The Calgary Flames’ phenomenal 2021–22 season came to an end last Thursday after the team fell in their second round matchup with the Edmonton Oilers.
Going into the season, the Flames had low expectations—most pegged them as a playoff bubble team at best. The team blew every expectation from naysayers all out of the water, finished first in the division, and won a seven-game thriller of a series in overtime against the Dallas Stars to advance to the second round for the first time since 2014–15.
Somehow, that was all a bit of a moot point as the team had much higher aspirations than a second round exit. To say that the team was disappointed would be an understatement.
That was true of course at the team’s annual “locker clean out day” on Saturday where the team held its final media availability before the players took off for the summer and what is likely to be one of the team’s most important summers in recent memory.
Here is all of the key information you may have missed from those interviews:
The mood was somewhat somber from general manager Brad Treliving when he addressed the media. The team looked to have a solid opportunity for the cup, but just simply missed out:
“There’s an empty feeling today because I think there was more there. I look at that series and the team that played the best won the series. I think you have to acknowledge that.
What’s empty for me is I don’t think we put our game on the ice… There’s times you play and, you know what, we weren’t good enough. We just weren’t good enough. I don’t feel like that with our group. We didn’t play well enough, I think our team was good enough.
But we didn’t get to our game that had made us successful all year. ”Flames General Manager, Brad Treliving
He later went on to touch on how the Dallas series was a bit of a close battle and hard to score and then it completely flipped against Edmonton and how their style of game didn’t fit that as well as he would have hoped.
That being said, he did have positive words to say in regards to Jacob Markstrom being their guy, the team knocking on contention, and Darryl Sutter’s influence. You can tell that he has belief in this group and will want to keep most of it together.
The Flames were injury ridden in the playoffs
As it is with this time of year, there are always hidden injuries below the surface. For the Flames, this was extremely true and a huge misfortune. Having not dealt with injuries all season, the playoffs hit them harder than anyone would have hoped for. Case in point: look no further than Chris Tanev:
A dislocated shoulder pretty much made Tanev a lesser version of his normal, perfect self. He is the only player that requires offseason surgery and hopefully will be back for the start of next year’s campaign.
Aside from that, the other player injuries were as follows:
- Nikita Zadorov: two cracked ribs
- Milan Lucic: AC joint sprain
- Oliver Kylington: shoulder injury
- Andrew Mangiapane: wrist injury
- Matthew Tkachuk: “banged up hand”
Undoubtedly Tkachuk and Mangiapane’s injuries would explain their playoff performance a bit. Lucic is an interesting one, where he had injuries it’s surprising they didn’t try to insert Ryan Carpenter in his place during the Edmonton series. Alas, it is what it is.
Interestingly enough, although most people assumed there was some sort of Jacob Markstrom injury, he dispelled those rumors:
Just a bad series.
Finally, Sean Monahan had his hip surgery in April and is progressing well:
Pending contracts for the Flames to tend to
The elephant in the room all season long—and even more so now—is the pending contracts for unrestricted free agent Johnny Gaudreau, and restricted free agents Tkachuk, Mangiapane, and Kylington. Gaudreau is the main concern for the team, as he is a UFA that could walk for nothing. The other players have team control, which still makes them important, but not on the same level as Gaudreau.
In terms of his status, there was one clear thread: everyone, including Gaudreau himself, wants him to be in Calgary:
In addition to Gaudreau, Tkachuk also touched on his contract status stating that he “absolutely would be open to a long-term extension” with the Flames this summer. Not as much focus compared to Gaudreau, but good to hear this as well. And of course, there’s Mangiapane and Kylington, who both had outstanding seasons and are up for negotiations.
Now, as the team goes its separate ways for the summer, it’s guaranteed that roster composition won’t look the same as it did on the finale as it will come training camp. Always a sad reality of this business, but just the way things are.
We will leave you with a photo from Nikita Zadorov which is bound to hit everyone right in the feels.
Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire