Western Conference Preview

calgaryflames.com takes a look at the Western Conference for the 2012-13 season.

Saturday, 19.01.2013 / 8:38 PM / News
By Aaron Vickers  - CalgaryFlames.com (@aavickers)

Calgary Flames

Synopsis: The Flames underwent a bit of a renovation in the offseason, bringing in three intriguing pieces to a puzzle general manager Jay Feaster hopes to assemble into a contender in the NHL’s Western Conference. The additions of Roman Cervenka, Jiri Hudler and Dennis Wideman should provide Calgary with more of an offensive punch after finishing 27th in goals for a year ago. Hoping to help that cause will be rookie Sven Baertschi, who impressed in a short audition with the injury-riddled Flames last season.

In what could be Calgary’s biggest acquisition this summer, the Flames will welcome a new head coach in Bob Hartley, as well as associate coach Jacques Cloutier and assistant Martin Gelinas. Hartley & Co will be tasked with returning the organization to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2008-09.

Record All-Time: 1437-1214-379-94

Record Last Season: 37-29-16 (9th in Western Conference)

Who’s In: Roman Cervenka, Jiri Hudler, Dennis Wideman

Who’s Out: Guillaume Desbiens, Scott Hannan, Jordan Henry, Raitis Ivanans, Olli Jokinen, David Moss, Clay Wilson

Anaheim Ducks

Synopsis: Flip-flopping in and out of the playoffs the last four seasons, Anaheim has slightly remodeled a defense that now features Sheldon Souray and Bryan Allen. With new additions and a full (shortened) season with head coach Bruce Boudreau behind the bench, the Ducks should be treated with more caution than one would expect from the Western Conference’s 13th placed squad that the Calgary Flames managed to take five of a possible eight points from last year.

Calgary’s Record All-Time: 33-31-7-8

Calgary’s Record Head-To-Head Last Year: 2-1-1

Record Last Season: 34-36-12 (13th in Western Conference)

Who’s In: Sheldon Souray, Bryan Allen, Daniel Winnik, Brad Staubitz

Who’s Out: Lubomir Visnovsky, Sheldon Brookbank, George Parros

Top Scorers vs. Flames: Bobby Ryan – 4G 0A 4P

Flames Top Scorers: Jarome Iginla – 1G 2A 3P

Chicago Blackhawks

Synopsis: The Blackhawks will return a very familiar roster to the one that finished sixth in the Western Conference a year ago. With captain Jonathan Toews healthy after missing the final 22 games of the regular season a year ago, Chicago could be poised to make noise in the Central Division. A motivationally charged Blackhawks team has always played the Calgary Flames tough, splitting the season series at 4-4-0 over the last two seasons between the clubs.

Calgary’s Record All-Time: 61-61-26-4

Calgary’s Record Head-To-Head Last Year: 2-2-0

Record Last Season: 45-26-11 (6th in Western Conference)

Who’s In: Sheldon Brookbank

Who’s Out: Sami Lepisto

Top Scorers vs. Flames: Marian Hossa – 3G 2A 5P

Flames Top Scorers: Olli Jokinen – 3G 3A 6P

Colorado Avalanche

Synopsis: A Northwest Division rival eyeing a playoff appearance for the first time in three years, a young Avalanche core including Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog will continue to mature. For the Calgary Flames, who have gone 9-2-1 over the last two seasons against Colorado, similar success against the upstart Avalanche will go a long way to not only securing premium points, but also limit an inter-division team from doing the same.

Calgary’s Record All-Time: 64-51-20-7

Calgary’s Record Head-To-Head Last Year: 4-1-1

Record Last Season: 41-35-6 (11th in Western Conference)

Who’s In: Bryan Lerg, John Mitchell, PA Parenteau, Thomas Pock, Bill Thomas, Geoff Walker, Greg Zanon

Who’s Out: Jay McClement, Peter Mueller, Kevin Porter

Top Scorers vs. Flames: David Jones – 3G 1A 4P

Flames Top Scorers: Curtis Glencross – 3G 2A 5P

Columbus Blue Jackets

Synopsis: Though the Blue Jackets finished last in the Western Conference – and National Hockey League for that matter – the Calgary Flames had trouble with the struggling club after posting a 1-1-2 record against Columbus last season. Under new guidance with John Davidson and after trading franchise cornerstone Rick Nash to the New York Rangers for some fresh blood in the summer, a new look and a new attitude – both on the ice and in the front office – is expected out of Columbus.

