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FlamesNation Mailbag: Home for the holidays

Hey, we’re back from the holidays to bring you the mailbag… which also happens to fall on a holiday.

Even as a proponent of NHLe, that’s not quite how it works.

Oliver Kylington and Rasmus Andersson both have an NHLe over 20 (Kylington 22, Andersson 27) in their age 20 seasons, which is generally a really good indicator of a defenceman ready to make the jump from AHL to NHL. If we read the stat quite literally, the duo should put up 22 and 27 points over 82 games next year, which is nothing to scoff at for 21-year-old defensive rookies.

Would I start selling the second pairing defencemen because we have two NHL-ready kids? Probably not. Kylington and Andersson have really high ceilings, but they’ve played a combined three NHL games in five combined seasons of professional hockey. NHLe is based on the average per game scoring rate change a player sees when jumping from one league to the NHL. Inherent in that is the average conditions which exists when jumping from one league to the other. On average, most NHL-ready AHL defenceman go from the #1 unit in the AHL to the #3 in the NHL. Not the #2. They might look great in the A, but they’d get crushed in the NHL. Those point projections might not hold up at all if they were under the stresses of the second pairing. It would be a bad idea.

I do feel that they cash in on Michael Stone during the offseason to try and get picks while also opening a spot for Andersson. They gave entirely too many years to Stone, betting that he could probably be buried by the time Andersson was ready. I don’t know how Kylington could get in without sacrificing Brett Kulak, but I’m sure the Flames have a plan in mind.

Andrew Mangiapane, yes. It’s long overdue, but the Michael Frolik injury has provided a fortuitous opportunity for him. Even without Frolik injured, I feel the Flames would be bold enough to try him anyways given the frustrations of this season so far.

As for other available options, I feel that they’re more or less impossible. The Flames have traded themselves into a corner, basically. They’ve already invested a lot into Mike Smith and Travis Hamonic, and that’s just enough to keep them a head above .500 nearly halfway into the season. Investing more assets for what could just push them a little bit more ahead (remember that the Flames’ problems are not just limited to one or two players) is probably not worth it if the result is a second place division finish instead of a third.

Specific to the question, Thomas Vanek is going to be another deadline rental selloff for a pick that might be too high for the Flames to have and/or be willing to give up. Mike Hoffman is intriguing, but I feel that they would have to throw at least an NHL, AHL, and CHL option as well as a pick to make it happen. Again, too much.

I think Dalton Prout is partially here because he could be a handy emergency recall in case of a defensive injury. If you remember everyone fuming at Andersson not playing last week (after flying red-eye to Calgary on a moment’s notice), Prout can satisfy everyone by being a ready body while not denying playing time to important Flames prospects. The Flames like keeping their prospects tucked away until they’re 100% ready to play NHL hockey. Might as well just have a guy hang around the pressbox instead of them.

Not asked in the question, but I have to wonder what the Flames do with the glut in Stockton. They currently have Andersson, Kylington, Tyler Wotherspoon, Josh Healey, Adam Ollas Mattsson, Kayle Doetzel (AHL contract), Oleg Yevenko (AHL contract), Cody Goloubef (AHL contract), and now Prout on the team. Does he deny Flames prospects playing time? Seems a little problematic.

This question unfortunately requires some more information before being answered.

People might forget that David Rittich has only played in all of six NHL games, starting in four. He has been fantastic in those four starts, but it is four starts. He’s earned the right to get more starts besides back-to-backs but I don’t think the team sees him as a starter at all yet, and it’s going to be tough to find out. Mike Smith has to falter badly enough over consecutive starts (which he has at points this season) that Rittich can get a few games of his own. I’ve pointed it out before, but he has had his fair share of struggles in the AHL which should raise doubts.

As for Tyler Parsons and Jon Gillies, that also requires more time. Gillies has finally had the net to himself, and we’ll have to see what he can do with it as the true starter (Mason McDonald is probably not going to be getting many starts while he’s up). Parsons is also a pretty big question mark. He’s ascended to that back-up role in the AHL, but he’s coming off his second injury this season and coming in a little rusty in a more difficult league is going to be quite the challenge.

Ask again in six months. Or perhaps two weeks, knowing how goaltending usually works.

I’m going to take the easy way out and say Dillon Dube. The kid might not be hitting the scoresheet, but he’s doing pretty much everything he needs to. He’s trusted to shut down other teams and bring the puck north and he’s been doing that. Juuso Valimaki has also been a standout, even on that stacked Finnish blueline.

