Regarding TJ Galiardi

You can hardly go into a comments section nowadays without seeing some mention of TJ Galiardi – and most of them are, uh, not what one would call “positive”.

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Sure, he only has 2 goals and 12 assists in 49 games. At first glance, that isn’t good enough for a typical third liner. But – there may be underlying reasons there, so we’ll take a look at them. We’ll also consider if the Calgary product is providing plus play in any of the areas that help you win games.

What’s Up With His Scoring Rate?

Galiardi is scoring about 1.13 points per 60 minutes played. Of the 12 “regular” forwards (i.e. everyone who’s played in more than ~45% of the games), he sits 10th – only Bouma (1.00) and McGrattan (0.91) are behind him. That doesn’t seem to be the fault of where he is starting his shifts (49.5%, 6/12), who he is playing with (7/12), or who he is playing against (7/12).

However, it probably is the fault of one thing: his PP time, or lack thereof. If we shift from overall to 5v5, Galiardi’s scoring rate improves considerably – 1.19 points per 60 minutes played, which ranks him 7/12. Intuitively, this suggests that a big reason that he doesn’t have the point totals a player like Joe Colborne has is because he doesn’t get the PP time other players are getting; even though Galliardi is probably a better player than Colborne.

It turns out that that is exactly what is happening. Galiardi averages about 40 seconds of PP time per 10 Flames power plays. The only forward with less PP time than Galiardi is McGrattan. Based on the team’s percentage this year, that means that Galiardi is essentially being excluded from two goals per period of  5v4 action. That doesn’t sound like a lot until you realize that there’s been almost 30 goals that have been scored on the PP, meaning that Galiardi doesn’t get a share in about 20% of the team’s goals right off the hop. 

His PDO is also awfully low: his 956 means he has been substantially unlucky this year. League average EVSH% this year is about 8.1%, his percentage is 7.3% (equivalent to about 4 goals for this season). League average goaltending at EV is about .919%, his is .884% (equivalent to about 9 goals for this season). If Galiardi has 5 goals, 17 assists and is only minus-1, I doubt we’re having this conversation at all.

I think that if Galiardi saw more PP time (like he did in Colorado and San Jose), his scoring pace would increase by a substantial amount. Previous to this season, his PPG was about .41. Including this season, it’s about .38. That’s a big drop off after only 50ish games, so I think that a.) Galiardi does have more scoring ability than we’ve seen (albeit to the tune of less than .1 PPG) and that b.) it is not the result of decline that he is scoring less. 

Is He Providing Any Value, Then?

The reason I think the second thing? Galiardi leads the Flames forwards in shot attempt differential. He doesn’t face the difficult circumstances Backlund does (2/12), but you can only play with and against who you are playing with and against – and on this team (~44%), anything breaking even (TJ is at 51.4%) is miraculous. You can only get wins through goals, goals through scoring chances, scoring chances through shots, and shots through shot attempts – so Galiardi leading the team is very positive. We know that shot attempt differential correlates highly with winning over the long run, so that’s one of the areas Galliardi is providing plus value.

A little more on Galiardi’s luck here – his shot attempt ratio is higher than his goals for ratio. That suggests, once again, that he is getting unlucky. A player with no luck – good or bad – would probably have a shot attempt percentage and a goal percentage that would be roughly equivalent (probably within a standard deviation).

There’s another way Galiardi is providing value, but it isn’t just “plus” – it’s “best in the entire damn league”. Galiardi’s 1.4/60 Penalty differential is the best in the league this year when it’s adjusted and 2nd overall when it’s not at +17 (Duchene is 1st with a +20 ratio). What does this mean for the Flames and how does it provide value? Well, Galiardi has essentially created 3 goals for the Flames simply by playing hockey. If we take the Flames conversion rate on the PP this year and multiply it with his ratio, we get goals. Fun fact: I’m pretty sure the photo above resulted in a Flames PP.

Lastly – and I have zero numbers or evidence to back this up – but he is Fast. The capital “f” was intended. I can’t recall the last time I saw him lose a race to a puck, simply because he moves so quickly and is so agile. I don’t think his stride looks efficient (it probably isn’t), but who cares when you’re able to get where you need to go as quickly as he does.


