The Calgary Flames have gotten off to a fairly good start in the standings, winning four of their first six games of the season. There have been some strong individual performances and some weaker ones.
As we sit in a brief lull in the schedule, let’s dig into individual Flames performances thus far using the statistic known as game score.
About game score
Game score was conceptualized by Dom Luszczyszyn, currently of The Athletic, in an attempt to capture player performance in one comparable number. Here’s how he summed it up for Hockey Graphs:
It’s not a perfect stat – it’s meant to be a rough measure after-all – but I do think it works well for its intended purpose and is effective at what it does. It’s meant to answer “who had the best game” by adding proper perspective to a combination of a player’s total contributions and into an easily understood all-in-one stat.
For skaters, game score uses goals, primary assists, secondary assists, shots on goal, blocked shots, penalty differential, faceoffs, 5-on-5 corsi differential and 5-on-5 goal differential. For goaltenders, it uses saves and goals against.
Here’s each Flames player’s average game score through six games. Anybody who was on the Flames last season has their 2016-17 game score in brackets for comparison’s sake. We’ve used the same comparative labels that we used in last season’s game score looks.
1.450 – Mike Smith
1.138 – Johnny Gaudreau [0.857]
1.063 – Matthew Tkachuk [0.786]
Obviously these guys are outliers and bound to come down. But generally speaking, these have been the three most consistently good players for the Flames.
Good (0.45 to 0.95):
0.875 – Dougie Hamilton [0.810]
0.875 – T.J. Brodie [0.400]
0.813 – Mark Giordano [0.691]
0.751 – Sean Monahan [0.662]
0.685 – Michael Frolik [0.688]
0.566 – Mikael Backlund [0.777]
0.529 – Kris Versteeg [0.488]
0.500 – Jaromir Jagr (3 games)
0.470 – Freddie Hamilton (1 game) [0.109]
Hey look, the Flames have three defensemen in a cluster! Brodie’s made a big jump early on; his even strength numbers are a little bit better than last season’s, but his power play points inflate his number some. Jagr makes an appearance just a smidge below Versteeg, which makes a lot of sense given his usage and ice time. It’ll be interesting if his average score creeps up with more time playing with Monahan and Gaudreau.
Fine (0.15 to 0.45):
0.246 – Travis Hamonic
0.243 – Micheal Ferland (5 games) [0.312]
0.164 – Matt Stajan (5 games) [0.242]
0.160 – Curtis Lazar (4 games) [0.445]
Hamonic doesn’t get power play time, so this placement kinda makes sense. Ferland seems way low based on who he plays with. And here begins the march of the depth players.
Bad (-0.15 to 0.15):
0.121 – Michael Stone [0.297]
0.038 – Matt Bartkowski [-0.053]
0.027 – Troy Brouwer [0.166]
-0.059 – Tanner Glass (5 games)
-0.128 – Sam Bennett [0.280]
It’s the depth players, and Bennett. Bennett has zero points and leads the team in penalty minutes, which somewhat explains his bad numbers. Stone and Bartkowski seem low but have gotten slammed possession-wise (a product of their iffy defensive play).
Awful (below -0.15):
-0.250 – Eddie Lack (1 game)
-0.270 – Garnet Hathaway (1 game) [0.139]
Gigantic, blinking “sample size” warnings here. Lack played one game in relief during garbage time, while Hathaway played fourth line minutes and then was shunted to the AHL to open a roster spot for Jagr.