Calgary Flames

Flames Sunday Census: New Year’s resolutions for the team

Happy New Year, Calgary Flames community! To start off the calendar year of 2023, the Flames are fighting for a playoff spot. It’s safe to say that most people did not expect to see the team in this position so far into the year. However, with significant roster changes, come big adjustments that the players, coaching staff, and franchise as a whole, need to get used to.

The team seems like they are still trying to figure out what line combinations work best, but there have also been some questionable decisions that have been made so far during the season. In the “new year, new me” spirit, what resolutions should the Flames enter New Year’s Day with? We asked, you answered.

The Win Column - Sunday Census Featured Image - Graphical design showing a Calgary Flames branded laptop with poll results.

Want to take part in Sunday Census polls? We send them out every week on our Twitter at @wincolumnCGY. Follow along or send in ideas for the next poll!

Lots for the Flames to choose from

New Year’s resolutions are different for every person. As a result, we decided in this edition’s Sunday Census, we would keep the question open-ended and let readers reply with their answers.

Adapt to the times

There were a lot of replies with this kind of answer. And it makes a lot of sense. This season we have seen the team (probably just Darryl Sutter) favour the less skilled big bodies on the roster, rather than the very skilled but smaller players. What do we mean by that? Well to keep it short and simple, Milan Lucic is currently on a line with Jonathan Huberdeau in the top-six, whereas Matthew Phillips has been sent back to the AHL after a whopping 18 minutes of ice time.

Hockey is a physical game, but it seems like the franchise has completely forgotten that in order to win games, players need to be able to score a goal every now and then. Overall, the lineup choices and combinations have been confusing, to say the least, and it would give fans some peace of mind to see the coaching staff finally reward players who play well.

Get a speedy top-six forward in the lineup

The Flames have made it known to the world that they are very interested in adding a player to their top-six group. This is a big need as the team is slow and scoring goals does not come easy with this group. However, the question is, does this top-six addition come from the trade market, or can it come from a potential call-up?

Intriguing names like Timo Meier, Travis Konecny, and Conor Garland are out there. However, with names of that calibre comes a steep price to pay as well. Can a player like Matthew Phillips or Jacob Pelletier fill this role instead? The course of action that makes the most sense would be to call either up and put them in the top-six to see if they have the ability to keep up. Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that the team will actually do this unless there is an injury. It will be very interesting to see what the team does come the trade deadline.

In Vladar we trust

This is still Jacob Markstrom‘s team, but Dan Vladar has been extremely impressive this year. Vladar has faced some tough competition this year, going up against Edmonton, Toronto, Boston, Minnesota, and more, but has always looked comfortable in the crease. There have been times where Vladar was the only reason the Flames even still stood a chance in games.

It is a luxury to have Vladar as a backup goalie, and it seems like the team is finally realizing the potential Vladar has. Last season, Valar only played 13 games. This led to a lot of weight being placed on Jacob Markstrom the whole year, and it just might have been the reason why Markstrom did not look like himself during the playoff series against the Oilers. This year, however, Vladar is on pace to start 26 games for the Flames, doubling his total from last year. Hopefully, this helps Markstrom not be overworked during the year and sets the goaltending tandem up for a successful playoff run.

Bring on 2023

Resolutions can be about learning from prior mistakes in order to set yourself up for success in the future. In the case of the Calgary Flames, it seems like that is all fans want the team to do. Give younger and skilled players a chance to boost the team, don’t overwork your number one goalie, and surround your best players with talent. If the Flames have aspirations of being a Stanley Cup contender, they have a long road ahead, however, these resolutions could be the steps that get the Flames on track.

Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire

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