Least impressive might be Adam Ruzicka. He’s been steady at times, but some of his warts are really showing. Part of that could be because Slovakia as a whole has been overwhelmed by much superior competition (Finland, Canada, and the USA all have a case to medal), but he hasn’t done much to distinguish himself.

[ed. This was written up before Sunday’s games. So you know, the Adam Fox goal and all that hadn’t yet been witnessed in all its glory. I feel like that might have made for a slightly different answer…]

There were one million questions about this, so might as well pick the one that wasn’t a rhetorical question.

The short answer is “no.” This is the same old song and dance we’ve seen from teams since we began measuring statistics like this. Coaches are on the hot seat whenever the shooting percentage drops, and Jack Adams favourites when it rises. The Flames are top 10 in 5v5 corsi for%, fenwick for%, shots for%, scoring chances for%, and high danger scoring chances for%. They are bottom 10 in shooting percentage. Gulutzan is not a bad coach because of a shooting percentage dip the same way Bob Hartley wasn’t a good one because of a higher than average SH%, despite what the NHL award voters think.

That happens, and it happens quite often in hockey, even to teams not named the Flames. Good teams lose, even to teams that aren’t as good. That’s a rule of all sports, but if you’re the better team more nights than not, you’re going to win more games. That’s how the Flames have been playing over the past month. It’s hard to argue that the team has checked out or isn’t responding when they’ve outperformed their opponents in the vast majority of their games.

Not to say that Gulutzan is perfect. Of course he has weird habits that bite the Flames in the ass from time to time. There’s no real reason why Dougie Hamilton, the team’s best defender, isn’t seeing the team’s best minutes. There is no reason for playing the fourth line in the third period, especially when the team needs a goal. The powerplay, which has seen a personnel upgrade, still won’t shoot the puck. He can really improve his luck if he improves these things.

But the point remains that overall, he has the Flames playing the way that teams who usually make the playoffs play. In the long run, that’s important. It seems for all the bluster, people have forgotten that the Flames are still two points out of a playoff spot with 43 games left to play. If they keep putting pucks to the net (as they have) and get into those dangerous areas (which they also have), they will make the playoffs, no question. Keep the end in mind.

  • The GREAT WW

    Ah, I see; GG is just unlucky with the low shooting %…….

    Couldn’t have anything to do with his brutal player usage, ridiculous system, complete lack of leadership and ability to motivate, lack of emotion, assistant coaches for special teams etc. Etc.

    Bad luck because of low shooting %…….ok…….?!!!

    WW

    • Stan

      So I guess the fact that the Flames are top 10 in 5v5 corsi for%, fenwick for%, shots for%, scoring chances for%, and high danger scoring chances for% is just a coincidence hey? Must have nothing to do with the coaching…

      Listen, GG has his warts, that’s for sure, but the amount of vitriol and blame he receives is absolutely ridiculous. His system likely plays a large role in the Flames excellence in the above listed metrics. His player usage is sometimes frustrating, but hardly a reason for firing. ALL coaches in the NHL make questionable personnel choices. For example, many Flames fans were clamouring for us to get Claude Julien – guess who he has on the 3rd and 4th line for the entire start of the season? Galchenyuk. That would be akin to GG playing Monahan on the 3rd or 4th line. We also don’t know what directives he has been given by management. For example, trying to justify the Brouwer contract or inflating his trade value by playing him on the PP. Anyways, I wouldn’t be so quick to judge a coach based on the questionable use of 1 or 2 players… chances are you’ll have these issues with any coach and making a change will really result in no tangible improvement.

      As far as your comments about his lack of leadership and ability to motivate, that is just ridiculous and doesn’t even deserve to be acknowledged unless you have 24/7 access to the Flames locker room and team meetings. Just an asinine statement, likely based on the fact that he doesn’t blow his top on the bench like Tortorella.

      • freethe flames

        Have any of these fancy stats made this a better team? Are we winning more? That is the bottom line for the NHL. I would say his usage of players is what causes this fan to wonder if he should be fired. His insistence on playing veterans ahead of kids in key situations even though it is obvious that the game has passed them by is striking to this fan. It has been reported that he has bagged skated this team a few times already this year and today’s athlete will only put up with that so often; he had to do it in the preseason that suggests something about either him(and his staff) and the leadership of the team(how Brouwer has a letter after a year and a half of doing little on the ice is perplexing). It’s not 1 or 2 players occassionally but on a regular basis.

      • oilcanboyd

        Fancy stats don’t put WIns on the board. The eye test tells me that the players are tentative when entering the zone and more often than not make the wrong decision because General Gel has polluted their minds with his way to play hockey….coaching.

