Rob Kerr’s blogpost from earlier this evening got me thinking about the potential for an offensive bounce back from the Flames this season. He mentioned several of the usual suspects along the way, and I noticed that many of them had poor shooting percentage seasons in 09/10. I know luck doesn’t always perfectly balance, but it did seem reasonable to examine the possibility that the club might expect more goals in 10/11 via the bounces.

The answer, based on career percentages at least, appears to be a conditional "yes". Here are the goal totals, SOG, SH% and career SH% for every potential Flame contributor of note, based on their time spent with the club in 09/10. I’m not worried about Robyn Regehr’s SH%, or Raitis Ivanins, or anyone of that ilk. For the players with split seasons, I only used their numbers in Calgary: 

Player Goals SOG SH% Career SH% Adj. Goals
Glencross 15 117 12.8 11.8 13
Bourque 27 215 12.6 11.1 24
Iginla 32 257 12.5 13.2 34
Langkow 14 126 11.1 11.1 14
Giordano 11 111 9.9 8.1 9
White 4 43 9.3 5.3 2
Stajan 3 33 9.1 13.8 5
Hagman 5 68 7.4 10.3 7
Jokinen 11 162 6.8 9.9 16
Moss 8 133 6 9.2 13
Conroy 3 52 5.8 12 6
Kotalik 3 72 4.2 10.1 7
Bouwmeester 3 130 2.3 5.3 7
  139 1519 9.1 10.3 157

Adjusted goals is simply the total that one might have expected based on career SH%. 

As you can see, the club didn’t have many players really outdo themselves, and those 18 extra goals might well have boosted the club into the post season. Of course, if Joker had shot well, he might never have been traded, but that’s another matter. A careful reader might see I’ve excluded Tanguay and Backlund, but their numbers only add fuel to this. Tanguay shot 11% in Tampa, which isn’t bad, except that he’s one of the best percentage shooters in recent NHL history, averaging 18.8% for his career. We don’t have an established range for Mikael Backlund as of yet, but I’ll go out on a limb and suggest that whatever career SH% he finishes with, it’ll be higher than the 2.1% he managed last season. I should also note that I expect that Nik Hagman would possibly have a target number of higher than 10.3%, since he spent the 3 and 2/3 seasons prior to arriving in Calgary shooting around 13%. 

The reason I put a condition on the likelihood of more goals is that there’s no guarantee the Flames will generate exactly the same number of shots on goal, but again, even that factor has a chance of turning in Calgary’s direction, since it would take a bit of doing for the club to create fewer shots than last year. A team with as many players on the high side of 30 as the Flames might start to collectively lose a step, obviously, but that doesn’t automatically mean their hands should all go in the the dumper simultaneously as well, so even if they don’t get more shots, they’re likely due for a few more to go in by luck alone.

I’m no Pollyanna when examining the prospects for the upcoming year. I don’t doubt for a minute, however, that the club has a decent chance of scoring more just based of a small turn of fortune. That doesn’t guarantee success, since we don’t know if Kipper will be at last year’s level, or if the club can suppress shots against as well as they did last season. Will the Flames score more goals, though? That seems a bet worth considering, and one I’d be inclined to take if I were a wagering sort. 

  • MC Hockey

    18 goals, 3 wins, 6 points. Not bad.

    Of course one would prefer that the Flames earn their offense a bit more by outchancing the opposition, which I think they may have actually done slightly in 09/10 in the aggregate (haven’t checked but to me their play was pretty much break-even at EVs).

    Still it wasn’t nearly the same as the dominance of 08/09. Not the same on the long-term influence on winning, and not the same on the fun factor of watching the game.

    • Robert Cleave

      Nope. Outshooting in the manner that the club did for the first 60 games in 08/09 is a much clearer way to success. When you play nothing but toss-ups for a full season, shooting percentage variance can bite you damned hard even if you’re just barely on the wrong side of fortune. The Flames managed 50.1% of the total scoring chances last year and 50.3% at ES, btw.

