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.