Calgary’s Record All-Time: 21-18-0-5

Calgary’s Record Head-To-Head Last Year: 1-1-2

Record Last Season: 29-46-7 (15th in Western Conference)

Who’s In: Artem Anisimov, Adrian Aucoin, Sergei Bobrovsky, Brandon Dubinsky, Tim Erixon, Nick Foligno

Who’s Out: Dane Byers, Mark Dekanich, Steven Delisle, Alexandre Giroux, Aaron Johnson, Mark Methot, Rick Nash, Curtis Sanford

Top Scorers vs. Flames: Nikita Nikitin – 2G 3A 5P

Flames Top Scorers: Blake Comeau – 1G 2A 3P

Dallas Stars

Synopsis: With one of the more significant roster turnovers in the Western Conference, the Stars have overhauled an organization that has failed to make the playoffs in each of the last four seasons. By adding proven, veteran scoring in Jaromir Jagr and Ray Whitney, Dallas will be steep competition for a Calgary Flames squad setting sights on a playoff berth.

Calgary’s Record All-Time: 67-54-25-6

Calgary’s Record Head-To-Head Last Year: 1-1-2

Record Last Season: 42-35-5 (10th in Western Conference)

Who’s In: Derek Roy, Ray Whitney, Jaromir Jagr, Aaron Rome

Who’s Out: Mike Ribeiro, Steve Ott, Sheldon Souray, Adam Pardy, Adam Burish

Top Scorers vs. Flames: Mike Ribiero – 2G 3A 5P

Flames Top Scorers: Mike Cammalleri – 3G 3A 6P

Detroit Red Wings

Synopsis: After losing mainstays Tomas Holmstrom and Nicklas Lidstrom to retirement, 2013 could be a trying year the Red Wings and any potential struggle from Detroit – a team that hasn’t missed the playoffs since 1989-90 – will be of great benefit to the Western Conference. With former Red Wing Jiri Hudler eager to assist, the Calgary Flames will need to capitalize on any stumble in the Motor City.

Calgary’s Record All-Time: 63-64-16-4

Calgary’s Record Head-To-Head Last Year: 2-2-0

Record Last Season: 48-28-6 (5th in Western Conference)

Who’s In: Damien Brunner, Jonas Gustavsson, Mikael Samuelsson, Jordin Tootoo

Who’s Out: Chris Conner, Tomas Holmstrom, Jiri Hudler, Nicklas Lidstrom, Brad Stuart

Top Scorers vs. Flames: Ian White – 2G 3A 5P

Flames Top Scorers: Olli Jokinen – 2G 3A 5P

Edmonton Oilers

Synopsis: With points at a premium in a condensed schedule, the Calgary Flames will have to seize every opportunity against their Battle Of Alberta foe. With a 15-3-0 record over the course of the last three seasons, the Flames will have to make hay against an improved but inexperienced Oilers squad that will feature the last three 1st overall picks in Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov.

Calgary’s Record All-Time: 104-84-19-3

Calgary’s Record Head-To-Head Last Year: 4-2-0

Record Last Season: 32-40-10 (14th in Western Conference)

Who’s In: Dane Byers, Mark Fistric, Justin Schultz, Nail Yakupov

Who’s Out: Taylor Chorney, Ryan Keller, Hunter Tremblay

Top Scorers vs. Flames: Jordan Eberle – 2G 6A 8P

Flames Top Scorers: Olli Jokinen – 2G 3A 5P

Los Angeles Kings

Synopsis: After sneaking into the playoffs as the 8th seed last season, the Kings couldn’t have painted a better picture for the end of their season, capturing the Stanley Cup. Los Angeles will return a near identical roster to one that saw them become hockey’s top team. That doesn’t mean the Calgary Flames are going to be intimidated by their Western Conference opponent, though, especially after splitting the season series against former head coach and general manager Darryl Sutter.

Calgary’s Record All-Time: 109-79-21-4

Calgary’s Record Head-To-Head Last Year: 2-2-0

Record Last Season: 40-27-5 (58th in Western Conference)

Who’s In: Anthony Stewart

Who’s Out: Ethan Moreau, Kevin Westgarth

Top Scorers vs. Flames: Dustin Brown – 3G 1A 4P

Flames Top Scorers: Mike Cammalleri – 2G 0A 2P

Minnesota Wild

Synopsis: The Calgary Flames found much success over the Wild last year taking nine of a possible 12 points from Minnesota, but the club will be much improved after offseason signings of high profile free agents Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. After consecutive 12th-place finishes in the Western Conference, expectations are sky high in the ‘State of Hockey’ as Minnesota looks to chase down its first playoff appearance since 2008.

Calgary’s Record All-Time: 39-19-4-7

Calgary’s Record Head-To-Head Last Year: 4-1-1

Record Last Season: 35-36-11 (12th in Western Conference)

Who’s In: Brian Connelly, Jake Dowell, Zenon Konopka, Torrey Mitchell, Zach Parise, Ryan Suter

Who’s Out: Erik Christensen, Nick Johnson, Guillaume Latendresse, Mike Lundin, Warren Peters

Top Scorers vs. Flames: Dany Heatley – 3G 2A 5P

Flames Top Scorers: Jarome Iginla – 4G 2A 6P

Nashville Predators

Synopsis: Establishing themselves as one of the elite organizations in the Western Conference over the course of the last three seasons, the Predators will discover life without all-star defenseman Ryan Suter, who left Nashville via free agency. While the team did add former Calgary Flames defenseman Scott Hannan in the offseason, the impact of Suter’s absence remains to be seen and could spell opportunity for a Flames team that won just once against the Predators last year.

