Weekend Open Thread: Faceoffs!

One of the things the Calgary Flames have struggled with – massively – over the past several years is face-offs. They have been reliably, almost epically bad.

  • 2013-14: 46.2% (30th)
  • 2012-13: 46.6% (28th)
  • 2011-12: 46.2% (30th)
  • 2010-11: 48.2% (24th)
  • 2009-10: 48.0% (28th)

And these numbers have persisted despite the team over-hauling their coaching staff and most of their players.

Sean Monahan told me that one of the ways he charts his development is that a good game, for him as a two-way center, is one where he wins more than half of his face-offs. So I tracked to see which of the team’s regular centers had the most “good games” by this measure.

  • Mikael Backlund: 29 of 76 games [38.1%]
  • Matt Stajan: 24 of 63 games [38.1%]
  • Sean Monahan: 22 of 75 games [29.3%]

The fourth center spot bounced around a lot last year. Guys who were in that spot included Ben Street, T.J. Galiardi, Lance Bouma, Joe Colborne, Blair Jones, Corban Knight and Bill Arnold. Street was probably the best face-off guy of the bunch.

If Monahan can progress a bit and perhaps somebody emerges from the pack of young centers in Abbotsford to become a regular in Calgary, that could go a long, long way towards making the Flames be less terrible at face-offs.

Because they’re pretty awful right now, and have been for a few years.

    • MichaelD

      WW if you had really been paying any attention to Rhino’s season you would know he has played wing most of the season.

      These numbers give credence to Burning Sensations desire for the Flames to pursue a number one center. Does anyone know face off % of Spezza, Staal, Stastny, RoR?

      However I think we need some further information especially on Backs and Monahan. Did we see any progress in their numbers as the season went on?

      What have been the % in the AHL for Knight, Granlund and Jooris? What about Arnold in the NCAA?

      What about for the following draft eligable centers;Rhino, Dras, Bennett, and Da Cole?

      Beyond these simple numbers I am sure the coaching staff also tracks, defensive faceoffs and offensive faceoffs; as well right and left and then plays each center to their strength when possible.

    • MichaelD

      All the above. It’s really just knowing the tendencies of the guy your against and knowing your own strengths really.

      I know when I played I could rarely over power someone, but if I could take it on my backhand I felt like I could pull it back faster, which is common.

      • SmellOfVictory

        My understanding, particularly in the NHL, is that the best faceoff guys constantly cheat. They even learn which linesmen are most lenient for cheating, and then they’ll get the greatest advantage they can. If they go too far, worst case they just get thrown out and someone else takes the faceoff.

        Regarding OP: I’m sure Monahan will end up being at least an average faceoff guy in the NHL, if not better, which should help the percentages substantially over the next couple of seasons. That, and sticking a guy like Knight in as the regular 4th line centre might bring the team right back around 50%.

  • beloch

    We should have only brash Americans take face offs. Canadians are far too polite. 2014 looked like a Chinese fire drill in the circle. If we draft Drasaitl, he will be extremely efficient at whatever he does, well, because he is German, and just likes the uniform. Ramo is Finnish, prone to waves of bipolar winter vodka kipper madness unless we give him long summers to smoke black cigarettes in the Suomi sauna.

    Coulld we lay off the political correctness? We all grew up on Don Cherry after all. What separates this blog from the rest is the freedom for debate, who wants to read the same opinions over and over again? If things get a bit off colour, it self corrects itself in the comments that follow…

  • TheoForever

    One thing to keep in mind is that the Flames before Monahan have had a lack of depth at the center ice position. The last #1 center the Flames had was Joe Nieuwendyk, according to SB Nation he had the sixth highest face-off percentage since 1997-98 of players who took minimum of 1,000 face-offs.. I’m not saying that other teams with lack of depth at the center ice position would not have better face off numbers, but it would be hard pressed to find them. At the same time, there are some talented players in the bottom 25 out of 300 such as Malkin, Horton, Elias, Riberio, Grabhovski, etc.

  • TheoForever

    Reinhart has shown excellent progression.
    It typically takes him a while to get used to a new level but after that he excels.
    I would expect he spends 1/2 the season in NHL next year.
    WW believes that Max kicks puppies and kittens.

  • TheoForever

    The Reinharts, Max and Sam, have exceptional ability to play without the puck and read the developing play. If I can recall their father Paul had the same ability when he played for the Flames. Talented hockey players no doubt.

