Even before the rebuild, one of the biggest holes for the Calgary Flames has been face-offs. This season, they’re 30th in the league. Last season they were 28th. They were even 30th during Brent Sutter’s last year as coach. Being bad at face-offs isn’t a new phenomenon, and seems to be immune to changes in management, coaches or players.
Here’s a brief situational look at how the Flames are doing at the face-off dot after 11 games.
Team-wide, the Flames win roughly 42% of face-offs at center ice. The breakdown among the regular centers is like this: Joe Colborne is at 47% (but has taken the least neutral zone draws), Mikael Backlund is 43%, Sean Monahan is 40% and Ben Street (now in Abbotsford) is at 31%. Matt Stajan’s at 57%, but has only taken 23 draws (as opposed to Backlund’s 65).
Overall, the Flames are again at 42% in the offensive zone. Player-by-player, that breaks down to 57% for Street, 43% for Backlund, 63% for Monahan and a miserable 31% for Colborne. Monahan has taken the most offensive zone draws of the regular centers, while Colborne has not-shockingly taken the fewest. Stajan’s at 58%, but has only taken a dozen draws in the offensive end.
Arguably the most important zone to win your draws in, the Flames have had some success in the defensive zone – although they’re still losing 52% of their draws and winning a mere 48%. Sean Monahan leads the regulars at 50%, followed by Backlund at 48%, Colborne at 47% and Street at 45%. Backlund’s taken 87 of the team’s 216 draws in their own end , which is a pretty big proportion (about 40%) and shows how he’s been deployed by Bob Hartley thus far. Stajan’s at 42% in his own zone through 19 draws.
When things are even-keel, the Flames fare at 44% overall. The team’s leaders are Stajan (50%), Street (46%), Monahan (45%), Backlund (43%) and Colborne (41%). Backlund takes the most of the team’s even-strength draws (92), followed by Monahan at 70.
Overall, the Flames win 45% of their power-play draws. Curtis Glencross actually takes a number of these and has fared pretty well for somebody who’s not a natural center. He’s won 47%. Of the regular centers, Monahan takes the most power-play draws and, to be blunt, has been getting killed. He’s won just 29% of his PP draws.
The PK is where the Flames have been getting killed (in terms of getting scored on a lot) and they’re not amazing in the face-off circle, winning just 44%. Matt Stajan has won 64% of his draws, followed by Backlund at 59% and Street at 23%. Backlund has taken the majority of Calgary’s short-handed draws, which combined with his percentages make him pretty damn useful as a defensive player.
SUM IT UP
On the whole, Calgary’s won about 44% of their face-offs, which places them dead-last in the NHL. Stajan’s got the best team-wide winning percentage (at 52%), but he’s also only played three games, so there’s no telling where his percentages will end up over a longer span. Backlund leads the regulars at 45%, followed by Monahan and Colborne, both around 42%. Considering that Monahan and Colborne are both fairly inexperienced, they’re likely to get better over time, but the team obviously has some work to do. They were excellent against Washington, so hopefully they can keep it up.