3. Calgary Flames
Last playoff run: 2016-17 – (Lost in the first round to Anaheim 0-4)
Number of Stanley Cups Won: 1 – (1988-89)
The Flames finished 5th in the Pacific with 84 points (37-35-10). I placed the Calgary Flames at number three because of their many additions during free agency.
Here is a brief list of their moves:
- Traded D Dougie Hamilton and LW Michael Ferland to Carolina for C Elias Lindholm and D Noah Hanifin
- Extended D Dalton Prout (one-year)
- Signed C Tyler Graovac, C Alan Quine, LW Morgan Klimchuk, RW Garnet Hathaway, and D Brett Kulak to one-year deals
- Signed C Derek Ryan to a three-year deal
- Signed LW James Neal to a five-year deal
- Extended Elias Lindholm (six-years)
- Re-signed C Mark Jankowski on a two-year deal
People have mixed feelings regarding the Hanifin/Lindholm/Hamilton/Ferland trade. Personally, I think both teams technically “won” in the sense that they filled needs, but Calgary came out on top. Noah Hanifin is a great player who will help add youth and skill to Calgary’s blue line.
Lindholm, though, could go either way, but I think that a change of scenery would be good for him considering the fact that he didn’t reach his full potential while with Carolina.
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That said, the Pacific division is tough, with Vegas, Anaheim, San Jose, and Los Angeles rounding out the top four in points from last season. When you also take into account how difficult the Central division is compared to the other 3 in the NHL, there might be fewer playoff spots available in the Pacific.
Expect players like James Neal, Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau, Michael Frolik, and Mark Giordano to lead the charge in Calgary, with young guns in Mark Jankowski, Matthew Tkachuk, Elias Lindholm, Noah Hanifin, to develop into the future of the franchise.
Here is a look at Calgary’s potential lines:
All in all, I could easily see Calgary securing a playoff spot next season.