Flames Interesting Numbers Through Five



We’re five games into the season, which means just about any stat you can name isn’t all that meaningful (ie; predictive) just yet. Still, some things are beginning to take shape, particularly how Bob Hartley is deploying his players in terms of combinations, match-ups and zone starts. Here’s a look at a few of the noteworthy numbers I managed to glean from the invaluable new stats site Extra Skater.

Individual Possession Rates and Deployment

The Flames are a bottom-third team in terms of overall fenwick (all shots at the net less blocks) rate, but that’s in part because they have spent so much time leading so far. Overall, the club is roughyl split between those at or about 50% fenwick (which is splitting possession at even strength between the offensive zone and defensive zone evenly) and players below that mark. Leaders right now are Kris Russel (52.2%), Sven Baertschi (51.5%), Mark Giordano (51.5%), Sean Monahan (51.5%) and Dennis Wideman (51.0%). 

In contrast, the guys getting their heads beaten in are Curtis Glencross (43.0%), Ben Street (40.9%), Shane O’Brien (36.6%), Brian McGrattan (36.1%), and, of course, Chris Butler (34.7%). For Glencross, his numbers match the eye test – he’s mostly been awful at 5on5 to start the year. Ben Street is a useful utlity guy, but he’s punching way above his weight class amongst the team’s top-6. 

O’Brien and Butler are your typical detrimental third defensive pairing, who have also been buried by a 42.9% zone start (offensive zone divided by defensive zone face offs at even strength). Brian McGrattan, in contrast, has been completely sheltered (zone start of 75%). In fact, McGrattan has a team low defensive zone start % of just 7.7(d-zone faceoffs divided by 0-zone draws). To put that in perspective, the second easiest defensive zone ratio is Kris Russel at 23.8% (he and Wideman have a 65% zone start, which is why they are team leaders in terms of possession). 

The kids – Sven Baertschi and Sean Monahan –  have also enjoyed the easiest zone start assignment outside of McGrattan. Both are north of 57%. The only other two skaters with a ZS at 50% or above are Lance Bouma and Tj Galiardi. The forward with the highest defensive zone ratio so far is MIkael Backlund at 38.0%.

Probably the most impressive skaters right now are TJ Brodie and Mark Giordano. Brodie is seeing the toughest minutes on the team currently, with the lowest zone start (41.1%) and the second highest quality of competition (as judged by weighted ice time of opposition) behind Giordano. The Flames captain has the third lowest zone start, highest quality of competition and yet the pair of them boast above average possession rates. The Flames top pairing has done exceptional work in the early going.

Team Stats

As mentioned, the Flames are bottom-10 team in terms of overall corsi right now, sitting at 45.5% (24th). If we control for score effects though, things improve. With the score close (within a goal) Calgary moves up to 22nd overall (47.8%) and when the score is tied, Calgary is middling (49.5% or 16th overall). Given how thin the line-up is and the fact the club has started the year lacking two top-6 forwards in Cammalleri and Stajan, those aren’t terrible numbers. Again, though, we’re talking a tiny sample and one or two really good or really bad games could change everything.

In terms of PDO (ie; luck), Calgary has the sixth highest ES SH% (9.8), but only the 23rd best ES SV% (91.5%) for an overall PDO of 101.3. 

On special teams it’s a bit of a mixed bag. Calgary has been scoring well on the PP so far, but it’s mostly due to a high shooting percentage (19%, 10th overall). At 5on4, they only generate 43.4 shots/60 right now, good for 23rd in the league. League leading Ottawa and San Jose are managing about 80 shots/60 on the PP currently in contrast. 

The Flames 4on5 work is the inverse – they are 8th overall in the league in terms of allowing shots (47.7 shots/60), but their save percentage has been abysmal (71.1%).

In both cases, the percentages will regress heavily and it will be the volume of shots that predicts future success. If Calgary can keep preventing shots on the PK it should be okay long-tern, whereas they’ll need to up their shot a man up in order to keep scoring.


