A lot of issues afflict the Flames currently: the goaltending, the penalty killing, the injuries.
Another (admittedly minor) point of contention is Jim Vandermeer playing instead of rookie Adam Pardy. The former is older, more battle tested and more expensive, but there’s a growing perception that Pardy might actually be the better player.
First the qualitative: I think Pardy has the higher ceiling but is prone to greater variance in his performance. Sometimes he’ll look very capable at both ends of the rink – and sometimes he’ll pass the puck onto the oppositions stick resulting in a break-away (he’s done that twice this season – both times with McElhinney in net). When he’s “on” though, I like him more than Vandermeer – he’s more mobile and better with the puck on his stick.
For his part, Vandy is tough and relatively steady. He’s probably the second slowest skater on the team behind Aucoin and his puck handling and passing abilities are suspect. He’s willing to drop the gloves if need be (although he almost always gets pummeled when he does).
Now, to the numbers –
Quality of Comp: -0.03
Quality of teammates: 0.07
+10 corsi, 0.87 ESP/60, 2.96 GFON/60, 2.52 GAON/60
Quality of Comp: -0.07
Quality of Teammates: -0.03
+9.2 corsi, 0.53 ESP/60, 3.05 GFON/60, 2.92 GA/60
Skewing these numbers is the fact that Vandermeer has played on the Flames 4th line a couple of times this year. That’s likely why his quality of comp. and team. are so out of line with Pardy’s even though they’ve both basically played the same role on the back-end all year.
Pardy is nominally the better player according to his advanced ES stats, but there isn’t a lot separate the two. As added context, here’s how the percentages have worked out for each guy so far this season.
Pardy: .914 ES SV%, 9.2 SH%, 100.6 PDO
Vandermeer: .892 ES SV%, 10.2 SH%, 99.4 PDO
Neither guy is too far off the mean, but we can probably say that Pardy has been luckier than Vandermeer this season – especially considering that SV% which is a couple clicks above the club’s average (.909 – did I mention goaltending is an issue?).
So it looks like a lot of the difference between their underlying stats can be assigned to bounces. Their corsi rates are also very similar. Functionally, it looks like these two guys are basically the same player, except one is 29 and costs the club 2.3M in cap space while the other is a 24 year old rookie worth 500k. Personally, I would play the rookie – he’s a better bet to improve and outperform his contract – but it terms of short term loss or gain, playing one over the other is probably moot.