    I also like his progression and anticipate he will play a large number of games next year with the Flames as a third line LW. He could also be the victim of too many LW’s on the Flames and potential trade bate no doubt.

  • beloch

    For what its worth, I know that Arnold is really good in the faceoff circle. I read a thread on CP where someone went a bit more in depth into his FO% and he drastically improved throughout his last year in the NCAA and was dynamite in the second half. I also believe that he was ~57% on faceoffs in his first NHL game against Vancouver. I’m not sure how good Vancouvers centers are in the dot, but take that for what its worth. I would love for Arnold to develop into that defensively sound, faceoff specialist, shot blocking, 3rd line center that is still able to pitch in offensively.

    As for all the talk about Max Reinhart and trading him to whoever drafts Sam Reinhart… well firstly I am hoping we draft Sam! Secondly, I highly doubt any GM is going to go out of their way to try and obtain Max just for the purpose of reuniting the two brothers, thats a bad way to go about operating an NHL team. Thirdly, I LOVE the way Max has progressed this year, basically tripling his numbers from his first year. Why would we trade away a prospect that has shown such great progression? See how he does in camp next year, and if he doesn’t make the team in a 3rd line role right out of the gate, then give him half a season in the AHL and call him up when injuries strike.

    I think Max is a really underrated prospect of ours.

    • TheoForever

      “That’s a bad way to go about operating an NHL team”?????…….you realize it might be 6 cups and the Oilers who draft him……….you are right: they would never do anything “bad” like that……not to mention Buffalo or Florida.

      “See how he does in camp next year”?????……….you may have noticed he does not do camps (prospect or rookie) it is below him……


      • Tommynotsohuge

        Have you noticed that you are the ONLY person that has some sort of irrational hatred for Reinhart? Have you ever explained why you think he is so terrible – did he sleep with your mother or something?

        ANYWAYS – whatever your reasoning is, stats don’t lie and Reinhart has shown great progression this year (TRIPLING his numbers) and actually tied the single season record for points in Abbotsford while still being defensively sound.

        As for your comments about Reinhart never attending camp because its “below him”… well thats just BS and I have NO idea where you are getting it from. PROOF:

        Flames Development Camp Roster:

        Flames Training Camp Roster:

        Flames Penticton Roster:

          • TheoForever

            Yes really – I swear half your comments on these articles are about how awful you think Reinhart is, or how we should trade him (a perfect example would be this thread) and so I’d like to know why. I simply asked it in a joking manner, and yet it is still a question that you refuse to answer. So maybe it isn’t a joke and I just hit a sensitive chord? lol

          • Tommynotsohuge

            Stan..don’t sweat it! I asked him in an earlier post to provide specifics around his criticism of Reinhart and not to my surprise he did not respond!

            Anyone who constantly provides harsh criticism of not only a young athlete trying to live his NHL dream but also his family simply does not measure up to being a MAN in my books! He would be considered a pathetic loser!

  • TheoForever

    I went to the development camp last summer. Reinhart was there, but he was hurt. The day I watched he took shots on the goalies after the scrimmage. Maybe WW just didn’t hear his name that much last year because he was recovering from injury.

  • Tommynotsohuge

    Heat are in Texas.
    Heres the line up
    Ortio in net.

    Smith O’b
    Breen Lafranchise
    Billins Lamb


        • Tommynotsohuge

          Just what I was going to report. Poirier with 3 points, Granlund 2 goals, and for WW rhino with 2 a to set a new team record for points in a season.

          • gotommygo

            Poirier in junior this year was a man playing amongst children. After only 2 games in the AHL appears to be no different. The kid has size, speed and hands and is a RW!!

            Thank you again Mr Feaster!!

          • Tommynotsohuge

            You put me on a line with Poirier and Grandlund in Abby and I get 2 points too…..at least.

            Exactly how crappy has Abby been over the years for Reinhart to set a scoring record??!
            No wonder we are in a rebuild….


          • xploD

            Still dodging my question about why you hate Reinhart so much – typical loser troll, and a bad one at that.

            Also, pretty funny that you blame Abby for being crappy over the past few years as the reason why Reinhart was able to set a new scoring record. I don’t know how you define “crappy”, but Abby has been in the playoffs 3 out of the last 5 seasons. And the previous scoring record was set in that time period as well. I’d recommend actually THINKING before typing anymore responses to these threads.

