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            award

            Calgary Flames season snapshot awards

            Tkachuk set tone, named MVP; Dube top rookie; Talbot comeback player

            by Tim Campbell / Staff Writer

            With the NHL pausing the 2019-20 regular season on March 12 due to the concerns surrounding the coronavirus, is taking stock of each of the League's 31 teams.

            Today, the award-worthy candidates for the Calgary Flames at the pause:

             

            The 2019-20 NHL season has seen a wide range of quality for the Calgary Flames, who are third in the Pacific Division, four points behind the second-place Edmonton Oilers. 

            There have been some strong performances for the Flames as they try to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a second straight season and break their one-season-in, one-season-out trend since qualifying in 2014-15.

            To showcase the best performances this season, here are the top players in various categories:

             

            MVP

            Matthew Tkachuk has been incredibly reliable this season, leading the Flames with 61 points (23 goals, 38 assists) in 69 games. The forward plays a fearless style, often quick to agitate opponents. Tkachuk has improved at picking his spots to stir up a game, though he has admitted that's a work in progress. He scores big goals, none more impressive than his between-the-legs shot from the slot with two seconds left in overtime for a 6-5 win at the Nashville Predators on Oct. 31.

            Video: CGY@SJS: Tkachuk nets incredible between-the-legs PPG

             

            Rookie

            Dillon Dube has been able to crack a veteran roster and is establishing himself as an everyday NHL forward. The 21-year-old has 16 points (six goals, 10 assists) in 45 games, much of it on a line with veterans Derek Ryan and Milan Lucic. Dube was the Flames' second-round pick (No. 56) at the 2016 NHL Draft, and with good hands and excellent speed his production ceiling figures to move substantially higher.

             

            Defenseman

            Nobody on the Flames plays more than Mark Giordano, who is averaging 23:53 per game in all situations. The 2018-19 Norris Trophy winner has experienced a drop-off in production this season, to 31 points (five goals, 26 assists) in 60 games after an NHL career-best 74 points (17 goals, 57 assists) in 78 games last season, but he remains the glue that holds an experienced group of defensemen together. Calgary's captain is seventh in the NHL with 148 blocked shots.

            Video: CGY@MIN: Giordano banks 中国体彩官方app PPG off defender's stick

             

            Defensive forward

            Mikael Backlund continues to draw the tough assignments while contributing offensively. Backlund has 45 points (16 goals, 29 assists) in 70 games this season, including three shorthanded goals and three game-winners. He has been among Calgary's top four penalty-killing forwards (Elias Lindholm, Derek Ryan and Mark Jankowski are the others) again this season and the Flames have moved from 21st in the NHL in penalty killing last season (79.7 percent) into the top 10 this season, eighth at 82.1 percent.

             

            Comeback player

            The Flames were hoping for this sort of revival from goalie Cam Talbot when they signed him to a one-year, $2.75 million contract July 1. The 32-year-old lost his No. 1 role with the Edmonton Oilers last season, was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers for goalie Anthony Stolarz on Feb. 15, and then became an unrestricted free agent. Talbot has pushed Flames No. 1 goalie David Rittich this season by going 12-10-1 with a 2.63 goals-against average and .919 save percentage. He won his last three starts before the pause, saving a combined 90 of 94 shots for a 1.30 GAA and a .957 save percentage.

            Video: CGY@FLA: Talbot makes 38 saves in shutout win

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