Calgary Flames (35-40-7) at Edmonton Oilers (29-44-9)
|Date & Time||Thursday October 9, 2014, 9:30 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Edmonton Oilers -140 / Calgary Flames +127 --- Over/Under: 5.5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
There might not be a more exciting young hockey club to watch this season than the Calgary Flames. Things haven’t been great in western Canada the last few years but there’s reason for optimism with some of these kids. Sean Monahan played 75 games and potted 22 goals as a 19 year old. There is obviously room for improvement but seeing that type of talent from a young player is more than Flames fans have had in some time. Add Johnny Gaudreau into the mix alongside Monahan, Sven Baertschi and Markus Granlund and this roster has a lot of up and coming potential. New additions like Devin Setoguchi, Mason Raymond, and Brandon Bollig also add a bit of a new element to the club. If nothing else the Flames should at least be more entertaining to watch and more competitive in the Western Conference. Jonas Hiller was acquired to be the new No. 1 netminder and his presence should immediately help Calgary in goal. Hiller brings some question marks with him to Calgary but he had some stellar years in Anaheim before their goaltending depth eventually forced him out. The defenseman still leave a bit to be desired but there’s some skill and snarl on the back end. Deryk Engelland is now in the mix and should help secure the third pairing. With the Flames hosting the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday night it will be a quick turnaround for them when they head to Edmonton on Thursday. The Flames get to take on their two biggest division rivals to start the season and it gives them a great opportunity to send a message. This team has a nice mix of players and the question will be whether or not Bob Hartley is able to get the most out of them.
For the Edmonton Oilers this season is all about seeing their young talent finally put it all together. The Oilers have been drafting at the top of the draft for what seems like centuries and now their cupboard is completely stocked with talent. The problem has been that there haven’t been enough veterans around them to show them how to be professionals and help supplement some of the things these kids need to do on the ice. Taylor Hall talks the talk and walks the walk and he understands that everyone, including himself, need to take that next step this season. Between Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, and Nail Yakupov the Oilers are absolutely loaded with young talent up front. They’ll need to be an offensive club because the blue line looks like it will continue to struggle. Edmonton did add Mark Fayne and Keith Aulie but that isn’t going to be enough to protect goaltenders Ben Scrivens and Viktor Fasth. The biggest problem for the Oilers is the same as Calgary in that there’s just too much competition in the Western Conference for them to really make any noise. These clubs are young and they’re getting better but that doesn’t mean this season is going to be very different for the last few.
These two teams played some pretty competitive hockey games last season until the Flames ended the season series with an 8-1 blowout in Edmonton. Despite their lack of defense these teams managed to play some low scoring affairs last season and with the Flames coming off playing on Wednesday night look for them to try and survive the first period and go from there.