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Looking ahead for the Flames: Time for a coaching change

The Flames have some talented young players to build around, including Johnny Gaudreau, left, and Sean Monahan. Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

As each NHL team is eliminated from playoff contention -- either mathematically or by losing in the postseason -- we'll take a look at why its quest for the Stanley Cup fell short in 2017-18, along with three keys to its offseason and a way-too-early prediction on what 2018-19 will hold.


What went wrong

As late as Feb. 15, the Calgary Flames were in a playoff spot. Since then, the Flames have gone 5-12-2 as part of an epic stumble that could cost the team more than the playoffs.

But then, how much of a stumble was it? The fact is that the Flames weren't a good hockey team for most of the season, but were propped up by an MVP performance by goalie Mike Smith, a free=agent coup who silenced critics with arguably his best season since 2011-12. Everything from scoring depth -- remember when Jaromir Jagr was a Flame for a minute? -- to defense to special teams took a step back from last season's cameo appearance in the playoffs.

The Flames have some undeniable pieces to build around. But it's clear that more building needs to be done. Which is frustrating, when you consider how many draft picks GM Brad Treliving has shipped out in the past year.