Tyler Parsons, Leaving KC on a High Note

February 3rd, 2018 | Posted in Commentary | By: Paige Siewert

Tyler Parsons. The Calgary Flames top prospect according to NHL.com. A young goalie with noticeable talent and vast potential, made what might be his last appearance for the Kansas City Mavericks on Tuesday night.

“I kinda knew in the back of my mind that I was going to go back up to Stockton on Wednesday so I wanted to end here on a good note.”

– Full Article –

The Numbers Behind Dome Misery

January 24th, 2018 | Posted in Commentary | By: D'Arcy McGrath

Sometimes too much can be made of splits.

We heard ad naseum about how the Flames couldn’t win in Anaheim, it was an odd nuance, nothing more in the broad scheme of things.

This season the Oilers are ranked number one on the road in the penalty kill, but are so dreadful at home killing penalties that the club is ranked 31st when you look at all their games when down a man, as they’re literally giving up a goal 50% of the time at the new rink sinking their overall rate.

The Flames are road warriors but terrible on home ice, the story of the week and I guess the season.

But how do the underlying numbers look? – Full Article –

Digging into the Powerplay

January 9th, 2018 | Posted in Commentary | By: D'Arcy McGrath

The halfway point of a season is pretty darn good time to have a healthy look at things both good and bad on a hockey club.

The sample size is approaching somewhat trustworthy levels, and the midpoint of anything is certainly as good a time as any to hit the refresh button on things hurting a hockey club.

It won’t come as a surprise to any one that the Calgary Flames have struggled on the powerplay this season, but what do the numbers say when you drill down into situations, timelines and trends?
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Are the Flames Poised to Break Out?

December 14th, 2017 | Posted in Commentary | By: D'Arcy McGrath

Thirty one games into a National Hockey League season and the Flames are out of a playoff position, sitting tied for 9th in the West, just short of a wild card position.

So why, then, does it feel like this team is about to go on a streak and grab hold of their season?

Recent times show the Flames running along at a 4-4-2 record in their last ten, so it’s not recent play that has the spidey sense feeling good things, though points in their last four with unbelievable travel is certainly a good sign.

On the ice the team has flipped things up side down somewhat. The top line has gone ice cold, but the third line has found their way and are chipping in almost nightly. On the blueline the second pairing of TJ Brodie and Travis Hamonic seem to have figured it out and have posted some of their best results of the season of late.

The team just “feels” better.

But what do the underlying numbers say?

– Full Article –

Deep Sixed by Bottom Six?

October 27th, 2017 | Posted in Commentary | By: D'Arcy McGrath

In Pentiction when the annual Bob McKenzie GM interviews took flight from a Calgary standpoint, Brad Treliving was asked what keeps him up at night heading into the season?

He didn’t blink before answering quickly … “where are the goals are going to come from?”

He sure called that one!

The Flames are off to a start.

Notice I didn’t say good start, nor did I say bad start, just a start. They have yet to really establish what they will be this season in any way, shape or form.

Good at some things, above average at others, and struggling in a few facets resulting in a very nondescript “meh” to start the season.

With a PDO of 99 (all situations) they have a healthy balance of both good luck; Mike Smith’s torrid start, and bad luck; a team shooting percentage that suggests they as a group are channeling their inner Ladislav Smid. Of course they are likely hoping the first stays in tact while the latter is a small sample size that will sort itself out over time.

The focus lately has been the lack of scoring from the bottom half of their forward group as we’ve seen mention of it from Glen Gulutzan, the local media in both print and radio, and Travis Yost from TSN chiming in to show the bottom roster production across 5 struggling Canadian teams.

Is that really the story though?

Perhaps we are letting the upper half of the forward group off a little easy.

The point per game production coming from Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau, Mikael Backlund, Matthew Tkachuk and Michael Frolik comes in at 0.78, and the rest of the forwards are clipping along at a panic stricken 0.17 points per game. Kris Versteeg has four scoring points, the other 10 forwards that have suited up for at least one game have a total of eight.

So at least on the surface it sure looks like the bottom six is the problem, but is it?

The Flames top three scoring forwards won’t come as a surprise, as the usual suspects; Monahan and Gaudreau head up the group with Matthew Tkachuk showing no signs of the sophomore jinx in spot number three. Together they have 28 points in 30 total games, a .93 points per game.

Across the league that puts the trio in 12th spot in total points, and 17th spot in terms of points per game; that’s right Calgary’s top three forwards are below average when you compare them to the rest of the league and the trio isn’t even the first line, it’s 2/3 of the top line and the young stud on the 2nd line.

The Flames have been known to have a great young top line, but when you put Tkachuk back on the 3M line (2nd line) and replace him with Jaromir Jagr (the best case scenario!) the top trio grinds down to a very pedestrian 0.80 PPG, good for 28th league wide and ahead of only Carolina, Detroit and Montreal.

The 3M line as a trio is better, as they’ve averaged 0.63 PPG, which puts them 14th in the league against each team’s 2nd set of scoring forwards, but that’s the very definition of average.

The Flames are hurting top to bottom.

So yes outside of Kris Versteeg there really isn’t a single player out of the top six that has done anything this year. Micheal Ferland has two points, as does Troy Brouwer, but Sam Bennett, Matt Stajan, Tanner Glass, Mark Jankowski and Freddie Hamilton all have one or less.

So are the Flames in trouble? How do they fix this mess, or at least rectify it to a degree so that when Mike Smith returns to mortal status they won’t get blown out on a nightly basis?

The top of the roster will be fine in my mind. Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan are off to solid starts, as too are Matthew Tkachuk and Mikael Backlund.

The team as a whole will start to fill the net more regularly as a 7.7% team shooting percentage (all situations), good for 28th in the league and ahead of only Montreal, Edmonton and Arizona, isn’t all that likely through 82 games.

The Flames have averaged a shooting percentage of 9.63% (once again all situations) over the past four seasons, which puts them in 4th place in the NHL in that category. If you applied that percentage to this year’s shot totals you’d have an additional six goals through ten games and likely be at least 6-4 instead of 5-5 and potentially 7-3.

It will come or at least the scoring will return to normal levels, who’s to say what will happen to team defense and the stellar play of Mike Smith.

The bigger philosophical debate will remain however, and that is how to construct the bottom half of the roster. With every passing day the Twitter world seems to grow more enraged with a fourth line that features the likes of Matt Stajan, Tanner Glass, Troy Brouwer and Freddie Hamilton. With Andrew Mangiapane off to a good start the push is on to go young at the bottom half of the roster and add some offensive punch.

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