Photo Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

A critical look at Glen Gulutzan’s tenure

To say Glen Gulutzan’s tenure as head coach of the Flames was an abject failure would be false. After taking a balanced look at his two seasons behind Calgary’s bench, my belief is he did more good for the team than not. I’m not saying there’s nothing to be critical of, but when looking at both sides of the coin, I think the positive outweighed the negative.


Possession. I get it, shot metrics aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. However, in this day and age, you just can’t ultimately be successful long term without also being a decent possession team. Gulutzan transformed the Flames from a team playing an antiquated brand of hockey under Bob Hartley to one far more in line with how the game needs to be played today.

A quick comparison of Hartley’s final year and Gulutzan’s first paints a good picture of how drastically things changed from one year to the next.

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Season CF% Rank
2015-16 48.0 22nd
2016-17 50.5 10th

With Hartley at the helm, the Flames relied too much on things like stretch passes and blocked shots for them to win games at a sustainable level. The contrast between Hartley’s brand of hockey and what Gulutzan brought to the table is even more stark when looking at aggregate totals over the course of their tenures.

Coach Seasons CF% Rank
Bob Hartley 4 46.4 28th
Glen Gulutzan 2 52.1 4th

By no means is possession the only thing that wins games in the NHL. Winning the zone time battle is only part of the equation as teams like Calgary, Carolina, and Chicago will tell you this season. Here’s what I do know, though: teams that have shot rates hovering around 46% absolutely do not have success in the long run. Gulutzan changed the way this team played, and that was important.

The penalty kill. One of the big criticisms of Gulutzan and his staff was summed up for many by using the term “special teams”. In reality, though, that wasn’t accurate. Sure, the Flames struggled mightily this season on the powerplay (more on that later), but were actually very proficient when killing penalties.

Gulutzan and assistant coach Paul Jerrard ran Calgary’s penalty kill the last two years and both came with pretty good resumes in the craft. After some growing pains early on, the Flames settled into one of the league’s better PK units for most of the last two seasons. It was characterized by aggressive challenges at the blueline and “community clears” down low, and the results spoke loudly.

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Season PK% Rank
2014-15 80.6 T-20th
2015-16 75.5 30th
2016-17 81.6 12th
2017-18 81.8 T-7th

Again, the contrast from Hartley’s final year to Gulutzan’s first season is fairly drastic. To go even further, Calgary went from an aggregate of 79.6% (27th overall) in four years under Hartley to 81.7% (10th overall) with Gulutzan.

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The 3M line. Put together early on in Gulutzan’s tenure, the trio of Mikael Backlund, Michael Frolik, and Matthew Tkachuk have done nothing but excel over the last 150 games or so. Over the last two seasons, no other line has played together more than these three guys have (1359:48) and it’s not even close. The trio of John Tavares, Josh Bailey, and Anders Lee with the Islanders is next and, at 1253:55, they’re more than 100 minutes behind.

I’d have had a hard time splitting that trio up, too. With offensive zone starts all averaging well under 50%, and with top shutdown assignments each and every night, no line has played more difficult minutes than this one has and they’ve excelled. All three of Backlund, Frolik, and Tkachuk are top end possession players over the last two seasons.

Player GP CF% Rank
Matthew Tkachuk 144 56.6 5th
Michael Frolik 152 56.2 7th
Mikael Backlund 163 55.5 16th

We’ll get into some of the frustrating elements of Gulutzan’s player usage later on, but one area he nailed it was with the 3M line. Gulutzan buried them with tough matchups and a ton of defensive responsibility because he knew he could and this was a great example of a coach slotting players in the right places to succeed.

Mark Giordano and Dougie Hamilton. For a few different reasons, Calgary’s top two defencemen barely played with one another in Hamilton’s first year with the team. Hartley was understandably reticent to put Giordano and Hamilton together, mainly because the former was coming off a great year paired with TJ Brodie. Gulutzan pulled the trigger on this duo early in his first season, though, and the results have been outstanding.

