FlamesNation player evaluation: Nick Shore

Teetering on the edge of a playoff spot in late February, the Flames weren’t exactly in a position to do much of anything. It would take major balls to sell at that point, with so much of the season left to play and no first round pick. At the same time, buying wasn’t an option, either: they weren’t exactly gearing up to contend, and they had very little in the way of currency to spend.

So the team made one move: they traded a seventh round pick for Nick Shore. And though it was one of the smallest moves possible, it may end up paying dividends in the near future.

2017-18 season summary

Shore played for three teams over the course of the 2017-18 season: 49 games for the Kings, six games for the Senators, and nine games for the Flames. The Kings traded him, along with Marian Gabork, for Dion Phaneuf and Nate Thompson. Then, there was the aforementioned seventh round pick trade all of 13 days later.

The little brother of former Flame-for-13-games Drew Shore, Nick started off getting limited minutes with the Flames. Once it became clear they were not making the playoffs – and Sean Monahan was finally shut down as a result – Shore started getting more minutes and, with them, higher quality linemates.

All numbers are with the Flames only.

Games played Goals Assists Points TOI/GP 5v5 CF% 5v5 CF% rel OZS% PDO
9 1 2 3 15:08 55.20 -0.74 49.32 .997

In his very limited time with the Flames, Shore’s most common linemates at 5v5 were Curtis Lazar (39:46), Micheal Ferland (38:34), Johnny Gaudreau (29:36), Troy Brouwer (22:09), and Garnet Hathaway (21:28). He had a great 5v5 CF with Lazar (62.96%) and a poor one with Hathaway (44.64%), while falling in the low 50s with the other three forwards – but, extremely small sample sizes beware (along with the fact that he isn’t likely to play with Gaudreau on the regular).

Though he only scored three points, Shore had the chance for more offence, but his linemates had a difficult time capitalizing on his setups – though it should be noted that while the Flames were futile for much of the season, they were particularly inept at creating offence towards the end of the year, when Shore played.

He experienced light powerplay time as a Flame, but was experimented with on the penalty kill, registering 14:23 shorthanded minutes over only nine games, so Shore on the penalty kill could be a staple next season.

Shore’s time with the Senators is negligible – it was only six games – but over the 49 games he played with the Kings, he scored 15 points while averaging 14:34 a game. He had horrid offensive zone starts in L.A. (38.90%) and, despite that, was a +3.37% 5v5 CF rel. He has the potential to be an extremely effective bottom six centre, chipping in the occasional points while doing some heavy lifting.

Oh, and he’s a right shot.

Compared to last season

Shore spent his entire 2016-17 with the Kings, playing 70 games for them. He scored six goals and picked up a total 17 points over that time, a career season for him. Considering that Shore will be 26 to start next season, we probably shouldn’t be expecting a sudden offensive surge (although it’s worth noting that his shooting percentage hasn’t been egregiously high: his career average is 5.4%, and the past three seasons he’s shot at 7.6%, 6.8%, and 6.3%).

His relative corsi numbers have oscillated season to season, however. In 2014-15 – his first year in the NHL, with 34 games played – he had a -3.77% 5v5 CF rel. In 2015-16 – 68 games played – he was +6.72%. In 2016-17, he was -0.87%. In all three seasons, his offensive zone starts were well above 50%.

So who is Shore? Based on these past two seasons – aka a little over half his NHL career to date – he’s someone who can keep his head above water when given optimal ground, and can still perform reasonably well when tasked with tougher assignments. He’s not a scorer, but he’s a quality depth player.

What about next season?

Shore is a restricted free agent, but considering how the Flames just traded for him a couple of months ago and how he performed relatively well in the few games he got, meaningless as they may have been, he seems like a safe bet to re-sign. Throw in the fact that he’s a right-shot – something the Flames are desperately lacking, even if he isn’t going to be a high-scoring player – and it’s a no-brainer.

Shore has had a cap hit of $925,000 the past four seasons, so it’s likely he’ll be able to be retained at a relatively cheap price.

He isn’t going to make or break the Flames, and it would be a perilous sign for them if that were the case (see: how the 2017-18 season played out in regards to lack of depth). But he’s still a valuable piece to have. In today’s NHL, you can’t waste spots anywhere in the lineup. Everyone has to be able to skate, everyone has to have the smarts to contend.

Shore won’t put them over the top, but he’s unlikely to be a liability, either, and that’s exactly what’s needed.

