|Jonas Hiller – G||Mike Cammalleri – C/LW|
|Mason Raymond – LW/RW||Chris Butler – D|
|Deryk Engelland – D||Blair Jones – C|
|Ben Street – RW|
|Joey MacDonald – G|
Since losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning in game seven of the 2003-04 Stanley Cup Finals, the Calgary Flames have not made it out of the first round and they have not qualified for the playoffs in the last five seasons.
In 2013-14 the Flames edged out their Albert rivals from Edmonton for second last in the Western Conference, leading to them getting the fourth overall pick in the NHL Draft. They used that selection to get Sam Bennett of the Kingston Frontenacs. Bennett is ultra talented and a feisty competitor. He had 36 goals, 55 assists (91 points) and 118 penalty minutes in 57 games. He mirrors his game after his OHL head coach Doug Gilmour. The Flames can only hope that they just picked the next Doug Gilmour–Dougie scored 450 goals and 964 assists (1414 points) in 1474 games, so Bennett has some big shoes to fill.
At this point there is no telling whether Bennett can make the jump to the big club like Sean Monahan did last season. Monahan finished fourth among NHL rookies in goals with 22, which was only two less than the Calder Trophy winner Nathan MacKinnon. Expect the 19-year-old to take a step forward this season making him a great keeper league option and a real 25-goal, 50-point candidate in his second season.
The Flames biggest offseason move was signing veteran goaltender Jonas Hiller to a two-year deal worth $9 million. The 32-year-old Switzerland native has a career 2.51 GAA and .916 SV% and should stabilize Calgary’s crease. He will be challenged for playing time by Karri Ramo, who finished the season 6-5-0 with a 2.63 GAA and .919 SV% in his final 11 starts.
On the blueline, the Flames basically look the same, other than adding toughness in the form of Deryk Engelland. They are anchored by their 30-year-old captain Mark Giordano, who had a career-year with 14 goals and 47 points. He ranked sixth among NHL D-men in goals and 11th in points. Heading into 2014-15 he should be easily considered as a top-20 blueliner and the first Flames off of the board.
Calgary has an abundance of youth including the 2014 Hobey Baker Award winner Johnny Gaudreau and his Boston College linemate Bill Arnold. Sven Baertschi, 21 and Markus Granlund, 21, joined Gaudreau as 2011 NHL Draft Picks and will also compete for roster spots this season. Baertschi has bounced around from NHL to AHL, never being able to stick around with the Flames. He has eight goals and 16 assists (24 points) in 51 career games.
Mixed in with all the young talent, they have some veterans that serve as solid depth fantasy assets. Jiri Hudler led the Flames with 54 points (17G / 37A) while both Matt Stajan and Curtis Glencross missed time with injuries and personal issues, but still turned in strong offensive campaigns.
Look to the Draft (Ranking Flames Fantasy Players)
- Mark Giordano – D
- Jonas Hiller – G
- Jiri Hudler – RW
- Sean Monahan – C
- T.J Brodie – D
- Curtis Glencross – LW
- Mason Raymond – LW/RW
- Mikael Backlund – C
- Matt Stajan – C
- Johnny Gaudreau – LW
Click HERE for the Flames’ potential line combinations heading into the 2014-15 season.
Season prediction: The Flames are making strides in the right direction, but are not quite there. They will finish seventh in the Pacific.
For all your Calgary Flames news, make sure to visit FlamesNation.ca
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