Welcome to a new series here at Vegas Hockey Now, where we will take a look at all the teams in the Pacific Division and analyze what they did this offseason. The Golden Knights missed the playoffs for the first time in franchise history last season, so keeping an eye on the other teams in the division is key.
The Calgary Flames had one of the most insane offseasons in NHL history, with their top two scorers leaving and three star players being added as replacements. Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk, and Sean Monahan are out, and Jonathan Huberdeau, Nazem Kadri, and Mackenzie Weegar are in.
With Huberdeau and Kadri signed to long-term contracts and Weegar likely following soon, the Flames have a new core locked up despite never having played together as one. It’s a risky move, and one general manager Brad Treliving was forced to make. But will the Flames be a competitive team in 22-23?
Last Season- 50-21-11, 111 points. Lost in the second round 4-1 to the Edmonton Oilers.
2022-23 Matchups- 10/18, away at 6:00, 2/23, home at 6:00, 3/16, home at 7:00, 3/23, away at 6:00.
Notable Additions- Jonathan Huberdeau, Nazem Kadri, Mackenzie Weegar
Notable Subtractions- Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk, Sean Monahan
On paper, you could argue that the Flames are now better with another defensive weapon and a solidified center core. But a big question mark on the Flame’s success will be on how they can mesh as a unit. Last season the line of Gaudreau, Tkachuk, and Elias Lindholm was one of the best in the NHL. Now the criminally underrated Lindholm has to work with two completely different linemates.
The Golden Knights are 10-4 all-time against the Flames and have never played them in a playoff series. Division points will be huge in the three later matchups these two teams have as they come during the stretch run in February and March.
Again, it’s hard to predict what the Flames are going to be this upcoming season, as the 2022 offseason provided them with a complete roster shakeup. But as an overall franchise, the Flames are looking to get back to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 2004. They have one Stanley Cup, in 1989.
VHN’s Pacific Division Prediction– 2nd Pacific Division, 4th Western Conference
Projected Depth Chart
*Adam Ruzicka is still an unsigned RFA*
Jonathan Huberdeau- Elias Lindholm- Tyler Toffoli
Blake Coleman- Nazem Kadri- Andrew Mangiapane
Jakob Pelletier- Mikael Backlund- Dillon Dube
Milan Lucic- Kevin Rooney- Trevor Lewis
Noah Hanifin- Rasmus Andersson
Mackenzie Weegar- Chris Tanev
Nikita Zadorov- Oliver Kylington
Jacob Markstrom/Dan Vladar