Digging into the Flames and 2015-16 game scores

What constitutes a “good game”? Many other sports, notably baseball, have seen their advanced stats communities tabulate what are known as “game scores,” in an attempt to quantify what constitutes a good game.

In the context of ice hockey, obviously there are significant differences in terms of what are major events worthy of being captured in a game score. But the folks at Hockey Graphs have made an attempt. How does it work, and what can it tell us about the Calgary Flames?

Let’s dive in!

WHAT IS GAME SCORE?

In short, game score is an attempt to measure single-game performance through aggregation of a bunch of statistical information. Dom Luszczyszyn over at Hockey Graphs poured through data from between 2007 and the end of this past season in an attempt to formulate an effective measure, both for skaters and goalies. (He aimed to make a “good” game score equally achievable for skaters and goalies, so coefficients were scaled with that in mind.)

Here are the formulas he came up with:

Player Game Score = (0.75 * G) + (0.7 * A1) +
(0.55 * A2) + (0.075 * SOG) + (0.05 * BLK) + (0.15 * PD) – (0.15 * PT) +
(0.01 * FOW) – (0.01 * FOL) + (0.05 * CF) – (0.05 * CA) + (0.15 * GF) –
(0.15* GA)

Goalie Game Score = (-0.75 * GA) + (0.1 * SV)

Based on these formulas, how do the 2015-16 Flames stack up? (It probably isn’t surprising to learn that Johnny Gaudreau stacks up really favourably.)

THE 2015-16 FLAMES

Players that have left the organization and those who played fewer than 10 games are noted.

By Overall Cumulative Game Score:

(In-so-much as we aggregated the game score from every game each player played.)

  • F Johnny Gaudreau – 74.2
  • D Mark Giordano – 66.5
  • F Sean Monahan – 58.9
  • F Mikael Backlund – 53.0
  • D Dougie Hamilton – 44.8
  • D T.J. Brodie – 41.0
  • F Michael Frolik – 39.7
  • F Sam Bennett – 39.3
  • F Joe Colborne – 37.7 [gone]
  • F Jiri Hudler – 29.6 [gone]
  • G Karri Ramo – 23.5 [gone]
  • F Micheal Ferland – 19.5
  • D Dennis Wideman – 13.8
  • F Josh Jooris – 13.6 [gone]
  • D Deryk Engelland – 11.1
  • D Kris Russell – 11.1 [gone]
  • D Jakub Nakladal – 10.7
  • G Joni Ortio – 9.65 [gone]
  • F Matt Stajan – 9.5
  • F David Jones – 8.9 [gone]
  • F Lance Bouma – 7.6
  • F Mason Raymond – 5.7 [gone]
  • D Jyrki Jokipakka – 5.4
  • F Markus Granlund – 5.4 [gone]
  • F Garnet Hathaway – 4.3
  • F Hunter Shinkaruk – 2.9 [7 games]
  • D Tyler Wotherspoon – 2.8
  • F Freddie Hamilton – 2.6 [4 games]
  • D Brett Kulak – 1.4 [8 games]
  • F Brandon Bollig – 1.2
  • F Drew Shore – 1.1 [gone; 2 games]
  • D Patrick Sieloff – 1.1 [gone; 1 game]
  • F Emile Poirier – 1.0 [2 games]
  • F Derek Grant – 0.7 [gone]
  • F Kenny Agostino – 0.3 [gone; 2 games]
  • D Ladislav Smid – 0.2
  • F Turner Elson – 0.2 [gone; 1 game]
  • G Niklas Backstrom – -0.15 [gone; 4 games]
  • D Oliver Kylington – -0.3 [1 game]
  • G Jonas Hiller – -1.75 [gone]

(Yes, Jonas Hiller had a net negative impact on the team.)

    By Average Game Score:

