4 Big Questions for the Calgary Flames in 2020-21

(Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images) /
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Calgary Flames
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

3. Is Their Free Agency Haul Enough To Make It Out Of The First Round

The Flames had a plan for Free Agency, and they went in and executed it. It was essentially a haul of Vancouver Cancucks’ free agents including, Jacob Markstrom, Louie Domingue, Josh Leivo, and Chris Tanev. Their special teams got an upgrade as well when signing Joakim Nordstrom.

The most notable signing was, of course, Markstrom. The Flames finally have a true number one goalie. David Rittich is not going to need to stand on his head for sixty minutes night after night anymore. There was a sense of relief when the Markstrom signing happened, a giant sigh of relief from Flames fans everywhere.

What does this mean for the Stanley Cup Playoffs? Goaltending is taken care of. It was on the to-do list underlined, highlighted, bolded, and circled in red ink. You need a strong and steady goalie for the postseason. I can see Markstrom being that consistent goalie. His Playoff sample size is rather small at just 14 games. That doesn’t seem like a fair assessment of one’s true postseason appearance, especially because the 2019-20 postseason was under unprecedented circumstances. There’s no way he can be worse than the Flames’ previous choices so, overconfidence might be the way to go here.

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Chris Tanev’s presence on the blue line is going to make up for what they lost with T.J. Brodie and then some. Head Coach Geoff Ward noted that Tanev would be killing penalties with Giordano. The 30-year-old was averaging around 20 minutes a night in Vancouver. He’s got stamina and strength. It’s expected that Tanev will be on the second pairing with Noah Hanifin. With the number of back to backs and aging captain, Tanev could slot in on the first pair if Gio does have a maintenance day. Last season, he had a career-high 159 blocked shots. One thing that is a bit worrisome is the fact that he has missed nearly 100 games over the last three seasons due to injury. I don’t want to use the term liability, but I am certainly afraid that that label might find him well.

In the best-case scenario, these new key pieces are going to be what takes this team to the next level. On paper, everything looks good. You’ve upgraded and slotted in new players where you were struggling last season.