August 25 2014 01:30PM
Last time out, I looked at some sober-eyed objective goals for the Flames defense and goaltending using a number of statistical categories.
The conclusions I drew from the previous article were that we can expect approximately 45 goals from the defense provided the estimated number of games played is fulfilled and that Hiller and Ramo together should be able to post close to a 91.1 SV% allowing around 2.6 goals against per game.
You can review my methodology by scanning the previous article.
I’ve included the rankings for new players where they fit on the Flames and where they fit on their previous team.
So, here we go.
|5v5 pp/60||rank||Previous||5v4 pp/60||rank||Previous|
|QualComp 5v5||rank||Previous||QualComp 5v4||rank||Previous|
|CorsiRel 5v5||rank||Previous||Sh% 5v5||rank||Previous|
|ZS% 5v5||rank||Previous||ZF% 5v5||rank||Previous||ZS differential||rank|
|TOI/60 5v5||rank||Previous||TOI/60 5v4||rank||Previous|
The loss of Cammalleri and Stempniak together is going to be felt this season. Both ranked in the top five of Flames players who faced the toughest competition last season and both were able to provide offense in spite of it. Hudler is a very good player, but as true NHL scoring threats go, he is by many counts the only arrow in Hartley’s quiver this season. Hartley recognized Hudler’s limitations last season and gifted him some pretty soft zone starts relative to the rest of the forwards.
The scoring is going to be funneled through Hudler unless and until one of the other forwards steps up and delivers some offense. I would wager that Byron, Stajan, Backlund and Jones will be sent to hold back the tide when possible while Hudler, Glencross, Monahan et al are sheltered for easier match-ups and scoring against the weaker opponents.
How Hartley deploys Raymond will be interesting. I think he ends up on the right side with Backlund, but I hesitate to take his advanced stats numbers under the Leafs here too seriously. I like the addition of Raymond to the roster, but I wonder about how the Flames perceive his role in the larger framework of the team and whether they have projected him in a position he will be able to fulfill. His QualComp numbers dating back to his first season with the Canucks indicate that he can play well with skilled, possession players, but isn’t talented enough to be the difference-making possession player on his own.
The Bollig addition is open to a wide variety of interpretations. His numbers aren’t very strong, with the exception of his zone differential - Quenneville buried him so deeply even Dracula would’ve been claustrophobic, yet he managed to gain a significant amount of ice back by the end of his, albeit limited, shift. The dramatic difference in Bollig’s Zone Differential is the result of the limitations of translating these numbers between systems.
By all measures, Bollig looks like a better Westgarth/McGrattan, and that isn’t necessarily setting the bar very high by way of hockey abilities but is an improvement nevertheless. Was he worth a 3rd round pick? That can be debated. I suspect he was acquired in order to provide a large presence in the lineup, crash and bang bodies and create havoc in front of the net, chipping in goals along the way.
All of Monahan’s advanced numbers from last season suggest very strongly that he is due for a setback season. It is improbable that he can retain his shooting percentage, his possession numbers were mediocre and his QualComp suggested that he was being (wisely) sheltered. Given the paucity of offensive weapons on the Flames’ roster this coming season, coaches will begin to key in on the young man and I suspect he will face stiffer competition as a result. To that end, if he has a season similar to Mikael Backlund by way of possession numbers, even if his offense dries up, that would be a tremendously positive development. The NHL is full of guys who are dynamite within 40 feet of the opposition net but are hopeless for the other 160 feet. Monahan has the skill, so offense won’t be a problem for him as he develops. If he can figure out the rest of his game this coming season the Flames will have one piece of the puzzle in place by way of a large, scoring, two-way center.
When Matt Stajan finally leaves the Calgary Flames I hope they give him a nice new Stetson with a solid-gold lariat. He’ll have earned it. Stajan’s career was betwixt and between when he left Toronto and his first contract with the Flames saw him become public enemy #1. To his credit he has quietly proven his value to the organization once expectations were reset. He had some of the most extreme zone starts that Hartley could dish out against the toughest competition and managed to generate offensive chances in spite of it all.
This year I expect it could be worse. He won’t have
Cammalleri riding shotgun and there’s no cavalry coming over the hill. If all
goes according to plan, in three years’ time when Matt Stajan will have moved
on to the next town, the Calgary Flames will have several offensive options on
the wing and down the middle. Until then it’ll be bailing twine and duct tape. It
isn’t fair, but he’s a professional and he’ll do his damned job. If Stajan were to go down to injury it could be a
crippling loss for the Flames in that it would increase Backlund’s workload and
*I finished this just before the Flames signed Setoguchi, so here's a quick run down of his stats and my expectations for him.
