When general managers spend top dollar on the league’s top talent, they rightfully expect something in return. When Olli Jokinen joined the Calgary Flames during the 2008-09 season, there were high expectations that the star player, who never found his groove in the desert with Phoenix, would come to Calgary and be an offensive force. Though Jokinen showed some promise by scoring 15 points in 19 games, his numbers this year have been a complete disappointment.
Coach Brent Sutter has shifted and tooled his lines on many occasions, but he has failed to come up with a consistently productive combination that can win games for the squad. After a Monday night defeat handed down by the reenergized St. Louis Blues team behind stellar goaltending from Ty Conklin, Calgary has now lost six straight games.
Team Captain Jarome Iginla has also failed to find the back of the net lately, tallying zero markers in his passed 11 games and contributing only two assist during that stretch. Iginla and the team as a whole have not scored much, scoring 132 goals total on the season which ties them for second-to-last in the league in output.
Another offseason signing bust has been defenseman Jay Bouwmeester. He came to the team looking to contribute to a defensively deep squad that already featured Dion Phaneuf and Robyn Regehr. While Bouwmeester does lead the team with 26:23 minutes per game on average, neither he nor Phaneuf has provided any offensive threat from the blueline.
The one bright spot for this team has been goaltender Miikka Kipprusoff. His numbers represent just how stellar his play must be while playing on a team with virtually nonexistent scoring. With a record of 23-16-6 on the season, a 2.25 GAA and .924 SV%, Kipprusoff gives the Flames a chance to win every time he’s in the crease.
Calgary currently sits outside of a playoff spot looking in from 9th place. With teams in 10th through 13th place only 4 points behind, the Flames must string a few wins together before they’re buried much farther down in the standings.
Look for the Flames to be active around the trade deadline in March. With names like Jokinen, Rene Bourque, and Craig Conroy headed to unrestricted free agency, Calgary is in a position to possibly acquire an established goal scorer.