Four big questions facing the 2016-17 Calgary Flames

Kent Wilson
August 10 2016 12:00PM

For all intents and purposes, the Flames roster for 2017-18 is set. The club has come a long way since the inception of the rebuild back in 2012, but there's still a lot of room to grow. The young core seems to be set and the team is moving forward with a fresh, younger coaching staff. 

Calgary is exiting the lower expectations of the early rebuild phase and is entering its window for contention. While no one expects the Flames to suddenly jump up to the top of Western Conference this year, the club should be making clear, demonstrable strides given their cap situation and growing maturity (and resultant expense) of their younger assets. 

The Flames are still a work in progress. Here are the four major questions facing them this year as they strive to break out of the Western Conference basement: the RW, the defense, the "other" kids and, the new coaching staff.

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Let's talk about stats vs traditionalists

Kent Wilson
July 30 2016 11:00AM

The advanced stats vs conventional hockey people fight is probably getting old for anyone watching the argument from the outside. Nevertheless, it rages on, flaring up whenever a new school person flagrantly denies conventional wisdom or an old school person balks at nerds analyzing the game with spreadsheets.

Many might be surprised to find out that the two schools of thought actually agree more than they disagree. The problem is, there are fundamental areas of friction between the two sides that may never be resolved. Let's talk about these issues, from the view of a new school outsider with a background in psychology (i.e.; me).

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How good is TJ Brodie?

Kent Wilson
July 28 2016 11:00AM

It's arguable which Flames youngster is considered the first pillar of the post-Iginla rebuild. Most probably consider it to be Sean Monahan or Johnny Gaudreau. Maybe some are waiting for Sam Bennett or Matthew  Tkachuk to become the icon of a new era. 

I contend it's T.J. Brodie. The 26-year-old defender's rise from obscurity was one of the first indications that the team might have a future beyond Iginla and the old guard. In fact, it was the Jay Bouwmeester trade in 2012 that gave us a hint of how good Brodie was going to be.

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Flames 2016 Offseason: What would you have done?

Kent Wilson
July 26 2016 12:00PM

The Flames aren't done, but they are. Once Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau are signed, Brad Treliving will only have a few, minor bits of housekeeping left to do before the season starts. Sure, maybe he finds a way to trade Dennis Wideman, but in all actuality it will likely come down to re-inking guys like Freddie Hamilton and Tyler Wotherspoon. 

So what you see is more or less what you get. Are you satisfied? For the heck of it, let's play armchair GM to see what different paths the Flames could have taken. 

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Don't give up on Micheal Ferland

Kent Wilson
July 12 2016 02:00PM

This is a big season for Micheal Ferland. 

Ferland's coming off a superficially disappointing year: just four goals and 18 points in 71 games (and an ugly -15 rating on top of it). He has just one more year left on his contract, meaning this might be his last chance to make a lasting impression in the Flames organization.

The 24-year-old LW has all the tools to be a useful NHLer: size, grit, smarts and decently soft hands. The problem is, outside of the first round series against the Canucks a year ago, he hasn't been able to put it all together yet. At least, that's what his counting numbers suggest. If we peer beneath the surface, however, we see a player who might be ready to break out. 

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