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Photo Credit: via @SammyHudes on Twitter

Slack Sundays: talkin’ Jagr

Jaromir Jagr is a Calgary Flame! He didn’t play last night, but the second all-time leading scorer in the entire history of the National Hockey League will soon be hitting the ice in a snazzy red sweater. To celebrate this, and because it’s Sunday and we do this every week, we convened our crew to chat about all things Jagr.

Ryan Pike: All the news seemed to break last week. But even though he skipped the home-opener, Jagr’s a Flame now. What are everyone’s expectations for his performance this season?

billtran (Bill Tran): We know he can slot in and make the Flames immediately better, we just don’t know to what extent.

karimkurji (Karim Kurji): My expectations for Jagr begin and end with Sam Bennett. I’m not looking for Jagr to put up a crazy amount of points or score 30 goals or anything. I’m not even expecting him to play in all 82 games. I just want to see him bring some stability to Bennett’s line and see Jagr help Bennett take his game to the next level

billtran: To see him make the call to sit out versus the Jets tells us a lot: he knows that he is performing at a sub-optimal level by his standards, but it also sends a message to the other players on the team.

Ryan Pike: That’s a good point; Bennett probably stands to benefit the most from a 100% Jagr.

karimkurji: Even an 80% Jagr will likely be better than at 180% Brouwer. If Sam can figure it out beside Jagr, we’re laughing.

billtran: No player wants to sit out whether by their decision or their coach’s, but to see Jagr make that call because he thinks he’s not playing his best, that’s a leadership type move not many others would make

karimkurji: It’s a really big ask to play center in the NHL AND carry Brouwer on your shoulders. Sam should be in a really good position with Jagr instead. On him sitting out, he did mention in the press conference that he would need some time to get back to game shape. Which is a bit worrisome. How long will it take to get a good Jagr??

billtran: Bennett was probably just as disappointed as fans were when we heard Jagr was sitting out tonight.

Ryan Pike: Will Jagr’s success here be judged by points? Or is there a different metric?

billtran: Keep in mind that he’s probably still feeling the effects of jet lag. I’ve thought about that, and I don’t think it should be solely on points! Obviously more points = good, but I think his success can be seen if we see his linemates (read: Bennett) play to their potential. I think Jagr has the ability to elevate Bennett, and that to me is a good indicator.

karimkurji: He’ll probably be judged by the impact of his whole line. He likely won’t eclipse 50 points but his linemates could.

Ryan Pike: That’s my thought, too. If the third line is consistently noticeable and forces coaching staffs to adjust how they approach the Flames, that’s the benefit.

croatis (Christian Roatis): His effect on the PP could be huge too.

Ryan Pike: His big ass?

karimkurji: His add is really important because now it isn’t about having a top 6 who can score. In today’s NHL, you need a top 9. And Brouwer doesn’t belong in that group. Jagr’s addition allows Brouwer and any other winger who got to play with Bennett to be correctly slotted on the fourth or the press box.

croatis: GG mentioned how he goes to the net more, which is what they wanted out of Brouwer and he just… didn’t do well.

karimkurji: Add it to the list.

Ryan Pike: Is that arguably the biggest indictment of Brouwer? That his presence doesn’t really change the game-planning for facing the Flames?

croatis: He doesn’t do anything well. He does everything below average. Also for whatever reason, I’ve seen him crowding Versteeg on the same wing in the offensive zone. Like.. get back to your wing dammit

Ryan Pike: Precisely, it’s about grinding down the opponents’ better players with three good lines.

karimkurji: The only thing Brouwer does is grind my gears.

billtran: Brouwer’s looked just as much out of place now as he did last year. He might be even more out of place this year actually. He carries a bigger label on him and other teams surely know how to exploit him. Basically don’t cover Brouwer cause the play will die on his stick anyways.

Ryan Pike: I’m curious if adding Jagr gives Brouwer a bit more space to find his game again.

billtran: If that happens… then Jagr’s addition will be even a bigger success than we could have ever imagined.

Ryan Pike: Okay, quick round of predictions before we wrap up: how many points does Jagr get as a Flame this year?

billtran: 15G 25A (40 PTS). Father time might be closing in on Jagr but he’ll still be effective.

