NHL team-by-team preview: Calgary Flames

NHL team-by-team preview: Calgary Flames
July 29, 2014, 5:45 pm
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(Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports)

As part of our summer series previewing the 2014-15 NHL season, CSNwashington.com is analyzing all 30 NHL teams, division by division. This week, we take a look at the Western Conference’s Pacific Division.

Today: CALGARY FLAMES

2013-14 record: 35-40-7, 77 points

Where they finished: 6th in the Pacific; 13th in the West; 27th in the NHL

Coach:  Bob Hartley (3rd season)

Key additions:  GM Brad Treliving, LW Johnny Gaudreau, C  Sam Bennett,  LW Brandon Bollig,  LW Mason Raymond, D Deryk Engelland, G Jonas Hiller

Key subtractions: C  Mike Cammalleri, LW Lee Stempniak, D Chris Butler

Projected Lineup

Forwards

Curtis Glencross – Matt Stajan – Jiri Hudler

Johnny Gaudreau – Sean Monahan – Mason Raymond

Brandon Bollig – Mikael Backlund – David Jones

Brian McGrattan – Joe Colborne – Lance Buoma

Extras: Paul Byron, Kenny Agostino

Defense

Mark Giordano – T.J. Brodie

Ladislav Smid – Kris Russell

Dennis Wideman – Deryk Engelland

Extra:  Tyler Wotherspoon

Goaltenders

Jonas Hiller – Karri Ramo

Our take: After missing the playoffs for a fifth straight year, interim general manager Brian Burke ensured the Flames would get bigger, stronger and play with “truculence” under new general manager Brad Treliving, who had served as an assistant GM in Phoenix.

Treliving responded by trading a third-round draft pick for 6-foot-2, 223-pound Chicago Blackhawks power forward Brandon Bollig [92 penalty minutes] and signing edgy defenseman Deryk Engelland away from the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Flames also addressed some questions in goal by signing 32-year-old goaltender Jonas Hiller to a two-year contract. After losing his job in Anaheim, Hiller is expected to be the No. 1 in Calgary, ahead of competent backup Karri Ramo.

The Flames played well enough in the second half of last season [19-14-1] to  provide hope for the 2014-15 campaign, especially after 12 players made their NHL debuts last season. One of those players is pint-sized scoring sensation Johnny Gaudreau, who won the Hobey Baker Trophy as the top NCAA player in the country. Another is center Sean Monahan, who scored more goals in his rookie season [22] than any Flames rookie since Jarome Iginla in 1996-97.

The Flames also have the fourth overall pick of the 2014 NHL draft, Sam Bennett, waiting in the wings, although it could be another year before the 18-year-old center who made headlines for failing to record a single pull-up at the NHL combine, makes his NHL debut.

Offseason Grade:  B-plus

Will they make the playoffs in 2014-15?  They’ll get close, but fall a few points short.

[MORE: NHL team-by-team preview: Edmonton Oilers]