Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Comparing the Flames’ top 15 scorers to the rest of the league

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.

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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.

Player Points League Rank
Johnny Gaudreau 73 T3
Sean Monahan 61 T3
Elias Lindholm 58 1
Matthew Tkachuk 57 1
Mark Giordano 52 1
Mikael Backlund 29 T6
TJ Brodie 25 T7
Noah Hanifin 25 T5
Mark Jankowski 20 T11
Sam Bennett 19 T6
Michael Frolik 18 T4
Derek Ryan 16 T3
James Neal 12 T18
Travis Hamonic 12 T7
Garnet Hathaway 7 T26

Top 5

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.

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Top 10

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.

Top 15

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.

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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.

  • Eggy

    Here’s me hoping for a monstrous last stretch of the season for janko Benny and Neal probably asking for way too much but I think they will at least do better

    • freethe flames

      Neal was playing better before the break. I think the line changes helped him a lot. If he could score on 10% of his shots which is below his career average for the remaining 31 games and into the playoffs that would change a great deal for this team. Time will tell, I’m wishing the best for him but still remain doubtful.
      I think it is only a matter of time before the Tkachuk/Janko/Bennett line starts to click as well. Hopefully the time off has helped with whatever was ailing Tkachuk before the break.

  • Eggy

    I wonder how many goals Benny would have if he didn’t hit post on highlight real dangles he’s been making I think he could put up 20 points in next 31 games and hopefully he proves me wrong and puts up more

  • cjc

    I read a similar analysis recently, although they grouped production (i.e. Top 3, 3-6, 6-12) and only looked at forwards. Anyway, I think their conclusion was that Calgary’s depth was middle of the pack. There is room for improvement, but things may not be quite as bad in the middle six as some think.

    • Brian McGrattan's Salute

      I mean, especially lately, maybe post-Christmas. The top line hasn’t been as hot as it was in the fall (though obviously still playing great), and we haven’t won squarely on the shoulders of that line recently either. Look at guys like Janko, Frolik, Backlund, Bennett, and even Neal–these guys have been doing quite well, and have chipped in offensively to win us games.

      Jankos 5 or 6 game point streak comes to mind, as does Backlunds last 5 games, as does Neals last couple. Frolik has put up very solid points for games played.

      So let’s hope that the fellows listed here, plus maybe a Mangiapane, can keep it going with their solid play of late

  • Getpucksdeep

    This upcoming brutal road trip which features a Vancouver to Tampa flight will tell the story. I’m confident Tree will adjust accordingly. Enjoy reading all these trade ideas. I don’t have “favorite” players so what ever works. Obviously we want to keep a winning formula together.

    I thought I’d toss in the fact that we all watch for many reasons but often because many of us played and I know some of you still play commercial. Most of us have the experiance to see the players and see the teams tactics and how they employ them with our own eyeballs, all deference to Corsi and such. The above stats in the story simply confirm what we see this time that this group is for real and can actually get better. And the whole league sees it this time as well!! I too see Backlund, Bennett, Jankowski and Neal stepping up their games which bodes well. I think tough roadie or not they’ll still be .660 -.750 this month based on the old eyeball test. Hope they don’t alter the experiment too radically on deadline.

  • withachance

    Hopefully this will stem the trade talks for Hayes, Nyquist etc etc. Scoring depth isnt a concern at all… Just get a playoff vet in the locker room and the team should be good to go for a run

  • mrroonie

    Kucherov’s lead at the top is even more impressive when you consider that he’s played 90 minutes less ice time than Gaudreau, 106 minutes less than Rantanen, and a whopping 170 minutes less than McDavid.

  • deantheraven

    Great work again, Mr Bill! I just posted a vague suggestion of what you just laid out here. I was responding to the notion that the Flames were too “top heavy”. Hopefully Tre sees it the same and doesn’t swing for top- six scoring at the TDL. We don’t have enough to give up that wouldn’t hurt now and onward to Seattle..

