Flames Fan Ask – October 19, 2013



Six games in and the Flames are not a disaster, to the eternal surprise of many. The Oilers, on the other hand, still look terrible, so we had more than one question about where the two teams will finish relative to each other this season. Ohter topics in this week’s Fan Ask include Calgary’s ultimate draft position in 2014 and, of course, Sean Monahan.

Let’s start with the Flames vs. the Oilers…

1.)Who will end up higher in the standings, Flames or Oilers. Flames have been lucky to start the season, remember Kent saying something like top 5 in team PDO, while the looking at the Oilers they appear to be injured and unlucky as well.

2.) Do the flames finish ahead of the oilers this year?

It’s certainly a possibility. Both teams have roughly the same underlying numbers right now. Edmonton’s goaltending isn’t going to be this bad forever, but they still have major problems on the blueline and near the end of their roster. The Flames lack Stajan, Jones and Cammalleri currently while the Oilers are missing Sam Gagner. Both teams have been putting up goals at above average rates as well.

Edmonton has the superior top-end offensive talent and I expect that to win out over the long run all things being equal. That said, if the Flames get a break here and there (better goaltending, stay healthier), they could end up finished ahead of Edmonton by the end of the year.

3.) Been stewing on this one for a bit because I think I am blinded by my bias, but does Brodie have a realistic chance of having a Duncan Keith upside?

It’s always a bit dangerous to compare young kids to outliers like Duncan Keith, but more and more it looks like Brodie will have above average upside at the very least. He’s facing the toughest minutes on the Flames right now and is thriving despite this being just his third year in the league. 

Keith broke into the NHL at 22-23 years old and by the next year he was facing the other team’s top lines regualrly, albeit from a zone start north of 50% (Brodie is currently below 40%). Keith broke the 30-point plateau at 25 years old.

I personally doubt Brodie will ever break the 60+ point margin as Keith has done once, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if TJ settles into a defender who regular sees the other team’s best and collects 30+ points a year.

4.) Do the flames now have too many centers in the organization? As in not able to give young guys decent chances and decent minutes.

I don’t think you can have too many centers, for the simply reason that it is a lot easier to convert centerman to wingers than vice versa. So if a guy looks to be a quality player but can’t get ice time down the middle thanks a log jam, it probably takes a couple of practices and a few games for him to settle onto the wing. I say that as a guy who played both positions growing up.

5.) Is there an online collection of data and/or articles that support the anti-fighting side of the debate?

Depends on what you mean by "anti-fighting" – my personal beef is with the role of the enforcer, which I judge to be useless at best and probably harmful at worst. In general, there have been numerous studies who have tried to find any sort of positive influence of fighting on a team’s outcomes, and pretty much all of them can’t find any signficant relationship.

If you read this article of mine from a few weeks back, it includes four links to those kinds of studies.

6.) I was pumped to see the clip of Johnny G’s set up in the first BC game of the year. I rewatched the clip today…. Is it possible that the defence on the other team just can’t skate? at all? They look like they are stuck in the mud.

That’s certainly possible, but that’s also an artifact of playing against Johnny Gaudreau, who is one of the most sublime offensive talents that college has seen in awhile. He routinely makes the opposition look foolish.

7.) Will the flames draft lower than 6th this year? Or are we destined for eternal mediocrity?

By "lower" I assume you mean 1st-5th.

A few injuries and a bad run of luck could see Calgary drop to the bottom-5 this year, though right now they look much more likely to be in the 10-ish area. That’s good news becasue if Calgary is legitimately closer to the middle than they are to the bottom, they won’t need as much work to become contenders again. Especially because guys like Brodie and Backlund (and soon Baertschi and Monahan) are the new backbone of the organization, rather than expensive, fading stars. Meaning, there’s upside and improvement on the horizon, rather than hopelessly trying to run in place.

Calgary will also have a lot of cap space in their pockets over the next few seasons, which means they could very well attract a few key free agents to kickstart things. The Minnesota Wild, for example, are putting up league leading possession rates this year after being terrible forever, thanks to the cumulative additions of Jason Pominville, Zach Parise, Ryan Suter and Jonas Brodin. 

8.) If Monahan does some how make the team. Do you see him as a top Calder candidate given his performance right now?

It will strongly depend on how his ice time shakes out once Cammalleri and Stajan are back. Monahan’s SH% is going to drop at even strength and he’s not going to get much PP time once the team is healthy, so his scoring will likely dry up a bit. Most kids who win the calder either put up noteworthy scoring stats or they step in and become above average guys at the top of a team’s rotation. 

Monahan has a very mature game and if he sticks and develops rapidly over the season, he could challenge for the rookie of the year. I tend to think he’ll get burid down the depth chart a bit though.

  • I think Ramo’s performance tonight will go a long way to showing what team the Flames actually are. If they keep going with MacDonald, they’ll likely finish 8-12th or something if their possession numbers hold up.

    I hope Hartley isn’t of the opinion that Ramo has to win this one to start the next one because San Jose.

    Well, it should be a good game. Sharks/Flames games always seem to be fantastic.

  • jeremywilhelm

    Hey Karri, here, play Washington and San Jose. We’ll let Macdonald play some weaker teams, then we will judge you equally!

