Black Box: Week 13

 

 

The bad news: road trip.  The good news: it was in Columbus, Long Island and Ottawa. The bad news: only one win. The good news: one loser point, for 3 points in 3 games. The bad news: they’ve slid to 12th in the West.  The good news: we’re going to stop this ridiculous introduction and get right into this week’s black box.

OZQoC Charts (explanation)

The OZQoC chart is starting to settle down now, but in Mark Giordano’s absence you can see Scott Hannan continue to drift into more and more defensive zone starts, and some of the depth defensemen like Derek Smith and T.J. Brodie playing slightly less weak opponents.

As usual we’ve tucked Pierre-Luc Leblond and Greg Nemisz into the lower left corner of the graph, far higher than where they actually fall in reality (in Scotiabank Kid territory).

Even-Strength Scoring (explanation)

In terms of scoring chances, the Flames enjoy the most with Alex Tanguay, Jarome Iginla, Mikael Backlund and, to a lesser extent, Brendan Morrison and Olli Jokinen on the ice. But in terms of the rate of attempted shots (Corsi), they’re actually enjoying the highest rate while Matt Stajan, Mikael Backlund, David Moss or Lee Stempniak are on the ice, but in at least two cases because they face lighter competition (see the OZQoC chart above).

Mikael Backlund is the one man on both lists, and yet the Flames are less likely to score with only Tim Jackman or Blake Comeau on the ice. Whether it’s luck or skill, they aren’t scoring with the talented young Swede on the ice, instead reserving most of their lamp-lighting for Olli Jokinen, and a tight group including his linemate Curtis Glencross and (in order) Rene Bourque, Alex Tanguay, Jarome Iginla, Brendan Morrison, Lee Stempniak and Roman Horak.

Forward        ESP/60 CEF CEA  CE% SCF SCA SC%   GF   GA    G%
Matt Stajan      1.1   56  47 54.2% 14 13 52.1% 1.77 2.88  38.1%
David Moss       1.9   55  49 53.0% 11 14 43.3% 1.85 1.48  55.6%
Mikael Backlund  0.6   56  51 52.3% 17 16 51.8% 1.53 2.68  36.3%
Lee Stempniak    1.5   55  51 51.8% 15 15 51.0% 2.30 2.66  46.4%
Tim Jackman      1.2   52  49 51.6% 13 13 49.3% 1.39 3.13  30.8%
Blake Comeau     0.7   53  52 50.4% 14 13 50.5% 0.83 2.50  24.9%
Tom Kostopoulos  1.1   49  49 50.0% 13 12 51.0% 1.95 3.09  38.7%
Alex Tanguay     1.8   50  54 48.0% 19 15 55.8% 2.48 2.62  48.6%
Jarome Iginla    1.9   52  60 46.6% 18 17 51.7% 2.46 2.56  49.0%
Brendan Morrison 1.5   47  56 45.9% 16 16 50.0% 2.38 1.95  55.0%
Curtis Glencross 2.1   50  59 45.9% 15 16 48.6% 2.69 2.94  47.8%
Olli Jokinen     2.2   50  60 45.6% 16 17 48.8% 3.05 2.73  52.8%
Rene Bourque     1.4   44  53 45.1% 12 16 43.3% 2.59 2.59  50.0%
Greg Nemisz      0.0   34  43 44.5%  4  9 33.3% 0.00 0.00   0.0%
P-L. Leblond     0.0   46  58 43.9%  8 12 40.0% 4.16 0.00 100.0%
Roman Horak      1.5   41  54 43.0% 14 13 50.3% 2.20 1.52  59.1%
Paul Byron       1.0   32  52 38.1% 11 11 50.0% 2.08 0.00 100.0%

When it comes to preventing goals the Flames are most successful with David Moss, Roman Horak and Brendan Morrison, but how much of that is lack of competition or luck?  In terms of limiting scoring opportunities Calgary has a notable edge with those who play against depth lines only, like Tom Kostopoulos, Tim Jackman, Matt Stajan and Blake Comeau – the only Flames who allow fewer than 50 attempted shots per 60 minutes. 

Strangely, the Flames allow more goals with them on the ice, over 3.00 per 60 minutes with Jackman and Kostopoulos – is it their fault that opponents have a higher chance of converting, or is it just luck?

