Hockey Article

Season Wrapup: Calgary Flames

A very tough season for the Calgary Flames, who came into this season with high expectations and were considered a lock to make the playoffs. Some offensive struggles and an inability to win games when it mattered most hamstrung the Flames, and may have cost GM Darryl Sutter his job. The big story was the trade of blueliner Dion Phaneuf to Toronto, and the Flames will have a lot to consider about changing the makeup of their club before next year.

Offense: F The Flames scored the fewest goals of any team this year, barely breaking the 200-goal plateau, despite having names like Jarome Iginla and Olli Jokinen on the roster. Of course, Jokinen was traded to New York near the end of the season, but the Flames have a real lack of scoring depth of front. As usual, Iginla led the team in all scoring categories, but his 69 points this year are his lowest total since 2006. Rene Bourque was the only other player to score more than 20 goals, and the fact that newly acquired Matt Stajan was signed to a $4 million deal shows just how desperate the Flames are for help up front.

Defense: A- There was no question about the starpower on the Flames’ blueline this year. With the acquisition of Jay Bouwmeester, the Flames had what should have been the most dominant blueline in all of hockey. Bouwmeester, Sarich, Regehr and Phaneuf are some of the most talented physical defenders in the game today, and the Flames finished with the best defensive numbers of any team not in the playoffs, allowing just 210 goals. However, Bouwmeester finished with just 3 goals on the year, and Phaneuf was touted as a troublesome presence in the locker room before being traded to Toronto. Restricted free agent Ian White should be retained, as he provides offense from the blueline and is more than capable in his own end. Miikka Kiprusoff>

Goaltending: A Miikka Kiprusoff remains one of the top goalies in the entire league, and the Finnish netminder had another solid season, with a 2.31 GAA and a very respectable .920 save percentage. His 28 losses are the most of any goalie in the top 20, but that’s more of an indication of the serious lack of goal support he got this year than his play.

Special Teams: C- With the defensive numbers the Flames put up this season, you’d expect their penalty kill to rank higher than 15th, but the Flames allowed 54 powerplay goals against. Their own powerplay was inept, scoring only 43 goals and tying for last in the league with the Florida Panthers.With only a 16.2% success rate, special teams will definitely be a focus for improvement in the offseason for Calgary this year.

Len robinson
Len Robinson Sports Pundit member

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