Join TSN in a 30 teams in 30 days tour of the NHL in preparation for the upcoming season. Teams will be unveiled in reverse order of the pre-season TSN.ca Power Rankings, and the Calgary Flames are up next. Get the lowdown on their off-season and the issues they face this season. Use the Your Call feature to give us your take on the Flames!
2009-10: 40-32-10 (10th in West, missed the playoffs)
General Manager: Darryl Sutter (6th Season)
Head Coach: Brent Sutter (2nd Season)
What they did in the off-season:
Calgary did make a splash this off-season, however it was not one that many fans expected. The team shocked the hockey world by choosing to fill its need for more offense by acquiring familiar faces, Alex Tanguay and Olli Jokinen. Tanguay comes back to Calgary after an unproductive season in Tampa, and Jokinen will try to regain the offensive prowess he had in Florida between 2006 and 2008 after a mediocre stint shared between the Flames and Rangers last season. To compliment that skill and speed, Calgary enhanced its physical edge by adding enforcer, Tim Jackman, who lead the Islanders in penalty minutes in the past two seasons. The addition of Raitis Ivanans from the Kings will further provide muscle. The Flames lost forwards Christopher Higgins, David Van Der Gulik, Jamal Mayers, and the very reliable Eric Nystrom, who was durable enough to play every game for Calgary last year. The Flame also sent Jason Jaffray to Anaheim in exchange for young forward Logan MacMillan and picked up a potential backup goalie in Swede Henrik Karlsson.
Biggest issue facing the team:
The Flames are thin at forward and must rely on a few players to have the very best season of their careers if they are to have success. Outside of Iginla, Calgary is in real need of legitimate scorers, and so the team must gamble on bounce-back performances from the two returning veterans, Tanguay and Jokinen. General manager Darryl Sutter will be under immese pressure this season as most fans were incredulous to the re-signing of Jokinen who flamed out so spectacularly in Calgary despite every opportunity to succeed. Although the team failed to make the playoffs, they are right up against the salary cap after some questionable personnel decisions. If neither Tanguay nor Jokinen are capable of returning to their former levels of greatness then Calgary could be a very uncomfortable place for anyone with the surname Sutter.
Player to watch:
While the Flames are quite strong on the blue line, the team will require a better season from $6.7 million defenceman Jay Bouwmeester, who tallied just three goals and 29 points, his lowest totals in five years and a huge drop from his stats line of 15-27-42 for Florida during the 2008-09 season. Turning 27 before the season starts, Bouwmeester should be in the prime of his career, looking more like the high-scoring, reliable defenceman Calgary was seeking when they signed him before last season.
For additional analysis, be sure to read Scott Cullen's fantasy take.