TJ Galiardi might not score a ton of points, but he can’t be completely at fault for that due to his lack of prime ice time. He has provided good value in penalty differential and shot attempt differential, and is fast as all hell. 

I’ll admit – I wasn’t the biggest fan of Galiardi over the first 15 or so games but that was likely due to the function of small sample size in both numbers and game watching. Now? I think he’s a fine player (still only 25!) and thus should be offered another contract. 

  • SmellOfVictory

    Yep, agreed. He’s a very serviceable bottom 6 winger. I don’t think I’d ever want him spending more than a game or two in the top 6, but there aren’t a lot of guys who will play on your 3rd/4th line, for the money he does, and be as effective at sportsing.

  • JumpJet

    Totally agree. I think he has a very useful skill set for a rebuilding team since you can slot him pretty much anywhere in the lineup. This will also apply to when the team is competitive. Galiardi could turn into a Glencross 2.0.

    • JumpJet

      i didn’t mention this, but you’re right: he can likely play 8 different positions on a game-to-game basis based on past results. that’s pretty damn good

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    He has the size, speed and grit to be as least a 4th liner.

    He has some puck skills and offensive ability as well so I would recommend keeping him around.

    If our top-9 improves then he can fit in with McGrattan, Bouma and Knight as effective 4th liners..

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    We should see if there are any other T.J.’s available in free agency this summer… and maybe also at the draft. Seems to be working for us so far!

  • The Last Big Bear

    Funny you should bring up shot attempt differential…

    Galiardi’s career Corsi numbers suck.

    He’s only ever finished a season with a positive Corsi once in his career (not counting his first cup of coffee). He’s never had a positive Corsi Rel.

    *This* season is the outlier in terms of shot differential.

    But it’s not an outlier in terms of production, because he’s not a productive player. He couldn’t break 20 goals in the AJHL, he played in the WHL as a 20 year old overager and didn’t break 20 goals there either.

    Now he’s wrapping up his 6th NHL season, and has only broken 8 goals once.

    I’m not saying he’s a bad hockey player, but I’m saying his possession numbers suck, and he doesn’t produce. He had one flukey season production-wise as a rookie, and he looks to be having a flukey seasons possession-wise now.

    We got him for a 4th, nothing wrong with that, and he’s a home town kid, nothing wrong with that either. But he’s a marginal NHLer. Nothing wrong with that either…

    I’m jus sayin.

    • The Last Big Bear

      this is true… although i don’t think they’re that bad. last year i see third line comp/team mates with a marginal positive corsi on with average zs%. two years ago, marginal negative corsi on with the same sort of comp/teammates but a bit buried in zs%. 2011, i see a second line comp/third line teammates with a positive zs% and a marginal negative corsi.

      point is, to me, he seems to be about an average third liner. that’s totally okay! I apologize if I made it seem like he should be getting top-6 minutes. he does his thing and he’s better than a lot of players out there.

      • The Last Big Bear

        I don’t see any room at the inn for TJ next year for his skill set, particularly when weighed against player development needs.

        2015 Signed/Core Players (7)…include Stajan, Glencross, Hudler, Backlund, Monohan, Cammalieri (or UFA replacement), McGrattan (yes he’s signed).

        Buyout (assumption) – DJones

        Other 2015 Forwards Competing for Positions (16): Bouma, Colborne, Baertschi, Byron, Granlund, Reinhart, Knight, Hanowski, Westgarth, Arnold, Gaudreau, Poirier, Klimchuk, Ferland, Jooris, 2014 1st Rounder

        Cap Dynamics: Need to replace Cammalieri plus Jones salary ($10M) to make the rising salary floor..may need to pay (overpay) 2 or even 3 UFAs which would take up net 2 additional slots on the big team.

        So we’re talking upwards of 7+16+2 = 25 players vying for 13 forward positions…excluding TJ and DJones.

        On the positive year should be the most competition camp in the last 2 decades. On the downside..there will not be any room for many players with excellent potential.

          • EugeneV

            Yes agree Flames have not shown any desire to use finances to acquire assets to date.

            A real judgement call though whether spending $8M over the next 2 years for 10G and 20 points/yr is justifiable…or intellectually honest (lol).

      • The Last Big Bear

        You think Galiardi is “better than a lot of players out there”.