  • BlueMoonNigel

    As the downtime drags on another day, I cast my gaze far ahead to the first week of June and ask which sports figure will be top of the charts for Calgary sports fans.

    Will it be a Flame as the team continues its march for the cup?

    Will it be a Jet or Leaf or Canadien as one or more of those teams could still be alive and trying to bring Stanley north of the border for the first time in 26 years.

    Will it be an old standby like Crosby, Ovi, Fleury or Stamkos?

    Maybe it won’t be a hockey guy at all. Will it be the great Kawhi Leonard as he leads Canada’s team to NBA glory, or how about Junior Guerrero as leads another of Canada’s teams back to respectability and relevance.

    What about Tiger? You know if he recaptures the Masters in April, he will be the favourite heading into the US Open later in June.

    With CFL training camps going full tilt, maybe Calgary sports fans will rally around the Stamps new/old QB, ageless Kevin Glenn.

    Who will it be who holds dear to our hearts as we whistle a merry tune in early June?

  • The GREAT WW.

    Backlund in the top 6 of scoring is not a positive sign. Others need to step up. No way they win the cup with that plug as their 6th top scorer. Step up boys….Looking at you Neal!!!!


    • benfr

      Your constant Backlund bashing shows little to no hockey knowledge. Some one who does have hockey knowledge, Keith Tkachuk (yes Bing’s dad) called him the most underrated player in the NHL and that Matthew was lucky to play with him. Wonder who’s right, you or Bing’s dad. Hmmm?

      • Em Durp Em Hrudey

        Actually WW is the imposter as well as the original….kind of a messed up troll. I too hope Neal picks it up, but am happy Backlund is contributing again this season. If everyone on yhis team can reach their potential the sky is the limit!

          • Cfan in Van

            Sure, trash me for asking why you guys are jumping to conclusions about WW. Walter’s been commenting here for years, and it strikes me as strange that he would play childish imposter games to troll FN… He does that just fine on his own account, that’s his gig. Which brings me to his impostor scenario, WW’s comments strike a lot of people the wrong way, and I think that’s what’s brought people (more than one) to start impostor accounts in an attempt to drive him away. Neither Mang or Durp have presented evidence that actually points to WW, it’s pretty easy for someone to mimick WW’s style/words/message, since he can tend to be repetitive and has been commenting for so long. WW has no reason to be a confusing D*ck here, he enjoys the back and forth hockey talk as much as anyone.

            And sure, impostor accounts aren’t technically doing anything wrong, but they’re super annoying for anyone who frequents the site and likes to keep track of the contributions of regulars here. It makes the place a lot more annoying to follow, when you’ve got duplicate accounts for multiple people here (I’ve can think of at least 4 over the past year). That sh*t needs to end.

          • Em Durp Em Hrudey

            The imposter appeared a while back right around the time WW had a delay put on his comments by admin. on FN. This was his way to still be able to comment. When his account delay was lifted he began to use both as a way to troll FN. He is a very sad man, thats all I will say. Back to hockey talk now because I am not playing his games anymore.

          • Manginasal

            It really doesn’t matter if he does but evidence?
            One poster pointed out yesterday that they use the same unique words often.
            After looking at it he was right. The only poster to use ‘dum dum’ is both WW’s.
            Both have the same aggressive approach and typing style.
            Look at his avatar… when he posts about his hate on backlund it’s with the head that fills almost the entire picture.
            Today he is hating on backlund with the other WW avatar that does NOT fill the picture.
            This is the guy he calls imposter and douche.
            It’s so obvious!

            Again. There is nothing wrong with what he is doing.

            Just not fooling everyone.

          • The GREAT WW

            “Dum dum”…… everyone on this site INCLUDING YOU knows that is a phrase I use.
            You don’t think the imposters know this?
            Use your thinker….

            Next they will be using Incel and Feefee too….


    • The Beej


      Do you not understand basic Math or something?

      Look at the table above. He is the 6th best #6 in the league. Firmly establishing him as a top 6 forward.

