Calgary Flames Want More Improvement

Calgary Flames Want More Improvement&h=235&w=320&zc=1

By most metrics, the Calgary Flames should have been overjoyed with their performance in the 2014-2015 NHL season. They improved their final point total by 20 points–most in the Western Conference–and made the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since 2009. They blended a group of veterans coming into their prime with youngsters like Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan and re-energized one of the most passionate fan bases in the National Hockey League.

According to General Manager Brad Treliving , this isn’t enough: “What we’re trying to be is a championship team. We’re trying to build a team that has a chance to have long-term success here. … There’s one team at the end of the year that’s happy with what they’ve accomplished. The rest of us are still striving to take steps forward. That’s the mode we’re in. I don’t really focus in on rebuilds and what stage of the rebuild. This is about getting better and becoming a good team on a regular basis for a long time. That’s the challenge for us.”

Treliving’s challenge in the offseason was to make selective additions to improve the team without undermining the progress that has already been made. So far, they’ve done a good job adding defenseman Dougie Hamilton via a trade with the Boston Bruins and forward Michael Frolik, formerly of the Winnipeg Jets. Treliving says that Hamilton adds leadership and blueline depth: “Dougie obviously helps and gives us more depth on the blue line. Right shot, big body, skates, can do a lot of different things, but it’s a good player that to me joins a good group of players on the blue line.”

Frolik, meanwhile, brings the team not only a very skilled player but a wealth of ‘intangibles’: “Michael gives us experience, a guy who’s won a Stanley Cup, who’s been in the playoffs and can do multiple things. He’s a tremendous penalty-killer, he brings us speed, tenaciously, work ethic. How that all translates and what it does it terms of lines and pairings, that’s for the coaches, and that will get sorted out in the wash.”

If the Flames can work out their goaltending issues–three players on the roster with no definite #1–they could continue to improve in 2015-2016.

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