Player GP CF% Rank
Dougie Hamilton 163 56.7 4th
Mark Giordano 163 56.0 8th

Over the last two seasons, Hamilton and Giordano are both top 10 possession players in roles where they’re asked to do it all. Out against top forwards virtually every shift, this pairing has defended well, helped the team generate shots and scoring chances, and both players have contributed a ton offensively.

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Hamilton’s 30 goals over the last two years is the third highest total in the league among defencemen, trailing only San Jose’s Brent Burns (41) and Tampa’s Victor Hedman (33). Giordano is right in the same conversation with 25 goals over the same stretch, tying him for 12th. Much like the 3M Line, Gulutzan rode this pairing a ton and got a lot out of them as a result.


Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Player usage. Gulutzan made some head scratching lineup decisions in his two years with the Flames. Certain players were given way more opportunities than they probably should have, while other players were put in situations way over their head.

Troy Brouwer’s usage is the first example that jumps to mind for many. Despite subpar results right from the word go, it took more than half of Brouwer’s first season for Gulutzan to drop him down the depth chart. And, even with his five-on-five minutes reduced, he was still getting significant powerplay time.

In his two seasons with Calgary, Brouwer has averaged 1:49 of powerplay ice time per game. That puts him significantly ahead of players like Micheal Ferland, Sam Bennett, and Michael Frolik, which is tough to wrap your head around. Brouwer’s offensive upside is low at this stage and to see him continually fed prime powerplay minutes was frustrating for many.

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The second example comes on the blueline. As we just outlined above, Giordano and Hamilton made up the team’s best pairing by a country mile, and yet weren’t consistently used as such. In fact, the ice time splits between the top pairing and the duo of Travis Hamonic and Brodie were extremely similar this season.

Player EV TOI/GP
TJ Brodie 19:04
Mark Giordano 18:33
Dougie Hamilton 18:22
Travis Hamonic 17:48

Essentially, Gulutzan used his top two pairings equally, with Hamonic and Brodie seeing more difficult opposition on many nights. That just doesn’t make much sense to me. While Giordano and Hamilton thrived, Hamonic and Brodie struggled mightily together. As such, playing them as much or more than the team’s top pairing is hard to justify, specifically at five-on-five.

In-game management. This is one area Calgary upper management was most frustrated with during this coaching staff’s tenure. I never felt like Gulutzan was ruthless or tactical enough once the puck had dropped, instead relying on a balanced “roll four lines” approach. While that can work sometimes, there are also times to mix it up.

For instance, I was often left confused with Gulutzan’s decisions after an icing call. For me, seeing a third or fourth line trapped on the ice for a defensive zone faceoff means one thing: Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan. Instead, very often we’d see Calgary’s fourth line out to take those draws, removing an opportunity to exploit a favourable matchup.

There are absolutely times to roll four lines and three pairings. However, late in close games, we probably saw too much of players like Brouwer and Matt Stajan, at least for my liking. Shortening the bench and chasing favourable matchups can get coaches into trouble sometimes, but it can also help win games. I never felt like Gulutzan was able to strike that balance.

The powerplay. I know you’ve been waiting for this one, because Calgary’s powerplay was one of the most frustrating elements of this season. How can a team with players like Gaudreau, Monahan, Tkachuk, Hamilton, and Giordano be so ineffective in this situation? And how did things swing so wildly from one year to the next?

Season PP% Rank
2016-17 20.2 T-10th
2017-18 16.0 T-28th

I know losing Kris Versteeg in late November stung the powerplay a little bit, but for one player’s subtraction to mess things up as much as it did is baffling. In reality, using Versteeg’s injury as a fallback excuse is probably burying your head in the sand; there were other things more culpable.

It took far too long for Gulutzan and assistant coach Dave Cameron to make any meaningful adjustments to a powerplay that became increasingly easier to defend. Their 1-3-1 top unit was static and often outdone by the team’s more traditional second grouping, yet the ice time numbers were completely out of step.

Furthermore, it took three quarters of this season to give Hamilton and Giordano a shot with the top unit. That would be easier to understand if the Flames were having even a modicum of success, but they weren’t. When you couple that with the continued usage of an ineffective Brouwer, you can see why this team had the league’s second worst powerplay (13.6%) from December on.