    • Skylardog

      And shooting percentage has nothing to do with shots coming from the outside, with little to no chance of going in and no one jamming their way to the net to put in a rebound because the system has them sitting in a defensively responsible position high up in the slot.

      But keep drinking the Corsi Koolaid that has only 5 teams in the playoffs out of the top 10. If things shake out as the Corsi gods say they will, either teams like Carolina (who lead in Corsi), Edmonton, and Pittsburgh (who is looking like a mess right now) are going to find their way into the playoffs or they are all going to drop out of the top 10 in Corsi%. Don’t expect any of those things to happen. None of those 3 are making the playoffs, but all should and will remain in the top 10 in Corsi%.

      Spend a game watching Dougie Hamilton taking shots at the net. They all look the same. In the chest, 6 inches of the ice, from 25 to 35 feet out, from an angle that should never go in at the NHL level. Yet he is second in CF/60 of the regulars, first in CF at 811 events for, and leads the team by a country mile in individual CF events at 191 on the season. Gio is next at 163.

      And here is the tell tale sign of poor shots being taken. Dougie leads the team in individual CF/60 at 17.09, ahead of Frolik, the other shooting percentage dog on the team this year who is second at 16.3. The very fact that a defenseman is leading this category should be a concern. Are the forwards not the ones that should be generating the shots if you are giving yourself the best chance to score?

      The goal scorers, Ferly and Mony sit well down in CF/60 at 13.96 and 12.79, in 8th and 11th on the team. How in the world are you expected to win when your best goal scorers aren’t getting shots?

      • BringtheFire 2.0

        @Skylar

        What you said about Dougie…by the eye test, I haven’t liked Dougie this year, but his numbers have been decent so I’ve been waiting to read something to help me figure that out.

        The way you described his shot is exactly what’s happening. He’s right side, probably just at the “corner” of the circle, around there, and it’s a wrister into the chest. Like, almost every time. It’s like watching Ovechkin (who is the reason the Caps will never have a cup).

        Anyways, yes, from what I’ve seen I would agree the the majority of shots Dougie has taken have been poor. But the thing is, Gio’s shots are much more dangerous, and it’s because he moves. I think Hamilton isn’t mobile enough. It looks like he either doesn’t have the room or can’t make the room like Gio does.

        • Skylardog

          There was a 3on2 rush last night with Dougle that looked like a sure fire 10 bell chance. I can’t remember who else was on it but I thing one was JG and the other may have been Mony. Then they passed to Dougie on the Right side and from the side, 25 feet out, he put a shot into Glass’s chest and it was over. So bad it wasn’t even funny. I would say early 2nd period it happened but I didn’t tape last nights game so I can’t check.

        • Kevin R

          Here’s my problem. GG system has improved the corsi stats but his system has reigned in what used to be the highest scoring defence in the league. On paper, we should still be the highest scoring defence in the league but aren’t. If you sacrifice a mobile D into the offence the trade off is you give up shots & chances. GG has them adhering to a defensive structure that our backend was not built for. Not rocket science, the makeup of the team isn’t suited for the type of corsi game the coach is wanting to play. Either Treliving finds a coach that will utilize the strengths of his players or he gets the players that can play to the system of the coach. I am not saying GG is bad coach like many on here are saying, although admittedly, I have been very frustrated with Mr GG, but I am getting frustrated with Tre. We have an abundance of mobile offensive minded D trying to play a box out limit the chances/shots system, with guys that aren’t used to out muscling large forwards 20 minutes a game. Take a look at the 3rd period of last nights game & really how often did the team get possession in our end & continue with possession & set up an offensive opportunity. It was, get the puck, & get it out & give the puck back to the Hawks. Hawks took the puck, regrouped at their blue line & then again entered our blue line to set up another scoring chnce. We were watching this commenting, gee I see we are playing to get to over time again!!! Sure enough we got our wish. But here’s the problem, yes we won the game, but we gave up the loser point. Now if we had the record Las Vegas has, I could care less, but we were sitting in 11th & every point you don’t give to a team you are battling with to get a wild card spot is as important as winning that game in O/T. This team just isn’t built right & honestly, who we we really scare in a 7 game playoff series? Not many teams I bet. Personally, Stone won’t be worth much next June, a 2nd & 1 3rd rounder, maybe. Hamilton would get us much more. If Treliving feels GG is the man & this system he plays is the way to Lord Stanley, then Trade Dougie now while teams would give us lots to acquire. Move Brodie up Gio, move Kulak up with Hamonic & put Kylington or Wotherspoon with Stone & get some games with these young guys. Deal Stone in the summer & get Anderson in the rotation next year.

