The Calgary Flames head into the 2023-24 season with a lot to prove

(Photo by Derek Cain/Getty Images)
(Photo by Derek Cain/Getty Images) /

The Calgary Flames did not have the best season last year. After going out and adding guys like Nazem Kadri, Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar, the Calgary Flames missed the playoffs for the second time in three seasons.

Ahead of the 2022-23 season the Flames looked like they were destined to make their way back into the playoffs despite losing Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk. But they fell just a few points short of making the playoffs. This season will either prove they can bounce back or need to reset the direction of the organization.

The Calgary Flames head into the 2023-24 season with a lot to prove

There are some pretty big names on expiring contracts in Calgary. Mikael Backlund, Elias Lindholm, Noah Hanifin highlight the main group of talent that do not have contracts past this season, but the list does not stop there.

The Flames only have two NHL defensemen that have contracts past this season. MacKenzie Weegar has an eight year deal that starts this season while Rasmus Andersson has three years remaining on his current contract. Hanifin, Chris Tanev, Nikita Zadorov, Dennis Gilbert and Jordan Oesterle all have to get extended on the blue line.

The Flames also have a few big RFAs to worry about this season in Dillon Dubé and Adam Ruzicka. Dubé had his best season offensively this past season putting up 45 points in 82 games while Ruzicka put up 20 points in 44 games. Both players along with 2019 first round pick Jakob Pelletier will be targets for GM Craig Conroy to get extended.

The Flames are in a tough division, something that has not usually been the case for the Pacific in years past. The Pacific is home to the Stanley Cup Champions in Vegas, additionally LA, Edmonton and Seattle all made the playoffs last season. The Canucks still are trying to push for the playoffs and the Anaheim Ducks look to take a step forward in their rebuild this season after adding Adam Fantille. Overall, this division is not as wide open as it once was so the Flames are going to have to prove where they fit in the midst of this group.

I believe Calgary could very well be heading back to the post season in 2024, but the path to getting there is not going to be easy, and this team will have to start off the year on the right note.