Flames Fancy Stats 8-Game Check-In

Ryan Pike
October 23 2014 01:57AM

Folks, eight games are in the books for the Calgary Flames, which means we're approximately 10% of the way through the regular-season schedule. In addition to realizing how quickly the season actually flies by, it's a chance to take a quick (and very preliminary) glance at the analytics behind the Flames successes and struggles thus far.

And remember the oft-repeated mantra of the analytics community: "sample size!" It's just 8 games - 6 of which were on the road. Take these numbers for a small sample of a long, long season and with the appropriate shaker-full of salt.

Percentage stats are all even-strength, except for zone entries (which is more of a tendencies measure than a possession stat). Only players who have played 5 or more games have been included here, so this excludes defenseman Raphael Diaz and forwards Josh Jooris, David Jones, Brian McGrattan and Devin Setoguchi.

Need a quick refresher of what these fancy stats are, click here.

CORSI LEADERS

Forwards:

  • Jiri Hudler - 48.59%
  • Sean Monahan - 48.45%
  • Paul Byron - 46.37%

Defenders:

  • Mark Giordano - 50.22%
  • T.J. Brodie - 46.88%

CORSI LACKERS

Forwards:

  • Brandon Bollig - 32.09%
  • Joe Colborne - 33.86%
  • Johnny Gaudreau - 36.36%

Defenders:

  • Ladislav Smid - 36.45%
  • Deryk Engelland - 37.50%

TOUGHEST MINUTES (CF%)

Forwards:

  • Sean Monahan - 55.88%
  • Paul Byron - 55.26%
  • Mason Raymond - 55.15%

Defenders:

  • T.J. Brodie - 55.48%
  • Mark Giordano - 55.35%

EASIEST MINUTES (CF%)

Forwards:

  • Brandon Bollig - 51.85%
  • Lance Bouma - 53.15%
  • Matt Stajan - 54.15%

Defenders:

  • Ladislav Smid - 53.58%
  • Dennis Wideman - 54.24%

ZONE HIGH GROUND (OZ Start%)

Forwards:

  • Johnny Gaudreau - 50.00%
  • Sean Monahan - 48.39%
  • Brandon Bollig - 45.24%

Defenders:

  • Deryk Engelland - 54.35%
  • Kris Russell - 48.42%

ZONE LOW GROUND (OZ Start%)

Forwards:

  • Paul Byron - 31.65%
  • Curtis Glencross - 33.77%
  • Matt Stajan - 34.21%

Defenders:

  • Ladislav Smid - 34.33%
  • T.J. Brodie - 34.82%

SCORING CHANCE LEADERS

Forwards:

  • Paul Byron - 50.75 SC%
  • Curtis Glencross - 46.03 SC%
  • Sean Monahan - 44.83 SC%

Defenders:

  • Mark Giordano - 51.85 SC%
  • T.J. Brodie - 45.05 SC%

SCORING CHANCE LACKERS

Forwards:

  • Lance Bouma - 30.91 SC%
  • Brandon Bollig - 32.61 SC%
  • Mason Raymond - 33.33 SC%

Defenders:

  • Deryk Engelland - 28.00 SC%
  • Kris Russell - 33.33 SC%

PUCK DUMPERS

Forwards:

  • Lance Bouma - 36.5 carry%
  • Jiri Hudler - 36.7 carry%
  • Curtis Glencross - 36.8 carry%

Defenders:

  • Ladislav Smid - 0 carry%
  • Deryk Engelland - 12.5 carry%

PUCK CARRIERS

Forwards:

  • Mikael Backlund - 68.0 carry%
  • Matt Stajan - 62.1 carry%
  • Paul Byron - 55.3 carry%

Defenders:

  • T.J. Brodie - 44.4 carry%
  • Kris Russell - 35.0 carry%

COMMENTS & NOTES

  • Not a lot of surprises in terms of possession stats. Mark Giordano and T.J. Brodie are really good. They play tough minutes, don't get the zone start high ground and move the puck towards the opposite net anyway.
  • Paul Byron is a big surprise here, though. Tough minutes and tough starts, and he's among the forward leaders anyway.
  • Johnny Gaudreau is a tale of two cities. He's in the low-middle group in terms of Corsi and scoring chances, but he's one of the players that most frequently carries the puck into the offensive zone. But the coaching staff has to be disappointed with his bad numbers, especially since he got the high ground this year (so far) that Monahan got last year.
  • By any measure, Deryk Engelland and Ladislav Smid are not all that good. Smid at least has the defense of getting buried in terms of zone starts. Brandon Bollig is basically the Engelland of the forward group.
  • Team-wide, Calgary has a 41.64 CorsiFor% at even-strength. They lead the NHL in shots blocked by a team (by a hefty margin over the #2 team, San Jose, even when factoring in playing more games). Only 40.45% of Flames even-strength zone starts are in the offensive zone, which is second-worst in the NHL. In short: the puck starts in the Flames end and stays in the Flames end a lot over the first 10% of the schedule.
  • Man, is goaltending bailing these guys out. I bet Karri Ramo and Jonas Hiller never have to buy a meal.
  • And once again, it's early and there's a lot of random noise in the numbers. We'll do another update after game #16 and see what's changed. For now - grain of salt and all that.
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Ryan Pike has covered the Calgary Flames since 2010. He's Senior Contributing Editor at FlamesNation and a Senior Writer covering the Flames for The Hockey Writers. He's just trying to capture the spirit of the thing.
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#1 jeremywilhelm
October 23 2014, 02:10AM
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Excellent article!

