It’s a frustrating time to be a Flames fan - and I say that as a life long Calgarian. Last year the team came into the season with high hopes, but was horribly mismanaged from the start and went nowhere. Illogical trades, inconsistent coaching, and increasingly incoherent ramblings from GM Darryl Sutter made a mockery of the potential, and kept the team out of the playoffs for the first time since the lockout. Fans screamed for some big changes starting at the top, but nothing happened. Sutter is still in charge, his brother is still the coach, and the team is worse than they were last year - and they weren’t very good then.
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This is the biggest head-scratcher in the whole league. Last year Sutter traded away Olli Jokinen because he was horribly underachieving on the ice and creating distractions in the locker room. In the offseason Jokinen was brought back as a free agent. Alex Tanguay, another guy who was cast off because he wasn’t contributing as expected, was also brought back. Center Jarome Iginla didn’t show a lot of chemistry with either player, and he is coming off a very disappointing year. Somehow the return of these two players- seemingly to play with Iginla - is supposed to make all the difference. It’s as illogical as it seems - despite Sutter’s pleas that they are great moves. The rest of the roster moves are less than noteworthy - some minor pieces have been replaced by other minor pieces. Eric Nystrom is the biggest departure, but more for his potential than for what he has accomplished.
Calgary Flames Outlook
It’s hard to be very positive about this squad. Last year they struggled offensively and were shockingly short of leadership. They have done little to address either issue. The team is still built around Jarome Iginla. Although he has a good reputation around the league and steps up in international play, those who watch him closely can’t help but become more and more disillusioned by his inconsistency. This is not a team that is built to win - even though they play in probably the weakest division in the league.
Calgary Flames Futures Odds (from Bodog)
The Flames are 35/1 to win the Stanley Cup, 16/1 to win the Western Conference, and +550 to win the Northwest. Their points total is set at 92.5.
Calgary Flames Predictions
It’s not going to be pretty for the Flames. They aren’t going to be able to score with any consistency this year unless the entire roster has career years - something that Sutter seems to be banking on. They haven’t added real leadership to a team that floundered for direction, and though goalie Miikka Kiprusoff is their best player he’s getting older and is worn down by carrying so much of the burden of this team for so long.
This is not a playoff team, and they will have had a good year if they finish higher than fourth in their division. They lack attractive assets or cap space to make a quick turnaround, so this appears to be a team that will settle into mediocrity for years to come. The best hope for the team is that they are really bad this year so that the Sutter era can finally come to a much-needed end.
There isn’t a futures bet on this team that is worth touching. The Stanley Cup and Conference champion ones are particularly laughable. In fact, if you can find anyone who thinks that those bets are even remotely attractive then the best thing you could do is take their money from them yourself and give them the action - you might as well make the profit instead of the books.
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