Ryan Pike: I’m gonna go 18G, 18A (36 PTS).

karimkurji: 15G 29A (44 PTS).

croatis: 13G 35A (48 PTS).

Ryan Pike: I look forward to bringing this up again in April.

  • Intercourse the Penguins

    I will remember from the telecast last night when Jaro skipped accross the room to join the Travelling Jagr’s.I think part of what keeps him young is a desire to have fun on and off the ice.

    • Fan the Flames

      In addition to having fun he brings a calming influence to his team . I expect Jagr will bring value to the team by improving the power play and making those around him better.

  • HOFer_dirty30

    I really liked johnny Bennett lazar because of how fast they were. When you put put that much speed on a line it really opens up space for gaudreau. Add a skater like brodie and we saw the results last night. I’m sure jagr will start with Bennett and versteg and we get to see how that looks. The problem having lazar with Bennett is who gets bumped down to 4th line? Ferland? Versteeg? Jagr? Probably lazar which is unfortunate.. why do we have to have so many good players?!

    • Kevin R

      A good problem to have. I honestly don’t think Jagr is ready for Bennett’s line yet. I would like to see him get his skating legs in a game gradually. 4th line with Brouwer & Stajan may not be something to bring the best out of Jagr but it can get him in game condition without having to feel he has to do too much & injuring himself. Maybe give him some 2nd unit PP time too.

      • HOFer_dirty30

        As much as I’m excited for jagr, if he needs to sit another game to prepare, I wouldn’t mind it. Sounds like he doesn’t want to rush it. It rewards lazars effort with another shot with good linemates, and we see if he can replicate the results against a better team

        • Kevin R

          Not saying that would be a regular thing & agree but he hasn’t had any training camp. He keeps saying he wants to be ready. He doesn’t want to hurt the team & doesn’t want to hurt himself. 4th line minute are probabley in order for his 1st game. & like HOFer says, let Lazar have another kick at making his case & force Tre into a trade.

  • MWflames

    I thought the monny/jonny line has been a bit stale dating back to last year, so i was glad to see things swapped up last night. exciting that it seemed to work!

    When Jagr gets in to a game i suspect they’ll roll with the standard lines, and slot him in next to bennett. Although, bennett/gaudreau could be good, and perhaps allows them to balance their attack across 3 lines rather than 2. Monny/jonny vs other top lines has consistently caused them problems. I think we could see this combo in the not so distant future:

    Gaudreau – bennett – Ferland
    3m
    Versteeg – monahan – Jagr

    Lots of teams don’t have a 3rd line they’d ideally want to match against at least one of those lines. Although, maybe not a true #1 line there though.

    Lazar earned another game last night which is good, we needed someone to step up. Find a way to get janko on the 4th line and they might even chip in for a few goals too.

  • Off the wall

    GG was talking last night that he wants to do some video review of last nights game to determine the best matchup for Anaheim.

    Being a heavy team I’d imagine GG wants some hard hitters in the lineup. I still don’t think Jagr will play, just a gut feeling.

    The best recipe is a mix of skill and grit. What would that look like?

    Gaudreau- Bennett- Ferland
    3M
    Versteeg- Monahan- Lazar
    Glass- Stajan- Brouwer
    It would also be good to see Kulak replace Bartkowski.

    My guess is GG goes back to original lineup, tinkers if things start going bad:

    Gaudreau- Monahan- Ferland
    3M
    Versteeg- Bennett- Jagr?- Lazar
    Glass- Stajan- Brouwer

    Does Lazar sit if Jagr plays ?
    He shouldn’t, but the odds are not likely he’ll play.. unless we sit ..you know who- (Burden)..-and that’s not happening.
    I think Glass will play, deterrent and all- Lazar deserves to be in.
    Any more trade talk?!

  • I am Batman

    Flames nation should post another picture…. this picture has been posted a lot and he looks like a fat uncle asking at what time they’re playing “duck dynasty “.
    Speaking of ducks….

  • Puckhead

    I’m a bit perplexed as to how Jagr showed up not being in game shape. If his intention was to keep playing shouldn’t he have ramped up his fitness training program to coincide with the start of the season? I thought he was supposed to be in great physical shape for his age? Is it a sign that he’s taking his foot off the pedal? Hope not.

