• Vintage Hockey League

S16 - Flames on fire at the halfway point [WB5]


The 2005-06 season looked to be a tough season for the Flames. They lost two of their leading scorers as Greg Hawgood retired and Teemu Selanne hit it big in UFA signing an almost eleven million dollar deal to play in St Louis. While Flames fans watched as UFA after UFA rejected the Flames offers, a silver lining appeared as some teams now faced the cap crunch after signing high ticket UFA’s. It was one of those deals that brought Daniel Sedin to Calgary, and a little hope to the fans. A later deal in which Calgary sent a few picks and prospects brought in Brad Richards and Jere Lehtinen, and the Flames were back in business.

The Flames had an average start to the season, going 4-4-2 in their first ten games. Going 6-1-3 in their second set of ten games kept them near the top in one of the tightest divisions in the league. 6-2-1 and an OT loss put the Flames at the top of their division with 39 points. Going 8-1-2 to close out the first half of the season gives the Flames a solid lead in the Pacific and a slight lead as the top team in the VHL.

The Flames are led by the league’s leading scorer in Andrew Ference and the league’s top goalie in Ryan Miller. Flames defenceman Andrew Hutchinson should also be in contention as the top rookie this season as prior to this season he has only played a grand total of 28 minutes and 58 seconds for any pro team. Hutchinson would be tied for fourth in rookie scoring if he qualified as a rookie.

As a team, the Flames are leading the league in a number of categories, including goals for and goals against. The Flames are clicking on the Powerplay at a 26% clip and are one of the top PK teams allowing on 23 shorthanded goals.

As we all know, these numbers really mean absolutely nothing. The Flames could continue on to a 110+ point season, or they could coast into the playoffs as a low seed. I the Flames favour is the fact that the team has multiple players on pace for 30 goals. A few on pace for 20 goals and a few on pace for 15 or more goals. The Flames have some depth and did not falter when number two Centre Brad Richards missed 15 games early in the season. This is a team that has 4 lines that can put the puck in the net, and they all play the 200 foot game. Waiver Wire Centreman Paul DiPietro is a +9 since joining the team, and he epitomizes what it means to put on the Flames jersey this season. Paul goes out there, wins a lot of faceoffs and plays solid defensive hockey. His hard work allows his line mates to shine, as the three of them have combined to score 16 even strength goals.

The Flames faithful are hopeful the team can continue at this pace.  Team morale is high, the fans are out in full force supporting the team, and we will have to wait and see how it all turns out.

Regular season final predictions

Flames will finish with 110 points

Andrew Ference will finish with 99 points

Ryan Miller will finish with 42 wins

Miller, Ferrence, Corvo, Heatly, and Moore will have career years.


WC 569