      Add in his defensive game and he is a fairly big reason why we are where we are. He is certainly not a plug and how would you even replace both his offensive and defensive contributions.

    • ngthagg

      Gaudreau in the number 1 spot is not a positive sign. Others need to step up. No way they win the cup with that shrimp as their top scorer. Step up boys… Looking at you Tkachuk!!!!

      . . . Or maybe that’s a stupid thing to say. Your call.

  • freethe flames

    A name I read today on “Spector’s” Rumour Reporty was Dzingel out of Ottawa. The reports suggested he might be had for a 2nd rounder; now I know we don’t have 2nd rounder this year but is he someone the Flames should be seriously interested in. He can play all 3 positions and has 30 goals and 18 assists already and has some play off experience.

  • Off the wall

    This article makes absolutely no sense to me. Beyond our top 5 (forward) goal scorers, there’s a significant drop off.

    Since when does that translate to forward depth?

    Jankowski, Bennett, Frolik, Ryan, Neal and Hathaway are well below other teams like Tampa, SAN Jose, Nashville, Vegas, Pittsburg, Winnipeg and Washington.

    I guess we’re content with a low standard for scoring depth.
    I can guarantee none of the above teams are..

    • Getpucksdeep

      I may be wrong but I thought the only team with 11 x 20 goal scorers was the 77-78 Briuns and Orr wasn’t on that team! All year, more or less Calgary has iced at least 3 lines that could keep the opposition busy. Few second lines around the league are more effective and lately they’ve found the range.Bennett and Jankowski have played pretty good 2 way games and again just lately they are being rewarded. I just think 33-13 is spectacular and 11 of 12 forwards have demonstrated they will get there share of “pucks deep” as it were. Hathaway and Ryan are great role players and even they’ve chipped in. In the modern era 5 x 20 goal scorers is rare. Seeing the lower 3 lines and a defensemen all get 10 -15 goals each would that be just fine. Never forget other teams have plenty of warts during the season too. I just watched Vasilevsky get pumped for 3 goals in 10 minutes of the start of a game.

    • Chucky

      I think the point is that you have to get to 13th before the ranking is below top half of the league. It is a funny way to look at the world because the question is are these guys there for scoring alone?
      Two sleeps until hockey and the goofy articles can end.

    • The GREAT WW

      Still hoping for that big trade for a rental OTW?

      I would be ok with trading Shillington for a young stud forward, but a rental I can do without….


  • Alberta Ice

    Gaudreau and Monahan have same points totals as McDavid and Draisaitl. Yet Flames have their twosome at a price of 2/3rds the cost of the Oilers. Another interesting twosome comparison for these two teams is Rittich and Smith vs Koskinen and Talbot. The signing of Rittich will be an interesting story in the next few months along with the journeys of Smith and Talbot.

  • Jourflamesfan


    Not sure if posted but Lebrun (typically pretty tuned in with the Flames) thinks that both the Jets and Flames will be aggressive. He brings up how close Reaves was to signing here and that gave Treliving the confidence to put Ferland in the Carolina deal. Mentions that Neal is rugged but speculates again on bringing Ferland back.

    • Jourflamesfan

      Lebrun is one of the few guys I trust regarding flames news.

      He was the first to report Calgary and Carolina were talking about Lindholm, Hanifin, and Hamilton trade talks.

      He previously broke the news about Calgary’s activity regarding Mike Smith, Hamonic, and the Brouwer signing.

      He’s easily the best informed insider. Dreger is out to lunch I feel like, and Friedman tends to talk hypothetical situations that might fit, which then get reported as serious rumours. 

      LeBrun is legit though, and he said in the radio hit that he thinks Calgary will make a “splashy move”.

  • freethe flames

    Lets keep this simple: we will likely have 4 guys with 35+ goals, we will have 5 guys who flirt with 15 goals 4 forwards and 1 D and if we are lucky we will have 3 other guys flirt with 10 plus goals. That’s pretty good but the reality is that it would not hurt to add another forward who will be 15-30 goals.