        The Flames have EASILY one of the worst rosters in the NHL. When healthy, the forwards look something like:

        D Jones,

        If Galiardi is a legit 3rd liner, and better than “a lot of players out there”, then you should have no problem naming 5 or 6 guys who are not as good as him when looking at one of the worst rosters in the league.

        So let’s hear ’em.

        Because I can barely justify giving him a 4th line spot on a healthy Flames line-up.

        • Bean-counting cowboy

          1. mcgrattan, westgarth, byron, colborne, granlund, gazdic, joensuu, hendricks, stanton, sestito, dalpe, archibald, burish, brown, clifford, jackman, maroon, bissonette, halpern, macmillan. and that’s just in the division.

          2. it seems like you’re being a bit puckish about this. please stop.

  • I think if TJ has any value, it will be based on what the Flames do with their coaching staff in the offseason. A lot of what’s being said here is “if”. If he played more on the PP, as an example. If he’s not by now, he probably never will.

    It’s a slippery slope. Hartley has his guys, and if he were gone and Galiardi were utilized better, who takes the back seat? A guy like Colborne maybe, who everyone seems to be pretty high on, and then everyone wonders why Colborne isn’t doing anything (the fact that he isn’t very good notwithstanding)

    If Hartley stays on, and right now it seems as 50/50 as it’ll ever be, I just think Galiardi stays on the trend he is and looks outwardly like a bad player.

  • SmellOfVictory


    While I appreciate your eloquent analysis it is omits the concept of “lost opportunity cost” or “substitution”. In hockey language…can his icetime be put to better more productive use?

    Extending Galliardi takes icetime away from precious player development while he skates unproductive circles up and down the wing. He has no shot, playmaking ability or vision. He does provide effective skating and blocking.

    Within a “meritocracy” Galliardi has not earned the right to take up precious icetime…he simply has not performed. This is particularly true when we forecast forward to next year and see the number of prospects needing icetime to develop.

    The decision point comes when we have to decide whether the Flames are better off dressing Galliardi and Jones versus Granlund, Baertschi, Poirier, Reinhart, Knight, Gaudreau, Arnold, Hanowski along with a new top 5 prospect.

    Within that context the decision is clear. Thanks TJ ..but no thanks..I hear Europe is a nice place to play …

  • SmellOfVictory


    If anyone can provide an actual argument for not re-signing Galiardi for a 4th line role, please provide it. Do you think that the ice time of ~10 min/night while the other lines rest is precious for prospect development? Because I don’t. I think Galiardi is ideal for that kind of role, if the Flames can pay him a low enough salary to warrant putting him there.

    • seve927

      That’s what I say. The rash of injuries right now should be a reminder of how much depth is needed if you want to actually compete. Guys like Galiardi can play on the 4th line and not have it affect them negatively, or can fill in for injuries in the top 6 and still be a positive force. No way you let an RFA this useful walk away. If you can trade him for a greater need, fine, but I think he’s definitely a legit NHLer. You don’t develop anyone on the fourth line, so nothing lost having a guy like TJ there.

    • supra steve

      Yes..per my last post the argument for outright releasing TJ is he has not performed, his numbers are sketchy and generously “reaching” at best, there are 25+ forwards vying for 13 spaces next year (excluding TJ and DJones), and other younger prospects are more worthy of the ice-time.

      Can you provide an actual reasoned argument for signing Galliardi (cost irrespective as we actually need to spend more to make the floor) versus developing younger players with more worthy potential?

      Which prospects are you going to sit TJ in favour of?

      Were you more in favour of 5 years of the “good old days” of aging vets and dispassionate play or are you enjoying the new youthful version of the Flames with 8 rookies in the line-up?

      • supra steve

        TJ is not exactly a grey beard, he’s about to turn 26 years old (not much older than Byron, Colborne, Hanowski, Jooris, etc), and he has played over 250 NHL games. Having an asset like that walk for no return would be a mistake. Wouldn’t be opposed to moving him for an asset, but cutting him loose as a RFA or trading him after a disapointing season statistically, that would be “selling low” and that is just not good management.