I thought Calgary should have given Gulutzan one more year behind the bench. Yes, the team underachieved big time in 2017-18, and part of that is on the coaching staff. But, Gulutzan also helped the team truly make the playoffs on merit the year before. With a couple of tweaks, I thought there was a good chance of a bounce back next year. Leading the way in that regard would have been swapping Cameron out for a coach with a better powerplay acumen.

More than anything else, Gulutzan turned the Flames into a team capable of succeeding in the modern NHL. Controlling the puck, spending more time on the attack and less time defending is how teams have success, as evidenced by the vast majority of teams still playing. That’s how Calgary played under Gultuzan and that’s why I think his time with the team yielded more good than bad.

  • Ramskull

    Bob had some significant faults but he never had to throw stick into the the second deck to motivate his players. Guys came to play for Bob almost every night.

  • Mickey O

    For a change of pace, was poking around the internet yesterday and found a couple of great tweets. Both we’re very humourous to me. One in a good way, and one in a way that perhaps the author didn’t intend. The first one from FN and ctibs, I assume:

    You have $5 to build your perfect powerplay

    $600: Ovi in his office
    $400: plenty of chances in front of the net
    $2: Troy
    $3: Brouwer
    $350: Powerful slapshots from the blueline

    – That’s gold right there, gold.

    • Mickey O

      Thought this was hilarious too. Trying to get a handle on upcoming contract projections, using some kind of voodoo mathematics (retweeted by Kent Wilson):

      We used a weighted ensemble of three separate models (lightGBM, linear regression and bagged earth/MARS). The weights were determined by a voting system to find optimal RMSE. That resulted in weights of 52% for lightGBM, 22% for lm and 26% for bagged Earth.

      Alrighty then, carry on.

  • Derzie

    Pat, why focus on possession?

    When we compare teams as fans, we look at cups. Then playoff wins. Regular wins, points, goals, goal differentials, HD scoring chance differentials, LD Scoring chance differentials. Somewhere at the bottom of the pile of stats that matter is shots. Why would we focus on such a low level indicator to draw conclusions about success? Why do corsi supporters jump past all of the much more meaningful metrics before it. I just don’t understand the logic. Can you win with a poor shot differential? Yup. How about a poor goal differential? Much less likely.

    Corsi is a tiebreaker stat for comparing good teams. After all other stats have been analyzed, it can help break a tie as to who may fare better in the future. That’s it. Keep it in your pocket for when that moment arrives. Let’s compare wins and goal differentials as a starting point. Then maybe some scoring chance comparisons. if we are still undecided, let’s look at Corsi to break the tie. I suspect most analyses will be crystal clear before we break out the corsi.
    Please & thanks.

    • canadian1967

      Remember when Ryan Lambert would provide Janko’s Corsi stats at Providence and tell us all that Janko would never make it to The NHL?
      Ah, good times.
      Hey Lambert… Suck it!!

    • BringtheFire 2.0

      Another thing about corsi is that it might be a good indicator about long term success. A team can “luck” their way through a season, but not long term.

      I look at corsi as a moderate-value franchise status stat, to be taken into consideration with other factors when assessing the team’s season to season performance and likliehood of sustained success.

    • FLT

      “Possession” is a measure of shots your team gets vs the opponent. If your team shoots more than its opponents, your team is more likely to outscore the opponents. This is not a rule, particularly over the short term. But over the long term, more shots = more goals, and more goals = more wins.

      No one has ever said it’s the only factor, or even the most important one. There are many, many more factors that impact a team’s success, many of which we don’t understand or know how to measure. But this one we can measure, and it’s generally easy to understand – which is one reason it gets a lot of airtime. In my opinion, it’s absolutely worthy of discussion and consideration.

      • Squishin

        The dispute was concerning the over-rated importance of possession in evaluating teams. Pat cites it first before anything else while evaluating the Flames seasons. I believe the point Derzie was trying to make is that there are so many more important things to focus on when evaluating success.

