After a great 2021–22 season that saw the Flames finish on top of the Pacific, it’s been a somewhat dim start to the season. It’s not all bad though, and the Calgary Flames are certainly still in the mix for a playoff spot as we’re really only just getting into the meat of the season.
But we’re not here to rehash the ups and downs of the first quarter of the season, we’re here to talk about the Stanley Cup coming back to Canada. Of course, this is just a hopeful opinion piece, but the majority of betting sites in Canada are in agreement that Calgary is one of the best Canadian teams, sticking them in the top 10 for odds to win the Stanley Cup this year even after losing some key players from last year.
We’re inclined to agree with the bookies here and have a few reasons why we think the Flames will be the first Canadian team to win it all since 1993.
A taste for victory
The Flames saw a real chance last season to make a deep run into the playoffs, and for the first time since 2015, won a round before their run came to an abrupt halt in the conference semis.
As cliche as it sounds, winning postseason games can really ignite a fire to get back into the playoff picture and actually win it all—which is exactly what we can hope for. Plus, a few key offseason acquisitions bring some great playoff experience to the Flames. But this will only help if they make it back into contention this season.
It’s been a long time since the first and only Calgary championship in 1989, and the recent decades of missed playoffs and first round exits have been a bit disappointing to say the least. This just made the excitement of seeing the Flames win a few games in the postseason last year even more exciting.
The fans are ready, the team is hungry—now it’s just about making the right moves to get back into the playoffs this year and make a run.
Building to win
On the note of making moves to get back to the playoffs, it’s abundantly clear that Calgary is in buying mode. There are several holes to fill in the roster, especially since losing Gaudreau and Tkachuk last season.
Of course, the big offseason moves to sign Nazem Kadri and Jonathan Huberdeau were massive for the Flames, but there is still a lack of offensive prowess and scoring ability on the roster. Plus, depth is a huge limitation all over the ice.
When breaking down the legitimate prospects for mid-season trades, Timo Meier is an obvious candidate to fill the gap on the right wing and put up some clutch points to turn this season into a winning one. But one player won’t really be enough, hence the possibility of looking to the Wranglers.
The Calgary AHL affiliate fosters some pretty incredible talent that is just waiting to get a shot in the NHL. Matthew Phillips, Connor Zary, and Jakob Pelletier are firing on all cylinders right now and could provide some much-needed youth and energy into the team. Plus, they’re all Canadian which would mean there is a lot of pride on the ice when looking to end a 30-year championship drought.
Who else is there?
The obvious answer for this right now is the Edmonton Oilers, who share the division with the Flames and sadly doused the hopes of Calgary last year. But this Alberta rivalry is actually a lot closer than the individual player stats would make it seem, and Calgary won’t want to get knocked out by their rivals in the playoffs again giving even more passion to the Battle.
At the time of writing this, there is only about a game between the two teams, and that just goes to show that all the star power in the world (looking at you McDavid) doesn’t always translate into success. The team as a whole just hasn’t had much success outside of the regular season recently.
Then there are the Toronto Maple Leafs, who always seem to look great in the bookies’ eyes and put up solid regular season records before failing to advance past the first round in the playoffs. So can we really even count on them to be a legitimate Cup contender?
We’ve already had a look at how the current season is shaping up so far for the Flames, and there is a really good chance that Calgary will become at least a wild card team. And once the playoffs start anything can happen. But it’s always a guessing game, and there is a long road before the Flames can even secure a playoff spot, though things are trending in the right direction, and securing a top-tier player would have a huge impact on the rest of the year.
Given the pedigree and history of so many Canadian teams, it’s shocking how long it’s been since anyone lifted the Stanley Cup. While it may be a bit of a longshot, the three main reasons we’ve spoken about are why we think the Calgary Flames will be the next Canadian team to win the championship and bring the Cup back to Canada.