Flames Comparables - Part 2

Kent Wilson
September 29 2010 10:52AM

UNIONDALE, NY - MARCH 25: Forward Matt Stajan #18 of the Calgary Flames waits for a face off against the New York Islanders during an NHL game at the Nassau Coliseum on March 25, 2010 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

 

(Today we present the second part of Robert Vollman's Flames Comparables series. This post will focus on some "supporting" offensive players)

Matt Stajan, 27

Acquired in the Phaneuf deal, the Flames have invested $3.5 million a year in Matt Stajan, so you know they'll give him every opportunity to succeed.  Stajan has shown steady improvement throughout his career, leaving him on the brink of breaking the 20 goal and 60 point barriers after two seasons on the cusp.

 

Age Closest Comparable       GP  G  A PTS

25 Tim Ecclestone    1972-73 78 15 27  42

26 Craig Ramsay      1977-78 80 23 38  61

26 Larry Popein      1956-57 67 11 21  32

27 Derek Smith       1981-82 61  6 11  17

27 Mike Ribeiro      2007-08 76 27 57  84

25 Don Raleigh       1951-52 70 20 52  72

25 Jarret Stoll      2007-08 81 14 22  36

28 Kelly Kisio       1987-88 77 17 42  59

29 Blake Dunlop      1982-83 78 16 33  49

29 Steve Kasper      1988-89 78 14 24  38

 

Worst (Smith)                82  8 14  22

Best (Ribeiro)               82 30 61  91

Average                      82 18 36  54

 

Personally I'm really curious if Stajan could have a break-out season like Mike Ribeiro if he had an opportunity on the top line and the 1st power play unit.  Stajan could actually be Tanguay's equal as a playmaker, which ought to get him those 36 assists even if he's “stuck” with Bourque, and far more if he can win a spot from the faltering Jokinen.  Since goal-scoring won't be his focus regardless of where he plays, I figure 20 is his high water mark, and even that might take a lucky break in shooting percentage.  Pencil me in for the “over” on this one.

 

Niklas Hagman, 31, 2nd/depth LW

 Niklas Hagman, son of the NHL's first Finnish-trained player Matti “Hakki” Hagman, should be easy to predict.  His even-strength scoring rate has been exactly 2.0 per 60 minutes for three straight years, during which time he always topped 20 goals and 40 points.  Still, his scoring slipped a bit as a Flame, and at his age he's bound to return to his previously-established scoring level of 21-29 points eventually – will it be this year?

 

Age Closest Comparable       GP  G  A PTS

32 Chris Clark       2008-09 32  1  5   6

33 Dave Reid         1997-98 65  6 13  19

29 Scott Mellanby    1995-96 79 28 35  63

33 Ron Murphy        1966-67 39 10 16  26

33 Kenny Wharram     1966-67 70 29 33  62

29 Don Saleski       1978-79 51 10  4  14

31 Mike McPhee       1991-92 78 13 12  25

30 Ernie Hicke       1977-78 41  8 13  21

32 Eddie Shack       1969-70 73 21 12  33

29 Keith Jones       1997-98 23  3  8  11

 

Worst (Clark)                82  2 12  14

Best (Wharram)               82 34 39  73

Average                      82 17 22  39

 

Unless Hagman is traded to a team with players like Stan Mikita, Bobby Hull and Phil Esposito, I doubt he'll bloom this late into a 60-point player like 33-year-old Kenny Wharram. 

 Instead look at Mike McPhee – now there was another player to whom you could set your watch.  In his 10 NHL seasons he invariably scored 16-23 goals and 15-22 assists, right up until and including his final season at age 33.  His worst season came at age 31 due to increased competition on the left side, and that's the key for Hagman, too.  Sandwiched between Tanguay and Glencross on the depth chart, with Iggy, Bourque and Moss on the right side, Hagman will have to prove himself to Coach Sutter quickly to continue to score at this level.

 

Daymond Langkow, 34, depth C

Acquired for depth talent Denis Gauthier and Oleg Saprykin just before the lock-out, Langkow has been one of the Flames most consistent two-way players, spiking to 33 goals and 77 points at age 30 before making a precipitous but consistent decline to just 14 goals and 37 points three seasons later.  If we unrealistically assume he's healthy, will Langkow bounce back to a top-six rate of scoring, or are the Flames paying $4.25 million for another Craig Conroy?

 

Age Closest Comparable       GP  G  A PTS

34 Baldy Cotton      1936-37 29  2  0   2

32 Scott Mellanby    1998-99 67 19 29  48

34 Miroslav Satan    2008-09 65 17 18  35

34 Andy Hebenton     1963-64 70 12 11  23

33 Todd White        2008-09 82 21 49  70

35 Dave Taylor       1990-91 73 18 24  42

32 Joe Carveth       1950-51 30  1  5   6

32 Gerry Meehan      1978-79 18  2  3   5

34 Eric Nesterenko   1967-68 71 11 26  37

32 Trevor Linden     2002-03 71 20 23  43

 

Worst (Cotton)               82  6  0   6

Best (White)                 82 21 49  70

Average                      82 15 23  38

 

Things don't look good for Langkow.  Even without the news of his slow recovery from last season's injury, a high number of his comparables had to wrap up their career at this point of their arcs – 3 players on this list and 2 that just missed, Dave Poulin and Rick Kehoe.

Still, Langkow's decline has been far faster than it ought to have been, and his fine defensive play should guarantee him the ice-time opportunities he needs to demonstrate whether he still has the scoring touch.  In the unlikely event that he's 100%, I'll take the over.

 (Stay tuned for Part 3 tomorrow)

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Former Nations Overlord. Current FN contributor and curmudgeon For questions, complaints, criticisms, etc contact Kent @ kent.wilson@gmail. Follow him on Twitter here.
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#1 dotfras
September 29 2010, 11:42AM
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Hey Kent, I've been enjoying reading these.

Quick question......does the development of the game have an affect on these numbers? I noticed a bunch of stats taken from players who played in the 50's & 60's.

Just wondering how accurate these can be based on the fact the style of the game has changed so much since then.

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#2 PrairieStew
September 29 2010, 11:58AM
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Almost dead on what I did just with 5 year trendlines on goals, except those numbers showed something more optimisitc for Hagman at 31. The trendline slope for his is high because he had 8 goals only in 05-06. Stajan I had at 22 goals and Langkow 14.

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#4 Robert V
September 29 2010, 03:23PM
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Hockey was indeed much different in the 50s and 60s (expansion was 1967-68).

Without going into a whole big story, anyone who scored 40 goals a season (in 70 games) was considered exceptional. Point-a-game players were uncommon in the early 50s and you never had more than a half-dozen or so in the 60s.

The most important thing to remember is to normalize the data to modern day scoring levels before looking for comparables.

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