You knew the Flames’ players weren’t going to throw their goaltenders under bus when they dissected a failed season on garbage bag day, because that’snot what players do. But fact one, it was the goaltending. Good riddance to Jonas Hiller and Karri Ramo, who couldn’t deliver big league goaltending or steal a game when the team needed a lift. Joni Ortio? Qualify him. Give him a chance to compete next year, likely as backup.
Defense? Ya, it was a problem at times. Especially when the Flames staggered out of the gate in the first quarter of the season. But assuming Mark Giordano and Dougie Hamilton can avoid the crap starts they had this year, It’s not that big a problem. The team needs a second pair defender, and you get the money for that by trading Dennis Wideman anywhere for anything, or failing that, bury that dead money in Stockton. Similarly, the Flames need long term injury relief to keep Lad Smid and his 4 million on the sidelines, and if he does get healthy, (Great guy. Hoping he does) same deal as Wideman.
Offense? not as big a problem as you might think. The Flames were third in goals for in the West this year, although the power play has to get better and as Brad Treliving says, don’t be fooled by some decent numbers in mean nothing games down the stretch. Improvement here comes largely from within I think, Monahan, Gaudreau, and Bennett will all be a year older and hopefully a year better. The money needs to be found to keep Joe Colborne. Size matters. Skill matters. He provides both.
Change is coming, change is needed. But again to paraphrase Treliving, you can’t expect to see 25 new guys next guys next year. Five or six, yes. And if they’re the right guys, this team will once again be nibbling around the top 8.