The Calgary Flames, last year’s Cinderella team, have clearly struggled out of the gate. They have won two of their first eight games and are in second-to-last place of the Pacific Division. They have beaten the Vancouver Canucks and the Detroit Red Wings and both victories came in overtime. Things have to change if they want to compete in the Western Conference.
Forward Matt Stajan is the only player on the plus side of the plus/minus statistic, and the team has already placed goaltender Karri Ramo on waivers. The goaltending has been shaky as the organization has given up 31 goals in the first eight games of the campaign, and starting netminder Jonas Hiller has given up 19 of those.
This week they have four games against the New York Islanders, Ottawa Senators, Montreal Canadiens and then Halloween night against the Edmonton Oilers. The team has cut down their goaltending trio to two men, and if losses mount, it is a matter of time before discussions have to be made about a coaching change regarding Bob Hartley.
Head coach Randy Carlyle is already rumored to be considered in with the struggling Anaheim Ducks. Current Flames President Brian Burke had a connection to Carlyle during his tenures with the Ducks and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Coach Hartley joined the Flames organization just after the recent NHL lockout. He has coached the team to 101 regular season victories since joining them in the 2012-13 campaign. In addition to the 101 wins, he has also won five of the team’s 11 playoff games in his tenure.
The big winner in all of this could easily be the Maple Leafs. If Carlyle gets a new job with a franchise, Toronto gets a draft pick as compensation for his services. With the rumored potential openings, the Leafs could be sitting pretty by doing absolutely nothing.