Tag Archive | Calgary Flames

Pacific Division 2014-15 Preview

By Brett Malamud

Wednesday is finally here! All day long, Dabuzzza will be bringing you the NHL coverage as we approach tonight’s games. If you missed the Metropolitan Division Preview, click here. If you missed the Atlantic Division Preview, click here. If you missed the Central Division Preview, click here. Arguably the league’s top division, the Pacific Division will be highly contested and is currently filled with goaltender stories. Let’s take a look:

Anaheim Ducks
Dany Heatley and Ryan Kesler come into a high octane offense that led the league in goals per game. Cam Fowler, Sami Vatanen and Hampus Lindholm represent youth that will lead the defense that ranked ninth in the league in goals against. John Gibson is expected to get the bulk of the playing time in goal but Frederik Anderson will battle him for starts.

 

Arizona Coyotes
Sure they changed their name from Phoenix to Arizona but the Coyotes will  still face the same struggles. The departure of Mike Ribeiro and Radim Vrbata does not bode well for this offense. They brought in Sam Gagner, but the team ranked 20th in goals per game and it’ll be a tough task trying to improve that. The Coyotes ranked 23rd in the league in shots against. Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Keith Yandle will attempt to plug that hole in the sinking ship that is the Arizona Coyotes. In goal, Mike Smith and Devan Dubnyk will try to stop the many shots that we know they’ll face this season. It could be a long season in the Desert.

 

Calgary Flames
Losing Mike Cammalleri to the New Jersey Devils was a tough one to swallow, but the addition of Mason Raymond was an intriguing one. Raymond comes in after his one year in Toronto. Speaking of additions, Jonas Hiller will take the reigns as the starting goaltender for Calgary after signing a two year deal back in July. Mark Giordano and T.J. Brodie will take first line defensive pairing. The Flames ranked 24th in the league in goals against and for good reason. They’re really not that good. A midseason trade could change that (Tyler Myers?).

 

Edmonton Oilers
Edmonton looked more like Dead-monton last season. They ranked last in the league in goals against and 24th in goals for. These aren’t the kind of stats that you want to see from a team that had a top five draft pick in four out of the last five years. Benoit Pouliot and Teddy Purcell age huge additions, yes, but will it change the landscape of the team? I’m not so sure about that one. Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle will take over the first line, with Leon Draisaitl and Nail Yakupov taking the second line alongside Pouliot. The defense isn’t really worth mentioning, but Justin Schultz and Andrew Ference will lead the back line. A goalie dilemma is inevitable as Ben Scrivens and Viktor Fasth will take the duties. The pair isn’t stellar and could help in leading to their downfall.

 

Los Angeles Kings
The champs are back! The Kings come off of a magical season that was capped off by a goal from Alec Martinez in overtime to win the Stanley Cup. This year they’ll look to defend their title and it’ll have to begin with the offense. The addition of Marian Gaborik at the trade deadline proved to be the move that the Kings needed to send them over the top and into a deep journey through the playoffs. Kings Captain Dustin Brown will lead the offensive unit, which includes Jeff Carter and Anze Kopitar, in trying to put the puck in the net. After watching the offensive attack in the playoffs, it should come as a surprise that the Kings ranked 26th in the NHL in goals per game in the regular season. However, they led the league in goals against average. That’s what carried them last season to the playoffs. Led by Drew Doughty, the defense will look to stop the rest of the league from scoring. Plus, it helps when you have arguably the best goalie in the NHL playing for your team. Jonathan Quick is just that and comes off of a year in which he finished fifth in goals against average and finished second in the league in shutouts. It’ll be a tough task, but the Kings can still be considered as royalty in the NHL.
Jonathan Quick is one of the league's top goaltenders (Via AP)

Jonathan Quick is one of the league’s top goaltenders (Via AP)

 

San Jose Sharks
Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau remain with the team for now, but could be on their way out via trades at any point this season. The Sharks would like to trade both sooner rather than later, as tensions will mount each game that the pair is not traded. While they are still in San Jose, the two veterans will be able to teach second year player Tomas Hertl, along with the 25 year old Logan Couture, who still can learn a lot. The team lost Dan Boyle to the Rangers, and the top line now has Marc Edouard Vlasic paired with Justin Braun. Brent Burns is another notable name on the defensive end, a season after scoring 22 goals. In goal, Alex Stalock is going to push Antti Niemi to the brink for starts. Expect a heavy timeshare between the two.

 

Vancouver Canucks
Oh Vancouver. A few years ago, this team was at the top of the West. Now they’re a team that missed the playoffs last season. Well can they get back there the season? Willie Desjardins comes in as the new head coach, replacing John Tortorella. The big addition to the club comes in goal, after the Canucks added goaltender Ryan Miller. Miller will have Alexander Edler and Chris Tanev as the first defensive unit protecting him. The Ryan Kessler trade to Anaheim sent back Nick Bonino and Luca Sbisa, who will certainly contribute. The Sedin brothers come off of their worst season in a decade, and will look to return to the dominance that we’ve previously seen from them. Everyone should take notice of Radim Vrbata. The 33 year old will sit on the Sedin line and that should put him in the scoring sheet on a regular basis. This season will be a journey, but one that might end with the Canucks back in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Brett Malamud is a Computer Science Major at Binghamton University. He is the co-founder of dabuzzza.com. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Todd Bertuzzi. You can follow him on twitter at @brettnyy

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NHL Power Rankings

 By Mike Basile

1)    Chicago Blackhawks (20-4-4, 44 points) Currently on a six game win streak, this team continues to get hotter and hotter and are a sure pick for number one on the power rankings.

