The Calgary Flames are coming off their best regular-season campaign in three decades since they last won the Stanley Cup in 1989. But after earning a Western Conference-best 107 points last year, the Flames are expected to face a lot more competition within the Pacific in 2019-20, as they attempt to repeat as division champions with an OVER/UNDER point total of 96.5 at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Despite enjoying a stellar regular season, Calgary flamed out in the first round of the playoffs as the top seed in the West, falling to the eighth-seeded Colorado Avalanche in five games. The Flames will need to find a way to play much better defensively though if they hope to top their win total on the NHL betting lines this year and advance further in the postseason.
The Avalanche outscored them 17-7 in the last four games of their first-round playoff series, with former goaltender Mike Smith struggling between the pipes in surrendering all of the goals. Smith has since moved on to the Edmonton Oilers with Cam Talbot signing on in Calgary, with the teams hoping the change of scenery will serve each of them well as they try to rebound this season.
Talbot will battle incumbent goalie David Rittich after the latter went 27-9-5 with a 2.61 goals-against average while Smith dealt with injuries. Things might have turned out differently for Calgary had Rittich started in the playoffs instead of Smith, but fans and bettors will never know. Talbot went 11-17-3 with a 3.40 GAA last year with the Oilers.
In addition, the Flames gave up on veteran winger James Neal, who performed terribly for them after signing as a free agent last offseason. Neal was traded to Edmonton for Milan Lucic, who actually posted better numbers than him last season with one more point (20-19). If anything, Lucic should at least bring some more toughness to the team.
That said, many of the other teams in the Pacific should be better this year, putting even more pressure on Calgary to repeat. In the past 10 seasons, the Flames have gone over 96.5 points just twice, so they will be hard-pressed to do it again in 2018-19.