Although currently the NHL remains suspended and play is not likely to resume soon if at all, not everyone has given up hope that the regular season is over. Even after the KHL canceled its playoffs, the Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving is still looking towards the NHL’s resumption – some time. (from “Flames try to stay prepared, productive during COVID-19 pause,” Wes Gilbertson, The National Post, 03/25/20)
As Treliving notes, “I think I’m an optimist by nature, and you have to be prepared. Until somebody tells us differently, we have to prepare that we’re coming back at some point. We don’t know when that is, and certainly it’s going to be some time. But not only do you want to be prepared for it, as with anything that you go through, as bad and as serious and impactful for so many people as this is, you try to find ways to look at what opportunities it presents. You don’t want to be behind the curve. You want to be ahead of the curve coming out of it.”
In the meantime, during the break, Treliving spends much of his time in communication with his Flames’ staff and players. When Flames’ players were forced into self-isolation, the team distributed its workout equipment among them, including weights and stationary bikes. Although Flames players are certainly not alone in working out, they are trying to stay in shape without practices or without having access to the team’s gyms and facilities.
Obviously, everyone hopes the season will resume. Still, probably more important, everyone obviously hopes the threat from the coronavirus soon dissipates.
With that hope in mind, in this post, I want to try to keep Calgary fans up-to-date on news emerging from the organization.
Item One: Colton Poolman Signs Entry-Level Contract
After four successful seasons playing for the University of North Dakota, Colton Poolman signed a one-year, entry-level professional contract last Friday with the Flames. During his time at UND, the 24-year-old defenseman scored 18 goals and 75 points in 146 games. Next season, he’s likely to spend it with the Flames AHL team in Stockton, California.
Item Two: Connor Mackey Signs Entry-Level Contract
Like Poolman, Connor Mackey also signed a one-year, entry-level contract last Friday. Mackey recently finished his third season with Minnesota State University (which is in Mankato). He, too, is a young 23-year-old defenseman and he scored seven goals and 24 points in 36 games in his junior season. As well, next season he’s also likely to report to the Flames AHL affiliate in Stockton.
Item Three: Where’d You Go, Johnny Gaudreau?
In a tip of the hat to Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel’s iconic song “Mrs. Robinson” from the 1968 movie The Graduate, “Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you,” perhaps it’s overstated that Flames fans completely have lost Johnny Gaudreau but, in truth – given what the forward has produced over the past few seasons, his offense seemed to disappear during the 2019-20 season.
Sure, Gaudreau scored 18 goals and 58 points in 70 games, but fans are used to so much more. During the 2018-19 season, he had totaled 99 points. Those 58 points are the lowest he’s scored during any of his NHL seasons. He’s averaged over 74 points during his six full seasons with the Flames.
Item Four: Sean Monahan also Struggled on Offense
Gaudreau wasn’t the only Flames veteran who struggled offensively during the 2019-20 season. Sean Monahan’s scoring was also down. He totaled only 22 goals and 48 points and had a minus-16 rating in 70 games. Similar to Gaudreau, Monahan had a career season with 82 points in the 2018-19 season. If the NHL’s 2019-20 regular season is really over, his 48 points will be his lowest total since his 2013-14 rookie season.
Item Five: Elias Lindholm Sets Career High in Goals
On the other hand, Elias Lindholm scored 29 goals and 54 points in 70 games this season. Although his goal scoring was up from 27 last season, his 54 points were lower than the 78 points he scored last season. His previous career-high had been 45 points that he scored with the Carolina Hurricanes during the 2016-17 season. The 25-year-old has found a home in Calgary.
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