2023 Calgary Flames Predictions with Futures Odds and Expert NHL Picks
Summary of last season
The Calgary Flames came up just short of putting themselves in the postseason picture last season, being edged by the Jets. Their 17 OT losses ranked most in the league, and just two of those games going to a win would have made the difference for the Flames. They finished with a +8-goal differential and were the only non-playoff team to have a positive differential. The Flames had a great penalty kill as they killed 82.6% of the PP deficits they faced. Oddly enough, their success came against their division opponents, as they went 16-6-4 against the members of the best division in hockey a season ago. Outside of the division, they were 10-9-5 against the Central, 5-7-4 against the Atlantic, and 7-5-4 against the Metro.
RW Tyler Toffoli led the team with 73 points last season, with C Elias Lindholm being the only other Flames member to record more than 60 points as he finished with 64. C’s Nazem Kadri, Mikael Backlund, and Jonathan Huberdeau all finished in the mid 50’s. Toffoli was the team leader in goals, finishing with 34, while Lindholm’s 42 assists was good enough for the team lead. G Jacobb Markstrom was solid for the Flames despite posting an unattractive record. The netminder allowed 2.92 GA/G, but did scrap by with a .892 SV%.
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Seasons come and go, so now it’s time to take a look at what we can expect from the Calgary Flames in 2023-24:
Obviously, the biggest loss of the offseason came when Calgary shipped Toffoli off to New Jersey, but they did bring in Yegor Sharangovich, who posted 30 points in 75 games for the Devils and is a promising skater.
They did lose some depth pieces as well. LW Milan Lucic is headed to Boston after playing in 77 games for Calgary. C Trevor Lewis also left via free agency and will be suiting up for the Kings next season. Lewis posted 20 points in 82 games last season.
The Flames brought in veteran journeyman Jordan Oesterle (DET), as he was the most notable addition outside of the Toffoli return package.
Markstrom- He allowed less than three goals a game but can improve tremendously on his SV%
Lindholm/Kadri- These guys have to step up and be the spark of the offense. With Toffoli gone and being another season removed from Johnny Gaudreau, one of these two will have to step up and lead the way, and it will be even better if they both can reach career heights this season.
The netminding room will look the exact same heading into the new campaign as it was a season ago. Markstrom will get the vast majority of the play time, with Dan Vladar penciled in to be the primary backup. Vladar appeared in 27 games last season and finished with a 14-6-5 record, allowing 2.91 GA/G and a SV% of .895. Markstrom is one of the most underrated goalies in hockey, and I think he is a big reason that Calgary has been able to stay relevant.
Key Schedule Stretch
January 16th-January 27th- This is one of those stretches where they cannot afford a slip up. This stretch is a six game homestand with only two playoff locks. They do host Edmonton and Toronto, but Edmonton is a huge rivalry game that they could win. The other four are against STL, Columbus, Chicago, and Arizona. They need to go 5-1 in this stretch, beating the teams they should and be competitive against other playoff caliber squads.
Stanley Cup Champions - +3000
Conference Winner - +1500
Division Winner - +750
To Make the Playoffs- Yes- -180
I am not a fan of the Toffoli trade at all, but I do believe this team has the potential to be a 100-point team. They will need someone to step up and be the guy, but the Flames are deep and showcase one of the better goalies in the league. I am riding closer to the ceiling than I normally do because it is reasonable for this team to be below average on offense, but I like the Flames to usurp the Jets for the final wild card spot. There is really no middle tier in the Western Conference, and I think the Flames round out the top tier. They will have a lot of opportunities to beat up on the little guys in the conference and get over 95.5 team points.
Over 95.5 Team Total Points
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