The Calgary Flames added some key pieces to their roster during the off-season in hopes of returning to the playoffs.
The Flames tried stabilizing their goaltending situation by acquiring Brian Elliott from St. Louis and they added a power forward in free agency when they signed Troy Brouwer. The fact that they were able to sign Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau to extensions could only be seen as a good thing.
Unfortunately for them, the numbers haven’t been pretty so far this season.
According to their president of hockey operations, Brian Burke, one of the glaring issues with this team is that their best players aren’t performing well enough.
“Our top guys aren’t getting it done,” Burke told Sportsnet radio 960. “I’m not one for calling players out or naming names, but our top guys are not playing up to their level. Early in the season you can point to new coach, new systems, (Gaudreau) and (Monahan) both missed training camp. Those were all legitimate reasons for a slow start, they’re not legitimate reasons now. 15 games in or 14 games in, whatever it is, those are excuses now.”
As Burke mentioned, both his young stars missed training and it could be a contributing factor to their slow start.
After scoring 30 goals and 78 points last season, Gaudreau has just two goals, six assists and a minus-11 rating in 14 games. Monahan, who had 27 goals and 63 points in 15-16, has four goals, one assist and a minus-10 rating this year.
“Obviously, you’ve got guys entering into new contracts, new postal codes in terms of money and I think that’s very common in my experience,” added Burke.
“I’ve seen this happen probably 50 times in that time, where you give a player a new contract so he has 70 points the year before and he thinks in his mind ‘now I have to get 90 points.'”
There’s no doubt that the Flames need those two players to break out of their funks if they’re going to turn things around.
Calgary has lost four of their last five contests with Monahan and Gaudreau contributing just two assists during that stretch.
The Flames will have a couple of days off before they take on the Dallas Stars on Thursday night. Calgary will enter that game with a 5-8-1 record.