          • beloch

            WW I’m guessing you have never played hockey before so that may be difficult.

            I also believe that in addition to the attention seeking that you crave you lack basic relational skills and are not able to forge any type of communication or relationships in real life.

            It’s unfortunate because you have lost perspective of the real intention of this website, intended to generate hockey discussion amongst hockey fans.

            If you are not able to respect this kindly sign off and take up a new hobby that will amuse you.

  • gotommygo

    Heat win 4-3. They play the Red Wings farm team starting Friday in Abbotsford, a best of 5 affair, 2 in Abby and the 3 on the road. With the line of Granlund,Rhino and Poirier scoring 3, it gives Wrd more options .

    • Tommynotsohuge

      I am really excited to see what Poirier can do in camp this fall. He should definitely get a long hard look. Along with Rhino and Granlund. I also never knew the AHL playoffs had best of five series. You learn something new every day.

      • Tommynotsohuge

        I believe it is only the first round. I to am excited to see him next year. I think rookie camp could be very exciting as will the tournament. Add on top that whoever we draft as well.

        Think of the potential and the competition for spots. Consider this we currently have 6 veteran forwards Stajan, Glenx, Hudler, Backs. McG and DJones, then the 4 young guys who played well this year Monahan, Bouma, Colbourne and Byron, thats 10. Then the prospects: Johnny,Sven,Granlund,Rhino, Knight, Arnold, Agostino, Poirier, Ferland, Klimchuk,Hankowski,Jooris,vanBrabdt and whoever we draft(Rhino,Bennett,Dris,or DaCole) battling for 2-3 spots. Now thats exciting.

        My dream would to create 4 NHL lines from this group as well as 2/3 AHL lines that can play. Plus whoever is signed to just AHL contracts.

        • Tommynotsohuge

          Is Kulak hurt, or was he just a healthy scratch? The Heat do have a lot of bodies right now (and a good thing, too).

          Poirier 1st star (unsurprisingly). Granlund had 6 (!!!) shots on goal.

      • Tommynotsohuge

        I believe it is only the first round. I to am excited to see him next year. I think rookie camp could be very exciting as will the tournament. Add on top that whoever we draft as well.

        Think of the potential and the competition for spots. Consider this we currently have 6 veteran forwards Stajan, Glenx, Hudler, Backs. McG and DJones, then the 4 young guys who played well this year Monahan, Bouma, Colbourne and Byron, thats 10. Then the prospects: Johnny,Sven,Granlund,Rhino, Knight, Arnold, Agostino, Poirier, Ferland, Klimchuk,Hankowski,Jooris,vanBrabdt and whoever we draft(Rhino,Bennett,Dris,or DaCole) battling for 2-3 spots. Now thats exciting.

        My dream would to create 4 NHL lines from this group as well as 2/3 AHL lines that can play. Plus whoever is signed to just AHL contracts.

  • Tommynotsohuge

    So how good a chance do you think it is that the Flames are signing David Wolf?
    I am intrigued. Only 24 and seems like a monster with decent numbers even if it is DEL.

    • beloch

      Yes please; sign Wolf!

      His numbers are ok, his fights on YouTube are better!!!

      This is exactly the kind of enforcer the Flames need; someone who is not all together there……missing a few screws……..could lose his mind at any time!

      FEARED, not just respected.

      As to the odds of signing him?
      He has been on the flames radar for quite some time, his name pops up every few months…….I’m not sure what we/he is waiting for??
      Sign him ASAP.


      • beloch

        Did Wolf take your mother out for a nice seafood dinner, and actually called her back? Is that why you love him so much?

        But yes!! I agree! Lets trade one of our more skilled prospects in Reinhart for a bag of pucks & sign another dancing bear/enforcer. Thats EXACTLY what this team needs. Less skill and more fighters!


        some people… smfh

        • beloch

          So you think all Reinhart is worth is a bag of pucks…….our record setting point scorer in Abby AND “one of our more skilled prospects”…… And all Burke is able to get for him is a bag of pucks?

          Sadly; I agree with you………..maybe someone will overpay; after all he is a Reinhart….

          As for the mother jokes; weak…
          Especially (given your age), it is actually quite possible that I dropped a load in YOUR mother back in the day in one of my drunken episodes…..was she hot back then?

