CURTIS GLENCROSS: 30 Something?

Vintage Flame
August 19 2012 03:35PM

Today is sort of a milestone day for me. It was a year ago this very day that I went from commenter to contributing writer here at Flames Nation. It has been a phenomenal experience and the responses I have had from everyone over the past 365 days has made it all that more of a rush. Not only have your comments been appreciated, but your concerns as well, when I had to take a leave of absence.

I also want to thank Robert Cleave and Pat Steinberg for their guidance over the past year, in writing, style and general advice. Most of all to Kent for, without him, none of this would have ever been possible in the first place Thanks Boss!

In keeping with this theme today, I wanted to talk about another milestone or goal that is hopefully achieved this year within the Calgary Flames. Recently Curtis Glencross stated in the media that he would like to set his sights on a season of 30 goals and 30 assists. Last year, Scoreface (Sorry Justin) managed 26 G and 22 A while playing only 67 games. Is it out of the realm of possibility for him to hit a 30/30 campaign this year provided he stays healthy; and well provided we have a season this year?

Do the Numbers Paint The Picture?

 To Glencross’ credit, he has improved his goal totals every year he has been in Calgary, only in the 2009-10 season has his assists totals dropped. This is going to be a different year for the Flames though, and quite possibly could be significantly different for Curtis.

With the departures of the likes of Langkow, Jokinen and Moss, there is little doubt that Glencross is going to be one of the guys that is asked to carry the cross in Calgary. The out-going of players in a shut down role has not been replaced with equal newcomers. There can be little expectation on the ability of Hudler and Cervenka to fill those slots, and with the high likelihood of Bärtschi making the team this year, there are just not a lot of options available to the new coaching staff of Hartley and Co.

As versatile as Glencross is, he is currently without any linemates. Because of his versatility, he is an easy candidate to slot in where he is needed; right now, it’s glaringly obvious where there is a significant hole in the line-up. The thought of Bärtschi playing alongside Glencross and having Backlund at centre at first seemed like a natural fit to me. Introducing Sven to a line with speed, grit and a centre that knows how to drive the play north sounds like a no-brainer; the offensive promise also seemed like something that would help Backlund’s game, right?

While discussing it on twitter with Robert Cleave and Domebeers, Bob brought up a most reasonable point.

It should be a certainty that Sven will see largely sheltered minutes, thereby removing him from the possibility of lining up with the other two. You just can’t take two players out of roles that they can play to accommodate a potentially offensive line that has a rookie, no matter how much potential that rookie may have. Instead, it seems far more plausible that if you are going to shelter Bärtschi, then most likely you also shelter Cervenka and have his good buddy, Jiri Hudler, round out that trio. How will that sit with Flames fans as a more than likely third line?

Talk a Big Game!

Despite what line he plays on, sheltered or buried amongst the heavies, if there is just one guy on the Flames roster that can defy the odds, it’s Glencross.

In a world where those who follow advanced statistics have grown to loathe the term “clutch” as a means to describe a player, it’s ironic that Curtis is the guy that best embodies it for the Flames. Ironic in the sense that Glencross is an advanced stats fanatic, he follows it all and can hold his own with any of the internet’s Nerd Herd (No offense to anyone from NHL Numbers...)

The most prominent statistic that has drawn attention is his increasingly insane shooting percentages. As the seasons go by, it is often discussed by statisticians that eventually it will have to regress back to the norm. The problem is no one really can tell what the norm is for Glencross.

In his four seasons with the Flames, Glencross has posted personal shooting percentages of 8.6, 12.8, 16.1 and last year a phenomenal 23.6%, leading to his most productive season in the NHL with 26 G and 22 A for 48 pts; all while sitting a career worst -13. Numbers that may in fact contribute to the argument that +/- is not necessarily an accurate metric to use in evaluating a players value.

Can Curtis continue to defy NHL tendencies and maintain these high percentages? It stands to reason that he will not, but it also is not crazy to think that his numbers shouldn't drop too dramatically, especially if he is able to achieve his goal of 30 G and 30 A. More than likely, there will be two significant factors that will affect his sh% and determine if he will hit his objectives.

The first, as mentioned before, would be what line Curtis ends up on. Robert, Domebeers and I talked a bit about this as well on twitter and according to Bob, Glencross’ past numbers may not be an indication of what Flames fans can come to expect in the 2012-13 season, or perhaps even beyond.

Would a 15 goal season be a dramatic step backwards for Curtis? There is little doubt that it would be in the eyes of Glencross; and would do little to help him maintain his iconic nickname. However, if he fulfills the role for Hartley that Sutter so desperately wanted Jokinen to fill, then in the eyes of the organization, his value as an asset would surely increase while giving time for the younger scoring forwards to develop.

