We had a chance to catch up with the great Kent Wilson of Flames Nation ahead of this afternoon's season-opening tilt between the Sharks and Flames. Here's what he told us to expect from Calgary:
1. Preseason prognosticators and the betting markets don't seem very high on Calgary's chances this season. What needs to go right for the Flames to make a lot of people look foolish in 2013?
A lot of iffy bets have to land on heads for Jay Feaster. Guys like Iginla , Tanguay, Kipper and Cammalleri can't take steps backwards. Roman Cervenka and Jiri Hudler have to be legit top-6 forwards. The team has to avoid injuries to be competitive as well.
2. We ask this question seemingly every year but I'll ask it again: is this Jarome Iginla's last season in Calgary? If so, does he get dealt before the trade deadline?
Only if he decides it is. That might happen if the club bottoms out and Jarome finally decides he wants to try to win somewhere else in the twilight of his career. Otherwise I expect him to re-sign.
3. Miikka Kiprusoff is coming off a fantastic season. Do you expect more of the same out of him this year?
No. Kipper has settled into average starter territory over the last 5 seasons with a ES SV% right on the league mean of .920. Some years he's below that mark, some years (like last) he's above. As such, it's unlikely he'll continue that level of performance this year. To say nothing of the fact he's 36 years old.
4. Which of the Flames' offseason additions do you expect to make the biggest impact and why?
Probably Dennis Wideman since he figures to play more than Cervenka and Hudler per night. He'll also get a lot of PP time.
5. Is Bob Hartley the answer behind the bench?
Impossible to know. Hartley hasn't coached in the league for a while and ultimately he is limited by the skill and performance of his roster. Im skeptical he will make a drastic difference, but am open to being convinced.
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