Kings 5, Flames 4 (OT) post-game embers: A meaningless game, with meaning

Good news: in their last two games, the Flames have scored nine goals.

Bad news: in their last two games, the Flames have allowed five goals. Well, in their last game alone.

That’s just the difference between the Los Angeles Kings and the Edmonton Oilers, isn’t it? Although the offensive explosion is at least fun to watch, regardless.

Milestone watch

Sean Monahan picked up one assist on the night, which gives him a new career high in points with 63, and still two games to go. He still, however, remains three goals back of 30: and now, he has just two games to get there. It’s entirely doable, but maybe a little less likely now.

It is, however, a nice contrast to his rookie season. In his first year, Monahan scored 22 goals and assisted on just 12. He’s clearly grown as a player, in all facets – but from looking at his point totals, with 27 goals and 36 assists, he’s becoming a bit more balanced. His 14.1% shooting percentage is lower than his rookie and sophomore years, but it’s still pretty high.

Monahan puts up points. It is, however, important to note – especially when regarding new contracts – that even though he plays on he same line as Johnny Gaudreau, he still has 14 fewer points than him. That’s quite the gap.

Speaking of Gaudreau: 77 points in 77 games. Just two more points guarantees he finishes his second professional season as a point per game player, although it would be nice to see him hit 80. It was always nice to dream that Gaudreau would be a point per game guy – but this soon? Gaudreau has shown distinct improvements in every single level of hockey he’s advanced; it’ll be really interesting to see what he does in his third season. Especially if he gets a new complimentary winger.

The Flames also have three 20-goal scorers currently: Gaudreau, Monahan, and Mark Giordano. They also have Mikael Backlund and Joe Colborne, each with 18 apiece (and over 40 points as well), and Sam Bennett, sitting at 17. Two games to go: and this team has a shot at having six 20-goal scorers on the season. A rather unrealistic shot, but a shot, nonetheless.

It’s hardly a guarantee they all repeat. But while the Flames have given up the most goals in the NHL with 256, they’ve scored 222 goals: 12th in the NHL, and third out of all non-playoff teams (Boston and Ottawa being ahead of them presently). There’s at least some reason for hope.

Except…

Backlund was credited with a shot on net. He scored a goal. The Flames were up 1-0 just 3:41 into the game. 

And then they spent seven minutes without another shot on net. And only had four shots on net all period. True, the Kings had a flat second period with only four shots of their own then, but a team simply has to be better than that throughout a game. One shot over half a period simply isn’t going to cut it, as amusing as Jhonas Enroth’s 0.00% save percentage was for the time being.

The Flames did something similar against the Oilers: one shot on net (coincidentally, another Backlund goal) and then nothing for nearly 10 minutes. It was the Oilers, so eventually Calgary was able to pile it on; however, that’s now two games in a row the Flames have gone extended time in the first period without so much as even trying to generate offence.

There’s trying to end the season on a high note, and then there’s whatever that is. Let’s see if they do the same against the Vancouver Canucks.

Deryk Engelland has a pretty similar statline

Deryk Engelland first registered an assist, and then he scored a goal. He’s now up to two goals this season, and nine assists brings him to 11 points total.

… Last season, his first with the Flames, Engelland scored two goals and nine assists for 11 total points. He had 53 penalty minutes; this season, he has 54.

Huh.

This season, though, Engelland has played just 68 games compared to the 76 he had in 2014-15. He’s not exactly reaching career highs – in his final season with the Penguins, he scored six goals; in 2011-12, he hit 17 points – but at least he’s being nothing if not consistent (plus more enjoyable to watch this season than last). He also led the way by playing 3:17 minutes on the kill; the only power play goal scored all night was Giordano’s.

It’s just a shame about the cap hit.

Shoutout to Hunter Shinkaruk

A thing I have in common with Hunter Shinkaruk: I am also from Calgary. A thing I have in common with him: I have also attended at least one Flames game while being a small child. Another thing I probably have in common with him: dreaming of scoring a goal on that ice, hearing the horn go off, the whoosh of the flames from above as people cheer and it dawns on you in a split second that you actually just did that.

