Let’s revisit the 2021-22 regular season. The Calgary Flames were a formidable force during that campaign. Modern hockey statistics, such as Corsi and expected goals, painted a picture of a Stanley Cup-calibre team. However, Calgary received a wake-up call after a devastating loss to their biggest rival, the Edmonton Oilers, in the second round of the playoffs.
To make matters worse, they lost not one but two 100-point players in the offseason. General manager Brad Treliving tried to address the issue by bringing in forwards Jonathan Huberdeau and Nazem Kadri before the start of the 2022-23 season to replace Matthew Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreau. However, the transition didn’t go as planned.
The 2022-23 Calgary Flames were a paper tiger that not only failed to meet expectations but also missed the chance to compete for the Cup altogether. This was a bitter pill to swallow for fans and especially bettors, as the Flames had entered the season with high hopes and had remained an analytics darling throughout, ranking only behind the Anaheim Ducks and the San Jose Sharks in terms of profitability for bettors last season.
2023/24 Season Forecast
Each season, I conduct simulations, running tens of thousands of scenarios to forecast projected point totals for all 32 NHL teams. These projections take into account various factors, such as team strength, scheduling, and historical trends. This approach allows me to gauge the likelihood of each team achieving specific milestones, like winning their respective division, reaching the playoffs, or even hoisting the Stanley Cup.
The graphic below presents the anticipated point distribution for the upcoming season of the Calgary Flames, outlining a spectrum of potential outcomes. It also offers insights into their chances of securing the Pacific Division title, earning a playoff berth, and contending for the Stanley Cup.
This year’s outlook for Calgary offers a considerably less optimistic view than the positivity of a year ago. The uncertainty surrounding how the new players would fit in led to many sports bettors making inaccurate predictions and ultimately, poor bets.
While the Flames were a strong puck-possession team, securing the 2nd position in shot attempts per 60 minutes, they finished with the fewest expected goals of any of the top five teams in the shot category. In other words, Calgary created a lot of their own bad luck by playing in a suboptimal way.
Pounding the puck at the opposition’s goal without much rhyme or reason worked in 2021-22, but the Flames were arguably the best defensive team in the league that season. Not to mention, Jacob Markstrom’s strong play provided them with a significant boost.
However, the Flames’ goaltenders weren’t particularly effective in 2022-23, and the team’s inability to score put a lot of pressure on them. This resulted in the Flames losing many games where they outshot the opposition, sometimes by a wide margin.
All of this led to head coach Darryl Sutter’s firing, and now it’s Ryan Huska’s job to clean up after his predecessor. Huska didn’t receive much help from management over the summer either.
New general manager Craig Conroy’s one significant move this offseason was replacing Tyler Toffoli, an impactful player who just had the best season of his career, with Yegor Sharangovich, a middle-of-the-pack 25-year-old. This team is likely relying too much on unknown quantities like Sharagovich and other young players competing for roster spots.
|To Win Stanley Cup||+4000|
|To Win Western Conference||+1600|
|To Win Pacific Division||+750|
|To Make The Playoffs||Yes (-145) / No (+115)|
|Season Point Total||94.5 = Over (-115) / Under (-115)|
To Win The Division (+750)
The Flames posted a .375 win percentage in one-goal games last season, and the easy prediction is that luck will be on their side this season. If only it were that simple.
Their playoff chances are promising, but the gap between them and teams like the Edmonton Oilers and Vegas Golden Knights is wide, and Calgary’s ceiling isn’t as high as it was when Tkachuk and Gaudreau were coming into their prime as team leaders.
It’s a significant change. They were the favourites to win the Pacific Division at this time last year. But they were an enigma, and now they’re not. The Flames still have a 3% shot at winning the division, but their odds should be closer to +3000, not +750.
Their ceiling just isn’t as high as it was when Tkachuk and Gaudreau, both entering their prime, were leading the team, compared to being led by Nazem Kadri and Jonathan Huberdeau. The latter might bounce back by putting up some big numbers this year, but it’s not going to be enough to beat out the rest of the teams in the division unless Markstrom has a huge year in goal as well.
To Make The Playoffs (-145)
Still, following all the disappointment of the 2022-23 campaign, Flames’ fans might find solace in the fact that the team secured playoff berths in 68% of simulations, averaging 95.3 regular-season points.
When considering all the future bets available for the Flames, many bettors might overlook this market due to its popularity, but this particular wager holds the most value based on the forecast. The key lies in the significant 9% difference between my projection and the odds (-145).
While a Calgary playoff berth isn’t guaranteed, the Flames are a solid bet to be among the eight qualifying teams, as the odds conversion at -145 translates to a 59% likelihood. I’m not particularly enthusiastic about any of the Flames’ futures bets, and this market exemplifies how strategies that once worked may not continue to do so indefinitely. Use our Sports Betting Calculator to estimate the potential payout.
Calgary Flames to Make Playoffs
Over the years, playoff odds have gotten sharper, and it’s a lot harder to find a bargain price on a team like Calgary that missed the playoffs the year before despite strong indicators that suggest they probably should’ve made it. The betting market is constantly changing and evolving, and bettors have to continually adapt to the new environment.
All I know for sure about the Flames is that I’m not excited about placing bets on them. It’s frustrating to watch them dominate the game for over 60 minutes, only to see them lose by a single goal, whether in regulation, overtime, or, even worse, a shootout.
Expect to see more season betting previews here at Canada Sports Betting in the coming days as we continue our countdown of the top teams in the country and examine the NHL futures market to find value bets to consider.