It’s been an interesting year for the Calgary Flames. In 2016, we’ve seen Flames all-stars, really long winning streaks, new coaches, new goalies and a spring without playoff hockey.
As your friends at FlamesNation look back on 2016, we’ve selected the five players that performed the best over the past 12 months.
We have three honourable mentions:
- Michael Frolik led the Flames in shorthanded goals and was one of their leaders in puck possession metrics.
- Chad Johnson joined the team in the fall as a backup and ended up going on a heck of a run near the end of the year. He ended up leading the team in most goaltending categories.
- Matthew Tkachuk was drafted by the Flames in the first round of the 2016 NHL Draft, made the team out of camp as an 18-year-old and ended up leading the team in puck possession.
5: Sean Monahan
Calgary’s top offensive center, Monahan was second on the club in goals over the past 12 months and led the Flames in game-winning goals. His puck possession numbers weren’t fantastic, though, and he struggled with consistency – particularly to kick off the 2016-17 side of the year.
4: Mark Giordano
Calgary’s captain played in every single game for the club in 2016. He represented his team at the NHL All-Star Game in Nashville in late January, though that was admittedly more of a product of reputation and his performance in late 2015. He was among the team leaders in assists and power play points, and he was fourth among team regulars in puck possession.
3: Dougie Hamilton
In his first full calendar year as a Flame, Hamilton was the team’s best defenseman. He scored slightly more than Giordano did, led the team in shots on goal, was second in game-winning goals and was just a hair behind Giordano in puck possession numbers.
2: Johnny Gaudreau
Easily Calgary’s most dangerous player, Gaudreau missed some time due to injury and struggled with inconsistency to begin the 2016-17 season. Despite those occasional struggles, Gaudreau’s highs were the highest of anybody else on the team. He represented the Flames in the NHL All-Star Game and scored at just shy of a point-per-game pace despite being the player most targeted by opposition defenders.
1: Mikael Backlund
2016 was the Year of Backlund. He was a model of consistency for his club, combining responsible two-way play (he was second in puck possession behind only Tkachuk) with offensive prowess while playing every game. He actually led the team in goals, was tied for the lead in shorthanded goals and second on the club in game-winners. All that while being relied upon to shut down the town opposition lines.