The second factor will be just how many shots Glencross can manage on net. With the Flames, he has managed to shoot more than he has his entire career anywhere else. All that being said, over his six year career, he still has only averaged 106 shots per year. Just to put that into perspective in regards to his objective of 30 goals this season: in the modern era of the NHL, only one player has ever scored 30 goals while taking 110 shots or less. 

If Glencross is successful this season, it will put him in some pretty exclusive company. It may seem like only a slight improvement from his performance from last year, but as discussed above, there are going to be many factors that will make the achievement a lot less reachable.

What say you Flames Nation? Can Scoreface go 30 and 30 or is he setting himself up for the disappointment many of the fans are coming to expect...

E42f2ca09dfb26046c3060ff46473aff
Vintage Flame is a Calgary based sports junkie that prefers to call hockey a "religion" rather than an addiction. He believes there are two types of hockey fans. Those who cheer for the Flames, and those who don't understand the sport yet. Follow Vintage_Flame on Twitter
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#1 Austin L
August 19 2012, 03:58PM
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I agree. Wherever Hartley decides to put Glencross, he'll be of use. If Glencross ends up on the heavy lifting line, then yes his numbers will likely go down. How can't they when he's facing the likes of the Sedin twins or Datsyuk or Parise or the best on any team. But I view Glencross as somebody who is tough to play against. He's an agitator, and yes he takes questionable penalties sometimes but that's all a part of who and what he is. Other teams top lines won't like playing against him, which is a good sign. If he gets placed on a line with the likes of Baertschi, he would see much easier minutes and I think that he could easily hit 30 and 30. Like you said, it all depends on where Hartley puts him.

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#2 Canucks Suck
August 19 2012, 04:21PM
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I'd be happy with 20-23 and 30 and thats a more realistic expectation but even maybe a little high. If he were to score 30 and 30 I would not be surprised though but I would be impressed. I was at the 5-2 game against the blackhawks last season and the Flames had to score a goal in 40 seconds and a fan was going to win a car(she didnt even have her own car either). I never thought it was going to happen but sure enough Glenny goes and bangs one in and it had everybody in the Dome going wild even some of the people in blackhawk jerseys were cheering.

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#3 RexLibris
August 19 2012, 04:25PM
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A year?! Funny, it feels like longer (in a good way), but congratulations on the anniversary, VF.

Given, as has been stated, that Glencross is likely to get buried against the tougher competition this year, for him to manage 30/30 it would mean that the team as a whole would be a top tier squad.

It is good to have those goals, but I wonder what the reasonable expectations could be for Glencross this year?

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#4 SmellOfVictory
August 19 2012, 06:29PM
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Depends on PP time and the Backlund curse, I think. It makes the utmost amount of sense to have him with Backlund on a checking line (though I'd rather they weren't buried too deep), but even being buried they should be able to outshoot comp and get Glencross 10-15 ES goals. Unless the Backlund on-ice SH% curse continues. And if he ends up being one of the more effective guys on the PP and is a mainstay on the first PP unit, he could hypothetically crank out the rest of a 30 goal season on the PP without relying too much on bounces.

Edit: Sorry, that's specifically for 30 goals. I doubt he hits 30 assists with that.

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#6 SmellOfVictory
August 19 2012, 08:51PM
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Heh, goals.

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#7 Sobueno
August 19 2012, 09:54PM
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Dang, a whole year already?? Time really does fly! Seems like the tutelage of the Nation crew has paid off Vintage; you've always had interesting content, but the delivery and formatting has definitely improved over the year. Keep up the good work!

I think Mr. Cleave is spot on with his estimations for Glencross' role and likely point totals. If we're operating on the premise that Hartley is smart enough to juggle his lines so as to shelter his more, shall we say, offensively minded only players, then there aren't really many options other than glen/backlund/stemp. I suppose you could switch Comeau in if need be...

Working in those types of conditions definitely does not lend one to having a huge offensive output. The two things working in Glencross' favour in that situation is he likely sees some decent ice time, and he's a possession beast so may still be able to get a decent amount of shots. I'm estimating that another 20 goal season while facing the heavies would be a success for him.

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#9 schevvy
August 19 2012, 11:32PM
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Hard to believe I've survived a year of VF writing articles! Must be doing something right man, keep up TEH good work!

On Glencross, if he gets to 20 goals and 20 assists while playing the toughs that's fine for me. He's really the only one on the Flames who's ever faced the toughs with a decent amount of success, which makes it critical that he performs that job well. If his goal-scoring totals take a hit cause of it, fine. His contract is still phenomenal.

