Flames Forward Usage Against Edmonton

Ryan Pike
January 29 2013 01:20PM

 


 

Saturday night's game between the Flames and the Edmonton Oilers was the first appearance of the year for recent acquisitions Jiri Hudler and Roman Cervenka. It was also the first game where Flames coach Bob Hartley could start rolling the lines that he wanted to roll with an entirely healthy line-up.

Let's take a look at how Hartley deployed the lines 5-on-5 and how the lines did.

IGINLA – TANGUAY – GLENCROSS

Even-strength TOI: 15:14 (Iginla), 14:13 (Glencross) and 13:42 (Tanguay)

The putative first line had ten shift changes prior to face-offs, giving them only a single defensive start, three offensive starts and the remaining in the neutral zone. In the offensive zone, this line was undefeated in the face-off dot. They batted .500 in the defensive zone and lost two-thirds of their neutral-zone draws.

In terms of driving the play, this line generated 7 shots and a goal. On the other hand, they gave up 6 shots, 2 missed shots, 2 blocked shots and a goal.

Overall, Hartley's first line was given roughly even ground to begin their shifts. They ended up a little bit underwater in terms of scoring chances and gave up the only even-strength goal against.

HUDLER – STAJAN – CERVENKA

Even-strength TOI: 13:49 (Cervenka), 13:25 (Stajan) and 13:24 (Hudler)

Featuring the debut of two new Flames, this line was sheltered quite a bit in the early-goings, primarily getting offensive or neutral zone starts in the first chunk of the game. Once the line had their legs, though, they were integrated much more into the rotation regardless of location. This line got roughly seven “fresh” starts, including three in the offensive zone and two in the defensive zone. In terms of draws, they were 50% in their own zone, 100% in the neutral zone and 67% in the offensive zone.

The Stajan trio generated 3 shots, 3 missed shots and a blocked shot, while facing 4 shots, 3 missed shots and 2 blocked shots against. Like the Flames first line, the Czechs and Stajan were slightly underwater in terms of chances 5-on-5.

CAMMALLERI – BACKLUND – STEMPNIAK

Even-strength TOI: 13:30 (Cammalleri), 11:35 (Stempniak) and 11:29 (Backlund)

Featuring arguably the two most consistent Flames forwards, this line was not particularly sheltered 5-on-5. They were given zero offensive fresh starts. They lost every single defensive zone face-off they had. They batted .500 in the neutral zone. They were effectively thrown to the wolves, compared to the other forward lines.

But in terms of chances? They fared quite well. They generated 8 shots, 4 blocked shots, 2 missed shots and a goal. They surrendered only two shots and two missed shots. That's a huge positive shot differential 5-on-5, particularly considering the disparity in zone starts compared to the other lines.

BAERTSCHI – JONES – COMEAU

Even-strength TOI: 6:14 (Jones), 5:30 (Comeau) and 5:01 (Baertschi)

The most sheltered of the four lines, by far, was the Baertschi and Grinders line. They were given zero defensive zone fresh starts. Nobody got more high ground than this line, although because this line has who it has on it, it's likely that they were given draws whenever the Iginla or Stajan lines were tuckered out. They won two of three neutral zone face-offs and one of three offensive zone draws.

In terms of chances, this line was fairly even but fairly quiet owing to limited ice time. Three shots for, three shots against.

CONCLUSIONS

Are the Flames rolling four lines evenly? Sweet heavens, no.

With two lines that Hartley seemingly had confidence in deploying, the Iginla line was given more shelter to begin while the Backlund line was sent behind enemy lines. That said, Hartley did tend to play Iginla's unit against the other team's best more often. Once it appeared that the Stajan line with the Czech newcomers had their sea legs, it seemed to become more of an even three-line rotation (with the Backlund line getting the defensive starts).

The Baertschi line was very sheltered, but the offensive zone starts (and shifts in general) tended to go more towards the lines that were more likely to produce scoring chances.

It'll be interesting to see how the lines are deployed against Colorado and Chicago this week, particularly given that Cervenka and Hudler will have a greater opportunity to learn systems during this week's practices and will likely be less coddled in those games than they were in this one.

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Now in his third full season covering the Calgary Flames and the NHL, Ryan Pike is a Calgary native and FlamesNation's managing editor. He's trying to keep his head up, his stick on the ice and is giving it 110% every shift. You can also find his work at The Hockey Writers, the Wrestling Observer and Tough Talk MMA.
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#1 loudogYYC
January 29 2013, 01:38PM
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I come here enough that I should know this, but do these shots for, against and blocked count those shots that are taken from the neutral zone, dump ins on net, etc?

By the looks of it, a line that includes Backlund and Stempniak could be the Flames most effective line this season. Kinda sad but still a good thing I guess.

I'd like to see Hartley swap Cammalleri and Glencross and see how those new lines go.

