Calgary Flames

Flames Sunday Census: Playoff expectations going into the 2023-24 season

Overall, the Flames have done a whole lot of nothing compared to what they were expected to do this offseason. After a very disappointing season last year, there were many calls for the team to pick a direction, whether it is selling and committing to a rebuild, or strengthening the roster to improve the team. One trade occurred, in which Tyler Toffoli was traded for Yegor Sharangovich. Whether that trade improved the team is still yet to be seen, however, the Flames practically did not do anything else this offseason.

It seems like the front office believes that the roster they already have is good enough to make some noise in the postseason, and they are committed to winning now. However, is that what the fans expect? 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!

This season, instead of watching in agony as the Flames fight for their playoff lives (most likely), you can take part in the action by wagering on games or playing online at a crypto casino.

What are your expectations for the team?

We presented the below poll to our readers.

Cup contenders

Only 8% of voters believe the team will contend for the cup. A lot (and I mean a LOT) will have to go right for this team if they are going to contend. Jacob Markstrom will have to be back to his Vezina self, Jonathan Hubderdeau will have to be generating 90-100+ points, Elias Lindholm will have to be scoring 35+ goals, Nazem Kadri will have to be getting 60+ points, and the rookies will need to exceed expectations. Is it a lot to ask for? Absolutely. Is it impossible? Well… no.

These are all things that we have seen happen before for these players, but after last season, it is really hard for me to see this happen. In a division where Edmonton and Vegas are the clear front runners, I don’t see how the Flames right now can match up with those two. I love the optimism from this 8% though, and it is really fun getting my hopes up, but I should probably, probably not.

Playoff lock

The majority of responses are for the team to be a playoff lock. It makes sense for the team too. So much went wrong for the Flames last year. Both goaltenders forgot how to play hockey randomly, and the coach seemed to have some sort of vendetta against winning and setting line combinations that make some sense, Lindholm was practically never playing with Huberdeau, Huberdeau spent most of his season with a grinder on his line, Oliver Kylington was not on the roster, Rasmus Andersson got hit by a car, and throughout all of this, the Flames most of the time were still outshooting their opposition, and they were eliminated from the playoffs after the second last game of the season.

When the sky seemed like it was falling, the Flames still almost made the playoffs. Last season was really bad, but, can it really get worse than what happened last year? On paper, the team is just too good to not be a playoff team.

Just missing playoffs

The second most popular response was a result that we saw last year. The team just barely misses. For this to happen, the two teams that would need to pass Calgary are Seattle and the LA Kings. Seattle benefited from some high shooting percentages. The average shooting percentage for Seattle was 11%, whereas Calgary’s was 8%. The average shooting percentage for the top 10 goal scorers for Seattle was 14%. For Calgary, 10%. I would not expect Calgary to face the bad puck luck again this season.

Los Angeles made a big trade to acquire Pierre-Luc Dubois, but the Kings had to give up Gabriel Vilardi, Alex Iafallo, and Rasmus Kupari in return. Vilardi scored 23 goals in 63 games for the Kings last year, and Iafallo scored 14 goals in 59 games. That is a heavy price to pay for a player who has not scored more than 28 goals and 63 points in a season. Did the Kings really improve their team? We will have to wait and see.

Not close to the playoffs

For this to happen, the team will need to be in a position to sell players off at the deadline, because right now, the team on paper is too good to be in this position. Things will need to be going really bad during the season for this to happen, and the pending 2024 UFAs will have to tell the organization that they won’t be re-signing. This is a dream scenario for a lot of fans of this team, as it would finally force the organization to rebuild and start fresh, however, I don’t seen this scenario happening. And with only 7% of the votes picking this option, it seems like most fans don’t see this option occurring either.

Time will tell

It seems like whenever fans expect absolutely nothing from the team, they go on to win the division. We saw this in 2018, and again in 2021. Will it happen again? Or will the team be in the middle of the league again? It will be really interesting to see how the team performs this season.

If you want to mitigate the suffering this year, consider placing some wagers on hockey action or on a crypto casino site. Remember to always gamble responsibly!

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