As mentioned, the ES SV% is middle of the road at 91.9%. Ironically, Karri Ramo managed an excellent .933 rate in his one appearance against the Capitals (31/33 shots), while Joey MacDonald’s save rate at 5on5 is below average (.906). Of his four starts, only one of Joey Mac’s appearances would be considered exemplary (.943 SV% vs Montreal). Which isn’t to say Ramo would continue to put up a SV% north of .930 long term, but it’s also not like he was completely miserable in his debut. Although he’s signed for two years and technically is the org’s current best bet to be "the guy" going forward, we still don’t really know anything about Karri at the NHL level.

I don’t know why MacDonald has become Hartley’s goalie of choice, nor am I sure what it’s going to take to get Ramo back in the net, but on its face the coach’s goalie choice doesn’t make much sense right now. The team has been winning with MacDonald in net, but that’s largely Calgary is one of the highest scoring teams in the league through five games (18 goals, 6th overall).

The Overall Picture

Okay, so what does this all mean anyways? The short version:

– Brodie and Giordano are the club’s top d-pairing in terms of difficulty of their competition and deployment. They are not only surviving, but thriving, which we were almost never able to say about Jay Boumweester + partner during his time here.

– Wideman and Russell have nice possession numbers, but they have been given the high ground by Hartley to a non-trivial degree so far. Ditto the kids. I think it’s the right coaching choice to make in both instances.

– Brian McGrattan is not an every night player. He sees nobodies, almost never has to take a draw in the defensive end and still has the worst possession rates on the team. Play him against other clubs who are dressing a heavyweight if you feel the need, but not otherwise.

– Ben Street shouldn’t be playing in the top-6. Not that Hartley has much choice right now. 

– Curtis Glencross is seeing tough minutes and he’s getting beaten up. Playing with Street probably doesn’t help, but he’s to blame as well. When Curtis is on, he’s one of the best players on the team, but he’s stil very much in "pre-season" form out there.

– When we correct for score effects, the Flames have been mediocre at driving play at even strength, which is relatively good since this is the second cheapest squad in the league who is lacking two of their highest paid forwards. Once they start facing teams like Detroit, LA, Chicago, St. Louis and Boston their possession numbers will no doubt fall, but it’s not a bad bit of work for a squad picked to be the worst one in the league before things started.

– Remember, through five games almost any number that has been generated is more descriptive than predictive, but there’s a few things we can say about Calgary – they’ve been fortunate at ES and on the PP in terms of rate of scoring (shooting percentage) and they’ve been unlucky on the PK given their SV%.

Around the Nation

  • Danger

    “They are not only surviving, but thriving, which we were almost never able to say about Jay Bouwmeester + partner during his time here.”

    True enough, but I do have to wonder how much that was really JBo’s fault. A lot of his time here was spent with “+ partner” being Butler, so even just surviving against the heavies was a pretty big accomplishment under those circumstances.

    I still think trading him was the right call, but I’ll admit a certain morbid curiousity to seeing how he does this year in St. Louis with a useful partner.

    • We’re only 5 games in too. Im sure JayBo had 5 game stretches where things went his way.

      Still, Tyler Dellow looked at Gio and JayBo side by side about a year ago, and Gio looked like the better player overall.

      Even with the Blues so far Bouwmeester’s possession rates are pretty middling.

      I defended the guy a lot during his time here, but I also eventually came to the conclusion that he’s merely a “good” defender – not excellent and certainly not elite.

  • The numbers and the conclusions drawn from them here pass the eye test across the board.

    Gio and Brodie have easily been the best defense pairing on this team, and they’ve quietly been great to start the season. Hartley’s done a decent job of using his defensemen in appropriate scenarios, realizing that Wideman and Russell are great in the offensive zone, which is why they start there as much as they do. I’d like to see less of O’Brien and Butler when the team is defending leads late, but they do need to be on the ice SOMETIMES, I guess.

    Ben Street has looked good on the bottom 6, awful on top. To me, he looks to be one of the first guys going down when two of Cammi, Stajan, and D. Jones come back.

    Glencross…man, he’s been terrible.

    McGrattan adds SO MUCH VALUE…seriously, if you need a facepuncher, at least put in Jackman.

