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D'Arcy McGrath

September 10, 2001


As training camp approaches, Calgarypuck will take one final look back at the season that was by looking into a variety of stats and a more detailed analysis of the Calgary Flame's players. This week's feature deals with hitting, it's frequency of occurrence and the Flames leading bangers.  

Statistics can be a very valuable tool in assessing the performance of an athlete or sports team. Often however, the statistics that are available are too flat, offering little analysis beyond the actual numbers. For example it's easy to determine who led a team in points, but sometimes it's more interesting to find out who led the team in points based on other factors like games played, and ice time. In doing so, a reader can determine who did the most with limited ice time, and conversely, who did the least with ample ice time.

In the past has used these "time between" numbers to look at the performance of the team through the season. With camp just around the corner, a camp which will feature many new faces, applying the same formulas will give us a look at how these new players fit with the current squad in many statistical categories.

This week takes a look at shots on goal. In the past few seasons Val Bure has been far and away the most frequent shooter on the Flames, putting up totals that would surface in top ten lists for the league. With a high shot count came a very low shooting percentage however, because the dimminutive winger tended to shoot from any angle. How will the 2001-02 Flames look in terms of it's shot on goal leaders? Many are suggesting the team will struggle offensively, so shots on goal and by whom could be a telling tale.

Shots on Goal

Historically a team's top offensive forwards will also be its leaders on the shot clock, though Al MacInnis would argue differently in his tenure in the 80's. Last season Val Bure put up 276 shots on goal, but with only 27 goals that amounted to a 9.8% save percentage.

During the offseason the Flames made many moves to alter the chemistry and style of the hockey club. With these moves the Flames appear to have lost some flash and dash while gaining maturity, size and defensive awareness. Will this edition of the Calgary Flames have enough marksmen in their roster to generate enough goals to win on a semi-nightly basis?

Will other players step up and fill in for departed players like Bure?



Jarome Iginla


Marc Savard


Derek Morris


Craig Conroy


Rob Niedermayer


Phil Housley


Dean McAmmond


Dave Lowry


Oleg Saprykin


Jeff Shantz


Jarome Iginla led the Bure-less Flames, directing the puck at the net almost 60 fewer times during the season. The big winger scored more goals in less shots however (31) which resulted in a more favourable shooting percentage of 11.2%. Iginla's center, Marc Savard, finished second with 197 shots on goal, a lofty total for a forward that often chooses pass over the shot. Defenceman Derek Morris finished in third place despite missing almost 30 games in a contract dispute. The remainder of the top shooters have come in trades with Craig Conroy and Rob Niedermayer rounding out the top five.

Phil Housley is included on the list, though his recent placement of waivers suggests his career in Calgary may have come to a close.

A more interesting look at hits can be accomplished by finding a time duration between each shot on goal for each player.  



Jarome Iginla


Oleg Saprykin


Marc Savard


Chris Clark


Derek Morris


Craig Conroy


Jeff Cowan


Dean McAmmond


Dwayne Hay


Phil Housley


Craig Button has fingered the second wave of Calgary Flames prospects and farm hands as potential sources for increased offensive production this year. The shots on goal statistics may support the general manager's claim. Jarome Iginla leads the list with just under seven minutes of ice time between shots on goal. Rookie Oleg Saprykin managed to best both Marc Savard and Derek Morris to take second place with 7:24 between his shots. Chris Clark also finished in the top five with just under eight minutes between his shots on goal. Clark was called up to finish the season in Calgary, notching five goals in 29 games. His shooting percentage of 11.6% was 9th on the team.

Newcomers Dean McAmmond and Craig Conroy finished in and around the nine minute mark between shots on goal. Rob Niedermayer was further down the list at 11:45.

Some players refuse to shoot the puck, either by a preference to pass over taking aim themselves, or because of the defensive role they play on the team. Last year, Denis Gauthier had the fewest shots on goal based on ice time of any Flame, with a shot occuring every 30:40. Brad Werenka was second with a shot every 25:29, Robyn Regehr and Bob Boughner were both around the twenty minute mark.

Steve Begin and Rico Fata are both expected to go down to the wire with the Flames final cuts at this year's camp. In limited game action last year both managed to place shots on goal every seven and a half minutes, placing them in the top ten for the Flames. Their games played weren't significant enough to be considered in this analysis.

The Flames forward group this season will average just over nine minutes between each shot, on a man to man basis. The defence group will take almost double that number coming in closer to 19 minutes between shots.

Summing It Up

Craig Button's offseason moves were geared strongly towards accountability and defensive play. The team has a more mature feel to it, and will likely improve in terms of goals against, both five on five and while killing penalties. The team's offence is a huge question mark however, and that can be seen with shots on goal stats as two of the team's leading shooters no longer call Calgary home. Val Bure led the team with 296 shots last season, but Cory Stillman finished his season in St. Louis with 174 shots, which would have placed him third with the Flames. The time between stats suggest that with more ice time players like Oleg Saprykin and Chris Clark may move up the list and fill a portion of the holes left with the departure of Bure and Stillman. If these increased shots result in goals from such unexpected sources the Flames might get by. However, hockey is played on the ice, and the learning curve of these players may prove too steep.