The Calgary Flames got off to a pretty good start in the 2013/2014 season, going undefeated and collecting eight points in their first five games before finally coming back down to earth.
The Flames currently sit 11th in the Western Conference in spite of the hot start, but a couple more wins could put them right back into the playoff mix.
Unfortunately, this is exactly the opposite of what the franchise needs.
Flames General Manager Jay Feaster began the long-overdue rebuilding process just before the trade deadline in March of this year when fan-favorite Jarome Iginla was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Several other moves have subsequently been made—including sending Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Tanguay elsewhere—putting the Flames in full-blown restructuring mode.
So having yet another year where they play just well enough to flirt with a playoff position before finally missing doesn't really make things any better.
Granted, rookie Sean Monahan has impressed in his first few games in the NHL—he's leading the team in goals (7) and is second in points (11)—but expecting to land a bunch of kids who can turn into impact players requires getting the best available talent, not middle-of-the-pack guys.
What Calgary really needs to do this season is lose a lot of games and get a good look at a top-five draft pick.
If the Flames can get their hands on a prospect like Sam Reinhart, who is projected to be the top pick in the 2014 draft, they could really start building something.
Reinhart, the youngest son of former Flames defenseman Paul Reinhart and little brother of current Flames farmhand Max, currently has 28 points in just 16 games with the Kootenay Ice.
With that kind of production, Calgary would have a legitimate first-line center for the first time in a long, long time, and that could provide a major boost to an offense that has languished in the bottom half of the NHL for years.
But to get a shot at someone with the talent of a Sam Reinhart, the Flames need to keep losing. That's a difficult reality to face, but it's something they have to make their peace with.
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