We are getting down to the final days of training camp and as Arii pointed out this morning, things are getting mighty tight as far as roster spots are concerned. Today, we are going to play a fun game of ‘guess the specific totals’ of the Flames Dmen for next season. I will set the number in a category specific to each Flames defender and you all have to guess whether their totals will be over or under that total.
You can gamble using your Flamesnation bucks, which, as you probably already know, you earn every time you trash a comment left by an Oiler fan. 2,500 Flamesnation bucks gets you a massage from the one and only Byron Bader!*
*Redeemable for online massages only
Let’s start with ol’ Blocky McTuff first. Everyone knows that Kris Russell is about two things: being from the prairies and getting hit by pucks. Last season, Russell blocked 283 shots, 74 more than his nearest competitor. I mean, I did my best to crunch some numbers and really dive into the stats, hoping to describe just how exceptional he is at getting hit by the puck and I think my research paid off:
It’s staggering really. So, now we begin the process of guessing just how many shots he will block this season. This is hard as Russell now holds the NHL record for blocked shots in a single season. We have to suppose that he won’t block that many again and Russell is risking injuring himself every time he does this so I will set the number at:
Over or Under?: 260 Blocked Shots
Now we move to the Captain who signed a nice new extension this past summer that will see him in Flames silks for a long, long time. Last season, despite missing the last part of the season, Giordano was outstanding for the vast majority of the year and even garnered some Norris voting attention. When all was said and done, Giordano received 177 Norris votes which put him in sixth place overall, including a first place vote which may or may not have come from Bob Mackenzie:
My Norris winner, playing in only 61 games, is CGY’s Mark Giordano. Before CGY fans applaud, I voted OTT’s Mark Stone for Calder (rookie).
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) April 15, 2015
While we excuse Bobby Mac for his poor choice in rookies, it’s pretty cool that he voted for Gio despite his relatively few games played. This leads us to the total I want you all to guess:
Over or Under?: 275 Norris Votes
Let’s have a look at the coolest, best, and gingerest of Flames acquisitions this summer, Dougie Hamilton. This monster of a human being will be seeing a lot of minutes this year as he will become a crucial part of the Flames top-four, especially with the injury to T.J Brodie to start the year. For his totals, let’s try and guess his Time on Ice/Game this season. Last season, Hamilton averaged 21:20 minutes per game, good enough for 73rd in the NHL. I put this question to you, does he get more than 21 minutes? How much more?
Over or Under?: 24:30/Game
First off, that goal feels like a hundred years ago given the teammates that celebrate with Wideman. Okay, so what to expect from Wideman this season? Coming off career highs in goals with 15 goals and points with 56.
The question is, at age 32, can we expect Wideman to replicate this kind of production? Who knows. Wideman has a good shot, is going to get a lot of powerplay time and is good for some goals every now and again. Let’s try to see just how many he’ll get this season though:
Over or Under?: 12 goals
Stupid, stupid preseason. Why did you take T.J Brodie from us? Brodie will miss an unspecified amount of time to start the season with a broken hand which really stinks because I am sure Flames fans were excited to see a top-four featuring Brodie, Giordano, and Hamilton. Alas, that day has been delayed but let’s try to imagine what kind of season Brodie will have this year.
The total I want you all to guess is a bit different for Brodie. Last season, Brodie played 1574:39 even strength minutes and of those minutes 1026:28 were with Mark Giordano. The two were fantastic together last season, one of the Nhl’s elite pairings. However, there has been a lot of talk, even before Brodie’s injury, that Brodano might be split up in favour of spreading the talent more evenly throughout the lineup. The question I ask is, how many even strength minutes will Brodie play with Giordano this season?
Over or Under?: 850 minutes
Finally, we are left with Deryk Engelland (I am stopping here because I am not certain about who else will make up the bottom pairings). It’s no secret that Engelland is a polarizing character in these parts, with some still extolling the virtues of his play down the stretch last year. It is my hope that someone else usurps Engelland at some point this season and relegates him to a seventh defenseman. This leads me to my question, what is the number of games that Engelland is a healthy scratch this season?
Over or Under?: 20 games
To sum up, the totals that I want your guesses are,
Over or Under?:
Kris Russell – 260 Blocked Shots
Mark Giordano – 275 Norris Votes
Dougie Hamilton – 24:30 TOI/Game
Dennis Wideman – 12 Goals
T. J Brodie – 850 Mins played with Giordano
Deryk Engelland – 20 Games as a Healthy Scratch
Have at it, and remember to bet your Flamesnation bucks wisely. Byron is a magician!