    • D Patrick Sieloff – 1.100 [gone; 1 game]
    • F Johnny Gaudreau – 0.939
    • D Mark Giordano – 0.811
    • F Sean Monahan – 0.727
    • F Freddie Hamilton – 0.650 [4 games]
    • F Mikael Backlund – 0.646
    • G Karri Ramo – 0.635 [gone]
    • F Michael Frolik – 0.620
    • D T.J. Brodie – 0.586
    • F Jiri Hudler – 0.558 [gone]
    • F Drew Shore – 0.550 [gone; 2 games]
    • D Dougie Hamilton – 0.546
    • F Joe Colborne – 0.516 [gone]
    • F Sam Bennett – 0.510
    • F Emile Poirier – 0.500 [2 games]
    • G Joni Ortio – 0.439 [gone]
    • F Hunter Shinkaruk – 0.414 [7 games]
    • D Jakub Nakladal – 0.396
    • F Garnet Hathaway – 0.307
    • D Jyrki Jokipakka – 0.300
    • F Micheal Ferland – 0.275
    • D Dennis Wideman – 0.271
    • D Tyler Wotherspoon – 0.255
    • F Josh Jooris – 0.231 [gone]
    • D Kris Russell – 0.218 [gone]
    • F Turner Elson – 0.200 [gone; 1 game]
    • F Mason Raymond – 0.197 [gone]
    • D Brett Kulak – 0.175 [7 games]
    • F Markus Granlund – 0.174 [gone]
    • F Lance Bouma – 0.173
    • D Deryk Engelland – 0.161
    • F David Jones – 0.151 [gone]
    • F Kenny Agostino – 0.150 [gone; 2 games]
    • F Matt Stajan – 0.119
    • F Derek Grant – 0.047 [gone]
    • F Brandon Bolig – 0.022
    • D Ladislav Smid – 0.009
    • G Niklas Backstrom – -0.038 [gone; 4 games]
    • G Jonas Hiller – -0.067 [gone]
    • D Oliver Kylington – -0.300 [1 game]

    Ten Best Individual Games:

    1. Sam Bennett (Jan. 13; 6-0 win vs. Panthers) – 4 goals, 5 shots, +5 goal differential, +5 Corsi differential – 4.4 game score
    2. Sean Monahan (Feb. 3; 4-1 win vs. Hurricanes) – 1 goal, 3 primary assists, 3 shots, +2 goal differential, +7 Corsi differential – 3.9 game score
    3. Mark Giordano (Oct. 23; 3-2 overtime win vs. Red Wings) – 2 goals, 1 primary assist, +1 goal differential, +13 Corsi differential – 3.7 game score
    4. Johnny Gaudreau (Dec. 4; 5-4 overtime win vs. Bruins) – 3 goals, 1 secondary assist, +2 goal differential, +5 Corsi differential – 3.7 game score
    5. Michael Frolik (Oct. 31; 5-4 win at Oilers) – 3 goals, +3 goal differential, +7 Corsi differential – 3.7 game score
    6. Johnny Gaudreau (Dec. 22; 4-1 win vs. Jets) – 3 goals, +1 goal differential, +5 Corsi differential – 3.3 game score
    7. Joe Colborne (Apr. 7; 7-3 win vs. Stars) – 1 goal, 2 secondary assists, +2 goal differential, +9 Corsi differential – 3.2 game score
    8. Sean Monahan (Dec. 10; 4-3 win vs. Sabres) – 2 goals, 1 primary assist, +3 goal differential, +6 Corsi differential – 3.2 game score
    9. Johnny Gaudreau (Feb. 27; 6-4 loss vs. Senators) – 2 goals, 1 primary assist, +2 goal differential, +4 Corsi differential – 3.2 game score
    10. Mikael Backlund (Apr. 7; 7-3 win vs. Stars) – 3 goals, +2 goal differential, +4 Corsi differential – 3.1 game score

    Ten Worst Individual Games:

    1. Karri Ramo (Jan. 11; 5-4 loss vs. Sharks) – 18 saves, 5 goals against – -2.45 game score
    2. Niklas Backstrom (Mar. 24; 6-2 loss at Wild) – 29 saves, 6 goals against – -2.2 game score
    3. Niklas Backstrom (Mar. 30; 8-3 loss at Ducks) – 22 saves, 5 goals against – 2.05 game score
    4. Jonas Hiller (Mar. 30; 8-3 loss at Ducks) – 5 saves, 3 goals against – 2.05 game score
    5. Joni Ortio (Oct. 30; 6-2 loss vs. Canadiens) – 31 saves, 6 goals against – -2.0 game score
    6. Joni Ortio (Feb. 27; 6-4 loss vs. Senators) – 25 saves, 5 goals against – -1.75 game score
    7. Jonas Hiller (Feb. 15; 6-4 loss vs. Ducks) – 17 saves, 4 goals against – -1.7 game score
    8. Joni Ortio (Apr. 5; 5-4 overtime loss vs. Kings) – 26 saves, 5 goals against – -1.65 game score
    9. Karri Ramo (Oct. 20; 6-2 loss vs. Capitals) – 18 saves, 4 goals against – -1.6 game score
    10. Jonas Hiller (Oct. 28; 5-4 shootout loss at Senators) – 18 saves, 4 goals against – -1.6 game score

    THE NEW FLAMES

    For those of you that are curious how the five newcomers to the organization stack up, here are their game-scores:

    Brian Elliott (St. Louis): 63.15 cumulative; 1.053 average
    Chad Johnson (Buffalo): 40.4 cumulative; 0.898 average

    Bear in mind that St. Louis was really good defensively and Buffalo was… not, but both of the Flames’ new goaltenders are big upgrades on literally every single goalie they used last season. By a lot. Comparing them to the players remaining on the roster, they’d be the third and eighth best players on their team in terms of cumulative game score.