        • FLT

          Nobody reads this site to find out how many cups, wins, points, or goals the Flames have. I’m here for insightful discussion and analysis on why the team did or didn’t have success, and what can/should be changed to improve performance. The article was intended to highlight some of the positives and negatives that came under GG’s tenure, and the marked improvement of corsi data is one of the positives.

          If you want to have a debate about which of scoring chances and shot differential are the superior metric, that’s cool. But the rest of that comment…I’ll just say it didn’t make much sense to me.

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    Everything that GG was good at he can do as an assistant coach. There is a serious problem when FN poster are more tactical than our coach. The most frustrating season we have endured as fans in a long time. I was embarrassed to admit the I turned off games routinely because I did not see any spark or leadership behind the bench….the players were an extension of their coach.

    • The Doctor

      That’s a really good point. I don’t recall a time ever where I had zero faith in the team watching them, but those last 20 games or so I had zero faith, and my zero faith was totally justified.

  • BringtheFire 2.0

    It was the way the season finished. I agree that the underlying numbers were decent and all that good stuff-i even believe now we didn’t have the roster to win-but that finish was dismal. It was an insult to the fans.

    No coach can be allowed to survive that finish. And a lot of players can’t, either. Tre is in “message-sending” mode, and I’m excited about the offseason.

  • Off the wall

    I believe we all know that GG was done after this seasons results. Most of us pleaded for change and we received our wish. However we may have felt about GG, it’s been decided already.His tenure is finished.

    Every coach has strategies, methods, they are trying to implement. And some of this comes from the GM as well. It doesn’t appear in my opinion, that Treliving has changed his strategy (analytics) but instead who best fits this role of analytics and great judgement of our players strengths/ weaknesses.

    If Treliving only targeted Peters’ then to me, it speaks volumes of his own desire for a puck possession team. I think it’s important to remember that. I believe we will still put a great emphasis on Corsi ( whether we agree with it or not)

    I’m sure Peters has been given the same mandate as GG, now Treliving must execute the executive decisions to ensure he has the right personnel and players to make this team accountable and successful.
    That’s on him and he’s indicted that himself.

    GG did some good things with this club ( even I can admit this) and even though I banged my head against the wall for his faults, I don’t have the right to say he should be looked at as an abject failure.
    It is the toughest, highest level of hockey to coach, and the reality of it is that most coaches are not going to winners in a game of parity.

    So Pat may not be necessarily wrong with some of his assumptions.

    I’m happy for the change to witness what Peters can bring to the Flames with regards to identity and passion, however I’m still holding my expectations at bay, because you know the fastest game in the world demands the whole organization.. players, coaches, management to all be on the same page.

    That’s not an easy task!

  • freethe flames

    Here’s the thing; if you are going to compare Hartley to GG you need to look at BH last 2 years vs GG 2 years. BH last 2 years 80/70/14 1 year in the playoff got to the second round. GG 82/68/14 1 year in the playoffs. Who had more talent ? In my mind GG; better goaltending, better D, more depth and both Johnny/Monny more experienced and Tkachuk. Hands down GG had more talent and did less. This is last article I will read about GG.

  • Fan the Flames

    He should have had a steady progression after taking over from Bob Hartley his first year the team went on a run and rode it into the playoffs . This year they went on a run but crumbled at the Allstar break . They were dreadful at home and the PP was aweful and GG couldn’t figure it out end of story.

  • SoCalFlamesFan

    I understand Corsi possession is important but shouldn’t we put into perspective having a 52.1% is only 2.1% above both teams taking equal time. Is 2.1% really that much of a determiner?

    • Cfan in Van

      Top teams don’t have hugely lopsided percentages. The best corsi team was 53.8 this season, I think? I believe it’s unusual for a team to be over 55… Like many have said, Corsi by it’s self isn’t a very good indicator of success, but it is a good piece of the puzzle when other aspects of the teams game are in-check (PP, PK, goaltending etc). The top teams this year were Carolina, Chicago, Boston, Pittsburg, Calgary…

  • Greg

    I fully agree with all the points in the article.

    I also fully expect Peters will make same Brouwer mistakes.

