How The Flames Are Trying To Raise The Bar Next Season

Ryan Pike
July 17 2015 01:00PM

The Calgary Flames shocked the hockey world in 2014-15. A rag-tag team beset with low, low expectations, the club instead scrapped, plugged, clawed, and occasionally lucked their way into enough wins to qualify for the post-season. For a group that was a 75-1 underdog to win the Stanley Cup when the season began, it was a pretty big feather in their collective caps.

But general manager Brad Treliving didn't spend his summer sitting on his laurels, and several of his off-season moves have seemingly been designed to ward off complacency within the organization by upsetting the proverbial apple cart.

  • If you're a goaltender? Suddenly you're one of three guys on one-way deals fighting for a pair of jobs.
  • If you're a defender? Dougie Hamilton joins the group, and suddenly ice-time is at a premium and roles are thrown into question.
  • If you're a forward? Congrats, you're fighting with Sam Bennett and Michael Frolik for ice-time on the wings or up the middle.

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Predicting Future NHL Scoring Success with NHLe Thresholds & Related Factors

Byron Bader
July 17 2015 12:00PM

NHL Equivalency (NHLe) is a formula used by some in the hockey analytics community to normalize scoring rates in different prospect feeder leagues. The object of finding a similar "score" for players across different leagues is to help project future NHL scoring/performance. It’s a method developed by Gabe Desjardins of a number of years ago and has been expanded upon by hockey analytics pioneers like Rob Vollman and Kent Wilson. Here's Gabe's original piece to give you a context if you're not fully versed in NHLe.

Previously, I looked at draft year NHLe and forwards drafted in the first round from 2005 to 2010. In that investigation, I found that of players who had scored a career 0.6 PPG or higher in the NHL (approximately 50 points or more a season) 22 of 32 in total had an NHLe of at least 34 in their draft year.  

In fact, of all the first round forwards who had an NHLe of 34 or more in their draft year, only five hadn’t scored at a rate of 0.6 PPG or higher in the NHL to that point, though all had already made the NHL. While draft year NHLe provides certain insights, I was curious how you could project future impactful point producers (0.6 PPG or higher) overall, beyond the 1st round and beyond a player’s draft year equivalency.  

The following analysis provides insights into the following questions:

  • Are there differences between players who score a high equivalency in their draft year compared to later on? 
  • Do elite scorers tend to hit certain NHLe thresholds (e.g., 30+ or 40+) more often and/or more frequently than average, replacement-level scorers and busts?
  • What impact does age have in hitting an equivalency threshold and future NHL success? 

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2015 Development Camp: Rasmus Andersson

Ryan Pike
July 17 2015 11:00AM

The Calgary Flames took their time getting to the podium at the 2015 Draft. After trading away their first round selection in a deal for Dougie Hamilton, they finally made a pick at 53rd overall. Their pick? Someone that appeared all over rankings and preliminary mock drafts before the event: Swedish import defenseman Rasmus Andersson of the Barrie Colts.

While Andersson was rated 93rd among North American skaters by Central Scouting - making his selection at 53rd overall somewhat of a reach - the Flames seemed to value many of his qualities. Among them? He's a right-handed shot, he's played pro hockey in Sweden, and he's made the leap to North America on a good team in a good league without losing a step.

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The Roundup

Nation World HQ
July 17 2015 07:00AM


Kesler's new contract and the Dave Nonis effect, Leafs salary cap situation, Flames new guys provide more options, what the numbers predict for Vancouver next season, Oilers interested in Seabrook, have no one to blame but themselves for Justin Schultz and more in this week's Roundup.

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Arbitration case file: What might Lance Bouma's next contract be worth?

July 16 2015 01:00PM

Ah, arbitration, or: that time general managers try to make their players cry. Hopefully there will be no tears through the Flames' rounds, especially because hopefully there will be no arbitration hearings at all. First up for Calgary? Lance Bouma, whose date is set for July 22.

Bouma is probably the Flames' most controversial restricted free agent, and it's only gotten more intense since he filed for salary arbitration. While Josh Jooris and Paul Byron are relatively easy to agree upon - both useful enough players, but not exactly big scorers, and should receive modest deals - Bouma's most recent season complicates things.

Recency bias plays in Bouma's favour, as he spent the second half of the 2014-15 season playing in the top six. He tripled his goal output from the 2013-14 season, and more than doubled his points. He's big, he's gritty, he hits and he blocks shots, all the while taking on those tough defensive zone starts.

In short: he's a useful player to have. With Bouma's filing for arbitration, though, a new question arises: for all his uses and sudden, unanticipated improvements from one season to the next, just how much should his new contract be?

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