Here at FlamesNation, one of the things we do is count scoring chances for each and every Calgary Flames game. One reason is that they can give you a general sense of how a team’s playing even more than tools like shots, Fenwick or Corsi can. Those stat treat all shots and shot attempts equally, whether they’re a 90 foot lob from the neutral zone or a hard areas chance in the slot.
Scoring chances cut through all that. In theory, they’re a really good way of seeing who’s driving play for the Calgary Flames, and who’s leaking chances like a boat.
Here’s how things look for your hometown heroes through 58 games at even-strength.
The leaders in raw chances aren’t all that shocking. Hudler leads the team in scoring, Backlund has been driving play like a monster this year – he’s the only regular forward in the black. Stempniak is also pretty darn reliable. Shockingly, all three are on Calgary’s top line recently, suggesting that the coaching staff has noticed what we have.
Beyond that, it staggers in a fairly predictable manner. Oddly, T.J. Galiardi, who has a pretty strong Corsi rating this year, falls a bit off, as it seems to indicate that a fair amount of the shots have been on the outside when he’s on the ice. You can also notice that anybody who has played with Westgarth and McGrattan – Blair Jones, Galiardi, Bouma, Street – are near the bottom of the pack, percentage-wise. Shocking.
And once again, evidence that Sven Baertschi’s problem isn’t generating offense, at least in the NHL, with good line-mates and favourable match-ups.
Cammalleri and especially Glencross are hamstrung by missing big chunks of the season due to injury.
This is actually pretty shocking, as Smid and Wideman are far-and-away the worst here. I didn’t expect Butler to be as good, although that may be a result of him playing with Kris Russell quite a bit. And to the shock and despair of nobody, T.J. Brodie and Mark Giordano are the best here, despite playing against the other teams’ best and brightest.
The team appears to play slightly better in front of Ramo than they do in front of Berra, but that’s ignoring the possibility that Ramo gets easier games. Both guys have played about the same amount and Berra’s even-strength save percentage is appreciably worse than Ramo’s (.918 vs. .901), which itself can explain some variation.
DIFFERENCES FROM CORSI
Obviously, there are some differences between scoring chances and Corsi. Which players have the biggest adjustments to their numbers?
Five Best: Baertschi [+7.1%], Russell [+2.7%], B.Jones [+2.2%], Backlund [+2.0%], Monahan [+2.0]
Five Worst: Westgarth [-7.5%], Street [-7.3%], McGrattan [-5.6%], Cammalleri [-4.6%], Wideman [-4.0%]
I’m not sure how to interpret these numbers. Intuition suggests that the players with better scoring chance numbers would play when the team takes fewer perimeter shot attempts (and drive towards the net more), while units with lower scoring chance numbers stay to the outside? The lower-line players dominate the “worst” list, but Cammalleri is also there, which is odd. Similarly, Blair Jones never gets upper-line time, but he’s got a good differential.
SUM IT UP
The team average for scoring chance percentage is 44.8%. It’s also important to note that these are raw numbers, which aren’t corrected for the impact quality of opposing line-mates and quality of opposition. At the end of the season, we’ll have full-year numbers and some corrections here and there for these weird quirky factors.
In general? The scoring chance numbers point out that the players who’ve driven the bus for Calgary this season have really driven the bus, but the fact that two players total have more chances for than chances against tells you everything you need to know about 2013-14 Flames.