The Calgary Flames have been ripping up the stats lately and winning a lot of games. Maybe it has something to do with the father’s trip, or maybe they’re just getting better as the season goes on. Either way, I don’t hear a lot of people complaining too much about the team recently. And if they are, well, shame on them.
Speaking of complaining, I have something to say about T.J. Brodie. It was a mere few weeks ago when I mentioned that Brodie may have needed a bit more time to get his groove back. It turns out, I was right. He didn’t have the best start to the season, he didn’t seem to be playing his best hockey, and he may not have had a fast start to the season. But Brodie is back with a vengeance.
Back in October, he had a lot of negative ratings, multiple turnovers, and lack of chances on offense. His defensive skills seemed to take a fall and his offensive skills seemed non-existent. But, throughout the month of November, Brodie started a comeback. He hasn’t had a negative rating since October 27th. He notched two goals and five assists in November. December has started off well for the veteran defenseman as well. He scored his first goal against the Blue Jackets on December 4th in dramatic fashion, soaring in from the blue line to slam one home in the Flames 9-6 win over Columbus. And in the December 6th game against the Minnesota Wild, Brodie had a +2 rating. I think December will be a good month for T.J. Brodie.
There has been some movement in the Flames organization lately, including a trade. Morgan Klimchuk, who was drafted in 2013 by Calgary was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs organization and is now playing with the Marlies. Klimchuk played one game with the Flames in the 2017-2018 season but didn’t register any stats in his 7:25 on ice. While with the Stockton Heat this season, Klimchuk played 17 games and earned 3 goals and 5 assists. In his 3 games with the Marlies since being traded he’s already notched 2 goals.
In exchange for Klimchuk, the Calgary Flames acquired 22 year old Andrew Nielsen. Nielsen is a big body on the blue line who has offensive power with his hard shot. With Juuso Valimaki considered day-to-day with an injury, the Flames will need some backup down the pipes if injuries continue to plague the Calgary defensive pairings.
After the departure of Morgan Klimchuk, it was announced that Dillon Dube was being sent back down to the Stockton Heat. On November 3rd, Dube played a mere 14 seconds before he was hit awkwardly into the boards by Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks and exited the game, not to return. He missed the following 3 games and returned on November 17th, but didn’t seem to be playing to his highest standard of hockey. Just when he started to get his skating legs back, earning an assist in the game against the Dallas Stars, the Flames sent him to Stockton. Whether or not Dube will return to the NHL club is yet to be seen.
In place of Dube, Andrew Mangiapane got the call-up. In 13 games with the Stockton Heat, Mangiapane notched 7 goals and 7 assists. December 2nd, he saw almost 9 minutes of ice time and his stock seems to be going up. In spite of having no points yet with the Calgary team, Mangiapane logged almost 12 minutes of ice time with the team against the Minnesota Wild on December 6th and made quite an impact on the fourth line. Drafted in 2015 by Calgary, Mangiapane is a fast-skating, play-making forward with a lot of potential in his NHL career.
Ryan Lomberg was also called up to the NHL club recently and has played 3 games with the Flames. He is an action-packed, adventurous player who makes big hits and holds nothing back on the ice. Case in point, December 6th against the Minnesota Wild. When Matt Dumba made a questionable hit on Mikael Backlund at center ice that sent him down the tunnel, Lomberg instantly sprang into action, taking Dumba to the ice and feeding him fists. Ryan Lomberg doesn’t put up with bad behavior on the ice. As a result of his actions against Dumba, Lomberg received a 1-game suspension. In my opinion, he did what he had to do to make a point during the game and defend what he believed was right. He proved his loyalty to the team and he wouldn’t let bad behaviour go unanswered. He may not have any points yet, and he may not be as refined as some of the veteran players, but Ryan Lomberg could be an asset to the Calgary Flames with his grit and truculence.
Stats and Facts
In their last 10 games, the Calgary Flames have been relatively consistent. They usually come on strong and have a moment or two throughout each game when they let off the gas, but not enough to completely lose the game. They are playing some fast-paced, hard-hitting hockey, thanks in part to Matthew Tkachuk, Garnet Hathaway, and Ryan Lomberg, and it’s earning them wins more often than not. They have a record of 8 wins and 2 losses, with accolades going to many of the Flames players who have earned their spot on the leaderboard.
As of this writing, Johnny Gaudreau is in 6th place in points with 37 (not to mention his 25 assists), Mark Giordano is in 6th place in assists with 26, and T.J. Brodie is in first place in +/- with a +21 rating. Other notable players include Sean Monahan with 17 goals and 33 points and Elias Lindholm with 15 goals and 32 points.
Seems the Flames have really come together and worked hard throughout the month of November after a shaky start to their season. December is starting off well too and they need to keep the pace going if they plan to continue their winning ways.
The Flames will host the Nashville Predators on Saturday, December 8th before heading to Edmonton to take on the Oilers in another installment of the Battle of Alberta on Sunday, December 9th.