    Let’s hope he fixes enough of the other ones to get back into the playoffs. Or that BT solves the RW issues so he’s got obviously better options.

    • Rudy27

      If Brouwer is still here, I don’t expect much in the way of Brouwer mistakes. I believe he will be given a fair chance to prove himself, but I don’t think either Peters or Treliving are willing to fall on their sword at this stage in TB’s contract (after the 2018-19 season there is only one year left making it a more palatable contract to buy out if need be).

      • Mickey O

        With Burke gone it is an easier sell to get Brouwer off the roster. When he’s gone, Treliving could subtly say that the game has rapidly changed in the last couple of years to more of speed game. He could also pitch that the coach wants to go in another direction.

        Not trading Brouwer somehow, or buying him out, would be a very bad mistake. Brouwer is exactly the kind of player Peters (or anyone else for that matter) doesn’t want. But if Brouwer is still around, Peters will be forced to play him someplace. Don’t give Rebar that bad option.

        • Hockeysense9393

          Buying out Brouwer wouldn’t be a very big advantage to the Flames even salary wise. Better off just putting him in the minors to help with developement. Kind of like a player coach type situation.

          • everton fc

            BT needs to move Brouwer and take back a big salary in the process, taking in a younger player who can help us. I think you, Mickey, were the one who mentioned Ryan O’Reilly and his situation in Buffalo. I believe Botterill will right the ship there, but will also not put up w/comments like O’Reilly made, especially since he’s seen as a team leader. Brodie, and perhaps a prospect (or Bennett?) – maybe they can parlay something with these guys, to rid Buffalo of their issue, whilst ridding us of ours.

            Just thinking out loud here.

  • kipper2004

    I generally agree with the Good and Bad comments listed but as a season ticket holder for almost 20 years and the eye in the sky observations, i believe the coaching staff as a whole just didnt have the team ready for alot of games. How many times did we see the Flames go down by several goals early and the dreaded goals against late in periods 1 and 2. These issues were consistently happening, to me that falls mainly on who the coaches are throwing out on the ice at important times (ala 4 line when a goal is needed) and the system implemented at those crucial times. Using Brower on the PP was so wrong, and sometimes he would be taking faceoffs in the defensive zone, just didnt make sense and then add in the lack of using Hamilton, the coaches make all these decisions and they would consistently backfire! Fans left the games alot earlier this year, which wasnt ghe case in the Hartley/Sutter years.

    • everton fc

      They were an AHL staff, basically. In over their heads.

      Peters seems like he can inspire, motivate, and seems well-connected where he can lure some good, experienced assistance, with his candor and demeanor. That’s what this group needs. Gulutzan could not get them pumped to play at home. They stunk, at home, in front of the home crowd. They won’t, under Peters. This is how I see it.

      Hope I’m not wrong here.

  • Atomic Clown

    I hope the Oilers hire him as an assistant coach. Dude won them like 8 games in a row, set a new record in the BoA. Speaking of, Tkachuk has never won against the Oilers.

  • Hockeyfan

    Hired to do a job he was clearly incapable of doing. Tre failed, burke failed, king failed. The Fla,es are still a mediocre team at best. not good enough over a 30 year period. unless a couple big trades are made this club will remain soft, timid, weak and ineffectual.

    • Alberta Ice

      And are not all the other NHL teams loving the fact that the expansion first year team of the Las Vegas Golden Knights is making an impressive run in the NHL playoffs? Brilliant planning by the NHL brass to make this expansion team successful and rather puts a mockery on the lottery system and the old way of trying to get things done. Heard that with their 7-0 shellacking of Sharks last night and since being undefeated in 5 playoff games they have as many wins as the Flames in the playoffs since 2010. And what about comparing to teams like the Oilers, Sabres or even the Maple Leafs? Does anyone see a Fleury Golden Knights vs a Murray Penguins Stanley Cup Final coming? Yep, Capital Punishment indeed.

      • The Doctor

        Vegas got an incredibly generous expansion draft. Yes, McPhee and Gallant also did a great job with the assets and advantages they were given. But that was the most generous expansion draft in the history of sports. Made even more generous by the unique dynamics of the salary cap system.

