Items of Interest! December 4th, 2012



As usual, Flames news is thin on the ground at this juncture of the this infernal, perpetual lock-out. Still, there remains one or hockey two items of interest worth considering. 

ITEM! Remember when I talked about Joe Colborne as a potential comparable for Mark Jankowski? Well, here’s an in-depth discussion of Colborne’s struggles this year from McKeen’s pro scouting coordinator Gus Katsaros. Let’s all agree that if Colborne doesn’t improve, he’s not a Jankowski comparable. Cool? Cool.

ITEM! The Abbotsford Heat have a few nice looking wallpapers available for download at their site. Leland Irving is not one of the featured players…

ITEM! Speaking of the Heat, word is Sven Baertschi is suffering from a concussion (aw crap!) and not even skating at the moment. Audio from a Weisbrod interview conducted by QR77 discussing the injury can be found here (December 3rd, about 8:30pm).

(That sound you hear is every Flames fan, Heat fan and member of Calgary managment groaning in fear and disappointment)

RELATED! Ryan Howse has been recalled from the Utah Grizzly (ECHL affiliate). Howse’s results this year are completely underwhelming (1 goal, 7 points, 12th in team scoring) so it’s somewhat surprising he was called up in preference to Mitch Wahl (18 points, 2nd on team in scoring) or Bryan Cameron (19 points, 1st). It could be just an issue of position/need since the Heat have a lot of centers and such, but very few natural left wingers now that Baertschi is hurt (which Howse is).

ITEM! Remember Curtis McBac…err McElhinney? The dude is positively on fire for the Springfield Falcons (Columbus’ far team) this year. He’s started 16 games, won 11 of them and boasts a save percentage of .940.

Of course, it’s worth pointing out here that the AHL seaosn is still very young. Recall that Nikolai Khabibulin was one of the hottest goalies in the NHL through the first six weeks last year. Meaning – things can change.

Of course, McElhinney is 29 years old so the chances of him suddenly figuring things out and becoming a worthwhile starter at the NHL level are slim. That said, it’s entirely possible he’ll at least be as good as Steve Mason whenever hockey starts again.

ITEM! One of the very few positives should the entire season be canceled from a Flames perspective is the fact the team would have a good shot at getting a very high draft pick out of the next draft lottery. Because Calgary has failed to make the playoffs in each of the last three seasons, they would be one of seven clubs with three lottery balls in the draft. Luckily, someone has mocked a nice little draft lottery simulator here which you can use to see how things may go down if the league intelligently (sarc) wipes out its second season in eight years.

Run a simulation and let us know which pick the Flames got for you in the comments (7th overall for me). Through over 1500 simulations so far, Calgary has averaged out at about 5th overall. And the next draft is going to be chalked full of high-end talent: Seth Jones, Ryan McKinnon, Aleksander Barkov, Hunter Shinkaruk, Jonathan Drouin…

ITEM! If you haven’t read this Jonathan Willis piece on Don Fehr and what he hopes to accomplish as the NHLPA’s head, you should. Despite the lock-out Jon continues to churn out high quality work each and every day. For my money he’s one of the best hockey writers going right now.

ITEM! Ben Wendorf over at NHLNumbers came up with a time on ice stat that helps correct for team factors and era adjustments (5on5%). He found that over the last 5 years, Jarome Iginla has played the most ES minutes of any forward in the entire league.

FINAL ITEM! Johnny Gaudreau has been named NCAA Hockey East’s player of the month for November. Get your Gaudreau shirt orders in by the end of the day today because the order goes out tomorrow…

PS – Yes the owners and players are meeting today. No, we don’t expect anything worthwhile to happen. Yes, we will update you if something actually does…