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#10 TheLastBigBear
August 20 2012, 02:47AM
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In no particular order:

1) When Jay Feaster is looking for players to help form an identity for the team, he should look no further than Glencross.

2) Roman Cervenka is a PIM magnet, he is not a disciplined hockey player (more PIMS than games as a pro). And he doesnt like to play defence. Whether this makes him a poor choice for a shutdown line with Glencross, or whether this makes him a perfect choice for a crash and bang offensive line with Glencross, well we'll have to wait and see.

3) Glencross has the tools to hit 30. He just needs the ice time. He probably won't get that ice time this year (even of there is a season). The Flames need someone to soak up the hard minutes, and there aren't many forward options to do that reliably beyond #20.

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#11 TheLastBigBear
August 20 2012, 02:58AM
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But really the ideal use for Glencross (in my mind) would be using him in a Power-vs-Power line, with linemates who can also produce in those minutes.

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#12 negrilcowboy
August 20 2012, 05:37AM
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glad to scoreface setting goals for the upcoming campaign, 30 30 would an amazing feat. however, i sense glennie will be forced to do alot of the heavy lifting in order to shelter the flames percieved big guns. glenx will face the tougher assignments now that everyones favourite whippi boy ollie "doink" jokinen has departed for the mosquito factory.

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#15 Michael
August 20 2012, 09:22AM
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Both a potential lockout, and the Flames tendency for a slow start, are going to make it tough for Glencross to hit the ‘30/30’ mark next season. In a shortened season, the Flames simply can’t afford to take a twenty game warm up (slow start), as they will simply not have enough games left to recover…. Glencross had better rest up, if we do have a season, the Flames are going to need him to play some tough minutes.

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#16 Kent Wilson
August 20 2012, 09:25AM
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Good stuff VF.

There's little chance Glencross will challenge 30 goals for several reasons touched on here: first, ice time. Tanguay, Glencross, Baertschi and perhaps one of Cervenka or Cammalleri will be jockeying for ice time on the left. If he switches sides, he has to get ice time from Iginla, Hudler and Stempniak instead.

There's only so much scoring type ice to go around. So unless he usurps Iginla or Tanguay, chances are slim-to-none.

On top of that, as you note Glencross isn't a high volume shooter. There were thirty 30+ goal scorers in the league last year - of them, the only guy to do it with less than 200 shots was Eberle (180) thanks to his 18.9% (which will likely go down this year).

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#17 Sloppy Joe
August 20 2012, 09:46AM
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I'm an Oilers fan, and I am still pissed off that our incompetent management team didn't re-sign him when he went UFA.

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#18 The Last Big Bear
August 20 2012, 10:29AM
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Vintage Flame wrote:

Do the Flames have anyone that can "produce" while playing PvP?

Without being able to back it up with advanced statistics, and just going by the eyeball test, I'd say Cammalleri... and... ummm... uhhhhh.....

Much to my sadness, and probably in line with your thoughts, I was not really talking about anyone currently on the Flames.

But...

Backing up a little, it does depend somewhat on what you mean by 'produce'. Purely offensively, Iginla can do that against top-flight opposition. He can put up goals and assists. It's stopping that opposition from producing when the play goes the other way that's become his problem.

Some people take this to mean that the Flames should only play Iginla against opposition that can't score, ie giving him sheltered minutes against chumps. Which is a valid option. But maybe it just means that he needs to be put on a line with two-way players who can drive play and take care of business defensively. Maybe a playmaking centre who can dish the puck and carry most of the load defensively, so Iggy can just take nice passes and score 50+ goals?

Has anyone mentioned this before? The notion of bringing in a defensively responsible playmaking #1C centreman to play with Iginla?

I think I might be on to something here...

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#19 the forgotten man
August 20 2012, 10:55AM
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Scoreface is a very important cog in this team and I pray he can repeat his performance but I'd rather he pronounce 10 less bonehead penalties this season at critical junctures in a game.

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#22 MC Hockey
August 20 2012, 12:55PM
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Hey VF, nice year you put together! If the Flames played as consistently well as you and Kent write, they would surely make the "end-of-season-tournament".

Anyways, I like to see Glencross be optimistic about scoring 30 goals, but given his ability to shut down other team scorers, he probably plays 3rd-line shutdown role with Backlund and Stempniak and hits 18 to 25.

But the idea of him with Iginla and Backlund in a "1st line power versus power role" is intriguing if he and Backs could cover for Iggy being at centre ice all the live long day....hmmmm....anyone else have a comment on that?

P.S. who is that Oakland A?

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#24 maimster
August 20 2012, 01:45PM
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By the way, Kindersly is in Saskatchewan. Don't be shortchanging the "land of the wheat" (no wait, "land of the living sky"...I always get that wrong).

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