Setoguchi played middling competition last season, posted average offensive numbers for the Jets, was -3.7 Corsi Rel for 9/18 on the team, had a horrible sh% of only 5.92 and had 50.2 offensive zone start but gained ground marginally during his shift. Altogether he was an average winger on an unspectacular Jets team. I would expect his offensive totals to improve with his sh%, and provided his other abilities remain the same, he should prove to be an effective depth winger who can contribute scoring and add some speed down the wing.
Crystal 8-Ball Time
|gp||est. ppg||hist. ppg||sh%||est. pts.|
*I'd add another 12 goals here from Setoguchi. I'm projecting him to play 73 games, average around .48 PPG, which would be his career average if we deducted his outstanding rookie season, and return to his career average 11.4 sh%. That gives him an estimated 35 points, which if one-third were goals would give you an approximate boxcar of 12-23-35. To put that in perspective, his previous seasons running from his sophomore year in '09-'10 to last season he managed 36, 41, 36, 27 (lockout year), 27. His worst season on record was last year and this was also his worst season sh% by a large margin. He could put up 45 pts, or only 20, so 35 seems fair.
A healthy roster is the key here. Games played projections are optimistic, but not unprecedented.
All the shooting percentages and estimated PPG rates are based upon historical averages, as well as the estimated games-played. As you can see, in some situations I’ve made assumptions, some generous some not, however the overall result is that the Flames forward group listed would contribute 137 goals this season.
Taken in addition to the 45 estimated from the defense that gives you 182 estimated goals for. We haven’t yet added in the rookies/prospects to the equation, so I’ll wait until the review is complete before offering a final tally and where that would land the Flames in the standings based on GF/GA.
For comparison, the departed Stempniak and Cammalleri had a 0.44 and 0.71 PPG pace last season. By that measure, Mason Raymond may replace Stempniak’s offense, although not necessarily his ability to play against tougher competition. Cammalleri’s departure, as predicted, will be the most significant hole on the roster and the departing offense may be enough to sink the Flames this season to their highest draft position in franchise history. We can’t know for certain because there are going to be a lot of variables at play including altered forward lines, infusion of rookies, development of core players, regression amongst rivals and so on.
You may have noticed Sven Baertschi’s line. I’ve given him half a season with a slightly lower PPG estimate than his historical average, which includes that five-game spin he had a few years back, but a reasonable shooting percentage of 8.7.
To be honest, I think Baertschi is a prime target to be traded this season. This is the fork in the road for Baertschi with the organization, and I’m not convinced that Burke or Treliving are as enamoured with him as the previous administration. Fact is, he was the other guy’s guy, and those guys don’t usually last long.
What we have in the end here is a ballpark as to what would be a reasonable expectation of progress and performance from this roster as it stands today.
So we’ve got the defense chipping in 45 goals and boasting a top-pairing defense that is the class of the league, followed by a less-than-enviable collection in the 2nd and 3rd pairings.
The forward group is estimated to contribute 125 goals, excluding rookie and call-up contributions, and is likely to rely heavily on a few key individuals in crucial roles on a thin roster.
Jonas Hiller is a starting goaltender in the NHL and the last time the Flames could say that was at the beginning of Miikka Kiprusoff’s last season, right before his numbers tanked. Karri Ramo should be able to provide some decent backup performances. Between these two, the Flames should at least have a chance on most nights, injuries notwithstanding.
Next time we’ll look at the rookies and
prospects to ascertain what potential impact they may have on the roster and
where we could draw the line when it comes to success and failure.
Why this song?
Bob Dylan’s 1964 revolutionary anthem is often seen as a prophecy issued to the old establishment by a restless younger generation intent on setting the world alight with their energetic revolution, youth and idealism. It was partially that, but also Dylan knew enough to hedge his bets about the end game.
Not all changes are easy or bring better tidings. No matter the intentions of those who start the adventure, the conclusion is entirely out of their hands and it is the unforeseen consequences that can have the biggest impact.
Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who
That it's namin'
For the loser now
Will be later to win
The forward group today looks markedly different from two years ago. The old guard have been swept away and there remains only the occasional ghost from season's past. Where in years past the roster was essentially fait accompli from the first day of training camp, the number of forwards whose jobs are guaranteed are few and far between. There are options now, and young men beneath the older veterans who will take what opportunity offers them.
There is a real desire within the fan base to believe that the first footsteps of a great new journey are just now being taken and that the path leads to green meadows and sunny days. Sadly you simply can’t know that. Change is coming, indeed it is already here, and you can embrace that, but keep your eyes and mind open to what the future holds because nothing is written in stone and fate owes no man.
Next up we look into the prospects and developing players.