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#2 loudogYYC
January 29 2013, 01:38PM
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I come here enough that I should know this, but do these shots for, against and blocked count those shots that are taken from the neutral zone, dump ins on net, etc?

By the looks of it, a line that includes Backlund and Stempniak could be the Flames most effective line this season. Kinda sad but still a good thing I guess.

I'd like to see Hartley swap Cammalleri and Glencross and see how those new lines go.

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#3 ChinookArch
January 29 2013, 01:53PM
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I'm just happy the lines are consistent and therefore you can actually measure the effectiveness of each trio. It's so weird after a decade of Darrel and Brent Sutter hockey to see actual line consistency.

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#4 Kent Wilson
January 29 2013, 02:03PM
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@loudogYYC

Nope. O-zone shots and such only.

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#5 SmellOfVictory
January 29 2013, 03:31PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Nope. O-zone shots and such only.

So when Raymond scored on Kipper with that flip-in from outside the blue line, his scoring efficiency was effectively infinity goals/shot for that instant? I like it.

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#6 Kent Wilson
January 29 2013, 04:00PM
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@SmellOfVictory

That goal caused a hockey singularity to open in the pucks-and-bodies-to-the-net continuum.

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#7 beloch
January 29 2013, 04:01PM
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loudogYYC wrote:

I come here enough that I should know this, but do these shots for, against and blocked count those shots that are taken from the neutral zone, dump ins on net, etc?

By the looks of it, a line that includes Backlund and Stempniak could be the Flames most effective line this season. Kinda sad but still a good thing I guess.

I'd like to see Hartley swap Cammalleri and Glencross and see how those new lines go.

If Stempniak stays red hot this might prove true. His past performance suggests he'll inevitably run cold again unfortunately. We can always hope though! Past history also suggests Stajan will take a pipe to Backlund's knees sometime this week, Tonya Harding style.

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#8 Kent Wilson
January 29 2013, 04:24PM
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Going forward, I'd like to see a guy like Jones get more d-zone starts than anything else. Those should be hoarded and given out to the scorers, especially since Jones isn't all that bad himself and the team isn't running any giant liabilities on the 4th line. Give them the Malhotra treatment.

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#9 Baalzamon
January 29 2013, 07:47PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Going forward, I'd like to see a guy like Jones get more d-zone starts than anything else. Those should be hoarded and given out to the scorers, especially since Jones isn't all that bad himself and the team isn't running any giant liabilities on the 4th line. Give them the Malhotra treatment.

that might even be better for Jones. I like the guy, but he's almost laughably inconsistent in the offensive zone--so hit-and-miss.

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#10 SmellOfVictory
January 29 2013, 08:47PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Going forward, I'd like to see a guy like Jones get more d-zone starts than anything else. Those should be hoarded and given out to the scorers, especially since Jones isn't all that bad himself and the team isn't running any giant liabilities on the 4th line. Give them the Malhotra treatment.

Agreed. The 4th line is nearly a 3rd line skill level, with Comeau and Jones being on it. I'd be totally okay with buring them.

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#11 RKD
January 29 2013, 10:45PM
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Hartley has been making the players shifts shorter. According to NHL.com a lot of the Flames top players have been playing nine seconds shorter for example.

This is a smart idea, Hartley could potential avoid matchups in which he doesn't want, he knows with a veteran groups it's quality over quantity. If Jay-Bo can be more productive with less ice time, go for it.

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#12 SmellOfVictory
January 29 2013, 11:02PM
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You also hypothetically get higher quality icetime out of the dudes, because there's less of a chance they get stuck on the ice and gassed.

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#13 Phil
January 29 2013, 11:38PM
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Why o Why do I read Ryan Pikes comments??? Oilers fan true and true.. Flames came together.....Just admit it... Next game will be a the real game to comment on.

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#14 Kent Wilson
January 30 2013, 09:29AM
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@Phil

Pike is a Flames fan first and last. He goes to practices and press conferences in his spare time and has an encyclopedic knowledge of the club and its prospects.

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#15 vowswithin
January 30 2013, 09:49AM
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Phil wrote:

Why o Why do I read Ryan Pikes comments??? Oilers fan true and true.. Flames came together.....Just admit it... Next game will be a the real game to comment on.

I think the vast majority of Flames fans know that year in year out the Flames will manage to take us on an emotional roller-coaster. We go through we suck, wait a minute I think the team came together were gonna make playoffs and then fall just short.

This team has some good pieces no doubt, but there is no certainty to anything with this team.

Could the coaching have helped us a lot? Sure Jbo could be come much more of an offensive producer. But don't discredit the fact that if hes chipping in and rushing that some forward is going to get burnt for him being out of place.

All this to say, yes the next game will be better to comment on... but this is and always has been too inconsistent of a team to judge based on an sample. And the fact that its a shortened season gives us no time to figure it out and when we do its likely too late.

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