#5 – Mark Giordano #7 – TJ Brodie
#8 – Chris Stewart #10 – Kris Versteeg
#11 – Mikael Backlund #13 – Johnny Gaudreau
#15 – Tanner Glass #18 – Matt Stajan
#19 – Matthew Tkachuk #20 – Curtis Lazar
#21 – Garnet Hathaway #23 – Sean Monahan
#24 – Travis Hamonic


  • freethe flames

    Hard to access a guy like Shore after such a short time here, but the truth of the matter is he is a 13/14th forward and IMO can be upgraded upon in FA. While the Flames need RHS they also need to upgrade the bottom line as well. If they think they can upgrade the 4th line center position they could move on. I will say it again I fully expect BP to ask BT to sign Ryan. We talk about the need to fix the top 6 and that would be nice but fixing the depth is also essential.

  • Rockmorton65

    I think the best way to fix the bottom six is to address the top six. By adding a legit top 6 player, you ensure someone gets bumped down the lineup. Say they sign Evander Kane for the top line (I’m not advocating it). That bumps Ferland down to play on one of the middle six lines. Then you could potentially have:


    And you can tinker with the fourth line with the half dozen players in that area. I’m not suggesting that these lines could/will work, just showing how the “bumping” principle could work.

    • freethe flames

      Adding one top 6 forward(that is likely available) will not fix this team. There is still not enough depth at center; this is position that could likely be upgraded through FA: Beagle is a 58% face off guy and Ryan is a 56% face off guy; yes they are older but you would not be signing them long term. The value of having either guy or both for gaining more possession of of face offs would be tremendous but more importantly how much better would Janko, Monny and Backs get at face offs having to practice against guys this good. Depending how far up the food chain the top 6 guy yu acquire can play lots of things can be changed. Gallagher is a name being floated around; I would see him with Tkachuk and Janko leaving Ferland with Johnny and Monny. A Zibby on the other hand would likely play with Johnny and Monny and Ferland with Tkacuk and Janko.

      Now that the world championships are done I am hopeful 2 things happen with the Flames this week. One; let’s get the Assistant coaches hired. Two; now that contracts are freed up lets see if BT can add some talent from the Euro Free Agents or the NCAA FA.

      • Rockmorton65

        I never said acquiring one top six forward would fix everything. I said fix the top six and it could trickle down to the bottom six. I just used Kane as an example.

    • Korcan

      I agree. He plays a smart, two-way game, and always looks calm and poised. I would really like to see how he does with regular linemates and after a full training camp with the team. He could prove to be a great depth center pickup. I think he is also pretty decent at faceoffs, if I am remembering correctly.

  • Off the wall

    Out of 100 top faceoff guys he’s #80.
    McDavid is #99, how ironic .

    For reference Jankowski is #71,
    Backlund is #66 and tops for the Flames is Monahan at #63.

    First overall? Ryan O’Reilly @ 60%

    • Still no edit button?

      He is a very skilled player obviously and is generational. He just really needs to work on the defensive side if the game which usually comes in time.

      • Rockmorton65

        He’s very skilled, no doubt. He gets his points, but the difference between him and the past “generational” players like Gretzky, Lemieux, etc. is McDavid doesn’t have that next, elite gear to change the flow of a game individually. It’s one that very few players have had. McDavid doesn’t.

        He scores lots of points, but rarely when they matter. I have yet to see him, in an important game, be the best player on the ice and be the deciding factor. There were, literally, hundreds of games where Gretzky imposed his will on an important game. He wasn’t going to lose and made sure his team didn’t.

        I don’t think McDavid has that ability. He was one of the top scorers, but he wasn’t even the best player on his team, let alone the tournament.

        • TriPPiNvdUb

          The main difference between McJesus and those guys is the quality in teammates around them. As much as I dislike him, he is a beast and can take a game over with his speed and play making ability. He’s still young and Chia-pet has exactly done a great job at surrounding him with players that know how to win.
          Your only kidding yourself if you don’t see the talent level in this kid.

  • Fan the Flames

    Shore is a low cost 4th line centre or depth forward . He can skate , win face offs has a history of killing penalties and he has some miles left in the tank .

    • Atomic Clown

      Exactly, thats the most important issue here. 7th rounders are hail marys, i have no idea how many 7th rounders actually went on to have a career in the NHL, let alone be great (Datsyuk, Lundqvist, Zetterberg come to mind). For what Shore is, a 7th round pick is a bargain.

    • freethe flames

      True an NHL player is more valuable than a 7th round pick 99.9% of the time but the truth of the matter is Shore good enough to get us into the playoffs. What he really is; is a 13/14th forward who can be a replacement forward in the bottom six; a slight upgrade over Freddie Hamilton and Matt Stajan. If that’s what your happy with being enjoy cheering for someone else come playoff time. For me I want better.