2011–12 Calgary Flames season
|2011–12 Calgary Flames|
|General Manager||Jay Feaster|
|Alternate captains||Jay Bouwmeester
|Average attendance||19,289 (100%)|
|Goals||Jarome Iginla (32)|
|Assists||Olli Jokinen (38)|
|Points||Jarome Iginla (67)|
|Penalties in minutes||Tim Jackman (94)|
|Plus/minus||Alex Tanguay (+7)|
|Wins||Miikka Kiprusoff (35)|
|Goals against average||Miika Kiprusoff (2.35)|
The 2011–12 Calgary Flames season was the 32nd season in Calgary and 40th for the Flames franchise in the National Hockey League (NHL). The Flames finished with a 37–29–16 record, finishing second in the Northwest Division and ninth in the Western Conference The team failed to qualify for the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the third consecutive year the team did not make the post-season.
Three players reach major individual milestones during the season: Olli Jokinen appeared in his 1,000th game, goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff won his 300th game and captain Jarome Iginla became the 42nd player in NHL history to score 500 goals. Iginla was also named the Flames' lone representative at the 59th National Hockey League All-Star Game.
Questions surrounded the future direction of the organization at seasons' end, as head coach Brent Sutter's three-year contract was set to expire after three non-playoff seasons and as with previous seasons, Iginla's future with the organization was again questioned, particularly given his contract had one year remaining after the 2011–12 season.
- 1 Off-season
- 2 Regular season
- 3 Post-season
- 4 Standings
- 5 Schedule and results
- 6 Player statistics
- 7 Awards and honours
- 8 Transactions
- 9 Draft picks
- 10 See also
- 11 References
The Flames began their off-season by solidifying their management and coaching staff. Jay Feaster, who had served as interim general manager following the departure of Darryl Sutter in December 2010 was named to the position on a permanent basis on May 16, 2011, and special assistant Craig Conroy accepted a four-year contract extension. Feaster's first decision as general manager was to trade 2008 first round draft pick Tim Erixon to the New York Rangers in exchange for prospect Roman Horak and two second picks. The deal was made hours before the Flames would have lost the rights to Erixon as he refused to sign with Calgary despite being offered the maximum salary and bonuses available under the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Head coach Brent Sutter augmented his staff by adding two veteran coaches. Craig Hartsburg, who had 14-years experience in the NHL was hired as an associate coach. Clint Malarchuk, a ten-year veteran as a player, was brought in to serve as the team's goaltending coach.
Following two seasons where the Flames missed the playoffs, the team made a significant change to their team over the summer. Robyn Regehr, alternate captain and long-time leader of the team's defence, was dealt to the Buffalo Sabres. The move was made in part to free up salary cap room to re-sign forward Alex Tanguay to a long-term contract. Veteran centre Daymond Langkow, who missed all but four games in 2010–11 due to injury, was also dealt.
October – December
Calgary entered the 2011–12 season with mixed expectations. In its annual preview, The Hockey News predicted the Flames would again miss the playoffs, anticipating that the team will finish 10th in the Western Conference. The magazine argued that the team had too many players who under-performed in all aspects of the game the previous season and that they could not afford similar performances and still hope to qualify. However, the National Hockey League's writers predicted the Flames would qualify for the playoffs with a sixth place finish in the conference. They argued that the team's top-end talent, including Jarome Iginla, Miikka Kiprusoff and Alex Tanguay, were capable of bringing the team into playoff contention. They also predicted that if the team should fail to live up to this expectation, the franchise could find itself on the verge of a complete rebuild.
The Flames were expected to open the season in Helsinki as part of the NHL's annual European premiere series. However, given organizational changes following the departure of Darryl Sutter, the team opted against the trip, preferring to avoid the distractions of traveling to Finland to open the season.
Calgary dropped their first two decisions of the season before earning their first win in a record-setting game for goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff. The 4–1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on October 13 was Kiprusoff's 263rd as a Calgary Flame, moving him past Mike Vernon to become the franchise's all-time leader in wins. The team struggled to score early in the season, finding itself 28th out of 30 teams in NHL scoring 14 games into the season, leaving the team in 13th place in the conference. Feaster expressed frustration with the results, stating that the organization would not show a great deal of patience if the team did not improve.
