The list of reasons for Calgary's turnaround from bottom feeder to playoff contender over the last month and a half is long. Their team defense has improved, their goaltending is much better and their offense has more continuity and balance, so as a result the Flames have gone from last in the conference to eighth entering the weekend.
But as NHL Network analyst Craig Button notes, the change in the Flames' front office from former GM Darryl Sutter
to acting GM Jay Feaster should not be undersold, either. Button, himself a former Flames' GM who still lives in the city, told NHL.com that Feaster has brought a different perspective that may very well be helping coach Brent Sutter
Feaster took over for the fired Sutter on Dec. 28 and the Flames are 12-3-4 since. They're 8-0-1 over their last nine games.
"Darryl was a darn good coach, but as a GM I think he looked at the game through a coaching lens," said Button. "Jay has not been a coach and doesn't have to enter the discussion with Brent looking through that lens. He can bring different perspectives and it allows Brent to perhaps take those and apply them. Sometimes the same things seen different and expressed from a very different perspective can have a very positive result. I believe that has occurred in Calgary."