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Who should be on the Flames’ powerplay and penalty kill?

The Calgary Flames really look to have improved over this offseason. From consistency to depth to special teams, there’s sound reason to project a brighter 2017-18 for this franchise.

Let’s follow up on the special teams aspect. While the powerplay and penalty kill performances rebounded from horrific starts the previous season, this upcoming season offers what should be new looks to the units. With a modified roster – or at the very least, one whose players the coaches know a lot more about going into this year – it could be a case for a more effective group.

Those lost

The Flames have lost a handful of players to the expansion draft, buyouts, and free agency, and that includes players who were often a part of special teams.

Or, well, rather, the penalty kill. Eleven Flames suited up for the Flames for at least 100 powerplay minutes in 2016-17, give or take a minute or two; every single one of those guys is back with the team. From the 3M line to Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau to the top three defencemen, the usual suspects are present. So is, of course, Troy Brouwer, who will hopefully either rebound or receive a lesser powerplay role; so, too, is Sam Bennett, who will hopefully get more of a chance.

And then there’s Kris Versteeg, who was thankfully retained. He turned into a bit of a powerplay specialist with the Flames – 16 of his 37 points came on the man advantage – but he was also one of the Flames’ top powerplay scorers and took the most shots on the man advantage, so his sticking around is very ideal.

But what of the penalty kill? That’s where the Flames have lost some of their most prominent players:

  • Deryk Engelland, 261:14 shorthanded, second most Flames ice time in 2016-17
  • Dennis Wideman, 123:18 shorthanded, seventh most Flames ice time in 2016-17
  • Lance Bouma, 97:20 shorthanded, ninth most Flames ice time in 2016-17

Engelland obviously creates the biggest hole here, but the Flames are still down another defenceman and a forward. The other prominent penalty killers hovering well above or at least around 100 minutes of shorthanded ice time – Mark Giordano, T.J. Brodie, Mikael Backlund, Michael Frolik, Matt Stajan, Brouwer and Bennett – likely won’t be going anywhere, although some may see further reduced roles, regardless.

Those gained

This offseason, the only skater of prominence the Flames have really added is Travis Hamonic. We can include Michael Stone in this group too, however, as he only joined the Flames in the final quarter of the 2016-17 season.

This fits in perfectly with what special team units may end up looking like. No new prominent scorers have been added, but the Flames haven’t lost anybody who should be a mainstay on their powerplay. Meanwhile, they’ve upgraded their defensive contributions, as Hamonic and Stone should be a superior duo over Engelland and Wideman: they’re younger and have more diverse skill sets that should see them contribute at a higher level all across the ice, the penalty kill being just a part of it. (And this is ignoring the potential of perhaps having Dougie Hamilton step up and take a bigger role, too.)

Bouma’s absence isn’t exactly being addressed here, but it seems doubtful he’ll be too difficult to replace; after all, he shouldn’t even be in the regular lineup. Curtis Lazar could be an answer, and Monahan was the next most frequent forward played on the kill still with the team.

Going by shorthanded corsi, according to Puckalytics, Engelland’s absence is a good one. He had a CA60 of 101.21, which was the third worst on the Flames in 2016-17, behind just Stajan and Stone. (However, if we’re holding out hope for Stone to rebound from the worst season of his career, then that applies to special teams, too, and there’s probably more hope for him than there is for Engelland at this point.) Bouma (CA60 of 98.53) and Wideman (CA60 of 80.72) were sixth and 11th on the Flames (out of 13 penalty killers with at least 50 shorthanded minutes played), so their absence isn’t likely to benefit the Flames as much as Engelland’s, but then again, Engelland played a lot more on the kill than just about everybody else (Giordano, who was up there with him, had a shorthanded CA60 of 98.62). CA60 isn’t the best way of judging a penalty killer, but preventing shots is preferable to allowing them, so it’s still a worthy statistic to look at.