          Happy Easter…..


          • xploD

            You must have missed the part where I clearly wrote “/sarcasm”. Or you just don’t know what that word means, which (based on the level of intelligence that you have demonstrated in your previous posts) wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest! In reality, I would never trade Reinhart for a bag of pucks. He is an asset, and a valuable one at that. But I’m finally realizing why you can’t comprehend that! Sub-par intelligence and all.

            Additionally, I thoroughly enjoy how you call my “your mom” jokes “weak” and then go on to make one yourself! Looks like you find them funny as well, no? Oh, and speaking of which, how exactly do you pretend to know my age? For all you know I’m older then you buddy-ol-pal! Good effort though! Better luck next time.

            And I’m sorry, but i just HAVE to say this one last thing. You do realize that its COMPLETELY unnecessary to write your signature at the end of every post? Your name appears at the top of your post… although I guess it is a good way to flag your posts so that everyone knows which ones to skip over! 🙂

            Happy Easter! Happy 4/20! And Happy Birthday Hitler!

          • xploD

            “Happy birthday Hitler”??????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            I thought you were just an ignorant kid; but you are a douche bag piece of crap NEO NAZI!!

            I hope you are of the generation that does not know history and you don’t know what you are saying…….

            Either way: GO FUCK YOURSELF you nazi piece of crap!


          • Skuehler

            @ Jack and Nazi Stan:

            Next time your grade 10 social studies teacher starts talking about world war 2 pay attention; you may learn about the tens of thousands of young Canadian soldiers who lost their lives and millions of innocent people world wide who were killed by this idiot.

            Great sense of humour you kids have these days……….


  • Burnward

    It’s a pity that after reading on this site for over a year and a half that the first comment I bring myself around to typing out is this one…is it just me or does anyone else feel like our dearly beloved “WW” friend is just an attention freak and says things to get a response? I’ve almost felt like telling him how brainless some of his comments are but think it would be better just to ignore them. Gotta admit though, some of the WW comments are funny and maybe there’s just trolls using his name as cover to make dumb comments on stuff, but if that’s the case WW, you should create an account. And if there are multiple people out there using WW as an alias to be dumb and cause a response, please stop and realize there are much better things for us as fans to talk about on this great site about our Flames. If you’re oiler fans there’s a great site for you guys to go to over at oilersnation.ca….maybe you’re lost.

  • beloch

    So a number of questions about the line up; Ward was resting Sven and others. Poirier and Granlund each played two of the three games since they have been assigned. Ward has difficult decisions to make going into the playoffs but here would be my suggestion for his lines:





    That leave him sitting ready to go Gilles(if Grand Rapids has a dance partner),Hathaway, Miller and Klimchuk.There are others as well.

    His backend will likely look like this:




    This leaves Kulak,Culkin, Kanzig,Roy and the AHL guys in case of injury.

    Of course Ortio in net, with Carr as the backup.

    This team has the potential to make a long run into the playoffs.

    May all of FlamesNation have a Blessed Easter.

  • beloch

    Somebody on one of the other threads that maybe some of the regular contributors might be able to write some threads. How could this be done? It seems that the only regular contributer with articles is Ryan P, I look at Oilers Nation often see three articles a day and we are often have one and it ends up bouncing around a number of key ideas that all could make interesting articles.

    • beloch

      Agreed. Since Kent stepped back the site has lost a step or two. Tough for one guy to carry the load but recently the quality and frequency of articles on Flamesnation is lagging behind our friends to the North.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    I think there might be an oiler smoke screen about Draisaitl. Meaning they aren’t keen on drafting him given options.

    MacT has vented about wanting ‘drivers’. He followed through last year by picking Nurse.

    His list imo:
    1 Ekblad.
    2 Bennett.
    3 Reinhart.

    Now having said all that, I think it is very plausible that Florida picks Draisaitl at 1. Barkov is a two guy, perfect to complement the pure offense of Draisaitl.

    As many have remarked, the new NHL is about the centre position. The best athletes, best including physical and mental, play centre. Centre is like the QB position.

    Although terms like QB the powerplay suggest D have a still pre eminent role in team building it’s clearly centre. Who else covers as much ice?

    At number 4, Calgary will get a really good player – regardless of consensus picking or not above them.

    My only preference is to get another centre if Ekblad goes earlier – I mean Ekblad at 4 is not out of the question.

