents: RW Brian McGrattan, LW Devin Setoguchi, D Raphael Diaz, D Corey Potter, D David Schlemko, D Mark Cundari, G Brad Thiessen, G Karri Ramo
Flames’ available cap space: 23.046-million