Connect with us

Calgary Flames

Hot Talk: Big Flames contracts, big Flames struggles

The new Flames players have had very underwhelming seasons overall, which is a big part of this disappointing position chasing a playoff spot right now.



Craig Ellingson: Darryl Sutter didn’t seem too displeased with his team’s OT loss last night. The players who talked after the game did, but then again, they’re competitive pro athletes, so I’d hope they’d be miffed any time they lose.

Steve Macfarlane: They’re just running out of time and they’re really feeling it, the players, with every missed point. I don’t think Sutter has really believed it was going to happen for a while anyway so he’s just doing his job trying to keep the focus on the next game.

Craig: For sure. He’s a veteran among veteran coaches. He more or less says ‘Next!’ at post-game avails after every loss. I wonder how the message changes at practice? We know how the messages look when he changes up the lines and D pairings.

On the Kadri dip

Steve: I’m a bit surprised by the ‘fall’ of Nazem Kadri. People talk about Stanley Cup hangover and he sure looks like he lacks that energy and mental focus lately. Even with the upgrade in linemates on Saturday from the fourth line in the previous game, he didn’t see a lot of ice or make any real impact.

The new guys have had very underwhelming seasons overall, which is a big part of this disappointing position chasing a playoff spot right now.

Craig: Didn’t Kadri start the season with a bang?

Steve: He sure did. Was probably the team’s best player for the first month or two. But as the season has progressed he’s struggled. Offensively but also with costly defensive mistakes.

Craig: As I recall, Kadri hasn’t been known as a consistent performer over his whole career. He can be hot and cold. You can say the same for a lot of players, though. Last season with Colorado was his best season statistics-wise and I suppose you could say consistency-wise as well. 

Mind you, he played on a championship roster. That said, he was heavily involved in the Avs' offensive success. He had to take more first-line responsibility with Nathan MacKinnon missing a major amount of time due to injury. Obviously, that was the Kadri the Flames were hoping to acquire when they signed him last summer.

New guys struggling

Steve: It’s interesting that the guys who signed big deals this off-season coming off career years are the ones struggling the most. Kadri, Huberdeau, Mangiapane, and Weegar, too. Weegar has been good overall but not as offensively impactful as I think most expected. He’s come on lately.

Mangiapane has gone from 35 to fewer than 20 as a projection. Huge drop.

Craig: Back to the question of whether the regression we’re seeing this season is more a question of chemistry or of coaching. It could be both.

Steve: All of the above. But it’s weird to think how well the previous team clicked under Sutter. Guess we’ll find out what’s possible next year.

Craig: Are you throwing in the towel on the Flames season?

Steve: Not officially but as a realist I don’t expect it to play out with a playoff position. They could win every game and still need help.