With five games to go, the season is pretty much decided for the Flames. It’s been a long journey thus far, and things have been far from consistent: from horrendous play to near perfection and back again, the highs and lows extremely prominent these past six months.
So I thought it’d be fun to take a moment and look at just how the Flames got here. Specifically: what their lineup has looked like along the way.
Using Corsica’s combos feature, we can see who the Flames’ most-played lines and pairings were – and just how successful they’ve been, too. The cutoff I chose is minimum 100 5v5 minutes played together as a line, arranged by ice time.
- It’s no surprise to see the 3M line has been the Flames’ most consistent, by far, this season – they’ve also been phenomenal in every stat, and there’s no reason to think they’re riding any percentages. They get rough zone starts and they still routinely generate more than the opposition, whether that be in shot attempts, scoring chances, or actual goals.
- Alex Chiasson with Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan actually provided some pretty decent results; it’s just they weren’t results acceptable for the two highest-paid forwards on the team. It wasn’t disastrous, but Micheal Ferland is proving to be an upgrade, as that line has been far more dangerous – and with weaker zone starts, too. Their PDO does hint that this may not last, though, but it’s not as though they’re being outplayed, even if they weren’t scoring so much.
- Further evidence that Ferland is an upgrade on Chiasson: they’ve played almost the same amount of time alongside Lance Bouma and Matt Stajan, and Ferland’s overall numbers are better. Not by a ton, though; Chiasson is still a great fit on the fourth line.
- I am curious what a Gaudreau – Bennett – Ferland line would have looked like, but there’s no reason to find out any time soon.
- Troy Brouwer has only really seen success alongside Gaudreau and Monahan. The other two lines he’s been a part of have been the worst of the regularly played Flames units, especially in the scoring chances for category. Also note that his zone starts alongside Gaudreau and Monahan were much greater than his starts alongside anyone else.
- It’s almost as if when played alongside a defenceman who matches his abilities – Mark Giordano – rather than someone significantly inferior – Jyrki Jokipakka – Dougie Hamilton has a much better time on the ice.
- Getting the bounces helps, too. Giordano didn’t fare too poorly alongside Dennis Wideman, but their goals for percentage was ridiculous and not going to last.
- It looks like all the chances Wideman had with Giordano didn’t materialize with T.J. Brodie – their goals for are pretty much inverted, and things just never went right for them. Over 600+ minutes of play.
- I do miss Giordano and Brodie together, but Hamilton really did step up, and he’s the superior offensive player, so considering the alternative, you don’t really miss that pairing too much.
- Deryk Engelland’s best partner, by far, was Brett Kulak. Sheltering obviously helped, but it’s a shame that whole thing where he wasn’t really played and veterans got more of a chance than he did happened, but here’s to hope for the future – if he doesn’t get claimed, that is.
- Beware Michael Stone and Matt Bartkowski’s partner PDOs – though obviously, Brodie and Stone are a much better pairing, and easily deserve to be the Flames’ second for the rest of this season. They’re one of just three pairings with a positive scoring chance percentage.