Five things: At the break

Ryan Lambert
January 22 2015 09:15AM

1. This looks familiar

So Joni Ortio keeps winning and the Flames keep starting him. No surprise, you roll with the hot goalie. And it's difficult to think of a hotter goalie heading into last night's game than the .958 Ortio was pitching in his four games this season.

Now, this has prompted a lot of people to start talk if, "What do you do with Ramo?" Which seems a bit premature. Because while no one is saying Ramo's all that good, one must keep in mind that Ortio had played all of 13 career NHL games prior to last night, and carried a save percentage of .917. Is that good? Of course it is, but it's also 13 games, and when he played nine last year he went .891; only four of his appearances featured save percentages that broke .900.

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Five things: We're really doing it

Ryan Lambert
January 15 2015 09:00AM

1. Flames at the half

Well the Flames have now officially meandered through the first half of the schedule (and then some) so now seems like it's good a time as any to kick the tires on where they stand.

As I write this, ahead of last night's games, they're three points out of the last divisional playoff spot, and two out from the last wild card. However, the Canucks, with two games in hand, stand in their way for both those slots in the standings.

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Five things: What to do?

Ryan Lambert
January 08 2015 08:30AM

1. Tough decisions

Trade rumors around the league are now officially starting to swirl, and some minor swaps have already been made as teams that don't think they can compete for a playoff spot sell off pieces. As the winter wears on, more teams are going have to seriously consider whether they're going to push for a playoff spot, solidify their status as a top team with a key addition, or sell off pieces that will position them better for the future.

The trade deadline (March 2) is now only seven weeks away, and while that obviously leaves a lot of time for evaluation, the smartest organizations will be the ones that know where they stand as early as possible. In this way, they can position themselves better for the final push ahead of that deadline.

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Five Things: An uncomfortable question

Ryan Lambert
January 01 2015 10:15AM

1. A worst-case scenario

Kent posed a serious question on Twitter the other day, and it really got me thinking: "Say the Flames can't re-sign Mark Giordano next year."

This was something I honestly hadn't even considered to be a possibility. They recently named the guy captain, and by all accounts he loves Calgary, loves his teammates, etc. The team is also going to throw a ton of cash at him.

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Five things: Under the tree

Ryan Lambert
December 25 2014 10:00AM

1. Here's Johnny

Even before his hat trick on Monday night, I had been thinking a lot about Johnny Gaudreau.

That's because I had been doing a bit of work to determine era adjustments for goals and assists numbers in college hockey over the years (vis a vis Jack Eichel vs. Paul Kariya, the two best draft-eligible freshmen in a runaway since 1992-93). In his draft year, Kariya went 25-75-100 in 39 games for the University of Maine, and I wanted to see how Jack Eichel stacked up with his 8-19-27 in 16 games for Boston University so far this season.

I also compared them to the draft-year totals of Brian Gionta, Dany Heatley, and Zach Parise, who round out the top-five in terms of points per game among 18-year-old NCAA rookies. The results can be found here. I thought they were extremely interesting.

But given how far ahead of the pack Kariya was even after adjusting for the high-scoring era of the early 1990s (2.27 adjusted points per game, compared to Eichel's second-best 1.94 when accounting for today's far stingier defending), there was really only one other modern season to which he could hope to be compared:

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