If you go by GA60, then the Flames have really gotten better via addition by subtraction, as Bouma (8.90), Engelland (7.08), and Wideman (6.44) were all in the top six in goals allowed per 60.

Ideal setups

So knowing what we know about the Flames’ personnel after a full season under Glen Gulutzan – with a few names swapped here and there – what do you think the special team units should look like?

I would say the first powerplay unit should consist of:

Matthew Tkachuk Sean Monahan Kris Versteeg
Johnny Gaudreau Dougie Hamilton

This features the Flames’ top two scorers, the all-important right shot who was akin to a powerplay specialist this past season, a rookie with a ton of offensive potential, and by far the best offensive defenceman the Flames have available to them. It’s a loaded unit that should be able to play well with one another and keep the puck in the zone – and if there’s a concern about giving the puck up, Hamilton has shown prowess in retrieving the puck and advancing it back up the ice.

As for the second unit:

Sam Bennett? Mikael Backlund Michael Frolik?
Mark Giordano T.J. Brodie? Micheal Ferland?

I have six players and four question marks here because the way I see it, there are four players fighting for three spots. Backlund and Giordano are givens, as they’re two of the top players on the team to begin with, and both excelled on the powerplay.

As for the others, Frolik is a high volume shooter who undeniably works well with Backlund, but he always seems to be passed over on the powerplay for some reason. If Bennett is going to reach his offensive potential, then he’ll definitely need man advantage time in order to do it. Ferland is still a question mark offensively – like a lower caliber Bennett – but he may prove he deserves a chance, too. And while Brodie isn’t known for his offence, he’s a good transition player and he does get assists, and if the Flames don’t want to go with two four-forward one-defenceman units, then he’s the most logical pick to fill that last slot.

What about the penalty kill?

For the first penalty kill unit, I would suggest:

Mikael Backlund Michael Frolik
Mark Giordano Travis Hamonic

We already know Backlund and Frolik are an elite penalty killing unit – and that’s without the occasional shorthanded goals. Meanwhile, Giordano gets a partner upgrade in Hamonic, who is a better bet than Engelland at this stage of their respective careers, easily.

The second unit:

Sam Bennett Matt Stajan?
T.J. Brodie Michael Stone

I would rather see Hamilton higher up on the penalty kill list, but with his reputation as an offensive defenceman, it doesn’t seem as likely we’ll see him used in such a purely defensive situation, unless one of the other defencemen takes a penalty. Brodie is a given, and this way, the first two units have left-right defencemen partners.

Bennett was actually one of the best penalty killers the Flames had by both CA60 and GA60 metrics, but his partner – Alex Chiasson – is gone, so that leaves a question mark as to who should replace him. I have Stajan slotted in there for now because he was a prominent penalty killer this past season, but he also had pretty bad numbers – whether from his own merit or from playing with Bouma – so he could easily have his job replaced by someone else (Ferland? Lazar? … Monahan?).

By the third unit we’re getting wonky, so I’m going to go full blown nuts on this one:

Matthew Tkachuk Sean Monahan
Mark Giordano Dougie Hamilton

Giordano is a workhorse and the best all-around defenceman the Flames have, and Hamilton deserves a bit of time, too; plus, as regular partners, they should be able to work well on the kill together.

Monahan has been used on the kill on occasion, so he could take some of the leftover minutes (in a little over 40 minutes of shorthanded ice time this past season, he actually had one of the bed CA60s on the team – so if that keeps up, maybe bump him up to the second unit after all). And as for Tkachuk, well, he was a contributing member of the 3M line and had great underlyings all season, so who’s to say he can’t translate that to the penalty kill? It’s certainly worth a shot.

These are all, of course, just possibilities, and we’ll probably see some other players used (I mean, Brouwer is still a Flame, so). But I believe that the Flames could really make something of their special teams units – especially now that a fair bit of dead weight is now gone from the roster.

