By: George Potter
The Calgary Flames had a concerning 2020-21 season as they were unable to make the playoffs. During this offseason, many things could be at stake for the Flames and General Manager, Brad Treliving, going into the 2021-22 NHL Season. Because of this, fans and analysts are eager to see what the future may hold for the Flames. Here is a look at some of the things to look at for the Flames and the concerns that have been looked upon for the future of the franchise.
Since the Flames missed the playoffs, there are several concerns that Management will need to address before the 2021-22 Season as the Flames look to get back to their traditionally strong form in the Pacific Division.
The Largest question mark for the Flames going forward is coach. Last March, the decision was made to fire Geoff Ward and hire Darryl Sutter once again as head coach mid-season. Analyzed by The Hockey Writers, the change under Sutter was good defensively especially on the penalty kill with a successful 81.6 percent effectiveness. However, under Sutter, there were some steps back in certain areas of their game including power play.
Throughout the past decade, the Flames have been very inconsistent with head coaches. Under Brad Treliving, the Flames have had six different head coaches since 2011. With this amount of turnover in the coaching department, it is no wonder that it has been hard to implement a consistent identity and culture within the Flame’s locker room.
This shows that something is not right with the culture of Calgary, making a potential Stanley Cup run a pipe dream for the Flames. This culture concern is apparent when looking at the case of Former 4th overall selection, Sam Bennett.
Where Sam struggled to find a consistent role during his time in Calgary, He immediately fit into a top six role after being traded to the Panthers. In 10 regular season games with the Panthers, Sam recorded 15 points (6 goals, 9 assists) while only recording 12 points (4 goals, 8 assists) in 38 games with the Flames before moving at the trade deadline.
Treliving seems to acknowledge that the Flames need to make changes according to what the Calgary Sun reported. However, it is hard to say if there were any changes for the better during this offseason. According to Colton Pankiw from The Hockey Writers, many fans speculate that Treliving's time in Calgary is running out due the failures to accomplish anything of note throughout his seven years with the organization.
It is understandable that fans do have their doubts because of questionable moves he had made during free agency in the past. Some good examples are Troy Brouwer, and James Neal who were both signed to big deals but failed to live up to expectations.
The biggest deal the Flames made so far during the offseason was signing forward Blake Coleman for a 6-year-deal. Last season, Coleman put up 31 points in 55 games with the Tampa Bay Lightning while contributing to their back-to-back Stanley Cup victory last season. However, it is yet to be seen if Coleman will be able to succeed with a less talented team in Calgary.
Treliving has made more moves during the summer by acquiring additional players like defenseman Nikita Zadarov, and forward Tyler Pittlick to name a few. But, these moves have been criticized by Lyle Richardson from The Hockey News as doing very little to truly improve the Flames roster.
It is unknown whether or not there will be more moves before training season starts or if the Flames will excel this season. It is also still unclear whether there will be a trade that would involve Sean Monahan, or Johnny Gaudreau departing out of Calgary as there are still trade rumors speculated by analysts. Also, it is unknown if there will be a possible move that could involve the Flames getting Jack Eichel as it was observed by Hailey Salvian from The Athletic.
While it is still up in the air as to how the Flames will lineup in the 2021-22 Season, one thing is for sure. If Brad Treliving cannot get the Flames back to their winning ways, his time in Calgary will soon be over.