    Sheltering Sven and Svean is a good idea, even if it makes Monahan look good to the point where he’s probably not being sent down. The two practically share a brain in the offensive zone.

    Joey Mac, man, I get it. The team is winning, so stick with what’s working, but that dude scares me. It’s like watching Grant Fuhr in the 80’s. He’ll let in a ton, just one less than what the Flames are managing to score. That shooting % has to even out eventually, and the chances of Mac settling down a bit seem low to me. I’m not saying Ramo is the answer, but he’s worth a look

    • Re: Joey Mac. The thing for me is MacDonald is a known commodity – he’s a 33 year old back-up with a replacement level save rate. Ramo might be terrible, he might be great, he might completely average. But at 28 years old and after 3 years of near elite play KHL, he’s the more intriguing player.

      Now, if Mac had been pitching shut-outs or .945 SV% games, I wouldn’t be able to fault Hartley for preferring him. But that hasn’t happened.

      It makes me wonder if there is something else going on behind the scenes.

      • RedMan

        at this stage we can (rightly or not) chalk it up to coaches playing a goalie while he wins… coaching “gut feelings” or something.

        However if Ramo doesn’t get three or more starts on this road trip, then one must conclude that theres definitely something rotten in Denmark.

        Even the whole “play him while he wins” doesn’t smell right given that during a rebuild one would assume development is priority 1 and that a “winning attitude and effort” are goals, again weighted against development to temper expectations of actually winning (hope that makes somw sense)

        • piscera.infada

          I think it’s right. With a young team it’s all about rolling with the guy who instills the most confidence in the players in front of him. I assume that will wear off and Ramo will be given the opportunity – and in my opinion, will run with it (although that isn’t based off of anything, other than my gut). I think at this point, giving Ramo more time to acclimatize in practice and watching on the bench isn’t a horrible thing. He’ll get his shot, and I’m sure that’s been made clear to him.


          I think Colborne’s been showing more as the games progress. Keep in mind, he’s only been in the system going on two (or is it three?) weeks now. Even if he shows to be a bust, it’s hardly “getting fleeced”. Again, for me, it’s been a situation where he needs to get accustomed to the system, and the other lines have been playing well enough to justify not throwing him to the wolves quite yet. Let him get his bearings first.

    • McRib

      “It’s like watching Grant Fuhr in the 80’s. He’ll let in a ton, just one less than what the Flames are managing to score.”

      Haha, I agree Joey MacDonald is so mediocre that the team knows they have to score (in bunches) to win, such a shaky netminder every save looks like a struggle. As a player I would have despised playing in front of someone like him, he just doesn’t install any confidence, eventually its going to catch up to the team.

      All seriousness aside we should probably just sign Jon Gillies for good. Its inevitable, the kid is insane. 2-0, 0.984 Save%, 0.50 GAA with an average of 31.5 shots per game. Why you don’t take goalies in the first round… Because when we took him in the third a lot of people thought it was a bit of a reach. He is now the best goalie in Junior/NCAA period.

      Reto Berra has had a decent start to his AHL career maybe they are playing the crap out of Joey MacDonald with the hopes of getting him claimed off waivers at some point…. Then we can roll Ramo, Berra… Because it is very counterproductive having Joni Ortio warming the bench in the AHL and Laurent Brossoit playing in the ECHL. I don’t know maybe something is up with Karri Ramo wanting to head back to KHL money, but like most cannot find a logical reason to keep Joey MacDonald around for long, especially playing every night.

  • NHL93

    What about the quality of competition? Have we had an easy start to the year in terms of opposition? Hate to be a ‘Debbie downer’ (mainly because Debbie is not my name) but we will begin to suck big-time once we start facing the elite teams?

  • “the Flames have been mediocre at driving play at even strength, which is relatively good…”


    How does this look versus last season, perhaps pre sell-off? I seem to remember us being an atrocious possession team at the start of the year with Iginla getting crushed as a strength-against-strength option. Is that correct?

    Is there a chance, going out on a limb here, that this is a better team than this was at the start of last season? (small samples etc etc).

