Handicapping Avs, Flames race for 8th place

flamesavs.jpgIt’s pretty obvious that barring another crazy occurrence, the Calgary Flames and Colorado Avalanche are in a two-horse race for the Western Conference’s eighth seed. The two teams are going in completely different directions right now, with the Flames on a three game winning streak while the Avs are on a four game skid. On the bright side for Avs fans, the team has a game in hand and more wins (the first tiebreaker).


So which club holds the advantage? I think the best way to guess is to compare the two team’s remaining schedules.

Colorado’s last few games: home against San Jose, on the road against Vancouver and Edmonton, then two games at home against Chicago and Los Angeles.

Calgary’s last few games: on the road against Chicago, at home against San Jose and Minnesota, then a game on the road against Vancouver.

The two team’s schedules are remarkably similar. Both play against the three Western Conference division winners in San Jose, Chicago and Vancouver. Each team has one cream puff matchup (Edmonton for Colorado, Minnesota for Calgary). If things go beyond the simple wins tiebreaker, the Avs also hold the head-to-head series tiebreaker with a 3-2-1 record against Calgary. So, basically, the Flames need to finish the year with at least one more point than the Avs if they want to make the playoffs.

So, ultimately, the question is: will the Avs get it together or will the red-hot Flames take advantage of Colorado’s struggles?

Flames release Ryan Wilson from PTO

Ryan Wilson, Sidney Crosby
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The Calgary Flames have released Ryan Wilson from his professional tryout.

The 28-year-old was trying to make a comeback after missing 79 games with a shoulder injury last season.

Even with T.J. Brodie sidelined because of a broken hand, Wilson still faced long odds to make the final roster.

The veteran will be hard-pressed to find NHL work with another team.

He hasn’t suited up in more than 12 regular season games since 2011-12.

The Stockton Heat, Calgary’s AHL affiliate, also made some news on Sunday.

The club announced that they’ve signed Colton Orr to an AHL contract.

The 33-year-old tough guy suited up in just one game for the Toronto Maple Leafs last season. He has 12 seasons of NHL experience under his belt.

‘Yotes return Dylan Strome to OHL

Dylan Strome, Nikita Nikitin

The Arizona Coyotes have returned Dylan Strome to the Erie Otters of the OHL.

Strome, 18, was the third overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft.

The 6’3, 185 pounder was hoping to stick with the Coyotes this season, but the team decided to take the conservative approach with their top prospect.

Strome will look to build off an incredible junior season that saw him score 45 goals and 129 points in 68 games.

Strome seems to be taking the demotion in stride.

The team also announced that they’ve assigned goaltender Louis Domingue and forward Matthias Plachta to their AHL affiliate in Springfield.

Domingue, 23, had a 1-2-1 record with a 2.73 goals-against-average and a .911 save percentage in seven games last season.

Plachta, a free agent signing, will begin his first pro season in North America. The 24-year-old had 14 goals and 35 points in the German League last season.