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Expect young players to impact Flames lineup

Monday, 08.25.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

If 2013-14 was the first full season of a comprehensive rebuild, the Calgary Flames found some individual positives amid a lack of group success.

Forward Sean Monahan made the team in his draft year and looks like a keeper, even if he struggled at times after a hot start. Forward Mikael Backlund and defenseman Mark Giordano had great seasons, even if their work was overshadowed by the lack of wins.

There is a new general manager in charge, Brad Treliving, and as long as Brian Burke is part of the management group it might be hard to see the Flames in rebuilding mode for long. There were a few offseason additions to the roster, but top scorer Mike Cammalleri is gone, and the Flames will be picked to finish near the bottom of the Western Conference again.

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Progress, goalie among Flames' five questions

Monday, 08.25.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Aaron Vickers - NHL.com Correspondent

CALGARY -- The Calgary Flames will look to continue the rebuild which began last season.

How the Flames are able to do so, and how Calgary defines its success in 2014-15, are among five questions they'll be looking to answer this season:

1. Can the Flames take positive steps forward? -- The Flames finished 27th in the NHL standings last season with 77 points, but there were plenty of reasons for optimism. In the first year of a rebuild, the Flames fielded a competitive team which tied an NHL record for games decided by one goal (49).

Though new general manager Brad Treliving isn't necessarily measuring success in wins and points, progress remains a necessity.

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Sophomore season next hurdle for Flames' Monahan

Monday, 08.25.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Aaron Vickers - NHL.com Correspondent

CALGARY -- Calgary Flames forward Sean Monahan is aware the temperature is going to be turned up in his sophomore season. The 19-year-old wouldn't have it any other way.

After a 22-goal season -- the most by a Flames rookie since 1989-90 and one more than a fresh-faced Jarome Iginla scored in 1996-97 -- Monahan is ready for bigger challenges.

"I think there will be more pressure this year," Monahan said. "There's an expectation now. I have to be better than last year. That's something I want to do and something I've worked really hard on over the summer to be ready for that.

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Flames' rebuild ready for next important step

Monday, 08.25.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Aaron Vickers - NHL.com Correspondent

NHL.com continues its preview of the 2014-15 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout August.

CALGARY -- The Calgary Flames took the first step in their rebuilding process last season.

The success of the next step, being evaluated by new general manager Brad Treliving, may not be measured in the standings for a team that finished 27th in the NHL last season.

"Ultimately, we need to continue to take that step forward," said Treliving, who was named to his position April 28. "The simplest way is looking at point totals from one year to the next. I don't think that tells the entire story when you look at a team that's growing. We want to continue to take a step forward. We want to continue to grow as an organization.

"We want to identify players that we feel can be with us as we go forward long-term. To me, that's a big part of, as we move forward, a big thing we're looking at is that we've collectively and individually have taken a positive step forward."

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Bennett heads Flames' list of top 10 prospects

Monday, 08.25.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Not since Craig Conroy was scoring in bunches have the Calgary Flames had a legitimate top center in the organization.

Solid drafting and a deep pool of prospects have certainly changed that.

"I am clearly biased so I don't like talking about our pool of prospects, but I do think we have a lot of young skilled offensive guys, and after years of not having a No. 1 center feel we have a lot of depth at the position now," Flames director of amateur scouting Tod Button said. "We hope that one or more emerge as bona fide top guys. We feel we also have depth at every position."

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Stronger goaltending, defense added to Oilers lineup

Sunday, 08.24.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

Is this the year?

It was a tagline from a recent NHL marketing promotion, but it's also been the foremost question on the minds of Edmonton Oilers fans for several offseasons. Is this the year Edmonton, led by its young core, finally returns to prominence?

The rebuilding process has taken longer in Oil Country than it did in Pittsburgh or Chicago or Washington, but the talent is in place. The Oilers buttressed the roster with a couple of interesting free-agent signings, namely forward Benoit Pouliot and defenseman Mark Fayne.

If a couple of young defensemen improve and the goaltending is better, the Oilers could shoot up from the bottom of the Western Conference into Stanley Cup Playoff contention. Reaching the top eight and returning to the postseason would take significant improvements.

Here's a look at the projected 2014-15 lineup for the Oilers:

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German star Draisaitl leads Oilers' top 10 prospects

Sunday, 08.24.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Picking first at the NHL Draft three straight seasons (2010-12) allowed the Edmonton Oilers to select three NHL-ready prospects in Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov.

Otherwise, the Oilers have done their best to be patient with their young players.

That could change, however, as Leon Draisaitl, the third pick of the 2014 draft, will have every chance to become the team's fourth top-10 pick in the past five years to play in the NHL as an 18-year-old.

Here's a look at the Oilers' top 10 prospects, according to NHL.com:

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Improving Oilers enter season still a work in progress

Sunday, 08.24.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Derek Van Diest - NHL.com Correspondent

Craig MacTavish continued to remodel the Edmonton Oilers' roster this offseason in an attempt to get the team back into contention for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Since taking over from Steve Tambellini in April 2013, MacTavish has been among the most active general managers in the NHL.

His mandate is to expedite the Oilers' rebuilding process without sacrificing their young core.

In an effort to improve a team that finished at the bottom of the Western Conference standings last season, MacTavish brought in wings Benoit Pouliot and Teddy Purcell, while adding to his blue line with defensemen Keith Aulie, Mark Fayne and Nikita Nikitin.

"For us, size was an issue," MacTavish said. "We knew we needed to get bigger and both of these guys are bigger. Teddy Purcell has quite a bit of talent; I think there is still some untapped upside in him that we're hoping to discover.

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Young forwards, goalies among Oilers' five questions

Sunday, 08.24.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Derek Van Diest - NHL.com Correspondent

The Edmonton Oilers were expected to take a step forward in their rebuild last season, but instead slipped back and finished near the bottom of the NHL standings again.

Since taking over the team toward the end of the 2012-13 season, general manager Craig MacTavish has revamped his roster while being careful not to disrupt the Oilers' young, talented core.

MacTavish has been working to bridge the gap between the present and the future, trying to get Edmonton back into contention for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Oilers have not been there since getting to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final in 2006.

Yet for all the work MacTavish has put in, there seem to be more questions than answers heading into the 2014-2015 season.

Here are five questions facing the Oilers this season:

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Oilers see Pouliot starting to realize his potential

Sunday, 08.24.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Derek Van Diest - NHL.com Correspondent

The No. 4 pick in the 2005 NHL Draft, Benoit Pouliot will be playing for his sixth team in six seasons as a member of the Edmonton Oilers.

Despite Pouliot's travels, the Oilers saw enough in the right wing to offer a five-year, $20-million contract this offseason, hoping he can fill a void in their lineup.

Pouliot, 27, comes off a strong run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with the New York Rangers, making him an attractive free agent candidate for the Oilers, who were looking to add size up front.

"It's the work ethic really for me," Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish said. "He's an excellent skater who closes gaps and is able to get quickly to forechecks, and it's something that was sorely lacking in our game throughout our lineup. We think that Benoit is going to provide that, and he's got some ability to finish as well."

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Quote of the Day

It's always a little bit weird, but it moves on. They've got a good team, and they played well tonight. I think that's just part of it.

— Peter Laviolette after coaching Predators to a win against Flyers on Saturday in his first game against his former team