The Calgary Flames currently hold down the last wild card spot in the WC.
Sports Club Stats has the Flames with a 72.2% chance of making the playoffs and that seems about right but that isn’t the real story.
The Flames are positioned to make a major leap forward in the seasons ahead.
If you believe, as I and any sane NHL observer does, that the best teams are built from the back-end out and down the middle, The Flames are in a great place.
The Flames have THREE NHL quality goaltenders in Hiller, Ramo and Ortio. Ramo is the worst of the bunch but has a .904 save percentage which is a couple of miles ahead of the Oilers best.
The Flames also have one of the best top pairing D in the league with Giordano and Brodie and Dennis Wideman is scoring at the same rate as Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
With their D in a very nice place, the next order of business turns to centre depth. Good Grief!
That’s ELEVEN NHL centres folks.
Obviously they won’t all play C in the Flames lineup but the Flames have the luxury of dealing from depth at the most important forward position or playing some of these guys on the wing.
But that’s not the most important factor in the Flames resurgence.
The Flames have the lowest payroll in the NHL and are in a position to take advantage of any cap strapped team that comes along…like Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia.
Can you imagine if the Flames add 2 established D like Keith Yandle and Brent Seabrook and a couple of high scoring wingers?
They have the cap space, the assets and a very smart management team to turn themselves into a bonafide contender in one offseason.
See the NYI for reference.