Another year, another season. The summers always seem to drag with a giant void in my life where hockey used to be. Reading around the various season predictions of my blogging comrades, I've noticed the prediction for the Flames' placement in the division varies wildly. I think that alone says it all -- we've no idea, at all, how this team is going to work. I'm not even going to attempt a shot in the dark prediction, aside from this statement: the Flames will finish in the top 15 in the Western Conference.
Individually, some quick predictions:
- I think we can reasonably expect Phaneuf to get a bit better, but we should not be expecting a big leap.
- I think we can expect Kiprusoff to be the same or worse as last year -- my hope for his resurgence remains strong, but I'm being a realist here.
- Iginla will be Captain Consistency yet again, no questions here.
- Langkow will see age take its toll with diminished productivity, but will remain one of the most underrated two-way centres of the game.
- Lombardi will dazzle with his speed, and fizzle with his hands. He's not a prospect anymore, he's a career third line player at best. Which is a shame.
- Craig Conroy will bring experience and poise to the 3rd or 4th lines. Of course, his production will continue to drop but he'll contribute to the team in the spiritual sense.
- Glencross-Boyd-Moss: I love these guys together, I think they'll continue to impress in the season as they have in the pre-season, provided they're kept together and provided Sutter realizes Boyd makes this team better.
- Bourque: Can't say yet, don't know enough about him. I'm expecting him to be pretty nondescript.
- Aucoin: It's a long way down, baby. Potentially a 3rd pairing man, he did not impress me last year nor in the pre-season.
- Giordano: Nice powerplay work, decent even strength work. Room for growth. I'm thinking he'll do pretty well for us this year.
- Regehr: Hoping for a better performance this year than last, but still a solid team guy.
- Sarich: Love/hate relationship with this guy. Some games (admittedly not enough), he looks awesome. Most games, I'd love to beat him with my imaginary cane. I'm hoping for more consistency out of him.
- Pardy: Will be good to get some NHL experience. He was hit-or-miss in the preseason, sometimes displaying some great potential while others reminding me he's from Newfoundland. (Sorry, newfies).
- Bertuzzi, he'd surprise me if he gets 40 points. I'm thinking 30 points and a lot of frustration will be what he provides the team.
- Cammalleri is coming off a poor season (relatively), I expect him to bounce back slightly but not remarkably so.
I'm going to predict an optimistic 2-1 Flames win. Luongo craps the bed with a 95% svp performance, the Sedins do some slap passes and end up with a point each with Demitra getting in on that action too, and Flames goals by Phaneuf (PPG) and Cammalleri (EV). If I'm this specific, you know it's because I've got a time machine. If this doesn't happen, I'm going to assume one of you fucked up the space-time continuum and I promise you, I will find out who.