Flames Scoring Projections

Robert Vollman
November 24 2011 10:49AM

 

 

For the past couple of months we've been using the Snepsts System to search the NHL's entire history for players with similar era-adjusted statistics as our beloved Flames, and then basing projections on what happened to those similar players.  This week we're going to bring it all together and see what the final scoring totals may look like at year's end.


Snepsts          GP  G  A PTS
Jarome Iginla    82 30 38  68
Rene Bourque     72 23 26  49
Olli Jokinen     82 17 29  46
Alex Tanguay     79 13 32  45
Mark Giordano    82  9 34  43
Curtis Glencross 71 17 23  40
Lee Stempniak    82 20 20  40
Mikael Backlund  82 15 19  34
Anton Babchuk    82 11 23  34
Matt Stajan      82 10 23  33
Niklas Hagman    82 14 17  31
Brendan Morrison 70  9 18  27
Jay Bouwmeester  82  4 20  24
David Moss       56  9 10  19
Cory Sarich      70  4 10  14
Tom Kostopoulos  78  4  8  12
Chris Butler     53  2  9  11
Tim Jackman      82  4  6  10
Scott Hannan     80  1  5   6
Brett Carson     43  0  7   7

The Snepsts System finds historical players with similar era-adjusted scoring levels and trends, and lays out all the possible future paths for today's players.  With a little bit of further examination you can generally pick the most accurate spot in the range Snepsts provides, but for purposes of this exercise we just took the average outcomes.

As a group they would be expected to score 216 goals, roughly the same as Montreal last year, firmly in Los Angeles/Nashville/Toronto/Columbus range, 12 more than the Flames enjoyed two years ago in 2009-10.  Jarome Iginla would remain the leading scorer in goals, assists, and points, trailed by Rene Bourque and Lee Stempniak in goals, and Mark Giordano and Alex Tanguay in assists.

Let's compare these results to the similar but more optimistic VUKOTA system, which also predicts games played, and differs from Snepsts in that its based on more than just historical trends, and the trends it does use are post-expansion era only.


Vukota           GP  G  A PTS
Jarome Iginla    75 32 37  69
Rene Bourque     72 24 26  50
Alex Tanguay     69 15 33  48
Olli Jokinen     68 17 30  47
Curtis Glencross 71 19 21  40
Lee Stempniak    69 19 20  39
Brendan Morrison 59 10 25  35
Mark Giordano    71  8 27  35
Matt Stajan      66 10 24  34
Mikael Backlund  65 13 18  31
Niklas Hagman    63 14 16  30
Anton Babchuk    68  7 23  30
David Moss       56 14 14  28
Jay Bouwmeester  72  5 20  25
Tim Jackman      63  9 11  20
Tom Kostopoulos  62  7 10  17
Cory Sarich      62  3 11  14
Chris Butler     53  3 11  14
Paul Byron       30  6  7  13
Greg Nemisz      28  5  7  12
Clay Wilson      31  3  7  10
Lance Bouma      33  4  6  10
Scott Hannan     62  1  9  10
Stefan Meyer     31  4  5   9
Brett Carson     43  2  6   8
T.J. Brodie      25  2  5   7
Derek Smith      27  2  5   7
B. Mikkelson     34  1  4   5

That's much better – now the Flames are looking at 259 goals, which is 9 more than last year, and roughly the same as Philadelphia, Detroit and Chicago, and just 3 short of Vancouver's league lead.

This time there are only two 20-goal men – Iginla and Bourque, with Tanguay and Jokinen both edging out Giordano for 2nd in assists.  As you can see the VUKOTA projection also includes the lesser players left out by Snepsts.

Let's finish with the best-case scenario, where every Flames finishes at the very top of the range suggested by the Snepsts system – or the VUKOTA system, if it is still better.  Every year there's at least one team that does this, like the 2006-07 Sabres or the 2009-10 Avalanche.  This year, why not the Flames?  Here's what it would look like.


Best Case        GP  G  A PTS
Jarome Iginla    82 37 51  88
Rene Bourque     72 37 38  75
Mark Giordano    82 14 54  68
Lee Stempniak    82 41 25  66
Alex Tanguay     79 19 46  65
Olli Jokinen     82 29 36  65
Curtis Glencross 71 22 38  60
Matt Stajan      82 19 40  59
Niklas Hagman    82 26 23  49
Brendan Morrison 70 22 25  47
David Moss       56 13 21  34
Mikael Backlund  82 15 19  34
Anton Babchuk    82 11 23  34
Jay Bouwmeester  82  4 29  33
Tim Jackman      63  9 11  20
Tom Kostopoulos  62  7 10  17
Cory Sarich      62  3 11  14
Chris Butler     53  3 11  14
Paul Byron       30  6  7  13
Greg Nemisz      28  5  7  12
Clay Wilson      31  3  7  10
Lance Bouma      33  4  6  10
Scott Hannan     62  1  9  10
Stefan Meyer     31  4  5   9
Brett Carson     43  2  6   8
T.J. Brodie      25  2  5   7
Derek Smith      27  2  5   7
B. Mikkelson     34  1  4   5

That may total 361 goals, but there's also 1670 games instead of 1476, so they would actually end with 319.  That's about the same as Washington in 2009-10, which beat out Ottawa 2005-06 and Buffalo's miracle 2006-07 season for post-lockout high. 

The Flames would have an amazing seven 20-goal men with one right behind – and Lee Stempniak out-scoring Iginla and Bourque.  Giordano would lead the team in assists and probably be in the mix for the Norris trophy as league's best defenseman.  A great team, no doubt!

Despite the unlikely nature of that best-case scenario, it's probably best to wrap it up on that note.  Unless it depresses you to be reminded of how good the team could be if it played its very best.
 

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Rob Vollman of www.HockeyAbstract.com is a regular feature writer on ESPN Insider, co-author of Hockey Prospectus 2010-11 and 2011-12, and regular contributor to NHL Numbers, Flames Nation and Arctic Ice Hockey. Innovator of Player Usage Charts, Quality Starts, GVS (Goals Versus Salary), the Snepsts Projection System, and known for work in League Equivalencies (NHLE). Twitter: @robvollmanNHL
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