    Moreover, I truly believe Calgary as an organization, is best positioned to elicit any of the picks true potential. Why? The hard work ethos of Hartley and the example of Gio. Either you get why or you don’t.

    So for a likely scenario:
    Ekblad FLA.
    Reinhart BUF.
    Bennett EDM.
    Draisaitl CGY.

    • beloch

      Agree with much of what you say other than Bennett going to the Oilers. I just think Bennett is too similar (other than grit) to the other Oilers like Eberle, RNH, Yak.

      IMO if MacT does not move on trading the pick or at the very least adding some size and grit he will be toast.

  • RedMan

    i wonder if edmonton wont want our pick for one of their top 4 rookies… Burke gets a rookie thats closer to peaking and edmonton get 2 in the top 5, and create a little butt cover for giving out the unearned contracts that sufdenly look like anchors given their recent lack of progress and so many holes to fill

    • MattyFranchise

      If anything I think it would be the other way around with Edmonton trading there pick to the Flames for some immediate defensive help. There fans and everyone else are desperate to start showing results and having to wait 2-3 years before these rookies make an impact will be a tough sell up north.

      Unlikely anything will happen either way between these teams.

  • loudogYYC

    Guys you can’t get bent out of shape over WW’s hockey opinions. He’s repeatedly suggested trading Backlund to Detroit for Abdelkader and he’s legitimately convinced Max Reinhart is no good. Every fan’s entitled to an opinion but not every fan knows what they’re talking about.

    I’ll be paying close attention to face off stats next season as the Flames have never had this much prospect depth at centre and there’s nowhere to go but up with this team stat.

    • MattyFranchise

      Grand Rapids is the farm team of Detroit, and we all know how good they are at developing quality prospects. From what I’ve picked up the Griffins are one of the better AHL teams, definitely not going to be a walk in the park for Abbotsford.

      • xploD

        Lucky part is most of their good players are playing up with the big club, as long as they don’t get swept they should be gone long enough for us to do the job. 🙂

      • xploD

        The Heat won once, lost twice and lost in SO to Grand Rapids. However both line ups are significantly different. We will have to see how they play. The 5 game series means they will have to be on their game right away.

  • xploD

    Is anyone else enjoying watching this “Stan” guy absolutely verbally destroy WW as much as I am? God this is hilarious. Keep doing what you’re doing STANNN!

    *Sits back with popcorn*

    • RedMan

      I’m sure you recall that they tried to ban WW for his antics, back when he posed as both WW and a WW imposter, and stirred crap up every day.

      Obviously, WW is capable of masking or changing his IP to avoid the ban, but it looks like he is up to the same tricks, fouling this comment section and reducing it to jr high level escapades.

      My best guess is that WW an Stan are the same guy… the real question is, what is really wrong with WW? something is off, that’s for sure.

      the best strategy is to just not feed trolls in general. Maybe they’ll get tired of being ignored and join OIler nation, or leafs or ‘nucks nation.

  • Ed Wailin'

    Dear WW,

    pull it together dude! seriously, what is your deal? you occasionally make a point that leads me to believe you actually have some resemblance of a brain, but then you never form a full thought. ie your Max Reinhart stance… do you have inside info that we do not? if so, I’d love to hear it!

    It’s like you have verbal diarrhea compounded with inability to form a cohesive thought. Focus man, and lets hear it, what do you not like about Reinhart?

    Also, for the record, Breaking Bad was kinda terrible and you really could have picked a better “bad guy”…

    Do you also like Entourage? and wear a fedora?

    Yours truly,

      • Ed Wailin'

        WW: I wanted to clarify for those who don’t know or remember or running disagreement over Rhino and am shocked how this thing got so personal and blown out of wack. If you remember about a year ago you complained that Rhino was called up as he had not done anything at the AHL, I think he was -23 or something and you suggested he had not earned his shot and that he was up with big club because of his name. I replied saying something like as he is a Flames project I’m going to cheer for him anyway and give him a year before you throw him under the bus. Over the course of this season you have commented when he was in a slump and I would always give you a dig when he did something well. I don’t think either of us were ever offended by the other ones digs(and if I did offend you that was not my intent.)Personally I don’t have a problem with you not liking Rhino that’s your choice.(Understand I don’t think he will be an NHL superstar but I think he is developing into a positive asset for this team)