  • Robert Cleave

    Oh, and the PP is a big question mark. The big guns clocked in at about 45 shots on net per hour which I think is just average. Though damn on the ice it felt at times like they could never get it into that 10-15 foot sweet spot where the goalie’s got no chance. Often it was the desperate shots from the goal line on the boards or by the half wall with no passing option to draw away the shot block.

    • Robert Cleave

      The Flames averaged 47.9 SH/60 on the PP, which was 6th worst. The median would have been around 50.6/60. Combine that with their inability to draw penalties, and we saw what we saw. Getting shooters in position, and using movement to get the opposition out of their comfort zone generally, well, that’s been a pet peeve of mine for a few years. The word I’ve often used is “static”. If you don’t move, you aren’t hard to defend.

  • Robert Cleave


    Damn, that high? I was tooling around with BTN and could’ve sworn the median was in the high 40s.

    BTW the numbers for Chicago are insane. All their top guys can’t break 50 shots per hour which is weird since their offense is dominant. Their success was built at 5on5 but still, they have a ton of good 5on4 forwards too.

    Unless Gabe’s site only lists shots not entering the net as “shots” which isn’t unprecedented but would explain a lot.

  • Bob’s getting his PP shot stats from hockey numbers. That site has the Hawks generating about 55 PP shots per hour, which was 10th best in the league last year.

    To the broader point, this is something I was thinking about myself recently…more specifically in regards to Jokinen. It’s probably worth a post of it’s own, but I assume he’s the biggest “rebound” candidate on the team, at least when it comes to a few more goals going in. Career low sh% + lots of posts should equal at least a return 20 goals.

      • Robert Cleave

        Chris’ numbers include 5v3 in the totals, unless I’m missing something. That’s why they’re higher across the board.

        I do concur that Olli Jokinen is a likely candidate for a bounce back, if he’s used correctly. His 5 on 5 shooting totals weren’t that far off where he was in 07/08, really. Last year he managed 190 shots 5 v 5, which was in the top 15 league-wide for forwards. SH% comes and goes, but where he’s fallen off the planet is on the PP. He had over 100 PP shots in 07/08, but only around 40 last year. I’ve harped on this plenty, but Florida got serious productivity for several seasons using him on the point when they were up a man. The Flames never went that route.

        • Which hits on another reason the Flames might score more this year: drawing more penalties. I don’t know if Brent will get over his extreme fear of SHG against or not and actually play guys like Jokinen (and Kotalik, if he’s somehow still on the club) on the point…but as we’ve discussed before, just getting more ops would up everyone’s point totals a bit.

          • Robert Cleave

            Yup. The Flames had 442 minutes of 5v4 time last year. If they were a top ten team in terms of PP shot rate, they would have had roughly 45 more shots based on those 442 minutes. If they were a top ten team in terms of drawing penalties, they would likely spend almost an extra hour on the PP, or generate another 40-45 shots even with their poor rate of generating shots. The Flames shot 11% 5v4 last year, so there’s an extra 5 goals if you can either get more PP time or generate more PP shots when you are a man to the good. Both would preferable, of course.

  • Robert Cleave

    While shooting is a good key of who will score, acurate and quality shots are also important. I saw many times players pass when they could have shot or just shoot for the sake of it. When that happens I question whether they were told to pass or shoot.

    As for bounce backs? As much as I love Iggy, I dont’ see him bouncing back much, the rest of the team is older. Tanguay is good, but he isnt the passer he once was, its’ wishful thinking he’ll be the point per game player once again. As for Joker. . . fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice. . . (as Bush said) you cant feel me twice. This was a bad move from the moment the contract was signed. He should NOT be on the top line, put him with Hagman and someone else. As for him and Jaybo I do believe they were good players on bad teams. Many players thrive on that. Jaybo is good but not $6mill good.

  • Robert Cleave

    Speaking of bounceback seasons, Vicki Hall confirmed in The Herald that Regehr was playing with some knee problems last season, and he should be solid this year.