The Flames allow the most attempted shots (60 per 60 minutes) and scoring chances (17 per 60 minutes) with Jarome Iginla and Olli Jokinen on the ice – but in their defense they are playing against the top opponents, and they are allowing fewer actual goals than that fourth line.  Skill or luck?

Defense        ESP/60 CEF CEA  CE% SCF SCA SC%   GF   GA    G%
Brett Carson     0.0   70  41 63.4% 19 11 63.6% 0.00 5.41   0.0%
T.J. Brodie      0.7   51  45 53.4% 16 13 56.1% 2.09 2.44  46.1%
Cory Sarich      0.2   51  50 50.3% 13 10 57.9% 1.41 2.02  41.1%
Derek Smith      0.8   50  50 49.9% 15 13 52.3% 2.08 1.82  53.3%
Chris Butler     0.6   51  54 48.4% 17 16 50.1% 2.57 2.22  53.7%
Jay Bouwmeester  0.7   51  55 48.3% 16 17 49.0% 2.37 2.13  52.7%
Joe Piskula      0.0   50  59 45.9% 19 14 56.7% 0.00 5.54   0.0%
Mark Giordano    0.7   48  58 45.7% 14 15 48.3% 2.29 2.29  50.0%
Scott Hannan     0.5   45  57 44.1% 14 17 45.2% 2.43 2.79  46.6%
Anton Babchuk    1.8   41  66 38.6%  9 17 35.6% 2.95 2.95  50.0%

With 4 points in 9 names and a +1, it’s easy to think that Anton Babchuk is a highly valuable defenseman, but that’s simply not so – at least not at even-strength. The OZQoC chart shows you how he’s getting the easiest ice-time possible, and now you can see how poorly the Flames fare when he’s on the ice at even-strength: dead last in shot-based metrics (Corsi), dead last in scoring chance data, but looks good in goal percentage because of the great luck the Flames have had in converting on those few chances.  Skill or luck?

Special teams (explanation)

The Flames are above-average in goals per minute with the man advantage, but remain among the league’s worst at puck possession oriented statistics like Corsi. It’s hard to justify the belief that Calgary will continue to score when they’re barely attempting 1.3 shots per minute, so keep your fingers crossed.

Player              TOI/GP PTS/60 CE/60
Anton Babchuk        2.3     3.4   97.9
David Moss           1.3     0.0   88.7
Roman Horak          0.6     0.0   87.4
Jay Bouwmeester      2.5     2.4   79.2
Rene Bourque         2.9     2.9   78.0
Jarome Iginla        3.4     4.6   77.6
Olli Jokinen         3.1     5.4   77.5
Mikael Backlund      1.1     4.4   77.2
Lee Stempniak        1.9     2.4   76.0
Alex Tanguay         3.4     4.8   73.4
Chris Butler         0.8     4.1   71.6
Mark Giordano        3.5     3.0   70.0
Tim Jackman          0.5     0.0   68.7
T.J. Brodie          1.9     2.6   67.9
Curtis Glencross     1.9     5.9   66.9
Derek Smith          1.4     5.2   65.1
Brendan Morrison     1.3     3.9   62.5
Blake Comeau         0.9     0.0   60.8

Anton Babchuk’s return produced immediate dividends, as he earned an assist on Chris Butler’s first goal. While not terribly useful at even-strength, let’s hope Babchuk continues to provide the help they need with the man advantage.

Not a lot of penalties to kill this week, but Calgary is continuing to improve, and even starting to level off a little bit at a level roughly around the league average at both shot prevention and goal prevention.  Interesting fact: they’re one of only two teams without a short-handed goal (Anaheim is the other).  Carolina and New Jersey already have 7.