      • The Beej

        @skylardog

        Stop picking on the corsi. The fact the Flames are top in high danger scf disproves the entire opening premise to your argument.

        For sure Gulutzan can do better in a few areas but he does not deserve everyone calling for his head. THIS IS EDMONTON OILERS MENTALITY.

        We have graduated 4 from Stockton this year with potentially more on the way. The fans do not seem to understand that there are development plans in place for players. Just because Kulak Janko took longer to get into the lineup than the armchair GMs would prefer everyone had been harshly criticizing Gulutzan yet no one is realizing that the Flames took their time and ensured that these prospects were put in a position to succeed and they did and we graduated 4. FOUR!!! With more on the way. Because the Flames took this approach they were successful. Just throwing out young players before they are ready and because some armchair GM assumes them to be ready is EDMONTON OILERS MENTALITY.

        half the posters on this site… many of them calling for Gulutzans head 20 games in this year and last year also seem to advocate the Edmonton Oilers development model.

        Seriously. If half the armchair GMs on this site were actually running the Flames… our franchise would actually be worse than the oilers.

        • Skylardog

          We are not tops in HDCF, we are up there however, in 8th. Again, being high up in the HDSF is not reflective of where a team sits in the standings. Again, 5 of the top 10 HDSCF teams are out of the playoffs right now, and the worst team in the league, Arizona is 11th.

          So lets go back to the 3on2 last night with Hamilton shooting. While subjective, it would definitely class as a scoring chance and probably as a high danger chance. But with Hamilton taking the shot he did, at the angle he did, it wasn’t at all dangerous.

          Corsi is the only stat that people can point out regarding the Flames and justify GG still having a job. HDSCF is a relative of Corsi and is subjective. Even Corsi is somewhat subjective. Many shot attempts barely leave the stick before being blocked or deflected. Sometimes it is tough to say if they are shooting or just dumping the puck in. Who decides if it was high danger or not? Extremely subjective.

          GF and GA, +/-, points, wins, regulation wins… These are objective stats, and none of them support GG as being successful.

          A stat that has the number 1 team in the NHL (LA last year), missing the playoffs, is not a valuable stat as a tell all. I get that some teams miss in the top 10, but not number 1.

          • Stan

            Seriously? Your slamming corsi, scoring chances and high danger scoring chances as being useless statistics for predicting success and then you reference GF and +/- lmao. Is that a joke?

            Firstly, you have to look at the PROCESS instead of just looking at the results. Possession, scoring chances and high danger scoring chances ALL lead to goals, which lead to wins. That’s a fact, not an opinion, and you simply can’t dispute it. You can’t get the result you desire without the proper process.

            Secondly, +/- is a stat for individual players… why are you using it to evaluate a team and coach? That’s not to mention the fact that it is an extremely flawed stat and is not at all indicative of success.

            Thirdly, the article (and my comment) point out numerous statistics other then corsi that demonstrate GGs worth. It’s not our fault that you choose to disregard them and brush them off as the same thing or “relatives of corsi”, which they aren’t but whatever. Additionally, these stats are not nearly as subjective as you make them sound. Sure, sometimes a shot will be recorded that shouldn’t have been but that is a single data point. A seasons has literally thousands upon thousands of these data points, so the difference one mistake would make is negligible in the bigger picture.

            Come back to me when you find a stat that has been better able to predict regular season success over the past then corsi and it’s “relatives” as you put it. Or i can save you the trouble and inform you that there literally isn’t any. At all.

          • Stan

            Seriously? Your slamming corsi, scoring chances and high danger scoring chances as being useless statistics for predicting success and then you reference GF and +/- lmao. Is that a joke?

            Firstly, you have to look at the PROCESS instead of just looking at the results. Possession, scoring chances and high danger scoring chances ALL lead to goals, which lead to wins. That’s a fact, not an opinion, and you simply can’t dispute it. You can’t get the result you desire without the proper process.

            Secondly, +/- is a stat for individual players… why are you using it to evaluate a team and coach? That’s not to mention the fact that it is an extremely flawed stat and is not at all indicative of success.

            Thirdly, the article (and my comment) point out numerous statistics other then corsi that demonstrate GGs worth. It’s not our fault that you choose to disregard them and brush them off as the same thing or “relatives of corsi”, which they aren’t but whatever. Additionally, these stats are not nearly as subjective as you make them sound. Sure, sometimes a shot will be recorded that shouldn’t have been but that is a single data point. A seasons has literally thousands upon thousands of these data points, so the difference one mistake would make is negligible in the bigger picture.

