Calgarypuck Rates the Flames
The original Sun poll was limited to twenty players per franchise, a limitation that was bound to cause some controversy given the 23 man rosters each NHL team carry. No where was there more disagreement than on the Flames' blueline.
In January the Calgarypuck poll's second and third rated blueliners were excluded by the Sun poll for their top twenty.
Below you will find the defence brigade sorted best to worst according to this week's poll. Each player will have a Post Season rating, a Mid Season rating, a Sun Rating, as well as the average, minimum and maximum rating given to each player from the 27 judges in the post season poll.
Notes: Team Rank - 4th
The post season poll moved Derek Morris' value closer to that of the Sun. His overall rating dropped from 3.32 to 3.30 but remained in the above average category. His minimum rating dropped by 0.5, as did his maximum rating. Morris remained the team's number one defenceman according to Calgarypuck ratings. His ranking places him against comparables like Mike Rathje (SJ), Kenny Jonsson (NYI), and Eric Weinrich (Mon).
Notes: Team Rank - 6th
Much like Derek Morris, Robyn Regehr had his Calgarypuck rating drop by over 10 points between the midseason and postseason. Regehr's player definition moved from above average to average in that span of time. Regehr had a wide range in public support, as one pollster gave him 1.0, yet another a 4.0 rating. Robyn Regehr fell through the cracks in the Sun rating, not warranting an rating. Players rated similarly at 9.0 in the Sun poll would include Eric Cairns (NYI), Frank Musil (Edm) and Chritian Laflamme (Mon). I must be missing something.
Notes: Team Rank - 8th
Denis Gauthier held onto his 3rd defenceman ranking in the post season poll, though his grade dropped just under five points. Gauthier still remained in the "average" grouping of NHL defencemen. His Calgarypuck average dropped from 2.90 to 2.67. Like Regehr, the Sun failed to give Gauthier a grade.
Notes: Team Rank - 11th
Toni Lydman is the only defenceman still with the club that had his rating move upward from the midseason poll. Lydman received a 48.0 score in January, but pulls in a 50.0 rating now. The rating is fitting given the pairings and ice time over the final month of the season. The top four defencemen in the post season poll were the top four ice time recipients under Greg Gilbert. Lydman's average moved from 2.40 to 2.50, the max for the "average" class. The Sun had Lydman at 9.5 (38.0), which compares Lydman with Chris McAllister (Pha), Kevin Dean (Chi), and Jason Marshall (Ana).
Notes: Team Rank - 17th
Tommy Albelin's steady play on the ice didn't go unnoticed. His rating barely changed from January to late April, dropping 0.5 points overall. His Sun rating matched the post season rating to the letter. Albelin is still rated the fifth best defencemen on the Flames. The Sun had Albelin in precisely the same range, with the likes of Luke Richardson (Pha), Robert Svehla (Fla) and Igor Ulanov (Edm).
Notes: Team Rank - 18th
Like Tommy Abelin, Phil Housley barely budged in the hearts of Calgarians down the stretch, sitting 0.2 off his January total. Housley did move up the defencemen ranking however, going from the seventh rated blueliner to the sixth.. Housley was judged much more favourably by the Sun, with a ranking of 56.0, the largest high margin of any player in the study. Housley was compared to Aaron Miller (Col), Mattias Norstrom (L.A.) and teammate Derek Morris.
Notes: Team Rank - 21st
You'd have to look long and hard to find a player who's stock has plummeted faster on the Flames. Igor Kravchuk fell from the team's fourth rated defenceman to the depth positoin of 7th in three months. In the overall analysis only one other player had their ranking drop further in the time frame. The Sun had Kravchuk rated at 11.5 (46.0), and well out of the top 100 defencemen in their rankings. Kravchuk was ranked similarly to other defencemen like Murray Baron (Vcr), Cory Cross (Tor), and Eric Brewer (Edm).
Notes: Team Rank - 23rd
Tough crowd. Brad Werenka didn't play a single game between the two Calgarypuck polls yet had his rating drop from 42.0 to 32.2. In definition terms that's a move from an average NHL blueliner to barely holding on. Calgarypuck had Brad Werenka rated as the team's 8th defenceman (23rd overall), while the Sun had him in the fifth spot. Werenka is a dependable valueable defenceman but to suggest his depth placing is ahead of Robyn Regehr or Denis Gauthier is ludicrous. Other defencemen rated in the same range by the Sun included Jason Strudwick (Vcr), Boris Mironov (Chi), and Hal Gill (Bos).
Notes: Team Rank - 32nd
Dallas Eakins filled in the "emergency recall" slot on the Flames blueline this year, and essentially did an effective job. His rating fell from 23.0 (1.15 average) to 21.5 (1.07 average) from poll to poll, but remained in the "barely holding on" description of the rating scheme. He wasn't ranked by the Sun poll.
Notes: Team Rank - 33rd
Absence makes the heart grow fonder? Must be. There really can't be any other explanation for how the big defenceman could have gone up in the ratings despite being claimed on waivers by the Leafs in mid February. Belak went from 16.5 to 19.6, and was only one of two defenceman that had their rating improve from poll to poll. He wasn't rated in the Sun poll.