Calgary Flames: 2021-22 NHL season preview

The 2021-22 NHL season is coming and it’s time to have a look at all 32 groups. Over the next month we’ll be analyzing finest- and worst-case situations, taking a look at the greatest concerns, breakout prospects, and more for each franchise. Today, we sneak peek the Calgary Flames.

2020-21 Season Evaluation

• Record: 26-27-3 (55 points); 5th location in North Department
• Postseason: Did not get approved for playoffs; prepared Matt Coronato No. 13 total
• Offending leader: Johnny Gaudreau (56 video games, 19 objectives, 30 helps, 49 points)

• Complimentary Representative Additions: Blake Coleman, Erik Gudbranson, Brad Richardson, Trevor Lewis, Nikita Zadorov (trade from Blackhawks), Tyler Pitlick (trade from Kraken), Daniel Vladar (trade from Bruins).
• Complimentary Representative Subtractions:
Mark Giordano (Kraken growth draft), Josh Leivo (Hurricanes), Dominik Simon (Penguins), Derek Ryan (Oilers), Friend Robinson (Ducks).

Greatest Concern Dealing With the Flames

• Where is this group going, precisely?

Heading into the offseason, it appeared like the Flames were at a fork in the roadway.

Would they trade or extend Johnny Gaudreau? What about Matthew Tkachuk? Sean Monahan has actually 2 years left on his offer, however the clock is ticking there, too. May Brad Treliving pay a rate to keep both Mark Giordano and Chris Tanev? Could the Flames make bolder choices, such as potentially parting methods with Treliving (who’s had lots of kicks at the can because taking control of as Flames GM throughout the summertime of 2014)?

At that fork in the roadway, the Flames could have increased (attempting to swing for the fences, possibly getting Jack Eichel?) or down (blow things up, reconstruct). Rather, they primarily idled in the middle of the roadway. While they did provide Blake Coleman huge term in their only free-agent splash, this is still primarily the very same group that dissatisfied last season. Even their greatest loss (Giordano to the Kraken) seems like a nondecision, one bring the stink of passivity.

Heading into 2021-22, it seems like the Flames are stuck in neutral, and not precisely driving a low-cost lorry. They’re wagering that things simply sort of … form.

What’s the income cap circumstance?

For a group that’s just won one playoff series (2 if you count the Qualifying Round series vs. the Jets throughout the 2020 bubble playoffs), the Flames aren’t precisely inexpensive.

By Cap Friendly’s steps, the Flames are basically scraping versus the income cap ceiling. If the Flames return into the Jack Eichel sweepstakes, a fair bit of cash would require to return to Buffalo.

Looking past the 2021-22 season returns the Flames to that fork in the roadway. Gaudreau ($6.75 million cap hit) and Tkachuk ($7M) are both going into agreement years. Even if they underwhelm this season, it wouldn’t be unexpected to see both get considerable raises. A prospective raise might likewise be the drawback if Andrew Mangiapane ($2.425M) breaks out in a traditional method after being an analytics beloved for several years.

All of it establish a series of anxious situations. If Tkachuk and Gaudreau flop, it may cost Treliving his job. If they both rebound in big methods, they’d be difficult to fit under the income cap in 2022-23 and beyond.

All of that stated, credit Treliving for this: if somebody else is taking control of as GM, they can make their own mark on the Flames. Even with dicey agreements on the books (most certainly, Milan Lucic), the Flames are forecasted to have more than $30M in cap area with 12 lineup areas covered next summertime.

Breakout Prospect

• Juuso Valimaki

The Flames’ defense appeared suspect even with an aging-yet-still-effective Giordano. With Giordano cracklin’ with the Kraken, Calgary may simply sink.

Valimaki might be hired to get a great deal of slack. Up until now, he’s played 73 video games at the NHL level. Both in 2018-19 (24 video games played) and 2020-21 (49 GP), Valimaki balanced about 15 and a half minutes per night. The 22-year-old revealed flashes of that first-round capacity (16th total in 2017), however the Flames may request him to accelerate his growh in an unpleasant method 2021-22.

Otherwise, the Flames’ defense may require to lean greatly on some cumbersome depth defensemen, such as Erik Gudbranson, Nikita Zadorov, and Michael Stone. Not perfect.

Best-Case Situation for 2021-22 Flames

While the Flames influence a great deal of pessimism, it’s simple to misplace the excellent. This was a group that completed in the top-10 in both easy (portion of shots) and advanced (predicted objectives, high-danger possibilities) metrics, a minimum of at even-strength. You might use a few of the very same “if only their power play was decent, and they got a few saves” reasoning to the Flames, as the Canadiens got in the past. Yes, agreement years can be a huge interruption. Pressure develops diamonds, too, however, eh? Possibly we’ll see the very best of Tkachuk and Gaudreau, and things simply come together for the Flames in 2021-22? Hey, there’s even some space for optimism about the most recent Sutter follow up.

(Likewise, the Pacific Department is weak enough that Calgary might make the playoffs even if a lot fails.)

Worst-Case Situation for 2021-22 Flames

Take A Look At the Flames’ current history of head coaches, and it’s hard to shake the sensation that this franchise runs out concepts. Many retreads; a lot of Sutters. Darryl’s in-season record (15-15-0) records the stuck-in-the-middle spirit of the Flames, an expectation that rollovers to 2021-22. Really, remaining stuck in the middle may be the worst-case situation for the 2021-22 Flames. Missing out on the playoffs (once again) would currently be bad. However what if the Flames suffice to preserve incorrect hope, hence leading them to keep Gaudreau and others, rather of trading them at the due date? There’s the really genuine, stomach-turning possibility that the Flames miss out on the playoffs, Gaudreau leaves for absolutely nothing in totally free company, and individuals lose their tasks.

PointsbetCalgary Flames Stanley Cup chances

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James O’Brien is an author for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Calgary Flames: 2021-22 NHL season sneak peek initially appeared on NBCSports.com

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.