As FanSided’s “Around the League in 30 Days” continues, we travel northwest to snowy Calgary where the Flames are hoping to heat up in a tough Northwest Division that pits them against an up-and-coming Oilers team (don’t laugh too hard, eventually all those youngsters are going to be good – scary good), the defending Western Conference champs in Vancouver, a rebuilding franchise in Colorado and a revamped Minnesota Wild club. The Flames didn’t add too many new faces, but they did see a few familiar ones depart, including Robyn Regehr, Daymond Langkow and Ales Kotalik. For more, we go to Ryan Patrick over at Flame For Thought. Here’s a teaser, as Ryan fills us in on what the Flames’ biggest strength will be this season. Be sure to check out the rest of the preview here.
It might be a surprise to some, but I think the strength of this team will really be the defence this year, and that does include Miikka Kiprusoff. Wile Jay Bouwmeester hasn’t been dazzling since he’s arrived, he’s been solid. It’s officially the first season of Mark Giordano’s $4.2 million contract to kick in and logic says he should keep improving. Whether or not Anton Babchuk pans out is yet to be seen, but he does have the potential to contribute, especially offensively after last year’s solid campaign. Don’t forget veteran Corey Sarich then add the aforementioned Scott Hannan and you’ve got a solid corps. The competition among defensemen in camp and preseason should be phenomenal this year with Chris Butler, Brett Carson, T.J. Brodie and Clay Wilson all scrapping for a spot. Competition breeds maximum efficiency.
Tomorrow, we’ll continue our trip with a look at the Carolina Hurricanes. Enjoy your holiday weekend.