  • freethe flames

    With Ferland’s shot he should be given an opportunity to play on the PP. Sometimes I think we overthink ourselves and wonder if a line has chemistry like Johnny/Monny/Ferland then why not just let them be the first PP unit.

    The PK units look fine but one has to wonder where some of the young guys might fit; Janko played on both the PP and PK for the Heat and by all reports did well there. (First he has to earn a spot on the team).

  • Carl the tooth

    I know he hasn’t even made the team yet but how about jankowski. He’s a smart player .im pretty sure he plays the top pp and pk in Stockton.hes a pretty big kid and should get bigger .small sample size and going by some video in NCAA and ahl .hes a naturals pivot type good possession of puck hard to knock off the puck makes the right play and defensively very good positioning and reads the play well . Hey feaster looks like you may be right.jankiwski could end up in a middle 6 centre position. But would they play him on the wing ? Just to put him possibly back at centre when stajans contracts finished after this season . Lazar ? I think jankowski will be better than lazar . If jankowski and lazar do great next season does that make backlund trade bait ?

      • Carl the tooth

        Don’t get me wrong I don’t never trade backlund .but with flames depth at centre and an a new contract coming up .tkachuk what’s his next contract going look like 6,7,8 mill ? . Then Brodie,haminoc,stone , contracts all up at same time . Bennets (likely bridge contract) could be up for another contract around same time as well . Yes smiths contracts .stajans .and some buyout cash and maybe buy out Brouwer by then too should have more cap space there too .but still not enough to cover all these players. If the prospects do not turn out (fox.valimaki.anderson.klington . ) gillies.parsons or there still not ready at this time ( I’m sure they will be) . But if not .who does flames keep and who do we trade or let walk ? But I’d never trade backlund I’ve always backed backs ever since we drafted him .

          • Carl the tooth

            Tkachuk no.2 in NHL in corsi/60 possession As a rookie better than mcdavid or Draidle or 99.9 % of league I could have that with out looking at his stats I seen the kid dominate all year by his 3-4 game I was already putting him in the phenom next iggy. A future hall of famer .. it’s not monahan and Johnny that’s gonna be leading this team it will be bennet and tkachuk

      • Carl the tooth

        I was just throwing it out there but I’m curious on how you came to your conclusion.simply saying no it wouldn’t means nothing explain? I agree with you but what’s your angle?

        • wot96

          Not trying to make you look like an idiot. Just a little too much wow in that prediction is all. I will be happy to admit it if I’m wrong about Foo when October and November roll around.

          • TheoForever

            It would be great if Foo can become a productive regular NHLer this year, but I think he is a year away. He just had a breakthrough season, but was it a blimp or the real deal, no idea what he projects to be. If by some chance he makes the team I wouldn’t expect more than 20 points.

          • Carl the tooth

            I agree he johnny put up 40 points etc before his hobey baker year . And foo a respectable 25 s but nothing that jumps out .and he’s been at a couple of camps before so you could look at it as flames seen him up close but no contract till his breakout or did flames see the potential before anyone else

      • Carl the tooth

        Sure we do he has speed high end play making ability and a deceptive quick accurate release we know he put up similar numbers to Johnny comparing 65-80 points .foo plays with this verrrcoine guy and Johnny played with what was considered the top line in NCAA at the time with Hayes and Arnold . And food. Omparable stats to other high end college players suggests that he is very likely to succeed . Jankowski never put up know 65 points in one year and jankowski was the top player in ahl as a rookie there about the same age . I’d say we got an idea what his tools are

        • TheoForever

          I think Jankowski is ready for NHL. If given a chance and decent linemates, I would expect solid performance defensively with around 33 points. I’m exited to see him in NHL, it is up to him to show he belongs as he will be given a chance.

