Calgarypuck Rates the Flames
When the midseason poll was taken in January, center ice was an easy position to get a handle on. Marc Savard centered the first line, Daniel Tkaczuk was up centering the second line with Val Bure, and Jason Wiemer and Clarke Wilm pulled down the third and fourth lines. Jeff Shantz was converted to a winger, and Marty Murray was long dispatched to the farm.
Since January injuries have seen the call up of Benoit Gratton and Steve Begin. Tkaczuk himself got hurt and was sent down. The Flames signed Ron Sutter, and traded for Craig Conroy. Needless to say the post season analysis of the center ice position is a little more lengthy than the average franchise.
Note: Jeff Shantz was moved back to center for the post season analysis, his natural position.
Notes: Team Rank - 2nd
Marc Savard struggled down the stretch, a fact that can be seen in the 11 point drop he faced in front of the Calgarypuck.com panel. He still remained the team's number one center, and second overall player after winger Jarome Iginla. His average of 3.90 in January had him on the cusp of stardom, while his current rating of 3.35 puts him back in the upper end of the "above average" category. The Sun had him at the same rating as Bobby Holik (NJ), and Todd Marchant (Edm).
Notes: Team Rank - 7th
Craig Conroy was acquired by the Calgary Flames at the 2001 NHL Trade Deadline so fans have only had just over ten games to evaluate him. The trade for Conroy so the enigmatic, but productive Cory Stillman leaving town, and resulted in a lot of anger in Calgary. After the dust settled on the ratings Craig Conroy and Cory Stillman both received the same number to a decimal point, 53.3 suggesting the deal was actually quite fair in fans' eyes. Conroy is rated the Flames second best center, and the seventh best player on the squad overall.
Notes: Team Rank - 11th
At first glance one might think Jason Wiemer must have been soley repsonsible for the club missing the playoffs this spring. His rating fell almost 16 points from January. However, his post season ranking of 48.5 puts him very close to the Sun's ranking of 46.0 which translates into the upper end of the "average" category. Many feel Wiemer has offensive potential that has yet to be realized, something that was likely seen in the high January numbers. Wiemer is located well down the Sun rankings with the likes of Josef Beranek (Pit) and Jim Dowd (Min).
Notes: Team Rank - 14th
The arrival of Craig Conroy moved Jason Wiemer and Daniel Tkaczuk each down a peg in the pecking order, but Tkaczuk still managed to hold down the fourth spot despite being banished to Saint John for the season. His rating slipped just over eight points from the midseason report card to the post season analysis. His average of 2.40 is good for 14th on the team and puts him in the "average" category.
Notes: Team Rank - 19th
For a honest hard working player, Clarke Wilm seemed to catch a good portion of the ire of Calgarypuck.com fans. His rating was actually below the Sun rating on both the midseason and postseason report cards, and fell by eight points from January to April. His average slipped under the 2.0 mark to 1.78, which slips him in the below average or "barely holding on" category. The Sun had Wilm listed as a right wing, and rated in the range of other players like Dmitri Kristich (Wha), and Daniel Cleary (Edm). Clarke Wilm is the first instance where the Sun has rated Wilm higher than Flames fans.
Notes: Team Rank - 21st
Craig Button signed Ron Sutter in February to give the Flames a skilled face off man, and some leadership in the dressing room. Calgary fans took to the fiesty veteran, Alberta boy rating him ahead of farmhands Marty Murray, Benoit Gratton and Steve Begin, as well as veteran Jeff Shantz. His average of 1.70 acurately places him in the NHL scheme of things of a veteran winding down his career. He was ranked 21st.
Notes: Team Rank - 23rd
Benoit Gratton was recalled twice by the Flames season to add grit, win face offs, and fill in for injured forwards. Gratton is one of those players likely too good for the AHL, but not quite good enough for the NHL, and will be an up and down player his whole career. The Flames lost Gratton via waivers to the Montreal franchise at the end of the season.
Notes: Team Rank - 25th
What has Jeff Shantz done to Calgarians? From January to April Shantz's rating fell from 42.0 (which was on line with the Sun's rating of 46.0) to a paultry 29.3. His average fell from 2.10 to 1.46 which puts him firmly in the "barely holding on" category. Like Clarke Wilm the Sun had Shantz listed as a right wing, and rated in the range of other players like Dmitri Kristich (Wha), and Daniel Cleary (Edm).
Notes: Team Rank - 28th
There is a strong sense of irony in the rating of Steve Begin. While the scrappy forward is lighting it up in the AHL playoffs, and likely impressing both Craig Button and Greg Gilbert, he's being diced up by Calgarypuck.com hockey fans. Begin wasn't with the team so he didn't receive a midseason rating, but his average of 1.26 places him in the "barely holding on" category, not usually used for prospects.
Notes: Team Rank - 29th
Marty Murray discovered the best way to warm the hearts of Calgary fans - get demoted before the team bottoms out. Murray was sent to the farm in early November, unable to be effective at the NHL level. His midseason average of 1.0 had him on the verge of slipping into the "spare parts" category. However, somehow without playing a single game after Christmas his rating actually increase by five points, or an average of 0.2.