A thing I do not have in common with him: he actually did that. He lived that dream. Shinkaruk scored the second goal of his NHL career, and his first on home – in more ways than one – ice. It was right by where he got his first goal, too: standing right at the net, alert and immediately ready to collect on the rebound. (He was in similar position for his first NHL point, even if he only collected an assist as the puck ultimately did not go in off of him.)

Shinkaruk was also credited with two shots on net. Three hits as well, two of which completely wiped out Kings players in exactly the same spot up near the bench.

Importantly, though: he’s getting himself where he needs to be. And he’s being given the chance to do it. He played 16:11; for forwards, only Monahan, Gaudreau, and Backlund played more. A fair chunk of those minutes – 4:22, to be exact – saw him trailing only Giordano and Gaudreau in power play time.

Shinkaruk may be getting the most chances any Flames prospect has this season. It’s hardly a guarantee for next year, but it’s also definitely not a bad sign. This team needs wingers, and Shinkaruk is capitalizing on the top line more than other prospects have.

Also, what a nice story for him. So, about that Canucks game coming up…

  • brodiegio4life

    anyone else watch the Barrie game last night? Main takeaway I got was my god is Rasmus andersson good. Everyone talks about his offensive game but he’s really underrated when it comes to the defensive end of his game. I would really like to see him start with the flames next year, obviously some ahl time wouldn’t hurt but considering he was one of the final cuts last year I think he should definitely get some games in next year and see if he can stick around.

    • McRib

      I would rather have Rasmus Andersson all day over Sven Baertschi, even aside from the fact that we desperately needed more defensive depth in our system when we drafted him. I mean Rasmus Andersson led the OHL in defender scoring this year, which is very impressive, he was also what +34 (understand +\- isn’t everything, but no other possession figured to go off in OHL). Anderssons skating is so effortless watching him this year, something that is becoming a main requirement these days for suggesting a future Top. 4 defender.

      He would have been a legit Top. 20 draft candidate last year if not for being “out of shape”, which he and the Flames have already addressed last offseason. In next two years I think the Flamss could easily have won this trade as well.

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      I agree, Rasmus has a legitimate chance to make the Flames out of training camp. He was dominant, in fact he rarely left the ice. Hawerchuck clearly over plays his top line but they dominated every time they were on the ice. Mangi is a far more complete player than I expected and seems to be really strong on the puck. I was most impressed with Mangi’s IQ and Rasmus’s composure.

  • Brent G.

    It’s still a little too early to consider the Granlund – Shinkaruk trade a slam dunk victory. That being said Shinkaruk has a much higher ceiling than Granlund ever will and this might turn out to look like an absolute steal for the Flames in a couple years time (more so than today).

    I can’t understand what the Canucks were thinking? It’s easy to say Benning is an idiot and terrible GM (his track record definitely supports those claims) but surely he had a reason to cut bait. Shinkaruk was their top scorer in the AHL after all.

    • Jake the Snail

      I think Benning felt that Granlund was a more complete player than Shinkaruk. I think we just have to wait and see a few years down the road. The trade for Baerstchi is turning out not too bad for Benning.

    • icedawg_42

      The knock on Shinkaruk is that he doesn’t play the game in the ‘tough areas’ to do what it takes to produce at the NHL level. It looked to me like he was going out of his way to debunk that last night. If he can bring THAT every game, I have NO doubt he can stick as a top 6 winger on this team moving forward. I’m definitely rooting for this kid.

      • everton fc

        Funny, but Hockey Futures always said the opposite – that one of Shinkaruk’s strengths was his willingness to go into the tough areas, in fact, this is where they felt he excelled. See below:

        Talent Analysis

        Shinkaruk is a tenacious forechecking winger with great hands. He is offensively skilled and is willing to pay the price to score goals. His ferocious style has taken its toll at times and there are concerns that he will be able to withstand the physical punishment without added muscle and strength. He reads the play well and distributes the puck to teammates effectively.

