The Calgary Flames were primed to be a team of regression in 2015-2016, defying statistical odds to not only reach the playoffs last season, but win their first-round series against Vancouver. 

Because of terrible possession stats, without significant changes the Flames were the team most likely to see their performance decline. But, after some major moves, it's possible that regression can't simply be assumed. 

Trading for defenceman Dougie Hamilton and signing free agent winger Michael Frolik were two steps in the right direction and adding Sam Bennett, the fourth pick in the 2014 Draft, to young forwards Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau provides reason for optimism. 

While the Flames have upgraded their forward and defence units, the same can't be said of goaltending, where they have Jonas Hiller and Karri Ramo, the same tandem that was primarily responsible for Calgary's middling .911 save percentage last season. 

Percentages remain a challenge. The Flames scored on 10.5 per cent of their shots last season, second only to Tampa Bay. In the previous three seasons, they scored on 9.2 per cent of their shots and while that difference might not seem like a lot, when applied to 2,251 shots on goal over a full season, that results in a 31-goal difference (for a team that scored 24 more goals than they allowed in 2014-2015).

So, for the Flames to remain a playoff team, they will either need to improve their possession numbers, or continue to get an edge with high percentages.



June 26: Flames acquire defenceman Dougie Hamilton in stunning draft day trade 

July 1: Free agent Frolik heads to Calgary with five-year contract 

August 25: Flames lock up captain Giordano with a six-year, $40.5 million extension



* Off-season Addition


TSN's Projected Lines

Johnny Gaudreau Sean Monahan Jiri Hudler
Lance Bouma Mikael Backlund Michael Frolik*
Micheal Ferland Matt Stajan David Jones
Brandon Bollig Sam Bennett Joe Colborne
  Drew Shore Josh Jooris

Fighting For Jobs: RW Paul Byron, C Markus Granlund, RW Emile Poirier, LW Mason Raymond 


TSN'S Projected Pairs

Mark Giordano Dougie Hamilton*
Kris Russell Dennis Wideman
T.J. Brodie Deryk Engelland
  Jakub Nakladal

Fighting For Jobs: RD Ladislav Smid, LD Ryan Wilson*, RD Tyler Wotherspoon 


TSN's Projected Goalies

No. 1 No. 2 No. 3
Jonas Hiller Karri Ramo Joni Ortio

Off-season Departures: D Raphael Diaz, RW Brian McGrattan




1. Who wins the lottery and gets to be Dougie Hamilton's defence partner on the first pairing?

2. Does Sam Bennett ultimately play centre or wing in his first NHL season?

3. Can one of Jonas Hiller or Karri Ramo emerge as the team's clear-cut No. 1 goalie - or is a platoon in the works again? 



Button's Top 2015-16 Prospects

1. Sam Bennett (Kingston, OHL; Calgary, NHL): Highly skilled, equally gritty and competitive. Factors in big time at critical moments.
2. Emile Poirier (Adirondack, AHL): Strong two-way winger who is smart and creates advantages with size and skill.

Button's Top 5 Long-Term Prospects

1. Jon Gillies (Providence, NCAA): NCAA Champion who projects as a big, solid No. 1 goalie in the NHL.
2. Mason McDonald (Charlottetown, QMJHL): Steady, calm and very good. With Gillies, they're the Flames' tandem for years to come.
3. Brandon Hickey (Boston University, NCAA): Strong skating, puck moving defenceman who competes hard.
4. Mark Jankowski (Providence, NCAA): Progression has been steady and consistent. His game resembles that of Riley Sheahan.
5. Rasmus Andersson (Barrie, OHL): Conditioning is improving and with excellent head and hands. Could be a solid NHLer.

* Listed with 2014-15 teams




Three-Year Breakdown (League Rank)

  2012-13 2013-14 2014-15
Points 72 (25th)* 77 (21st) 97 (16th)
Goals For 2.7 (T-11th) 2.5 (23rd) 2.9 (T-6th)
Goals Against 3.3 (28th) 2.9 (24th) 2.6 (T-16th)
Power Play 20% (9th) 16% (24th) 19% (T-13th)
Penalty Killing 82% (13th) 82% (T-17th) 81% (T-20th)
SAT% Possession 47% (24th) 46% (27th) 44% (28th)

* 2012-13 points: Pro-rated lockout-shortened total



Despite having several significant contributors on entry-level contracts, the Flames don't have a great deal of cap room. They aren't constricted so much right now, but it won't come as a shock if they move out a vet or two, if possible, in order to create more long-term flexibility.