Welcome to a returning staple here at FlamesNation: the mailbag. From time to time, likely on a weekly basis, we’ll check in with the citizens of the Nation regarding any questions or queries they have regarding the Calgary Flames.
Some will be serious questions. Some will be wacky questions.
All will be answered.
If you have questions for future mailbags, fire away in the comments or tweet them at me (@RyanNPike) or the FlamesNation account (@FlamesNation).
@RyanNPike Monahan. Great Hair or Best Hair?
— Perry Pugh (@doublePinc) January 22, 2015
Sean Monahan has incredible hair. Probably the best on the team.
It’s amazingly consistent, and resistant to outside forces. When he takes off his helmet, his hair is often in peak form for post-game interviews on Sportsnet. People have raved about Monahan’s maturity and two-way prowess, but not enough attention has been paid to his veteran hair game.
@RyanNPike which will happen first? Brandon Bollig goal or wait..nvm.
— Taylor McKee (@TaylorMcKee_) January 22, 2015
Prior to this season, Brandon Bollig had 7 goals in 125 regular season NHL contests. He has none this season. His last goal was March 6, 2014. Historically, he has scored 7 goals on 159 shots, or a goal every 22.7 shots (or a goal every 18 games or so).
Based on previous seasons, he should have two goals already. However, recall that he was playing on friggin’ Chicago and the cast of characters on Chicago’s fourth line and third defensive pairing are probably significantly better at setting him up for high percentage shots than Calgary’s.
But he’s gotten a bunch of good looks lately, so I figure he gets one before January is over.
@RyanNPike WHY DOES ORTIO SUCK SO MUCH
— ‘C’ of Stats (@cofstats) January 22, 2015
Ortio’s rough ride against Anaheim was probably due to a few factors. Nerves. Bounces. Fatigue from starting several games against teams that put a lot of rubber on net. The Flames having ugly defensive zone play in the first period. And also, he was probably due for a bad game. The NHL’s average save percentage last season was .912 and it’s been wobbling between .912 and .914 for the past several years.
Ortio’s save percentage was .958 prior to Anaheim. Unless he’s the Goalie Messiah, his numbers were due for a course correction.
@RyanNPike can we improve are 3rd pairing D to take minutes from Russell and Wideman?
— Marty Moe (@ObviousMoe) January 22, 2015
This is probably the same question the Flames pro (and amateur) scouts are looking at. Calgary is a one-pairing team, really. Giordano and Brodie are superb. Kris Russell is a notch below them, but he’s a pretty solid all-around defender. Dennis Wideman has deficiencies defensively, but he’s a good offensive contributor if you pair him with someone who can fill his gaps – Russell fits the bill right now.
The Flames third pairing is not great, no matter how you slice it. They give up many scoring chances, often good ones. The goal for the team is to (a) find a right-handed defenseman that can play with Russell and bump Wideman down to the third pairing, or (b) find a better third-pairing option to spell off Russell and Wideman a bit. They’re probably trying to do both, I’d imagine.
The hope is probably that Tyler Wotherspoon can emerge as a good third-pairing option, though it’s yet to be seen this season how he meshes with Smid, Diaz or Engelland. He played well with Smid briefly last season, though their underlying stats were hot garbage (but they did put up points).
I wouldn’t be shocked if the Flames didn’t take steps to address this issue at the trade deadline, primarily because it may be the club’s most obvious roster deficiency. In the media events I’ve been at where Brad Treliving has discussed the roster and organizational depth, the blueline was mentioned as an area where improvements were needed.