Who’s been scoring for the Flames? Just about everybody

Through eight games this season, the Calgary Flames are one of the NHL’s top-scoring teams. Their 25 goals has them fifth in league scoring.

That’s not an entirely fair observation to make, though; the Anaheim Ducks are the only other team to have played eight games so far this season. (They’re at 21 goals, for the record.) But when we break it down to goals per game, the Flames sit tied for 12th in the NHL with three goals exact per. (Remember that Kris Versteeg’s shootout winner counts as one of their 25.)

It’s early yet, but who’s been their biggest scorer? Well… kind of everybody.

Three players on the Flames have three goals each: Troy Brouwer, Michael Frolik, and Sean Monahan. Another five have two each: Sam Bennett, Micheal Ferland, Johnny Gaudreau, Kris Versteeg, and Dennis Wideman. Another five players have a goal each themselves.

That leaves eight players on the Flames who have yet to score a goal, five of whom have played every game thus far.

For comparison’s sake, the top-scoring team in the NHL right now, the New York Rangers, have had 12 different goal scorers, one less than the Flames, so this isn’t particularly impressive.

What’s been cool to see, though, is just how balanced the Flames’ offensive numbers have been.

Brouwer leads the Flames in scoring with six points. Bennett, Gaudreau, and Mark Giordano follow behind him with five. Six different players have four points. Three have three, two have two, and four have one. The only skaters who have yet to record a point for the Flames are Freddie Hamilton and Nicklas Grossmann, and they’re the 13th forward and eighth defenceman, respectively, having only played two games each.

This speaks to two things: the slow start the Flames’ top players have had, as nobody as particularly distinguished themselves yet; and how balanced the lineup as a whole is. It’s not elite – there’s still a lot of work to be done – but most players dressed have had no problems contributing offensively.

Forwards

Let’s take a look at the point distribution via the current incarnation of the Flames’ forward lineup.

Gaudreau (5) – Monahan (3) – Chiasson (1)

Versteeg (4) – Bennett (5) – Brouwer (6)

Tkachuk (2) – Backlund (4) – Frolik (4)

Ferland (4) – Stajan (4) – Bouma (1)

Hamilton (0)

The players who have had it together since the start of the season have been mostly older guys, and it shows in their point distributions. Brouwer, Backlund, Frolik, Ferland, and Stajan have all been performing well game in and game out, so it isn’t surprising to see them all with at least four points each. It’s especially pleasant for Ferland and Stajan: it took Ferland 26 games to reach four points last season, while Stajan has only been hitting 17 points the past two seasons.

Now that players like Gaudreau and Bennett are waking up, we’re seeing their numbers rapidly rise to the top of team scoring, too. (Gaudreau currently leads the Flames in getting pucks on net with 26 shots, as well.) Versteeg has also suddenly inserted himself into the fray, while Monahan has been coming along, particularly as one of the team’s top goal scorers.

The only major hole at the moment is who plays with Gaudreau and Monahan. Well, that and who plays with Ferland and Stajan (Bouma has just three shots on net so far; only Grossmann, Hamilton, and Kulak have fewer), but otherwise, this lineup is capable of scoring across the board. Now that the team appears to be getting things going, we should see more separation from the top players – but if all four lines can keep up this level of scoring, the forward group should be in fine shape.

Defence

Giordano and Wideman are the current defence leaders, with five and four points, respectively. Courtesy of the powerplay, Wideman is the current goal-scoring leader. After them, Jyrki Jokipakka and Dougie Hamilton have three each, while Deryk Engelland is enjoying an early season two-point surge.

T.J. Brodie and Brett Kulak bring up the rear with one point each. Brodie’s totals are probably the most disappointing out of all of the skaters right now, but it’s also still rather early in the season. However, last season, in his first eight games back from injury, he was already up to four points; hopefully, with the team as a whole appearing to get better, his numbers will come up with it. Brodie isn’t most known for being an offensive player, but he’s scored over 40 points the past two seasons, and those are numbers that will be missed if they don’t return.

Meanwhile, we should still be able to look towards Giordano and Hamilton in particular for offence from the blueline. Hamilton is second on the team in shots on net with 22, while Giordano is third with 20. Those two, plus Gaudreau, are the only players to have 20+ shots so far, so we can probably still expect contributions from the backend on the scoresheet.

  • madjam

    Take away the two Oiler losses and Flames are 3W-2L and 1OT . Over .500 against other competition . What’s the panic , as hardly any one beating the Oilers early this year ?

  • everton fc

    Is Bouma trying to take over Bollig’s roll, minutes the penalty minutes? Actually, Bollig put the puck on net more than Bouma.

    Chiasson needs to score on that top line. He should be, and is, an adequate 4th line RW, but is he better than Freddie H right now? Freddie can at least win face-offs, play pivot and wing…

    I expect Brodie to come out of hibernation very soon.

    Just this fan’s opinions and observations. Mean little, of course!

