It has certainly been a disappointing last year and a half for the Flames. After a quick exit at the hands of Colorado in the 2019 playoffs, GM Brad Treliving didn’t shake things up too much and instead just tweaked a few veteran players. Things weren’t much better this season. Bill Peters resigned following reports of abusive behaviour in the past and the team played a bit better when assistant Geoff Ward took over in an interim role (and was promoted to the full-time spot just yesterday). However, it didn’t yield much in the way of playoff success; although they beat Winnipeg in the Qualifying Round, they were taken out by Dallas soon after. This time around, bigger changes are expected meaning there is a lot at stake for Calgary this offseason.
Determine The Size Of The Forward Shakeup
When a team bows out quicker than expected once, it’s understandable if a GM decides to give that core group another chance if he believes that they can turn it around. When it happens a second time in as many years as is the case here, patience isn’t going to be as justifiable. The decision to give Ward the permanent head coaching position takes one of Treliving’s potential cards out of play which means the changes are going to have to come from their personnel.
Two of their top offensive players in center Sean Monahan and winger Johnny Gaudreau are coming off of quiet regular seasons. After putting up 99 points a year ago, Gaudreau’s output dropped to just 58 while Monahan went from 82 to 48. Yes, missing the final dozen games due to the pandemic skews the numbers a little but it was still a big letdown nonetheless. Things weren’t much better in the playoffs either. Gaudreau had seven points in 10 games but all but one came with the man advantage. The ratio was only slightly better for Monahan who had five of his eight points on the power play. Gaudreau has two years left and Monahan has three. Treliving will need to decide if he’s willing to shake up the core with one of them potentially being moved or if he’ll dip a little deeper into his roster.
If he opts for the latter, Mark Jankowski is a likely trade candidate following a dreadful seven points in 56 games while Derek Ryan could be expendable in his walk year. But moving those two players isn’t going to move the needle very much. How much confidence does Treliving have in his forward group? We’re going to find out soon enough.