    • I am Batman

      I agree he looks fat and he shows no interest (at least in interviews) to join the team , his answers sound more like “I will be ready when I’m ready” other than “I wanna go, now! Coach ! Get me in there!”.

      Does he get paid even if he doesn’t play?

      • Puckhead

        He does not look fat. Did you see the pics of OV with his dad bod at his wedding this summer? Then he goes out and lights up the scoreboard. Maybe Jagr will be good for 3 goals his first game back.

        I bet you have a big pouch on you. Your bat boy tights would look so much better if you took care of yourself.

        • BlueMoonNigel

          Don’t kid yourself. You know he looks fat and he even admits he is out of shape. That is a perplexing thing for an athlete to say who isn’t coming back from an injury. Maybe none of the NHL clubs threw him a contract during the summer because they were aware that he didn’t give a damn if he played in the show again.

          Our friend batboy wears mom’s girdle before he puts on his bat tights claiming the girdle gives him extra lower back support. We know differently.

          • I am Batman

            All of you cry like 9 year old girls when someone trolls but you start with insults and uncalled remarks (that aren’t even funny) every time you read something you disagree with.

            Joke is on you, you don’t go on the streets of Calgary speaking like this.

            I didn’t criticize any of you (how could I? I do not know you) but I did say that Jagr looks out of shape, and he does.

            I’m out of here, this childish drivel isn’t for me.

            Enjoy your crappy team, your crappy site, go fck yourselves.

        • BringtheFire 2.0

          Well, he thought he wasn’t going to sign with any team, but at the last minute he got two offers. I think mentally he wasn’t ready as well. He seemed groggy and old in his interview, I agree, but when he crashed the Travelling Jagr’s interview he looked happy and fresh.

          I was encouraged!

  • T&A4Flames

    The only time I would have considered separating Mony and Johnny would be if Mony had another good puck distributor with him. He looked good beside Versteeg I thought. Adding Jagr with those 2 would give Mony 2 solid puck distributors feeding him, with him as an excellent finisher. Gaudreau, Bennett and Lazar or Ferland have good speed and Johnny can distribute to both with Bennett being good at shooting and passing. I advocate trying these lines for a few more games.

    • calgaryfan

      why does Monahan not have to play a 200 foot game? Gets to coast around the ice looking for a pass in the slot? It is going to hurt him as others improve, his ice time will be cut and his goals will go down. He needs to work on his game or he will be left behind.

      • OKG

        wingers generally get away with playing more aggressive offensively. Can’t blame Monahan, who at the NHL level is best suited to the wing. It’s not his fault or a lack of effort – it’s just the nature of his tool set and his play style.

  • Skylardog

    I had started putting this together before last night’s game, and then… Wow, a breakout game. But the metrics of it still apply. I don’t care if you are too lazy to read this, but for those that do, you will see why my case, as laid out here, is strong.
    My argument is twofold
    1. Backlund is not a second line centre
    2. Signing Jagr was a mistake

    All this looks at the last 15 games, not including last night (10 regular season last year, 4 playoff, and the Edmonton opener.
    The Numbers
    In the last 15 games (before last night). Flames went 4-10-1, or 0.300. The teams played, for the most part represent teams from the Pacific, and teams we must beat to be successful.
    Even Strength, the Flames posted a Corsi of 48.93%, with 20 goals for, 1.33 goals per game, 34 goals against, 2.27 per game. In the last 15 games, the team is a combined -89. Only 2 players are positive, Curtis Lazar, 4 games at +1, and Dennis Wideman, 2 games at +1. Hathaway in 1 game is even.
    Bartkowski is -11 over that stretch, Engelland -9. Of the forwards, Backlund is -8, and Johnny is -7. Whipping boy Brouwer is one of the better regular Flames at -3.
    On a +/- per 60, Backlund at -2.31 per 60, is the worst Flame forward among those that have played more than 5 games in that stretch, yet his linemates are best, Tkachuk at -0.67 and second best, Frolik at -0.82. Interestingly, Lazar was the number 1 forward at +1.43, but played only 4 games. No other player, other than Wideman was positive.

