Everybody hurts: the Flames 2015-16 injury round-up

A great deal of the discussion of the 2015-16 Calgary Flames season has involved mention of injuries. In particular, the impact of T.J. Brodie’s nine-game absence to open the season has been pointed to as something that really derailed the Flames from the get-go.

We dug through the game-sheets and put together a rundown of all of the Flames injuries this season to show just how big an impact injuries had on the Flames this season.

THE WALKING WOUNDED

Twenty different Flames players missed (at least) one game due to a disclosed injury. (As in, it was mentioned either before or after the game via official channels that they missed the game due to injury). All-in-all, the Flames lost 204 man-games to injury (on average, two or three players were absent per game):

  • Lance Bouma – 36 games (broken leg, leg laceration, and an oblique injury)
    • Yes, Bouma had three different injuries, and none of them were related to shot-blocking.
  • Ladislav Smid – 32 games (recovering from neck surgery, then a separate neck injury)
  • Karri Ramo – 29 games (knee injury)
    • Ramo was injured in a goal-mouth collision.
  • Michael Frolik – 18 games (shoulder injury, then groin injury)
  • Dennis Wideman – 12 games (tricep injury)
  • Jonas Hiller – 12 games (groin injury)
    • Hiller was (also) injured in a goal-mouth collision.
  • T.J. Brodie – 12 games (broken hand, then a mid-body injury)
  • Micheal Ferland – 11 games (knee injury, then concussion)
  • Kris Russell – 10 games (hand injury, then a lower-body injury)*
  • Jiri Hudler – 7 games (illness**, then groin injury)
  • Joe Colborne – 5 games (hand/wrist injury)
  • Sam Bennett – 5 games (upper-body injury, then mid-body injury)
  • Josh Jooris – 3 games (unspecified injury)
  • Jyrki Jokipakka – 3 games (hip injury)
  • Deryk Engelland – 2 games (lower-body injury, then unspecified injury)
  • Johnny Gaudreau – 2 games (hand/wrist injury)
    • Gaudreau’s absence was due to recurring hacks and slashes to his hands and wrists.
  • David Jones – 2 games (lower-body injury)
  • Jakub Nakladal – 1 game (ankle injury)
  • Derek Grant – 1 game (unspecified injury)
  • Matt Stajan – 1 game (unspecified injury)

Regular players that missed zero games due to disclosed injuries include: Mark Giordano, Dougie Hamilton, Mikael Backlund, Sean Monahan, Brandon Bollig, Markus Granlund (before the trade) and Mason Raymond (before his AHL demotion).

    *- Russell missed seven games with a mysterious lower-body injury and was subsequently traded. There were murmurs that the Flames were holding Russell out longer than they normally would because of his status as a prime trading chip; while I strongly doubt the Flames were fibbing openly about Russell’s condition (he was probably hurt), I also strongly believe that they were holding him out until he was definitely 100%.

    **- Similarly, Jiri Hudler (another prime trading chip) missed a few games with an illness in the first half of the season. It’s possible that the Flames held out the under-performing Hudler for longer than they normally would in order to ensure he was 100% recovered (and/or to send a message to the locker room about performance).

    A THOUGHT ON THE BLUELINE

    Before the season began, the hockey world looked at Calgary’s blueline depth and went “holy moley, that’s a good blueline.” The six-man grouping of Kris Russell, Mark Giordano, Dennis Wideman, T.J. Brodie, Dougie Hamilton and Deryk Engelland was widely considered one of the best groups in the league (on paper).

    But between injuries (to Brodie, Wideman and Russell), suspensions (Wideman) and healthy scratches (Engelland), the Flames never really got their whole group together consistently. In the 61 games prior to the trade deadline, the team’s primary six defenders dressed together for just 28 games (and never more than seven consecutive games).

    It’s not likely an explanation for all of the team’s wild inconsistencies throughout the season, but when their defensive group was considered to be a big strength for them, not having them available consistently probably wasn’t a great start.

    • freethe flames

      There were only 3 injuries that really hurt this team. The first and most important was the Brodie injury at the start of the season. Not only did we lose one of the best defenders in the league we lost him when our top 2 other defenders were struggling. Gio was coming back from a major injury and was not himself for at least 15-20 games. Hamilton was coming into a new system and with unrealistic expectations and struggled for at least 20 games. It was only after Brodie returned that both of these guys started playing near their potential.

      Frolik’s injuries also hurt this team as it prevented he and Backs from creating the chemistry needed to be a great PK tandem and an excellent shutdown third unit with some ability to create offense. I look forward to seeing with Colborne next year.

      The Ramo injury was significant because he was playing well. The silver lining was that Ortio showed he can be an NHL goalie.

      After that the ongoing injuries to Bouma contributed to his poor season; hopefully he gets healthy and returns to form.(I don’t expect 16 goals but 10 and a force on the PK would be helpful)

      The rest are regular injuries. The Wideman suspension hurt more than his injury because rumor had it that teams were interested in his services at the Trade Deadline.

    • Brodano12

      Injuries are never an excuse. When you let injuries be an excuse, you get the Edmonton Oilers.

      Good teams have the depth to survive injuries, that’s what makes them good teams. Unfortunately for us, our depth players are overpaid plugs (Raymond, Bollig, Wideman, Smid), and they blocked the way for our actual good depth options (Grant, Agostino, Hamilton, Nakladal, Wotherspoon, Kulak). If BT can clear out our bad depth, next year we won’t have this problem, whether Brodie is injured or not (pray to god he isn’t though).

      • freethe flames

        My point about the Brodie injury was to point out the timing; if it had occurred 20 games in things might have been different. Gio would have been back into it and Hamilton would have adjusted. You are right about injuries not being used as an excuse but after the fact they can be used to understand the issue. Again I agree with your view on the overpaid players, interesting how Bollig never gets injuried? Our depth needs to be our young guys, they need to get experience to become veterans.