Calgary Flames '22-'23 Breakdown
September 29th, 2022
50-21-11 (111 Points)
Goals For: 293 (6th)
Goals Against: 208 (3rd)
The Calgary Flames had a roller coaster of an offseason and boy was it exciting. Day one started with Johnny Gaudreau opting not to resign in Calgary. We can go on about Gaudreau here but we’ll save him for when it’s time to talk about the Columbus Blue Jackets. Gaudreau not resigning in Calgary then affected pending restricted free agent Matthew Tkachuk’s decision. With Gaudreau leaving, Tkachuk made it clear to the organization that was unwilling to sign an extension. WIth Tkachuk pending free agency in a year, GM Brad Treliving was forced to explore trade options and with the Flames were all but considered dead losing their top two players 35 goal scorer Andrew Mangiapane was set to hit free agency on top of it. Flames fans were in store for a complete rebuild until July 22nd when, the Flames shocked the league by trading Matthew Tkachuk and a fourth round pick to the Florida Panthers in exchange for Jonathan Huberdeau, MacKenzie Weegar, a prospect, and a first round pick. Not only was Treliving about to flip Tkachuk for what I would consider triple the value, he was able to lock Huberdeau up for the next eight years in Calgary with an extension. After the Huberdeau trade things began to fall back into place for the Flames. Andrew Mangiapane signed 11 days later for three more years, and then on August 18th the Flames shocked everyone again by signing highly coveted free agent Nazem Kadri to a seven year deal. The Flames also brought in Kevin Rooney, Trevor Lewis, Michael Stone, Sonny Milano, and Brett Ritchie on one year deals or professional tryouts along with trading for Nikita Zadorov from the Chicago Blackhawks. The Flames offseason was one of the most activating and exciting ones in recent years and their moves set us up for some nice value on futures and prop bets.
Expectations for 2022-23
With the mention of all of these roster moves in the offseason, let’s evaluate expectations for the ‘22-’23 season. Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk scored 219 of the Flames total points last year both putting up over 40 goals. Replacing this production seemed impossible knowing both were going to be lost. While Treliving went out and brought in two huge names to keep this team a contender, expecting Huberdeau and Kadri to come in and replicate this production isn’t realistic. The good thing is, they only need to replicate the production we choose to make plays on from a betting standpoint. Jonathan Huberdeau is a player reaching career heights heading into his eleventh year in the league. Last year for the Panthers, Huberdeau reached career highs in assists (85) and points (115) for a +35 plus/minus and hit the thirty goal mark for the second time in his career. Huberdeau will be the focal point of this offense and as incredible as his year with Florida was last year, this was the player they’ve been waiting for. The fact that Florida not only traded him, but added additional pieces to the deal is incredible. Personally? I need Tkachuk and a first round pick to even consider moving Huberdeau and that’s only if I know I can’t resign him. I fully expect Huberdeau to come in with a chip on his shoulder for being traded taking the Flames on his back, and the addition of Kadri could help shake the culture of this team the way they need to take that next step in the playoffs. I don’t expect Huberdeau’s assists to reach the totals they did last season, I believe we will see a career year from him in terms of goals and will fill the role of Johnny Gaudreau as the Flames top star easily. As skilled as Tkachuk’s numbers say he is, the chemistry he had on the Flames top line with Gaudreau helped elevate him to the success he had. Replicating those numbers elsewhere should be difficult with Tyler Toffoli filling the void. Last year the Flames top line had three 40 goal scorers in Gaudreau, Lindholm, and Tkachuk. While we may not see three 40 goal scorers on the top line again, I expect we will see two of them with Huberdeau and Elias Lindholm. Lindholm will resume his role as the top line center being a very prominent piece next to Huberdeau, but Tyler Toffoli on the top line’s right wing wont produce the same way Tkachuk did. Toffoli is still a proven 20-30 goal scorer and the reason why I expect to see an increase in goals and decrease in assists from Huberdeau is due to Toffolli playing a better supporting role to Huberdeau as Huberdeau did to Giroux/Duclair and others he played with in Florida. Nazem Kadri comes in as the second line center with Andrew Mangiapne and Blake Coleman on his wings and I do worry about Kadri here. Kadri won’t be playing with the same level of talent on Calgary’s second line as he did in Colorado or Toronto and it’s been some time since the aging forward has reached the 30 goal mark. Kadri and this second line will do well, the Flames will win, and we’ll do a better job making money on this team in our pre-season future bets than I believe we will be betting this team game by game during the regular season. The Pacific division may be the weakest division in the NHL with Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver being the top three teams so I don’t see the competition to win the division or make the playoffs nearly as tough for them had they been in another division.
Official Bets and why:
It is highly recommended to those who will be following me this season to sign up for BetMGM or Barstool Sportsbook if you can and haven’t yet. These two sportsbooks are the two main ones I use for posting lines, although they are not a necessity or requirement, so if you cannot, do not worry.
There is a lot to like about this team before the season starts and I believe there are multiple ways to profit on them. Right now BetMGM has Huberdeau’s total points at 89.5. Last year Huberdeau reached a career high in points as mentioned with 115. You’re asking for a 30 point decrease for the 29 year old superstar for this prop to lose. While I mentioned I expect a decrease in assists, I expect an increase in goals scored which should counter balance his production. There are two plays in play here. BetMGM is offering Huberdeau’s goal total as well at 28.5 which is significantly lower than I project Huberdeau to score. I am going to make a play on both props for over 89.5 total points as well as over 28.5 total goals. I see Huberdeau having a floor of 30 goals with a ceiling of 40+ compiling 40-50% of the total points required for his 89.5. Huberdeau’s assists will be there and while I don’t expect him to score 85 of them again, getting half of that production will make his props what I consider a generous line for a win.
The Flames over/under on total points this year comes in at 102.5, eight points less than the total Calgary finished with last season. I find this to be a very high line with no value. On BetMGM you can save three total points on the season by playing the Flames to tally 100 or more points for -150 but I personally will not be as I feel while this team has the best likelihood to win the division, reaching the heights they did last season is a lot to ask with the departures of Gaudreau and Tkachuk. Back in July I sent a tweet out recommending each of you play the Flames to win the division at +300. Since then the line has dropped to +250. If you have not made this play, you should be playing it now. I touch more on the rest of the division in the Seattle Kraken article that will be released tomorrow, but this division is back to being the Flames to lose. The additions this offseason will make Edmonton’s attempt to overtake the division more difficult than they anticipated with the departures but I don’t see much of a threat outside of these two teams. If you want to back yourselves up, playing the Oilers as well as the Flames, both at +250, could generate you some profit regardless. The Flames will be a team you will not see me bet often during the regular season. I expect the scoring of this team to slow down a bit compared to their sixth place finish last season and their defensive gameplay should limit the offensive scoring as well. You will see me play this team more on the money line early in the season as they should come in a bit undervalued. Jacob Markstrom had a career year in net last year making his ability to replicate his production a bit of a question mark. The most profitable course here in my opinion will be as follows:
Jonathan Huberdeau over 89.5 points: 2 units.
Jonathan Huberdeau over 28.5 goals: Max unit play.
Flames to win the Pacific Division +250: 1 unit.
I hope you enjoyed this first article. More breakdowns and plays will be coming out in the coming days as well as an official announcement on the new site! As we get closer I will be sending out more expectations on unit sizing, unit plays, expectations of content over the season, and a genuine breakdown of how things will be different this season. I look forward to you all joining me this year!