        • Mickey O

          GM’s will have learned for the Seattle expansion draft. Treliving had the right idea when he submitted his protected list, and said just pick a guy. Everyone was in the same boat, they are going to lose a pretty solid player. Other GM’s were offering up draft picks and all kinds of goodies to get rid of contracts and try and keep their team together. I doubt that happens nearly as much next time around.

  • Glensfunnyface

    I read the first paragraph….rolled my eyes…..Fart noise. GG was horrible and the players never bought into his nerd garbage….once again….fart noise to this article.

  • freethe flames

    Question for the writers: are you going to do a story on NCAA free agents and Euro Free agents. With Flames lack of draft picks it would be nice to know if there is anyone worth pursuing to fill the void?

  • Mickey O

    So when do you think Peters dropped the little nugget that he had an out clause in the last year of his contract with Carolina? Treliving was co-GM and hired Peters to run the 2016 World Championship team. He liked what he saw, liked his ideas on how to run a possession game, they got along great, they won a gold medal together.

    Treliving fires Hartley in 2016, and searches for a Corsi coach. He settles on Gulutzan. GG tries to implement some kind of possession system and actually succeeds to some degree. But he’s got the wrong personality to motivate, and a whole host of other negative reasons why he isn’t really an NHL head coach. In the second season with GG, Treliving was thinking about firing Gulutzan around Christmas, 2017. But then he’d have to hire another guy long term, or appoint an interim. But in reality, Treliving wants Peters all along.

    I posted that Keith Jones in the Flyers / Carolina game on April 5th, 2018 that the Flames would be “very interested” in Bill Peters if he became available. Like it was common knowledge, and a done deal. I believe it was Elliotte Friedman who officially dropped the news of Peters’ out clause. The ownership and GM changes in Carolina were merely background noise. But it did give an excuse to go through the official channels of Peters and the ‘Canes looking to move on, and keeps everyone onside with league tampering rules. Treliving fires Gulutzan and his assistants on April 17th, 2018.

    Treliving himself said that he didn’t interview anyone else for the vacant Calgary coaching job. Which gets me back to my original question. I’d bet Brad Treliving knew that Bill Peters was going to be the coach of the 2018 Calgary Flames way back in the summer of 2016…

    • Mickey O

      So I post the above, and go re-read Darren Haynes’ piece on Bill Peters. Missed a key component the first read through. The plot gets even juicier!

      “In July of that summer, about six weeks after Treliving had hired Gulutzan, Carolina GM Ron Francis announced that Peters had signed a two-year extension.”

      Didn’t realize there was a contract extension involved in the process, and it changes the timeline. There was that famous – and maybe never before written – clause that Bill Peters had written into his renewal contract: that he could opt-out of his final year.

      “Forty-eight hours ago the Bill Peters-to-the Flames rumour mill really started to sizzle when he told the Carolina Hurricanes thanks, but no thanks, and took advantage of an opt-out clause in his contract that terminated his deal with one year remaining. He had been the skipper in Raleigh the past four seasons.”

      Obviously I’m not implying anything here, obviously. But which bright spark do you figure, oh I dunno maybe, “suggested” Peters have that unique opt-out clause inserted into his contract extension? Ha! These two are absolute beauties.

      Brad Treliving totally hitched his horse to Bill Peters a couple of years ago, and vice versa. Absolutely anyone on the Flames is on the trading block if they don’t buy into what Rebar Peters is selling. Brad Treliving will go to the wall for this guy, indeed in many ways Peters is an extension of Treliving himself.

      • Off the wall

        Mickey O, it very well could be the case. When Treliving admits he only had one coach in mind, it has the making of a 48 Hours mystery dialogue.

        Whatever happened to get Peters’ to opt out and sign may be conjecture, however I also believe Treliving and Peters had some agreement in place (speculation) well before this took place.

        Btw, I’ve by watching the “Suits”
        Series on YouTube and although it’s ficticious, it reminds me that some scenarios are very feasible.

        It’s either that, or I’m fixated on legal shenanigans .?

