CALGARY, AB -- The 2015-16 campaign is under two months away ... but in the dog days of summer, the off-season feels like it is crawling.
Yahoo! Sports has used the off-season to compile a list of the top 25 players at each position and several Flames players earned spots on their five lists while others received honourable mentions. To view the full Yahoo! Sports lists, click the header above each photo.
The Flames player to place highest on Yahoo! Sports' lists? The captain.
Mark Giordano sits third on their ranking of NHL blueliners and earned this snippet from author Sam McCaig:
"If not for injuries the past two seasons, he might be coming off back-to-back Norris Trophies – and maybe a Hart, too."
Giordano, 31, was limited to 61 games last season after suffering a torn biceps tendon in late February but he was the Flames most valuable player this season. He was fifth in team scoring with 11 goals and 48 points, averaged 25:10 of ice time (just two seconds behind team leader TJ Brodie), blocked 128 shots, and was a key part of both the power play (193:29 of power play ice time) and penalty kill (130:06 of short-handed ice time).
Despite the 21 regular season games he missed, Giordano was still sixth in Norris Trophy voting. He was also a NHL Foundation Player Award finalist.
Brodie, Dougie Hamilton, Dennis Wideman, and Kris Russell all earned honourable mentions.
TOP LEFT WINGERS
Coming in at number 15 on Yahoo! Sports list is Johnny Gaudreau. The pint-sized winger had an absolutely superb rookie season, sitting second in team scoring in the regular season after netting 24 goals and posting 64 points in 80 games.
In the playoffs, the Carneys Point, NJ native led the Flames in scoring with four goals and nine points in 11 postseason dates.
His efforts led to Gaudreau being one of the three Calder Trophy finalists this past spring.
Johnny be good about sums it up.
At the 22nd spot on Yahoo! Sports list is Jonas Hiller. In his first season with the Flames, the Swiss netminder went 26-19-4 with 2.36 GAA and a .918 save percentage.
He suited up for seven games in the playoffs, amassing a 2.61 GAA and a .919 save percentage.
Hiller split duties throughout the year with Karri Ramo, a system that Treliving felt benefited the club for the duration of the season.
"I thought both Jonas and Karri were a very big reason why we got to where we got to. It seemed one guy ran with it then the other guy picked him up."
TOP RIGHT WINGERS
Calgary newcomer Michael Frolik sits 23rd on Yahoo! Sports list of the top right wingers in the NHL. The Flames signed the forward to a multi-year deal earlier this summer.
The 6-foot-1, 200-pound winger has surpassed the 40-point mark four times in his career and is coming off a 19-goal, 42-point season with the Winnipeg Jets. He drives possession and is rock solid defensively.
“He’s like a Swiss Army Knife is probably the best way to describe him," Brad Treliving told CalgaryFlames.com after the signing. "He’s able to bounce all over your lineup. To me he plays in the guts of the game. He’s a strong penalty killer, plays with a lot of pace. We’ve watched him closely this year and over the last few years, he’s sort of one of those unheralded guys that does a lot of heavy lifting and doesn’t necessarily receive all of the accolades."
Jiri Hudler (he played at right wing but is listed as a center by the NHL, hence the nod under this list) comes in at 23 on Yahoo! Sports countdown. The Czech forward eclipsed all previous career-highs in the regular season, with 31 goals, 45 assists, and 76 points. Not only did he lead the Flames in scoring but he led all NHL skaters in even-strength points with 60. His 14 penalty minutes was also the fewest among the NHL's top 20 scorers last year.
With the Flames clawing their way up the Western Conference ladder in the last couple of months of the season, Hudler took his game to the next level. He managed to post 23 points in March -- the most points by any player in a calendar month last season and the most by a Flames player since December 2006 (Jarome Iginla: 10-16--26).
In the postseason, he trailed Gaudreau by one point with eight.
He capped off the year by becoming the first Czech player to win the Lady Byng Trophy. It is awarded "to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability," as selected by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.
Hudler's linemate Sean Monahan received an honourable mention. Monahan scored 31 goals, registered 62 points, and was fifth in Lady Byng voting.