It’s not an exaggeration to say to 2017/18 Calgary Flames season was an enormous disappointment.
The Calgary Flames had expectations of Stanley Cup contention from some people going into the season. They took those heightened hopes and instead fell flat, missing the playoffs for the 7th time in 9 years. That said, I don’t believe they’re too far off from being at that level as early as next year. Here are a few key steps I believe they need to take in order to accomplish that.
Complete the Bench
In a move many people expected following a season that saw the Flames miss the playoffs for the 7th time in 9 seasons, the team fired almost their entire coaching staff. The only exceptions were Martin Gelinas, Jamie Pringle, and Jordan Sigalet.
It didn’t take the team long to replace the departed Glen Gulutzan, with Brad Treliving turning to the former Carolina Hurricanes and Team Canada bench boss, Bill Peters, to take over. One man isn’t enough though. Equally important are the assistant coaches who help handle the powerplay/offense and penalty kill/defense.
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There is an easy option for defense in Stockton Heat head coach, Ryan Huska. He’s been with the organization for 4 years now and if ever there was a time to promote him, this would be it. Especially considering his reputation as a good defensive coach. However, more pressing is the powerplay coach; they need to bring in somebody that can run a more effective powerplay than the awful system Dave Cameron ran.
Make Room on the Blueline
While it may seem counter-intuitive to suggest this, the Calgary Flames really need to clear out 1-2 of their NHL level defenders. They can recoup draft picks and make room for the young talent that has excelled on the farm team.
Rasmus Andersson especially needs to be a full-time NHLer next season. The Flames can facilitate this by trading one of Michael Stone or Travis Hamonic. Stone is the player that should be moved. He isn’t good enough to justify his contract but carries value as a right-shot defenseman. While his return would be lower, it will be worth to allow the Andersson promotion. Moving TJ Brodie to potentially facilitate a potential Oliver Kylington promotion would also be good but more on that in the next section.