Black Box: Week 4



One month into the season and despite back-to-back wins the Flames are 2nd last in the Western Conference. On the other hand they’re only 2 points out of the 8th-place play-off spot. 

Rene Bourque leads the team with 5 goals, Alex Tanguay with 7 assists, Olli Jokinen with 28 shots (and 2nd to Tanguay with 7 points), and rookie Roman Horak leads the club with +3 (with 5 points thrown in for good measure). Captain Jarome Iginla is leading all forwards in playing time, but is 4th in shots – just 1 ahead of Lee Stempniak – has just 2 goals and 4 points, and sits alone at the bottom with a -3. 

Ah, but these are just the so-called box car stats, let dive in to something more advanced!

Week 1, Week 2, Week 3

OZQoC Charts (explanation)

The OZQoC Chart, which shows us how the players are being used, is starting to flatten out. Just like last season it appears that the players are being used roughly evenly, without anyone getting the really tough ice-time (top righthand corner) or the really easy job (bottom left-hand corner).

Surprisingly, Roman Horak remains the player in whom the coaches are most confident, but it’s no surprise that the Chris Butler/Jay Bouwmeester pairing remains the most trusted blue line unit.  Although Mark Giordano and Scott Hannan face equal competition, Bo-Butt is the only pairing starting the majority of their shifts in their own end.

Among forwards, Tim Jackman, Tom Kostopoulos and Matt Stajan are the ones fortunate enough to face depth lines, but that also means starting in their own zone more often than everyone else, including Horak. Brendan Morrison, Rene Bourque and Niklas Hagman have had relatively average jobs, while the others (Lee Stempniak, Olli Jokinen, Curtis Glencross, Alex Tanguay, Jarome Iginla and David Moss) are being put together in various combinations to face the league’s best players.

Keep all of that in mind before you interpret the numbers below.

Even-Strength Scoring (explanation)

Last week all but four Flames had Corsi percentages over 50%, meaning they were on the ice for more attempted Flames shots than attempted shots by their opponents. We explained that this would counter-intuitively drop as the Flames improved, and sure enough after two wins it’s much closer to an even split. 

This can be explained by score effects – the team in the lead generally attempts fewer shots than the team that’s trailing.  They’re usually content to dump it in, play without the puck, and let the opponent crack their shell, and that’s why those who had a lot of ice-time this week saw their Corsi percentages drop (and those who missed a game, like Glencross, didn’t).

Player         ESP/60 CEF CEA  CE% SCF SCA SC%   GF   GA    G%
Curtis Glencross 2.8   61  48 55.9% 14  6 71.4% 3.38 3.38  50.0%
Lee Stempniak    2.1   64  50 55.8% 19 14 57.8% 3.12 2.60  54.5%
Chris Butler     0.4   60  49 55.3% 14 15 48.6% 2.88 2.46  53.9%
Matt Stajan      0.9   55  45 54.9% 11 10 52.2% 2.69 2.69  50.0%
Derek Smith      0.0   54  45 54.1%  9  9 51.7% 2.52 1.89  57.1%
Olli Jokinen     2.8   62  53 53.9% 13 12 53.7% 3.24 2.78  53.8%
Jay Bouwmeester  0.4   60  52 53.2% 13 16 43.8% 2.87 1.80  61.5%
David Moss       2.3   54  51 51.3%  8 14 35.9% 2.25 1.69  57.1%
Tim Jackman      1.7   45  46 49.5%  7 12 39.1% 1.66 3.31  33.4%
Alex Tanguay     2.4   55  57 49.3% 15 16 47.7% 2.40 1.92  55.6%
Brendan Morrison 0.0   49  51 49.2% 14 15 47.1% 0.00 0.00   0.0%
Jarome Iginla    0.8   54  56 48.7% 13 16 43.7% 1.62 1.62  50.0%
Scott Hannan     1.2   46  51 47.4% 12 12 48.3% 2.07 1.65  55.6%
Rene Bourque     1.6   50  56 47.2%  9 13 41.5% 2.12 2.12  50.0%
Cory Sarich      0.5   46  52 46.6%  9  6 58.6% 1.54 2.06  42.8%
Niklas Hagman    2.1   45  52 46.4% 10  9 53.6% 2.79 0.00 100.0%
Mark Giordano    0.4   48  57 45.8% 12 13 47.6% 2.42 1.61  60.0%
Tom Kostopoulos  0.4   39  52 42.5%  9 10 45.5% 0.86 1.72  33.3%
Roman Horak      3.8   39  56 40.9% 12 12 50.0% 3.75 1.50  71.4%
P-L. Leblond     0.0   61   0  N/A   0  0  N/A  0.00 0.00   0.0%

A few quick player notes:

  • Tom Kostopoulos really had a bad week with big drops across the board, except was finally on ice for his first Flames goal.
  • Roman Horak is 2nd to Niklas Hagman with goal percentage, but is dead last in Corsi percentage – is he just lucky?
  • Despite the relatively high volume of scoring chances while Brendan Morrison is on the ice (both for and against), no goal has yet to be scored.
  • Curtis Glencross leads the team in Corsi percentage, and has a commanding lead in Scoring Chance percentage too.  Opponents are least likely to get a scoring chance with Glencross on the ice, tied with Cory Sarich, and yet the Flames are only more likely to get a scoring chance of their own with their surprising leader Lee Stempniak, or Alex Tanguay.
  • The Flames have the hardest time getting things going with Tim Jackman on the ice. Only Kostopoulos and Roman Horak generate fewer Corsi events (attempted shots), no one is less likely to generate scoring chances, and only Brendan Morrison, Kostopoulos, Sarich and – surprisingly – Jarome Iginla are less likely to actually score.