            Come back to me when you find a stat that has been better able to predict regular season success over the past then corsi and it’s “relatives” as you put it. Or i can save you the trouble and inform you that there literally isn’t any. At all.Also, if you’re alone can you please send pics! I’m pretty horny after looking back at our previous conversation and I need to go deal with this is

          • Skylardog

            Stan

            For the record, if you have been here long, you would know that I don’t want to change coaches all the time, just the one that should never have been hired.

            I was certain about 2 days AFTER HE WAS HIRED, that the Flames had made a grave error. That is based on analysing his time in Dallas, his experience, his demeanor, his history as a player…

            He was never a first choice. He was the best of what was left after BT stumbled around for a month after the season ended while all of the highly qualified coaches got snapped up by teams that fired their coach the day after the season ended.

            I left it alone for about 20 games last season, then, with pretty much every player floundering under his leadership, started calling for his head.

            This is not a good hockey club 5v5, the special teams have been awful, and players, many of them, are performing far below their potential. As I have said many times, if one or 2 players are struggling, it is the player, if it is a whole team, it is the coach.

            The best indicator of success is not Corsi, it is goals for minus goals against, and it is very objective – and we are 18th in the league. For this group of players, that is underachieving. When you see the +/- above, it was my error, I meant GF/GA (a team stat as the rest were).

            Corsi would matter if the best players are getting a proportional increase in shots in comparison to the growth in shots by the team as a whole, but with the Flames, that is not the case. Mony and JG account for only 20 more Corsi shots than they did in the 2014 playoff year under Hartley, and they have been incredibly consistent year after year. The defense, and in particular, Hamilton and Gio, account for almost half of the Corsi gains since BH was fired. That group shoots at 4.17% historically for the Flames. If the process is to get shots by DMen, you need 3 times as many shots as putting it into the hands of Mony, Johnny, or Ferly in the slot. They shoot collectively over 13%. Should the process not be to get top notch shots in the slot? That’s not happening.

        • Stan

          Couldn’t have said it better The Beej. If it were up to the posters on this site (see above) and other fans, we would have a new coach every other month or whenever a decision is made that they don’t agree with and all of our prospects would be thrown to the wolves before they are ready, ruining their confidence and severely hampering their development. Instead, we have slowly developed our prospects and only graduated them when they are more than ready. The result? 4 rookies currently in the lineup, playing meaningful minutes AND contributing.

          The difference a new coach would make on this team would be negligible, if not utterly detrimental.

          It’s honestly like some people here don’t understand what some of these stats mean… they complain about what GG has done to make this team a “corsi” team that is unable to create offence, but ignore the fact that we are top 10 in scoring chances AND high danger scoring chances. How can you argue about our offensive systems when we are ranked so highly in these metrics? The goals will come if people would just be patient ffs

          • cberg

            Although Corsi does have some use, you Corsi junkies hanging your hats, and Flames seasons on it while promoting a deeply flawed coach that has never had actual championship success at any level are fooling yourselves. The multitude of GG issues has been well-documented and discussed. You may not agree but the proof is in the pudding, as they say. And, BTW nice one just ignoring the earlier comments about LAK last year and 5/10 top Corsi teams currently out of the playoff picture. Yeah, great, predictive stat, that Corsi….

        • ThisBigMouthIsRight

          Even Edmonton wised up and Fired Dallas Eakins… Sticking with Mr Career .500 is about as smart as sticking with Mr. Eakins. GG’s “Warts”, “Can do better in a few areas”, “Weird habits that bite the Flames in the ass” ETC… Are the reason Why the Flames are going to miss the playoffs or get swept in the first round! Bad Line matching, Bizarre player usage, misguided Ice time, Playing for the Tie Not the win, Pathetic Special Teams(Player usage), Not talking to the players in the room before, during & after games, Watching Video of what to do instead of showing them on the ice during practice, His Loving a corsi win but losing the game vs winning the game but losing the corsi and being disappointed in the outcome? These should all be red flags of a poor coach. Look, I was optimistically excited when the Flames hired GG as he had been rumored to be very good at corsi stats, OK That’s great but what I didn’t know was how horrible he was going to be at every other aspect of the Coaching job!
          Just Like Bob Hartley took this team as far as management believed he could take them… The Standings and regulation Wins should tell you GG has reached his peak and its Now Time to get a Real NHL Experienced Coach and Asst Coach who have a positive winning track record in order to move forward and Up and into the higher echelon of Teams in the NHL. GG is Not going to get this team there!

