Report card day: Forwards

Ryan Lambert
April 16 2010 02:25PM



Well the good news is Calgary's season has come to a merciful close, and the better news is I'm almost done having to think about it. But until that wonderful, sunny day comes, I am here considering what has become of one of the better franchises in the Western Conference.

It's fair (and incredibly easy) to say that Calgary had an absolutely terrible season by any standard. In a league where more than half the teams in each conference makes the playoffs, not making the playoffs, especially for a team like the Flames, is totally inexcusable.

But it's unfair to say everyone had a bad season. Sure, there were the obvious stinkers, but several players were excellent and deserve recognition for their play.

(Please note that all players are listed alphabetically, and that each had to have played 33 games, or 40 percent of the season, to get what I consider a fair grade. Except in the case of goaltenders and players traded to the team, in which case they're all getting a grade because I don't care.)

A warning: most grades are either mediocre or poor.

Forwards

Player: Rene Bourque
Stats: 73 GP, 28-30-50, plus-7
Summary: Bourque was, simply put, the Flames' best forward, and oftentimes was the only one that seemed particularly interested in turning in a full effort. He was one of the few Flames that had a campaign that's more or less unassailable. Now if only he could stay healthy.
Grade: A-

Player: Dustin Boyd
Stats: 60 GP, 8-11-19, plus-5
Summary: He was just about average as far as his time with the Flames went. Never good or bad or even really all that noticeable. The sad thing is this was the best season of his brief career.
Grade: C

Player: Craig Conroy
Stats: 63 GP, 3-12-15, minus-6
Summary: Sure it took him until Dec. 30 to score his first goal, and his next goal came the night after that, and the one following that was another two and a half months away, but dang it, Connie was.. well, sub-average for an NHL guy. He was barely better than replacement-level thanks to his poor offensive season, but he's a great leader and I'm sure that counts for something. I just don't know what.
Grade: D+

Player: Nigel Dawes
Stats: 66 GP, 14-18-32, plus-1
Summary: He sure wasn't bad for a third-line guy. Correction: a dirt cheap third-line guy the Flames got for nothing. This is one of those guys you're happy to have on your hockey club, because he's a solid defensive forward that can chip in more than his fair share of offense (this was his best statistical season ever). It was a very rare night indeed where you found yourself cursing Dawes' name. This was, perhaps, Sutter's most understated and shrewdest move in a while.
Grade: B-

Player: Curtis Glencross
Stats: 67 GP, 15-18-33, plus-11
Summary: Fairly mediocre offensive stats but Glencross' value isn't necessarily in what he brings to the offense from a goals-and-assists point of view. Rather, he drives possession and dominates in all your favorite CORSI stats and is phenomenal at killing penalties. He's really very good for what Calgary is paying him, even if his numbers did drop slightly from last season.
Grade: B

Player: Niklas Hagman
Stats: 27 GP, 5-6-11, minus-1
Summary: Well he's not bad. He's not good, and he's certainly not good for $3 million over the next two seasons. But he's not bad. I will grudgingly take him on this team given what we saw in his 27 games with Calgary. I'd happily take him on this team if he could reproduce what we saw in his 55 games with Toronto (20-13-33). Big if, though.
Grade: C

Player: Chris Higgins
Stats: 12 GP, 2-1-3, even
Summary: Theoretically, he's talented and fast. Not so good on the CORSI numbers though, and not so good in the stats department, and not so good in the not-getting-injured department. An uninspiring couple months in a Flames uniform. Don't think anyone in Calgary will miss him when he signs elsewhere as a free agent.
Grade: C-

Player: Jarome Iginla
Stats: 82 GP, 32-37-69, minus-2
Summary: Kent is going to go into this in far greater detail than I over the next couple days, but any way you slice it, this was one of Iggy's worst seasons as a pro, and certainly his worst since he started pulling down $7 million a year. He was often meek and easily dissuaded from playing a physical game, and was held without a point in 39(!) games this year. Tough crowd, I know.
Grade: D+

Player: Olli Jokinen
Stats: 56 GP, 11-24-35, plus-2
Summary: Isn't it sad that the much-maligned Mr. Jokinen had a better season than almost every Flames forward save for Bourque and Glencross, and he was the one that got chased to the city limits with pitchforks and torches? Granted, his salary was the second-highest among Flames forwards and he was absolutely worthy of any railroading he received, but still, he was pretty much the sole scapegoat until the season ended.
Grade: C-

Player: Ales Kotalik
Stats: 26 GP, 3-2-5, plus-1.
Summary: He actively hurt the team this season. And he'll do it again next season as well. And the one after that. For $3 million. He sucks and is awful.
Grade: F

Player: Daymond Langkow
Stats: 72 GP, 14-23-37, plus-2
Summary: The good news is he was Calgary's third-best point-getter, and fourth-best goalscorer. The bad news is he had 37 points, 14 goals and was still more valuable defensively than offensively. All for the low, low price of $4.5 million. I don't want to say this contract, like several others, is an albatross, but Darryl Sutter was last seen wearing it around his neck and begging people for some drinkable water.
Grade: D+

Player: Jamal Mayers
Stats: 27 GP, 1-5-6, plus-2
Summary: Despite what you may think, he was far from the most worthless player for whom Sutter traded. I still have no idea why he's on the team.
Grade: C

Player: Brian McGrattan
Stats: 34 GP, 1-3-4, plus-3
Summary: I don't know how this guy finished a plus-3, but there ya go. He fights people somewhat effectively, and that's all that's really asked of him.
Grade: C