    – Bob Hartley (probably)

  • I agree that enforcers are a waste of time. In addition, they take roster spots from Real Hockey Players! Would you rather watch Stajan, Cammalierri, Monahans, etc. or McGrattan run on his skates ,like a 6 year old learning how to skate, trying to lay big hits way behind the play, handling the puck like a grenade, or Jackman butt ending midget Finnish defense men cause the Flames are down a goal!!! Seriously!!!

  • 1/2: Way to early to determine which Alberta team gets to draft higher this year. As said in the article the Oilers have higher offensive capability than the Flames but until they also learn to play better d they will struggle. On the Blue line the Flames are significantly better although I would gladly add Ference to the Flames as a 4,5,6; Justin Schultz could play that role on the flames and make the power play better, goal tending on both teams meh.

    3. Brodies high end playing on a the shut down pairing is about 30 points, if he get easier minutes 40, he needs to play better on pp.

    4. Too many centers? For an organization that had to use Cammi and Tangs as centers last year this is a good thing. The issue will any of them separate themselves from the pack. Street is NHL replacement level plugger, Colborne has potential but must step up his game and the guys(Horak, Knight, Jooris, Grandlund)on the farm need to be seen. Arnold at BC might be the best of this .

    5. Every study will have it’s own bias so who really cares.

    6. Johny G had three points agian last night against the number 2 ranked team in the NCAA as BC won 9-2. He is our number one prospect right now and could help reduce the gap between the Flames and the Oilers up front. Poirier will also help.

    7. We are 6 games in far to early to tell. However if last years draft record repeats a team can do well later in the draft. Also depends if we can also get a second first rounder. If the Flames do a good job of development and assessment this year they could and should begin to target the needed pieces as early as 2014.( one or two only)

    8. Monahan again. I will repeat my view; his development will be much greater here than in the OHL, practicing and playing against men everyday will help him develop faster. At this point his name would be in the conversation but again we 1/15 into the season.

  • GYRBA in Ottawa just put Taylor Hall out with a knee injury after a questionable hit. This same turkey tried to mess with Stajan in the pre-season and ended up getting DROPPED by McGRATTAN!! This is why GRATS is so important to the Flames. Add in his leadership and he is abetter hockey player/skater than many people give him credit for!!! ENFORCERS have an important, NECESSARY role in tip days NHL!!! GO MCGRATTAN!!!!!!!!

    • RedMan

      An enforcer would not have prevented Hall from being injured, it would have only met retribution. Look at all the suspensions this year alone for dirty hits how have any enforcers stopped any of this. Dirty hits happen all the time and the league does next to nothing to stop them. Look at Kessler he got nothing for trying to hurt someone with his stick. Gyrb hit was dirty but not as intentional as Kesslers golf swing, not one but two. If an enforcer jumps a guy like Kessler everyone yells and screams oh wait it was the enforcer he played golf on ankle. I also agree that McGrattan has played reasonably well for his limited skills but his and Jackman’s presence prevent more skilled big bodies from playing.

    • RedMan

      And what did “getting DROPPED by McGRATTAN” actually accomplish? The answer is absolutely nothing. MacGrattan’s goonery did not prevent the messing with Stajan. It did not correct Gryba’s behaviour (he just attacked Hall). The goons on the Oilers (well, Luke Gazdic anyway) did not prevent Gryba from attacking Hall.

      So basically, the enforcers all served no function whatsoever. MacGrattan called him to account, and Gryba went right on pulling the same crap.

  • BurningSensation


    Morgan Klimchuk: 11gp, 5g, 11a, 16pts

    Emile Poirier: 11gp, 9g, 9a, 18 pts (10th in Q scoring)

    Johnny Gaudreau: 3gp, 2g, 5a, 7pts

    Mark Jankowski: 2gp, 2g, 0a, 2pts

    Jon Gillies 2gp, 1ga, 0.50gaa

    Eric Roy: 10gp, 1g, 9a, 10pts, (+4)

    Killdozer: 10gp, 1g, 0a, 1pt, 24PIM (+4)

  • beloch

    If Enforcer’s really offered sufficient deterrence we wouldn’t see the same players making dirty hits day in and day out. Some players are just too slow to land clean hits consistently, so they use dirty tricks like sticking out their knee to improve their chances. Sometimes they get suspended, but losing a marginal player for 5 games vs losing a star player for months means the team with the dirty player often comes out ahead.

    Perhaps a new form of discipline is needed that will make coaches stress clean hits. Instead of suspensions and fines that mean almost nothing, how about taking a draft pick away from the offending team and awarding it to the offended team? This would actually compensate teams that lose the services of good players to dirty hits. GMs thinking of acquiring notoriously dirty players will face the risk of losing picks in addition to losing the dirty player to suspension. The end result would be that the NHL would be a much tougher league for repeat offenders to find a job in.

  • beloch

    Speaking of picks… What would it cost the Flames to pick up Toronto’s first rounder while they still think they’re going to make the playoffs? Man they are poised to take a jet-powered dive off a precipice!

  • beloch

    Jankowski has a goal and an assist tonight. Providence is trashing AIC 40-23 on the shot clock (8-3 on the score sheet). Gillies (gasp) isn’t starting.

    Poirier has a goal.

    The Heat are, once again, badly out-shooting the OKC Barons. Hopefully the result tonight is better than yesterday.