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NHL Calgary Flames

5 Questions the Calgary Flames Must Answer By October

5 Questions the Calgary Flames Must Answer Before October

Calgary Flames v Vancouver Canucks
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The Calgary Flames haven't made the playoffs since 2009 and didn't make a lot of noise in the beginning of the offseason, but they did manage to sign a role player and acquire a new goaltender. Before the puck drops on the Flames' 2014-15 season, here are five questions that must be answered.

5. Who Will Mason Raymond Play With?

Mason Raymond picture
Tom Szczerbowski - USA TODAY Sports

5. Who Will Mason Raymond Play With?

Mason Raymond picture
Tom Szczerbowski - USA TODAY Sports

As far as forwards go, Mason Raymond has been the biggest acquisition for the Flames this offseason, but the coaching staff will need to decide where he fits in the lineup. No matter who his center is, it would be best to put Raymond – who has over 450 games of NHL experience – on the opposite side of Johnny Gaudreau. "Johnny Hockey" could really benefit playing next to a seasoned veteran who's coming off a 45-point season with Toronto.

4. What Will the Goaltender Split Be?

jonas hiller
Rick Osentoski - USA TODAY Sports

4. What Will the Goaltender Split Be?

jonas hiller
Rick Osentoski - USA TODAY Sports

It's no question that recently-acquired Jonas Hiller will be the starter in Calgary, but how much time will backup goaltender Karri Ramo see? Hiller is a solid netminder, but he's far from elite, and Ramo had a respectable stat line last season with the Flames. The length of the leash on Hiller needs to be determined, and if he struggles early, don't be shocked if Hiller is pulled permanently. If you don't believe me, just ask John Gibson.

3. How Will They Generate More Shots?

Joe Colbourne
Sergei Belski - USA TODAY Sports

3. How Will They Generate More Shots?

Joe Colborne
Sergei Belski - USA TODAY Sports

One of the biggest problems the Flames had last season was finding a way to generate shots on the opposing cage. If they want to make a run at making the postseason for the first time since 2009, one of their biggest improvements will need to be finding a way to produce around 31 shots per game, which would put them in the top third of the league in that department.

2. Can They Improve the Power Play?

Matt Stajan
Sergei Belski - USA TODAY Sports

2. Can They Improve the Power Play?

Matt Stajan
Sergei Belski - USA TODAY Sports

Besides failing to generate enough shots, another department that needs improvement is the Flames' power play. Special teams is crucial to winning in the NHL, and without a major offensive signing this offseason, the system will need to be adjusted until they find a way to score more often with the man advantage. If all else fails, they need to get the puck up top to Mark Giordano and let him blast shots with traffic in front.

1. Can They Justify Deryk Engelland's Ridiculous Contract?

Deryk Engelland  copy
Getty Images

1. Can They Justify Deryk Engelland's Ridiculous Contract?

Deryk Engelland
Getty Images

There have been some bad contracts given out this offseason, but the Calgary Flames gave out by far the worst. I don't know how, but the Flames are going to have to somehow justify signing defenseman Deryk Engelland to a three-year, $8.7 million contract. He wasn't even a top-six talent with the Pittsburgh Penguins, and he'll likely be the sixth blueliner with Calgary, but maybe they're hiding something. I don't know, it just makes no sense.

Shane Darrow is an NHL writer for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @ShaneDarrow for up-to-date information, predictions and much more on the NHL offseason.