4 Key Dates for the Flames in 2022-23

Calgary Flames fans have gone through plenty of mood swings this offseason. Early on, it looked as though their beloved franchise may be headed for a rebuild after the departure of Johnny Gaudreau, followed by the news that Matthew Tkachuk was not interested in signing a long-term deal. Things were as close to rock bottom as they could have been at that point, especially given the fact that just months prior many believed their roster was one that had Stanley Cup potential.

Related: 3 Best Moves Flames Made During 2022 Offseason

However, the mood amongst Flames faithful was greatly improved after general manager (GM) Brad Treliving pulled off what many are considering to be a major heist, acquiring Jonathan Huberdeau, MacKenzie Weegar, Cole Schwindt and a conditional first-round pick from the Florida Panthers in exchange for Tkachuk. Then, nearly a month later, another extremely exciting move happened as it was announced Nazem Kadri was headed to Calgary on a seven-year deal. Now, many believe that this roster is even better than it was a year ago.

Given some of the major departures to this roster, there will be a few games in particular that will be worth keeping an eye on in what looks to be a very exciting season. With the NHL schedule having already been released, let’s take a look at a few key dates for the Flames worth putting down in the calendar ahead of this 2022-23 season.

Oct. 15/Dec. 27 – Battle of Alberta

Perhaps the most disappointing thing when it comes to the entire NHL schedule as a whole this coming season is that the Flames and Edmonton Oilers meet on just two occasions. It is a very unfortunate situation given that their long-time, tense rivalry has heated up even more in the past few seasons, particularly when they last met in the playoffs for the first time in three decades.

Connor McDavid Edmonton Oilers Jacob Markstrom Calgary Flames
Jacob Markstrom of the Calgary Flames makes a save against Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images)

As we are all aware, that series did not go the Flames way. After a decisive Game 1 victory, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl proved to be too much to handle, as they dominated through Games 2-5 to secure a 4-1 series win.

That series loss, while very frustrating, has put a sour taste in the Flames’ mouths that will have them hungry for vengeance in 2022-23. It should make for two very tense games, both amongst the players and fanbases. Both games, the first of which will take place on Oct. 15 at Rogers Place, as well as the second meetup at the Saddledome on Dec. 27, will be must watch TV for hockey fans around the world.

Nov. 29 – Tkachuk Back in Calgary

Flames fans will have plenty of reason to try and find tickets on Nov. 29, as Tkachuk will be returning for the first time since being traded. It will be interesting to see the welcome he receives from Flames fans, as some were quite angry that he wasn’t interested in signing long-term. That said, there were others who appreciated the fact that he let Treliving know his intentions when he did, so the organization was able to maximize a return for him.

Regardless of whether he receives mainly cheers or boos from the Flames crowd, he will get a well-deserved video tribute early on. After that, he will play his usual style of game, which resulted in so much hate thrown his way from other fan bases across the league.

Also worth noting is that both Huberdeau and Weegar will be taking on their former team in that contest. While the bigger game for those two will come when they play in Florida earlier in the month, you can bet that this game will be circled on their calendar, as they will want nothing more than to beat their old club.

Jan. 23 – Johnny Hockey Returns

The final, and perhaps most exciting date of all this season, is Jan. 23 in a home game vs. the Columbus Blue Jackets. This will mark the return of Gaudreau, who chose to sign a seven-year deal with them as a free agent. Leaving the Flames would have upset the fanbase enough, but the fact he chose the Blue Jackets over the New Jersey Devils — a team much closer to his family who was very much in the running — has rubbed many the wrong way.

What also upset Flames fans was the fact that he failed to let Treliving know his plans until almost the last minute, which put the veteran GM in a very tough position. Though he had every right to make whatever decision he wanted, the way he went about the entire ordeal had, and still has, fans in Calgary heated. You can bet that he will hear a chorus of boos all night long.

Johnny Gaudreau Calgary Flames
Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

While not nearly as intriguing, it will also mark the return of Erik Gudbranson, who signed a four-year deal with the Blue Jackets the same day Gaudreau chose to join them. However, his situation is entirely different as he had very few ties to the city having only spent one season in the Flames’ organization. Nonetheless, he will certainly be gunning to defeat his former team.

4 Games Worth Tuning In To

While plenty of Flames fans will do all they can to watch all 82 games this season, these four outings listed above are ones that any and every hockey fan should try and watch. Each game will offer its own element of excitement, and along with some highly-skilled players will also offer plenty of physicality. Suffice it to say, if able, you should be looking to tune in.

Sign up for our free ‘Flames Substack Newsletter‘ for all the latest.