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#2 EugeneV
October 23 2014, 03:35AM
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So, you're saying Monahan is playing the toughest minutes?

But with the softest zone starts?

What about the competition one that tells who is playing against whom?

I don't know the context because if Monahan is playing against a checking line more often than not (which may not get as many shots) then how does that affect corsi or whatever?

I would love to understand it better.

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#3 Kurt
October 23 2014, 05:51AM
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So.... you are saying we are this years version of the Leafs and that JG is our version of Sam Gagner.

Advanced stats are less fun than being blindly optimistic!

BUT, if the results start to line up with the stats, then we can get back to talking Connor McDavid. He got 4 points last night. 29 in 10 games, on pace for 200pts. That would crush Crosby's final junior year (in the tougher league). WOW.

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#4 Byron Bader
October 23 2014, 08:31AM
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This is great.

The Flames stats are basically universally bad except for things related to Backrodano. I guess I was wrong about JG being a possession monster right away. Still think he'll get there but he's getting the usual rookie pile drive on the possession front.

I think the team is about to take a nose dive. Unfortunately, Buffalo and Carolina have a solid bid going for the worst team of the decade so far. I don't think the Flames have the capacity to be that bad.

McDavid is on pace for a 71 NHLe. Guessing he won't keep that up, but if you adjust for modern era scoring that's probably Lemieux category. I hate you Buffalo Sabres and I hope McDavid hates you as well.

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#5 Derzie
October 23 2014, 08:59AM
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Bollig & Engelland. Why, BT? Why?

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#6 SmellOfVictory
October 23 2014, 09:08AM
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EugeneV wrote:

So, you're saying Monahan is playing the toughest minutes?

But with the softest zone starts?

What about the competition one that tells who is playing against whom?

I don't know the context because if Monahan is playing against a checking line more often than not (which may not get as many shots) then how does that affect corsi or whatever?

I would love to understand it better.

From the layout of the article, the "toughest minutes" section appears to be the competition one.

What a wonderfully bleak picture this article paints. Haha

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#7 PrairieStew
October 23 2014, 09:10AM
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Those stats confirm that Paul Byron is easily the best value on the team. Good for him.

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#8 The Last Big Bear
October 23 2014, 09:37AM
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Just to throw a different light on this, Engelland has the best (well, least-bad) raw Corsi of any non-Brodano defenceman. And while he gets a favorable 54% offensive zone starts, he still pushes territorial play, and finishes a defence-leading 61% of shifts in the offensive zone.

So while his corsi% is bad, he seems to be a relatively low events player, which is good because he also plays against the toughest relative quality of opponent of any non-Brodano defenceman. If you're competing against a superior opponent, it's better to be a low-events player than a high events player. If you're boxing a superior opponent, you're better off landing one punch in a round and eating two punches, rather than landing 100 shots and getting fed 200 times.

This does exaggerate Engelland's useful a little though, because while he may be statistically one of the best of the group, the non-Brodano defenders as a whole are getting absolutey MURDERED.

The Flames depth defencemen are more like a boxer sparring with a horse. They have varying levels of controlling the flow, varying shot differentials, and some have more zone time than others... but the big picture is that they still spend most of the night getting kicked in the face by a horse.

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#10 The Last Big Bear
October 23 2014, 05:57PM
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The problem with using corsi% to determine the quality of your opposition early in the season is that it's skewed by your own results.

For example, Chicago absolutely destroyed us for shots, which boosted their corsi-for numbers. This makes the Flames' competition look tougher than it is.

Our opponents have not been good because they have good corsi numbers, but rather our opponents have good corsi number because tey played against us and we suck.

The opposite also applies. If you shut down an opponent completely for one game, that can ruin their corsi numbers early in the season, making it look like you had easy minutes, when in fact you were just good.

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#11 NewAgeSys
October 24 2014, 07:35AM
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Stats,phhht....whatever.

What is creating the stats we are reading bout...more Stats?

Stats being used to interpret stats created by tangible dynamics which are then used to create more stats?

All of these well concieved revealing stats are simply reflective after-the-fact data created by the real drivers behind what the Flames are doing.

What are the stats reflecting? What are they talking to us about? Not themselves that would be redundant ,they are making statements about something else,what is it?

I am sure the Flames will do well this season,they are going in the right direction,but it isnt stats based one,the stats are just the trcks left in the snow.

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