Hello, Neighbo(u)rs: Calgary Flames - LA Kings Insider

2017-18 CALGARY FLAMES PREVIEW
2016-17 record: 45-33-4, 94 points; 4th place, Pacific Division; 7th place, Western Conference
2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Lost in first round to Anaheim (four games)
Corsi-for rate: 50.5% (10th)
Additions: G Mike Smith, D Travis Hamonic, F Spencer Foo, F Luke Gazdic, G Eddie Lack
Subtractions: G Brian Elliott, G Chad Johnson, F Alex Chiasson, D Dennis Wideman, F Lance Bouma, D Deryk Engelland

Calgary, let’s face it, isn’t the hardest team to handicap. If the Flames receive league-average goaltending, they’re a playoff team. If their goaltending is subpar – as it was, at times, last year – they’re generally not.

Here’s Calgary’s all-situational save percentage in the post-Kiprusoff era:

2013-14: .899
2014-15: .911
2015-16: .892
2016-17: .907

Now, take a guess at which teams qualified for the playoffs, and which teams totaled 77 points.

With precision, the Flames have done a good job filling holes on their roster, dating back to last year’s trade for Michael Stone that balanced out the defensive corps and quickly precipitated a 10-game winning streak. With the addition of rugged minute-eater Travis Hamonic, that defensive corps has solidified further and through a multi-year evolution has grown younger and should be more equipped to keep the puck out of its own net than the Saddledome blue lines of recent years. And that goaltending should be at worst league average, even if trade acquisition Mike Smith only sports a .912 save percentage since his breakthrough 2011-12 season. The Flames won’t offer the same downward slope of scoring chances that the Coyotes did over the last several years, and Smith, a mid-season All-Star who was Arizona’s MVP on so many nights last season, provides experienced workhorse minutes in what appears to be a natural line of succession in a sunshine-and-ice cream scenario in which he ultimately lays out the welcome mat for talented prospects Jon Gillies and/or Tyler Parsons.

That’s a lot to say without even getting to Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau, the latter of whom is a potential Hart Trophy candidate. Gaudreau, who tuned 24 last month, started slowly last season and ultimately fell from 30 goals and 78 points to 18 and 61 as he readjusted after a contract holdout wiped out his preseason. But there’s depth on Calgary, too, and if former fourth overall pick Sam Bennett can re-establish himself as a top young player in the league – he fell from 36 to 26 points between his 19 and 20-year-old seasons – the center depth, which includes Monahan, Mikael Backlund and Matt Stajan, could be a major strength of this team.

Calgary’s ability to gain the second point in overtime games certainly helped last season. With an 18-6 record in OT since the implementation of three-on-three, the Flames are right behind the Kings in overtime dominance.

To get to know the Calgary Flames even more… intimately, I spoke with Sportsnet 960 The Fan’s Pat Steinberg. Have a listen, get informed.


-photo credit Rob Marczynski/NHLI

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Adrian Kempe

#9 | 6′ 2″ | 195 lb | Age: 21

Born: September 13, 1996
Birthplace: Kramfors, SWE
Position: LW
Handedness: Left

Bio

Kempe was selected by the Kings in the first round (29th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft.
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Alex Iafallo

#19 | 6′ | 185 lb | Age: 23

Born: December 21, 1993
Birthplace: Eden, NY, USA
Position: C
Handedness: Left

Bio

Iafallo was signed by the Kings as an unrestricted free agent on April 18, 2017.
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Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left

Bio

As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

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Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right

Bio

Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

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Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right

Bio

Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

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Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left

Bio

Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.

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