2018-19 Record (50-25-7) 107 points
After missing the playoffs in 2017-18, the Calgary Flames rebounded in glorious fashion. Adding 13 wins and a total of 23 points, the Flames had the second-most wins in the league. They had a league-leading FIVE players post 70+ point seasons, and a team goal differential of +62, good for second in the league. Dynamic offensive output with some good goaltending and you have one of the top teams. Their league rankings tell a little more of the story.
- 18th ranked Power Play – 19.3%
- 19th ranked Penalty Kill – 79.7%
- 3rd ranked Faceoff Win – 52.4%
- 1st ranked Shots Against – 28.1 shots
- 13th ranked Shots per game – 32.4 shots
- 3rd ranked Shooting % – 10.9%
- 21st ranked Save % – .903%
- Tied 2nd ranked Goals Scored – 289 goals
Rankings via NHL.com & Hockey Reference
Even with the 21st ranked save percentage, the Flames were able to keep that from causing trouble by limiting their opponents to 28.1 shots per game, a league-low. A well-rounded team, with little room for improvement, means that the Flames would be relatively quiet on the trade front during the season. Which they were. GM Brad Treliving made a couple of minor trades during the season.
- Calgary acquired Oscar Fantenberg from Los Angeles for a 2020 fourth round pick
- Calgary acquired Andrew Nielsen from Toronto for Morgan Klimchuk
Knowing that he had a very good squad already, Treliving kept the consistency with the team and didn’t shake things up. He was right. The Flames ended the year with 50 wins, good for first place in the Western Conference. Unfortunately, the Flames couldn’t keep the momentum rolling through the playoffs. They were ousted in the first round by the Colorado Avalanche four games to one.
Season MVP: Johnny Gaudreau
New Jersey’s own, Johnny Gaudreau is coming off of a career year. He put together an impressive stat line of 36 goals / 63 assists / 99 points on 245 shots for a 14.7% shooting percentage. High offensive production is nothing new for Gaudreau as he has been the team leader in point production for the last four years. A dynamic playmaker, Gaudreau has proven himself to one of the best players in the NHL.
Most Improved Player: Matthew Tkachuk
Beginning his career with 48 point and 49 point seasons, Matthew Tkachuk took a nice next step this past season. Playing in 80 games last year, Tkachuk put up 34 goals / 43 assists / 77 points on 207 shots on goal for a 16.4% shooting percentage. He has solidified himself in a second line role already and his powerplay production, 11 powerplay goals, and 23 powerplay assists should keep him on the top unit.
Biggest Disappointment: James Neal
Underwhelming is the most polite way to describe James Neal‘s season in Calgary. Appearing in only 63 games, the 31-year-old left-wing put up a brutal stat line of 7 goals / 12 assists / 19 points on 141 shots on goal for a 5% shooting percentage. Expectations were closer to his career average of 26.3 goals and 49.5 points per season. But even with exposure to the top line and second powerplay usage, Neal wasn’t able to find his way in Calgary. This experiment was finally over when Neal was traded to Edmonton for Milan Lucic.
Highlight of the Year
Projected Depth Chart
Poised For a Breakout: Noah Hanifin
Getting his feet wet on a new team with a new system, Hanifin put up a solid stat line of 5 goals and 28 assists for 33 points. While he still has Mark Giordano to contend with on the left side, Hanifin posses the offensive upside the could produce 10-15 goals and 35-45 assists on this loaded team in Calgary.
Juuso Välimäki, Defense
Drafted 16th overall in the 2017 NHL Draft, Juuso Välimäki is a highly-skilled defenseman that has calm confidence on the ice. His game still needs a little rounding out, but he has a top/elite defensive skill set.
Oliver Kylington, Defense
Drafted 60th overall in the 2015 NHL Draft. Oliver Kylington is a strong two-way defenseman with above-average puck control and passing skills. Future powerplay quarterback is written all over him.
Jakob Pelletier, CenterEmbed from Getty Images
Drafted 26th overall in the 2019 NHL Draft. Jakob Pelletier is a highly-skilled offensive threat. Top-end shot along with great on-ice vision makes him a great playmaking forward with good speed that doesn’t shy away from a hit.
T.J. Brodie 1 year, $4.65 million with a M-NTC remaining.
Travis Hamonic 1 year, $3.86 million remaining.
Michael Stone 1 year, $3.50 million remaining. **Update** Stone has been bought out 8/1/2019
The Flames are in a very good spot for the next few years. All of their top talents are already locked down for the next three to five years, and nobody is due a large payday just yet. A lot of playoff hopes are resting on the shoulders of the 26-year-old goaltender, David Rittich. He had some success splitting time with Smith last season, but there is a lot riding on whether or not he can handle a full workload this season. The Championship window is right now for the Flames, let’s see if they can make it happen.
James Maloney is the Senior Writer of Fantasy Hockey at Overtime Heroics. You can follow him @FNTSYHCKYTRADES
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