          • Carl the tooth

            Lol ahhhhh 5 years later and looks like feaster could be right about this controversial pick? Finally we got our niewindyke back lol . I was very impressed with his first game last year and couldn’t believe that the sent him back down . 1 game yes but his positioning was perfect . Poirier was all over the place and was always behind the play . I also was surprised in last years camp when klimchuck was cut so early and before so other players that were not performing near as good . Looks like husks was right there so far too . Hopefully poirier can come back now too after his issues

          • TheoForever

            Yeah, Poirier was sucking on fumes, I believe now that he has gotten help, he will become our best forward prospect again. I wouldn’t be shocked if he has a stellar start in AHL, and gets called up halfway through the season to get some games in. This guy could become a productive and unpleasant guy to play against, a solid 3rd liner that could step up when needed.

          • TheoForever

            I believed in Janko from day one and defended the pick all the way. I wouldn’t be shocked if the guy becomes 2C, able to play solid 2-way game against big centers and contribute offensively in the 50 point range.

    • Carl the tooth

      I boldly said that Johnny gadreau was going to take the NHL to school before he ever played a game . If you can’t scout a player with out him playing in NHL then there wouldn’t be a draft at all .

      • Carl the tooth

        Poirier was an ahl allstar as a rookie too like jankowski last year .klimchuck had not a great rookie ahl campaign but husks defended him saying it was basically just bad luck then klimchuck proves him right . I’d say there’s still lots hope for poirier . I also been defending jankowski too especially after him and gillies beat out eichel for the NCAA championship . Those 3 stuck out to me the most in that tournament.

  • Atomic Clown

    Loving the first PP unit. Dougie quarterbacking his own unit, players with the skillet to allow Gaudreau to be creative around the net, Versteeg/Monahan with the Snipes, and Tkachuk doing what he does best: arrive, create hell, leave. I would like to see a right hand shot in the second unit as well, because it adds a depth of unpredictability. Brodie already doesn’t shoot, so a pure sniper would benefit from playing on the second PP unit.

    It doesn’t matter who you play with Backlund/Frolik for the PK, they’ll elevate anyone’s game. I’d like Bennett and another youngster to be a fixture in the second PK unit, let them learn to be responsible. Hamilton shouldn’t be wasted on the PK, his offensive upside is too large. Hamonic an Stone were acquired to round out our top 5, let them take those minutes. Even worth both players reverting to the mean, we should have a massive upgrade over Engelland/Wideman/Grossman/Bartkowski

  • Burnward

    PP1: Ferland-Monahan-Gaudreau
    Versteeg-Hamilton
    PP2: Bennett-Backlund-Tkachuk
    Giordano-Brodie

    PK1: Backlund-Frolik
    Giordano-Hamonic
    PK2: Stajan-Brouwer
    Brodie-Stone

    • piscera.infada

      Bennett was actually very, very good on the PK last year. Of all regular penalty killers (at least 50 PK minutes played), he had the lowest GA/60, and the second lowest (to Brodie) SCA/60 on the team. Now granted, he played almost a minute less on average per game than Frolik, Backlund, and Brodie, and almost 2 full minutes per game less than Giordano and Engelland. But out of the non-Frolik/Backlund forwards, Bennett and Chaisson were the best by a considerable margin–Bouma, Stajan, and Brouwer were all horrible and played about the same minutes per game.

      • Burnward

        I want offensive-minded Bennett moving forward. We gots guys that can kill.

        He was the top ranked skater in his draft class and scored near McDavid levels in junior for a reason.

        Take the chains off and give him freedom to express his talent.

        • piscera.infada

          That’s fine. But playing on the PK doesn’t mean he’s going to be offensively stunted. If anything, it gives him an expanded role and more ice-time, which would seem to be a good thing for a young player.

          All that aside though, if he proves to be one of the better penalty killers on the team, it makes literally zero sense to give that ice-time to players who effectively do a worse job at it. Just because he’s a staple on your PK2, doesn’t mean he can’t be on your PP1 or PP2, and I’m not sure why that would even be assumed.