Calgary’s Record All-Time: 24-23-4-2

Calgary’s Record Head-To-Head Last Year: 1-3-0

Record Last Season: 48-26-8 (4th in Western Conference)

Who’s In: Sebastien Caron, Scott Hannan, Chris Mason, Mike Moore

Who’s Out: Francis Bouillon, Jack Hillen, Andrei Kostitsyn, Anders Lindback, Alexander Radulov, Ryan Suter, Kyle Wilson

Top Scorers vs. Flames: Sergei Kostitsyn – 4G 0A 4P

Flames Top Scorers: Jarome Iginla – 1G 1A 2P

Phoenix Coyotes

Synopsis: The Coyotes are hoping to continue to solidify their presence in the Western Conference after participating in the playoffs in each of the last three seasons and winning the Pacific Division last year. Phoenix could have trouble replicating that success after losing leading scorer Ray Whitney to free agency, though the additions of Steve Sullivan and former Calgary Flames forward David Moss could soften the blow. If not, the Flames will look to replicate last season’s success against the Coyotes, stealing six of a possible eight points against Phoenix.

Calgary’s Record All-Time: 78-65-20-6

Calgary’s Record Head-To-Head Last Year: 2-0-2

Record Last Season: 42-27-13 (3rd in Western Conference)

Who’s In: Zbynek Michalek, David Moss, Nick Johnson, Steve Sullivan

Who’s Out: Ray Whitney, Adrian Aucoin, Taylor Pyatt

Top Scorers vs. Flames: Ray Whitney – 1G 3A 4P

Flames Top Scorers: Alex Tanguay – 2G 3A 5P

St. Louis Blues

Synopsis: One of the biggest breakouts of the season last year, the Blues will set their sights on their second consecutive Central Division crown. The maturing club can be expected to overcome the losses of a few veterans and continue moving forward. With just one victory over the Blues last year, the Calgary Flames will hope to improve on that mark against one of the Western Conference’s best.

Calgary’s Record All-Time: 72-64-14-4

Calgary’s Record Head-To-Head Last Year: 1-3-0

Record Last Season: 49-22-11 (2nd in Western Conference)

Who’s In: Taylor Chorney, Scott Ford, Mike McKenna, Andrew Murray, Wade Redden, Jeff Woywitka

Who’s Out: Jason Arnott, Carlo Colaiacovo, B.J. Crombeen

Top Scorers vs. Flames: Jason Arnott – 3G 1A 4P

Flames Top Scorers: Curtis Glencross – 2G 2A 4P

San Jose Sharks

Synopsis: The Sharks have been a mainstay in the playoffs with eight consecutive appearances in the postseason. There is little to suggest San Jose isn’t capable of running that streak to nine games. The club did lose important forward Torrey Mitchell to the Minnesota Wild, but added one-time Calgary Flames defenseman Brad Stuart has been added to the fold, bolstering an already solid defense. While another playoff berth isn’t guaranteed from the Sharks, the Calgary Flames will look to take as many points away from a potential competitor in the Western Conference chase.

Calgary’s Record All-Time: 49-34-8-3

Calgary’s Record Head-To-Head Last Year: 2-1-1

Record Last Season: 43-29-10 (7th in Western Conference)

Who’s In: Brad Stuart, Adam Burish

Who’s Out: Torrey Mitchell, Daniel Winnik

Top Scorers vs. Flames: Logan Couture – 3G 1A 4P

Flames Top Scorers: Jarome Iginla – 2G 3A 5P

Vancouver Canucks

Synopsis: Serving as the reigning President Trophy winners and victors of the Northwest Division for four consecutive seasons, the Canucks have lofty expectations to live up to again. Little roster turnover will return a similar squad this season, though concerns of when former Selke Trophy winner Ryan Kesler will return exist. With inter-division games as important as ever with the condensed schedule, the Calgary Flames will aim even higher than the 3-2-1 record they were able to post against Vancouver last year.

Calgary’s Record All-Time: 122-81-33-9

Calgary’s Record Head-To-Head Last Year: 3-2-1

Record Last Season: 51-22-9 (1st in Conference)

Who’s In: Cam Barker, Guillaume Desbiens, Jason Garrison, Derek Joslin, Patrick Mullen

Who’s Out: Marc-Andre Gragnani, Mark Mancari, Samuel Pahlsson, Aaron Rome, Sami Salo

Top Scorers vs. Flames: Alex Edler – 1G 5A 6P

Flames Top Scorers: Mike Cammalleri – 4G 1A 5P