We push the eggnog aside, the plates of Christmas cookies and rashes from quick test kits to look into the Calgary Flames’ crystal ball to make three bold predictions for 2022:
The Flames will have a new arena deal within the next year.
The latest stalemate will turn out to be similar to the four years earlier, when the Flames also walked away from the negotiating table.
Eventually, the mayor and city officials will come to their senses and realize that the city needs a new event center more than Flames does.
There is simply too much at stake for both sides to make a $ 10 million difference of opinion to ruin a $ 630 million project that has been underway for more than a decade.
After initially agreeing that the project would be a 50-50 proposal, the city has twice moved the goalposts of an agreement that would cause Flame’s ownership group to pay a disproportionate amount for an ice rink that the organization will not even own.
On top of that, they were willing to take on the risk of future increases in construction and design costs due to increases in commodity prices and supply chain problems as a result of the ongoing pandemic.
They were literally within months of breaking ground on an event center that is at the heart of the city’s development plan around an arts and culture district next to the 38-year-old Saddledome.
Both sides have poured too much money and time into the project to go away now.
This will be resolved.
The Flames will trade for a top defender who may or may not be Mark Giordano.
As good as his team has been defensive this season, coach Darryl Sutter constantly laments the fact that his group of blueliners are not moving the puck as fast as he would like, or getting involved offensively often enough.
The coach wants more of, well, what Giordano brought to the table in Calgary every night.
The fact is that each team could spend more of it, so the bid will be high on the former Flames captain when the trade deadline expires.
The debate over whether or not the Flames should or will go after a well-known and beloved item like Giordano will definitely be a hot topic in the new year.
Fitting his $ 6.75 million cap hit into the team’s cap structure would be a challenge, just as it would meet Seattle Kraken’s award demand.
Seattle’s request in the summer, to avoid choosing Giordano in the expansion draft, was a choice in the first round, as well as either a second or third man, depending on who you talk to.
You can bet the question will be just as high for the 38-year-old rent, with several bidders swirling around.
Although they choose to avoid Giordano sweepstakes, the Flames would like to strengthen their rear end, which needs more depth and experience.
If the Flames can continue to play as one of the top teams in the West, GM Brad Treliving will feel compelled to bolster his backside to a potential playoff.
Jacob Markstrom becomes finalist in Vezina Trophy
As sensational as the Flames’ best net memorabilia has played so far this season, he probably would not be the Vezina finalist if the season ended today.
The GMs voting for the award are likely to have Carolina’s Frederik Andersen, Toronto’s Jack Campbell and Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy in front of them at this point.
Consider how close the statistics for Vezina frontrunners are now:
Pittsburgh’s Tristan Jarry (15-5-4) and Andersen (16-5-0) both have 1.93 GAA, while Markstrom (10-6-5) and Campbell (15-5-2) have 1.94.
Vasilevskiy is at 2.14, but leads the loop in victories, at 17-4-3, and is widely considered to be the best goalie in the NHL the last handful of seasons.
The savings percentages for these five range from .928 (Vasilevskiy) to .937 (Campbell). Markstrom sits in the middle at .933.
Igor Shesterkin of the New York Rangers and Nashville’s Juuse Saros have also had starters who can keep them going as the season progresses.
Here it says that Markstrom’s stability and structure in front of him will help him surpass one or two of the current frontrunners to get a place at next summer’s NHL Awards.
The hype that accompanies Campbell’s unlikely success, Andersen’s resurrection and Vasilevskiy’s dominance will make it an uphill battle for the Flames goalkeeper.
But as his five shutouts testify, he is able to send numbers that will be hard to ignore at the end of the season.