Sunday Open Thread: Surprises And Disappointments Through 10 Games

After last night’s 3-1 loss to the Washington Capitals, the Calgary Flames have completed 10 games. It’s a nice even number, and for some reason the Flames have now played more than anybody else in the league save for the Boston Bruins.

Is it possible for the schedule makers to dislike both teams? Perhaps. But in another weird twist, both teams have won 5 of their 10 games. Spooky.

After 10 games, the Flames boast a 5-4-1 record. Who are your surprises and disappointments through this first chunk of the schedule?

My surprises: Paul Byron (only 4 points, but he’s been buzzing a lot) and Joe Colborne (8 points! and good use of his big frame)

My disappointments: Curtis Glencross (only 4 points, and he’s been largely invisible in a contract year) and Smid and Engelland as a pairing (they haven’t been very good; basically the Bizarro Brodie/Giordano).

Share your takes in the comments!

  • Matty Franchise Jr

    I remember reading somewhere, Puck Daddy probably, after the Engelland signing that it wasn’t a great signing, but it wasn’t the worst either. 3 years and $3MM for him was OK, but there were younger and better guys available for about the same money. That was the sentiment of the author until the author realized that the contract was 3 years AT $3MM EACH YEAR, not $3MM for the total 3 years.

    If Engelland was free, he wouldn’t get picked up on waivers. At a total of $9MM for the life of his contract, there isn’t a hope in hell.

    I think my biggest disappointment at this point might be Sven. I was hoping he’d make the Flames make some tough decisions.

    The goalies being lights out is a bit of a happy surprise. I just hope it doesn’t last so we have a shot at McJesus.

    Is Mony becoming a decent 2-way centre, along with being a goal scoring machine? He’s been getting some tougher minutes, and despite not scoring much yet, he seems to be doing OK.

  • everton fc

    I hate to be the guy to truly rain on the parade but I think I’m gonna be that guy for a moment…

    I’m not sure anyone has really jumped off the page for me. They’re above .500 and while that’s a good thing it should be taken with a grain of salt as overall this team is getting outplayed night in and night out.

    For this reason I think I’d have to point to the goalies as the early season surprise. I thought the flames goaltending would be much improved but I was not expecting ELITE quality goaltending through the first 10 and that’s what we’ve been getting.

    People keep bringing up Colborne as an early season surprise and while he has been producing he’s also been simply ridiculously lucky this year so far. He’s shooting at a 18% clip and that is just not sustainable. The points are nice but I don’t like his chances for keeping that pace up over the next 10 games.

    In fact, the entire team has been one of the luckiest in the league so far. As we sit today the Flames are currently 3rd overall in PDO behind only LA and Minny. The team has only 4 players on their roster posting a sub 1.00 PDO 5v5. Currently with a .101 SH% and a .933 SAVE % the flames are sitting at a PDO of 1.030 Couple this with the fact that this is a team that that still shows a lot of trouble driving possession sans #11, #5 & #7 on the ice you gotta think the safe money is on this team regressing hard.

    For me nothing has changed since the beginning of the preseason. This is a bottom 5 maybe bottom 3 roster. They are who we thought they were They’re just getting enough bounces to put them up above .500.

    Enjoy it while you can everybody but don’t get caught focusing on the team as it is today we’re still building for the longterm here. It’s all part of the plan.

    • Big Ell

      I agree with most things but Colborne has been using his body, hitting guys and seems to be in much better position for the most part. He seems to have some wheels and is good in the shootout. I don’t think anyone is saying he is going to be a super star but his value is much higher than it was a year ago. I am not good at math but how can he have an 18% shooting percentage without any goals or were you talking about another stat?

      • piscera.infada

        I’m in the same boat. I agree with what @TheCalgaryJames is saying regarding the team as a whole, but as far as Colborne goes, it’s more about how he’s playing than the goals he’s scoring. He’s been noticeable for good/smart plays in every game thus far. He’s doing everything we lamented him for not doing last year on a consistent basis. That’s a very good sign moving forward.