Continued struggles in November gave rise to speculation that the Flames might trade captain Jarome Iginla, who himself had failed to meet expectations during the first part of the season. Feaster finally put an end to the speculation in early December, clearly stating that the team was not looking to move the franchise's all-time leading scorer. The team failed to move in the standings in November, remaining in 13th place at the end of the month. However, the Flames showed improved play toward the end of the month which continued into early December. A 5–1–1 stretch to December 8 allowed the Flames to move ahead of the Colorado Avalanche and out of last place in the Northwest Division.
After briefly moving above .500, a mid-December road trip in which the Flames failed to earn a win in four games again left them with more losses than victories. However, Calgary entered the Christmas break with three consecutive wins, each over a top team in the Western Conference: 2–1 over the Northwest Division leading Minnesota Wild, 3–2 over the Detroit Red Wings and 3–1 over the Vancouver Canucks. The first two victories came while Rene Bourque was absent from the lineup to serve a two-game suspension for a checking from behind infraction against the Chicago Blackhawks. The victory over the Canucks was the first of Leland Irving's NHL career. The rookie goaltender was recalled from the Abbotsford Heat early in December after Calgary's usual backup, Henrik Karlsson was injured. Irving was the American Hockey League leader in wins, shutouts and games played at the time of his recall. The game against Vancouver was also the first of a season-long, seven-game road trip, during which the Flames' home arena played host to the 2012 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships.
In addition to Irving, several other players reached personal milestones around the midpoint of the season. Brendan Morrison scored his 400th assist on December 22 against the Detroit Red Wings and his 600th point on December 29 against the New York Islanders. Olli Jokinen appeared in his 1,000th NHL game on January 1 against the Nashville Predators.
January – April
A shootout win over the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first game after the Christmas break gave way to five consecutive losses on the road as the Flames finished their road trip at 2–4–1. The trip ended with a 9–0 defeat to the Boston Bruins that Iginla described as "embarrassing" and "one of the worst games in memory". Of note, defenceman Chris Butler had a plus/minus rating of −7 in the game, the worst the NHL has seen since Doug Wilson was also −7 on February 19, 1993, in a game against Calgary. Adding to the Flames woes, seven regulars ended the trip out of the lineup due to injury, including three defencemen and first-line winger Alex Tanguay. Also missing was second-line forward Rene Bourque, who was serving a five-game suspension for elbowing Washington's Nicklas Backstrom.
Iginla reached a major NHL milestone in the Flames' first game back in Calgary, scoring his 500th career goal in the third period of a 3–1 victory over the Minnesota Wild on January 7, 2012. He became the 42nd player in NHL history to accomplish the feat, and only the 15th to score his first 500 goals with one franchise. He was subsequently named the Flames' only representative at the 59th National Hockey League All-Star Game in Ottawa. It was Iginla's sixth all-star appearance, and he scored one goal and two assists in the contest.
A Flames victory over the New Jersey Devils on January 10, 6–3 despite being outshot 38–14, was Calgary's seventh consecutive win on home ice and moved them back above .500. The Flames' home winning streak was ended at eight following a loss to the Los Angeles Kings on January 14, the first time the Kings won in Calgary in regulation time in seven years. Struggling on offence throughout the month, the team ended January with a record of 5–6–1 and remained outside of a playoff position.
Injuries continued to impact the lineup. Tanguay returned to action in late January, but Curtis Glencross and Lee Stempniak were sidelined with a knee injury and high ankle sprain, respectively. Stempniak's injury led the Flames to sign forward Krys Kolanos to a contract at the start of February. He had been playing for their American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate on a professional tryout deal after missing 22 months following hip surgery. Kolanos had been leading the Abbotsford Heat in scoring at the time of his recall.
The team had already lost 238 man-games to injury by the time they faced the Vancouver Canucks in a February 11 game and suffered further losses when Blair Jones suffered a broken ankle against the Phoenix Coyotes before Mikael Backlund suffered a shoulder injury in the game against Vancouver. Both players were expected to miss up to six weeks. The loss of both players forced the Flames to move Michael Cammalleri back to centre, a position he hadn't played since 2005. Despite the losses, the Flames continued winning, posting a 3–2 shootout victory over the Canucks followed by a 5–1 defeat of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Following an overtime loss to the Dallas Stars the Flames defeated the Los Angeles Kings 1–0, in Los Angeles, on February 18 to move their record to 10–3–4 since the 9–0 defeat to Boston. The team moved into 8th place in the West, the first time all season Calgary occupied a playoff spot.