  • OKG

    Uh Pat? +2.5% is not a “dramatiic” difference in corsi.. It’s an improvement that could be attributed to many factors such as roster change and internal improvement. In the last four seasons the Flames’ Score-adjusted FF% has been:

    48.28% (+2.59%)
    50.51% (+2.23%)
    52.88% (+2.37%)

    That is an improvement every single year regardless of coach. You frame it as the team hitting a wall with Hartley, when they didn’t. YOU DISLIKED Hartley’s use of the stretch pass yet lo and behold teams like Vegas are spamming that basic stretch pass system with didferent personnel. You call it an antiquated system yet it literally was not possible to play that system before the 2005 lockout due to the rule changes. You are comparing Gulutzan’s stacked roster to Hartley’s rebuilding rosters and trying to draw conclusions.

    Even if we agree Hartley could have stood to use more controlled breakouts (which are hardly the most fancy, groundbreaking idea… you wanna talk antiquated) that doesn’t mean a system which relies so exclusively on can be successful.

    Further, the data is out there that different types of zone entries lead to different goal rates, even if they produce the same corsi. Withot tjat information all you have proven is that Gulutzan happened to be a coach whose team happened to have good possession numbers. It does not prove his systems were successful. VEGAS is successful and they are not producing the same corsi we did last year. You sometimes have to sacrifice a shot attempt to score a goal – the stats are correlated but not causal. You say a 2.5% swing is dramatic… so if the Flames were -2.5% worse in possession this year – or 50.38% CF, there is no chance they might have played a style more likely to be better than 28th in goals for???

    Lastly, yes Gulutzan improved the PK. However he also severely handicapped it with player usage. Let’s not pretend the PK was a well oiled machine while the Stajan-Brouwer pair spent half the year being automatic goals against.

  • BendingCorners

    Strange thought for a trade: Brodie to Minnesota for Coyle and two draft picks. Big rugged RHS gets about 0.5PPG, could use a change of scenery. Good? Bad?

    • Hockeysense9393

      They were giving away defencemen just last year. Do they really need a 3-4 defenceman that badly? I’m really not sure about the return being that high.

  • T&A4Flames

    More for the bad:
    Never used a time-out when the team was losing control. He’s always save it for a challenge.
    Pre-season preparation. He’d teach right up until the last pre-season game. How about having your team prepared by letting the expected linemates and pairings create some chemistry together.
    But yes, I do acknowledge the good he did.

  • Just.Visiting

    I think the assumption that the improvement in a Corsi was necessarily indicative of a great increase in possession is a flawed conclusion in the case of the Flames, as I thought that several of the Flames with better Corsi scores had inflated Corsi scores as a consequence of very low probability perimeter shots and a quick flip when effecting a line change.

    I had an open mind when GG was hired, but the line/PP/PK configurations and tendency not to make required adjustments were such that it was clear to me by late November that he had to be removed and that Smith’s strong early season performance was masking other issues.

    I hope that GG reflects objectively on his time here, builds on the positives and recognizes and learns from his mistakes as he moves to his next role.

  • Flint

    Measuring success based on regular season statistics, and blindly measuring statistics is like blindly measuring calories as if they are all equal. If all your calories are coming from potato chips and candy vs real food then your caloris intake is garbage. The metric that matters are playoff games won, or uing statistics to support and argument for playoff games likely to be won, and Gulutzan won zero and likely would have won zero. To think we should have given him another year is asinine.

  • canadian1967

    How can you say that Corsi measures Zone time?
    Surely the teams keep track of actual time ispent in all 3 zones as a stat which could then give you data to measure Corsi, SOG and time in possession per minute.
    I hate watching Backlund spend most of his time in his own end and then flip the puck on net for a change which makes people spout off about how he did a good job and ended up in the O-zone
    Forgive me guys, hyped up on cold meds

  • Crakupov

    Why not call it what it is. When the super goaltending returned to normal the flames were exposed. Just like they were last year, when the goalie is not standing on his head the team is extremely average. There is a good cast of players for a good first line and the rest of the team is comprised of 4th liners.