        • Carl the tooth

          Bennet is by far better at defence than backlund was at his age and offence for that matter . Bennet will play in all sceniors . Tkachuk is very good defensively too always where he should be and a lot of time he’s straight up got a crystal ball 🔮 he knows where that picks gonna end up and he’s always way ahead of the play .

          • Carl the tooth

            Bennets been slowed up in his progression and not his fault at all .hes 21 two seasons still scored 30 goals and been very noticeable in playsoff and point up some decent points there too and all as a 3rdcline minutes this kids gonna be great and will put flames over the top good times ahead its inevitable

    • piscera.infada

      To flesh this out a bit more, the GA/60 on the PK actually reflects this very clearly (with the exception of Brouwer for some reason, I’m not sure why…).

      I will note though, that Bennett/Chaisson had the most favourable zone-start ratio of all those regular penalty killers by a very substantial margin. They only started in the defensive zone around 20% of the time, as opposed to Backlund/Frolik who started there about 75% of the time–for interest sake, Brouwer/Bouma/Stajan started in the defensive zone ~40% of the time. That said, the evidence seems to point to the fact that he deserves a chance to show more on the PK. Those numbers paint a pretty good picture.

      • Atomic Clown

        Given the fact we gave up a 2nd rounder for Lazar, and managements recent comment about him being a key piece going forward, I’m pretty sure Lazar is going to see some PP time. He’s a right hand shot that can play both C and wing, meaning he can take faceoffs if the main guy gets waived. Also, PP time would do wonders for his confidence, I can see Lazar managing 25+ points this season

      • The PK2 unit is typically deployed OTF (on-the-fly) in most cases for the Flames. It’s not a matter of “favorable zone starts” so much as the systemic and deployment characteristics of how teams roll their units. Further to that please keep in mind that statistical outputs being cited here are often system driven and there’s still some murkiness in terms of public sector work on the PK/PP.

    • Nick24

      Yes, because using a player who is very good at getting puck possession and moving the puck out of the defensive zone is something you don’t want to have on your PK. It is much better to have someone like Stone who just prays that the pucks hit him and that one of the forwards can get the puck out.

      Look at what these players are actually good at. You’re going to lose a lot of value if you let a players reputation supersede his ability.

      • piscera.infada

        In fairness, Stone was actually pretty good on the penalty kill for the Flames last year–he has also the best regular penalty killer on the Coyotes last season (playing around 2:30 of PK time per game). Hamilton was slightly worse, but there are sample size concerns for both with the Flames.

        There’s definitely a bit of a skill difference on the penalty kill, and notwithstanding the argument I just made about Bennett (above), I do see some value in Hamilton not being a regular penalty killer this year, at least until there’s a quantifiable gulf between him and either Stone or Hamonic. I fully expect Hamilton to be the team leader in power play ice-time this season.

      • 666

        Seems like the Flames have a lot of qualified coaching opinions here. Good thing we know what the direction of the team is by the coaching staff and what systems and expectations they have for players. This was a brutal article. To many what IF’s.

        • piscera.infada

          If you’re seriously making that argument that “no one can have any opinions for what should or might happen during the course of the NHL season for a specific team or player, because that’s not how things might turn-out”, then I’m forced to ask why you’re here at all. I mean seriously, if people can’t have thoughts about things that are “if’s” than what’s left? “Some combination of Mike Smith and Eddie Lack will play at least one game in goal for the Flames this season”? That’s about it–although, I guess I’d be remiss not mentioning the possibility that both of them could conceivably blow out their knees in the same practice, two days before season opener, rendering both unable to play all season… Wow, I see what you mean about “what if’s”…

          • 666

            No..i more mean towards fans who watch the game and who do not understand it coming and talking about how we should hamilton on the pk. That is just ludacris. Have an opinion, back it up and have a debate but use your head not just your heart. Nothing wrong with being a fanbut c’mon! Trying to justify Hamilton as a pk defender because of his puck moving ability..well that is like saying mile smith should get pp time over brouwer because of how well smith moves the puck.