Special teams (explanation)

The Flames decided to run with seven defensemen this week, returning their start power play specialist to their line-up, and Babchuk’s fine play was rewarded with an assist. Alex Tanguay leads the Flames with 3 power-play points, followed by Rene Bourque, Jarome Iginla, Mark Giordano and Jay Bouwmeester with two apiece, but points don’t tell the whole story, as you can see.

Player              TOI/GP PTS/60 CE/60
Anton Babchuk        1.5    10.1  120.7
Jay Bouwmeester      1.7     7.9   98.3
David Moss           1.5     0.0   93.4
Brendan Morrison     1.3     0.0   85.2
Olli Jokinen         2.9     2.3   80.3
Niklas Hagman        1.4     6.4   76.1
Lee Stempniak        1.8     0.0   69.0
Jarome Iginla        3.2     4.2   65.2
Rene Bourque         2.9     4.6   61.7
Curtis Glencross     1.6     0.0   58.5
Mark Giordano        3.6     3.7   57.7
Alex Tanguay         3.8     5.3   56.4

With the exception of Bouwmeester, don’t be impressed with the scoring. The Flames don’t even average an attempted shot per minute with Giordano, Tanguay or Glencross on the ice. Not a goal post, nor a blocked shot, or even a missed net.  It takes over 60 seconds, on average, for these three to even attempt to score, so don’t be surprised if their scoring cools off.

Instead keep your eyes on players like David Moss and maybe Brendan Morrison, whose names haven’t yet appeared on the scoresheet, but with whom the Flames have enjoyed far more scoring opportunities. They’re bound to be rewarded eventually – hopefully this coming week.

Let’s take a look at the shorthanded squad.

Player           TOI/GP CE/60
Jay Bouwmeester   2.8    97.9
Scott Hannan      2.4   118.3
Chris Butler      2.4    94.2
Mark Giordano     2.3   105.6
Curtis Glencross  2.2    94.0
Rene Bourque      1.8    87.4
Lee Stempniak     1.6   104.7
David Moss        1.6   135.7
Tom Kostopoulos   1.3   132.3
Roman Horak       1.0    94.3
Brendan Morrison  0.9    52.6
Matt Stajan       0.7   159.2

It was a rough week for Calgary Flames penalty killers with increases for the majority, and only minor decreases from the remaining. Consider how there are over 100 attempted shots per 60 minutes for half their penalty killers, but only one of their power play specialists.

David Moss is really getting kicked around, even more than Tom Kostopoulos. Roman Horak and Brendan Morrison have both fared well in very limited duty, it’ll be interesting to see how they perform if they become the new second pairing behind the quietly effective Curtis Glencross and Rene Bourque.

No change on the blue line, as Jay Bouwmeester and Chris Butler remain the preferred pairing, ahead of Scott Hannan and Mark Giordano – interestingly none of the other blue-liners are really being trusted when the Flames are a man down.

Goaltending (explanation)

Two great starts by Miikka Kiprusoff vaults their goaltenders from a lousy 2-for-7 to a more reasonable 4-for-9, and a solid .933 even-strength save percentage on the season. 

Goalie           GS QS  QS%  ESSV%
Miikka Kiprusoff  7  4 57.1%  .933
Henrik Karlsson   2  0  0.0%  .897

Given how close several of their starts were to Quality Starts, it was reasonable to expect their Quality Start percentage to improve, and let’s hope it continues when the Calgary Tower gets his next opportunity.

That wraps up another week. Thanks for everyone’s on-going interest, and as always I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments. And in the spirit of the Jefferson’s, let us know what kind of spin-off analyses you’d like to see “move on up” this week.


  • Derzie

    Is Horak lucky? His PDO is 1135. The highest of any forward with over 40 games played last season was 1069. Unless you think Horak is somehow willing Kiprusoff to play amazing or psyching out opposing goalies, yeah, he is getting lucky.

  • Derzie

    Just to ground myself before diving into the advanced stats presented here a did a good old fashioned analysis using the pedestrian stats on the flames website:

    Here is what I found. The only one I have discomfort with is Gio should be higher as blocked shots are not a stat here but should be.

    Best Players so Far:
    Hagman (why is he sitting?
    Bourque (good start)
    Horak (great surprise)

    Solid if paid 2-3 Million:
    Stempniak (lots of mistakes but works hard)
    Moss (being tossed around on different lines)
    Iginla (normal slow start plus age plus back)
    Tanguay (goes as Iggy goes)
    Kiprusoff (moments of greatness)

    Need to pick it up:
    Olli (inconsistent)
    Hannan (invisible at times)
    Gio (can be tentative)
    Glencross (hot and cold)
    Jay Bo (it is what it is at this point)
    Karlsson (needs more minutes for more confidence)

    Butler (plus minus could be better given he stays at home)
    Jackman (picked it up last game)
    Kosto (same as Jackman)
    Stajan (ouch)
    Babchuk (swelled head)
    Derek Smith (meh)
    Sarich (still hurt?)
    B Mo (gets a pass as he missed preseason)
    PLLL (jettison)

  • Things are starting to take shape a bit here. On the PK, I think Moss’ numbers are probably suffering from playing on the 5on3’s. Sutter seems to go with him as the lone forward in those situations.

    And there’s no getting around it – Jarome was awful in October.