    We have been getting slaughtered 5v5. As I keep saying, we were a combined -41 in the playoffs with only 3 goals scored 5v5. That’s not good enough to win anything.

    Based on this I will argue the following points.
    1. Backlund is not a true number 2 centre (and Monahan to some extent, is not a top line centre)
    2. If Backlund is not a number 2 centre, then Bennett must perform at a top 2 centre level, and be given the linemates to do so.
    3. If Bennett is a top 2 centre, then signing Jagr was a mistake.

    Backlund
    Last season, among players listed as centres in the NHL, Monahan was tied for 21st with 58 points, Backlund was tied for 35th with 53 points. Points per game, Monahan was tied for 31st at 0.71, and Backlund tied for 49th at 0.65. Not exactly lighting it up.
    Using points per game, as it takes away the injury factor, 11 teams had 2 centres that score at a higher pace than our first line centre Monahan: Edmonton, Anaheim, San Jose, Winnipeg, Dallas, Minnesota, Buffalo, Toronto, Pittsburgh, Washington, and Tampa. The following teams had 1 centre that produced at a higher rate than Monahan: LA, Chicago, Nashville, Detroit, NYI, and Columbus. Philly had Giroux who was the equal of Monahan. As a note, Anaheim has 3 centres ahead of Monahan, and Toronto has 4. Read that again!
    SEVENTEEN teams had a 2nd centre that scored at a higher pace than Backlund. Five of those teams had 3 or more centres that are ahead of Backlund. Backlund had a career year last year, but ev en that is not at a second line level by NHL standards.
    My point to all of this? It becomes clear, that we are weak up the middle in comparison to much of the league. Note that 7 teams did not have a centre that scored at Backlund’s pace, Arizona, Vancouver, St Louis, Colorado, Montreal, NJ, and Carolina. Some of these teams have addressed this issue. This group, for the most part, speaks to the weakest of the weak in the NHL.
    Backlund is, however, maybe the best 3rd line centre in the game. He is one of the best shut down players, and a Selke quality player. That is a third line duty. And it is his upside that makes his value so great.
    As a result of not having a substantial 1-2 threat, Monahan also struggles. It is simple: Teams can match Monahan and Backlund’s lines, and dominate with superior forwards (centres) against those 2 lines, outscoring them. This is why our +/- is so bad at -89 in those 15 games.

    Bennett As A Second Centre
    He is all we have, and he is capable, but not with Brouwer. I would argue, not with Versteeg either (I like Steeg but he is not clicking with Bennett). I have ALWAYS pencilled in Lazar here, and put them as the second line, and you all disagreed and moved them to third line behind Backlund, and crossed off Lazar. This won’t work. Bennett has to lead the 2nd (or first) line.
    A 1-2-3 punch of Monahan – Bennett – Backlund is the only way we can counter the shutdown and currently superior centres of the best in the Pacific, and the best in the NHL. That is what happened last night. Winnipeg could not deal with 3 lines attacking them or, in the case of Backlund’s line, shutting down their best offensive threat. Stop Mony, Bennett scores, Stop Bennett, Mony scores. Have 2 great lines, we play Bennett and Mony against them to a draw and Backlund beats the oppositions 3rd line. And at home we get to match Backs against their best, and the Mony and Bennett lines run over the opposition.

    Jagr

    This is hard to say, but the truth hurts. He is no longer a top 6 forward. The speed of the game has surpassed him. By logic, if he is not a top line forward, then he shouldn’t play with Mony. If Backlund is the third line, and Frolik belongs on that line on RW, Jagr doesn’t belong on line 3. If Bennett is the 2nd centre, and Jagr no longer has the skills to be a second line RW, then the only place we have for Jagr is on the 4th line. We have guys for those spots. Hathaway, Stajan, Brouwer (yuk), Freddie, Glass, Poirier, Janko, Mangi, Klim…
    What we really needed is a top RW. We talked about that on FN all summer, and then you all jump for joy when we get a bottom 6 RWer. What are you all thinking? You got caught up in the name, not the current skill set. With the signing of Jagr, the budget is blown to get a top RW at the deadline or sooner. We once again did a half measure. We needed a top 6 forward and had $4.0 to $5.0 million if we traded the right assets, now we can’t afford a top notch forward if we need one. We blew the budget on the wrong guy. Sure we can get a $3.0 forward, but we are likely not getting a top 6 for that price.

