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.
July 04 2016 02:00PM
The Calgary Flames had a lot of problems last year, but none bigger than their goaltending. Not one of the four puckstoppers who graced the club's crease last year finished with an average SV%. As a team, the Flames finished with one of the worst save rates in the entire league at even strength at .908. That's 12 points back of merely average.
Brad Treliving clearly entered the offseason on a mission not to allow that to happen again. His moves to acquire both Brian Elliott and Chad Jonhson promise to vastly improve the netminding situation for the team next season. But how much of an improvement is it likely to be?
A big one.
April 13 2016 01:00PM
The Washington Capitals were the run away favourites of the East. The Philadelphia Flyers, in contrast, squeaked into the playoffs thanks to an unlikely late season charge. This should be one of the biggest mismatches of the 2016 playoffs, but this series may turn out to be closer than what seems apparent when glancing at their regular season results.
December 26 2015 04:00PM
(This article was originally published on August 14, 2008 on my now defunct personal blog. It stands as perhaps my most seminal piece so I wanted to re-share it here. To some degree, it explains the goaltender market and why teams have generally moved away from drafting puck stoppers in the first round. I have edited it slightly to remove overly dated references.)
During my look at Sutter's draft history as the Flames GM, I commented that I was surprised the club drafted two goalies in a single year (Keetley and Lalande in '05). That and the preponderance of goaltending prospects the organization (the two above plus McElhinney, Irving and James Spratt) has got me wondering about goalies recently, in particular the draft/develop part.
I've come to the shaky but ever strengthening conclusion that drafting goaltenders is just about a complete waste of time.
Bear with me.
June 30 2015 01:00PM
It's an indication of the strength of this particular UFA crop that Justin Williams comes in number 1 on our list. That's not to take anything away from the 33 year old, who has been a high-end winger for years. But his age and the fact that he's only scored in the 40-point range the last two seasons goes to show there isn't a lot of franchise changing players available to sign this summer.
Despite those concerns, Williams remains a very useful player, in part because his value doesn't merely come from his offense. As one of the few wingers who has proven he can push possession over the years, Williams is a guy who can play up and down the line-up and provide quality minutes to whoever inks him.