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Calgary Flames

What’s Wrong With the Calgary Flames?



Calgary Flames Chris Tanev

There are a lot of questions about the Calgary Flames right now.

Many more after six straight losses dropped their record to 5-5-2 than following their 5-1 start.

How bad are the injuries to defenceman Chris Tanev and winger Jonathan Huberdeau?

Will last year’s breakout player Oliver Kylington be coming back to the team this year?

Is Andrew Mangiapane a 35-goal scorer or just a hard worker who happened to score 35 goals last season?

Will Dillon Dube ever live up to his potential?

Is there something wrong with Blake Coleman?

And maybe the biggest question of all …

Are the Calgary Flames actually any good?

For fun, here are the likely answers.

Not sure on Tanev or Huberdeau. Tanev has been taped together since his days with the Vancouver Canucks and if Huberdeau can’t fit his foot in a skate then the question should really be about why his foot is swelling so badly in the first place.

Kylington’s personal dilemma is … very personal. With those kinds of things, you never know how long a human being will be impacted by their circumstances. There’s little doubt he’ll be back at some point. But whether that’s early in the new year or after the all-star break is anyone’s guess.

Mangiapane is probably somewhere between a perennial 20-goal scorer with the 30-plus upside. But he’s far from finding the net with any regularity right now.

His line with Nazem Kadri and Dillon Dube was a sparkplug earlier in the season but head coach Darryl Sutter may have outsmarted himself mixing up the lines after a loss to the Edmonton Oilers that was two plays away from being a pretty convincing win.

Although Kadri, Mangiapane and Dube were reunited this week, Mangiapane is stuck at two goals and four points in a dozen games. He doesn’t have a single point during this six-game losing skid.

Both came in the first four games. Brett Ritchie, Michael Stone, Trevor Lewis and Nikita Zadorov all have better goals-per-60-minutes numbers than last year’s top secondary scorer.

And Mangiapane’s buddy Dube is on pace for about seven goals this season after snapping 18 of them home last year. Nine of them in the month of April alone.

Coleman is on the same snail’s pace.

There has been a lot of focus on the likes of Huberdeau, but Sutter said this week there are who aren’t playing up to the lofty expectations that come after big seasons last year.

“There’s lots of players on our team that haven’t played to their potential yet,” Sutter said with a short pause. “If that is the prophecy or fulfillment of their skillset.”

The offseason prophecy that the Calgary Flames are better on paper than they were last season is being second guessed now.

It may be a little early to bail. And if the Stanley Cup odds against them are climbing, it might be a good chance to buy low.

The talent is there.

There’s no doubting the work ethic.

Injuries aside, it’s taking some time for the new guys to adapt to the man-on-man checking structure. There’s an occasional lack of focus. Sutter suggested a little complacency. Maybe some fatigue on the back end, where they’re rolling the top four heavily right now. And both goalies have sub .900 save percentages.

If they can keep working hard and not let the mental side of the slump get to them, the wins could build up as quickly as these losses.