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How will Bob Hartley change the Calgary Flames?

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[ATTACH=CONFIG]857[/ATTACH][B]Bob Hartley[/B] was appointed to the helm of the [B]Calgary Flames[/B] ship on May 31.

My first thought was: what will this mean for Calgary's on-ice style of play?

For years the Flames have played a slow-paced, cautious style of hockey under the tutelage of previous coaches [B]Brent Sutter, Mike Keenan and Jim Playfair[/B]. Some years, this provided the team with moderate success but in recent years, it brought nothing but heartbreak as the Flames have missed the playoffs for three years running.

All of that is about to change with [I]Bob Hartley[/I] taking over.

Following a stint in Switzerland with Zurich, Hartley has returned to the NHL. After being hired, Hartley was interviewed by Flames TV. For those who saw the interview ([URL]http://video.flames.nhl.com/videocenter/console?catid=11&id=179917&cmpid=embed-share-video[/URL]) one thing was very apparent; Hartley wants to bring an up-tempo and exciting brand of hockey to the [I]Calgary Flames.[/I]

Uhh...what does up-tempo mean?

I apologize. As someone who has followed the Flames for years, up-tempo is a foreign word to me.

Regardless, I believe that Hartley will do as he promised, which is exciting if you are a Flames fan or someone who owns one of Calgary's upper-tier players on one of your fantasy teams.

While generally considered a tough coach to play for, Hartley also has a reputation of letting his star players do as they please, especially on the ice. That means the likes of [B]Jarome Iginla, Alex Tanguay, Mike Cammalleri, Jay Bouwmeester and Mark Giordano[/B] will be given more freedom on the ice.

Jarome Iginla will once again surpass the 30-goal mark in 2012-13 and has a great chance of exceeding 75 points.

Alex Tanguay should have a rebound year after a somewhat disappointing 49-point performance. Expect him to jump back closer to the 60-point plateau.

Mike Cammalleri's disastrous 2011-12 campaign is now in the review mirror. Rejuvenated by a return to a familiar dressing room with familiar teammates, Cammalleri seemed to find his game down the stretch run. 60 points isn't out of the question for the undersized forward.

After tearing up the Southeast Division with Florida, Jay Bouwmeester has had three less-than desirable seasons in Calgary. His minus-21 rating was the worst of his career since his rookie season rating of minus-29. Under Hartley, Bouwmeester should be allowed to play the free-flowing, end-to-end game that made him so successful in Florida. Expect him to finally break the 30-point barrier in Calgary and perhaps even creep towards the 40-point mark.

Despite missing more than 20 games due to injury, Mark Giordano still posted 27 points in 2011-12. In a healthy campaign under Hartley, expect Giordano to once again break the 40-point mark.

[B]Miikka Kiprusoff[/B] is still expected to be the man behind the mask in Calgary for 2012-13. With no competent backup in sight, the Flames' workhorse will continue to get a boatload of starts, meaning 35 wins is not out of the question and 40 even a strong possibility.

One intriguing fantasy wildcard to look out for in 2012-13 will be rookie [B]Sven Baertschi[/B]. The high-flying Swiss youngster lit up the Canadian Hockey League in 2011-12 with the Portland Winterhawks and impressed many during a five-game emergency call-up with the Flames late in the season. His goal-scoring ability will be welcomed with open arms on a team that has long suffered from a severe lack of secondary scoring.

Don't get me wrong here, things aren't all of a sudden bright and shiny in Calgary with the signing of Bob Hartley. This is still a team that is going to battle for one of the last few playoff spots in a very competitive Western Conference. There is a lot of work that needs to be done, but [B]Jay Feaster[/B] seems to be moving the team in the right direction. Bob Hartley should squeeze a little bit more out of his soldiers. Whether that gets the team into the playoffs or not is another question, but at the very least it should earn you a few extra fantasy points.

-30-

Assistant Coach Rocca
[URL="https://twitter.com/#!/RoccaFHC"]@RoccaFHC[/URL] & [URL="https://twitter.com/#!/manovrboard"]@manovrboard[/URL]

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