Calgary Flames Looks To Fight Off Red Hot Toronto Maple Leafs

For the first time in nearly a week, the Calgary Flames are back. Puck drop’s at the Saddledome at 4:00pm. 

Dillon Dube likely will not play, ( day to day with LBI ) did not skate during Saturday’s practice and there is no morning skate tomorrow. 

Geoff Ward did say that they’ll take a look at how things look in the morning and go from there. 

If Dube is unavailable, the lines will likely look like this: 

Johnny Gaudreau – Sean Monahan – Dominik Simon

Andrew Mangiapane – Elias Lindholm – Matthew Tkachuk

Sam Bennett – Mikael Backlund – Josh Leivo

Milan Lucic – Derek Ryan – Joakim Nordstrom

Mark Giordano – Rasmus Andersson

Noah Hanifin – Christopher Tanev

Juuso Valimaki – Nikita Nesterov

Jacob Markstrom 

Things to watch: 

The Flames will reunite with TJ Brodie for the first time this season, after he signed with the Maple Leafs in free agency. Brodie has been heavy on the assists so far this season with three points in six games.

Chris Tanev has been an absolute beaut for the Flames. He took time to practice and shoot around with some of the younger guys yesterday.

Not only is he playing an intricate role on the penalty kill, he is showing his leadership abilities.

Goalie Frederik Andersen’s season has not been off to a hot start. With an .898 SV% and averaging nearly 3 goals against, he’s already in playoff form.

The Flames are going to have to play another full sixty minutes of hockey on both ends of the ice. Toronto is a scary team when they’re healthy and on the same wave length. The Flames have their work cut out for them.

Puck drops at 4:00pm EST. Make sure you check back for your postgame coverage!


Matthew Tkachuk is Your Next Flames Captain

Mark Giordano’s contract is up at the end of the season and with his age you have to think about him calling it a career. Who would be next to fill the Captain’s shoes? When looking at the Flames roster you see a few standout names. Matthew Tkachuk should fly off that paper. 

Making A Case For Himself

The 23-year-old has already made a name for himself in the sense of being a well-rounded player and an agitator. Some call him a mini Brad Marchand. No matter which way you take that, it’s a compliment. After all, Marchand is one of the best left wingers in the game.  

Captaincy doesn’t mean you’re the best player on the team and can put up the most numbers each season. You possess an unmatched level of dedication to the game and your teammates.

Tkachuk is a player you can count on to retaliate if a teammate is hurt. He isn’t afraid to be the agitator. There’s a style to his gameplay that is gritty and he admits that he needs to be physical and not just a goal scorer.

I don’t see his talent up for debate at all. As he led the team in points last season. In 293 regular-season games, he has a total of 235 points. There’s no denying he’s good at hockey and will continue to prosper in the league especially if the Flames use this mini rebuild as a chance to build around him. 

Tkachuk is a very emotional athlete. You see it when he fights or when he’s in the press box watching an elimination game. 

Tkachuk’s performance during the 2019-20 playoffs kept the team alive. He, unfortunately, had to be sidelined due to injury. Whenever they showed him in the pressbox, you could tell how frustrated he was and how desperately he wanted to be out on the ice with his teammates. This was the solidifying moment for me. The Flames played a tighter game when he was on the ice. His presence is a force to be reckoned with. You’re not “safe” when Chucky is on the ice. I’d imagine you’re always looking over your shoulder and not entirely focused, especially if you’re behind the net. Seems to be a sweet spot for the future captain. 

Growing into the role 

He isn’t afraid to step up and put an aggressor in their spot but he’s also not afraid to get under someone’s skin. His history with Drew Doughty comes to mind. In a way, he reminds me of Zdeno Chara. Granted, Chara is 7 feet on skates and it’s a little terrifying going up to him but Tkachuk still has people shaking in their boots if they decide to go after a Flames player. He’s not afraid to retaliate. The Flames power play can take care of the rest. 

It may be next season or years from now, but expect a C on 19’s jersey. After all, like father, like son.

Free Agency NHL

Calgary lands Markstrom in free agency

Jacob Markstrom is the latest goalie off of the market, as he and the Calgary Flames agreed to a six-year, $36 million contract (worth $6.000 million per season). It was the longest unrestricted free agent signing of the day on Friday as the NHL’s free agency period began.

A native of Gävle, Sweden, Markstrom was originally drafted in the second round (31st overall) by the Florida Panthers in the 2008 NHL Draft and made his league debut with Florida in the 2010-11 season before he was later traded during the 2013-14 season to the Vancouver Canucks ahead of the 2014 trade deadline.

The 30-year-old goaltender had a 23-16-4 record in 43 games (43 starts) last season and amassed a 2.75 goals against average, as well as a .918 save percentage and two shutouts in that span.

For the first time in his career, he made a postseason start in the 2020 playoff format and carried Vancouver in 14 games to an 8-6 record with a 2.85 GAA and a .919 SV%– as well as one shutout– until an injury forced Thatcher Demko to takeover in the crease for the Canucks in their ultimate Second Round series loss to the Vegas Golden Knights in seven games.

Meanwhile, the Flames desperately needed an upgrade in net and can finally differentiate between having a starting goalie and a backup. For the first time in what feels like forever, this isn’t a 1A/1B situation.