  • oilcanboyd

    Question for WWYDW? What would the Flames have to give up in team assets and prospects to get Tkachuk in the 2018 draft? Would be Flames luck if the team picking in Tkachuk’s draft spot (fourth?) if they lacked defenders…but what could we give up?

  • Bring Back Brathwaite

    Call up every single goalie in the system for a special practice in which Johnny Hockey can’t leave until he scores 5 breakaway goals in a row on each goalie, not going five-hole one time.

  • oilcanboyd

    GG is NOT the coach to take this team to the next level. If they don’t make the playoffs or just squeak in and lose in the first round GG should be gone. I do not know who is/will be available at that time but it has to be someone with more NHL head coaching experience than GG.

  • BringtheFire 2.0

    The team has been working under the same coach and the same systems for a year and a half. The players need to take the responsibility for winning into their own hands. To make seismic changes now would confuse and disrupt the locker room. We’ve seen that under this coach the team can play good hockey, they just don’t play good hockey all the time, but that could be changing as I write this.

    Maybe GG isn’t the guy. Maybe he is. To me it’s a storyline to this season. Will the guy everyone hates succeed?

    That’s good television right there.

    • cberg

      No one knows the future, but management is paid to do a job, and evaluating the team and coaches is one of their primary duties. Since we are going for it this year, as previously stated by BT and emphasized via his signings and trades, it is clear they believe(d) we could go far this year and that making the playoffs was a near certainty. Such hasn’t proven the case to date but there is still time for it to happen. The question is when you evaluate all the evidence do you wait it out or make an early call and implement big changes to try and salvage the season? Personally I’d make the change, but obviously it doesn’t cost me anything and I(we) only have the data we see on the ice and not everything that goes on behind the scenes to go on. I doubt a change is made. I hope they turn it around. While I believe the season is toast until significant changes are made, and that means coaches….. They play the games for a reason, we shall see what develops.

  • Skylardog

    So as we end the year, the frustration mounts. Last year there were excuses that many could buy into as to why we were just spinning our wheels, a new system under a new coach, poor goaltending…

    So how did the start of this season go?

    We managed to match the point total of last year at 42. When you consider how bad it was last year, to start the season, that isn’t saying much, and when you consider what we gave up in getting players like Hamonic and Smith, it is a horrible start.

    At December 31 this season compared to last. And we played 39 games at Dec 31 both years.
    We have less wins at 19 vs 20
    We have less wins in regulation at 12 vs 15 last year
    Despite the much improved goaltending we have allowed 114 GA this year vs 111 last year.
    Our great offensive Corsi production has resulted in 108 GF as opposed to 105 last year – yeh!
    We sit 11th in the conference, we were 7th last year and in a playoff spot.
    Despite improving the D-core, and knowing the system, we have 127 more CA events against than last year. That has resulted in 80 more shots against compared to last year.

    And all of this despite having the best goaltending we have had in at least 4 years.

    Keep in mind we have been this bad with almost no significant injuries this season to key players. Minor days off for Hamonic and just now Frolik (2 games only). Last year JG was out for 11 games by this point, that’s impactful. What happens to this team when the injury bug truly hits us, and it will at some point. Teams we are fighting for playoff spots have been decimated by the injury bug already this season (Minny, Anaheim…) and are just starting to get healthy. How are we going to compete with them now that they are healthy when we couldn’t get a jump on them when they were going through injuries.

    There are no excuses this year. The coach is not new, the system is not new, the goaltending on almost every night has been stellar, we have been healthy. We should be better than last year and are on paper. Yet we are worse in almost every stat that matters compared to last year.

    • cberg

      Skylardog, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You! I knew we’ve been in the doldrums and playing poorly by and large, but the details once you do a detailed comparison are SHOCKING! OK, Corsi disciples and Flames cheerleaders, what say YE?

  • BendingCorners

    Funny. The only mailbag reply that generated a lot of comments was the one about GG. Maybe because it’s the only one that is egregiously wrong.
    Line usage and player usage are almost enough by themselves to result in GG’s exit. Add in the fact that various players still make the same mistakes they did fifteen months ago, and replacing the coach becomes a no-brainer. It worked twice for Pittsburgh, no reason at all that it can’t work for the Flames.

  • Lets Get Something Clear

    Everyone should keep in mind that if a certain poster gets his way and sees Gulutzan fired, there’s a decent chance that Huska becomes the Flames’ coach and we all get to witness an aneurism online.

