2013-14 NHL Season Preview: Calgary Flames

For many years lately Calgary fans have been undecided if the team was rebuilding or hanging on to become a playoff team. Those questions were answered last season when club legend Jarome Iginla was traded to Pittsburgh for a bevy of draft picks and prospects. And this year the first year post-Iginla appears to be rough for head coach Bob Hartley.


On the bright side, there are many players entering the final year of their contract which can be used as trade bait for more prospects and draft picks down the road.

The Flames have many problems, and the first of which is depth at all three position groups. They have the second-most cap space in the league according to CapGeek, which GM Jay Feaster has the blessing of ownership to pursue good players and spend wisely.


The Flames return two of their leading scorers. And both of them are entering the final year of their contract before hitting UFA status in 2014. Both Mike Cammalleri and Lee Stempniak will be 31 at the end of the season, so expect the Flames to work hard to keep them around. But if the production on offense isn’t there, expect one or both of them to get traded at the deadline. Both had 32 points last season but it was Cammalleri who had more goals (13) and Stempniak had more assists (23).

Jiri Hudler came on strong in his first season in Calgary after missing some time at the beginning due to injury. Hudler will see significant time on the top line and has the potential to set a career-high in points this season. His high of 57 points came five years ago with Detroit.

One thing they did pretty well was on the power play, where they were ninth in the league at 20 percent success.


The Flames have about 4-5 NHL-caliber defensemen on their roster. After that things get a little thin in terms of depth. They return Dennis Wideman, Mark Giordano with newcomer Shane O’Brien. They have nice developing players in T.J. Brodie and Derek Smith. After that is where unproven players will be given a chance to show their worth to make the lineup. Those players include Tyler Witherspoon, Chris Butler, and Kris Russell.


From the looks of it, Mikka Kiprusoff knew when to fold at the table and decided to retire over the summer. That leaves them looking towards journeyman Joey MacDonald to continue the role as starter he had last season. The 33-year-old won eight games for the Flames last season. The team also will have Finn Karri Ramo as backup.


Hopefully they can attempt to put some sort of decent product on the ice. With a lot of players with expiring contracts, they can be viewed as sellers at the trade deadline. As for the playoffs? If you are a Calgary fan and think they can make the playoffs, this is all I have to say. If they can make smart moves and acquire the proper players, I can see them returning to relevance in a year or two.

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