        Hunter has shown a lot here, in his short time with the big club. I see him on the opening day roster next October. One less issue to deal with. Possibly!

        How did Jooris and Ferland look w/Bennett? The rise of both Shinkaruk and Ferland (not offencively, but all-around) make Jooris and Bouma somewhat obsolete. And now Bouma’s injured. Again.

        One more comment; Backlund’s proving to be not only a very important core player here, but durable. And Colborne’s shown some durability. If both can re-produce this year’s efforts (can’t compare Colborne to Bouma – they are not the same type of player)… Then we could be in very good shape next season – IF Ortio/Ramo/Gillies/whomever else can keep pucks out of the net. And look at the depth on defence. Nice.

        • icedawg_42

          very interesting. Thanks for this info. My comment was in reference to an interview with BT on the Fan when they traded for him, and some comments he made. I don’t remember word for word.

  • RKD

    I’m liking Shinkaruk more and more, he’s got a flair for offense and I like his instincts around the net. Not sure if he’s going to be on the top line next season but he sure looked good playing with Monahan and Gaudreau.

  • flames2015

    Another reason is/was the Canucks and the ownership group have the mentality of winning now. They don’t give the time for their prospects to develop before they decide to ship them out. They gave Shinkurak one NHL game, under 10 minutes on the 3rd or 4th line. The Flames are giving him every opportunity to succeed right now and he’s running with it. Hope to see him in the opening line up.

    • piscera.infada

      Botchford is worse than Eric Francis. I’m not sure I’d give much weight to his opinion–or what he’s “heard”. Moreover, Benning had to save face post-trade regardless of what their motivations were. As Botchford correctly states, Skinkaruk was a player on a 30-goal pace in his second AHL season.

      As is stated in the Hockey’s Future quote above, the unkown about Shinkaruk wasn’t his willingness to “go to the dirty areas”, but rather whether his body could hold up to his style of play. That’s yet to be seen. It’s also tough to know whether the hip injury that kept him out of the line-up for a significant period was caused by his style of play, or was just the type of nagging, corrective issue most players have at some point in their career. I would say though, you always need to give potential the upper-hand in this type of deal. The Flames knew (in all likelihood) what Granlund was, the Canucks on the other hand didn’t with Shinkaruk. The trade may not work out for either team still, just as easily as it could still go either way, but regardless of how it ends, Treliving needs to be commended for the move.

      I would also give Shinkaruk (stylistically, albeit based on a very small amount of viewings) the edge over Baertschi. Sven is what he’s always been, a decent perimeter player with skill (no one can argue that), but that style of play makes him largely pigeon-holed in terms of where he can play, and what his true contribution to the team is. For many, he signalled a shift in the organization’s philosophy, and hope for the future of a stagnating team. A lot has changed since then, and looking back, it wasn’t fair to heap all of that on him. Based on what I’ve seen out of him in Vancouver, and what I saw out of him here, I just don’t see it with the player–I never really have since his junior days and that one emergency call-up. Vancouver, clearly still saw it if Botchford’s thesis in that article is correct.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    You make the call. Oilers win the lottery draft and Flames end up in 6th.

    PC offers BT the first overall pick for TJ Brodie straight up. Deal or no deal? You make the call.

    • Just a Fan

      No Deal.

      I think that if it’s anyone but the Oilers you would make that deal but giving your rival the one piece they lack will come back to haunt you.

    • Matty Franchise Jr

      So the Flames would have 1 & 6? Tough call, but probably no deal. Bird in the hand and all that. TJ is great and on a great contract as mentioned above.

    • Stan

      This might be the stupidest suggestion I have ever seen. Yeah. Let’s trade a 25 year old mobile, puck moving defenseman who has seen steady progression every year since entering the league, is just entering his prime and is locked up on one of the best value contracts in the league for a centre prospect that doesn’t have a single game of NHL experience. Did I mention that the flames also already have two A+ (potentially elite) centres already playing in the NHL?

      Thank god you have nothing to do with the decision making process of this team.

