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We need to talk about Auston: why a bad year isn't the end of the world

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A fluke year in a rebuild has sent expectations sky high. Maybe we need to calm ourselves, because there's still lots of treasure to be found.

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Everybody needs to calm down.

Yes, this year's team isn't very good. Yes, there's a lot wrong with it. Yes, being bad sucks. No, it is not the end of the world. One swallow does not make a summer, and the Flames are just in early June of the rebuild. There's still a few more metaphorical weeks of this whole allegory to go before the Flames can be considered contenders.

All of which is why it's not a terrible thing that this team just sucks right now. Yeah, it's not pleasant in the short term, but rebuilds aren't. Look at last season's Maple Leafs. By God they were awful. This year, they're playing better, but not getting results. These things take a lot of time and a lot of hard work. Nobody said it was easy, so why are we expecting it to be?

Besides, the prospect pool didn't die the second Connor McDavid was drafted. Rasmus Andersson and Oliver Kylington are projected to be players, and we were all impressed with Andrew Mangiapane's camp performances. Add to that the other prospects coming up - Garnet Hathaway, Jon Gillies, Brett Kulak, Emile Poirier, Bill Arnold...I could go on.

Then, of course, we have the possibility of winning the #1 overall pick in 2016 (a chance that becomes more likely with each loss). With that pick, the winning team will pick Auston Matthews. The kid is immensely talented, has a big scoring pedigree, and looks like he belongs on his Zurich Lions team. 16 points in 14 games of a highly competitive league is nothing to sniff at.

You can read more about Matthews by checking out this bio from Stanley Cup of Chowder. Honestly, he's a pretty good consolation prize for missing out on the playoffs.

That's not forgetting the talented players already at the Flames' disposal. All of these players are less than 25.

  • Johnny Gaudreau
  • Sean Monahan
  • Sam Bennett
  • Micheal Ferland
  • Dougie Hamilton
  • Joni Ortio

There's a hell of a lot of talent there. They've not become bad players overnight - they are talented but still raw.

It's also important for management to remember they're in a rebuild, and not go chasing a blockbuster trade to try to get into this year's playoffs. It's highly unlikely the Flames are going to get there, and signing a star player won't change that. Giving up a lot of the future for a short term band-aid is pointless and unnecessary.

This was going to be a long-form piece waxing lyrical about Auston Matthews, but it's clear the issues won't just be fixed by him. But it is important to remember, after this poor start to the season, that it is not the worst possible thing to happen.