Player           TOI/GP CE/60
Jay Bouwmeester   3.7    86.2
Scott Hannan      2.8    80.3
Chris Butler      2.3    89.6
Curtis Glencross  2.3    85.8
Mark Giordano     2.2    92.6
Lee Stempniak     1.8    73.9
Rene Bourque      1.5    89.3
David Moss        1.5   143.1
Tom Kostopoulos   1.4    87.4
Blake Comeau      1.1    73.8
Alex Tanguay      0.9    70.3
Mikael Backlund   0.8    82.9
Matt Stajan       0.6   139.5
Olli Jokinen      0.6    68.7
Derek Smith       0.4    60.0
Cory Sarich       0.4   154.1
Brendan Morrison  0.3    93.7
Roman Horak       0.3   111.9
Brett Carson      0.3   109.1

Goaltending (explanation)

Calgary was a perfect 3-for-3 in Quality Starts this week, giving the team to win all three games, but unfortunately walking away with only one. The Flames have gotten good goaltending this season, especially with the hot young Leland Irving on board, and it’s really a pity that the performance that could have gotten them a playoff berth last season is being wasted this season.

Goalie           GS QS   QS%  ESSV%
Leland Irving     3  3 100.0%  .941
Miikka Kiprusoff 31 19  61.3%  .926
Henrik Karlsson   5  1  20.0%  .904

That’s how it looks after thirteen weeks. Up ahead is the second half of their road trip, a potentially winnable game in Nashville followed by two tough ones in Washington and Boston before returning for what should be an easy game against Minnesota next Saturday. Edmonton’s complete implosion recently (2 points in their last 8 games) means Calgary wouldn’t have been last in the Northwest even if they had played as badly as we feared, but 12th place in the West is nothing to celebrate.

 

  • Dr. Nick

    Lets talk about Backlund. I was one of many who was sure he would have a breakout season this year. The points sheet isn’t suggesting that at all. But I like how the underlying results are good. I think that shows he will be a better producer in the long term as opposed to the flash in the pan that our prospects usually show. You know, score 20 goals then go back to earth. So I think we have reason to be patient with Backlund because the points will come.

  • 12 th place again, wow i guess every game does matter afterall. the flames seasons are like ground hog day, maybe bill murray is available as an intermim head coach. i am still not sold on backlund, he hasnt hit the next level of development,surely his game should be better by now.

  • I think we need to be patient with Backlund. We all knew this was going to be a tough year going in & we have some seen a lot of young new faces so far. I like his game way more than Parjarvi up in Edmonton. Kesler dont rock everything in his first 2 years & I wouldnt call last year a full year for Backlund. Cut him some slack. Was there a reason he hardly played in the 3rd last night? Also, I noticed on several occasions that Iginla was taking faceoffs in the offensive zone last night. Is Brent converting him to centre so we all can quit complaining about getting him a #1 centre?

  • RKD

    For those watching the Turris-Backlund race, Turris has 4 points in 12 games and Backlund has 5 in 25. If you double the games and points then Turris has 8 points in 24 games. It’s not like Turris is a world beater. Backs is coming off an injury, he could always rebound with a strong second half.

    The Flames have 41 points, if we are thinking 96 is the cutoff they would need 55 more points so, probably 28 wins over the next 42 games. Looks like they will have to play .667 hockey the next 4 months. It will be tough, but they won’t have to play at .800. If we can get healthy sooner than later we might be in better shape. We need Gio, Tangs, and Moss.

    On another note, Jackman and Kostopolous are a combined -17. Comeau alone is -12.

    • Your math is correct, the Flames need a point percentage of .667 the rest of the way to bag the last play-off spot. Right now only four teams are doing that: Boston, NY Rangers, Chicago and Philadelphia.

      I could potentially argue that luck is the major difference between the Rangers and the Flames, but short of getting an overdose of fortune themselves I can’t realistically see Calgary compete at the Boston/Chicago, or even the Philly level.

      As a comparison, the Flames were .628 in 2005-06 when they won the division for the only time since 1994-95, so it doesn’t look good at all.

      Still, stranger things have happened.

  • Dr. Nick

    I know this isn’t the place for this but I need to get something off my chest. I was watching the Winter Classic pre-game show and they did a montage of the best players from all sports, about 2 players per sport. When it came to hockey, I was expecting Wayne Gretzky at the very least, if they only did one player (it is American broadcasting, so hockey isn’t that important, which is ironic because this montage is being shown during a hockey event). Instead the one player they showed was Sidney Crosby. I mean of all the legendary players in the history of hockey, they show Sidney Crosby. They could have chosen Gordie Howe, Bobby Orr, Gretzky, Lemieux, Mark Messier or any number of other hockey greats who have accomplished more than Sid. But hey what do I know.