Flames-Canucks Game Day — Tryout for a Trade?
With a win on Tuesday bringing the 5-8-2 Calgary Flames within three wins of a .500 record, tonight will present their greatest challenge of early 2023-24 regular season. That being the red hot 12-3-2 Vancouver Canucks. Let’s get to some notes, thoughts and observations.
“Red Hot” may not be going far enough in describing Vancouver’s torrid start.
The conclusion of their two-goal comeback last night. Their tying goal featured the hardest recorded shot of the season to date. A 107.9mph blast from Filip Hronek.
Things get even wilder when you look at their stat. Three Canucks sit tied for first place in the NHL with 26 points a piece. Quinn Hughes, JT Miller and Elias Pettersen. The current Rocket Richard leader? Brock Boeser with 13 goals. Starter Thatcher Demko ranks fifth among all goaltenders in both save percentage and goals against average at .932 and 2.05 respectively. First in goals per game with 4.38. A 33.33% power play. Tied for third in shutouts with two.
The good news is that Vancouver is due to regress. The bad news is that probably won’t be tonight against a Flames team still working towards ironing out some defensive issues. Outscored 53-39 through 15 games, Calgary is tied for 30th with Minnesota for goal differential.
As outlined in Wednesday’s piece, there are some good things happening with the Flames lately. Aggressive zone exits, complex passing plays in the offensive zone, and of course the rise of Connor Zary and Martin Pospisil early into November. The two have combined for ten points in six games since November 1.
Calgary Flames Projected Lineup
Courtesy of Pat Steinberg. @Fan960Steinberg
Per Ryan Pike of Flames Nation, general manager Craig Conroy is asking for a young prospect that can step into the lineup in return for veteran defenceman Chris Tanev. Vancouver fans heard this news and collectively shuddered at the notion of sending off winger Nils Hoglander for Tanev or even Nikita Zadorov.
Landing the 22 year old would be a coup. The 5’9” Swede packs a punch and has started to come around production-wise. He has three goals and two assists in 15 games this season. Flames fans may remember him as the Canuck that injured 6’4” Dennis Gilbert with an awkward bodycheck during the preseason.
Hoglander seems like a reach. More likely targets include 2019 10th overall pick Vasili Podkolzin, who has struggled to establish himself as well as 24 year old Calgarian defenceman Akito Hirose, who has great decision making but a slight 6’0” 170lb frame.
Vancouver Canucks Projected Lineup
Courtesy of dailyfaceoff.com.
Mikheyev – Pettersson – Kuzmenko
Di Giuseppe – Miller – Boeser
Joshua – Blueger – Garland
Hoglander – Rafferty – Beauvillier
Hughes – Juulsen
Cole – Hronek
Friedman – Myers
Game time is 7:00 pm MST. Catch the broadcast on Sportsnet in Canada.
Stats via eliteprospects.com.