Year One of the Mike Keenan Era on the Red Mile turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. The Flames have one of the game’s best at forward, on defense and in net — now if those other 17 guys could just play a little better…
2007-08: 42-30-10, 94 points (third in Northwest)
PLAYOFFS: Lost to San Jose in first round
WHAT WENT RIGHT: Jarome Iginla was a top-5 forward, Dion Phaneuf was a top-5 defenseman and goalie Mikka Kiprusoff was maybe not a top-5 goalie, but he played in 76 games and was not the problem – although he was yanked in Game 7 against the Sharks.
WHAT WENT WRONG: A lot that didn’t involve Calgary’s Big Three. Daymond Langkow and Kristian Huselius did their part, but nearly every other offensive player – especially Alex Tanguay, Matthew Lombardi and Craig Conroy – disappointed. Actually, the defense corps behind Phaneuf and Robyn Regehr was solid, so almost all of the blame belongs with the secondary scorers up front.
DEPARTURES: LW Kristian Huselius, LW Alex Tanguay, RW Owen Nolan, G Curtis Joseph, C Stephane Yelle
IMPACT PROSPECTS: C Mikael Backlund, G Leland Irving
Does Todd Bertuzzi still have it?
If you didn’t notice above, offensive depth was an issue for the Flames, and the team’s second-leading scorer left town. Maybe Dustin Boyd can have a breakout year, but there will be plenty of pressure on Bertuzzi to regain his place as a top power forward in this league.
Who plays on the second line?
Assuming Iginla and Langkow are on the top line and Cammalleri centers the second unit, the Flames still need to figure out who the other three top-six guys are. Bertuzzi is one, but the other two are uncertain. The candidates could be Boyd and Bourque unless one of the other young players surprise or a center like Lombardi or Conroy is moved to the wing.
PROGNOSIS: Assuming Cammalleri can be an upgrade over Tanguay’s 54 points, the Flames are still short on offense. Sure they can make up for it a lot of nights with the defense and goaltending, but they also need to find a few more nights off for Kiprusoff. This looks like a team that will need to have things break right just to be stuck in neutral, but could also slip back considering the young, improving teams behind them in the West.
|Rene Bourque||Daymond Langkow||Jarome Iginla|
|Dustin Boyd||Michael Cammalleri||Todd Bertuzzi|
|David Moss||Matthew Lombardi||Curtis Glenncross|
|Marcus Nilson /Eric Nystrom||Craig Conroy||Wayne Primeau/Andre Roy|
|Dion Phaneuf||Robyn Regehr|
|Adrian Aucoin||Andres Eriksson|
|Cory Sarich||James Vandermeer|
|Rhett Warrener||Mark Giordano|
*NOTE: This is not necessarily an attempt to guess line combinations