SUN Hockey Pool

Newbie review

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:56 AM ET

Having played almost a quarter of the NHL season, it's time to get a read on The Replacements.

It's time to figure out if the six key new Flames are making an impact.

By winning all four games on their recent homestand to pull above .500, the Flames are beginning to show the form expected of them. But did GM/head coach Darryl Sutter make all the right moves in the off-season? It's too early to tell for certain but let's look at the early results:

DAYMOND LANGKOW:

Being the No. 1 centre alongside Jarome Iginla is an envious position and players around the league would salivate at the opportunity.

Langkow took over that spot from Craig Conroy and many thought the former Phoenix Coyote would elevate his game to a new level and maybe even attain a point-per-game pace.

So far, he hasn't delivered.

Langkow is on pace for his worst season since 1998-99. Having collected goal totals of 27, 20 and 21 during his three seasons in Phoenix, he's on his way to a 15-goal campaign.

He's headed for a 50-point campaign, down from his career high of 62.

Seeing as Conroy is on a point-per-game pace, Langkow must pick it up to make fans forget the popular former captain.

TONY AMONTE:

It was a safe bet the veteran wouldn't regain the 40-goal touch he displayed in the late '90s.

Surprising, though, is how much trouble Amonte is having lighting the lamp.

Coming off back-to-back 20-goal seasons, hopes were Amonte would push the 30-goal barrier on a line with Iginla.

If he converted even a quarter of his scoring chances on a nightly basis, he'd be well on his way.

Instead, Amonte is on pace for 15 goals.

Away from the puck, Amonte has been good. He's generating scoring chances for himself and Iginla and he's serving well as a penalty killer.

Still, who would've thought he'd only score three times by this point -- and only once in the last 13 games? By comparison, the departed Martin Gelinas -- who skated much of the time on left wing with Iginla -- has four goals in Florida.

ROMAN HAMRLIK:

Among the top three Flames in ice time, Hamrlik is tied for second on the team with 10 points and is being used in all situations.

The blueliner has been solid but not spectacular, aside from his clutch third-period goal Monday night.

Should Calgary's powerplay continue to climb the rankings (11-for-66 in the last 10 games), he'll become an even bigger offensive force.

Toni Lydman, dealt to Buffalo after the Hamrlik signing, missed a handful of games due to an injury but leads the Sabres in ice time while netting one goal and four assists.

DION PHANEUF:

The rookie rearguard is on pace for a 20-goal, 50-point season.

Phaneuf, whose graduation to the NHL made the hard-hitting Denis Gauthier expendable, has delivered everything advertised and more.

He was arguably the team's best player through the first month and is still gaining confidence.

The return of Robyn Regehr will help Phaneuf in the long run, too, by allowing him to play fewer minutes per night, especially against the top lines.

DARREN MCCARTY:

Providing both grit and veteran savvy, McCarty has delivered all that's been asked of him and more.

Sure, he's not going to be a

15-goal scorer but McCarty provides plenty of energy each and every night.

While Ville Nieminen, who signed with the New York Rangers, has more offensive upside and serves well as an agitator, McCarty doesn't have Nieminen's penchant for foolish penalties.

JASON WIEMER:

Wiemer, in a checking-fourth-line role, is counted on for grit up to 10 minutes a game. After being scratched a few times early, he's been better recently, even receiving some powerplay duty.

His predecessor, Chris Clark, may attain career-best numbers in Washington but wouldn't receive the same ice time in Calgary, which has a much better set of right wingers.


Videos

Photos