Part two of our Seven Questions series heads to Calgary and an organization that’s been running on the treadmill of mediocrity for some time now – not nearly good enough to compete for the Stanley Cup, but talented enough to steadily hunt postseason berths.
It’s clear 2021-22 will be a pivotal season for the Flames’ core, if not because of the under-performance from a season ago, then because of pressure from the salary cap.
Players the calibre of Matthew Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreau will see contracts expire at the end of next season, and such an investment would signal a belief in the core pieces of this roster to get over the proverbial hump.
What’s particularly fascinating about this pressure cooker of a season ahead is the fact that this group is going to have to get over the hump without face of the franchise Mark Giordano, the former captain having been selected by the Seattle Kraken in the expansion draft.
The loss of Giordano (and the prior loss of T.J. Brodie to the Maple Leafs in unrestricted free agency) stripped the Flames of one of their team strengths, a reliable first pairing that could be deployed against every level of competition.
Thus, our Calgary question is very simple: Is the Flames’ defence good enough to get this team into the postseason once more?