What else are we supposed to do besides talk about coaching, big trades, and right wing depth?
what are your thoughts on possibly looking at Ondrej Kase if he makes it past the RFA stage
— 🇳🇱 (@_Kylington) April 15, 2018
Kase has been a stellar find for the Ducks given that he was a seventh round pick, so I don’t think he’s available. The Ducks are very quietly becoming a very old team and will need to hold onto their cheap, young talent. Kase is that and they will likely prefer to hang onto him rather than trade him to a division rival.
A player similar to Kase that I would be interested in is Pavel Buchnevich. Despite strong underlying and counting numbers, the Rangers seemingly don’t appreciate him, giving him the third lowest ice time per game of regular forwards. I think the Rangers aren’t going to be good for a while, so they could probably sell on Buchnevich rather than lose him for nothing (the KHL threat looms large).
Normally when HC & staff are fired it is done soon after the season is done. Does it appear that the Flames are waiting out the field to see if there are any better options available? Isn’t this a backwards process? Replace GG if someone better is available.
— Adrian DeCorby (@decorbs) April 15, 2018
The question answers itself.
Perhaps you can throw out names, but a deeper reading suggests that there’s not much better out there right now that would be a fit for Calgary. Darryl Sutter was a GM under this ownership group, so it seems like bringing him in with no personnel power could be a powder keg. Alain Vigneault is free, but unless the Flames have a Hall of Fame goalie that can mask his bizarre lineup decisions (Pavel above says hi), love for Tanner Glass, and gradually declining returns (they don’t), they should stay clear. Otherwise, there’s not a lot of free agent coaches that come to mind. Successful CHL coaches are likely going to go through severe growing pains in the NHL. Promoting AHL coaches could be a disaster in waiting.
There is no clear upgrade right now. If someone better becomes available, go for it. If the team wants to fire him without having a few quality options lined up, they’re likely running in spot.
When do you think #7 will be traded and for who
— Allan Arndt (@akarndt) April 15, 2018
If the Flames decide to trade Brodie:
1. What should we expect as a return for him (Draft picks / top 6 forward)
2. Who do you think would replace him on the second pair
— Russo (@arusso_9) April 15, 2018
I think Brodie, despite the abysmal year, still has high trade value in the eyes of the league. He’s a minutes muncher who can move the puck and play on the PP. He’s in his prime, on a pretty fair value contract, and is generally safe with his play. His counting numbers didn’t take a major hit this year either, so I can’t see other teams being uninterested in him.
I think the Flames will look to get maximum value for an NHLer who can make an immediate impact. I think there’s still something brewing between the Flames and the Senators, something more significant than Nick Shore. Other teams that sent scouts multiple times to Flames games include the Habs, so there’s potential there. If they can swing out one of Mark Stone, Mike Hoffman, Alex Galchenyuk, Brendan Gallagher (my favourite), or Max Pacioretty, that’d be amazing. Maybe a bit of a pipe dream, but amazing. If they can’t find an NHL winger to trade for, perhaps they swap Brodie for picks and use the picks on a winger. There’s plenty of things to do.
As for who replaces him, well, it’s Brett Kulak. I think he and Travis Hamonic formed a sturdy pairing after Brodie went down late in the season. They were only on the ice for 74 5v5 minutes (late in the season too, so beware the sample), but put up a respectable 54.43CF%, which is a pretty significant jump from the 51.32CF% Brodie put up with Hamonic. I think Kulak isn’t as lethal offensively, but can certainly replicate Brodie’s two-way play.
How many graduates of the CHL/AHL do you think will be on the Flames roster next season? Dube, Foo, possibly Valimaki and Mangiapane ( depending on his shoulder of course) and obviously Andersson and Rittich/Gillies. Seems like the Flames will be quite a bit younger next year no?
— Daniel Tiller (@tiller_daniel) April 15, 2018
The Flames are certainly going to be much younger next season, yes. There’s a few spots open for the taking and plenty of competition to go around.
Of those listed, I feel that Dillon Dube, Rasmus Andersson, Andrew Mangiapane, and Jon Gillies will be on the roster next year. There’s quite clearly nowhere else to go for Andersson and Mangiapane and Dube is already looking awesome in the AHL (six games, four 5v5 assists). Gillies had a strong finish to the end of the year, both in Calgary and Stockton, so I could see him in Calgary to begin next year.
I’ll wait on Spencer Foo. I am a big fan of his, and I think that his skill translates to the NHL game, but four NHL games with nothing to lose is not a great way to analyze player potential. He had two goals, but was also one of the only guys on the roster with a real audition of an NHL job and was given all the right circumstances to do so (almost exclusively on the first line, 62.16 OZS%). He could be another Hunter Shinkaruk.
