Now that the 2013 campaign is done and over with for the Calgary Flames, it’s time to pick at the corpse a bit. The season was disappointing overall for the Flames and it begs the question regarding which player had the most disappointing season overall.
We have a few contenders.
Despite the ever-changing pronunciation of his last name, Giordano remains the heart and soul of the Calgary Flames and will probably be the next captain. That siad, he didn’t have the best year.
Paired primarily with Jay Bouwmeester and Dennis Wideman this season, Giordano faced the top six of every Western Conference team. While he didn’t spontaneously combust like other blueliners, he did have the worst goals-against per 60 minutes of any regular Flames skater. His offense and ability to move the puck forward wasn’t as prevalent this season either, which made his occassional blow-ups in the defensive zone all the more obvious.
Touted as the best player outside of the NHL when signed, Roman Cervenka came to North America with a lot of expectations. However, between a blood clot that sidelined him for several weeks, frequently being a healthy scratch and rumblings about his conditioning, he never really took off the way everyone hoped he would. The Flames sold him to the fanbase as a potential top-6 center to replace Olli Jokinen, but he isn’t really a center and probably not an everyday top-6 guy either.
Overall, he had the worst plus/minus per 60 minutes of any regular Flames skater and a nominal possession rate, despite facing middling competition all year.
It must’ve been a tough year for Alex Tanguay. Brought back to Calgary with the hope of reigniting his chemistry with Jarome Iginla, he saw the team flounder and then Iginla get traded to Pittsburgh. Oddly, both before and after the move, Tanguay’s WOWY numbers reveal something odd.
Generally-speaking, he made just about everyone worse. Of the five guys he played with the most, only Dennis Wideman had a better Corsi percentage with Tanguay than without him. Iginla, Mike Cammalleri, Giordano and Jay Bouwmeester were all worse.
Kent warned us back in the off-season that Kipper was a bad bet to repeat his excellent 2011-2012 performance again, noting he’d likely fall back down to earth somewhat. Well he did that, pierced the mantle and ended up a few miles beneath the crust. Kiprusoff played 24 games and amanaged an .882 SV%, one of the very worst in the league. The only other time he has struggled to that degree was back in 2002 with the San Jose Sharks, when he managed an .879 save rate in 22 games.
Ironically, that previous poor performance was beneficial for the Flames because it convinced San Jose Kipper wasn’t worth keeping around. This time, at age 37 and with one year left on his deal, it’s probable the Flames have come to the same conclusion.
Not really a “Flame” per se, but Irving’s season was a nightmare for the former first rounder. Inked to a one-year “prove your worth” kind of contract by the organization last summer, Irving was instead usurped by AHL free agentes Danny Taylor and Barry Brust. When Kiprusoff went down with an injury the Flames gave Irving another chance to up his rehabilitate his stock, but instead the kid fell on his face: in six games, he managed two wins and an .883 SV%. He finished the year in the AHL with an entirely medicore .902 save rate as well.
With a swath of new ‘tenders set to join the orgs pro ranks this coming season, it’s good bet that Irving won’t be retained moving forward.
Finally, we have Chris Butler. After spending the majority of 2011-12 on the top pairing with Jay Bouwmeester, he was dropped down to the bottom pairing this year and finally got shielded. Not that it helped.
He still had terrible underlying numbers, with the worst corsi on and relative corsi of any regular player not named Brian McGrattan. And WOWY analysis shows that Butler made just about every player he played with worse in terms of Corsi percentage (more on this soon).
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