Digging into the Flames and 2015-16 game scores

Ryan Pike
July 19 2016 02:00PM

What constitutes a "good game"? Many other sports, notably baseball, have seen their advanced stats communities tabulate what are known as "game scores," in an attempt to quantify what constitutes a good game.

In the context of ice hockey, obviously there are significant differences in terms of what are major events worthy of being captured in a game score. But the folks at Hockey Graphs have made an attempt. How does it work, and what can it tell us about the Calgary Flames?

Let's dive in!

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The great purge of the 2016 off-season

Ari Yanover
July 19 2016 11:00AM

The Calgary Flames didn't have many unrestricted free agents at the end of the 2015-16 season. They had a handful of bad goalies, Derek Grant, and Jakub Nakladal. The more meaningful names - Jiri Hudler, Kris Russell - were traded prior to the trade deadline, leaving the Flames with a shallow offering to the free agent pool. (Interestingly enough, neither has been signed yet.)

As a young team, though, the Flames had a ton of restricted free agents in need of new contracts. And instead of giving them those contracts, they cast nine of them to the wind.

It's a pretty great turnover. And yet, it won't be reflected that much in the NHL roster.

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A history of Flames numbers: #17, Lance Bouma

Ari Yanover
July 19 2016 08:00AM

When Lance Bouma was with the Vancouver Giants and Abbotsford Heat, he wore the number 10. When he joined the Flames, it was under his training camp number of 57. When he made the team full time, he ended up with #17 - as Corban Knight, freshly traded for, was immediately granted #10.

Bouma played more NHL games than Knight that season. (Bouma played more NHL games that season than Knight has in his entire career.) One of these players is still with the Flames - and he ended up with a slightly higher number than may have been originally anticipated.

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Will giving Troy Brouwer more offensive zone time work?

christian tiberi
July 18 2016 02:00PM

Of all forwards who played 500 minutes of 5v5 this past year, Troy Brouwer received the 66th hardest zone starts. On the Blues, he had the sixth roughest time by raw numbers (26.71 OZS%) and relative numbers (-11.73% ZSRrel% [zone start ratio: OZS/(OZS+DZS)]). If he played on the Flames last season, he would have the fifth worst starts by raw and fourth by relative numbers.

Brouwer was placed in situations where he would get his head kicked in. As a result, he got his head kicked in (49.56 CF%, -3.32 CFrel%). Among the fanbase, there are those who would say that Brouwer is doomed to fail due to his history of poor possession numbers (among other things). Others would say that Brouwer's consistency with regards to scoring prove that he is an offensive stalwart whose poor possession stats have been the result of his zone starts.

This season, Brouwer is going to test that hypothesis for us. He is (probably) going to get first line duties with Sean Monahan (36.71 OZS%, +8.43 ZSRrel%) and Johnny Gaudreau (37.24 OZS%, +9.94 ZSRrel), and hopefully prove to be a solid offensive addition. Brouwer hasn't seen starts like that since his final season in Chicago. 

Using stats, we're going to try and predict how it's going to go.

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Gaudreau and Monahan not signed yet? Don't panic, it's complicated

Ryan Pike
July 18 2016 11:00AM

On July 1, two of the best draft picks in the history of the Calgary Flames became restricted free agents. Calgary's 2011 fourth round pick Johnny Gaudreau and 2013 first round pick Sean Monahan, together the two highest-scoring Flames last season, have been without contracts since Canada Day. Given that the dynamic duo is going to be eating up a large chunk of the Flames' salary cap and that they're likely to get two of the richest deals in the history of the franchise, the lack of signing announcements has caused some hand-wringing and brow-furrowing among the fanbase.

Why are these deals taking so long? Shouldn't they been done by now?

Relax. It's complicated.

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