    Lazar. We better hope he works out with Bennett. A cup run depends on it. I would say there are other in Stockton that could take the role, but none of them have the upside and the very strong defensive abilities we are seeing from Lazar (watch him, he is great defensively and has been all preseason).

    Here are the lines I see now as being the only way we can go deep. It changed a bit last night,

    JG-Bennett-Lazar
    Tkachuk-Mony-Ferland
    Versteeg-Backlund-Frolik
    ?-Janko-Hathaway(Brouwer/Jagr/Freddie
    Where the ? is Glass or Stajan.
    Personally, I would like to see a prospect (Klimchuk) with Backlund-Fro, and Steeg with Janko
    That means the 3rd and 4th are:
    Klim-Backs-Fro
    Steeg-Janko-Hathaway (Jagr)

    Why Klimchuk? Because he will be a great 2 way player and that matches what we need from the Backlund line. Why not Janko on line 3? Because Janko will kill the oppositions 4th line, especially with Steeg on his left. (That’s a killer 4th line).

    • ZKman

      Your analysis is fine, as numbers don’t lie… your sample size is too small to draws the conclusions you are attempting to make. I applaud your passion, as you clearly put a lot effort into crunching the numbers.

      • Skylardog

        The assessment of Backlund (and Mony) is based on a whole season. That’s a huge sample size.

        The last 15 games is used as it highlights a large number of games against the Pacific division, and a playoff series. The playoff series at the end of the day is really all that matters. The 15 games shows situations where the Flames faced teams (for the most part) with superior centres, Anaheim, San Jose, LA, Edmonton… Going deep depends on our ability to beat these teams. If I use games against Arizona, Vancouver etc, we are using teams we really don’t need to figure out how to beat to be successful, and it will skew the results in favour of the Flames being successful with the lineup as it stands. That might sound ok, but then we are really saying what we were doing last year worked. It didn’t, we got swept in the playoffs and went 4 for the last 15. We still (until tomorrow) can’t beat Anaheim.

        I guess I could just compare us against teams that made the playoffs last year and it would give us better set of stats, but that would take me forever. The sample used highlights the issue.

        • dontcryWOLF

          Hockey is a team game, thankfully. Saying this guy or that guy isn’t a true 1 or 2 center doesn’t mean much. It might if teams were only matching up centers, but of course, that’s not how it works. The value is all around the quality of the entire unit you put out at one time, which includes defence and even the goalie.

          For instance, say you get a guy like Tavares on your team. Are you a better team if it means you have to give up backlund, tckachuk, and gaudreau? …i would say that team is actually worse off.

          • Skylardog

            Good point, however, for me to research every line on each team, and then analyse each player individually line by line, would be even more time consuming than what was done here and by a scale of way more than 3 by the time I figure out who is on each line. Also, many lines are somewhat fluid, and will change through the season.

            The centres will give a good indication of how the line performs, not perfect, but a good indication.

            If you consider that Frolik was 30th by points among RW and 34th by points per game, and Tkachuk was 25th and 31st, it appears that the 3 of them are fairly close statistically in relation to other NHLers in their position. It would actually suggest, with Backlund being ranked lower than the other 2 in relation to others in the same position, that Backlund, from a point production standpoint, may be the weak link on that line. Thank you for helping me to build my case that he is likely more of a third liner than a second.

        • freethe flames

          I have always argued that Backs is not a true number 2 but his is such a solid all round center. Hopefully Bennett makes progress this year and take on more of this load. Also I am hopeful that Janko can become a Backlund light this year and then make progress with NHL experience. Playing guys in their proper role is essential. Monny may not be a perfect #1 center but is a goal scorer and a solid player. Using Jagr in the proper manner can help this team this year. A line of Versteeg/Monahan/Jagr getting lots of Ozone starts could produce a lot of goals and that would help. If Lazar/Bennett/Johnny can build on the chemistry form last night that would be great.(one game does prove anything)
          keeping the line of Backlund/Frolik with Tkachuk creates secondary offence and is one of the best defensive units in the NHL. The question is when do you move Tkachuk to a different line. The 4th line would look like Janko/Ferland and Stajan and could be defensively solid. If one of the kids can make the jump Mangiapane it would add some serious jump or even a guy like Poirier with his speed or Hathaway with his grit or even Klimchuk with his solid 2 way game. But as long as we play a 4th line dominated by Stajan/”The Burden” and Glass the Flames will struggle to have 4 effective lines.