The Blackhawks lead the league in goals per game, led by Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews (Via Sports Talk Florida)

The Blackhawks lead the league in goals per game, led by Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews (Via Sports Talk Florida)

2)    San Jose Sharks (18-3-5, 41 points) Also on a nice win streak, the Sharks have won five in a row. With only three regulation losses, they are a very dangerous team.

3)    St Louis Blues (18-5-3, 39 points) With one of the top goal scores in the league (Alexander Steen) and a great goaltending duo, this team rounds out the top three.

4)    Colorado Avalanche (19-6-0, 38 points) Still a surprise team to many but with great young talent, this team’s hot start does not come as a surprise to me.

5)    Boston Bruins (18-7-2, 38 points) They are the most consistent team in the league in my opinion. They come to play every night and with great goaltending, are usually in the win column.

6)    Anaheim Ducks (18-7-4, 40 points) After a hot start, Anaheim hit a little cold spell, but I am not worried that they will be stuck in it long.

7)    Los Angeles Kings (17-7-4, 38 points) They are still playing good hockey even with their all-star goalie out until Christmas. Dustin Brown has shown true leadership with this team.

8)    Pittsburgh Penguins (18-9-1, 37 points) Usually you would expect to see this team around the top three, but with some inconsistency this season they have dropped to number eight.

9)    Phoenix Coyotes (15-7-4, 34 points) This team fights hard for wins and is backed by some very solid goaltending.

10) Tampa Bay Lightning (16-9-1, 33 points) In my opinion one of the most impressive teams this year. Without Stamkos and still way over .500 is a nice surprise and so they finish the top ten.

11) Detroit Red Wings (14-7-7, 35 points) They’re on a four game win streak right now and beat the Islanders for the first time since 2003 this week. With play like this, they can shoot up the rankings quickly.

12) Vancouver Canucks (14-10-5, 33 points) It’s been an up and down season so far for the Canucks. If they do not find consistency, they will not find any success.

13) Minnesota Wild (16-8-5, 37 points) With a rough end to the month a top ten team in points will be found out of my top ten.

14)  Montreal Canadiens (16-9-3, 35 points) 7-1-2 in their last 10 and quickly rising in the standings. They can crack the top ten soon if they continue to perform at this rate.

15) Washington Capitals (14-11-2, 30 points) With a big comeback win against the division rival Islanders this weekend, the Capitals won two straight and improve to .500 on the road.

16) Dallas Stars (12-9-4, 28 points) A team that I thought would be a playoff threat with great goaltending has been disappointing thus far.

17) Nashville Predators (13-11-3, 29 points) A -13 goals against is not beneficial for any team, but especially not a team that prides itself on defense.

18) Toronto Maple Leafs (14-10-3, 31 points) Toronto is considerably low on my rankings because I expected a lot from this team and quite frankly am disappointed in their overall play.

19) Philadelphia Flyers (12-12-2, 26 points) The team still has some pieces to connect, but Steve Mason is the biggest piece and he is in place.

20) New York Rangers (14-14-0, 28 points) A team that can usually have Lundqvist as a backbone did not start him for the second straight game last night in favor of Cam Talbot, who has been good in net. If Henrik gets going, they could have a scary two-headed monster.

21) Winnipeg Jets (13-12-4, 30 points) I usually do not like to call out one player, but the Jets expected big things from Ondrej Pavelec and have got pretty much nothing from him.

22) New Jersey Devils (11-12-5, 27 points) Win one lose one is not a good attitude to have in the NHL and it seems like the Devils have been playing like that all year so far.

23) Ottawa Senators (10-13-4, 24 points) It seems like their offense and defense can never click on the same night and that has resulted in a poor start for the Sens.

24) Columbus Blue Jackets (10-14-3, 23 points) A team that just missed the playoffs last season that had high expectations has struggled to say the least to begin this season.

25) Carolina Hurricanes (10-12-5, 25 points) Carolina has too many questions and no answers on the blue line. 57 goals for also does not help a struggling team.

26) Edmonton Oilers (9-17-2, 20 points) The best of the worst! They begin my bottom five in the league and this young team will NOT win games with poor defense and weak goaltending.

27) Calgary Flames- (9-13-4, 22 points) As expected, Calgary is in the bottom tier of the league. 3-5-2 in their last ten is not making matters any better.

28) New York Islanders (8-15-4, 20 points) After a good start to the season, everything went downhill after an injury to Lubomir Visnovsky. The team has lost six straight now and is treading water to stay alive.

29) Florida Panthers (7-15-5, 19 points) A team that is still in rebuild mode has Tim Thomas leading the way but is trying to pave the way for goaltender Jacob Markstrom. If there is a bright spot for this team, Aleksander Barkov looks great!

30) Buffalo Sabres (6-20-2, 14 points) Not much has to be said when your goal differential is -37. Actually there is one thing, DRAFT PARTY!

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Mike Basile is a sophomore at York College Of Pennsylvania. He is a huge sports fan, and when it comes to hockey maybe considered a little obsessive. Giving insight on the Islanders and all things hockey. You can follow him on twitter at @mikeybasile1