The Calgary Flames took a hard hit at last season’s trade deadline. They lost the face of the organization, and team captain, Jarome Iginla to the Pittsburgh Penguins. There, he made it to the Conference Finals to be dominated by the Boston Bruins. The deal was pretty good for Iginla’s part, but what about the Flames? Now that he is gone, who is going to step up? Which players are going to come out to play hard this season?
First up is Steve Begin. He has played in the NHL since 1997, and has bounced from team to team. He started in Calgary, producing no points in 5 games. He then joined the Saint John Flames (AHL) for the next two season, being brought back up in his second AHL season. He recorded 2 points in 13 games. After leaving Calgary in 2003, he played with Montreal (and Hamilton), Dallas, Boston, and Nashville. Due to injury, he did not compete in the 2011-12 season. Now, back as a Flame last year, he put up 8 points in 36 games. He isn’t the strongest player, but I think that he has enough experience and knowledge of the game that he is ready to step it up. He only has 108 points in 524 NHL games, but he has never seen a full season. This could be his year, and hopefully injury doesn’t cut him off before he can show us his true potential.
Jiri Hudler was acquired by Calgary from the Detroit Red Wings after the 2011-12 season. For Calgary, he put up 27 points in 42 games. That brought his NHL totals to 241 points in 4551 games. He is best known for assists, and that is exactly what this team needs; someone who is good at giving the perfect scoring opportunity to them. The Flames could use this, and they can play good next year. I think Hudler has a great chance at getting a 30+ point season this year, and most of those coming from the assist column. Hudler could be a big star in Calgary, and this is his year to prove it.
Joey MacDonald, another former Red Wing, put up an 8-5-1 record in his last season with the Red Wings. Last year, he put up a record of 8-9-1 in 21 games. It’s easy to throw out the idea of a goaltender who has played this poorly under the bus. Watching him play in Detroit was like watching someone learn their way around anything. I think he has a lot of potential on this team, and if it’s true about Miikka Kiprusoff retiring, than MacDonald could be just the guy to step up into the starting role. He can produce some number, but he will have a huge mountain to climb.
Tell me who you think will succeed for the Flames next season. Email me at dylan.nardone@gm[email protected] or the website at [email protected]. You can tweet us @tmmots or me @NardoneDylan. Hope to hear your choices for players to succeed next season.