Player: David Moss
Stats: 64 GP, 8-9-17, minus-nine
Summary: Eight goals. He had 20 last year, right? I didn't make that up? From 20 to eight. So much of the Flames' problems can be symbolized by this stunning drop in production and usefulness. By just about any metric imaginable, he was downright awful.
Grade: D-

Player: Eric Nystrom
Stats: 82 GP, 11-8-19, even
Summary: Not good, not bad. You're never going to get a season that registers above "Meh" from the kid, so as far as that goes, I guess you take 11 goals and be glad you got it even if almost all of his CORSI stats are among the worst on the team.
Grade: C-

Player: Brandon Prust
Stats: 43 GP, 1-4-5, plus-6
Summary: He is as statistically average as you can possibly get. I would imagine Sutter is actively seeking to reacquire him from the New York Rangers.
Grade: C

Player: Freddy Sjostrom
Stats: 45 GP, 1-4-5, plus-2
Summary: Well there was no way two patented Darryl Sutter Bargain Basement Pickups were going to work out. Sjostrom is mediocre at best and not especially detrimental at worst; the kind of player that plagued the Flames all season long by simply playing to already-meager expectations.
Grade: C

Player: Matt Stajan
Stats: 27 GP, 3-13-16, minus-3
Summary: Well if this was the centerpiece return from the Dion Phaneuf trade, you can go ahead and mark me down as being slightly down on the whole situation. As I've said before, I can't imagine Sutter did much shopping if Stajan was the best return he could wrangle, and while 3-13-16 in 27 games is a decent output, Calgary already had about four No. 2-or-3 centers either right now or in the pipeline. Stajan is redundant and, with his new contract, oddly pricey. But that doesn't diminish that he was fairly okay in his 27 games here.
Grade: C+

Tomorrow or like Monday or something: Grades for the defense and goaltenders!

 

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Yer ol' buddy Lambert is handsome and great and everyone loves him. Also you can visit his regular blog at The Two-Line Pass or follow him on Twitter. Lucky you!
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#1 Domebeers.com
April 16 2010, 03:50PM
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Man, you know how Domebeers hates to quibble.

Bourques grade should have been 'has to play big mans game', so don't love the A-. In all seriousness, he took some stupid, stupid penalties. maybe a B?

Conroy is the only guy on this team who can win a face off and you D his ass? I mean, I guess I can see that, but Id say he played his role, so I would have given him a better grade. Was anyone expecting the dude to score more than 5 points?

Iggy should have been F, you're too nice.

But what makes me the most mad is this C you give to Prust. Prust was an A+. He was the only guy on the team to fight, afterall. Well, besides McG, who was one of the better enforcers in the league, I thought. Way better than Roy.

Also, Nystrom disrespect is always appreciated. Good stuff, TPL.

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#2 TPL-SUCKS
April 17 2010, 02:51PM
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TPL gets a grade F. Get a real job

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#3 b1ackhat
April 17 2010, 03:01PM
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Your review of Ales Kotalik is both fair and true.

TPL Sucks? Get a brain

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#4 SmellOfVictory
April 17 2010, 03:59PM
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TPL-SUCKS wrote:

TPL gets a grade F. Get a real job

Looks like Kotalik reads this blog. :D

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#5 dotfras
April 17 2010, 08:28PM
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Conroy sucked, who cares about faceoff wins the guy had 3 goals - should have taken Theo over him. Iggy doesn't deserve an F he still managed to get SOME points.

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#6 SmellOfVictory
April 17 2010, 11:07PM
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dotfras wrote:

Conroy sucked, who cares about faceoff wins the guy had 3 goals - should have taken Theo over him. Iggy doesn't deserve an F he still managed to get SOME points.

There were a lot of times when Conroy was solid on the 3rd/4th line, and for what was expected of him, he wasn't bad. I would've liked to see Theo play with the Flames this year, though; slow skating or not, it would've been great to watch.

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#7 Illy
April 18 2010, 02:13AM
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How does joikanen get a better grade than iginla? He has been terrible since we got him.

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#8 OilFan
April 18 2010, 09:39AM
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What about Gagner for Glecross ?

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#9 SmellOfVictory
April 18 2010, 12:02PM
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I don't think the Flames would have any reason to trade Glencross. Why would you want him for Gagner, though? Seems like the kid has potential.

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#10 OilFan
April 18 2010, 12:50PM
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I really like what Glencross brings. Wicked PK guy and has size. Gagner has potential but I just see him as a 2nd line center at best. To small and only gets 50 points a season playing PP and Second line mins. With the Oilers roster I think Gagner is going to fall down teh depth charts after this years draft

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#11 Rob in Toronto
April 18 2010, 02:24PM
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I agree with much of this, but there's no way that Jokinen was better than Iggy this year.

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#12 SmellOfVictory
April 18 2010, 03:35PM
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Rob in Toronto wrote:

I agree with much of this, but there's no way that Jokinen was better than Iggy this year.

The grades are most likely based on the expectations of that player, not an absolute system; it's saying that Joker was closer to fulfilling his 5.5 million salary's expectations than Iggy was to his 7 million. I wouldn't say that Joker should be graded better, but they're probably about equal in relative terms.

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#14 rubbertrout
April 19 2010, 07:53AM
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dotfras wrote:

Conroy sucked, who cares about faceoff wins the guy had 3 goals - should have taken Theo over him. Iggy doesn't deserve an F he still managed to get SOME points.

If you don't see the value of winning faceoffs then your argument is invalid.

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