          • piscera.infada

            The weird thing about Hamilton, is that I was expecting his underlying statistics on the penalty kill to be much worse than they were. There’s a legitimate argument that he could play there and not be bad at it. Given track record, and other considerations (like ice-time, more broadly), it makes more sense (as I said) to give preference to Hamonic and Stone until there’s evidence that either of them is worse than Hamilton in that roll. But I will point out, that your initial post didn’t indicate any tangible reason why Hamilton shouldn’t play on the PK, outside of what I can only infer is your assumption that he’s “not tough enough to play there”–which I (and I’m assuming @Nick24) don’t agree with at all.

          • Kevin R

            At some point you need to think about what players you want blocking shots on the PK & increase the risk of injury. Hamilton is way too valuable to be on PK, Gio as well. That should be split between our 3,4 & 5 Dmen JMO. Also, why would we want to risk one of our offensive forwards to potential shot blocking injuries on the PK as well.

          • piscera.infada

            I’m not so sure I’d worry about that. Giordano is the best regular defenseman on the Flames. It would be silly not to use him on the PK. I’m also unsure how realistic or pragmatic it is to leave players off the penalty kill because they might get injured. Players can be injured at all times, and I fail to see how one could quantify the “increased” risk to such an extent as to make a case for a worse player taking that role. Perhaps there is a reasonable argument to be made however, that Giordano shouldn’t play roughly 70% of the total penalty kill time in any given game. But I’d think that’s more incumbent upon those other players proving they’re good enough to take that extra time/responsibility.

          • TriPPiNvdUb

            @Kevin R… so does that mean Taylor Hall shouldn’t be allowed to take the warm up skate before games? Not playing your best players in certain situations because your afraid their going to get hurt ridiculous, this is hockey, every situation has the potential.

          • Thunder1

            Exactly, right Kevin R. Very few to none of the rest of the NHL teams let their top two scorers ever kill penalties. I think it was Carl to Tool suggesting the Flames should give Johnny a chance. He’s one Weber blast to the ankle from being out all season and standing in front of the point bomb would be what he was required to do on the PK.

          • Kevin R

            @TrippiNvdUb You need to up your game with the analogy to Hall getting hurt in warm up as a reasonable reply to my position. First off, we have a coach solely responsible for PP & PK. Surely they can work with defensive players & the PK system you want them to play. Second, I would rather have Gaudreau, Monahan & Bennett, Hamilton & Gio playing extra minutes in an offensive role & when pressing if trailing in a game, not being burnt out playing PK minutes. If anything, I look at highly paid veterans on this team like Stajan & Brouwer that will have limited minutes, why not give them extra minutes on the PK? Speed isn’t as big of a factor. I would like to see Janko & Lazar get some extra minutes on the PK & help them learn the defensive part of the game, who knows, they may become proficient at the PK. Last, I can see a coach thawing a change up during the playoffs with who they play on the PK but the regular season is a long grind. This article was about who should regularly be playing the PP & PK. I stand my opinion that I would not want to see our offensive players we are expecting 40+ points from to be part of the #1 PK unit. It’s my opinion as I would hate to see Gaudreau or Monahan miss 2 months with a broken foot because they blocked a shot on a meaningless PK.

          • Carl the tooth

            666 Hamilton is only a kid yet at one time everyone thought he wasn’t gonna be a good top d either and were complaining about the trade then 50 points later he shuts everyone up .lol Did Brodie kill penalties first few years no not much but at 27 he’s now fairly rounded

          • TriPPiNvdUb

            @Ken R I don’t have to up anything, I’m not promoting the idea of Johnny playing on the PK but if Mony is clearly your best penalty killer then that’s who i want on the ice. How many games through out the season are decided by a key power play? would you rather see your best players on the ice to decide the outcome of a game or a bunch of plugs like Bouma and Wideman? You don’t make coaching decisions based on the idea that if I put player A on the ice he “may” get hurt, that chance is always present. You make them based on ability and who has the best chance of tilting the outcome in your favor during any given situation.

