Stat Hack: Is David Rittich a Calgary Flame Weakness?

February 11th, 2019 | Posted in Commentary | By: D'Arcy McGrath

It’s become the topic of day in Calgary, at least in hockey circles since the team came back from an extended break in and around the National Hockey League’s NHL all star game.

David Rittich was pulled early in a loss to the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night, and then was out foiled by his counterpart Jacob Markstom in a loss on Saturday night despite the Flames having a 47-25 shots on goal advantage. The Flames are deep, offensively gifted and ready for what could be a deep playoff run, but is their Achilles Heel their goaltender?
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Stat Hack: Mike Smith the Backup

January 13th, 2019 | Posted in Commentary | By: D'Arcy McGrath

NHL backup goaltenders are some of the most beloved players on hockey teams when it comes to hockey fans in hockey markets.

The starter plays often, he never leaves the ice, fans tend to get tired of them and find themselves rooting for the unheralded backup.

In Calgary this season, starter Mike Smith has become this season’s biggest lightning rod of discontent due to his poor play, weak goals, and big contract.

A change of expectations for Mike Smith to a backup goaltender would likely alleviate some of the anger, but where does he line up when it comes to backups across the league? Is the move from #1 to #2 enough of an expectation change to save his image?

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Stat Hack: Jame Neal

January 11th, 2019 | Posted in Commentary | By: D'Arcy McGrath

James Neal isn’t scoring in Calgary, this isn’t news to anyone.

But why?

Some obvious reasons come to mind;

*he’s playing on the third line and not the second
*he’s somewhat snake bit
*the quality of his linemates are likely down a notch from the past two seasons in Nashville and Vegas
*or he’s in a quick decline due to too much playoff activity.

But what do the stats say?

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New Look Flames in China – Game One

September 15th, 2018 | Posted in Commentary | By: D'Arcy McGrath

The exhibition season in the NHL is always a tough time of year to assess hockey teams for the upcoming season. To take in new players in new lines playing new roles for new teams. There’s too much patchwork in each roster to really get a solid read on things.

This year is somewhat different however.

The Flames took the upper 90% of their roster to China for the ORG Games, a two game preseason set against the Boston Bruins, in hopes of fostering a quick gel towards getting off to a solid start in the upcoming NHL campaign.

The Bruins, went a different route, bringing a lot of their team, but allowing many of their key players including Patrice Bergergon, Tory Krug, Zdeno Chara and David Krejci to nurse injuries or just avoid the hassle.

Regardless of the make up of each roster this is Calgary’s first look at the revamped Flames, even if they had to stay up to the wee hours to see it.

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WAR Model Update: Post Free Ageny Frenzy

July 4th, 2018 | Posted in Commentary | By: D'Arcy McGrath

Last week I published a story looking at Manny Perry’s WAR model, the Flames recent blockbuster with Carolina and the potential signing of Derek Ryan.

It was an interesting exercise to bring an subjectively weighted model into the analysis in an objective player to player standpoint. The basic summary was the Flames took a step forward in the Carolina transaction at least when it came to current NHLers (Adam Fox issue to be debated), and that adding Derek Ryan would further bolster the lineup.

Now with the Ryan signing official, we look again at said model, the new Flames roster with the surprising add of James Neal, and how the WAR model correlates with the standings from last year.

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