Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, and the Calgary Flames led hockey fans on a short-lived, but exciting, journey this season. Although they succumbed to the much more dominant and playoff experienced Anaheim Ducks in the 2nd Round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Colby Kephart thinks they’ll be contenders for the Cup within a few years if they keep things up. See what else he has to say about Calgary’s future in this edition of Colby’s Corner.
The Calgary Flames finally made the playoffs again, closing out the regular season hot and shutting the door on the Los Angelese Kings chances of defending their title. The fans in Calgary found that a win in their books was making the playoffs for the first time since the 2008-2009 season-to begin with- where they lost in the first round to the Blackhawks. But then Calgary did something not many people saw coming and they beat the Vancouver Canucks in six games. The young kids like Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Sam Bennett had amazing playoff appearances for the first time in their careers. Even though Anaheim beat Calgary in five games, you still have to respect Calgary for their first time in Playoffs in six years.
Another feature people need to remember Calgary played all of these playoffs without their number one defenseman, and captain, Mark Giordano. This forced Calgary to resort to Tyler Wotherspoon, a 22-year-old defenseman without much experience. Wotherspoon never saw much ice time as Calgary played with 5 defenseman in most games, with Wotherspoon getting about 3-5 shifts a game. However, I am not saying if Giordano were in the playoffs, Calgary would be in the Western Conference Finals. I am saying they would have stood a better chance and forced a Game 6 at least.
Yes, it is very sad to see this Cinderella story out, however I am very excited to see what Calgary can do in the next few seasons. When your first line is as crafty as Calgary’s and has a 20 and 21 year old on it, you know your future will be great. This is a young team with great talent and they brought in the right experience players in Matt Stajan and Jiri Hudler to make this team shine.
People have compared this year’s Calgary team to Colorado’s team of last season, however I disagree. This Calgary team is winning with younger players and I don’t see Calgary bringing in old players on their way out like Colorado did this year- hello Daniel Briere. I see Calgary in the playoffs again next season, it might be by a wildcard spot but they will make it. If their matchup is right, they might be able to take out a top seed again.
The only place Calgary needs help is on the defensive end. I think they need another top 4 mid-twenties defenseman. Dennis Wideman and Mark Giordano are both aging and will start to experience more injuries. If Calgary can keep most of their core together and stay healthy from this season on, they could be a team in the Western Conference Finals next year.