Flames 4, Jets 1 post-game embers: Johnny, Johnny, Johnny, Johnny

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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.

  • Craik

    Ferland deserves a few games riding shotgun with Gaudreau and Monahan. Gaudreau can feed him perfect passes and Monahan creates space in front. Ferland, in turn, can make more space for Gaudreau. If they gel together and Ferland starts burying all those chances, it would be the deadliest trio in the league.

    • Bean-counting cowboy

      Hartley actually described Ferland as a player that could easily become a deadly top 6 power forward. He is starting again to look like the player we saw in the playoffs. He is still overthinking the play and not trusting his own skills. And he is dedicated to coming off the ice when expected. There was a play last night where he skated off just prior to a golden opportunity (he just left the spot a tap in rebound came to).

    • Soupy19

      A line of Gaudreau, Monahan and Ferland kind of reminds me of the West Coast Express line Vancouver had. You never know unless you give them some time to gel together

  • Soupy19

    Ari, thanks for the post. Fun to read and impressed at the new content always being added. I was with you all along til you added how stupid it was to almost make Ferland a healthy scratch. I think that game is where we start to see his compete level increase. I agree that Ferland has more potential than being a fourth liner and I don’t think he has been consistent or very impressive for many games this year. I also agree that the chance to play with Backs has helped. I hate to always bring this up but I think that Edmonton made the mistake of not pushing their young players and that they have a culture of entitlement. Pushing a young player and threatening to take him out of the lineup because he is capable of more is motivating. It keeps guys pushing and asking if they have more to give. True it is a balancing act because you can erode confidence. To be there is a direct correlation between better play and the rewards of ice time and I for one am glad to see Hartley keeping Ferland honest. Maybe this is one of the reasons he seems to be playing better.

    Such a fun game to watch. Something that stood out for me is how often Backlund has the chance to chip the puck out and instead holds onto it and skates it deep or gets it deep. I appreciated how he drives play. Ramo was scary at times but had some huge saves with a one goal lead. The Jets look like they should have a better record.

    • Nick24

      There is something to the argument that a player needs to earn his spot and should constantly be pushing to earn it.

      But there is a difference between pushing your young players, and simply keeping them down for the sake of “not rushing them”. If a player shows that he could probably give a little more if he was given the chance, there’s nothing wrong with giving him that opportunity. No one is saying that Ferland should be permanently tied to Monahan’s hip, but he should get the chance to earn a larger role.

      Especially with all the pressure Ferland puts on himself, it doesn’t look like he needs anyone to keep him honest.

  • Craik

    TRAV

    You beat me to it. I was going to say the same thing.

    Almost sitting Ferland a few games ago was smart. He started playing better in that game after doing little in previous games.

  • Craik

    Arguably the best 60 minutes Calgary has played this season. Nice to head into Christmas on a high note. With that hatty Gaudreau added what, $250K to his AAV? Oh well, Brodie looks like the best contract in the league right now. Can’t wait to see what this team looks like once it starts shedding some dead weight.

  • Craik

    “Pickpocket” Johnny! Way to go Hartrley in the post game interview…..”Johnny was quicker than a New York pickpocket” on his second goal of the game.

  • slapshot444

    The longer Johnny plays the more I have to eat my hat. I once proclaimed that ( as I think many others did ) he was simply too small to make an impact in this league. In fact, he is paving the way for skill and agility
    as sought after abilities as opposed to just strength and size.
    Yes Yes I know Burke said he need to sandwich beef on the each side of the small skill players, but I didn’t really believe him. I think we was just talking his way out of being shown up by one of the smallest most skilled players in the league. The more no.13 scores the better the NHL will be going forward.

    • Byron Bader

      Burke loves the big and heavies but also said that if a small player can make it rain in the NHL it was going to be Gaudreau as he considered him one of the most talented players he’d ever seen.

      Just ridiculously good, that guy.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    So in a couple years when lil Johnny is old enough for the US team at the World Championships… I’m thinking a Gaudrea/Pavelski/Kane line would be pretty dynamite.

  • Ari Yanover

    It’s actually kind of exciting to see Hudler and Russell on the way out just to see who replaces them. I think Burkes got the right idea surrounding the small players with some size. Hudler makes for some pretty plays but I think they need a digger on that right side.

    A Wayne Simmonds type player would be perfect.

  • xeno

    I was at the game the other night sitting right behind the Flames bench. IMO Ferland needs to stay on the ice an extra 15-20 seconds per shift and stop beating himself up after coming off(He’s always shaking his head like he made a mistake when he didn’t). If he can get some confidence built up he could be a difference maker for sure. He’s still just a kid, albeit a large and very strong one sometimes disguised as a locomotive.

