With a new unproven coach in Bill Peters I’m really not sure he’s the man to lead the charge, but some of the new additions will help out.
Adding James Neal to the top line is a massive addition for the C of Red. No matter what stupid argument you read on Facebook, Neal is a scoring winger and a massive upgrade over Ferland.
On the second line, if Elias Lindholm can take the next step in his game and hit that 50 point mark, I would say that would be a massive success for the youngster and a big help to potential line mates Tkachuk and Backlund.
Derek Ryan’s path to the NHL makes him impossible to dislike. The well-traveled U of A Goldenbear started his pro career in HUNGARY, before earning himself a nice little pay-day in the big league. He’s got a good shot and offensive senses, will be a good match for Bennett and Frolik.
Austin Czarnik is an interesting add to the fourth line, doesn’t really seem like the 4th line type of player, but I often have to remind myself that the big tough fourth lines are fading. The kid’s been a ppg stud in the AHL ever since dominating at Miami Ohio, putting him on a line with Jankowski seems like it could work, not too sure about Brouwer.
On the backend the Flames look pretty strong again with Giordano/Brodie, Hanifin/Hamonic and Stone/Kulak or Prout.
In goal, Mike Smith has to be the team’s backbone and either Gillies or Rittich better get it together and run with the backup position.
I like the NHL squad, the farm league team looks fairly strong as well, biggest question is how long will it take the new faces and shake-ups to gel. Will Bill Peters be able to pick up more than 36 wins for the first time in his career? Will Mike Smith stay healthy? Lots of questions out there still….. but the Flames should be a playoff team without question, and a realistic goal would be to make it to the second round of playoffs.
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