The Calgary Flames completed a brief Southern California road trip and came away with two of a possible six points. Consistency remains the obvious key factor that will determine whether this year’s version will be any better than previous. So far, although there are some positives, the same problems are plaguing the team.
Some of the lines have clicked early. But that hasn’t stopped Bill Peters from using the line blender pretty much every game. Get used to it. Overall, the team is ahead of their pace compared to last year, but without some remedies for old problems losses will start to mount.
Here are three reasons why the Calgary Flames are still searching for consistency and winds.
Number one. Goaltender Mike Smith is off to a troubling start. He hasn’t been the same since he came back from a groin injury last year. His play has forced management to begin considering trade options. The team won’t be competing for any playoff picture, and if by some miracle they were to make it, they would be in tough without exceptional goaltending. Average isn’t good enough in this league.
Number two. Secondary scoring.
Here’s a graphic on scoring from ThewinColumn.
The fourth line has two to three goals depending on who’s playing. The third line has yet to find its way. Many of the new Flames are struggling to fit in. Unless your name is Elias Lindholm, underwhelming is the best descriptor. I’m looking at you Derek Ryan, and most notably James Neal. Neal was benched for the 3rd period last game. That means this team is still a one line wonder plus Tkachuk. When that one line clicks the team wins. When they don’t put up points the team loses. Simple gameplan vs the Flames. Although any team will rely on their top producers, this team needs secondary scoring and right now it’s not producing.
Lastly, number three. The identity of this team seems to be finding its storyline, But ultimately the lack of consistency suggests otherwise. There’s no team toughness. Not that you have to be running around like goons, but if you aren’t tough then you better be fast, and there’s some nights when the team was to take a breather and forget about their game plan.
If the Calgary Flames can’t figure out these factors it’s going to be a long disappointing and frustrating season. Although I think a lot of fans are happy with the current record at four games over 500, what’s on ice is so close to being much more.