It’s no secret that the Calgary Flames have enjoyed one of their best offensive seasons in franchise history. The team has combined for 190 goals for and a total of 520 points across their entire roster; an impressive team effort that features five players in the NHL’s top 30 scoring race. While this has been a delight to many, some concerns have been raised about Calgary’s depth scoring. There’s reason to believe that isn’t necessarily true.
Outside the top five, does team offence drop off into the void? Not exactly. Here are the top 15 point producers for the Flames and their relative ranks in the league taken at the start of the All-Star break. In a bit of an unconventional way to describe players, I’m using “rank in team scoring” to make it a bit clearer which players are compared to each other.
In the following table, each Flame’s current point total is shown as well as their league rank. In this case, league rank refers to where they place compared to other players that are in the same ranked position on their own team.
In other words, Johnny Gaudreau is compared to each team’s leading scorer, Sean Monahan is compared to each team’s second highest scorer, Elias Lindholm is compared to each team’s third highest scorer, etc.
Johnny Gaudreau’s 73 points put him at a tie with Connor McDavid for third place among all first-in-team-scoring players. Both are perfectly matched at 29 goals and 44 assists apiece. The two leading scorers ahead of them are Nikita Kucherov and Mikko Rantanen.
Sean Monahan, second on the Flames, happens to also be in a tie for third with another Edmonton Oiler, Leon Draisaitl. Both players, like Gaudreau and McDavid, have matching point totals: 27 goals and 34 assists. This time, Colorado and Tampa Bay swap spots for the top two; Nathan MacKinnon leads all second place players, Brayden Point after him.
The next three Flames all pace the league, which is only logical seeing as the Flames are the only team in the NHL with five players with more than 50 points each. First among all third-in-team-scoring players is Elias Lindholm. First among all fourth-in-team-scoring players is Matthew Tkachuk. First among all fifth-in-team-scoring players is Mark Giordano. Is this worth repeating? Absolutely. It’s a pretty clear-cut case that the Flames’ top players have been extremely good offensively, and are really in their own league as a group of five.
The 21-point dropoff between Gaudreau and Giordano is just shy of the 23-point dropoff between Giordano and Mikael Backlund. It’s a sizeable gap within the team, but among all sixth-in-team-scoring players, Backlund’s near the top of the league. Erik Karlsson blows the rest of the players out of the water with 43 points, but four players are tied for second with 30. Backlund finds himself in a tie for sixth with Dustin Byfuglien at 29.
A couple of Calgary defencemen rank seventh and eighth in Flames scoring. TJ Brodie is in a tie for seventh among all seventh-in-team-scoring players with Brett Connolly, who’s a forward on Washington’s third line. Noah Hanifin tied for fifth among all eighth-in-team-scoring players with Craig Smith and Jason Zucker. Smith is on Nashville’s second line and Zucker is similarly on Minnesota’s second line. Not bad company to be with for Brodie and Hanifin, putting up offensive numbers on par with top nine forwards on other teams.
Mark Jankowski is ninth on the Flames, and is tied for 11th among ninth-on-team-scoring players. Sam Bennett rounds out the Flames’ top 10, and he’s in a five-way tie for sixth among all 10th-in-team-scoring players.
It isn’t until Calgary’s 11th through 15th most productive players that their rankings start to break down. Michael Frolik and Derek Ryan are still above league average. The tandem of James Neal and Travis Hamonic have the same number of points; however, they’re right at the cutoff where 12 points is pretty bad for a team’s 13th ranked player, but pretty good for team’s 14th ranked player. A lot of fluctuation is expected to happen around this range as depth scoring varies for every team.
Looking at Garnet Hathaway, Calgary’s 15th most productive player, he’s well below average and tied for 26th in the league among all 15th-in-team-scoring players. Again, depth scoring and ever-changing rosters due to injuries and scratches will result in a lot more variation around this mark.
High threat in depth scoring
Based on these comparisons, it’s seen that Calgary’s top 12 point producers are all well above average compared to their peers. The 2018-19 Flames have put on quite the show so far this season. They’re getting points up and down their roster, with some outperforming expectations while others have yet to reach theirs.
All in all, the Flames’ best players are among the best in the league and their depth scoring isn’t faring too badly either. All of this combines to make them a terrifying team to face on any given night.