  • marty

    At first i was looking at the totals you presented and didn’t think it would have been that much of a difference but when i forced my mind to recall last season. How many one goal games were they in? wasn’t it in the 30’s or 40’s (too late to want check) 18 goals could have been a big diff. good article RC. I do have a question for the nation off this topic. The rumor is the july 1 deal reg for savy was blocked my on or the other, is this good news or bad? i am arguing both ways with myself. sorry to be off topic thx.

  • BobB

    It’s funny, I’m now going to be having this conversation in two places. It originally spawned from the Alex Tanguay post over at M&G, where I was saying Tanguay needs to shoot more. PDO and sh% aren’t bad, but 91 shots….yuck. Even @ his unsustainable 18% career…that’s only 16goals. When he shoots a more realistic 11%…brutal.

    Whether they play together or not, the trio of Joker, Iggy and Tanguay need to be aiming for 8-10 shots per game. (maybe for those three, that’s a bit optimistic at their level of decline, but anyway)

    You look at top lines in the West and they’re all breaking 650 shots per season. The truly good ones (not like lucky Vancouver) are right around 700.

    SJ – Thorton (141), Marleau (274), Heatley (280)-695

    Chi- Toews (202), Hossa (199 in 57g), Kane (261), Sharp (266) !!! – any 3 get you 662+

    Van – Henrik (166), Burrows (209), Daniel (292 if he played 82g)- would be 667 with a full season from Daniel. They were actually 600.

    just for interest, the old Legion of Doom line in Philly…insane

    ’96 – Renberg (249), Lindros (198), Leclair (324) – 771shots (9.4 per game!!!) nuts.


    Sutter has to get shot volume out of these three for the Flames to compete with the top teams. Iggy @ 275, Joker @ 225 and Tanguay @ 150 gets us to 650, and barely competing with the other top teams.

    If Tanguay only gets off just over 1 shot per game again (91)…we need a more effective #1 LW.

    As a note: Last year was Iggy (257), Joker (236), Tanguay (91) = 584 (7.12) not good enough, but reason to hope.

  • Do we have any players on the team where we are hoping for usual, everyday growth/development and not a “bounce back”? Gio is our one great story, and I guess Stajan has room to grow, so he could make some improvements. Otherwise, I’m having real trouble getting on the “old-guys-returning-to-former-glory” train.

    Call me a cynic (actually, its my middle name), but can’t we just have some guys who are actually on the front side of the curve? I worry about Gio sticking around anyway, since Darryl treated him like garbage and sent him to Siberia. One of the few situations where I would expect it to cost more to keep a guy here than to watch him move because of A-hole tax.

    • PrairieStew

      Sorry Mike – live with it – until March at least.

      The management of the Flames has made a conscious choice to give this core group of guys who are now over 30, one more kick at the can. They are hoping for the bounce back – just as speculated here.

      I understand the extropalation Robert has done with respect to career shooting percentages, and that, all things being equal could result in 18 more goals. The problem is all things are not equal – and as you state – the most important factor is way too many guys are on the wrong side of the career improvement curve. I think it is best case scenario for a 33 year old Iginla to generate career averages in all relevant stats 257 shots (which is his total from last year too) , 13.2% and 34 goals. Same with 32 year old Jokinen at 231 shots 10% and 23 goals.
      The team was 29th in offence, and most of your top 9 forwards have shown at least 2 seasons of consecutive declines ( Iggy,Langkow, Jokinen, Tanguay, Kotalik) a few are basically flat (Stajan, Hagman, Moss) and only Bourque appears to be a guy on the way up.

    • PrairieStew

      Purely based on age: Gio, White, JBo, Stajan, Glencross, Bourque, Moss. They’re all at about peak age, and while it’s possible (maybe even likely) that most or all of them are at/near their ceiling already, I wouldn’t exactly be shocked if there was improvement with a player or two in that group (especially with the two you named).

      And also, Karlsson seems very likely to have upside, given the reports published on him. I know backup goalies aren’t the most exciting players to see develop, but it should be a bit of a boost, especially given the franchise’s history of backup choice.

