3 Questions Facing The Flames in 2016-17
-Is Sam Bennett ready to take that next step?
The Flames are hoping their young centre can keep developing at the pace he is at. Bennett played in 77 of the Flames 82 games last season. In his first full year he notched 18 goals and added 18 assists. For the first part of last season he was very streaky, but once he found his footing, Bennett was not only a reliable offensive weapon, but he can also play the physical aspect of the game as well. If his preseason is any indication, he is ready to take that next step and for the Flames to make a run at the playoffs they will need Bennett to start hot and stay hot.
-Can Mikael Backlund repeat his career year from 2015-16?
Mikael Backlund had a career year with the Flames last season and really caught fire in the second half. The pairing of Frolik and Backlund not only benefited the team, but those two players as well. Backlund will probably find himself anchoring the 2nd or 3rd line of the Flames offence in 2016-17. Calgary would like Sam Bennett to centre one of those lines as well, so that leaves some questions as to who will play where. If Frolik and Backlund slide to the 3rd spot, Mikael Backlund could match his output from last season. Less pressure and being that talented a little lower in the lineup could see Backlund feasting on teams this season. With that said, if he centres the 2nd line, he should put up similar numbers as well.
-Has Brian Elliott lived up to expectations?
It's only been a quick look at Elliott in the preseason, but it appears the Flames have found their starting goalie for this season. Calgary swooped in on draft day and traded next to nothing to Blues to get Elliott. In 3 games this preseason Elliott has allowed 2 goals on 52 shots and has a Save % north of .955. It's safe to say management and the fans should be exttatic with Brian Elliott's performance so far this season. Now it just needs to carry over to when the games really count.