The team did not remain in a playoff position for long, as the Flames returned to the Saddledome and lost all four games of a homestand in the lead up to the February 27 trading deadline. A frustrated Jay Feaster criticized his team's veterans in an interview during a shootout loss to the Coyotes and threatened changes, only to backtrack a day later. Feaster ultimately chose to make no trades at the deadline, hoping that the return of Glencross, Moss and Smith from the injured list would be enough for the team to qualify for the post-season. A 4–2 victory in Phoenix on March 1 broke the team's losing streak, but the Flames lost a critical game the following night in Anaheim. Ryan Getzlaf scored the deciding goal for the Ducks in the final minute of a 3–2 victory that extended Calgary's regular-season losing streak in Anaheim to 15 games.
Injuries continued to be a dominant theme for the Flames, as Cammalleri, Blake Comeau and Lance Bouma all went down in games against Anaheim and Dallas, forcing the team to recall Abbotsford's entire top line of Greg Nemisz, Guillaume Desbiens and Krys Kolanos on an emergency basis for their March 6 game against the Montreal Canadiens. The Flames lost another forward against Montreal – a 5–4 victory that ended a five-game home losing streak – as Tim Jackman became the seventh regular forward knocked out of the lineup. He played only one shift in the game before suffering an "upper-body injury" for the Flames, who had already lost over 300 man-games to injury at that point. The Flames added top prospect Sven Baertschi from the Western Hockey League's Portland Winterhawks due to a provision that gave teams the option to recall junior players under contract as their third or later emergency recall. Baertschi made his NHL debut against the Winnipeg Jets then scored his first goal in the following game, against the Minnesota Wild. Jarome Iginla scored his 30th goal of the season on March 13, against the San Jose Sharks to become the seventh player to reach that total for 11 consecutive seasons. These games were part of a four-game winning streak that brought the Flames into a four team tie for eighth place with 78 points, one back of Phoenix in seventh.
The winning streak reached five games, before losses to non-contenting teams in the Oilers, Blue Jackets, Wild – the latter two in a shootout – and to the Avalanche, whom the Flames were battling for a playoff spot, left the players disappointed in their performance. Speaking about the team's chances of making the post-season with just over two weeks remaining in the regular season, Alex Tanguay stated that "we're just giving it away". An overtime loss to the Canucks officially eliminated the Flames from playoff contention with two games left in the season. The team won the final two games, 3–2 over Vancouver and 5–2 over Anaheim. Both victories were sparked by Akim Aliu, a rookie forward recalled from Abbotsford to evaluate his play at the NHL level. He served as an agitator, scored two goals and added an assist. The final game also marked the 350th consecutive sell-out for the Flames at the Saddledome.
After missing the playoffs for the third consecutive season, all aspects of the Flames organization were questioned by the fans and media. Head coach Brent Sutter's three-year contract expires on June 30, 2012, and while he expressed a desire to return for the 2012–13 season, it was unknown if the team would sign him to a new deal. In a late-season interview with Fan 960 radio, former Flames coach Mike Keenan argued that his dismissal in 2009 was forced by team president Ken King and the lead owner Murray Edwards, prompting arguments that current general manager Jay Feaster's job was also being interfered with by King and Edwards. Feaster denied the allegation, stating that he had "full and complete responsibility for the hockey operations of the club including personnel" and added that his reporting relationship in Calgary was no different from when he was the general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning in the early 2000s.
The future of captain Jarome Iginla was also questioned. He has one season remaining on his contract with the team, and with the future direction of the team in doubt, even he questioned whether he would be with the team in 2012–13: "I really don't know what next year holds. I don't know the direction (of the team). Do I wanna rebuild? Do I wanna be on a team if we fully rebuild? I don't know that I do." Calgary Sun columnist Eric Francis argued that the team's ownership, who despite viewing Iginla as an iconic figure for the team and the face of the organization for over a decade, were willing to seriously entertain options that involved trading him for the first time.
