I definitely think the Flames have a good chance to flourish under Hartley.
I still think we have two big issues.
- The need for another Top 4 D
- and our confusing uncertain group of Centermen.
I don't like Butler anywhere near the Top 4. Maybe the answer can be internally filled through Brodie.
I think the Top 4 Flames defence both by 5 on 5 and on specialty teams interms of ice time needs to be:
7. Smith(who I really like and I think he can log 18-21 very safe minutes when need be)
As for our Centers.
On our first line you could make arguments that any of Tanguay, Cammy and Iggy are the Center. Any, all of, none of them. I don't know. And who takes the most faceoffs of those 3? Iginla(maybe, probably). Who plays 200 feet and comes back and back checks of those 3?
Can Cervenka wins face offs and be a Top 2 line Centre at the NHL level?
I think Stajan and Jones are the closest thing we have to having normal centers and that's scary.
What we really need is for Backlund to arrive now. No more shifting over to wing. He's gotta be a Top 2 line Centre today.
If our Centers and our Top 4 D is good enough, then I think we make the playoffs and then who knows, anything can happen. If we are losing I'd point to these areas as why.
As unlikely as this seems, Iginla still has the potential to be a 40-45 goal man in a full season in my opinion. Jarome is also a streaky scorer.
And it's possible if Iginla had a 45 goal season that 30 of those goals game in a 48 game stretch.
It is obviously very unlikely, but I do think it's possible. What it would require is Iginla coming out hot. If Iginla could start 8-8-2-10, then he'd have 40 games to get 22 goals.
A lengthy slump would make it impossible. I should add that the growth of Brodie, the aquisition of Wideman, and the addition of Hartley are key components. Also full seasons with Tanguay and Cammy whom he's shown a lot of chemistry in the past.
Bold prediction: Flames get out of the gate quickly and are in the race for the division lead until the trade deadline. They fade down the stretch and, in a very close race, end up finishing in the 12-13 slot. The Flames will be very entertaining and we won't be overly disappointed with the performance.