The Calgary Flames completed their second best regular season in franchise history over the 2021-22 campaign by finishing with a record of 50-21-11. That record included an extremely impressive 27-8-5 record over their final 40 games of the season as they ran away with the Pacific Division crown.
With the regular season now over and the Dallas Stars looming on the horizon, we look back at the regular season with a few fan polls and our report card grades!
Q1: Are you confident in Darryl Sutter as Head Coach?
Yes = 98.9%, Maybe = 1.1 %, No = 0%
Sutter’s fan approval rating has been high all season long but it reaches it’s highest point at 98.9%. The odds-on favourite for the Jack Adams award has been seemingly making the right decisions throughout the campaign and inspires a lot of confidence in the club heading into the postseason. He previously sat at 95.6% at the 1⁄2 mark of the season so it’s a small jump for him.
Q2: Are you confident in Brad Treliving as GM of the Flames?
Yes = 68.1%, Maybe = 26.4%, No = 5.5%
Treliving’s approval rating takes a massive jump from 38.2% at the halfway mark thanks to swinging a number of big trades for Tyler Toffoli and Calle Jarnkrok along with his offseason acquisitions continuing to provide big returns for the club. Obviously this number will be very affected by how the Flames do in the playoffs and the pending negotiations this summer, but I don’t think it can be argued that Treliving hasn’t made this team a legitimate contender and pushed the chips in this year.
Q3: Who was the Flames best new addition in 2021-22?
Tyler Toffoli = 31.9%, Erik Gudbranson = 30.8%, Blake Coleman = 14.3%, Dan Vladar = 12.1%, Other = 10.9%
This result was somewhat surprising to me now and would have been even more surprising to all of us at the start of the year after the signing of Gudbranson was universally panned (and fairly so). Toffoli has been a nice addition to the club but Gudbranson has easily exceeded all expectations and formed a solid bottom pair with Nikita Zadorov.
Q4: What would you consider a “successful” playoffs this spring?
Win 2 Rounds = 48.4%, Win the Cup = 23.1%, Win 3 Rounds = 19.8%, Win 1 Round = 8.8%
It’s clear that expectations are very high amongst Flames fans as they head into the playoffs dying for a deep run after years of frustration and coming up short. Over 90% of fans believe that this season can only really be considered a success if the Flames make at least the Western Conference final. That really has to be the case as the Flames pathaway through the Pacific bracket does appear to be the easiest of the four divisions. We just really want a Battle of Alberta in the second round.
Q5: Which depth forward will be the biggest “X Factor” in the playoffs?
Toffoli = 40.7%, Dube = 29.7%, Coleman = 16.5%, Backlund = 8.8%, Jarnkrok = 4.4%
Not a ton of surprises here as the there are high expectations for Toffoli to carry over some of his success from last year’s playoffs to the Flames. Dillon Dube also has created a high expectations after a hot finish to the season along with a very strong performance in the 2020 bubble playoffs. Watch for Coleman too who just screams “playoff intensity”.
Q6: Are you confident in the direction of the Flames?
Yes = 81.1%, Maybe = 17.8%, No = 1.1%
Perhaps this can be chalked up to nerves ahead of the playoffs or perhaps it can be attributed to me accidentally including a Maybe category, but the confidence number falls from 91% to 81% this time around, although the No number also fell from 9% to 1% so overall I would say fans became more confident in the team. Again, this number could look totally different by the next time we ask after the playoffs.
Report Card Grades
Here are the results of the poll, thank you to those who took the time to fill it all out. Remember this is an accumulation of fan/reader grades, not my personal grades, so don’t yell at me please and thank you.
TOP OF THE CLASS
A+ = Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk, Elias Lindholm
Yeah not a surprise that the best line in the NHL this year and three 40 goal scorers end up in the A+ category. All three were simply dominant in their own right this year and the fact that they worked so well together to elevate each other was a joy to watch over 82 games.
A = Rasmus Andersson, Chris Tanev, Noah Hanifin, Jacob Markstrom
A- = Andrew Mangiapane, Oliver Kylington
Both guys took big steps forward this year, especially Kylington going from a fringe player to a full time Top 4 defender in this league. It was a step many thought he may never end up taking, at least not with the Flames but he got there. Mangiapane on the other hand had a huge breakout, going from 18 goals to 35 this year despite a long dry stretch late in the season.
B+ = Nikita Zadorov, Erik Gudbranson, Dan Vladar
This is certainly an interesting and surprising trio to come across the finish line with B+ grades. Heading into the season we had very low expectations for all three, but they all really played above expectations and provided solid options for the team all year long.
B = Blake Coleman, Dillon Dube, Tyler Toffoli
I wonder if you can just call this the X-Factor grade. All three guys were solid this year but Dube’s rise from a C- at the halfway point can’t be taken lightly. If the Flames are going to make a run this spring, they need all three of these guys to provide some solid secondary scoring options behind the top line.
B- = Mikael Backlund, Milan Lucic, Trevor Lewis
These three players were fine for the most part this season but Backlund especially feels like he left us wanting a bit more. The thing about him is that he’s remarkably consistent, but that also means he isn’t going to blow your socks off the majority of nights either. If he can fill his role and maybe chip in a bit offensively in the playoffs, I expect his grade to finish higher. For Lucic and Lewis, it’s just about creating momentum and limiting damage against during the postseason.
C+ = Adam Ruzicka, Calle Jarnkrok
Jarnkrok’s addition has seemingly resulted in the best regular season hockey of Dillon Dube’s career so far as the two have played very well together. It seems like Jarnkrok has been getting robbed on a glorious chance every 2-3 games as he didn’t tally a regular season goal with the Flames. For Ruzicka it was a good step forward for him, but he still needs to find some more consistency to his game on a nightly basis if he wants a higher spot in the lineup next season.
NOT SO GOOD
C- = Brett Ritchie
D = Sean Monahan
Frustrating years for both these guys, especially Monahan as he struggled to get back to anything near his original form and then had his season end with a hip injury. I really hope we don’t see Ritchie on too regular of a basis in the playoffs.