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|
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|