Hockey Article

30 in 15: Calgary Flames Season Preview

A team in transition that doesn’t really have the luxury of time, the Calgary Flames restocked themselves with veteran talent this offseason. Recreating the top line of Olli Jokinen, Alex Tanguay and Jarome Iginla may or may not be the wisest move, but at least they shouldn’t have any locker room issues. The franchise is in a wierd spot after trading away star defenseman Dion Phaneuf midway through the season, but there’s still plenty of talent on the roster.

Offense:’ The trio mentioned above will be the first line, and it will be on their shoulders to put up some serious numbers. Jokinen had only 35 points in 56 games last season before being traded to New York for the end of the season, but hopefully Alex Tanguay can help reignite his offense. Rene Bourque had a breakout year last season, finishing second on the team with 27 goals and 58 points, so he gives them a solid second line with Matt Stajan. Young Mikael Backlund will likely be given plenty of opportunities to showcase his abilities as well. The potential is there for a decent offense, but I don’t see that veteran top line performing to expectations.**Grade: B-Defense:If last season teaches the Flames anything, it will be that name recognition on defense is not everything. Last season, they boasted four potential top pairing d-men, all candidates for the Canadian Olympic team. By the end of the year, Dion Phaneuf had been traded, Jay Bouwmeester had just 3 goals and none of the four were selected for Team Canada, but the Flames had still only allowed 210 goals, good for the 3rd best total in the Western Conference. Mark Giordano turned in a nice season, while Ian White, acquired in the Phaneuf trade, could help ease the loss of the big defenseman with his puck-moving abilities. There’s no reason this can’t be one of the better blueline corps in the league yet again.Grade: A’'’Goaltending:’’’ The biggest reason the Flames had defensive success was Miikka Kiprusoff>. Kippy racked up 35 wins in 73 starts, notching a 2.31 GAA with a .920 save percentage. Kiprusoff is the only option the Flames have in net, but he’s been an absolute horse for them, starting over 70 games in each season since the lockout. His numbers have slipped a bit in the last few seasons but they’re still very competitive.Grade: A’'’Key Additions:’’’ Alex Tanguay, Olli JokinenKey Losses:’ None

Len robinson
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