5 Players the Calgary Flames Should Build Around in 2014

5 Players for the Calgary Flames to Build Around in 2014

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Ever since Jarome Iginla left Calgary, the Flames have struggled to form a new identity. But thanks to a slew of young talent combined with a few veteran defensemen, they may be right on the cusp of breaking back into the postseason. Here are five players the Flames must rally around next season.

5. Sean Monahan

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5. Sean Monahan

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At just 19 years old, Sean Monahan had 34 points in his rookie season and still has two years left on his entry-level contract. If the Flames want to build their offense around a young, talented player with a scoring touch, Monahan is a good place to begin building that foundation.

4. Mark Giordano

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4. Mark Giordano

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If the Flames want to build a successful organization, they have to invest in a leader who can command the troops both on and off the ice. Mark Giordano has slowly turned into an elite defenseman in the NHL and is one of the most underrated players in the game. If the Flames can get back into the playoff picture, Giordano could make a run at a Norris Trophy – he actually received one first-place vote this year.

3. Karri Ramo

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3. Karri Ramo

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No team rebuilds successfully without a great goaltender, and while Karri Ramo is far from a household name, he could very well be one after next season. The Finn is only 27 years old and posted a respectable 17-15-6 record last season. If the Flames can put their trust in Ramo and he's able to stay healthy for an entire 82-game season, the Flames may end up back in the postseason.

2. T.J. Brodie

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2. T.J. Brodie

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T.J. Brodie enters next season in a contract year and will be fighting night in and night out to prove that he is worth more than the $ 2.1 million he's owed in 2014-15. With only five defensemen currently signed, Calgary will hopefully get another young player to command the blue line with Brodie for the upcoming season. At just 24 years old, Brodie's youth will complement seasoned vets Mark Giordano and Dennis Wideman on the Flames' blue line.

1. Johnny Gaudreau

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1. Johnny Gaudreau

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Listed at just 5-foot-9, 150 pounds, many skeptics are quick to write off Johnny Gaudreau as a future star because of his size. But after 95 points in 79 games with Boston College and nine points in seven games representing the United States at the 2013 World Juniors, he has proven he knows how to find the twine. In 2014-15, Gaudreau should become an NHL regular, so look for him to have a breakout season.