Usually, themes emerge when people ask mailbag questions. Last week (and the week before, and the week before before) was about Sam Bennett. Goalies are always a theme. Sometimes we talk about the defence.
This week, it’s about whatever. Hope you enjoy.
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How should I feel about Jordan Sigalet?
Sigalet is a popular guy in Flames fan circles because he’s the goalie coach on a team with bad goaltending. Ergo, it must be his fault.
The problem being that no one can really point to what it is a goalie coach does that impacts on-ice and off-ice results. Unlike a head coach or a powerplay coach, where there are plenty of metrics to analyze performance, there’s only one for goalies, and it’s save percentage. And that doesn’t really help anyone because it’s hard to suss out whether it’s the goalie’s fault or the coach’s fault.
I decided to look at his track record with the Flames, starting when he got hired by the team to be the AHL goalie coach:
Here’s a quick guide to the chart: Sigalet was hired in August 2011 and lasted until August 2014 when he was hired by the Flames. Green highlights means he was the coach of that goalie for that year. All save percentages are AHL save percentages, and a goalie would have to play at least 10 games to qualify on the list. We’ve included one year before Sigalet started, for context.
And the results point to… nothing conclusive. He got the best out of Danny Taylor, I guess. He also had to turn Leland Irving into an NHL goalie, but that ship had sailed by that point. Obligatory Barry Brust shoutout, getting a decent season out of the legend. He had goalies who were never going to be anything, so it’s hard to really give him a passing or failing grade for the AHL.
I guess his work with Joni Ortio in his return to the AHL got him a job with the big club. Here’s the chart for that:
Again, nothing conclusive. Karri Ramo played about the same as he always did. Jonas Hiller collapsed, but that was more likely due to being 35. Ortio didn’t really get better as much as he was just an AHLer who didn’t make the NHL. Mike Smith has been at about career average, but factoring in age and injury, it’s hard to blame subpar performance on Sigalet. The only negative could be Brian Elliott, but the Flyers are also learning that he’s not a starting goalie.
So in conclusion? I don’t know what to think about Sigalet. The results are hard to parse given the revolving door of goalies who are either too old, untested, bad, or somewhere in the middle of that three-way Venn diagram.
What is Mark Jankowski's role on this team moving forward?
— Mike Gould (@mikegouldCU) October 20, 2018
Janko been surpassed? I’d say he’s on his way to being a one year and done in the NHL unless he can figure it out. But maybe he just needs opportunity, hello Seattle.
— Calgary Tigers (@CalgaryTigers) October 21, 2018
Mark Jankowski, from early usage, is heading into extra forward territory. His roles from last year have been filled. He can’t be Bennett’s buddy anymore, because that’s James Neal’s job now, and Neal is doing a pretty dynamite job of it so far (Bennett and Neal have been together since game three of the season, and it’s generated some hype and points so we’ll stick with that). The 3C is likely taken, probably by Derek Ryan, but Dillon Dube might get a shot in there every now and then. They’ve added PK options in Elias Lindholm, Noah Hanifin, and Ryan, so that’s another spot that has had some depth injected.
And that’s a good thing, from a team perspective. The entire mentality headed into the offseason was that no job was safe, and if your 3C is suddenly bumped to the press box because there’s quality ahead of him, that’s a healthy spot for a team to be in.
Obviously, that is not a good thing if you’re Jankowski. The heat turns up if the team that just gave you $1.675M this offseason already feels they can cast you to the press box. Given the need to penny pinch for a goalie, a Matthew Tkachuk extension, and a likely Bennett extension, combined with a 20-year-old rookie with seven prior games of AHL pro experience already having passed him on the roster (with some AHLers likely wanting to make a case sometime soon), Jankowski might have to start looking at real estate options in 30 other NHL cities.
He’ll probably be given a few chances to prove his worth, but as the limited minutes and healthy scratches suggest, he’ll have to make the most of them. He did so against the Rangers, but he’ll probably have to keep that up if he doesn’t want another period in the press box.
State a bold prediction.
Also, what do you think of the #Flames’ current goaltending situation? Should Tre do something or we fans are just overreacting?
— PC (@TheRealPepman) October 20, 2018
Bold prediction: Dube, despite the slow start, hits 40 points this year.
Brad Treliving should probably do something. Smith has been bad in four of six games, and it’s cost the Flames at least four points so far. David Rittich has been great, but he’s not someone to bet on as the starting goalie. We don’t have enough information about him at the NHL level to make that bet right now (not saying they shouldn’t stop playing him!), and previous starting stints (Smith’s injury last year, various points of the 2016-17 AHL season) suggest that he is just as wonky as Smith has been with a starter’s workload. Perhaps we still haven’t seen enough of Rittich, but based on what we do have to work with, you can’t tab him as a solution just yet.
The question is more if there is something he can do, and as we’ve explored on previous mailbags, there’s probably nothing that can be done.
Do you think that Dube is going to be sent down? Or has his play dropped off due to the injury and lack of ice time?
— Mark G. Damm, J.D. (@MGDamm) October 20, 2018
Dube is he being setup to be sent to Stockton? Is there any chance we see Oliver k in the NHL soon?
— @thegatorswamp (@thegatorswamp2) October 20, 2018
Yes hello! I have a question, do you think given Dube's ice time and usage that he will be sent down to Stockton?