    • Actually the Flames were above board in the first 10 games last year…but mostly because their depth guys (like Stempniak, backlund, Glencross) were crushing other second and third liners. Difference is, the puck didn’t go in the team like it is right now.

      Things tailed off a bit as the season went on and then fell off a cliff post-deadline.

  • RedMan

    I have a pretty strong feeling that our trip through California is going to be a bit of an eye opener and reality check for the guys. Nonetheless its been a fun little stretch.

    I’ve been enjoying the results up north even more though, except all of a sudden I’ve started worrying that Edmonton may be competing for another high draft pick when they were supposed to be leaving this area for us.

    Flames definitely are the little engine that could at this point with Cammi Staj and Jones on the shelf. pretty damn plucky actually.

    Sean will have to really crap the bed in california to not stay up, and my guess is he remains at leazt OK, and stays. With the olympics and world jr. tourney to give him a couple breaks… it should work out OK. I personally think now he should stay.

  • I am curious about Joe Colborne’s underlying numbers. On the surface, he looks like he sucks, and we got fleeced, even though we sent a 4th rounder. Is this just a case of Hartley doesn’t like the guy? I know he was good in the dot against Jersey, but they aren’t exactly the belle of the ball when it comes to faceoffs either.

    • We don’t know much about Joe Colborne. He’s played so sparingly that the only conclusion we can make is “not enough info”. I haven’t liked him by eye, but it’s easy not to like a guy when he only plays 5 mins a night is sat for long stretches after any sort of hiccup.

    • MattyFranchise

      Colborne has only been on the ice for 12% of the Flames total minutes over 4 games so far this season and while his O/DSt% is an astounding 77.8% nearly 61% of his actual zone starts have been in the neutral zone. He spends most of his time at even strength and a marginal amount of time on the PK with absolutely 0 PP time.

      So far he’s at 43.5% on 23 faceoffs, so he’s not anything special there but so far on the team at EV he’s only behind Stajan, Street and Monahan (57.9 on 19, 46.7 on 60, 45% on 60 respectively.) I’m not sure how to utilize Fenwick properly but I do see that his PDO is at exactly 1.000 through 5 games. He may benefit from better line mates or he may falter. Five games is too early to tell for him.

      I’m not sure if he’s not being used enough or if he’s not being used correctly but I do know that I rarely notice him in games and I’m not entirely sure if that’s a good thing or not.

      As for Joey MacBackup, Hartley said in his last interview that he’s playing the hot hand, Mac will start in Anaheim and depending on how the road trip goes I think we may see Ramo for a couple games at least.

      @Kent Wilson

      Is there any reason why Neutral Zone Starts aren’t given more weight in the stats community? It seems logical to me that just as much time is spent playing there at evens than there is at either of the other two zones but I see that neutral zone information is largely discounted when it comes to analyzing the complete game. Thoughts?

  • The Flames fourth line has played a major role in their success this year. Bouma-Street-McGrattan and McGrattan- Colborne-Jackman have been very effective in every game this year. MGrattan is the common denominator on both lines. I made a stupid comment a month ago comparing him to a great white shark circling behind the play, because I was upset with his ENFORCING against SDAO of Ottawa, after I felt the Calagry player Stajan had started all the trouble. I was wrong and unfair and recognize that Brian McGrattan is not only the best enforcer in the NHL, but a very underrated, effective player as well! I AM VERY SORRY FOR MY STUPID COMMENTS BRIAN!!!

  • McRib

    Nail Yakupov scratched for the second game in a row… Man oh man, that’s not going to help the rumors of him fleeing to the KHL. But I don’t blame Dallas Eakins he has been horrible this season, just coasting aroung waiting for a pass. Some of his comments are very worryisome… “I really don’t like skating all the time, and forechecking, and hitting somebody every shift”… You don’t like forechecking…. And you call yourself a Hockey player?!?!?! It shows!!!.