        The biggest surprise for me has to be Russell. That guy has been lights-out so far. Hopefully he keeps it going. If you could get a very solid second pairing guy out of him, that’s a steal. We knew he was a good skater last year, but the biggest improvement I’ve noticed in his game has been his ability to process what’s going on much faster. Last year, he panicked often, turned over the puck, and lost his man. This year, if a play’s not there, he makes the safe play. You can see his confidence growing as a result. His pedigree is such that if his strong play continues, we could have a very good player on our hands.

    • Mezzo

      Colborne has 0 goals (0G 8A in 10 games), so he is shooting at a 0% clip unless I’m missing something (are you saying that his linemates are shooting at an 18% clip?)

      That PDO can also be inflated by the Canes game in a small sample (as with SH%), and while the Flames are certainly marked for regression, last year the flames shot at a 9.19 SH% (see: which means we shouldn’t see a significant drop in production (although one can be anticipated).

      Lastly, the goaltending we are receiving so far this season has been very good bordering on elite (but lets not get carried away) and time will tell if its sustainable or not (our Save% was much lower last season, but I blame Berra and an adjusting Kari Ramo). My fear is not that we regress, but that we emulate last years Toronto Maple Leafs (to a lesser extent obviously), and look as if we are a bordering playoff team held together by good goaltending with unsustainable numbers.

      I guess what I’m saying is that I agree with you these numbers aren’t that sustainable, but a .500 team is a possible outcome for the Calgary Flames barring injury or and goaltending meltdown.

    • everton fc

      I think Colborne is surprise for me for two reasons:

      1. He gained muscle, seems more mature, some leadership coming out.

      2 His early season success.

      I am still not convinced Colborne will amount to more than a third line centre. At best.

      And yes, the team’s been lucky. So I should have added, one of my biggest surprises, on the surface, has been Hartley, and how he’s been able to get more out of a bunch of also-rans and prospects, basically an expansion-level roster. Which is why I think my biggest surprises have been Ferland, Granlund and Stevenson on the farm, and the fact the farm team is defencively porous, and, outside Ferland and Granlund, thus far offencively challenged. I don’t think anyone was expecting the Flames venture into Upstate New York to look so defencively suspect.

    • beloch

      People keep bringing up Colborne as an early season surprise and while he has been producing he’s also been simply ridiculously lucky this year so far. He’s shooting at a 18% clip and that is just not sustainable. The points are nice but I don’t like his chances for keeping that pace up over the next 10 games.

      First, bad math. Second, he looks immensely better than he did last season. It’s too early to tell, but I’d be surprised if he doesn’t carve out a position for himself that isn’t there simply because he can’t be sent down.

    • Bean-counting cowboy

      Because of their hustle and solid forechecking they’ve been able to get better than average shots which I think is a big part of their “luck’, which I expect will stay on the higher side over a longer term. The goal-tending has been excellent but again expect the current competition to keep it better than average. Yes I expect some regression but not to the point where they fall apart and seriously tumble, outside of significant injury to one of their top 3-4 players.

      There’s no way I see them as a bottom 3 team, very unlikely to be bottom 5. Most likely trending to a 5-10 draft pick range. There’s just some REALLY BAD teams out there and I can’t see Treliving making the trades to dump vets and crater the team before the trade deadline, if at all.

  • Big Ell

    According to Roger Millions David Jones is in against the Canadians and Raymond may be out. I really hope he can pull a Wideman, stay healthy, score some goals and then get traded.

  • McRib

    It looks like Tim Harrison is having a good start to the season with Colgate, as he has 5 Points in 6 Games.

    Last year he had a total of 5 Points all season, so the production jump is nice to hear. I have honestly really liked his play both years in the Rookie Camp so its not that surprising, but then again was surprised that he didn’t get many Points last season.

    I think Colgate had a really deep team last year so ice time must have been limited and the ECAC is a very old league (average age of Freshman is around 20-21), so he is still one of the youngest players in the league putting up points on strong team which is a plus. He actually scored both Game Winning Goals this weekend maybe this kid is a player after-all.

    The Video is crap, but one of the goals he scored was on a nice power move to the net….

  • everton fc

    I am happy with Colborne for all the reasons set out elsewhere. He would have to do this for a couple of years before I would declare him the poor man’s Joe Thornton, but his play and his production are a happy surprise.