|1||p – Vancouver Canucks||82||51||22||9||43||249||198||111|
|1||p – Vancouver Canucks||NW||82||51||22||9||43||249||198||111|
|2||y – St. Louis Blues||CE||82||49||22||11||45||210||165||109|
|3||y – Phoenix Coyotes||PA||82||42||27||13||36||216||204||97|
|5||Detroit Red Wings||CE||82||48||28||6||39||248||203||102|
|7||San Jose Sharks||PA||82||43||29||10||34||228||210||96|
|8||Los Angeles Kings||PA||82||40||27||15||34||194||179||95|
|15||Columbus Blue Jackets||CE||82||29||46||7||25||202||262||65|
Divisions: CE – Central, NW – Northwest, PA – Pacific
bold - qualified for playoffs, y – Won division, p – Won Presidents' Trophy (best record in NHL)
Schedule and results
|2011 Pre-season Game Log: 3–3–0 (Home: 3–1–0 ; Road: 0–2–0)|
|5||September 27||NY Islanders||0–2||Calgary||Karlsson||19,289||2–3–0|
Legend: Win Loss Overtime/shootout loss
|2011–12 Game log|
Legend: Win (2 points) Loss (0 points) Overtime/shootout loss (1 point)
Note: GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; +/− = Plus/Minus; PIM = Penalty Minutes
Note: GP = Games Played; TOI = Time On Ice (minutes); W = Wins; L = Losses; OT = Overtime Losses; GA = Goals Against; GAA= Goals Against Average; SA= Shots Against; SV= Saves; Sv% = Save Percentage; SO= Shutouts
†Denotes player spent time with another organization before joining Flames. Stats reflect time with the Flames only.
Awards and honours
Two members of the Flames' 1989 Stanley Cup championship team were announced as members of the Hockey Hall of Fame's 2011 class. Joe Nieuwendyk was a Flames draft pick in 1985 and won the Calder Memorial Trophy in 1988 as the league's rookie of the year. He remained with the Flames until a 1995 trade sent him to the Dallas Stars. He finished his career with 564 goals, 1,126 points and two additional Stanley Cup titles, with the Stars and New Jersey Devils. Doug Gilmour came to Calgary in 1988 as part of a trade with the St. Louis Blues and played parts of five seasons in Calgary until he was sent to the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1992. He finished his career with 450 goals and 1,414 points.
The team announced the introduction of the "Forever a Flame" program during the season. Former players honoured under the program will have a banner raised to the Saddledome rafters though their number will not be formally retired. The first honouree was Al MacInnis, whose number 2 was raised in a ceremony on February 27. MacInnis was an eight-time all-star with the Flames and was named the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as most valuable player of the playoffs with the 1989 Stanley Cup championship team.
|Jarome Iginla||First Star of the Week (December 5–11)|||
|Curtis Glencross||Ralph T. Scurfield Humanitarian Award|||
|Mark Giordano||J. R. "Bud" McCaig Award|||
|Roman Horak||1st NHL game
1st NHL point (assist)
|October 8, 2011|||
|Miikka Kiprusoff||263rd win as a Flame
|October 13, 2011|||
|Roman Horak||1st NHL goal||October 26, 2011|||
|T. J. Brodie||1st NHL point (assist)||November 18, 2011|||
|Alex Tanguay||700th NHL point||November 21, 2011|||
|T. J. Brodie||1st NHL goal||November 27, 2011|||
|Derek Smith||1st NHL goal||November 29, 2011|||
|Leland Irving||1st NHL game||December 16, 2011|||
|Brendan Morrison||400th NHL assist||December 22, 2011|||
|Leland Irving||1st NHL win||December 23, 2011|||
|Brendan Morrison||600th NHL point||December 29, 2011|||
|Olli Jokinen||1,000th NHL game||January 1, 2012|||
|Brendan Morrison||200th NHL goal||January 1, 2012|
|Lance Bouma||1st NHL goal||January 7, 2012|||
|Jarome Iginla||500th NHL goal||January 7, 2012|||
|Lee Stempniak||500th NHL game||January 10, 2012|||
|Miikka Kiprusoff||527th game as a Flame
(Franchise record – goaltender)
|February 3, 2012|||
|Miikka Kiprusoff||300th NHL win||February 8, 2012|||
|Tom Kostopoulos||600th NHL game||March 6, 2012|||
|Matt Stajan||100th NHL goal||March 9, 2012|||
|Sven Baertschi||1st NHL game||March 9, 2012|||
|Sven Baertschi||1st NHL goal||March 11, 2012|||
|Matt Stajan||600th NHL game||March 18, 2012|||
|Akim Aliu||1st NHL game
1st NHL point (assist)
|April 5, 2012|||
|Akim Aliu||1st NHL goal||April 7, 2012|||
The Flames parted with two veteran leaders over the summer, first shipping alternate captain Robyn Regehr to the Buffalo Sabres along with Ales Kotalik for two young players, Chris Butler and Paul Byron at the end of June. Two months later, Daymond Langkow, who had missed all but four games the previous season due to a neck injury, was traded to the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for Lee Stempniak. Both deals had salary cap implications for the Flames, allowing them greater room to maneuver financially, while the Langkow deal was made with an eye towards getting younger, as the former Flame was 35-years-old at the time of the deal, seven years older than Stempniak.