    Edmonton might want to consider trading this kid to a Washington ASAP for a Tom Wilson type or more importantly a young defender…. As he is going nowhere quickly.. Honestly I’m not trolling, but just think they have enough pure offensive players and will he even reach his potential playing second unit PP time. Clearly that’s all he is good for and his Dad (also KHL Coach) says things worried him prior to the season with Edmonton. Imagine if they traded Magnus Paajarvi when his stock was high. They can continue to blame this on Devan Dubnyk, but when you haven’t had a legitimate Top. 3 defenseman since 05-06 you think they might have realized it by now. I think it was the third or fourth goal in the Toronto Game that defined Edmonton’s defense for me, as Justin Schultz completely abandoned his assignment chasing a puck into the corner…. Pass out front Lupul wide open… goal!! You leave opposing team’s players wide open in the slot 4-5 times a game.. Doesn’t matter if Jonathan Quick or Joey MacDonald are in net you are going to loose.

    Imagine if Ryan Murray, Alex Galchenyuk & Morgan Rielly were not all hurt for the majority of their draft years…. Yakupov may have been a 4-5 overall pick. Why tanking and drafting first is not the only option to consider. Case in point getting a Sean Monahan 6th (as he is a Top. 3 any other year on decent OHL club). Why I perfer drafting smart high upside players in the Top. 10 that were overlooked. Rather than tanking for first and developing a loosing culture.

    • RexLibris

      You’re comparing Sean Monahan’s half-dozen games to Yakupov’s 50 and declaring that one was a better selection in a different draft year for a team that never had the opportunity to select the former or that it fundamentally defines drafting strategies? That’s a tough line of thinking to follow.

      The Flames management certainly appeared at the end of last season to be positioning themselves for as high a draft selection as possible. The roster did not accommodate, but it was as much a deliberate tanking job by management as any other I have witnessed.

      Full credit to the Flames roster thus far this season. They are working harder and more consistently than many of their opponents. That kind of effort and discipline is commendable. However, the results do not bear a causal relation, in my opinion, to what management was attempting to do this off-season.

      Yakupov’s being scratched goes along with Eakins’ saying that he’s going to play those that earn it. He preceded that move by HS-ing Smyth for a game, so he set a precedent with a veteran before moving on to the rookie. While it is worrying (and lets be honest, as Canadian hockey fans what else do we excel at aside from worrying?), is it better to have a coach who will bench an underperforming rookie or reward his inconsistent play with continued ice time?

      Personally, I’m not worried about Yakupov. Every single thing this young man has done since coming to the OHL at 16 has been designed to dismiss ideas of him running back to Russia at the first sign of trouble. He’s ticked? Good. He’ll draw back in tonight against the Penguins (bloodbath?) and his play had better show some improvement.

      Frankly, Eakins would be sitting six or seven if he could do it and still dress a team. Smid has been struggling, Dubnyk and LaBarbara are both shaky, Brown and Gazdic are one waiver move away from the end of their respective NHL careers and nobody even misses Steve MacIntyre. Perron, Eberle, Arcobello and Gordon are the best Oilers right now.

      Also, Rielly and Murray were largely healthy in their draft years. Rielly played the post-season and had a body of work on which scouts could draw. Murray missed his draft +1 year, that might be causing the confusion. Galchenyuk was the only one with serious injury and, to be completely honest, I argued that he would best suit the Oilers’ needs. I’m probably wrong, but I’ll give he and Yakupov another 300 games and see where they stand.

      • DoubleDIon

        I have to say, it’s looking good on the Oilers. I’ve said for a long time that 200 foot players win hockey games and the Oilers only seem to draft based on counting stats. Oiler fans will still be telling us how awesome their team is going to be in 3 years 3 years from now unless the organization seriously reconsiders the way they do player evaluation. Ie. Backlund is more valuable than Gagner. No Oiler fan on earth believes you when you say that, because like the organization they only look at counting stats. I called a regression from the Oilers based off of their possession rates from last year combined with a higher than normal save percentage from Dubnyk. Lots of problems on that team. Counting on Smid to anchor you defensively is a very poor management decision. It’s wishful thinking to operate as if Schultz is a top pairing guy, he’s an offensive specialist like MAB or JML. The only smart things they did this summer was overpay Gordon and name Ference captain instead of Hall or Eberle.

