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1) There was plenty of reason for optimism surrounding the Calgary Flames heading into the 2016-17 campaign. They added some new pieces in the off-season (Troy Brouwer, Kris Versteeg, Matthew Tkachuk, etc.) to surround their stars with better depth, they acquired two of top-15 goaltenders in the NHL last season (in terms of save percentage) and completely revamped the coaching staff, among other things.
Obviously it takes time for all these moving parts to get situated but, given the team's first slate of games to open the season, the team seemed poised to get off to a strong start.
Fast forward a couple weeks and the Flames have just one win in six games. They've looked bad, quite frankly, and things are about to get even tougher.
Their next chunk of games are against St. Louis, Chicago x2, Ottawa, Washington, San Jose, Los Angeles, Anaheim, Dallas, New York (Rangers) and Minnesota. Only Ottawa was a non-playoff team a year ago and even they are off to a solid start so there certainly aren't any gimme's in there.
The Flames need to pull up their socks and start playing some good hockey, and fast, or their season will once again be over before it really got started.
2) I'm at a loss for words with regards to the Flames' power play right now. I can't remember seeing anything like it. The Flames lead the league(!!) in PP time on ice and, despite all the high-end talent, they have just one goal to show for it. One. They are averaging 1.31 goals per 60 minutes of power play time. Think about those numbers. 1.31 goals per 30 power plays. How a NHL team can be that inept is beyond me. The Flames need to completely alter their approach with the man advantage because right now I believe power plays are doing them more harm than good. That's absolutely absurd to think about when the likes of Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Mark Giordano and co. are featured in key PP roles.
3) Playing with Lance Bouma, who should probably sit out as a healthy scratch on a nightly basis, doesn't help but Mikael Backlund is off to a horrific start. With him on the ice at 5 v 5 the Flames are controlling ~43% of the shot attempts and ~30% of the scoring chances. Considering a big part of his game is the defensive aspect, and driving play against top competition, that certainly isn't ideal. I'm willing to say a good portion of it can be put on Bouma but the Flames still need better results.
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