2014-15 By The Numbers: #13 Johnny Gaudreau

When the book is written about the 2014-15 Calgary Flames, there will be at least three chapters devoted to the man they call “Johnny Hockey.” Named John Michael Gaudreau by his parents, this young gaffer took the National Hockey League by storm, delivering highlight reel goals and generally making the Flames scouts look pretty smart.

But beyond all the flash, dash, and sweet-looking goals, has Gaudreau been a difference-maker in terms of the possession game?

As usual, here’s who Gaudreau played 100+ even-strength minutes alongside:

Player Together Apart Diff.
Hudler 48.1% 41.8% +6.3%
Wideman 45.5% 41.3% +4.2%
Monahan 46.7% 44.7% +2.0%
Russell 46.3% 41.1% +5.2%
Brodie 48.1% 44.4% +3.7%
Giordano 50.7% 47.5% +3.2%
Engelland 44.7% 39.2% +5.5%
Jooris 52.4% 45.0% +7.4%
Granlund 43.7% 40.1% +3.6%
Diaz 48.0% 46.2% +1.8%
Colborne 39.4% 43.1% -3.7%
Backlund 47.7% 45.2% +2.5%
Smid 39.8% 42.2% -2.4%

So, Gaudreau’s results are pretty damn impressive for a rookie. But let’s try to be pessimistic here. The big table of results suggests one of two things:

  1. Gaudreau is not a good possession player, and there are upward-pushing factors underlying the ice-time of everyone but Joe Colborne and Ladislav Smid.
  2. Gaudreau is a good possession player who makes his teammates better, and Joe Colborne and Ladislav Smid are boat anchors.

I lean towards the second possibility. Now, when we look at Gaudreau’s deployment, you can see how Bob Hartley used him and, shockingly, it’s exactly how you would hope an under-sized, super-skilled rookie would be used.


Tough competition, yes, but tons of offensive zone starts. And despite the tough competition – a product of Hartley’s best-versus-best matches in the regular season – the dark blue indicates that Gaudreau was a positive relative Corsi player. That’s excellent news, particularly for a kid brand-new to pro hockey, insane travel, and the grind that is the National Hockey League.

His only struggles were in the first handful of games, when he seemed to be tentative in terms of his positioning. After his one-game sojourn to the press box, things seemed to snap into place for him.

Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 1.31.45 PM

Gaudreau is a really good hockey player. He was tied for the rookie lead in regular season scoring with 64 points – second on the team – along with 9 points in the playoffs. It’ll be interesting to see what he does as a sophomore, but he put down an excellent foundation with his rookie campaign.


    • Byron Bader

      Barring a Lindros, Kariya like concussion, I’d even say future Forever a Fame and all-time great Flame. I think he is going to be fantastic for a long, long time.

  • RickT

    During the playoffs, Johnny was the best player on the ice most games. Not always free from mistakes, he was always driving the puck in the right direction. If anything, the MIA of Hudler and Monahan created the need for other lines to score.

    There was chemistry between Johnny and Jooris, Johnny and Granlund, Johnny and, well anyone including Bennett. Johnny (Freakin’) Hockey was the chef on the first line. He will turn into a master chef in his 2nd year; he has done nothing but get better every year he has played.

  • Byron Bader

    Wait a minute….you just wrote, “it’s exactly how you would hope an under-sized, super-skilled rookie would be used.”

    Just last week I had to read Lambert’s tripe about Hartley being a terrible coach….could it be that Lambert was pulling information out of his A$$!

    • RickT

      Really Lambert said that Hartley is a terrible coach? Good grief. And today on the radio he was praising Hextall (!) for his choice of choice because “it gives him breathing room”.

      So being sucky is okay if it saves one’s own skin. Yippee.

    • SmellOfVictory

      Hartley does a lot of good things: His usage of Gaudreau, his apparent ability to motivate players, his overall on-ice strategy.

      That said, he does a lot of bad things, too: Insisting on dressing both Bollig and Engelland, refusing to let Sven play (in spite of Sven outplaying multiple other players in the bottom six), putting Engelland in as Brodie’s de facto parter when Gio went down.

      I personally think he’s a very good coach, but he has a lot of warts in his decision-making, too (although most coaches do; just ask Wings fans about Babcock’s love affair with Cleary).

  • redricardo

    2 things I want to say.

    1) just because it was brought up, I want to reiterate that “Forever a Flame” is stupid. Just retire the number like a normal team.

    2) The Lambert bashing makes you look silly. The guy does his job. His pieces are controversial, drive up comments, site traffic, etc. Also, he generally throws out facts and numbers to back up the controversial, unpopular things he says. But continually working the dude into the comments section on articles he’s not even a part of just proves that he’s doing his job, he’s playing you like a fiddle. Don’t be the fiddle.

    • redricardo

      2 things I want to say.

      1) Your opinion on the “Forever a Flame” thing is just that… your opinion…doesn’t have anything to do with the above article…just your opinion …just like my comments concerning the articles on this site.

      2)My comments concerning Lambert are to illustrate that his articles are formulaic,and without substance. I have zero problem with controversy…just don’t misinterpret and misrepresent the “stats” to support your “controversial” opinions. Also….where else are we suppossed to expresse our opinions if not in the comments section? By the way your not protecting me from “being played like a fiddle” I realize I’m venting on a hockey blog…that is what they are here for!

  • redricardo

    No, you’re right. Continue making Lambert relevant by arguing how irrelevant he is. Enjoy.

    And yes, those are great numbers. He’s our Pat Kane. Without the “Choke a Cabbie: Do you know who I am?” attitude. Great find.

  • redricardo

    Ryan, what about his unsustainable shooting %? Like Monahan, which regressed from 15.7% to 16.2%, next year I project Gaudreau’s percentages will fall back to earth based on the averages. Also, Bollig had been extremely unlucky this year in shot % (1.5%!) so analytics will dictate that he is more than likely to score more goals next year.

    To recap, we should buy low and spend more on Bollig instead of buying high next year and sign Gaudreau who had such a lucky season.

  • redricardo

    Johnny Hockey was in the top 10 in NHL Playoffs scoring when the Flames were eliminated…in spite of the fact that Huds suffered from neck and back issues incurred late in the season and Mony was also hampered even though he insisted he was OK. According to BT the malady was his groin and was accompanied by a back issue throughout the playoffs.

    Source: Calgary Flames Official website: Flames black and blue at season’s end.

    GO JOHNNY GO! A better future is in store!

  • Tomas Oppolzer

    I love Johnny as much as the next person but he is exactly the kind of player that is due for a hard core sophomore slump. A small player coming off of his longest season ever? I’m expecting him to be somewhere in the 40-50 pt. range.