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2010-11 NHL Previews: Calgary Flames

| by Sports Nickel

2009-10 RECORD:
40-32-10/90 points
3rd in Northwest Division
10th in Western Conf.
—————-
GM: Darryl Sutter
COACH: Brent Sutter
—————-
2010-11 PAYROLL:
$64,992,000 ($5.0M above cap)

Before the lockout, Calgary went seven games in the Stanley Cup finals with Tampa Bay and looked on the verge of becoming a new Western powerhouse. They reached the playoffs each of the four years upon the return of league play, but failed to advance out of the first round each time.

Having been successful for the last four years, Calgary won 40 games to keep their streak of seasons with at least 40 victories at six and counting. But they ended up missing the playoffs for the first time since 2003 after having a poor second half (16-20-5), a run of play that drove them from Stanley Cup contention to watching at home.

Having one of the top goalies in the league has certainly helped the Flames over the last several years — Miikka Kiprusoff won a Vezina Trophy as the league’s top goalie in 2006-2007 and has been an integral part of Calgary’s run of success after coming over from San Jose. He needs to be able to do that again for Calgary, especially after posting a 2.31 GAA and a .920 save percentage last season and the team still missed the playoffs.

If Calgary wants to succeed, then captain Jarome Iginla can’t have another slump year for himself. He had 89 points or more in the past three seasons prior to 2009-2010, where he only had 69 points. Iginla failed to reach the 35-goal mark for the first time since 2001, and must regain his sniper’s touch. Calgary has the potential to contend once again, but the West has a lot of teams elbowing each other for the final playoff spots.

# Pos Name Height Weight Age
11 F Mikael Backlund 6′ 0″ 194 21
17 F Rene Bourque 6′ 2″ 213 28
24 F Craig Conroy 6′ 2″ 193 39
20 F Curtis Glencross 6′ 1″ 195 27
10 F Niklas Hagman 6′ 0″ 209 30
12 F Jarome Iginla 6′ 1″ 207 33
41 F Raitis Ivanans 6′ 4″ 240 31
15 F Tim Jackman 6′ 4″ 210 28
13 F Olli Jokinen 6′ 3″ 215 31
26 F Ales Kotalik 6′ 1″ 225 31
44 F Stefan Meyer 6′ 2″ 195 25
8 F Brendan Morrison 5′ 11″ 185 35
25 F David Moss 6′ 3″ 200 28
18 F Matt Stajan 6′ 1″ 200 26
32 F Ryan Stone 6′ 2″ 207 25
42 F Brett Sutter 6′ 0″ 192 23
40 F Alex Tanguay 6′ 1″ 192 30
4 D Jay Bouwmeester 6′ 4″ 212 27
66 D TJ Brodie 6′ 1″ 170 20
5 D Mark Giordano 6′ 0″ 203 27
7 D Adam Pardy 6′ 2″ 206 26
28 D Robyn Regehr 6′ 3″ 225 30
6 D Cory Sarich 6′ 4″ 207 32
27 D Steve Staios 6′ 1″ 200 37
3 D Ian White 5′ 10″ 200 26
35 G Henrik Karlsson 6′ 5″ 200 26
34 G Miikka Kiprusoff 6′ 1″ 184 33

MOST IMPORTANT COG OF 2010: Miikka Kiprusoff (starting goalie) — The Flames are going to be riding their season on his shoulders this year. He is the best goalie in the NHL and he needs to come up big again this year. In order for them to make the playoffs, they’re going to need to be able to have the same production (if not better) from Kiprusoff than last year. He will need his rest during the year, so don’t expect to throw him out there game after game after game because he cannot take that. He does not get rattled by allowing a goal either, which makes him a better goalie because he has a short memory, which every athlete should have.

KEY ACQUISITION: Alex Tanguay (LW/FA from Tampa Bay) — He has had a good career so far, managing a 155 +/- rating. He is a good defender, but doesn’t have a lot of strength to throw defenders into corners. He doesn’t shoot the puck enough which causes low goal totals for him. He has great speed on the ice, versatility and can play really well when he is in control of the puck. In a one-on-one matchup with an opponent, he has fantastic moves that will get him past the defenders very easily and get him the ability to score goals. He has tremendous passing skills which also help a lot in the game. He is an important addition to the club because he is going to bring the ability to play defense along with the ability to take over the puck when he needs to and keep the puck away from the opponents.

KEY DEPARTURE: Jamal Mayers (RW/FA to San Jose) — He possesses a two-way capability and works really hard when he is on the ice, which is always something that people love to see. He has a lot of power forward potential that has gone untapped throughout his career, bringing good size to the ice. In San Jose he can fill a secondary role and possibly unleash that potential. He can play any role up front which is a big asset in the NHL, and the veteran will be missed in Calgary.

KEY YOUNGSTER: Mikael Backlund (C-LW/21 years old) — He is a very smart hockey player. Backlund has a great hockey sense and can play either center or wing, which helps a lot. He has the playmaking skills to score a lot of points, which the Flames are in need of — especially goals. If they can get the production out of Backlund of which he is capable, they will be in great shape this year and will have the secondary scoring necessary to claim those extra points to fight for the playoffs. He lacks consistency from game-to-game, though, which could pose problems this year. He will also need to add some strength in order to fight off the defenders that are stronger than he is. A great young player with a lot of upside, Backlund just needs to get more consistent and stronger and he’ll be a good player in this league.

OUTLOOK: This year’s success or failure will depend on whether they can get their goal scoring high enough. They have the goalie to keep the opponents’ totals low, but the offense needs to do their job this year. The problem last year, especially in the second half, was their poor performance offensively putting points on the board and giving Kiprusoff goal support. If the Flames can handle that, they’ll be in good shape this year to reach the playoffs.

But I think that the Flames are going to struggle up front since the forwards they have aren’t big goal scorers, especially since no forward besides Jarome Iginla and Rene Bourque scored more than 15 goals or 37 points. Generating offense was a big problem last year, and looks like it’ll be a big problem this year unless some of their roster shuffles pan out.

FINAL PREDICTION:

  • 39 wins
  • 88 points
  • 3rd in Northwest/10th in Western Conference

2010-11 NHL Previews: Calgary Flames is a post originally from: SportsNickel.com - In Sports We Trust

 

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