If Calgary Flames Ignite, They Will Be Dangerous Come Playoffs

Steve McSweenSenior Analyst IFebruary 12, 2010

OTTAWA, ON - FEBRUARY 9:  Niklas Hagman #11 of the Calgary Flames celebrates his goal against the Ottawa Senators with his teammates Robyn Regher #28,Matt Stajan #18 and Jarome Iginla #12 in a game at Scotiabank Place on February 9, 2010 in Ottawa, Canada.  The Calgary Flames and the Ottawa Senators are tied 1-1 after one period. (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)
Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images

They are bigger, faster, deeper and grittier up front, yet the Calgary Flames are just 2-3-1 since the major changes to their roster...and they have scored just 10 goals over that stretch.

It seems as though the song remains the same for Darryl Sutter's team. They score about as much as that Screech kid from Saved by the Bell.

That being said, there is a lot to like about this team's potential. They may not have a true No. 1 line, but they have four lines with the capabilities to be very good come playoff time.

Which may not bode well for a team like the San Jose Sharks who rely heavily on one line to carry the ship.

Now I realize this team has to make the playoffs and that I am throwing out words like "potential" and "capabilities." But the Flames are about as deep as it gets, with a goaltender in Miikka Kiprusoff who can steal a series, let alone a couple games.

I wasn't a believer going into this season, but the acquisitions of Matt Stajan, Niklas Hagman, Ales Kotalik, Christopher Higgins, and Jamal Mayers up front are a huge improvement over Olli Jokinen, Brandon Prust, and Fredrik Sjostrom.

In fact, if you just look at it from the forward aspect, Darryl Sutter got five proven NHLers for two questionable ones and Olli Jokinen, a player who didn't show up most nights. In doing so, he also got a combined 52 goals from the forwards he acquired while giving up just 10.

Yes, the five aren't proven playoff performers by any means, but it is hard not to like what each brings to the table.

Hagman, Higgins, and Kotalik are all guys who have scored 20 goals more than once in their careers. Stajan has been slicker than any center who wore the Flaming C over the past 10 years, while Jamal Mayers brings speed and toughness that any club could use come playoff time.

You put those ingredients into a roster that already boasts Jarome Iginla, Rene Bourque, Daymond Langkow, and the very capable Curtis Glencross up front, Jay Bouwmeester, Robyn Regehr, Ian White, and the emergence of Mark Giordano on defense, and then throw in the remarkable play of Miikka Kiprusoff this season, and you have the makings of what could be a dangerous club.

That is if, and I do mean a very big if, the Flames can turn things around before they find themselves on the outside looking in when it comes to the Western Conference playoff picture.

Lately it seems anything that goes to Calgary becomes as cold as an Alberta winter, with brief flashes of warmth like a chinook wind that passes through not nearly often enough.

While time is dwindling away on the Flames' season, it is far from over. We have seen sleeping giants awake in the playoffs before, and Calgary fans saw just that in 2004 when their club snuck into the playoffs only to march to the finals.

Something tells me that this club could be poised to do the same.

That is, if the giant wakes up before it's too late.