      • McRib

        Morgan Rielly was coming back from a significant knee injury no way he makes it past three if injury concerns were not still looming (I know for a fact that the NYI passed on him for this reason). “Murray missed his draft +1 year, that might be causing the confusion”

        Ummm your mistaken… Ryan Murray missed 26 games (all of October/November) his draft year with a serious shoulder injury that did require surgery the following season, but the injury/damage was created his draft year. He struggled at the World Junior as he hadn’t played in two months. If he was in game shape he would have tore it up and 1st would have been a no brainer. I was at the World Junior Evalution Camp in Calgary when most scouts viewed him for the first time he didn’t look like the same player. If Edmonton didn’t take Yakupov Columbus, Montreal and NYI were all going to pass. The NYI offered all of their picks that draft to Columbus for the second to get Murray.

        It’s funny I actually think Sean Monahan would have been a Top. 3 pick (if not for late birthday) two years ago his stock was ridiculously high then people started to unfairly critique his game on a horrid club/deep draft class last year, plus like I said that draft was dominated by injury concerns. The whole order would have been widly different if Murray, Galchenyuk and Reilly were healthy.

  • SmellOfVictory

    Regarding the bottom pairing being “buried” in terms of zonestarts, I have a suspicion that part of the reason (possibly a substantial one) for their tough zs% is probably because the idiots ice the puck so frequently.

    • Could be. The other thing is none of those guys have much value offensively, whereas Russell, Wideman etc do, so why waste o-zone draws on them? Im okay with that conclusion, because O’Brien and Butler are going to lose the possession battle no matter what.

  • McRib


    Nail Yakupov’s body of work so far has been extremely underwhelming. No effort perimeter players who let teammates constantly dig pucks out of the corners for them do not usually become stars. Sam Gagner clearly did this work for Yakupov last year and is being missed greatly this season.

    Considering Eberle-Hall-Nugent-Hopkins figure to be on your first unit PP for the next decade. Does Nail Yakupov offer much value as a second unit PP guy his entire career?

    “Smid has been struggling; Dubnyk and LaBarbara are both shaky.”

    Once again I don’t know why Oiler fans solely blame goaltending. It’s hard to stop pucks when your defence constantly lets players go completely untouched in front of your goal 5-10 times a game. The Toronto game in particular was ridiculous Justin Schultz abandoned out front three times directly leading to goals (If he isn’t an offensive guy he is running away with the leagues worst +/-). Throw in the rest of your defence (Jeff Petry, Andrew Ference, Ladislav Smid, Nick Schultz) none of which are Top. 4 defenders on 95% of NHL Clubs (at least the Flames have three second pairing guys). You get an understanding of why Edmonton can’t climb the hill at least Darnell Nurse is coming, but it’s Aaron Ekblad or Roland McKeown this season for Edmonton if defence is not addressed for the umpteenth season.

    Have you noticed your two best defenseman Tom Gilbert, Ryan Whitney the past five years had a hard time making another NHL team (other than Florida)? I don’t mean to jump down Oilers fans throats, but when do you start to realize your Defence… Sucks… Its been half a decade and counting.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    re: Joe Colborne:
    Burke said that he is not going to score a lot of goals for us, so he is going to go through a “transformation” to be a 3rd or 4th liner I presume.
    Burke also said that “he is not a black and blue player”.
    from the very limited ice time we have seen that he cant seem to win many faceoffs, and does not look particularly fast out there.
    his compete level is still a questionmark for me as well.
    exactly what type of a player will he transform into?

  • beloch

    Re: Colborne

    Over just 5 games corsi might not allow us to differentiate between linemates all that well, especially when it’s a line that’s getting so little TOI. So far we’ve only seen Colborne when he’s tied to MacGrattan, and MacG is a damned possession anchor!

    The acquisition of Colborne was opportunistic and, right now, he’s been parked on the fourth line to wait until the Monahan situation is resolved. If Monahan goes, Colborne will move up and get an opportunity to show what he can do with better linemates. If Monahan stays, there’s basically no room at center for Colborne (remember, Stajan has yet to return!). I’m willing to bet Monahan’s tenth game as a Flame will coincide with Colborne’s debut on the wing.

