Photo Credit: Candice Ward/USA TODAY Sports
I would imagine it’s pretty awesome to have nearly 20,000 people chanting your name while you’re just skating around out there, having fun and being awesome.
Yesterday, we looked over Johnny Gaudreau’s first 99 career points. Numbers 100, 101, and 102 were all pretty great too, though.
Is Johnny Gaudreau a career point per game player?
This is what has me marvelling the most about everyone’s little favourite: he has 102 points over 115 games. He has by far the best points per game of his draft class. He’s currently 11th in scoring out of everyone selected from the 2011 draft, and at just four points behind Nikita Kucherov and Mark Scheifele, that’s probably not going to last too long.
And seriously, again: 102 points in 115 games. So does he ever match his points totals with his games played? Does he ever pass them? Can he keep it up over the years? We’re almost one and a half seasons into his career; this is lunacy. He’s only 22 years old; we might not even be watching the best hockey Johnny is capable of yet.
As for this game: the only forward to receive more than 20 minutes in ice time, six shots on net, and, of course, three goals. And that second one was so beautiful. I sighed with disappointment when he couldn’t take the pass, but of course kept watching and just… wow.
I don’t mean to keep hyping Johnny Gaudreau every time, but he makes it really, really hard not to. This is a phenomenal player.
Who’s better: Gaudreau or Brodie?
Okay, so this might be a case of apples and oranges, but if you had to pick just one guy to name as the Flames’ best player, would it be Johnny Gaudreau or T.J. Brodie? (I think it’s safe to say that at this point in time there are no other options.)
I love both of them, but I think I have to go with Brodie here. Gaudreau is flashy; Brodie is sublime. He again had the greatest ice time with 24:43; he again played against top competition and held them in check. He had two assists in the game, and is currently tied with Mark Giordano for the lead in Flames defence scoring with 17 points – although he’s reached that mark in nine fewer games.
And then there was that goal line save that stopped the Jets from tying the game.
He’s had his mistakes over the past couple of games, but more often than not, he can be counted on to give a solid 25-30 minutes of impressive defensive hockey, all the while occasionally helping put the puck in the net (he has 10 points in his last 10 games).
It’s good to see him start to get more power play time (second out of Flames defencemen with 4:27). Now if only he’d shoot more.
He’s the only one who should be allowed to make stretch passes, though.
Speaking of the power play
Power play goals two games in a row is good!
Failing to score on a 1:08 five-on-three is bad.
Almost giving up a scoring chance on a five-on-three is also bad.
I know it’s baby steps and all, but the Flames still have the league’s worst power play with an 11.4% success rate. A five-on-three that long against such a bad penalty kill (the Jets’ currently sits at 77.3%, tied for fourth worst in the NHL) should be a goal, easy. And instead it was stagnant.
Dennis Wideman played 6:26 on the power play. Wideman also coughed up the puck throughout the night, leading to Jets chances against. Maybe Wideman should get a little less power play time and someone else – say, the 22-year-old Dougie Hamilton who led the Bruins with 15 power play points last season – should get a little more.
Hamilton played 1:37 on the power play, nearly five minutes less than Wideman. Nobody’s saying banish Wideman, but it’s not like diversifying one’s options are a bad thing.
How about that Markus Granlund?
Markus Granlund really, really, really wants a shorthanded goal. And one of these days, he’s going to get one. He did in his fifth ever NHL game – the second goal of his career – but has yet to score on the penalty kill since.
That’s two games in a row now though he’s come close, or at least has generated a good chance.
Granlund played 1:05 on the penalty kill, the second highest time total (Matt Stajan, Kris Russell, and Wideman all played 1:28). He had the Flames’ only scoring chance generated while on the kill, and he finished an even player.
Granlund is 12th on the Flames in total shorthanded ice time with 14:45, and that’s with about 20 fewer games played than the rest of his teammates. He’s tied with Mikael Backlund and Michael Frolik for the most shots while shorthanded with three.
He’s carved himself a regular role, and he looks like an NHLer. Even if the Flames do get fully healthy one day and have to send someone down, it sure feels like he played his last ever AHL game already.
Micheal Ferland is good
Micheal Ferland may be most known for hitting everything in sight, but he’s much more than that.
He had four shots on net last night: behind Gaudreau and Giordano, and tied with Sean Monahan. He played 15:50 over the course of the night alongside Mikael Backlund and Joe Colborne on what evidently became the Flames’ second line. He didn’t score,
he didn’t get any points (edit: this was a lie, he did get an assist, my bad), but he created chances all game long. And he played 1:35 on the power play, and showed some potential.
Ferland needs to be put in positions like this. He could be pigeonholed as a fourth liner who plays physical. Hell, that’s what he might actually end up being. But we’ll never know his actual potential unless he’s given a shot, and he needs more games with this sort of usage for us to find out.
Because if it turns out the Flames drafted a top six forward in the fifth round way back, they’re going to want to know. And absolutely nothing about Ferland’s performance to date says he shouldn’t be given that chance.
He was almost a healthy scratch a few games ago, and boy, was that stupid.