    • oilcanboyd

      Yeah the guy who says that Huska has retarded the development of our prospects will blow his brain’s blood vessels! LOL
      Me, I say we need an experienced NHL coach to take over this team.

      • McRib

        Ryan Huska has readied Kulak, Jankowski, Hathaway, Mangiapane, Andersson for NHL duty this year. I don’t think he is a viable replacement for GG, but he deserves some credit for doing a decent job of player development on the farm.

        • Jumping Jack Flash

          I think Huska deserves a lot of credit. He has lost his top line without receiving any replacements and continues to stay competitive. I expect Parsons will much better with the AHL level defense.

    • cberg

      Huska could be the answer, at least in the interim. I do believe if you look at his record it is miles ahead of anything GG has accomplished, and certainly, mysteriously this year he’s taken Stockton to the top of the heap with a decimated roster due to call-ups. He’s doing something right.

  • Skylardog

    Just food for thought in the world of sports.

    I know when players have been signed to contracts, both as free agents and in advance by the teams they play for are having their contracts partially assessed by their Corsi%. A plus 50% is grounds for a bigger payday.

    So if I am an NHL player, sitting on the dock, at the $2.0 million dollar summer home, with my family next to the $80,000 boat, and I am thinking about all things hockey, what goes through my mind?

    We are talking about income here that can set a family up for generations to come – right?

    Would I not be smart to make a conscious decision to shoot at every opportunity, no matter what the opportunity is to actually score? I can control that part of the game, but I cannot control how often it goes in, or if a shot is generated if I pass. Crazy – right?

    But when you are talking about incomes where players make 5 to even 7 or more times more money in a season than many of the fans make in a lifetime, anything is possible. We are talking about incomes that set up families for generations.

    I am NOT saying it is being done by lots of players. But have no doubt that it is most likely being done by some who understand that a positive Corsi can and will translate into huge dollars at contract time. This would be especially true on a team that is struggling. If you can’t get the real numbers up (goals, assists, plus minus, then at least pad the Corsi and LOOK like a solution to a teams problems, not the problem.

      • Skylardog

        And if you dump it in at the net 1 time per game at the end of a shift instead of putting it in the corner like you are supposed to, you get $4.5 million over 5 instead of $3.0 million over 3.

        20 shifts per game, and if on 1 dump to the net instead of the corner on one of those shifts as you go off, your CF/60 goes up by 4.0 if you are a dman that gets 15 minutes 5v5 per game and by 5.0 if you are a forward getting 12 minutes 5v5 per game. That’s an extra 82 individual Corsi events per season. The Flames last year were 73 Corsi For events more than Corsi Against events. 1 player making 1 dump to net a game was the difference between a Corsi above 50% and a Corsi below for Calgary.

        • Broken

          There is “corsi” and there is “gaming corsi.” Every team in the league has an analytics department today, and no player is going to get away with firing shots into the opposition’s shin pads just so they’ll get a corsi of +1. There are all kinds of sites (aside from the NHL) that track this sort of thing today, so even if the teams that make up the NHL were too lazy to track shot location (they’re not), your belief about “corsi and contracts” seems somewhat misguided. I’ll give you an example (and maybe my own personal bias is showing here because I don’t like the guy), but it seems as though a minimum of 60% of those hundred-mile-an-hour slap shots Michael Stone takes are either ten feet wide, blocked by the opposition, or circle around the end boards and back out into the neutral zone (and sometimes, all the way back into the Flames’ own end of the ice). How many of those lead to a puck retrieval by the other team and end up coming back the other way? I couldn’t tell you, but I’m sure the Flames could.

          With respect to the dump-ins and corsis, teams track zone entries, too. If a player mindlessly dumps the puck in toward the goalie for a corsi when they could have carried it into the zone, circled and made a good pass, they’re certainly going to get a “minus” from the team for that. As far as line changes, that is the same for all teams who dump the puck in to get fresh troops on the ice, so it would all come out in the wash. Teams pay attention to possession; it’s not just about firing a puck toward the net from outside the blue line anymore, especially if that play results in the other team regaining the puck and moving it back out of their zone.

          Corsi doesn’t have the same clout it used to. The gap between the best and worst teams has been shrinking ever since people started tracking that stat back in the 2007/2008 season. That’s because teams are looking for — and signing — good possession players, and it goes well beyond simplistic shot metrics today. Everything is tracked. The advantage any team has over another from an analytical point of view today is exceptionally small. Just from my personal standpoint, I’ve seen several new sites pop up the last few years that are tracking stats we never even dreamed of ten years ago, and I, for one, think it’s great.