Markstrom is an elite goaltender that’s been in the Pacific Division since March 4, 2014, so there’s enough familiarity in what the Flames are getting and will more than likely provide the stability Calgary has been after.

Free Agency NHL

Oilers add a bit of depth

While the Oilers are out hunting for a goaltender, they’re also adding some depth in hopes for another winning season.

After being bought out by the Nashville Predators, Kyle Turris looks to revitalize his career in Edmonton. He is signed through the 2021-22 season, earning money from his buy out and also an addition $1.65m from Edmonton.

The 31-year-old native of New Westminster, British Columbia, has 416 points (165 goals, 251 assists) in 726 career NHL games for the Phoenix Coyotes, Ottawa Senators and– most recently– the Nashville Predators.

He was originally drafted by the Coyotes in the first round (3rd overall) of the 2007 NHL Draft.

Former Calgary Flame, Alan Quine signs a one year $750,000 deal. Simple addition for some depth and more development. The Oilers are also adding Seth Griffith to their roster on a two-way two year deal that’s worth $750,000. Their minor league team will see some in net depth as Anton Forsberg signs a one year deal.

Free Agency NHL

Evan Rodrigues Re-signs with the Penguins

Forward, Evan Rodrigues, re-signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins for another year. The deal is worth $700,000.

The 27-year-old had 6-4–10 totals in 45 games last season– including one goal in seven games with the Penguins after he was traded at the deadline by the Buffalo Sabres to Pittsburgh, having requested a trade due to a lack of playing time.

One season removed from setting career-highs in goals (nine), assists (20) and points (29) in 74 games with the Sabres in 2018-19, Rodrigues wasn’t nearly consistent enough to make even Buffalo’s lineup.

As a result, it’s been a bit of a tumultuous offseason for the Toronto, Ontario native.

He was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Kasperi Kapanen trade (part II) that sent Kapanen back to the team that drafted him (the Penguins) on Aug. 25th, but wasn’t tendered a qualifying offer by his hometown team.

In the end, Rodrigues went back to the Pens on a one-year “prove it” deal as some added depth to Pittsburgh’s roster.

Free Agency NHL

Arizona makes some noise at depth

The Arizona Coyotes added some depth with the signings of Tyler Pitlick and John Hayden in free agency.

Pitlick, 28, signed a two-year deal worth $1.750 million per season and had 20 points (eight goals, 12 assists) in 63 games with the Philadelphia Flyers last season.

The Minneapolis, Minnesota native has 41-32–73 totals in 248 career NHL games with the Edmonton Oilers, Dallas Stars and Flyers since being drafted by Edmonton in the second round (31st overall) of the 2010 NHL Draft and making his league debut with the Oilers in the 2013-14 season.

He’s a hard-nosed right wing that could add some bottom-six depth for the Coyotes.

Hayden, 25, signed a one-year deal worth $750,000 and had three goals and one assist (four points) in 43 games with the New Jersey Devils last season.

A native of Chicago, Illinois, he has 11-15–26 totals in 156 career NHL games with the Chicago Blackhawks and Devils since being drafted by Chicago in the third round (74th overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft and made his league debut with the Blackhawks in the 2016-17 season.

He will more than likely slot in on occasion for Arizona, as his stats don’t exactly prove him worthy of consistent ice time.

Free Agency NHL

Penguins sign Mark Jankowski

The Pittsburgh Penguins signed penalty kill specialist, Mark Jankowski, to a one-year deal worth $700,000 on Friday.

Jankowski, 26, is a solid depth player, but never made much of an impact at 5-on-5 play with the Calgary Flames in his tenure.

A native of Hamilton, Ontario, he was drafted by the Flames in the first round (21st overall) in the 2012 NHL Draft and had seven points (five goals, two assists) last season in 56 games with Calgary and was a minus-12.

His production fell off after setting career-highs in assists (18) and points (32), while amassing 14 goals in 79 hames in 2018-19, and had a career-high 17 goals in 72 games in the 2017-18 season with the Flames.

He’s more of a bottom-six role player these days and has 36-28–64 totals in 208 career NHL games (all with Calgary).

Free Agency

Kevin Rooney signs with New York Rangers

The New York Rangers have added Kevin Rooney to their Center depth. The former New Jersey Devil is packing it up and moving to the big apple for another team in a rebuild state.

The center has played 95 games and tallied 19 points. He will continue to be a depth player or take a seat in the press box for less than a million dollars a year.


Year 1: $700,000
Year 2: $800.000

Free Agency

Carter Verhaeghe signs with Florida panthers

Carter Verhaeghe stays in Florida but moves to a different zip code. The forward signed a two year deal with the Florida Panthers after him and the Lightning could not reach a deal and wanted to avoid arbitration. The deal is for an AAV of $1m.

Does it get better than winning the cup after your first year in the league? Verhaeghe will have to wait and find out as he heads to Sunshine Florida, another team in somewhat of a rebuild.

Vergaeghe was in and out of the lineup this past postseason, slotting in when needed. Could he be more of an asset in Florida?


Jon Merril to the Red Wings

Defenseman Jon Merril is moving on from the Vegas Golden Knights and on to Detroit for one year with a price tag of $925,000.

He’s spent seven years in the league and has tallied 61 points. Merril played college hockey at University of Michigan so it is a bit of a homecoming for the blue liner. Last year he had a career high of 32 penalty minutes.

This is just another piece to the Detroit rebuild that seems to be coming together.