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Calgary Looking To Chase Down Vegas After Miserable 2022-23

(Photo Credit: Ken Boehlke,

While the Golden Knights were celebrating their franchise’s first Stanley Cup, other teams in the Pacific Division were painfully reviewing their failed seasons. Arguably one of the most disappointing teams in the NHL last year was the reimagined Calgary Flames. The Flames dropped 12 regular season wins and posted 18 fewer points in 2022-23 from the previous year. Let’s just say it was the complete opposite of Vegas’ championship season.

2022-23 Flames vs 2021-22 Flames:

  • Wins: 2022-23 (38) Regular Season Wins vs. 2021-22 (50) Regular Season Wins
  • Points: 2022-23 (93) Regular Season Points vs. 2021-22 (111) Regular Season Points
  • Goal Leaders: 2022-23 – Tyler Toffoli (34) Goals vs. 2021-22 – Matthew Tkachuk & Elias Lindholm (42) Goals
  • Point Leaders: 2022-23 – Tyler Toffoli (73) Points vs. 2021-22 – Johnny Gaudreau (115) Points
  • Goaltending: 2022-23 – Jacob Markstrom (.897) Save % vs. 2021-22 (.922) Save %
  • Team Offense: 2022-23 – (3.15) Goals Scored Per Game vs. 2021-22 – (3.55) Goals Scored Per Game
  • Team Defense: 2022-23 – (3.01) Goals Scored Per Game vs. 2021-22 – (2.51) Goals Scored Per Game

In 2021-22 the Golden Knights stumbled and landed three points out of the playoffs. Vegas lacked scoring, struggled to keep the puck out of their own net, and couldn’t stay healthy. As many excuses as they could give, Vegas left for the summer with a bitter taste in their mouths. The comments coming out of Calgary suggest a team prepared to erase last season’s lack of success and mimic VGK’s championship run.

We’re always looking to step it up. It’s all about wanting to do better than the year before. So, that’s kind of the goal, obviously, when it comes to specific numbers, which I won’t get into. The bottom line: I just want to win. That’s all that really matters. –Nazem Kadri to NHL

Kadri was one of the biggest UFAs available last summer and the Flames locked him up to a 7-year/$49M contract. In 11 more games in 2022-23, Kadri recorded 31 fewer points than he had in his prior season with the Colorado Avalanche. While he wasn’t Calgary’s only underachiever, the lack of offense from him and pricey forward Jonathan Huberdeau severely impacted the Flames’ chances on a nightly basis.

It may have been a situation of unfamiliarity but both players are expecting a Golden Knights-type turnaround in 2023-24. Calgary witnessed a divisional rival piece together an incredible bounce-back season and they believe they can do the same.

I think a lot of guys on the team are ready to kind of play to their potential. For whatever reason, we got a little restricted last year, so I’m just looking forward to a clean slate and starting the year off strong. Any time you get fresh faces, it’s just a new energy and a new enthusiasm. So, of course, with the type of personnel we have, we can play creative. We have a lot of skill. –Kadri to

Most analysts assume the Pacific Division is the Golden Knights’ to lose. Los Angeles and Edmonton are excepted to keep the division close meanwhile Anaheim, San Jose, and Vancouver are considered rebuilding teams. That leaves Calgary and Seattle to push for a divisional or wild card spot. If the Flames can turn the clock back to 2022, it’s possible they can be Vegas’ biggest challenge to repeat as division champs.


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  1. Pistol Pete

    Without a defensive structure like the VGK Cassidy-coached one, it will be a tall order. They had a good season 2021-22 but lost in the second round or was it the first? Did not defend well enough. The Achilles Heel of most teams.

    • Pistol Pete

      Beat Dallas in seven lost to the Oilers in five.

    • Sorvino

      Pistol Pete, Bruce Cassidy was a massive part of the Stanley Cup victory. It would be amazing if he spent about a decade in Vegas and the players kept playing his system. He did have a rather long run in Boston and got fired after a 107 point season. Coaches usually have short shelf lives and Pete DeBoer who is a great coach is a perfect example. Let’s hope he has a Barry Trotz in Nashville type of run here with a couple of Stanley cups.

      On another note, I’m glad to see this comment section focussing on hockey and not on politics. It’s refreshing. I hope I didn’t jinx it.

  2. Jailbird

    Everyone will be gunning for the Knights all season. It will be a dogfight just to assure a playoff spot. The Eastern teams will not overlook us when we go to their buildings this year!

    • TS

      Agreed Jb. We owned a lot of away games last season, other teams won’t want to be embarrassed on their home ice anymore. Now….about those HOME game letdowns…..

    • Sorvino

      Jailbird, I am a bit more optimistic than you and don’t think that anybody was really overlooking Vegas last year. Vegas was just elite.

      Now that we have our Stanley Cup, I hope that the organization puts a bit more focus in stocking up on prospects.

      It was great to see Kolesar take over for Reaves, Whitecloud take over for Engelland, Thompson assert himself as a NHL’er, and I believe that one of or a combination of Dorofeyev and Cotter will replace Reilly Smith. So as barren as our prospect pool is, I do believe that it was a little bit underrated.

      Also, can’t forget that Zack Dean was regarded highly enough that they were able to get Barbashev.

      • Pistol Pete

        Sorvino the key to perpetuating a championship-quality roster in in replacing key players who are nearing the end of their career with elite players who are 5-6 years younger. For example if McCrimmon determines Marchy is in his last year he trades for a Nylander. You don’t need a huge prospect pool. Just replace retiring key players with their younger equivalent. The salary cap will increase very year making it easier to do it. The current prospect pool will yield a sufficient number of young depth players. A team does not need to decline to last place and rebuild with low draft picks. Look around and most teams with low draft picks don’t go very far anyways. A decent top six and depth in the bottom six. Vegas won a Cup with Eichel’s 66 pts in 67 games the top scorer. Playing the 200 ft. game across the four lines is the key. Don’t need 100 pt a season scorers.

      • Jailbird

        Nothing wrong with being optimistic. But might be harder for us than last year?

        • Pistol Pete

          Yes of course and I may keep oversimplying the whole defending is the key way of looking at it but its sure does fit. Just look at Edmonton and Toronto. They never seem to get over the top and are loaded with scorers. They say you don’t win Cups without good defense but what is lost on some/many observers is it’s all five skaters not just the D. The way Cassidy got Eichel the player with the most talent on the roster to buy into playing his end. The Cup would not have been won without it.

  3. Emmanuel

    The problem with Calgary is that no one wants to play there unless they have to. No knock as a city in general, just compared to OTHER NHL cities.

    • Mark

      Agree, Ottawa has the same problem, nobody wants to play their, its just a dud team overall. Cmon, Vegas compared to Calgary ? The fans are devoted though, I will give em that !!

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