        • Stu Cazz

          You should to be reminded of the purpose of this blog. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. You can simply agree or disagree by providing constructive comments or trash/cheer as you see fit. Hurts me to agree with piscera.infada as he is the most arrogant guy on this blog with his tendencies to correct grammar but I have to agree with him on this….

          • Atomic Clown

            I don’t like being a grammar Nazi, and I understand most of us are on the mobile site using a touch keyboard, and autocorrect likes to play it’s tricks; however sometimes I’ve seen comments with such bad grammar and sentence structure that I’ve spent a good minute or two just rereading the comment trying to make head or tail. Besides, I agree with almost everything piscera.infada says lol, I find WW more irksome

          • piscera.infada

            @Stu Cazz
            I “correct” the grammar, spelling, etc. of trolls. My general thoughts on the matter are: if you’re going to troll, you’d best make sure you aren’t making yourself an easy target. I try my best to ignore the trolls, but sometimes they deserve to be called out (in a way that doesn’t actually give credence to their oft-ludicrous claims)–I sincerely enjoyed the level of discourse on this blog much more before I had to skim through 20-30 comments on every thread about how much better ‘x’-Oiler is than ‘y’-Flame, followed by an unrelated retort that ‘w’-Flame is better than ‘z’-Oiler, followed by much the same ad nausea, all while approaching a sincerely embarrassing (and overplayed) heteronormative machismo that afflicts most sport-related conversation.

            Now, I’ve had my fair share of disagreements with you over the years (strong opinions, and all…). I’ve always enjoyed the actually constructive and well-reasoned debate however. That is what drew me to this site in the first place. If I’ve personally offended you though, I apologise. It was not intended.

  • madjam

    PP effectiveness . Run your two duos Johnny and Mony and Backlund and Frolic in any rotation your want a majority of the time . Careful not to overuse if they probably play a lot of PK as well . Surround them with several utility players so as to have new looks throughout the game (diversity) and keep opposition guessing – you have several decent ones . Same for defence , running duos and often putting in an additional forward on point with another defenseman (4F-1D) . Flames have several utility players that fit that bill . Go it one stretch further , and perhaps throw in an offensive defenseman into forward package for better net presence on occasion ( 2F-3D) . Diversity could pay huge dividends with utility players ( for lack of a better description) such as Tkachuk , Bennett , Ferland , Brouwer , Stajan , Lazar , etc..

  • OKG

    PP1
    Hamilton
    Gaudreau-Backlund-Jankowski
    Tkachuk

    PP2
    Giordano-Stone
    Bennett-Monahan-Versteeg

    PK1
    Backlund-Frolik
    Giordano-Hamonic

    PK2
    Bennett-Jankowski
    Brodie-Stone

    PK3
    Monahan-Stajan

        • Carl the tooth

          Thunder 1Vancouver Kessler was one of there top scores and was there number1 penalty killer .toews in his first few years was one of chi top two scorers and was there number1 penalty killer .you think perry and getzlaf don’t kill penalties o guess those two weren’t ever Anaheims too two it’s a ridiculous post Brian or should just call you brain dart or lock jaw lol . Giordano 50 points in like60 games a Norris year I’m pretty sure he’s killed some penalties too . It depends on the roster not who’s the top two players don’t pk that’s silly Brian

  • TheoForever

    I believe that the two PP units should have a different approach to keep the teams guessing. Mix and match.
    First unit a finesse bunch with pretty passes. Second unit relaying on getting packs through from the point.
    Unit 1: Monahan, Vers, Ferk Johnny, Brodie
    Unit 2: Bennett, Backlund, Tkachuk, Giordano, Hamilton
    Could switch Ferk and Tkachuk

    On PK:
    Unit 1: Backs, Frolik, Giordano, Hamonic
    Unit 2: Bennett, Stajan, Brodie, Stone

    • TheoForever

      or when come to PK, we could give Hamilton a chance. Then unit 2 could be Giordano – Hamilton and unit 1 would be Brodie – Hamonic. We don’t have to break the d-pairings, and Giordano – Hamilton get a little less defensive time, so more rest to the scoring.