    • OKG

      Pretty clueless post.

      “Selke contenders are third liner centerss”
      Bergeron
      Kopitar
      Toews
      Kesler
      Datsyuk

      Those 5 guys are the last ten Selke trophies. Which of these guys is anything short of a bonafide first liner? At worst you’ve got Kesler who is a 2C on about any team in the NHL.

      Never mind your context-less points based analysis (neither Monahan nor Backlund play top 30 minutes)

      Or the analysis based on goal differentials in small sample sizes, specifically cherrypicked for when the Bartkowski-Engelland pair’s PDO went cold.

      Just all-in-all a terrible post, I’m sorry to say.

      • Skylardog

        All of those mentioned are superior or equal to Backlund in Points per Game last year, except for Datsuyk, who didn’t play, and as I am trying to point out to the stubborn FN Fans, for the most part, the top 2 centres on the teams we need to beat, get much higher point per game production from their top 2 centres than the Flames do.
        Remember, Mony at 0.71 and Backs at 0.67. for reference.
        Chicago, Toews at 0.81, Anismov 0.70 – Superior
        Anaheim, Getzlaff 0.99, Kesler 0.71, and Rakell (listed as a centre) at 0.72, Far superior
        LA struggled last year but, Carter 0.8, and Kopitar 0.68 (he had an off year by all accounts), Superior
        Boston barely made the playoffs and went out in round 1. Bergeron 0.67, Krejci 0.68. Worse than the Flames.
        And for reference
        San Jose, Pavelski 0.84, Couture 0.71. They also had Big Joe at 0.63, and Marleau 0.56. Superior
        Edmonton McD 1.22, Drysaddle 0.94 (needs an asterisk), Eberle 0.62 (They beat us 4 times remember) MCD makes up for the next centre in the line up.
        Pittsburgh Crosby 1.19, Malkin 1.16. Far superior

        There are anomalies. Nashville and Ottawa made it deep but had weak 1-2 punches. I remind you they were not at the top of their conferences. Nashville had the lowest point total that got in the playoffs
        Dallas was strong and missed the playoffs

        But my point is valid. Our 1-2 punch is too weak to contend for a cup,

        If you notice, I put JG-Bennett-Lazar as the first line. There may be a reason for that…

        Quit looking at the last 15 stats as the reason Backlund is not a true second line centre. Those numbers are there to highlight the problems, not justify the argument. 11 of those 15 games were against Pacific division opponents, They exposed something about our line up. They all have superior first and second line centres. We were -89 in that period of time we played 11 games against Pacific division opponents.

        You all bash GG for being stubborn. He won’t see the problems, Bart, Burden. Neither will you. But what if I am right. Statistically, my argument makes sense. Get over the Selke comment if that is your beef, Backlund didn’t win it anyways. But don’t let it hold you up from opening your eyes.

        • calgaryfan

          good for you to doing the research. You make a lot of good points. I have hopes that Janko and Bennett can grow and improve our center depth and the Flames move Monahan to the wing.

        • Off the wall

          Skylardog, why are you trying to reinvent the advanced metrics wheel?

          You are using an opinion that is lopsided for your argument.

          Centre is only one position out of 6 players on the ice at any given time. In 40-60 second intervals. You’re missing the whole argument by implying the one position far outweighs the rest of the positions (players) who are – and can influence those numbers. A Polaroid shot at best, though I laud your attempt.

          The Flames have an analytic department for this. Perhaps you’ve forgotten that we hired David Johnston (Puckalytics) as a member of the team. Also add our 2 video specialists and I’m sure Treliving and GG have plenty of this information available to them. Hence we are seeing drafting taking a different step this last season. Also video sessions are becoming the norm with players and development.
          Time to rest those weary eyes of yours and get some sleep..