      • supra steve

        Let’s calm down with the “stupidest comment” stuff. If Auston Matthews is available for the price of a young top defender, you may not make that deal, but I could see others making that deal. Would probably not be the “stupidest” trade ever.

        • Stan

          Alright, I’ll play along. Who could you see making this deal? Arizona already publicly stated that they would never consider trading OEL for the first overall. For the reasons I stated, Calgary would be absolutely crazy to even consider it. What “others” could you see making that deal?

          • RickT

            Tone it down.

            We acquired Dougie for less than that, sure his contract isn’t as good a value as Brodie, it is not a bad-value contract – and he has the potential to be as effective as Brodie.

            Depends on how long you think the rebuild is going – or ought – to take.

        • everton fc

          I’ll never understand why the Oilers didn’t move their #1 the year they took Yakupov. Critical error. That was not the most obvious #1 pick, not like McDavid. You pick McDavid. You maybe consider moving Yakupov’s #1 pick that year.

          They didn’t. Brutal miscue. They could have picked up a quality defender, or traded down for two picks… So much was wasted by the Oilers that draft year.

          And we should never trade Brodie.

      • BlueMoonNigel

        Step away from the Red Bull, Tiger. Hypothetical question, not an opinion.

        Flames wouldn’t have to draft Matthews. One of the hulking Finns might be more up their alley. Could parley the 1st overall for something else. Could draft and trade Matthews. Best thing the Nordiques ever did was to draft Lindros and trade him. The haul they got had them rolling in clover for many years.

        Would I do the trade? No. Offensively-gifted mid 20s defenseman who can give you 26 hard minutes a night for under $5M for the next 4 years.

  • Brodano12

    I wouldn’t even trade Brodie for Crosby. He has the best value contract in the league and is only getting better and entering his prime. He is our best player right now and far more valuable than anyone in the league except Doughty.

    Also, the Shinkaruk trade was also a waiver issue. Granlund was an RFA and waiver eligible next year, and we have too many bottom 6 one-way contracts already. Shinkaruk, on the otherhand, can be sent to Stockton. It actually saved us ~1 million in cap space.

    • Baalzamon

      Also, the Shinkaruk trade was also a waiver issue. Granlund was an RFA and waiver eligible next year, and we have too many bottom 6 one-way contracts already. Shinkaruk, on the otherhand, can be sent to Stockton. It actually saved us ~1 million in cap space.

      No one has difficulty understanding why the Flames traded Granlund for Shinkaruk.

  • McRib

    Anyone who says Hunter Shinkaruk “doesn’t go to tough areas” knows very little about Hockey (most people in Vancover don’t) and didnt watch him at all coming up the ranks. I watched him extensively with Medicine Hat where he was constantly involved physically in the corners and out front in traffic. In terms of how durable he is, outside of the one hip injury he was never injured in junior. That has a much greater chance of being an isolated incident than a repetitive nagging problem, it’s not like he has had multiple concussions or knee injuries (really all that is, is Vancouver media trying to defend the trade). Shinkaruk was also only three months away from being ineligible for the AHL last year (he was also coming off major hip surgery). If you put his point totals up against all the top under 21 year old players this year in the AHL only William Nylander and Mikko Rantanen have substaintlly more PPG. Watching both Granlund and Shinkaruk I would put about an 90-95% chance Calgary wins this trade by a landslide, Granlund had a really tough time with the pace of the NHL this year, whereas Shinkaruk is constantly up to speed in the play.

    Let’s not forget the only reason Shinkaruk wasn’t a Top. 15 draft pick his draft year (some scouts even considered him a Top. 10) was NHL teams felt he was “coached in interviews”, which unless you are a NHL scout who overreact to “character traits” means absolutely nothing. In layman terms scouts shied away of Shinkaruk at the draft because he is a rich kid (father is a top dentist in Calgary) In terms of talent, Mikko Rantanen is the only player younger than him in the AHL this year with more points. Let’s call a spade a spade, this trade is looking like a homerun.