  • JusAFlamer

    What a lot of people seem to be forgetting is that
    A) A PP unit will be out there as penalty expires (not all PP will score) do want to run completely different pairings for defense from that of 5v5? that is why 2nd unit was generally our higher offensive normal D pairing, rather than attempting to juggle constant to get back to set/comfortable pairings.
    B) with 4 fwd and 1 d on PP1 that 1 D not only needs to be part of the PP (keep it in) but is the one that MUST be able to scramble back in case of turnover. Brodie did an admirable job last season. While would love to see stone with his bomb there, or hammy (who can get it through) as another threat the fact that have Gaudreau and Versteeg both there (playmakers making space and opening lanes), bombs from point are not the main threat of that PP and “could” be a waste (tips/goal mouth scrambles is where PP1 is lacking, and tips do not require a “bomb”

    In terms of PK, there is a lot of options. I see progression even from last season on the PK where challenging entry will be even bigger with smith back there to corral and clear and dump and chase. For that reason i can see Stone and Hamonic getting main time on the PK with Gio and probably Brodie as their partners (remember GG loves his left/right pairing regardless) so with stone and hamonic on right cant see hamilton getting much PK time (not saying he not worthy BUT with the “depth” why would shove him back there as choice 1-2

  • Carl the tooth

    Thunder 1 datsyuk killed penalties too . Does getzlaf ever kill penalties that’s the silliest thing if heard yet .teams don’t use there too 2 players on pk lololol what league are you watching Brian!!

  • Eggs Bennett

    I would like to see Bennett get a chance with Gaudreau and Monahan on PP1, with Hamilton and Versteeg manning points. I assert that there is some hidden chemistry between Bennett and Gaudreau, who are both so skilled with great vision. What better way to explore this than on the PP? Anyone remember this pretty play from the playoff clincher last season? Saw it live and boy was it pretty…

    https://youtu.be/-1gsSk6Ft18

    • TheoForever

      I would worry about odd man rushes. Too bad Brodie doesn’t have a better shot, but defensively because of is mobility and speed I like him better on the point if partnered with a forward.

  • Carl the tooth

    I know it seems everyone’s set on the 3 m line or the dou,s (backlund frolik) but who is our top rw ………. it’s frolik … . I think he had a few looks with Johnny and mony but not near as much as Brouwer . Backlund plays good with anyone(bouma .jones ) say frolik did go on top line and tkachuk stayed with backs on second who would you put on second line with them ….. I was thinking ferlund /Brouwer but then versteeg stated making a lot of Sense tkachuck backs versteeg .on second line. Then Jankowski bennet ferlund . And who ever else on 4 rth.

  • Carl the tooth

    Who was stocktons top pk killers that are a flames prospect? Jankowski and klimchuck I think . This years camp is gonna have a lot of competition for those last spots .

    • TheoForever

      When comes to the camp this year, I expect the cuts to be made very quickly. A handful of guys are going to get a chance to show their stuff: Janko, Foo, Klimchuk, Poirier, Eatbread, Lomberg up front, and Kulak, Andersson, Spoon on the back. Shink gets kind of lost in all of this, I hope he proves me wrong, but I just don’t see him as an NHLer.
      We cannot go into game one like we did last year without set lines and bizarre experiments.

      • Carl the tooth

        Agreed. Forgot about lomberg . I also keep forgetting about Hathaway how about him on some pk ? Then we got that pribl that was injured he may have a larger role too this year as looks to be thinner for centres in Stockton . Is mangiapane entering the convo after his rookie season was also impressive.