It seems hard to believe but the regular season is here. Soon, we can discuss in great detail every single healthy scratch, every backup goalie decision, and Bob Hartley tie choice. But for this afternoon, I figured some more fun was in order before we dive right in to the nitty-gritty.
Last week, we chose six defenders and attempted to guess the over and under of certain totals tailored to their skill-set. Today, we are going to do the same with six forwards. I cannot offer you Flames Nation Bucks, nor back-rubs from Byron Bader but I can offer the person with the most correct a hearty congratulations and a firm handshake this time next year. Is that not reward enough? So, while you all are waiting nervously for puck drop, let’s have a little bit of fun first.
First of all, let’s try and make some sense out of Michael Ferland’s meteroic rise to an everyday job with the Flames this season. Ferland became a folk hero last season during his tour de force performance against the Canucks. I like to think that somewhere in Orange County, Kevin Bieska is slowly rocking in a chair, whittling a crucifix into a shiv, and muttering “Ferklund…Ferklund.”
For Ferland, let’s try to estimate the number of hits that Ferland will have this year, assuming that he sticks with the Flames for the year. Last season, household name Nicolas Deslauriers was tops among NHL rookies with 261 hits in 82 games which works out to 3.2 per game. Matt Martin led the entire league with 382 hits in just 78 games or roughly 4.9 hits per game. That’s a lot of hits. By the way, have I mentioned that this stack is dumb? Anywho, Ferland was averaging 2.6 hits per game last season, but he is likely to have a lot more ice time this season. So, let’s figure out where he’ll end up
Over or Under?: 265 hits
Lance Bouma was re-signed this summer to a fairly polarizing deal that will see him earning $2.2 million over the next three seasons. While the merits of this deal can and have been debated rigorously throughout this summer, what you can’t debate is whether or not Bouma is borderline insane when it comes to putting himself in harms way.
Whether its blocking shots with his open palm, diving neck first into a puck, or eating raw chicken (this is one I am simply guessing at), Lance’s path to his $2.2 million is certainly isn’t for the faint of heart. Bouma also has a knack for getting injured in games, then returning in that same game, whether or not he’s been stitched or bruised in the process. While there isn’t an accurate number to measure how often Bouma has done this, let’s try and guess how many times Bouma will return from an injury mid-game this season.
Over or Under?: 8 times Bouma ‘leaves for repairs’ and returns that same game
Is there any more frustrating player on the Flames than Mason Raymond? At times, Raymond looks like a legitimate top-six winger with great speed and fairly good hand. However, he is maddeningly inconsistent and has fallen into Bob Hartley’s doghouse during his time as a Flame, resulting in him losing his roster spot and being placed on waivers earlier this week.
Raymond had a fairly respectable 23 points in 57 games last season for the Flames but the trouble is with Raymond, no one quite knows which Raymond will show up from one game to the next, which makes predicting any total of him very difficult for this upcoming season. Currently, Raymond is the extra forward and will no doubt see action this season but no one knows what kind of look he will get when he does slot back in. Let’s try and guess the longest stretch of games that Raymond will play in.
Over or Under?: 12 consecutive games played
Look, everyone knows that fighting is one of, if not, the most important part of being a winning team. That’s why the teams that fight are the teams that win. Period. Take the Blackhawks from last season for example. Are the Hawks as successful last season if they weren’t putting their bodies on the line. standing up for their teammates etc. to the tune of 15 fights per season? I mean, that’s the 29th most in the entire league! That’s science man, deal with it. That’s why the Blue Jackets won the Cup last year and that’s why it’ll stay in the game forever.
Let’s guess the number of fighting majors that Brandon Bollig will earn this season. Last year, he was tied for the Flames lead with Deryk Engelland with seven.
Over or Under?: 9 Fighting Majors
Yesterday, Sean Monahan received another accolade in his young career, being named Alternate Captain by the Flames even though he’s still not legally allowed to drink alcohol on road trips to the United States. This season, Monahan, Gaudreau, and Hudler are going to be relied upon heavily to drive the bus on offense for the Flames and many predict that as they go, the Flames will go this season.
Last year, Hudler, Gaudreau, and Monahan were 1,2,3 in Flames scoring and combined for an amazing, 202 points. This included a career high for Hudler with 76, but it’s not unreasonable to think that growth in Monahan and Gaudreau could produce the same totals again.
Over or Under?: 202 Combined Points for Hudreaunahan
AND THE REST!
Right now, it’s no secret that the Flames have a lot of NHL bodies on their roster, a few of whom I’m sure Brad Treliving would like to find new homes for on other NHL teams. Apparently, and incorrectly I might add, one of these players was Paul Byron who was placed on waivers and claimed by the dastardly Montreal Canadiens. Like many on this site, I have made no secret of the fact that I was a big, big fan of Paul Byron and I am choked he’s gone so I have started to wonder, how many other bodies will be shipped out this season?
Last season, Curtis Glencross and Sven Baertschi were the only two exports and for good reason, the team was successful. However, I wonder if moves will be made this season in order to free up space for younger players in the system, even if the moves are minor. So let’s try and predict the number of bodies presently on the Flames roster that will be gone by the end of the season:
Over or Under?: 2 players from this roster, gone by the end of 2015-16
Over or Under?:
Micheal Ferland – 265 hits
Lance Bouma – 8 games where he returns from injury in the same game
Mason Raymond – 12, the longest consecutive stretch of games played
Brandon Bollig – 9 fighting majors
Hudler, Monahan, Gaudreau – 202 combined points
The Field – 2 players from this roster gone by the end of the season