          A couple of things from what you said in an earlier post: LA was number one in corsi last season, but they were 12th in generating HDCF and were 30th in the league in HD shooting %. Pretty much the first thing the new regime mentioned after Daryl Sutter was let go after last season, was that the team had to generate more legitimate scoring opportunities. So far, so good. Their corsi is down, as are their HDCF, but their HDSH% has gone from 9.97% last season to 13.47% this season. I agree with you as far as goal differential goes: Only one team made the playoffs last year with a negative goal differential overall, and that was Ottawa, who pretty much rode on the back of Craig Anderson. And that gets us back to “luck.” It exists in hockey, just as it does in all team sports. A goalie can play out of his mind or everything a team shoots at the net seems to go in. Alternatively, a goalie fails for stretches at a time to make the stops he should or a team goes cold and can’t score to save their collective lives.

          So, now the question is: Have the Flames been “unlucky,” or have they gotten exactly what they deserve?

    • Off the wall

      Skylar, you’re the only member on here who would know the true value of Corsi and ($) dividends and be smart enough to correlate the two.

      I doubt one NHL player is even conscious of their Corsi statistics.

      It goes to show how reliable these advanced stats are to professionals.

    • cberg

      Of course the players at least have this in the back of their minds. Watching way too many blue line muffins tossed at the goalie just before a line change I’ve thought of them too, mid-game.

  • buts

    Bottom line …..if BT keeps GG till the end of the season is that the NYI get our first round pick and it’s a lottery pick that could result in the first pick overall. Our top rated D core is tied down under GG’s system, our team has good stats but good fancy stats are for losers. Hockey is a simple sport, it’s about hard work, team work, compete, battling, special teams, selflessness, sacrifice and passion. These are a lot of qualities whose seeds are planted and nutured by the head coach. Most nhl players have these qualities but it’s especially the young players and vets too that need the leadership that comes from a good head coach. Just look at the inconsistency…..despite great goaltending we have regressed and we are running out of time. Come on BT make a move or go down with ship.

  • Derzie

    As soon as I see a Corsi thumper support GG, immediately stop reading. Narrow, one dimensional view. Big picture, the coach has too many flaws to be a winner. 2 seasons of underachievement is enough. And I mean the players playing to their potential that we’ve seen, not team successes which we have yet to. The coach will be fired it’s just a matter of when. The slow-to-react GM has shown he’ll try player movements first. Low probability of helping long term but not zero. The risk we run is we may lose some prospects and players, to go along with our lost draft picks in the process.

    • BringtheFire 2.0

      How is a first-year coach making the playoffs with half a team underachieving? What is your definition of ‘achieving’ and how was it not met last year?

      • Skylardog

        Is the 10 game winning streak the team had last year a trend to normal, or, based on the whole body of work in the first 1.5 seasons we have had GG at the helm, is the 10 game win streak the out of normal aberration?

        Without that win streak the Flames don’t make the playoffs. If they go 500 during that run, they would fall 4 points short.

        It isn’t like they were dominating in those 10 wins with a 50% CF% 5v5. It was exceptional goaltending (0.948) and a shooting% of 12.5% that got those wins.

        For some inexplicable reason, the team gets credit for the run where shooting is out of the world and goaltending is insanely good, and yet gets no blame when the for a low shooting percentage the rest of the season and this season.

        Might I remind you that the Flames were the only team in the playoffs with a below 500 regulation record, and no team in the playoffs last year was less than 6 games above 500 in regulation. And again, it took a 10 game streak of 12.5% shooting and a 948 save% to get there, because the majority don’t get the “luck” that was involved in making the playoffs last year.

  • buts

    Minny, Anaheim, Dallas,Chicago are all ahead of us with some of them holding games in hand also Colorado is a point behind with 2 games in hand. Does anyone think with what sample we have seen from this team under GG that we jump ahead of these teams for a wildcard spot? If you do then your delusional.

    • freethe flames

      While I would be in favour of firing GG I am not completely delusional in thinking that the season is not completely lost. The Flames need to go back to Hartley’s 7 game segments and maybe they have a chance. With one game left in the last segment I believe the series is tied 3-3. If they could win the remaining 6 segments they have a chance; they do not have to go a 10 game winning streak.(However they need to win each of their games in regulation not giving loser points to anyone in their division and possibly stealing a few loser points along the way themselves) Is this possible; yes. Is it likely under this coach probably not. I can remain hopeful without being delusional.