Flames News & Rumors: Battle of Alberta, Zadorov, Gaudreau & More

In this edition of Calgary Flames news & rumors, the Battle of Alberta will happen as both the Flames and Edmonton Oilers were able to record Game 7 victories, and will now face one another in the second round. In other news, Nikita Zadorov appeared to be facing a suspension after being given a hearing by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety (DoPS), but in a surprising turn of events it was announced hours later he would receive no discipline.

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Meanwhile, many Flames fans were upset to see that Johnny Gaudreau failed to be named a top-three finalist for both the Hart Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award. Last but not least, it appears that the Flames’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Stockton Heat, will be relocating to be closer to Calgary for the 2022-23 season.

Flames & Oilers Set for Round 2 Matchup

On Saturday night, the Oilers defeated the Los Angeles Kings 2-0 to punch their ticket to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. This had many throughout the province excited, as it meant that a Flames win the following night would result in the first Battle of Alberta playoff series since 1991.

Related: Flames vs. Oilers: Round 2 Series Preview

Hockey fans got their wish, as the Flames went on to defeat the Stars in a thrilling 3-2 overtime final thanks to an incredible shot for the game winning goal by none other than Gaudreau. Many expect that this series will be another very exciting one, as both teams are highly skilled, meaning it could be much higher scoring than we saw between the Flames and Stars.

2022 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Edmonton Oilers Calgary Flames Round 2
Edmonton Oilers Calgary Flames (The Hockey Writers)

The Flames and Oilers faced off against each other on four different occasions this season, with Connor McDavid and company winning the first two, while Matthew Tkachuk and his teammates notched wins in the final two contests. Boding well for the Flames is that the home team never lost in any of the four games, which makes them having home ice advantage for the series extremely important.

Zadorov Avoids Suspension on Massive Hit

It appeared that a suspension was incoming for Zadorov, who was given a hearing by the NHL’s DoPS for a massive and scary check delivered to Stars forward Luke Glendening. There was plenty of debate as to whether or not the hit was worthy of a suspension, but it appeared one was incoming given the announcement from the DoPS.

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Shockingly, however, hours after they announced the hearing, they came out saying that Zadorov would neither face a suspension nor receive a fine. It was rather strange, given that there is almost always a suspension given when a player is offered a hearing, but for whatever reason, the decision was reversed.

Gaudreau Outside Top 3 for Hart & Ted Lindsay

After setting career highs with 40 goals and 115 points, Flames fans were very much so in the belief that Gaudreau had done more than enough to be nominated for both the Hart Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award. The Hart, which is voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association, is given to the player deemed the most valuable to his team in the entire NHL. While there were several arguments to be made for Gaudreau being on the list, the three candidates are instead Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Connor McDavid of the Oilers, and Igor Shesterkin of the New York Rangers.

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

Though the Hart is the most discussed, many would argue that the Ted Lindsay is more important to players, as it is voted on by their peers. Unfortunately for Gaudreau, he failed to crack the top three finalists for it as well, as instead it is McDavid, Matthews, and Nashville Predators defenceman Roman Josi. The Ted Lindsay is given out annually to the NHL’s most outstanding player in the regular season, which again many are in the belief Gaudreau was. His fellow players around the league felt differently, however, but that shouldn’t take anything away from what was an incredible season for the 28-year-old.

Stockton Heat Looking to Relocate

Since the 2015-16 season, the Stockton Heat have been the Flames AHL affiliate, though that may be no longer. According to numerous sources, the team is in the works to relocate before the 2022-23 season. Not only are they looking to move to Canada in order to be closer, but from the sounds of things, the team could end up in the Calgary area.

“The smoke has been building for quite some time, and multiple sources have reached out to Inside AHL Hockey over the past few weeks indicating the expectation is the Calgary Flames will be relocating their American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate from Stockton and moving it into Canada – and into the Calgary area, specifically – for the 2022-23 season,” wrote Tony Androckitis of Inside AHL Hockey.

We are beginning to see more and more teams do this, with the latest example being the Vegas Golden Knights, who chose to put their AHL team in Henderson after multiple seasons of them being located in Chicago. It is not only easier for any players who are being sent up or down during the season, but also helps in case the team needs to use an emergency recall on an individual if one of their players goes down with an injury. Expect to hear more on this situation involving the Heat in the near future.

Up Next for the Flames

As mentioned previously, the Flames will now prepare to take on the Oilers in the second round in what is one of the most highly anticipated playoff series in some time. Game 1 will take place on Wednesday at 7:30 MST, while Friday’s game will be a later one at 8:30. The series will then shift over to Edmonton, with Game 3 set for Sunday at 6, and Game 4 on Tuesday at 7:30.