  • @PrairieStew

    Sorry in advance if my keyboard starts to break down before I finish, what with the tears and all…

    My thought would be that a couple of these guys will improve, while for the majority they will follow their trend. The likelihood of all, or even most, of them regaining past statistical highs sounds to me like a Milskey-induced delusion. Hopefully one of the “Things” on the fourth line can provide UFC-style entertainment from time to time.

  • PrairieStew

    -just my preseason predictions ()=goals next season…

    Tanguay (20) Jokinen (30) Iginla (40)
    Hagman (20) Stajan (15) Borque (25)
    Glencross (15) Langkow (20) Moss (15)
    Ivanans (1) Conroy (10) Jackman (5)

    Bouwmeester (10) Sarich (1)
    Regehr (1) White (10)
    Giordano (10) Staios (1)

    -Kotalik is going to Europe with Huet, putting the Flames under the cap…
    -this looks like a formidable offence…
    -250ish goals, putting the Flames in the top 10
    -at very least Flames will be middle of the pack

    • PrairieStew

      Wow a 48 goal improvement.

      Did you know that 40 goal seasons by guys 33 and over are pretty rare ? 18 of them in the modern era of the league. Not saying that Iggy can’t do it – just not a sure thing.

      What makes you think Jokinen will double his output from 15 to 30 ? Or how does a 39 year old Conroy triple his from 3-10 ? Modano scored 14 last year at that age, but he has just a bit better history on the offensive side.
      Langkow at 20 seems reasonable but a trend of 33, 30, 21, 14 looks like an aging player from whom the best you can hope for is for him to slow the slide not improve it. Tanguay too 29,22,18,16,10 and you are looking for him to double his output after 4 straight years downhill ?
      I would love to share your optimism.

      • PrairieStew

        …you raised some valid questions. I’ll answer each separately.

        1. Iggy: yes he is getting older, but with that being said, he was a 30 goal scorer the past two years. The two years prior to that he played with Tanguay (who is back this year) and averaged 45 goals per season.

        2. Joker: I think we can agree that 15 goals is virtually the basement for him. Before he hit rock bottom last year (with a career low shooting percentage), in his previous 6 seasons he averaged 34 goals per year. Playing with Tanguay will help him and much as Iginla.

        3. Tangs: He’s only 31, and he’s averaged 20 goals over his career. He (like Joker) hit rock bottom last year. He can’t take over a game himself, but he complements players well (Iggy/Sakic).

        4. Lanks: He’s 34, averaged 20 goals over his career, 25 goals per year in his 5 years with Calgary. If he were 38 I wouldn’t be so optimistic, but a jump of 5 goals like you said is reasonable.

        5. Conroy: He’s the oldest of the bunch (39). He had two 12 goals seasons before last, and during the Flames 2003-2004 season he only had 8. With that being said, 10 goals insn’t asking for a miracle, but even if he doesn’t reach 10 goals he’ll be more productive points wise, playing a 4th line and utility role when top 9 forwards are injured.

  • PrairieStew

    @ Lawrence

    Total ages for those top lines for this year:
    San Jose 91
    Vancouver 89
    Chicago 75 !

    and Calgary 96. If Iggy et al didn’t outplay Kane and Toews last year, the likelihood of them narrowing the gap this year is miniscule.

    For reference – that Legion of Doom line totaled 74 !

    It’s a young mans game and this is not a young team.

  • PrairieStew

    Tanguay (20) Jokinen (30) Iginla (40)

    Hagman (20) Stajan (15) Borque (25)

    Glencross (15) Langkow (20) Moss (15)

    Ivanans (1) Conroy (10) Jackman (5)

    Bouwmeester (10) Sarich (1)

    Regehr (1) White (10)

    Giordano (10) Staios (1)

  • I’m with you on the ages, SOV. I had kind of put a couple of those guys (JBo, Moss) in the bounce back crowd, because it seemed they also slid backward last season, but any one of your list has the potential for growth. I like Bourque, but I worry about injuries and dumb errors. Karlsson is an unknown for me until he plays in the NHL, but at least he has his own song ( I’m still phonetically working out the lyrics, so I can sing it when he hits the ice.