What happens with Juuso Valimaki is dependent on what happens with Brodie above. I really like what Valimaki has done in the WHL, but expecting a kid to jump from junior to the NHL, especially a defenceman, is bold. Given that Oliver Kylington has also had a breakout season in the AHL, I feel that the pro experience gives Kylington the boost over Valimaki. What happens with Kulak is also worth keeping an eye on. Lot of variables on the blueline.
David Rittich is my surprise exclusion from the list. Given how he started the year, it’d be nuts not to expect him back this season, but given the way he finished (0.889SV% in the AHL, 0.904SV% in the NHL) I think the Flames are hesitant to immediately declare him the backup. Rittich was half great, half trash. That’s not a smart bet to make heading into a season with a 36 year old goalie whose play post-injury kind of sunk the last remaining playoff hope. I’m not sure Gillies is that much better, but given his relative youth and strong finish to the season, he might have an inside edge.
In case you’re concerned, Gillies is waiver exempt so there’s no need to fear a three headed monster.
How is RW free agent market? leading names?
— kingcambie (@kingcambie) April 15, 2018
I would say that it’s a field of landmines.
The leading name is David Perron, who just had a career year but is about to turn 30 and has seen a downturn in his underlying numbers. He’s going to want a lot of money over a lot of years, which is why I would avoid him. Fellow Golden Knight James Neal falls into a similar trajectory, and is also worth avoiding for the same reasons.
Rick Nash could be worth a kick at the can. He’s still an effective player who doesn’t seem to be slowing down like Perron or Neal, but at 34, you have to be cautious. His unrelated teammate Riley Nash is also one to avoid, as he’s having a randomly good season with Troy Brouwer-esque underlying numbers. Thomas Vanek might be handy, but like Nash, it’s hard to trust a hockey player at 34.
Otherwise, there aren’t very many intriguing targets. It is very much a buyer beware market. I feel a lot of the available options are either going to sour hard before their contract ends or won’t adequately address the Flames’ needs.
Is there any reason why a team that has taken major steps forward in the possession dept. isn’t finding the back of the net more often? Does the system promote weaker quality shots due to player positioning? Or is it bad luck?
— Rhyan Herkel (@RHerkel) April 15, 2018
The Flames finished top five in every meaningful possession stat and shot generation stat. At 5v5, they were third in CF%, second in FF%, fourth in SF%, third in scoring chances for%, and second in high danger chances for%. Even adjusted for rates, the Flames were first in corsi, first in fenwick, fourth in shots, fifth in scoring chances, and second in high danger chances generated per 60 minutes. Even when you adjust for score and venue (i.e: adjusting for times they were trailing and were trying to get back in it, a common theme this season), they remain top five in every category.
Basically, they did everything that anyone could’ve asked from them. Did they get pucks toward the net? Yup. Did they get actually get them on the net? Again yes. From up close? Yes. Ten bell chances? Of course. You can’t argue about the quality of the chances and shot attempts because those stats were tracked and the Flames were stellar in those categories. They were among the best in the league at doing those things and the puck didn’t go in.
However, they finished in the bottom five for shooting percentage, a number which fluctuates on a year to year basis and is not always reflective of a team’s talent (Dave Cameron left Ottawa despite finishing top ten in 5v5 shooting percentage in both of his years. Strange how it didn’t carry over here). The one thing they needed was goals, and they did everything you should do that would result in goals. Sometimes, that doesn’t always result in goals.
People hate attributing anything to luck in sports (see 2014-15 Flames, the Avalanche under Patrick Roy, the 2012-13 Leafs, etc. etc. Somehow these keep happening), but it is a real factor in the game. Corsi, Fenwick, et al. have been very helpful in identifying teams and players who are on the right (or wrong) path. Shooting percentage is not predictive, and you can find examples every year of teams either buying on players who got hot at the right time (hello, Troy Brouwer!) or selling on those who got cold (see ya Paul Byron!) at the worst time. Oddly enough, people keep getting bit in the ass by shooting percentage.
This is not to say that the Flames are fine and that they don’t need to change anything. I would be lying to you if I didn’t say those possession numbers feel heavily inflated by a top six and top pairing that did everything (despite the odd ice time distribution). I can’t explain why they couldn’t carry the offence they generated at 5v5 over to the mostly dormant power play. The team has its warts, but they also couldn’t get a bounce their way.
When does Tavares sign?
— Summiteer (@PlanetKyle) April 15, 2018
July 1 with the Calgary Flames. Mark it in your calendars.