September 08 2010 11:20PM
Rob Kerr's blogpost from earlier this evening got me thinking about the potential for an offensive bounce back from the Flames this season. He mentioned several of the usual suspects along the way, and I noticed that many of them had poor shooting percentage seasons in 09/10. I know luck doesn't always perfectly balance, but it did seem reasonable to examine the possibility that the club might expect more goals in 10/11 via the bounces.
The answer, based on career percentages at least, appears to be a conditional "yes". Here are the goal totals, SOG, SH% and career SH% for every potential Flame contributor of note, based on their time spent with the club in 09/10. I'm not worried about Robyn Regehr's SH%, or Raitis Ivanins, or anyone of that ilk. For the players with split seasons, I only used their numbers in Calgary:
|Player||Goals||SOG||SH%||Career SH%||Adj. Goals|
Adjusted goals is simply the total that one might have expected based on career SH%.
As you can see, the club didn't have many players really outdo themselves, and those 18 extra goals might well have boosted the club into the post season. Of course, if Joker had shot well, he might never have been traded, but that's another matter. A careful reader might see I've excluded Tanguay and Backlund, but their numbers only add fuel to this. Tanguay shot 11% in Tampa, which isn't bad, except that he's one of the best percentage shooters in recent NHL history, averaging 18.8% for his career. We don't have an established range for Mikael Backlund as of yet, but I'll go out on a limb and suggest that whatever career SH% he finishes with, it'll be higher than the 2.1% he managed last season. I should also note that I expect that Nik Hagman would possibly have a target number of higher than 10.3%, since he spent the 3 and 2/3 seasons prior to arriving in Calgary shooting around 13%.
The reason I put a condition on the likelihood of more goals is that there's no guarantee the Flames will generate exactly the same number of shots on goal, but again, even that factor has a chance of turning in Calgary's direction, since it would take a bit of doing for the club to create fewer shots than last year. A team with as many players on the high side of 30 as the Flames might start to collectively lose a step, obviously, but that doesn't automatically mean their hands should all go in the the dumper simultaneously as well, so even if they don't get more shots, they're likely due for a few more to go in by luck alone.
I'm no Pollyanna when examining the prospects for the upcoming year. I don't doubt for a minute, however, that the club has a decent chance of scoring more just based of a small turn of fortune. That doesn't guarantee success, since we don't know if Kipper will be at last year's level, or if the club can suppress shots against as well as they did last season. Will the Flames score more goals, though? That seems a bet worth considering, and one I'd be inclined to take if I were a wagering sort.