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Five Calgary Connections to Follow in Round Two of the NHL Playoffs



Calgary kid Matt Rempe

Round two of the 2024 NHL Playoffs begins this week, and with the Flames sitting this year out, there may be a little less to cheer for in Calgary, Alberta.  

That said, there are some juicy Calgary connections bubbling under the surface of the second round. Today, we’ll dive into five storylines worth following over the next two weeks. 


#1 Chris Tanev vs. The Colorado Avalanche 

It’s been some time since the Calgary Flames faced off against the Colorado Avalanche in the playoffs —so long, in fact, that Chris Tanev hadn’t signed with Calgary yet when Colorado performed yet another gentleman’s sweep over the Flames in April of 2019. 

Chris would sign a four-year, eighteen-million dollar contract with the Flames a little over a year later, during the summer or 2020, but there are certainly some friends on the Flames who would like to see Chris and the Dallas Stars make short work of the team that won four straight and held Johnny Gaudreau to a single assist on the series. 

Is a 2019 Vengeance Tour storyline a bit of a reach when it comes to classic hockey tales? We at CHN have long arms and tiny brains. We’ll take it. Also, if you’re a Flames fan not routing for Chris Tanev these playoffs, you might have a tiny brain yourself.  

If none of that convinces you to cheer for the Stars in round two; remember that the Flames get an extra third round pick if Dallas makes it to the Stanley Cup Final this post-season. 


#2: The Calgary Kid 

We may not see it much in Western Canada, but a 21-year-old from Calgary, Alberta, may be the biggest story of the 2023-2024 NHL Regular Season.  

That being the rise of 6-foot-8, 241-pound Matt Rempe. Much in the style of the McCarthian Llewelyn Moss, Rempe can take all comers and has proven so during his rookie season with the New York Rangers. 

Few people have experienced life in the way that Rempe has since his debut in mid-February. A Stadium Series matchup against the Islanders where the former Seattle Thunderbird dropped the mitts with Matt Martin, who has 156 fighting majors on his resume.   

His 17-game sample of big hits and heavyweight bouts has earned him a reputation, particularly among fans in the Eastern Conference. As a fellow Calgarian, maybe it’s time he got a bit more support outside of New York. The young man has endured an onslaught of online abuse and, by all accounts, is a nice guy outside the confines of a hockey rink.  


#3: Elias Lindholm & Nikita Zadorov vs. The Edmonton Oilers 

It’s not unreasonable to say that there may be a bit of bad blood still boiling when it comes to the Flames being on the receiving end of a gentleman’s sweep two years ago.  

After handing the Oilers a 9-6 river hockey loss on May 18, 2022, Edmonton proceeded to beat the Flames four straight games to eliminate them in five and proceed to the Western Conference Final against Colorado. 

Jump forward to today, with a 1-0 win over the Nashville Predators on Friday night, the Vancouver Canucks eliminated the Preds in six games and are set to play the Oilers in only their third playoff meeting in the history of the two franchises.

The Oilers have won the previous two series with the most recent being a six-game sequence in 1992. 

Acquired in separate trades this season, former Flames Elias Lindholm and Nikita Zadorov will be part of a Canucks group that will attempt to stop a red-hot Oilers powerplay (45%) that features two first overall picks in Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent Hopkins, a third overall pick in Leon Draisatl, and tenth overall pick Evan Bouchard.  

Sacrificing entire season after entire season during Edmonton’s Decade of Darkness has finally come to fruition, and it will be up to Rick Tochett’s crash-and-bang rebound-generating offence and punishing neutral zone defence to shut them down.  

Can Elias Lindholm handle defending the center of the ice from McDavid’s high-velocity jumps through the neutral zone? Will Nikita Zadorov be able to bring his signature thundering bodychecks when the Oilers have the talent to make him pay for a poorly timed pinch? Only time will tell.  

Raising the stakes for Flames fans in this series is a conditional fourth round pick that will convert to a third round pick should the Canucks move on to the Western Conference Final.  


#4: Matthew Tkachuk/Sam Bennett/Ryan Lomberg vs the Boston Bruins 

The one(s) that got away. There is such a what-if, vicarious nature when it comes to Calgarians watching the Florida Panthers make consecutive Cup runs.  

Imagine if the Flames scouting staff did their thing while feeding prospects into an organization with different coaching, more on-ice support, a lower pressure fanbase and media, great weather, great vibes, less taxes, less travel, less locker room drama, and a newer arena?

That’s the Florida Panthers.  

Whether you’re at peace with the exodus of Sam Bennett and Matthew Tkachuk or not, the Panthers are just fun to watch. Tkachuk finally found a team that will go to war with him, and the result is a thrilling product. 

Also, Ryan Lomberg is simply a beaut.  


#5 The Other Calgary Kid 

There may be some disagreement among the fanbase in the upcoming Stars-Avs series.  

Do you cheer for the possibly the most talented defender to ever put skates on?

Or do you cheer for Calgary-born Cale Makar?  

You make that decision alone. You can support Chris Tanev or choose to abandon him mere months after his departure from the Flames organization. That’s fine, and it’s up to you. 

The 25-year-old Makar may make plays like this: 

But when it comes to hockey mugs, you can’t beat the best.  

Chris Tanev

(AP Photo/George Walker IV)

Kidding. You can cheer for Cale Makar, who brought the Stanley Cup to Calgary for his day with the trophy, who makes highlight-reel plays on the regular, and who elevates the league single-handedly with his combination of edgework and stickhandling. 

But it is treason. At least for the next two weeks. 


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