Calgary was involved in a six-player trade in early January that was achieved through somewhat bizarre circumstances. General Manager Jay Feaster had been working with his Montreal Canadiens counterpart Pierre Gauthier on a deal that would revolve around the Flames re-acquiring Michael Cammalleri in exchange for Rene Bourque. Feaster put the talks on hold when Bourque was given a five game suspension, but was contacted by Gauthier to resume the talks after Cammalleri generated controversy in Montreal when he was quoted by the media as saying that the Canadiens, standing 12th in the Eastern Conference at the time, had prepared and played "like losers". The Montreal Gazette suggested later that the comments, originally spoken in English, were misrepresented after they were translated to French by Réseau des sports then translated back to English. Though both teams denied the comments played a role in the deal, Montreal and Calgary finalized the trade one day later, while the Canadiens were playing a game against the Boston Bruins. Montreal was forced to remove Cammalleri from the game after the second period, creating widespread speculation across the league about where he was being traded to, while the deal could not be finalized until after Calgary's later scheduled game began so that Bourque would get credit for a game served on his suspension.
(in US dollars)
|Curtis Glencross||May 16, 2011||Four years, $10.2-million|
|Brett Carson||June 9, 2011||Two years, $1.15-million|
|Henrik Karlsson||June 20, 2011||Two years, $1.725-million US|
|Alex Tanguay||June 25, 2011||Five years, $17.5-million|
|Anton Babchuk||July 4, 2011||Two years, $5-million|
|Brendan Mikkelson||July 14, 2011||One year, $721,900 US|
|Brendan Morrison||July 15, 2011||One year, $1.25-million US|
|June 1, 2011||To Calgary Flames
Two second-round picks in 2011
|To New York Rangers
Fifth-round pick in 2011
|June 25, 2011||To Calgary Flames
|To Buffalo Sabres
Second-round pick in 2012
|July 9, 2011||To Calgary Flames
|To Florida Panthers
|July 14, 2011||To Calgary Flames
|To New Jersey Devils
Fifth-round pick in 2012
|August 29, 2011||To Calgary Flames
|To Phoenix Coyotes
|January 6, 2012||To Calgary Flames
|To Tampa Bay Lightning
|January 12, 2012||To Calgary Flames
Fifth-round pick in 2012
|To Montreal Canadiens
Second-round pick in 2013
|January 27, 2012||To Calgary Flames
|To Chicago Blackhawks
|January 30, 2012||To Calgary Flames
|To Winnipeg Jets
Additions and subtractions
The Flames entered the 2011 NHL Entry Draft with the 13th overall pick. With it, they chose Swiss forward Sven Baertschi from the Western Hockey League's Portland Winterhawks. He returned to Portland for the 2011–12 WHL season and was an offensive leader, averaging two points per game before a number of injuries late in the season in Calgary allowed the Flames to recall him on an emergency basis. Baertschi scored three goals in five games in Calgary before he was returned to the Winterhawks for the start of their playoffs.
|Rnd||Pick||Player||Nat||Pos||Team (league)||NHL statistics|
|1||13||Sven Baertschi†||Switzerland||LW||Portland Winterhawks (WHL)||25||6||7||13||10|
|2||45||Markus Granlund||Finland||C||HIFK (SM-liiga)|
|2||57||Tyler Wotherspoon||Canada||D||Portland Winterhawks (WHL)|
|4||104||John Gaudreau||United States||LW||Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL)|
|6||164||Laurent Brossoit||Canada||G||Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)|
- Statistics are updated to the end of the 2012–13 NHL season. † denotes player was on an NHL roster in 2012–13.
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