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WWYDW: Who should be on the Flames’ powerplay?

Through 12 games, the Flames have a powerplay success rate of 14.3% – tied for 24th in the NHL. They’ve scored all of six powerplay goals, but nothing since five games ago (and that was a five-on-three goal; you have to go back seven games to find a five-on-four goal).

Those powerplay goals came courtesy of six different Flames: T.J. Brodie, Johnny Gaudreau, Micheal Ferland, Sean Monahan, Matthew Tkachuk, and Kris Versteeg. Gaudreau leads the way with five powerplay points, Brodie and Versteeg have three apiece, Mark Giordano two, and Ferland, Monahan, Tkachuk, Mikael Backlund, and Jaromir Jagr one.

That’s it. Something’s gotta give – and maybe it should be the personnel?

The first powerplay unit currently consists of Troy Brouwer, Brodie, Gaudreau, Monahan, and Versteeg. The second is often Sam Bennett/Michael Frolik, Dougie Hamilton, Backlund, Giordano, and Tkachuk. Jagr and Ferland have also received some time on the man advantage.

Gaudreau and Monahan obviously aren’t coming off of the first unit, and Versteeg should be a fair bet to remain there, as well: he leads the team in powerplay shots.

Brouwer, though, is a different story. Over the 21:59 he’s played, he has three shots on net and… that’s about it. Compare this to Ferland, with a goal and four shots over 11:40, or Jagr, with an assist and two shots over 11:53. (I do believe Brouwer is filling in for Jagr while Jagr is out – right-handed shots and all that – but that’s pure speculation on my part.)

Brodie also provides an interesting look. Yes, he has a goal and two assists, plus five shots, over 46:34 of powerplay time. Giordano, however, has two assists and three shots over 28:34, while Hamilton has six shots over 27:26. It’s not that Brodie is doing poorly – it’s that another defenceman might be able to do more if he had Brodie’s minutes.

As for the second unit, well, we can probably be confident in Backlund, Giordano, Hamilton, and Tkachuk remaining fixtures on the powerplay, no matter which unit they’re playing on. The question then turns to just who fills in that last slot? (I’m sticking to my Jagr-on-the-first-unit theory; he had three minutes of powerplay time in his last game, during which he only played 3:49.)

It really comes down to three players: Bennett, Ferland, and Frolik. All three are left shots, so that’s not an issue here.

With Bennett, you have offensive potential that just hasn’t been consistently realized (or, in the case of this season, hasn’t been realized at all). He has one shot over 15:24 of ice time.

Ferland has a goal and four shots over 11:40 of ice time. As things currently stand, he’s getting another chance on the top line, making use of his large frame, powerful shot, and deceptively soft hands when he can, which apparently isn’t all that often.

And finally, there’s Frolik, who would keep the 3M line together, should Backlund and Tkachuk stay on the second unit. He has one shot over 12:12 spent on the man advantage.

In the hopes of restoring life to the Flames’ powerplay, how would you construct your two units?

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  • Baalzamon

    I do believe Brouwer is filling in for Jagr while Jagr is out – right-handed shots and all that – but that’s pure speculation on my part.

    Jagr’s a lefty.

  • Raffydog

    Maybe we could try a first power play unit that doesn’t have two fourth liners on it. Is there any other team in the history of the nhl that has used two fourth line players on the first power play unit?

  • FlamesFanOtherCity

    One thing we are missing from the top unit is a player on the point that can actually blast a shot on net. Give the guy in front of the goalie a shot to try and deflect. Instead, we use the same sequence every time; Johnny to Brodie to Versteeg to Brodie to Johnny. Sure we have control of the puck, but nobody setting up for a one-timer (Stamkos, Ovi, etc.), and normally Brouwer blocking the shot from hitting the net….Maybe it’s time to use Dougie as the 4th man. Or Hamonic, who can actually shoot.
    Brouwer in front of the net is a loss of possession waiting to happen.

    • Jessemadnote

      This. Mony has a deadly accurate shot but PKers know it and he’s guarded closely while the perimeter guys just pass the pack back and forth. I think switching Gio and Brodie could be a good start. Gio’s shot is miles ahead of Brodies and it would force the PK play the point a little closer which in theory could open up Mony. Brouwer for Jagr is such an obvious switch.

      Johnny – Mony – Jags – Gio – Versteeg
      Tkachuck – Backlund – Bennett – Brodie – Hamilton

    • Flames fan since 83

      Agree with first PP needing someone who has a good hard shot.
      Does Hamonic have a very strong shot? I know Stone has a great shot. Maybe Stone on the second unit and Dougie or Gio on the first?
      Anyway, my two cents is we are seriously lacking a hard shot from the point on the number 1 PP.

  • BendingCorners

    pp1 = first line plus Brodie and gio
    pp2 = third line plus dougie and versteeg
    Ferland is 1st line and jagr is third line fyi.
    save 3m for pk duty then we might never have to see the 4th line

  • CMC

    PP1 Gaudreau-Monahan-Ferland or Jagr, Gio-Hamilton
    PP2 Bennet-Backlund or Jankowski- Ferland or Jagr, Brodie-Hamonic
    Absolutely need shooters on point on PP1 and Gio and Dougie are the best options.

  • Nick24

    Jagr – Monahan – Gaudreau

    Hamilton – Versteeg

    Tkachuk – Backlund – Bennett/Ferland

    Gio – Brodie

    One option could also be bringing up Mangiapane and trying him out. Could be interesting to roll him on the 4th line with Stajan and Brouwer, and then use him on the PP. If he’s capable, he could really help the depth on the roster, and maybe form a viable 4th line. If it works, you could throw him where Versteeg is on the 1st unit and bump Versteeg to the right side on the 2nd unit. Further, If Jankowski has earned a roster spot, it makes you wonder how many more days Mangiapane has to dominate before he gets a look. Can’t imagine it’ll be too long.

  • Pizzaman

    Notice Leafs call up Josh Leivo for first game of season and he plays power play. So maybe putting young guys with PP experience or who can skate like Kulak or Ferland or Janko (who skates better than Brouwer). Surely Ferland in front of the net on PP is better than Brouwer and he is doing it with Mony Jonny.

  • deantheraven

    I can see some flexibility with some moving parts on the PP. Jagr with PP# 1 as is (minus Brouwer!). Maybe slip Stone in there instead of Steeger from time to time to set up his cannon from the point. Ferland with PP#2, with Bennett or Tkachuk, Backs & Gio, Dougie. Try them for a go or two, mix & match until you get some consistency. I know how that sounds, but they’re all capable & all know their roles. Different looks might make forgetter results.

  • Mikehuitema

    Arii, I have a question for you. While Brouwer has no PP goals there’s two statistics that tell us why Gulutzan might like him there. Firstly, no one has a higher CF/60 on the PP than Brouwer and secondly, only Ferland has a higher SCF/60. Is it bad luck or poor strategy (ie park the big guy with no skill in front of the net and blast from the point)?

  • freethe flames

    I would like to see Johnny/Monny/Jagr/Ferland/Brodie, 2 guys who can get the zone Johhny/Brodie, a net presence and possession guy in Jagr(also a finisher down low) and 2 shooters Monny from the high spot and Ferland with orders to shoot the puck when it gtes to him on the half wall; also to help retrieve the puck. The second unit Tkachuk net presence and finisher, Janko gain the zone(he also knows how to find the soft spots) and either Bennett if he gets his act together or Backs along with Gio and DHamilton.