This has been a crazy past few weeks. Johnny and Chucky, arguably the Flames two best players gone, but with a few deals here and there, the Flames seem to be still in it, and maybe no worse off.
Here's the thing. I loved Johnny and Chucky this past season, but I've always wondered about Johnny. Remember Gaudreau's past 2 or 3 seasons before this last one? He was struggling quite a bit. The Flames might be the same or even better from this, by not having $8M/per season tied up for the next 8 seasons.
Then there's Chucky. Yeah, he was a favorite and showed potential, but he had his drawbacks. Not much of a playoff performer. In 27 games he had 7 goals 8 assists for 15 points, and was a -11, and 3 of those goals came in one game this year. Outside of that game he's played 26 games for 4 goals and 6 assists, and was a -13. He may end up being a much better playoff player as time goes on, but so far it hasn't been the case.
If I could have kept Gaudreau and Tkachuck I would have, but losing them isn't the end of the world. I think the Flames will still be a competitive team next season.
Chucky got a bit too distracted by the drama he created, whether it was with Doughty, Kassian or Kane, he forgot to play hockey. Johnny is a generational talent, but he's too small and scared to get hit to be the guy to carry a team. I've always thought Monahan was a bit of a bitch too, he's 6'-2" and 200lbs, but he shied away from the physical stuff too much. In hindsight it was all injuries with Monahan, so totally understandable he didn't want to bang it out in the corners all the time. So I've always had my doubts about our core, factor in the revolving door or coaches, complete inability to stay competitive each year, and 3 nearly identical playoff exits (win game 1 and get owned the rest of the series), something had to change. Sutter got them in line, but so did Peters for a year, and Hartley for a year before him...
It's hopefully going to be a good couple of years to be a Flames fan (followed by a bad half-decade as all of the aging players on max contracts pile up). But a good couple of years might be better than another decade of mediocrity?