it seems there’s been a lot of chatter from fans wanting to see Bill Arnold in a
Calgary Flames jersey. However, he may not be the jolt the Flames are looking
primary reason for this, of course, is to bring about change. Lineups tend to
get stale when fans become restless with their team’s play. What’s more, fans
often like to see prospects they haven’t seen before, and who can blame them?
Unfortunately, it’s not always what’s best for the team at that particular
explore why Bill Arnold isn’t the
right choice to fix the Flames’ woes right now.
YEAR SO FAR
11 games Arnold has put up just three goals and two assists. Not outstanding in
any way, but that’s actually not far off the mark from what’s expected of him.
Last season he had a 0.62 points-per-game average, which was actually fairly
decent for his rookie campaign. He has missed two games this season due to
illness, so he was unable to make the trip to the Lone Star state on November
13th and 14th.
year he’s a touch below that point-per-game mark, but has actually looked quite
impressive nevertheless. Given what we know about Bill Arnold, that’s what you’d
like to see. Even when he’s not contributing offensively, you’d like to see him
make his mark on a game in some other ways. He’s been doing just that with his
trademark steady two-way game and incredible face-off abilities.
took me by surprise this season was a new found so-called second gear from
Arnold. The 23-year-old Boston native has always played the game physically and
at a good, but not great pace. However, whatever sort of golf and beer regiment
he went on in the summer seems to have worked wonders for him. He’s quicker
than I’ve ever seen him and has been nearing Turner Elson/Garnet Hathaway
levels of tenacity, which fits impeccably with the two-way game he’s trying to
HE’S BEEN USED
primarily been used as a second or third line centre depending on which city Markus
Granlund and Derek Grant are. If one of those two is in Calgary, Arnold’s been
on the second line alongside too many wingers it’s difficult to even keep up
the past three games, (which have finally
seemed to have established some stable line chemistry) Arnold has found himself
on the fourth line alongside Blair Riley and Hunter Smith. Does that look bad
on him? Sure, I suppose. But when you’ve got two freakishly dynamic centres
like Granlund and Grant in the top two spots, it’s tough to get more minutes
than them. Then you’ve got Drew Shore who’s got five points in his last five
games – and on an offensively starved team like the Heat, you can’t not play a
guy as hot as that. Thus, fourth line centre Bill Arnold.
assured, Arnold fans, he’s still getting ample special teams time. In fact, the
only forward who has been getting more is Granlund. Arnold has been on the
first power play unit alongside Granlund and Poirier and they haven’t looked
awful despite running the 21st ranked PP in the league. We’ll have
to see what these guys can get going in the coming weeks because they are a
newly formed unit. He’s also the first one off the bench to kill a penalty. So
his talents aren’t being wasted, it’s just that there have been better options
at even strength, which brings me to the most important point to keep in mind…
NOT A ‘FIXER’
fans calling for Arnold to be recalled in an attempt to jump start the Flames
or give them some sort of added push, you’re looking in the wrong place.
is the type of player you recall when a line-up is clicking and winning games,
but someone goes down with an injury. He’s the player you recall when you don’t want to disturb a winning line-up.
He’s someone you can count on to put in a solid 8-10 minutes without hurting
the team dynamic and success. Last year, for example, would’ve been a good time
to recall Arnold – when the team was competitive and the same lines were being rolled
out game after game. That’s when you insert a player like Arnold.
the Flames need someone exciting and energetic. Someone who will make the
players on the bench want to compete just a tad harder. Like Bennett’s doing
this year. Like Ferland did last spring. That’s the type of player you need to
attempt to fix whatever’s going on in Calgary.
other words, Bill Arnold’s not a ‘fixer’. Bill Arnold is the duct tape and WD-40
that helps fix a leaky gutter or a squeaky car door. He’s not the player that
replaces the gutter on your roof or the springs in your door. And that’s not a
knock against him. You need those types of players too. But with the current
state of the Flames, it’s going to take a lot more than a tongue to a 9-volt
battery. It’s going to take defibrillators to bring this team back to the level
they were at last season.