It’s hard to get a complete handle on Curtis Glencross, especially after the past two seasons. In 2012-13, he missed 8 games due to injury but still had some of the better underlying numbers on the Calgary Flames despite being – based on PDO – one of the unluckiest regulars on the team.
Almost the exact opposite happened in 2013-14, except for the bad luck. That seemed to follow Glencross around, particularly on the injury front.
|Season||Corsi %||Corsi Rel %||PDO
Pre-rebuild, Curtis Glencross was a strong depth player for the Flames, a second-liner who could score a ton, had a scrappy style of play and always found a way to be around the net. Last season, the bottom seemed to fall out from under Glencross: his numbers weren’t great, despite being shielded post-injury, and he just couldn’t seem to find any momentum whatsoever.
GLENCROSS’ 2013-14 NUMBERS
Glencross had a weird year.
He played 15 games to open the campaign, putting up 9 points (including 5 goals) and regularly being featured on the team’s top line. Then he hurt his knee in an early November game in Minnesota and was out for five weeks. He returned in December and struggled to find his rhythm in his first couple games. He finally seemed to find his feet and play with the aggression he normally does…only to go into the boards awkwardly in Pittsburgh in his first minute on the ice – to add insult to injury, Calgary lost Kris Russell to an injury in the same game.
Glencross missed the better part of three months with a high-ankle sprain.
He finally returned in March and after a couple tentative outings, finally seemed to be “back.” He put up 12 points in the last 17 games of the season. Over a full season at that pace, he would’ve had around 58 points. However, he missed 44 games and put up only 24 points.
Glencross’ PDO was below-average for the Flames (largely because of some below-average goaltending when he was on the ice), and perhaps because of who he played with – everybody. Because of injuries, Glencross only played 200 minutes or more with a single forward (Matt Stajan), and otherwise floated throughout the line-up, playing 100+ minutes with Jiri Hudler, David Jones, Joe Colborne and Sean Monahan. In short: it’s hard to get chemistry with a line-mate without playing with him a lot, and Glencross played so infrequently and bounced around the line-up so much that it’s hard to get a distinct read on him.
The big question for 2014-15 is “Who is the real Curtis Glencross?” Is he a veteran who’s going to be a complementary forward in the top nine? Have injuries to his knee and ankle over the past year slowed him a bit, or made him a bit gun-shy at going hard in the corners? (He didn’t seem that way during the last 17 games, for the record.) And most of all, is Glencross able to stay healthy and stay productive? In 2013-14, he wasn’t healthy much but he was rather productive when he was. Can he do both?
My expectation is that Curtis Glencross will miss some time at some point with some kind of injury. I hope I’m wrong, because when he’s healthy he’s quite productive, especially on special teams. You could argue that Lance Bouma’s role on the Flames PK emerged because Glencross was out for long stretches and they didn’t have many options. With Glencross back healthy, it’d be interesting to see how the coaching staff divvies out the PK minutes.
I expect Glencross’ deployment to be contingent on how he’s playing. Granted, that’s a pretty stupidly obvious statement, but given his injuries last season, I’d expect him to get sheltered to start the year to build up his confidence and give the Flames some offense. If that approach is successful, they’ll probably shield him less and less. We saw a similar approach used with him when he came back from injuries initially this season, as he was brought back to play with Stajan and Brian McGrattan for spells before Hartley shuffled the deck when it seemed like Glencross had his wits about him.
Can Glencross stay productive? Probably, yes. How productive depends on how healthy he’ll be. Over a full 82 games, he’s probably a reliable bet to get 50 points, if not a shade more.
Given that I’m not confident he’ll play all 82 games, he’s still probably a smart bet to get to 40+ points as long as he doesn’t have the same dreadful luck with injuries that he did last season.