The Calgary Flames had about as much roster turnover as any team in the NHL not named the St.Louis Blues. Additions such as Elias Lindholm, James Neal, Austin Czarnik, Derek Ryan and Noah Hanifin have all played quite well through the first 5 games of the season. GM Brad Treliving realized that his team needed a culture change and that coming back with the same non-playoff team was not going to happen.
Elias Lindholm in particular has found a home with Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan on Calgary’s top line and powerplay. Lindholm only has a career high points of 45 but he’s already got 6 points in 5 games and is providing a little bit of everything on that line, unlike Micheal Ferland who’d show up for a few games each month. Lindholm came off the bench with 2 minutes left in the last game against Colorado and tied the game up.
James Neal has struggled to find an identity with Calgary so far. Right now he’s playing with former 4th overall pick Sam Bennett and rookie Dillon Dube. The offense isn’t quite there yet but you can tell that he’s a veteran player who’s been to back to back Stanley Cup Finals and is what the Flames have been lacking for quite some time.
Derek Ryan, Austin Czarnik and Noah Hanifin have all gave the Flames added depth. Ryan has won 52% of faceoffs, while Czarnik has nice chemistry with Matthew Tkachuk. Noah Hanifin is still a developing 21 year old defensemen but there is definitely something there and he helps at both ends of the ice.
The Flames have 3 wins that came against Vancouver, Nashville and Colorado. The 2 losses were disappointing, the opening night loss to Vancouver where the powerplay was invisible and the other coming against St.Louis where Mike Smith shouldn’t of started but he did have a shutout against Nashville the night before. Calgary will have to monitor Smith because his injury last year cost them a playoff spot and it can’t happen again this season.
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