    Mason Raymond’s play is also a pleasant surprise. We knew he had speed, which he has shown in abundance, but he has produced very well so far and appears to be going a long way to offsetting Cammalleri’s production.

    I’m disappointed with special teams, though the powerplay has been a bit better recently and I can live with 20% over the course of a season. This team has to be better on the PK or much of the hard work even strength will be lost.

    I find them disappointing because they have all the tools to succeed. Defencemen that can move the puck and forwards that can block shots or press hard on a forecheck. a 75% (26th in the league) PK just won’t do – it will be deflating over the course of the season.

    I’m not particularly disappointed with the bottom three pairing – we knew what we had. I’m not disappointed in Mony or Gaudreau, they are both progressing pretty much as we ought to have expected. Yeah, this team will regress but a bottom five result is way too low barring injury to our top defencemen or both goalies.

  • MWflames

    A good article for anyone who has time to read it..

    It mentions that the farm team has implemented the exact same system, training regime, diet, mantra etc. as Hartley’s. It makes for an easier transition for all the players developing in Adirondack.

    This gives me hope for a guy like Baertschi, at least he will know exactly where he stands, or what he has to do to make the leap.

    Also kind of suggests that Hartley might be around for a while.

  • everton fc

    Adirondack is the biggest surprise. How can they be so bad? How does Reinhart go from p/pg to one point in eight games?

    FN! We need info on what’s going on down there! I’m not panicking, but something needs major adjusting. This is more than just getting used to a new coach and city.

    Someone mentioned to me that perhaps there roster does not suit Hartley’s system. That the baby Flames are trying too hard to replicate what the big club is doing. That the coach needs to adapt to the roster he has, not just blindly try and be a carbon copy of Calgary. Merit to that? I think so.

    Either way, consider this a formal request for an extensive and in-depth article on what’s happening in Adirondack.

      • RexLibris

        I dislike just assuming that, but I do fear it may be the case, though not entirely. Dumping a popular and successful coach from your development system part way into a rebuild was not smart IMO.

        I also don’t buy that Ward was unwilling to move. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought he said publicly that he was willing to move?

        Perhaps Ward didn’t want to try and exactly duplicate everything that Calgary does and that’s why they went to Huska?

        Not sure, but if that’s the case then BT really screwed up. Yes, it’s still early, but every scorer on that team is struggling. Mind you, ditto in Calgary, so maybe Hartley needs to rethink his systems.

        • RexLibris

          I’m not assuming, rather just posing the question.

          There could just be an adjustment period for systems and such here.

          Let’s give it another 15 games and see what happens.

          One problem is that we don’t have any other information than the basic boxscores and game sheets. Unless there are trained eyes out in Adirondack, we just have to make some assumptions.

          Also, re: Huska v Ward – new GM and a new AHL coach. Happens a lot. They aren’t necessarily linked, but it happens often enough it really isn’t a surprise.

        • everton fc

          Ward did indeed say he would have moved. Giving up on Ward may become one of the gravest mistakes this organization’s made, in it’s “rebuild”. He had a positive impact on Ferland, I believe. And he seemed able to teach young players a thing or two about being professionals.

          Sven, Reinhart, Knight, others seem to be stuck in mediocrity at the moment. Perhaps they’ve peaked? But simultaneously?? Hard to believe.

          • everton fc

            Exactly. Sven has certainly had his issues, but he also was able to put up a run of 12 points in 7 games or something like that.

            Reinhart goes from something like 63 in 66 to 1 assist in 8 games?

            Granlund looks to have regressed as well.

            There’s an issue down there whether some want to admit it or not. Lots of fan fare from people on here when Huska came in, but the results to date have been terrible.

            This is not what you want in a rebuild. If this continues for another 10 games, I honestly think they need to go back to Ward, offer him more money to leave junior and cut bait with Huska.

          • everton fc

            Let’s get a little bit of perspective here… we’re talking about 8 games. That’s 8 games that Huska has had to implement a new system with a fresh new crop of young guys on the farm.

            Judging a coaches tenure based on the first 8 games of an 82 game season seems like the definition of a knee jerk reaction.