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Giordano expects Flames to reach 100 points

Captain says offseason moves put them in 'great position'

by Aaron Vickers / Correspondent

CALGARY -- Calgary Flames captain Mark Giordano knows that good enough isn't good enough.

The veteran defenseman understands expectations are higher for the Flames heading into 2017-18 after they qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season before getting swept by the Anaheim Ducks in the Western Conference First Round.

"Last year as a group I felt like we came a long way," Giordano said Monday before teeing off in the Calgary Italian Open in support of his Team Giordano community program. "We had a really tough start and over the course of the season we stuck with it. We came out of it and we should be proud of our accomplishing getting into the playoffs last year. Really, getting into the playoffs and losing four straight stings. No matter how you spin it, it feels like a disappointment. We'll push right from the start this year and look to get right back in there and go a lot further.

"Every team is going to sit here and tell you the same thing at the start of the season, of how excited they are and it's that fresh feeling every time you come into camp, but for sure there's an urgency this year with the players. We have to push harder because our management, our coaches, our entire organization has put us in a great position."

The Flames acquired goaltender Mike Smith in a trade from the Arizona Coyotes on June 17 and defenseman Travis Hamonic in a trade from the New York Islanders on June 24. Smith and Hamonic join a roster led by Giordano and forwards Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan.

"We're excited," said Giordano, who turns 34 on Oct. 3. "Every time something happens, whether it be a signing or picking up a guy like [Hamonic], there's excitement. There's always that new feeling, that fresh feeling. It's fresh. Guys are excited. We know we have more. We know we can go further than we did last year."

Giordano isn't the only one expecting more.

Coach Glen Gulutzan told Postmedia last week that he expects to see improvement from the Flames.

"Our goal is we think we could be a 100-point club," Gulutzan said. "That's kind of what I think a lot about in the summer -- trying to manage that expectation but also have something in mind that we think we could be."

Four Western Conference teams (Ducks, Chicago Blackhawks, Minnesota Wild, Edmonton Oilers) reached 100 points in 2016-17.

Video: The guys discuss the Flames and their young talent

Giordano knows the importance of getting to 100.

"If you look around the League, 100 points gets you in the playoffs for sure," he said. "That's got to be our goal. Ninety-something is usually the cutoff, but 100 gets you in for sure. That's what we know. I think [Gulutzan]'s bang-on. We have to get there. That has to be our mindset, not just to sneak in. We want to be a solid team that the whole way we're solidified and in there."

The Flames had 94 points (45-33-4) to earn the first wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference in 2016-17. They started 5-10-1 and were 10-13-2 on Nov. 28 before rallying to make the postseason after missing in 2015-16.

"We have to handle the expectation in a positive way," Giordano said. "We can't let it beat us up and get down if things don't go the way we want them too, especially early on this season.

"It's our second year now with the coaches and the new system. I think we all have a good handle on where we have to be, what we have to do out there.

"And we made some big additions in the offseason, so we're excited."

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