While we’re just over a month since the Calgary Flames were eliminated by the Edmonton Oilers in Round 2 of the playoffs, I am finally getting to putting together the Flames Season Report Cards after a personal matter kept me away for a bit.
Instead of doing a card for each individual player, I will be doing them in groups of 5-6 and in alphabetical order (by first name) over the next week or so. To qualify for this list, a player must have done each of the following:
- Finished the Season with the Flames
- Dressed in a minimum of 20 games with the team (including playoffs)
I will be looking at the fan grades from the end of season report cards and then combining those with the playoff grades to come up with a final 2021-22 season grade. Here are the first six player grades.
Adam Ruzicka, (Years with Flames: 1)
- NHL Reg Season: 28 GP, 5 G, 5 A, 10 Pts
- AHL Reg Season: 16 GP, 11 G, 9 A, 20 Pts
- NHL Playoffs: None
- AHL Playoffs: 2 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 0 Pts
We got a taste of the big Slovakian forward in 2021-22 as he suited up for 28 games with the big club and at times settled well into his role but looked a bit lost in others. It’s a position many young players find themselves in as they carve their niches at the NHL level. The biggest thing on Ruzicka is that he needs to find consistency to his game but that comes with experience. Darryl Sutter stated a few occasions that it only made sense to keep Ruzicka in Calgary as a top nine forward, but he did look good in some appearances with more skilled forwards.
While I wouldn’t put him as a guarantee to make the 2022-23 team out of camp, I expect the Flames to give him every chance to do so. He is also an RFA this year so we could see the Flames push for some term if they think he’s ready to break out.
Andrew Mangiapane, (Years with Flames: 4)
- NHL Reg Season: 82 GP, 35 G, 20 A, 55 Pts
- NHL Playoffs: 12 GP, 3 G, 3 A, 6 Pts
While a lot of us had a step forward in the cards for Andrew Mangiapane this year, I don’t think any of us saw a 35 goal season coming from the 26 year old winger. What was particularly impressive about Mangiapane this year was his hot start to the season where he was consistently in the NHL’s top three in goal scoring really until the Flames were shut down in December. On the other hand, maybe 35 goals feels low after he started with a ridiculous 17 goals in the first 25 games of the campaign.
Obviously he wasn’t going to score at a 56 goal pace all year long, but I don’t think there’s any reason he can’t eclipse 40 next year with the right line around him. The thing with Mangiapane is that while he did score a number of pretty goals this year, a lot of his goals came from picking up loose rebounds and getting to the greasy areas. Heading into this summer Mangiapane is owed a new contract so this was certainly the right time for his breakout. Mangiapane figures to be a big part of Calgary’s offense next year, especially if a certain somebody ends up leaving.
Blake Coleman, (Years with Flames: 1)
- NHL Reg Season: 81 GP, 16 G, 17 A, 33 Pts
- NHL Playoffs: 12 GP, 2 G, 3 A, 5 Pts
I think it’s safe to say that the Flames got more or less what they expected from Blake Coleman this year. He got off to a bit of a slow start in terms of points production, but elevated his play as the season dragged on and wound up roughly around his career norms. Coleman also provided a nice spark with his play in the playoffs and really brought some confidence to the group in my opinion.
He was a player that led by example throughout the season and while he might fly under the radar compared to some of the other players on the team, he was just consistently solid every night for the most part. You need players that you always know what you’re going to get from them, and for Coleman it’s a fiery competitor who complimented the middle six nicely, especially with Mangiapane and Mikael Backlund.
Brett Ritchie (Years with Flames: 2)
NHL Reg Season: 41 GP, 3 G, 1 A, 4 Pts
NHL Playoffs: 7 GP, 2 G, 0 A, 2 Pts
I don’t really how a ton to say on Ritchie this year. He was pretty much the ideal depth or 13th forward for the identity the Flames tried to build with the team. He did bear some criticism as he struggled to get on the scoresheet for most of the year, but then he randomly potted goals in Games 1 and 2 against Edmonton in the second round.
Overall I think he’s a fine depth guy if you sign him around the league minimum, but I also think he would be just as easily replaceable. He did what you expected him to do, but didn’t particularly do anything beyond that.
Calle Jarnkrok, (Years with Flames: 1)
NHL Reg Season (SEA): 49 GP, 12 G, 14 A, 26 Pts
NHL Reg Season (CGY): 17 GP, 0 G, 4 A, 4 Pts
NHL Playoffs: 12 GP, 1 G, 3 A, 4 Pts
Jarnkrok’s time in Calgary might go down as some of the most polarizing among the fanbase, especially as the team decides whether or not they want to pursue bringing back the Swedish forward. On one hand it’s impossible to look past the fact that Jarnkrok did not score a single goal for the team until the final game of the playoffs against Edmonton. On the other he was a decent complimentary depth piece that fit pretty well in the lineup and was robbed of goals on at least a handful of chances that I can remember off the top of my head. The other thing is that once Jarnkrok arrived, I thought we saw some really good hockey from Dillon Dube as the pair closed out the regular season on the same line.
While I would be onboard with the Flames bringing back Jarnkrok in the 2.5M range, it does feel quite possible that he at least weighs his offers in free agency as this might be his last chance to cash in for his career. There are some personal fits with his buddies Elias Lindholm and Jacob Markstrom, but how much value is put on that as he decides his future.
Chris Tanev, (Years with Flames: 2)
NHL Reg Season: 82 GP, 6 G, 22 A, 28 Pts
NHL Playoffs: 8 GP, 0 G, 1 A, 1 Pt
I don’t know what you can say about Chris Tanev other than he was an absolute warrior all season long, especially in the playoffs where he battled through a separated shoulder to finish the series against Edmonton. He had surgery immediately after the season and with a 4-6 month rehab timeline, the Flames could be without his services a decent way into next season. Getting back to his on-ice play, he was simply sensational in the defensive end of the ice as he limited chances but also played a huge part in Oliver Kylington making the jump from healthy scratch to Top 4 defender this season.
Tanev set a career high with 28 points and even garnered a Norris vote this year too. If there was a trophy for simply the best defensive defenseman, Tanev would’ve arguably been right at the top of the odds for it. Since coming to Calgary Tanev had been healthy and the injury versus Dallas was quite a freak play, hopefully he can get healthy and come back at the same level next season.
That’s the first six player report cards down. Who was graded too high or too low? Let us know in the comments!