    One thing we should remember is that most fourth round picks don’t even turn into competent fourth liners. The Leafs have a legitimate right to be bummed about their first round pick turning into a fourth. We have a prospect who seems capable of fourth line duty while propping up an enforcer, with upside to boot. That’s a steal.

  • beloch

    I am interested in what all the stats say about the Backs and Hudler line. I am not a stats guy but my observation is that these two help to get the team out of trouble more often than not, they also create scoring opportunities more often the their o zone starts suggest. I would also suspect that they create more offensive zone starts than the other lines. After the debate over whether Monahan should be kept or sent down and how well Gio and TJB are playing together this is a hidden story on this team right now. Keep playing hard boys.

  • beloch

    Re: Yakupov sitting

    Idiotic. A coach should ice the best team he can. If a star player isn’t competing well enough to make the top line, you move him down to a lower line. Can anyone honestly say that Yakupov, even when he’s slacking off, isn’t still an upgrade on somebody in the horror show that is the Oilers’ bottom six? Some of those guys might not even make it into some AHL clubs!

    The Oilers real problem right now is that both of their goalie’s are colder than pissing into a blizzard. Barring a miraculous improvement in net, it’s going to get ugly against the Penguins.

    • RexLibris

      Yakupov was already playing on the 3rd line with Gordon and Joensuu. Putting him with Gazdic and Acton would be worse than the pressbox.

      Eakins is merely doing with Yakupov what Renney didn’t have the luxury of doing with Taylor Hall.

      Yeah, describing the Oilers’ goaltending as an “issue” is kind of like saying the Sykes-Picot treaty created some cultural friction.

    • McRib

      “The Oilers real problem right now is that both of their goalie’s are colder than pissing into a blizzard. ”

      They got decent goaltending tonight and still loose because they have BRUTAL defence they just allowed people to walk out front and have a clear shot on all three tonight. Maybe stand remotely close to cover Malkin in the slot he is fairly talented…. The blown coverage/assignments is league worst. They don’t even have a Top. 3 defender with easily the league worst backend. These guys could have Jonathan Quick as their goaltender…. Not going to make a difference in the long run over the course of a season unless they dramatically improve team defence. I don’t know why they continue to blame goaltending?!?!?!?! I know its harsh, but if they think bringing in a Ryan Miller is going to change anything they are sorrily mistaken.

      Can the Flames please have Devan Dubnyk when Edmonton gives him away as he is a lot better than Joey MacDonald!!! Hahah. I’m afraid to think what Edmonton’s goal against average would be if they had Joey McBackup…. 8.0 GAA. Justin Schultz would already be -10+ thats for sure. When your Top. 4 is (Jeff Petry, Justin Schultz, Andrew Ference and Ladislav Smid) you are not winning much. If the Oilers put their entire Top. 6 Defenders on waivers, Justin Schultz (a career -22 in 52 games) and Andrew Ference (a 34 year-old career fourth defender) would likely be the only ones that get picked up, it’s saying something. When Tom Gilbert and Ryan Whitney your best two defenders the last five years, get basically passed over by everyone in the NHL (except Florida) it’s saying something.

  • MattyFranchise

    I also want to say that Extra Skater is effing sweet. It’s a great resource for a guy like me struggling to understand the advanced stats game. I don’t have to spend hours poring through the other sites to find what I want.

    Kudos to behindthenet etc for opening the door though. The work that’s been done is nothing short of mind boggling.

  • The Last Big Bear

    Colborne has good reach, and contrary to initial impressions he seems to make the smart hockey play most of the time.

    He may look like he’s holding on to the puck too long, for example. But when you realize that his open men are McGrattan and O’Brian, trying to do everything on his own and holding on to the puck as long as possible starts to look like the best option available.

    He also shows excellent reach, which he uses, and he is quite strong on his skates.

    However, he really does need more foot speed and he clearly isn’t able to carry a line on his own.