    In terms of their forwards, it’s a bit of a mixed bag:

    Troy Brouwer (St. Louis): 53.7 cumulative, 0.526 average
    Linden Vey (Vancouver): 8.0 cumulative, 0.195 average
    Alex Chiasson (Ottawa): 9.9 cumulative, 0.129 average

    So… Brouwer is basically Colborne, except he played more consistently with good young players. Vey and Chiasson are effectively Raymond and Stajan, respectively. The Flames lost Hudler and Colborne (and replaced them with Brouwer) and Raymond, Jooris and Jones (and replaced them with Vey and Chiasson). It’s, at best, a lateral move.

    SO WHAT?

    Based on game score, the Flames goaltending was horrendous last season. However, based on the game scores of the players acquired to shore up netminding this season, their goaltending should be appreciably better. (To be blunt: it’s not like it could’ve been much worse.)

    But their three forward additions are basically just replicating Colborne, Raymond and Stajan. The goaltending is a huge upgrade, but in terms of their forward acquisitions they’re basically doubling down on Gaudreau and Monahan (and to a lesser extent Frolik, Backlund, Bennett and Matthew Tkachuk) and their ability to carry the mail offensively.

    • freethe flames

      By saying this “But their three forward additions are basically just replicating Colborne, Raymond and Stajan ” then BT has not done enough to improve this team upfront. Brouwer replaces Colborne; lateral move this year. Stajan is still with the team so I don’t get the connection. Raymond was not good enough to play in the NHL; comparing him to Vey I am guessing. Chiasson is probably a slight upgrade on Jooris.

      • MWflames

        Bare in mind that this teams improvements isn’t not going to come from FA. It’s going to come from the development of their youth, monahan, gaudreau, Bennett, and maybe tkatchuk. To a lesser extent, back links, Brodie and Hamilton should be on the upswing too… Treliving’s moves this year were (not including goalies) lateral perhaps, but he is trying find better fits to surround he core with and with some of the low cost acquisitions, lighnight in a bottle.

        The core of this team is already on this team or in the system at least.

      • Greg

        Flames were 10th in goals for last year, so they can afford to take a little bit there and still be competitive. They were dead last in goals against, and Treleving definitely addressed that.

        But ya, he didn’t do enough upfront. Assuming Brouwer replaces Colbourne’s offense, you are down a Jiri Hudler. Even with his off year, that’s a lot to ask the young guys to replace through progress in 1 year.

        But with their cap situation, I don’t think there was anymore he could have done. Have to wait for some cap space to clear up next year to address the remaining shortcomings.

        • freethe flames

          You are absolutely right that the cap issue has prevented him from doing more; however who decided to spend the $4.5m on Brouwer? Whether or not there were/are still better options out there is a mute point as it is done. As for the Flames being 10th in goals last year that is IR going into this year as none of know what system GG will employ and how this team will respond.(Last year under BH the amount the defenders added to the O helped a great deal)

          I am still hopeful that BT will move one of our surplus D (Wideman or Eng) for some help upfront; even if it just creates cap space to look at another UFA.

    • Baalzamon

      Lately I’ve been kind of hoping the Flames will try Ferland on the top line again. Gaudreau – Monahan – Ferland was surprisingly dominant possession wise (nearly 54% corsi) and generated scoring chances in droves. The only drawback was Ferland’s abhorrent puck luck. The line shot at just over 6%. Ferland is going to surprise some people next season regardless of who he plays with simply because there’s no way his shooting percentage will stay that low, but I think putting him on that line again is worth a try at least.

    • ifiwasgm

      I am wondering about Brian Elliot. Is he really that good? The last time he played for a team that wasn’t a powerhouse defensively, he was TERRIBLE.
      I’ve never liked him since. Always thought he benefited from a very strong St Louis team.

      • freethe flames

        Even if you are right and Elliot struggles he is a low cost option with one year on his contract. So if he sucks you expose him for the expansion draft and don’t resign him. I for one doubt it happens but if it does it is not as bad as you think. Also I doubt Johnson will also have a bad year as well.

      • If team defense can render a terrible goalie elite, then goalie skill literally doesn’t matter. Every team in the league would just need to work on their defensive scheme and pay interchangeable goalies next to nothing.

      • Nighteyes

        Further to the above points, if you watched St Louis in the playoffs, their style wasn’t all that easy on Elliot. They have this boring sort of counter-attack style, where they retreat into a defensive shell, get hemmed in their zone and severely outshot before they take advantage of mistake and often score on the ensuing rush. Elliot was standing on his head and had a big workload in many playoff games, despite their good defensive system. However I will admit playing on the Flames will be a bigger test for him, as he will be more exposed than in St Louis.