The Calgary Flames represent one of the more disappointing franchises in the NHL in recent years. The past couple of years have seen general manager Jay Feaster make foolish moves, as well as the fact that he finally traded the face of the franchise in Jarome Iginla.
Which is why many might describe this Flames roster as “in shambles”. They have some solid veterans, but no true gamebreakers, which means a very bleak outlook for the immediate future. But there may be some positive news for this franchise yet. In fact, there may be something of a core coming together for the Flames.
Trading several players in the past couple of years, such as Iginla and Jay Bouwmeester, has allowed Feaster to stock up young talent. Whether or not that young talent will ever develop into what it could be remains to be seen. But there are several young players on the roster that could make up a decent core in the future.
This is a Flames roster that currently boasts 10 players that were born in 1989 or later. That doesn’t necessarily mean that all of those young players are set to become stars, or will even be key pieces for the Flames in the future. But it does mean something.
Two forwards on the roster, Mikael Backlund and Sven Baertschi, were able to take away plenty of positives from their 2013 campaign, particularly Baertschi, who ended his season on a very high note. When healthy, Backlund was an effective player. Max Reinhart showed that he belongs at this level towards the end of the year as well.
On the blue line, T.J. Brodie has the makings of a franchise cornerstone. He’s a young puck-moving defenseman capable of logging top pairing minutes. The Flames will likely lock him up on a long term deal this summer, as a key piece of this blue line moving forward.
That’s not to mention the prospects that the Flames having coming up through the ranks, whether still in junior or playing in the AHL. Johnny Gaudreau will certainly make an impact soon. Between the pipes, Reto Berra could build off of a great appearance at Worlds and make an impact next year.
The botom line is that this team has plenty of reason to be excited for the future. There is plenty of young talent coming up that has already made its debut, or will do so very soon. They’re not going to turn it around next season, but they’ll make some noise within these next few years.