Flames’ 3 Most Disappointing Players Through First Half of 2021-22

46 games into the 2021-22 season, not too many things have gone wrong for the Calgary Flames. They have silenced a long list of doubters who questioned whether or not they were a playoff team, as they sit first in the Pacific Division with a 27-13-6 record, and are currently on a league-best seven game winning streak.

Related: Flames’ Treliving Hits Home Run With Toffoli Addition

Despite the success to this point, however, they could be even better if a few players are able to pick up their performances in the second half of the season. They were too often reliant on players like Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk, and will need support from others if they hope to go on a deep playoff run this year. With that being said, here are the three most disappointing Flames thus far.

Sean Monahan

The hope was that after undergoing hip surgery last May, Monahan would get back to being the 30-goal scorer Flames fans had become accustomed to. That hasn’t been the case, however, as the 27-year-old has struggled, picking up just seven goals and 19 points to this point in the season.

Sean Monahan Calgary Flames
Sean Monahan, Calgary Flames (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Monahan’s greatest asset was, and continues to be, his quick release. Unfortunately for him, his skating was never great to begin with, and it appears that injuries have made it even worse. There is still hope for him to turn things around, however, as he is set to play with his former junior hockey linemate in Tyler Toffoli, who the Flames just acquired in a trade on Monday. Perhaps that will get him jumpstarted, as the team could really use his goal scoring moving forward.

Dillon Dube

Since being drafted in the second-round (56th overall) by the Flames in 2016, it has been evident that Dube has a ton of skill. He proved that with big offensive years during his time in the Western Hockey League (WHL), and continued to put up numbers during his time spent in the American Hockey League (AHL). That skill has yet to show consistently at the NHL level, however.

Heading into his third NHL season, the hope was that Dube would be one of several Flames to take a big step forward. That hasn’t happened, as the 23-year-old has managed just five goals and 12 points through 46 games. Despite having two additional seasons remaining on his contract, he may be a player management looks to move on from this summer if he isn’t able to find his offensive game over the second half the 2021-22 campaign.

Mikael Backlund

Some may disagree with Backlund, who has been a very solid two way centerman with the Flames for nearly a decade, being on this list. His defensive play remains great, and though it has taken a dip from past seasons, he is still providing some secondary scoring with seven goals and 21 points on the season. Those numbers however, while not terrible, are not good enough for a player being used as a second line center.

Mikael Backlund Calgary Flames
Mikael Backlund, Calgary Flames (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The good news here is that the 32-year-old Backlund seems to be heating up after a sluggish start to the season, as he has six points over his past three games. Given how consistent he has been over the years, it is reasonable to expect him to produce at a higher rate over the second half of the season. With that being said, there is no denying the first half of the 2021-22 campaign was somewhat of a disappointment for him.

Crucial Games Ahead

As the season moves along, games continue to get more and more important the closer we get to the playoffs. This Flames team through the first half of the season is playing as good as we’ve seen from them since 2018-19, and could be even better if more players, specifically the three listed above, are able to elevate their games.

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