Do the Calgary Flames Have What it Takes to Win the West?

by Glenn Kaplan
by Glenn Kaplan

The Western Conference in the NHL isn't as strong as it is in the Eastern Conference. That could be a very good reason why the Vegas Golden Knights steam rolled teams in the west last postseason and then lost in five games in the Stanley Cup Finals to the Washington Capitals.

The Calgary Flames have been making a ton of noise this season after missing the playoffs last season. They currently sit in first place in the Pacific Division this season with a 20-10-2 record with 42 points. Calgary has scored 113 goals so far this season and they have given up 90 goals. The Flames have one of the best goal differentials in the NHL.

Bill Peters is in his first year as the Calgary Flames Head Coach. Glen Glutazan was relieved of his duties after last season. I didn't think he deserved the blame for their collapse, but they decided to go in a different direction. Peters didn't make the playoffs in any of his years as the Carolina Hurricanes Head Coach.

With the success they are having right now, could they win the west this season? The Flames have the offensive talent to make a run. The issue with this is can they be able to withstand the physicality of teams like the Nashville Predators, the Winnipeg Jets, or the Colorado Avalanche in a seven-game series?

Even though Calgary's record so far this season is 4-1 against those three teams combined, I don't think they would be able to because Calgary is too small and those teams are bigger and faster than them. I am not saying that the Flames would get stepped over easily. It just would not be a very good match up for them. The Pacific Division isn't as good as the Central Division is.

Johnny Gaudreau leads the Calgary Flames with 42 points (13 goals and 29 assists). His plus/minus rating is 10. Sean Monahan has scored 20 goals and recorded 18 assists so far this season. His plus/minus rating is 7. Matthew Tkachuk has scored 13 goals and recorded 24 assists so far this season. His plus/minus rating is 6. Elias Lindholm has had a breakout season with 16 goals and 18 assists so far this season. His plus/minus rating is 16.

Mark Giordano has only scored four goals, but he has recorded 28 assists so far this season. His plus/minus is 18. Noah Hanifin has scored three goals and recorded 11 assists so far this season. His plus/minus is 5.

David Rittich has had a very good season between the pipes for Calgary. His record so far this season is 9-3-1 with a .921 save percentage and a 2.31 GAA, along with one shutout. Mike Smith has been shaky this season. His record so far this season is 11-7-1 with a .888 save percentage and a 2.99 GAA, along with two shutouts.

This will be interesting how the rest of the season plays out, but they are on pace to get over 100 points this season. The Calgary Flames have not had a season of at least 100 points or over since the 2005-2006 season when they had 103 points in the regular season. Calgary will also be a tough team to beat if they manage to make it to the postseason.

The Calgary Flames have not been to the Stanley Cup Finals since the 2003-2004 season when they lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in seven games. The last time they won it all was the 1988-1989 season when they beat the Montreal Canadiens in six games.