WWYDW: The Best of the Rest

Well, this sure is fun. What Would You Do Wednesday Returns for some more fun.

Four games into this first-round and the Flames are a win away from winning a playoff round. Just as we all expected in September. Perhaps what is most remarkable about the past two victories by the Flames is just how utterly un-remarkable they were, contrary almost to the style in which Flames fans had become accustomed to victories this season. The Flames got a lead, held it, and won. Simple. The Flames have looked like a team that has been here before which is, well, not true.    

In order to achieve this, these first few games have had some remarkable performances from a number of players, though some may be getting overlooked. Let’s talk about some of the Flames less-heralded performers after the jump

I believe there are a few Flames that do not need any more attention at this point. For example, the purpose of this article is not to heap yet more praise on young Michael Ferland, though his ability to become a part of the storyline is remarkable.

On Ferland’s line is Matt Stajan, who has been very solid through four games for the Flames. Stajan has played over 15 minutes in each of the first four games of this series despite that fact that during the regular season, Stajan did not have a stretch of four-straight 15 minute games. Stajan also played 15+ in the final three games of the regular season, two of which were effectively playoff games as well. Stajan has looked solid and was a team-best 12-5 in the circle in game three. 

If you have read seemingly any article on this site before, you may be familiar with the fact that it could essentially double as a Mikael Backlund fanzine. Well, too bad because he is amazing and continues to be so far these playoffs. Though Sam Bennett is getting a lot of airtime these days, and for good reason, he is a child scoring playoff goals, Backlund has been a major contributor to Bennett’s success, showing great poise with the puck and outstanding vision. 

Like Stajan, Backlund is averaging over 15 minutes a game and has taken 12 shots in four games. Also, Backlund’s line and Stajan’s line seem to be getting a lot of defensive zone shifts against the Sedins as well and so far both lines have done good work. Extend him immediately.

Ugh. It pains me to even mention it but Bollig did score that one time and hasn’t looked horrible I don’t think. Still rather see Drew Shore in there but that’s not a big deal. Plus Bollig has a great beard.

While we are on the topic of great beards, I have thought that David Schlemko has continued his strong play from the waning games of the regular season, looking steady in limited action in games 1-4. Schlemko is a pretty good passer and made a nice outlet to Raymond last night, which led to Raymond hitting the post. 

Though Hartley clearly doesn’t trust Potter/Wotherspoon to play more than five minutes a game, Schlemko isn’t seeing regular shifts. However, Schlemko has been getting looks on the powerplay and soaked up 16 minutes of ice time in game three. Despite the ultra-low profile, Schlemko is an interesting player for the Flames who could do worse than retaining him past this season. Certainly, he appears to have been worth the waiver claim at least. 

However, these are just my picks and therefore have little to no value. Who have you liked so far, beyond those that are stealing the headlines? 

  • Reidja

    Yes, Schlemko and thank God because Englland has been breaking down frequently with the puck on his stick. This has been mentioned on the site a bunch but Colburn is playing the best hockey of his career. And Brodie… Holy cow.

    The best part of the playoffs for me is that everyone on the team seems to be changing their game, looking better than ever and playing some exceptional team hockey. It is a thing of beauty.

  • The thing I like about Schlemko is that he is seems to be a quality stay-at-home defenseman. Other than a couple gaffs he made that one game during the regular season, he doesn’t seem to do anything negative for the team. He may not be a flashy offensive talent (usually) like Brodie, Wideman, or that Giordano guy, but he does what he can to make sure the puck stays out of the net. He goes unnoticed sometimes because of that, but he also goes unnoticed because he doesn’t make major mistakes, which is awesome.

    Oh, and he’s weirdly amazing at shootouts.

  • wot96

    I have been pleasantly surprised by Colborne. I recognize he has been called “quietly ineffective” but I don’t groan about him being on the ice, like I have occasionally done in the past.

    Engelland has also not been a disaster. Sure, that’s damning with faint praise but it is way, way, better than acknowledging he is -10 for the series like I thought could be the case if TJ temporarily took leave of his judgment. In fact, I will even say Engelland looked reasonably solid out there – I would rather have him than Bieksa the way the latter is skating himself into irrelevancy.

  • smith

    The veteran’s have been solid. Nothing spectacular just solid.

    What is exciting is that the kids seem to be driving the bus. I mean Brodie, Backlund, Ferland, Monahan, Gaudreau, Bennet. I cannot believe kids this young and inexperienced are the dominant factor in a playoff series. Without our rookies we would be done for.

  • wot96

    I swear at Colburne more than anyone else except maybe Engelland, but oh my god when he went down to the Canucks zone on that penalty kill in the third and held four Canucks off for like 5 minutes I had to stop myself from going directly to the Attic and buying his jersey.

    Only goal Hiller allowed deflected off Russell. Stones Sedin from in close, makes that cross crease sliding save late in the third, flashes the leather like seven times.

    Brodie has cracked the Sedins mind code and is telepathically listening in to their communications

    Bollig swore at the ref or whatever and had to sit for ten minutes, everyone in my section was impressed how he sacrifices for the team like that

    Kevin Bieksa was basically a fourth forward out there for us

    still a little amped from the game last night maybe

    • mk

      Yup. Anytime a guy you claim off waivers can come and take a nearly-regular shift for a playoff team & not look awful doing it, that is a waiver win. Once in a while, circumstances force a team to waive someone who they’d rather keep – not sure what the situation with Schlemko was, but we can’t complain on this one.

  • mk

    I’ll give Engelland credit for one thing at least, he’s one tough SOB. That psycho vacant look on his face while he fought two Canucks at the same time was badass. He may not be the best player but he’s certainly earned a little respect IMO.

  • Toofun

    No one talks about Josh Jooris much these days since his scoring dried up but I love his speed and his compete level. He played about 8 minutes last night and I thought he held his own out there really well – as he’s done all year. He’s also physical and does well on the PK. Just another really nice fit on the team and a positive surprise in a year that’s been full of them for the Flames.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    A little of topic. I know we need D which we should definitely pursue in the offseason, but if the opportunity presented itself, Boston is cap strapped and is disappointed in Lucic’s season. I didn’t realize he was only 26! I wonder what it would take to pull him out of there if Calgary ate the entire cap hit? Would this be chance to finally use our cap space to our advantage as we’ve been saying we will for years?

    Can you imagine a line of Lucic/Bennett/Ferland? If Ferland is to become the next Lucic, who better to learn it from than Lucic himself?

  • PrairieStew

    I wonder if Schlemko’s play is good enough to move him up with Brodie on a regular basis – and TJ can move back to the right side where he has played all season? Is he ready for 20+ minutes. Could this happen when Diaz returns and Engelland goes back to work with him ?

    • PrairieStew

      In that situation I’d rather they moved Diaz up and Engelland down–maybe after a game or so of adjustment with Diaz playing on Schlemko’s pair.

      1. Russell – Wideman
      2. Brodie – Diaz
      3. Schlemko – Engelland