The Flames' defensive pairing dilemma

Ryan Pike
September 04 2016 08:00AM

The Calgary Flames are in a very unique position, and a very challenging one.

First and foremost, they're lucky: they have three really good defensemen in Dougie Hamilton, T.J. Brodie and Mark Giordano. Unfortunately, they also have a trio of defensemen in Jyrki Jokipakka, Dennis Wideman and Deryk Engelland who are more limited in what they can do than the good blueliners.

The challenge for the Flames this season is figuring out how to balance their strong players with their weaker ones in order to maximize their performances.

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The breakdown of Nylander > Marner

Ryan Hobart
September 04 2016 07:55AM

Recently, we finalized the rankings for our site's Top 20 Leafs Prospects. Review them from the top down here, starting with Auston Matthews. As you'll note, we had Mitch Marner at #2 and William Nylander at #3. I, however, did not.

My personal rankings had Nylander at 2 and Marner at 3 and I'd like to get into details as to why that is. I teased this analysis in my Nylander post so I apologize for taking this long to get it out here. I want to make absolutely sure that I'm aware the difference is very small. They're basically on the same pyramid tier. But I had to put one at 2 and this is why I made that Nylander.

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September 03 2016 08:37PM

Five years after a draft is a good time to evaluate—and even then, there are prospects who are not completely known. Brandon Davidson from the 2010 draft took until 2015-16 and we may be seeing a straggler or two from the Edmonton list in 2011. Let's have a look.

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Why would the Flames take a chance on Chris Higgins?

Ari Yanover
September 02 2016 12:00PM

So, here we are: it's September, and Johnny Gaudreau does not yet have a contract. We've poked around a bit at just what the Flames' cap situation for the future could look like, but with what will probably be the most expensive deal on the team still yet to be signed, there hasn't been much else we can do.

Gaudreau doesn't have a contract - but Chris Higgins does.

Well, kind of. Not really. He's on a professional tryout, so he can be cut at a moment's notice; no commitment has been extended towards him, not even for a season. Kind of like his former Flames career: the one that lasted all of 12 games, and that was that.

Now, it looks like Higgins' best hope of getting back into the NHL is with the Flames. But he's far from a lock; guys who sign PTOs don't tend to earn NHL contracts, even if they do have a decent enough body of work. So Higgins probably isn't a point of concern.

But let's talk about him anyway, just in case he is - especially because it wasn't that long ago he was a successful NHLer.

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Neutral Zone Playing Styles: What Does Chemistry Look Like?

Shawn Reis
September 02 2016 10:59AM

Alex Novet did some really fantastic work on neutral zone playing styles recently, taking Corey Sznajder's incredible work on zone entries and turning it into something that can help define player roles.

For this article I'll be drawing on Novet's work once again in attempt to better define player chemistry.

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