    • Ari Yanover

      He’s still a bit worried about getting ice time or being scratched. Hartley needs to pump him up during games. He plays to a different standard than Monahan, so he feels that the safe play is always best. Hartley like players to do both. He does sometimes penalize a player for taking a risk, but other times he supports them (Bennett playing after two penalties taken).

      I like that he is a bit hard on himself. That is the way Johnny Hockey is. Ferland has to take comfort in the little plays he makes though. His strong work directly resulted in a goal. Anyone else in his spot, and we lose possession.

  • Scary Gary

    Joe Colbourne, what can I say, I’m often conflicted when I watch him. Yes he scored a goal last night but often plays like he’s 170 lbs instead of 210+; I’m not complaining that he doesn’t throw hits, my main complaint is he’s easily knocked off the puck, often falls down and generally looks like he’s still fighting his height. I’d love for him to get stronger, focus on strengthening his lower body and use his reach more to protect the puck but I imagine people have been saying that since 2008 when he was drafted. I need to remind myself that he provides good value with a very manageable $1.275 cap hit and is solid on the shootout. He didn’t sink the second line (big thanks to Backlund) and he appears to be an NHL player. Ultimately I’m happy when he plays in the bottom six where he belongs but when he’s in the top six given 15 minutes of ice time I’m often found wanting with regards to his play.

    He’s been given every opportunity to succeed whether it’s line-mates, ice time or PP time. He’ll be 26 in January, I think it’s fairly safe to say we know what we have here, best case a 36 point (82 games) player. And in the bottom six at $1.275 (for one more year) I’m OK with that.

    Speedy recovery Frolik.

      • Johnny Goooooooaldreau

        Yeah, that’s Bouma. Seems like every time he throws a hit, he bounces off and then loses his balance and falls down taking himself out of the play.

    • Soupy19

      Since Nov 4 when Colborne plays more than 15:30 per game the Flames winning percentage is .667 while only .560 when he plays less than 15:30.

      Since Nov 4 the Flames average goals scored for /against are 3.08-2.67 when Colborne plays more than 15:30 per game but drop to 2.67-2.77 when he plays less than 15:30 per game. This means the Flames score .41 more goals per game and allow .10 less goals per game when Colborne plays more than 15:30 per game.

      FYI Colborne has played 12 games over 15:30 and 9 games less than 15:30 since Nov 4.

      It doesn’t seem is extra minutes are hurting the Flames.

      • Soupy19

        Linking Colbornes ice time with team success is just so, so, SO stupid. You could search through mounds of data and find thousands of weird blips just like this.

        Remember, correlation DOES NOT imply causation

  • Truculence

    Great write-up, Ari. I wanted to add that I have been impressed with Hamilton’s developing physical game recently, in addition to his other attributes.

    Man, I wonder what his ceiling is when he is 25-26 years old!

  • Soupy19

    Who is better Gaudreau or Brodie….that is like asking a parent which of their kids they like better. There is no right or wrong answer. They both bring some elite skill and playmaking ability. Johnny does things that I have rarely witnessed on ice.

    Take his second goal last night as an example, he had no business winning the puck from Sheiffle when it bounced off his skate, but he stayed with it and decided to cut in on net and roof his shot…oh yah and he did this with 6’5″ 265 lb Buff closing on him in the middle.

    On the otherhand, TJ is also a special player, his patented spin move to get away from pressure is a thing of beauty. The save he made off the goal line last night at a critical time was exceptional. As Flames fans we can feel like proud parents knowing that we are going to witness the excellence for many years.

    We have had some great players in the organization but these two are among the most enjoyable to watch.

  • hulkingloooooob

    The Good:

    Brodie (as always) and my pick for best flame, just because of consistency.
    Johnny – well. this one’s obvious
    Ferland! – looking good, creating chances, winning battles and still young!
    Ramo – I’m so tired of Rams receiving little to no props for his play. this guy has been playing great for 15 games now.
    hammer-town. damn, when he skate like that and then hit’s like that, you really can’t ask for more (except for more PP min.!)
    Granlund – he’s been one of our most consistent forwards. looks like he’s arrived!
    Backs. – calm, cool collected. nice to see him with some muscle on his line!

    The Bad:
    I still cringe when these three have the puck: Wideman, Raymond, Colborne. though gotta say Raymond has been much better the last handful of games. glad to see him skating!
    our 5 on 3 PP.

    The Ugly:
    Wideman’s bobble on the 5 on 3. thank god for Ramo’s awesome hit on buff!