      • FlamesFan27

        How about you make your point without your last sentence? It was an interesting rebuttal until then. I like hearing people make good arguments in multiple directions.

        The good news is that whether you call Backlund and 2 or 3 centre, if Bennett can make the step we are a lot stronger up the middle.

    • BringtheFire 2.0

      “Good point, however, for me to research every line on each team, and then analyse each player individually line by line…”

      But you nearly have to. Your analysis was fascinating, but if you’re going hard on numbers, we need more comparison to other teams.

      Additionally, the trajectory of other teams will affect the productivity of our own. For example, the Ducks and King’s were historically beasts against us in the past, but by all indications they’re both due for a slide. As the competition changes, so too do the numbers, both individual and team.

    • cberg

      That’s a lot of work. I would agree with the obvious conclusion that Monahan is not the same level as Crosby,… but that is clear with or without numbers. Monahan is a great sniper and pretty reliable defensively and I have no problem with him. Its an interesting comparison of him vs McKinnon. McKinnon is much more dynamic, and speedy, but I think its clear and becoming clearer every year that Monahan is more effective. Ultimately a successful team needs both skillsets and with the Flames, at this time, Gaudreau brings the dynamism and Monahan the finish. As Bennett develops perhaps (hopefully) he can supplant Monahan in the 1C role and push Monahan down to 2C or even better (to me) to 1RW.

      I am a bit confused by your post overall. Although you make some valid points, you also miss others, like the other, non-C players. With the Flames this specifically means the D. No team has the ideal make-up, with strength in every position. Each team needs to make the best out of what they have and develop a strategy to win with those guys. With the Flames at this moment it appears a strong, mobile, offensively-minded d corps is the way they are going. We shall see how that goes, but as we saw last year with Nashville that is a viable strategy.

      Over the long haul of 2-3 years I hope that both Bennett and Jankowski can develop into strong two-way Cs and fill the 1C and 2C roles on the team. That leaves Backlund/Dube as strong 3C candidates. Failing that we will have to figure out an alternative. Unfortunately seeing and saying that we are weaker than the strongest C teams is one thing, doing something about it is another. These guys don’t come around too often in the draft and even more rarely in trades. Failing either of those options I have no problem moving ahead with what we’ve got, and if we’re so fortunate that one of our goalie prospects becomes a stand-out (Gillies/Parsons) we can definitely have success down the road.

    • GodsGotSandals

      I like Ferland over Jagr on that monahan line. Everything else I like alot though. Of course if Ferland takes that spot where does Jagr play? Seems like we have to many players for to few spots.

    • freethe flames

      This has good possibilities; still needs to be upgraded by players in the minors but that will still take time. Janko should be up quickly and the way Magpie is playing he could be a call up soon as well. The Bennett line looked good the other night but it’s one game. Bennett and Lazar benefit from Johnny’s O and he benefits from their D and their skating. The Monny line would get lots of Ozone starts and PP time and would be a great line for creating scoring chances and possessing the puck; the great challenge would be when they turn the puck over are they quick enough to defend? The Backlund line would just on chugging along with either Ferland or Versteeg there; it would be different w/o Tkachuk but either guy would bring different elements to that pairing. Ferland both speed and physicality and Versteeg his hockey IQ. Lots of D zone starts and the need to drive possession from this line but that is what is expected from Backs and Frolik anyways. First the Flames need to recall Janko and I believe that will happen soon. He needs to be a center of line with similar expectations as Backs line and that is why I would prefer Ferland there; Stajan can start on the LW and help with face offs but I see a guy like Magpie coming up and replacing him; Magpie and Janko’s chemistry remind me of Backs/Frolik. A Magpie/Janko/Ferland line the last half of the season could be quite a line to watch, defensively responsible, quick, and some offensive upside; both wingers can shoot the puck.

  • WillyWonka

    I’m getting the feeling that Brouwer’s leash isn’t going to be long this season… he has already given up his top 9 spot and wasn’t Ferland in his spot on the power play? I thought he’d get a 10-15 game prove-it leash, but GG has shown early that this year he will mix up the lines and put people where they belong…