  • everton fc

    I’ll get multiple thumbs down here, but it’s good to see the Oilers so good. Brings more to the Battle of Alberta – more than the past two decades – and is god for Canadian (and provincial) hockey.

    McDavid will be as popular as Crosby is in Pittsburgh. The next Gretzky-lite? We shall see. They better sign him forever, though. Once he gets a chance at free agency… who knows what happens!

    • NHL93

      I’ve been saying this for years.. having a whipping boy in Edmonton doesn’t help the Flames one bit. Why did we have a killer team in the late 80’s? The Oilers were world beaters. We had to have a stacked team, just to keep up with them.

      Now Vancouver on the other hand…

    • Kevin R

      Oilers have a lot of talented young forwards coming as a result of their consecutive top picks year after year. Problem with them is that their window as they are will be this year & next year. McDavid is going to command at least 12.0 mill per.

      • Danomitee

        I doubt that will happen. Sure he could get paid that much, but the top players get so much in endorsing that they never take that price. I’d say 9-10 is more fair, and frankly he’s yet to play to that potential. Guy’s played just over 50 games.

        • McRaj

          LOL Hasn’t played to that potential? Yeah he’s only played 50 games but he has been one of if not the best player in the league in those 50 games. All he has done is dominate in those 50 games.

          He will probably sign something like 7 years, 9.7M per year and that will be a contract looked at as a win for the team.

          • Danomitee

            No I agree, he’s sick. I meant he hasn’t played to the potential of a 12 million dollar contract. Toews and Kane make 10.5, they’ve won 3 cups now and the cap probably isn’t going up anytime soon.

      • Jakethesnail

        Their Window?? What happens with good teams in a salary cap era is that when guys get to costly they move on and some else takes their spot with a cheap contract. Ermontons guys are so young still . Maybe when Draisaitl and Mcdavid are gonna get paid then you might ave to move Eberle and it is quite obvious the last few games that Puljujarvi can take his place with a cost effective deal. Good teams do this kind of thing right now and they just repeat the cycle.
        i don’t care right now anyways because the team is 6-1 and is in top spot in the western conference and second overall in the league. I’ll worry about the window later.

      • T&A4Flames

        McDavid will command a lot of money in 3 years time 9, 10, 12 mil. It doesn’t matter. They will most likely become a top heavy team where the top 6 can do a lot of damage but their bottom 6 will need surprises from their ELC players or they’ll get destroyed.

        Their real issue is that, aside from their top 5 picks over the last 10 years, they haven’t shown an ability to draft or develop very well. If they want to maintain any kind of long-standing, competitive team, that will have to change. The Blackhawks have been able to sustain their success because they do draft and develop well.

        They had great chance of getting things started by having 4 1st overalls that they could have (properly) recycled to high draft picks and prospects maintain a decent salary base. But they blew that by trading 2 of those 1st OA for a mediocre “top” D, a scrub prospect and mid draft pick. Not a good start.

  • Arminius

    This scoring from all lines is what we have needed for a long time (A far cry from last year when we were a 1 line team for the first half of the season) and great to see everyone chipping in. Now if only we could get Johnny and Monny going…

    I think it is going to happen soon. Johnny seemed to be back to his dangling dancing self on the road, and now he comes home. And we all know how he loves playing in the Dome

  • Dan the flames fan

    I’m not worried about JH’s numbers. THey’ll come along; he’s too talented not too.

    I’m actually expecting with a new system in place, that the defense may not see the numbers they put up in past years. Then they were more responsible for pushing offense. This year I see more emphasis on 5 man play.

    Bouma does not suck. Bouma is doing exactly what Bouma was hired to do. Disrupt the opponent’s play, block shots, be defensive while throwing in some offense. If we get 5 to 10 goals, and 20 points from him, it’ll be gravy.

    Right wing top line still needs to be addressed. As much as I see effort from whomever is put on the line, they always seemed to be out of sync with passing and/or skating. In other words, they’re not matching the talent of JH, and SM. Somehow that will need to be addressed.

    Overall, I like scoring by committee. Once JH starts rolling I think that will change things.

    • Greatsave

      Right wing top line still needs to be addressed.

      I’m not sure I agree. At least, I say give the guys more time to gel. Brouwer, Chiasson, and Versteeg (not to mention Tkachuk) are all new to the organization. None had even played with Monahan or Gaudreau prior to the season opener. Of course they’re “out of sync”. I say give them half a season or at the very least a quarter of the season. Both Brouwer and Versteeg have played with top players before and put up respectable numbers. If they can somehow split top-line minutes between those two, I think they’ll come good.

      All I’m saying is, give them some time, it’s still too early to judge.

  • Hubcap1

    Shinkaruk seems like the obvious choice to add to the top 9 forwards at some point this season. If Tkachuk sticks then our top 9 could look fairly deep and all around effective.

    Now if our PP and PK get better and the team defensive schemes round into shape as well, then the playoffs could be calling.

    And Bouma doesn’t totally suck he should just be paid about 1/3 of what he is.