September 1, 2013 by Cups n Pucks
Cups & Pucks Contributor
Welcome to Cups & Pucks count down to the 2013-2014 NHL season. Today marks 30 days left until the NHL season, where we will begin posting a post per day and analyzing each team. The difference between this and a ’30 in 30′ is that we will be highlighting NHL teams in order from the worst to the best. Andy Misek and I picked the order based solely on our opinions and speculated line-ups. We will be starting with the Calgary Flames.
Before we even dive into the team, I would like to send my thoughts and prayers out to the city of Calgary and the surrounding area. Some pretty serious flooding impacted Calgary in June. The Saddledome where the Flames play was flooded all the way up to the 15th row. On the bright side, it seems like the city has recovered well.
After trading away long-time captain, Jarome Iginla to the Pittsburgh Penguins, Jay Bouwmeester to the St. Louis Blues, and the retirement of goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff, the Calgary Flames are entering a rebuild. All rebuilds start with the draft and the Flames held three first round picks in the 2013 draft (6th, 22nd and 28th). With these picks they selected Sean Monahan, Emile Poirier and Morgan Klimchuk. In terms of trades, Calgary continued to move out pieces by sending Alex Tanguay and Cory Sarich to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for David Jones and Shane O’Brien. They also acquired TJ Galiardi.
This team lacks the star player who is going to score 30 goals or 80 points. Despite this, Calgary does have some players that have the potential to come close. TJ Galiardi, David Jones, Curtis Glencross and Mike Cammalleri are all players that are capable of tallying 40 or 50 points in a 82 game season. Cammalleri is a few years removed from a stellar playoffs with the Montreal Canadians. With Cammalleri playing on the first line a 50 point season is not far out of the question. Jiri Hudler is another key player for the Flames. He can score a consistent 20+ points per season and will be counted on even more so this year with Alex Tanguay gone from the roster. Expect to see young players like Sven Baertschi and Sean Monahan to crack the opening night roster.
Claiming Mark Giordano and Dennis Wideman as your top D-pairing might indicate that you have some defensive issues. Giordano was a -7 and Wideman was a -9 in 2013. If you project that to an 82 game season, both are well into the double digits. TJ Brodie is someone who Flames fans can keep an eye out for. He is only 23 years old and is looked as the Flames future number one D-man. The trade for Shane O’Brien gives them a little grit on the 3rd pairing, but not much else. The flames have a lackluster defensive core at best.
They also lack a proven NHL goaltender. By the looks of it there will be a competition between 3 guys, Karri Ramo, Joey MacDonald and Reto Berra. Ramo’s had his share of struggles in the NHL and the other 2 guys are unproven. If none can take the reigns as a starter, Flames fans are in for a rough season.
Overall, this team is in for a pretty rough season (more like seasons). They replenished their prospect pool with 3 first round picks but none of those guys will be NHL ready for at least a season or two with the exclusion of Sean Monahan. In fact, Emile Poirier and Morgan Klimchuk were considered by the TSN panel as “off the board” picks. One of the Flames biggest needs (and trust me there are a lot of them) is the need for a true #1 center. The Flames are counting on Sean Monahan who recorded 78 points in his last two junior seasons. It is unlikely a rookie center will be able to lead a struggling Flames anywhere other than a lottery pick.
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