Last season: 37-29-16, 90 points, 9th West, missed playoffs.
Key Additions: C Roman Cervenka, LW Jiri Hudler, D Dennis Wideman
Key Losses: C Olli Jokinen, D Scott Hannan
Offense: Jarome Iginla is still the top forward on this team, hitting the 30 goal mark for the 11th straight season. Curtis Glencross (26 goals) is the only other player to hit the 15 goal mark as a Flame last season. Hudler had 25 as a Red Wing last year and should help the offense. Mike Cammalleri picked up his game after being dealt from Montreal last winter and finished with 20 goals (11 with Calgary in 28 games). Veterans Alex Tanguay and Lee Stempniak will compete with youngsters Mikael Backlund and Sven Baertschi for playing time. The wild card is free agent signee Roman Cervenka, who is pencilled in to a top six position after two seasons with Avangard Omsk, where he scored 54 goals.
Defense: Jay Bouwmeester is still the big man on the blueline, leading the Flames defensemen in points with 29. He has to be a lot better for him to live up to his huge contract, though. Mark Giordano might be one of the most underrated defensemen in the league. Last season, he led Flames blueliners in goals (9), blocked shots (127) and was second in points (27) and hits (84), all while missing 21 games with a hamstring injury. Dennis Wideman (11 goals, 46 points with Washington) will give the team a boost on the offensive side after signing a big money contract. Veteran Cory Sarich was re-signed, keeping the hits machine (144) in Calgary for two more years. The defense is rounded out by Chris Butler (115 blocked shots), TJ Brodie and Anton Babchuk.
Goaltending: Miikka Kiprusoff put up another good year in 2011-12, silencing doubters that said he was declining. The workhorse played 70 games for the seventh straight year, winning 35 and posting a 2.35 GAA with a .921 save percentage. His backup this year will likely be Leland Irving, who only got into seven games last year. With the 35 year old Kiprusoff not getting any younger, it would not be surprising to see his workload reduced and give the youngster a bit more playing time.
Standout Player: The heart and soul of the Flames, as well as the captain, Jarome Iginla is going to be the man once again in Calgary. He’ll score his 30 goals and whether or not the Flames make the playoffs will be on his shoulders.
Prediction: 5th Northwest, 13th West
Too many teams improved in the division, while the Flames continued on their path to mediocrity. Calgary seems to be stuck in this “going for 8th place” mentality. They haven’t made the playoffs since 2009 and probably won’t again this year.