        • Bean-counting cowboy

          ^^ This is what I was kind of thinking. TJ is not much older than Knight and some of these college players “vying for spots”. If some other prospects push him down the depth chart, then you decide if you put him on waivers – if he clears, GREAT – he can play for the Heat, if not, then your decision is made. But Galiardi is a RFA, I say at least sign him to a contract. Let the other prospects push him out.

          Also @ Stubblejumper: So you want to buy out David Jones, to spend $10 million on other UFA’s to get to the floor? To me that seems counter-productive. I’m not sure ownership will go for that unless they really do want to be competitive next year and spend to the cap (doubtful, despite what Burke says to appease season ticket holders). To me, David Jones IS the type of player retained to reach that cap floor at this stage of the rebuild. Not to mention you are worried about roster spots for prospects but want to add two UFA’s

  • mattyc

    I agree with Justin…

    I also think a lot of folks are dreaming when you start pegging in all our prospects for the bottom 6. They all look great now, but only a handful of them (if we’re lucky) will actually stick in the show.

    Right now the only flames forwards I have better than Galiardi are Cammalleri, Backlund, Stajan, Glencross, Hudler, Monahan. You could maybe convince me D. Jones > Galiardi and that Colborne is getting closer.

  • The Last Big Bear

    I’m not trying to be “puckish”, I just disagree with you.

    Your basic premise seems to be that Galiardi’s poor production is an aberration, and his reasonably good shot differential proves this. I pointed out that he has never been a producer even going as far back as juniors, and it is his shot differential this season that is a clear outlier from his NHL career.

    I’m flattered that you quoted me in your article, but you chose a hard row to hoe when you decided to write an article devoted to the defence of the production and contribution of a guy who, by your own assessment, spent most of the season around the 9-11th spot on the depth chart of a league-basement team, and has 2 goals on the season.

    What I will say in his defence is that he seems to be buying in to the culture that Hartley is trying to establish, which might, just might, be enough to justify him over some other replacement level player.

    • The Last Big Bear

      a guy doesn’t have to score 20 goals to be a “producer”. he is scoring at a .285 points per game pace. his career, not including this year, is .408 – without the good underlying numbers, yes, but he also didn’t have any absurd pdo’s aside from the one 11-game colorado year. so, my thinking is that if he’s having little luck either way and not putting up good shot differential numbers, he should put up better point numbers when his shot differential improves and if his luck stays the same. I think that it’s reasonable to consider galiardi at least a .35 ppg player when he doesn’t have good underlying numbers, yeah?

      my argument is based in the curiousness of his corsi% going up but his ppg going down, which seems counter-intuitive and is probably a large part of the reason why people dislike him.

      • The Last Big Bear

        1) No, a guy doesn’t have to score 20 goals to be a producer. But Galiardi has never actually put up more than 15 actual points in the NHL since his rookie season. There is no definition of “production” that includes consistently scoring 15 points or less.

        2) If You exclude his worst year, his production is better. Gotcha. On the other hand, if you exclude his rookie year (which is both the most remote in time and the biggest outlier), his career production is 0.31 PPG, which is within spitting distance of what he’s done in Calgary.

        3) His first season in SJ, he played 14 games and had ONE point, and zero assists. He is not a goal scorer, and he is not a playmaker. He is having a flukey year in terms of possession. which is notable. But the fact that he isn’t producing at an elevated level now is not at all curious to me, and as I pointed out earlier his PPG is well within standard deviation of his post-rookie norm.

        4) I don’t dislike him. I just said he’s a replacement-level player. Who has fewer goals than Brian McGrattan.

        • The Last Big Bear

          I think you are missing the point i am making. you’re also being a bit disingenuous claiming he’s not a guy to get over 20 points – .31 x 82 is 26 points. he can’t help being injured or missing time in those seasons.

          replacement level players don’t score above .3ppg. actually, galliardi’s .31 would have him on every fourth line in the league and 10 third lines – 254 among forwards w/ more than 15 gp this season.

          regardless, spirited back and forth ol chap

  • The Last Big Bear

    I enjoyed the article. I was excited by the signing but have been luke warm on the player. I could live with another short term contract but given his limited scoring history I am reserved to the fact that we might get a very similar year out of him. I’m not sure why but I expected that he would be better. Love the back and forth in discussions and everyone’s input on the value of this player. My hope is that we can fill the role I’m the future with an upgrade.