Updated: Jan 24, 2021
Hey Guys! Welcome to the first ever blog post by the C of Red Unfiltered. With the season debut looming, we at COFRU wanted to go over some of our predictions for the season! Feel free to let us know your own opinions in the comments as well as things you would like to see from the blog in the future!
Without further adieu, how do you guys see the North division playing out here?
I personally think the division is a shot in the dark, with no real separation between teams 2-6.
While I do think Calgary has some of the best depth, defense and goaltending in the division. I think we may lack the star power to go on some of the runs we will see by Edmonton and Toronto when guys like McDavid and Matthews get hot.
Taranjot Vining aka StraightOuttaCalgary:
In my opinion the Flames have improved a lot from last season. The additions of some depth players like Josh Leivo, Dominik Simon etc. Are moves that address the organizational need for depth. The addition of Markstrom will also provide the stability in between the pipes that the Flames haven’t seen since Miikka Kiprusoff.
All in all I think this helps the team finish in the top 3 of the North Division (is the All Canadian Division and should be called nothing else)
Going up against teams like Toronto and Edmonton will be a fun challenge for the team but I do think the Flames will be placing 2-3. That’s only if guys like Monahan, Gaudreau, Giordano etc. Can step up to the plate and perform at the standard that we know they can. I do see Giordano having a drop in terms of play because of his age but knowing how fit the guy is I wouldn’t be surprised if he bounced back after his dud last season.
My prediction is based off a number of the Flames core having bounce back seasons. If Gaudreau, Monahan and Giordano rebound like I think they will, I like the Flames chances of finishing second in the newly formed North Division. If they’re relying on their depth scoring again this season, I think the Flames could still be in contention for the playoffs, but their ceiling as a team. This will all depend on head coach Geoff Ward, who while yes, steadied the rockiest of ships last year, also tried to force the Flames into something that they aren’t. That’s a defensive-first team, instead of letting the big boys up front do what they do best and that’s creating offence. Sean Monahan is never going to become anything more than average in his own zone. Let the man score goals at a high rate and let Johnny Hockey be the offensive wizard we all know he is and the team will see success.
In my opinion Calgary has the deepest team they’ve had in a long time. Adding Markstrom this off-season could possibly be the thing they need to take that next step in the playoffs. With that being said all the Canadian teams were extremely busy this offseason, and I think it will be a fight till the finish for the top spots in the division.
In my eyes the division is made up of three tiers; 1-3, 4-6, and Ottawa. Although I would not be surprised if one of those 4-6 teams finds their way into the top 3.
Caleb Palmer: The North division is going to be very competitive as Canadian teams seem to be on the rise. How the final standings will look is anyone's guess, however, here are my predictions.
Call me an optimist for putting Calgary at the top but I think with Calgary's depth up front, on the blue line, as well as in goal, they are set up well to handle adversity. They will face stiff competition, but I predict they will come out on top.
AT: What’s a particular point projection or stat you are pretty confident a flames player will reach this year?
I’m saying that Johnny is a safe bet for 35-40 assists on the season. I don’t know if he will ever reach 99 point form again, but a bounce back is safe. (PSA if you have not had your fantasy draft, take this dude he is going to fall way too far!)
TV: I have Mangiapane stepping up and having a phenomenal season. I see him becoming that solidified top 6 RW that the team has needed. I see him getting 35-40 points this year. The line of Chucky, Backs and Mang was one of the best Flames lines in the playoffs and during the regular season. Will be fun to watch the Bread Man (yes he’s the real Bread Man) in action in the 56 game season.
TD: I’m going to take a bit of a different approach from everyone else and not give a ‘player x is going to get this many points’ projection, but I will still give you a candidate for a player who’s primed for a big year. My breakout player for the upcoming season will be Jusso Valimaki. I was really disappointed when he tore his ACL before last season, causing him to miss all of 2019-20, but seeing him tear up the Liiga in Finland, where he had 19 points in 19 games with Ilves gives me great hope that the 22-year-old will be a difference maker for the Flames this season.
MG: I’m going with our best all around player Elias Lindholm. Depending how the flames work their lineups this season could really play a big factor with his point production. If everything goes well though I like Lindholm for 22g and 23a for 55pts in 56gms.
CP: I'm going to make a bit of a bold prediction here. Tkachuk will be a point per game player this year with 20 goals and 36 assists for 56 points in 56 games
AT: Let's hear some predictions for rewards, Art ross, Calder, Vezina, Norris, Hart, Selke, and Rocket Richard.
Art Ross/ Hart: Mackinnon is a pretty good bet for art ross and hart IMO , the goalies and the teams in the West suck.
Norris: No Kucherov has me excited to see Hedman run that powerplay,
Selke: Couturier but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a guy like Matthews make some serious headway in the voting for that award.
Rocket: Ovechkin, I know it's boring but all that dude does is put the puck in the net and I really don’t see that ending anytime soon.
Art Ross: Was Kucherov before his injury and now it’s McDavid (please don’t kill me Flames fans)
Hart: Nate Dogg (Nathan Mackinnon)
Norris: Little Brother Dougie (queue the Kris Versteeg Impression)
Calder: Kaprizov 😎
Art Ross: Leon Draisaitl
Hart: Nathan MacKinnon
Norris: Cale Makar
Calder: Kirill Kaprizov
Vezina: Carey Price
Selke: Sean Couturier
Rocket Richard: Auston Matthews
Art ross: McDavid ( As sad as it is, he’s just too good)
Hart: Mackinnon ( Best all around player in the NHL)
Norris: Heiskanen ( Dallas will fall off but he won’t)
Calder: Lafreniere ( Watch out for Valamaki though)
Vezina: Markstrom ( He’s gonna be the real deal)
Selke: Elias Lindholm ( Long shot but why not)
Rocket Richard: Pastrnak ( Sadly Ovi is getting old)
Art Ross: Connor McDavid.
Hart: Nathan MacKinnon.
Norris: Cale Makar
Calder: Tim Stuetzle: On an under-manned German team, Stuetzle's WJC was very impressive.
Vezina: Cahtah Haht. I think he will continue to improve his game and win the Vezina as the Flyers MVP.
Rocket Richard: Auston Matthews. I think he will continue to get better along with his young teammates, who will be dishing him the puck. I could see Matthews scoring 35-40 goals.
AT: Last Question! Stanley Cup Final Prediction Go:
Tampa over Vegas in 6 (Boring Pick) Calgary over the Rangers in 7 (Dream pick)
TV: Colorado over Carolina (the Double C SCF)
Only one can wish but Flames for the Cup 2021!
TD: I’ll pick a fun one with this weird season. Since the Stanley Cup Finals won’t necessarily need to be east versus west, I’m going to add to the chaos and say Colorado over Vegas in 6 games.
MG: Colorado over Tampa (Unbiased NHL fan) Calgary over Carolina ( Hopeful Flames fan)
CP: Calgary over Philadelphia in 7 games
Thanks everyone for reading our first ever roundtable! This site will consistently feature unfiltered game day previews and recaps. Mini series previews every sunday, and many other tidbits about the Calgary flames organization!
GO FLAMES GO!