— Khalid Keshavjee (@KMKeshavjee) October 21, 2018
There’s no real point to sending Dube down. The nine-game cup of coffee doesn’t apply to him as he’s 20 and his contract runs regardless of where he plays. Perhaps the 39-game limit comes into play, as passing that threshold takes him a year closer to UFA status. If he doesn’t make an impact by then, he’s probably Stockton bound. Right now, too early to say.
As for time on ice, that’s just a Bill Peters thing. The Flames seem to be frequently chasing leads in the third, so the bottom six – where Dube is – doesn’t see the ice as much. Compounded with his minor injury, this may be why he’s not been given as many opportunities as he was earlier in the season.
He’s certainly an exciting story, but I think people are letting that get out of hand. Dube is still a work in progress and there will be growing pains along the way. I think the responsible coach move is not to throw him to the dogs in the top six, but to find out what he is in limited minutes. When he’s ready for the bigger assignments, it will be obvious. He’s quite clearly good enough for the NHL level even if he isn’t blowing the doors down, so fretting about ice time and point totals this early isn’t worth your time.
How does Oliver Kylington fit into the top 6 later this year/next season? Obviously depth is strong and you'd hope Kylington does have to go through what Andersson did to become a regular. Would it make sense to trade Brodie at the draft with him & Hamonic set to go UFA?
— Daniel Tiller (@tiller_daniel) October 21, 2018
Oliver Kylington will take time, as he was projected to since day one. He’s currently at a point-per-game in the AHL, so it shouldn’t be too long before someone in the NHL notices.
I don’t know how the Flames make space though. They’re packed with LHD depth, and it’s unknown whether Kylington can actually play the right side (can Juuso Valimaki or Noah Hanifin play the right side?). Brodie and Hamonic actually aren’t UFA until next season, so there’s no immediate need to trade them, if you can in the first place. The two have their warts, but they’re at least still NHLers. Kylington is very close, but not there yet. You really shouldn’t trade either away to make space unless you can be very certain that your replacement will be able to do that job.
How long before hanifin bumps Brodie from the top pairing?
— Mark (@Lethmark84) October 20, 2018
I don’t know if it’s Hanifin that will bump Brodie from the top pairing, but it’s looking more and more likely. Maybe it’s too early to write Brodie off completely, but his early season struggles plus Peters’ impatience could mean that he’s bumped back down to the second pairing. The Flames tried Rasmus Andersson with Mark Giordano on the top pairing against NYR, so maybe that sticks for a while.
I don’t know if Peters would be comfortable giving a rookie first pairing minutes over a defenceman who has been under his wing his entire career, so it’s really a toss up for me. With Peters, I think you have to wait and see what he’ll try before making grand declarations.
Did we have to give up @ferdaddy27 in that trade? I get jealous after every big hit he throws, fight he wins and goal he scores.
— Harshita Chhabra (@harshitaDBB) October 20, 2018
I think giving up Micheal Ferland was both a necessity and a convenience. Carolina wasn’t giving up Elias Lindholm without getting a top six forward back. Given that Ferland was the cheapest option of 2017-18 top six regulars, that’s probably who Carolina was targeting. Remember that they balked at the notion of paying Lindholm around $5M, so for the Canes to get a top sixer under $2M for just one year would be a win for them.
That’s also what made him expendable in the Flames’ eyes. Ferland was either going to be asking for big bucks and long term to stick around or he would leave for someone who would offer him that. Given that he was inconsistent with the Flames, I’d guess that the team was uncomfortable locking him up long-term. The same might be true with the Hurricanes. Unless Carolina ponies up, Ferland is likely going to test free agent waters at the end of the year. The Hurricanes have to sign Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen next offseason too so there’s probably not going to be enough room for Ferland.
If Adam Fox is the real deal + signs in Carolina, how bad is this trade?
— Corsi Jones (@vowswithinhb) October 21, 2018
Probably pretty bad? Adam Fox was always going to be the deciding factor as to who won the trade. If he becomes a legit prospect (he’s much further away than most imagine), then yes, the scales tip in favour of Carolina. Giving away two high-scoring defencemen for one makes Calgary a loser in this situation.
With Rasmus Andersson playing more, getting more confidence from Peters what happens when Hamonic is back? Stone has to be the odd man out without a doubt no?
Prout to AHL?
— Daniel Tiller (@tiller_daniel) October 21, 2018
Probably. Michael Stone’s already losing ice time and Stockton is in desperate need of RHDs so Dalton Prout has a role to play somewhere. If Andersson is already being trusted to go on the first pairing, it’s kind of hard to send him back.
I was really young in the late 80’s/ early 90’s. Is Monahan really the best 1st line C we’ve since Nieuwendyk (sorry Langkow)? – is that a concern going forward?
I guess you could throw the few beautiful years of Marc Savard or Cory Stillman in there, but Monahan is probably going to have all of them beat (including Langkow) on longevity and talent. He’s put up some very strong numbers, and at a younger age than the aforementioned centres (Stillman and Savard were 22, Langkow 29 when he joined the Flames). It’s clear that he ranks high on the All-Time Flames #1 Centres list, probably number two.
He’s not better than Joe Nieuwendyk though, but being number two isn’t that bad, and certainly not concerning. Nieuwendyk is a hall of famer, and those are pretty rare to find. Monahan has a long career ahead of him, and could one day be in the HHOF, but being very good instead of very, very good is still very good.