MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
G Miikka Kiprusoff. The workhorse netminder kept his low-scoring team in the mix for a long time with as strong of a campaign as we've seen from start to finish. His average and save percentage are among the best he's posted since the lockout that wiped out the 2004-05 season. The Flames rely far too much on their No. 1 goalie, who has two more seasons on his contract, but he was strong all year.
MOST DISAPPOINTING PLAYER
D Jay Bouwmeester. The expectations were so high when he arrived to the club in the summer of 2009, both from the fans and from Bouwmeester himself. Bouwmeester, who now has played nine NHL seasons and failed to make the playoffs in all of them, is among the league leaders in ice time, but ended up with just five goals, 29 points and a minus-20 rating.
A team that has missed the playoffs three consecutive seasons needs everything. The inability to find a legitimate backup goalie has put too much reliance on Miikka Kiprusoff, the lack of scoring depth won't go away and the lack of top-end prospects will hurt them going forward. The Flames hope to insert a few more youngsters into the mix next season, but other than Sven Baertschi, none are seen as top-six forwards or top-pairing defensemen.
FREE AGENT FOCUS
Forwards Olli Jokinen, Lee Stempniak, David Moss and Tom Kostopoulos, as well as defensemen Cory Sarich and Scott Hannan are all pending unrestricted free agents. Who from that group is brought back remains to be seen. The Flames could really use Jokinen for a couple of years due to their lack of proven top-line centers, but he's actually considered one of the top players at that position among the free-agency class and could be priced out of their plans.
After three consecutive injury-filled seasons, Moss may be in tough to find a deal beyond one season, but the Flames may want him back. Stempniak is a streaky scorer who didn't find that range, but is also a useful player and Kostopoulos provided leadership.
Sarich and Hannan are about the only gritty blue-liners in the Flames system with NHL ability, so they are both useful, but it's also understandable if they or the team go in a different direction.
--Not many players had career seasons, but LW Curtis Glencross was definitely an exception. Glencross, who signed a four-year contract after netting his first 20-goal season in 2010-11, responded with a 26-goal, 48-point campaign, despite missing 15 games due to injury, including 13 due to a knee injury. The Flames need a few more players to increase their production next season.
--RW Jarome Iginla became just the seventh player in NHL history to reach the 30-goal mark in 11 consecutive seasons, but finished with 32 goals and 67 points, which are below-average numbers for him. The face of the franchise, who reached the 500-goal mark this season, will turn 35 this summer and it's obvious he can no longer carry a team, thus the need for some new blood to take a bigger role.
--LW Michael Cammalleri had a late-season surge -- five goals and three assists in the final seven games -- to give him 20 goals and 41 points in a disappointing year split between the Montreal Canadiens and the Flames. In 28 games with Calgary, he netted 11 goals and 19 points. The good news was he showed he can be an option at center going forward.
However, watch for him to be motivated for a bounce-back season.
--LW Alex Tanguay, who missed a month due to a neck injury, also missed the last couple of games. The slick-passing winger will benefit from the offseason.
--D T.J. Brodie's solid rookie season came to a premature end due to a concussion suffered with a month remaining in the season. Brodie began skating the past week, so he should be fine, although you never really know with head injuries.
--C Mikael Backlund's disappointing year started on the injured list due to a broken finger and ended out of action due to a shoulder injury. He played just 41 games and struggled through much of it. Backlund was practicing with the team in the final week, so he should be OK for next season.
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