    It would seem the consensus opinion is we’re strong on D and weak on scoring. So out of 7 guys potentially on the upswing, 3 are d-men and likely to be only ancillary/PP scoring power. Glencross and Moss are projected to play 3rd line minutes. And so we circle back to relying on the plaid-pants-and-shuffleboard crew to be our “impact” players. Maybe they should ask Roger Clemens how he got his mojo back (he must have a secret, he swore it wasn’t drugs).

  • Last I checked it was not, in fact, a “young man’s game”.

    Rather it was a “good hockey player’s game”.

    Oh well, the rebuild junkies are out in force again. A little thing like reason won’t stop them. Nor should it, I suppose.

    • if i may be so bold as to speak for my blogmate (who is not currently online, as it’s almost 1am on a friday night, and he must certainly be living it up), i don’t think mikeH is demanding a rebuild as much as he’s simply stating that it would be nice to support a team where the majority of the lineup (or at least the top six) were on the upswing of their careers and not the downward slide with *hopes* of a bounce-back year.

      i don’t think he’s crying out for a tank-and-draft-high mentality, he’s just pointing out that very few in our current lineup fit that description…

      i can’t imagine we’ll “see” karlsson develop much… unless we attend practice, i suppose.

    • PrairieStew

      Lawrence brought up the best lines. I showed their ages relative to the Flames top line. He also brought up the Legion of Doom Line. The proof is there. No one is disputing that they are all good players – but the numbers show that, with rare exception, the best players have their best seasons on before they are 30.
      Just to show where that Legion of Doom line was later in their career – if you are equating Tanguay Jokinen and Iginla as our top line – here are their numbers at those ages.

      Renberg @31 59gp 12-13-25
      Lindros @32 33gp 11-11-22
      Leclair @33 35gp 18-10-28

      The numbers also show that it is extremely rare for players over 30 to increase their prodcution from the previous year; especially if they have expereinced 2 or more years of consecutive declines. I might be a believer if it was just Iggy we were hoping for a bounceback from, and he was surrounded by a group of young improving players. The fact remains that the hopes of this time are pinned on bounceback seasons from at least 4 players over 30.

      When Lanny was 33 – he was the 3rd line right winger behind Loob and Joe Mullen. It’s just not fair to ask Iggy to be a dominating force anymore.

      So – go ahead – call me a rebuild junkie – I tend to view it as realism. As far as reason goes – you didn’t give much reason to dispute my statement that it was a young man’s game.

  • PrairieStew

    Our current lineup has several guys with excellent track records of playing good hockey. Some of us are hoping more good hockey from them. They aren’t good because they’re old, they’re old because they’re good (i.e. they’ve established themselves, and thus have played many years)

    I don’t see why we should abandon that approach and go with a team of “upswings”, which is a sugar-coated way of saying: ice a team of guys who aren’t good hockey players, have never been good hockey players and likely will never be good hockey players… and hope that they play good hockey.

  • PrairieStew

    @you heard it.

    1. Iggy/Tanguay – I’m intrigued about the return of Tanguay as well, but there is just as much doubt as optimism – why couldn’t he put up decent numbers playing with Lecavelier ? Stamkos -St Louis and Malone would have drawn most of the tough assignments – you’d think that they would have had some good situations to be in – but the production was not there.

    2. Joker. The basement for him – and any other player is 0 – as in out of the league. He’s not just going to show up and score 20 goals because he is Olli Jokinen and was a #3 overall draft pick in 1997. All players age and they all retire eventually. I find his statistical decline over the past 3 years extremely troubling.

    3. Tanguay. 4 straight years of decline.

    4. Langkow – health concerns are #1. At the beginning of his career 5 straight years of less than 20 goals – followed by 7 straight years of at least 20, then last year 14. Does that not look like a bell curve to you ? Yes he is only 3 years removed from his career best – but 3 years can be an eternity in athletic years.

    5. Conroy. 10 goals will be a miracle. If he gets there it will be because one of the other top 3 is completely out of the picture due to injury.