The FlamesNation player poll asking for the Calgary Flames’ MVP this season has concluded. The poll worked by randomly posing two players currently in the Flames’ system that would be eligible to play in the NHL this coming season, including players on PTOs.
By pitting one player against another, a user would pick who they thought would be more valuable. The process repeats indefinitely with continuously random comparisions. After a week of polling and over 62,000 votes later, the results are in.
The poll works by assigning a score out of 100 for all poll options, which is indicative of the percentage a player is selected. Using that, MVP tiers are created by grouping together players who amassed certain scores.
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Most valuable players
For the Flames, it was expected that the team’s MVP wouldn’t be a one-horse race. Mainly because the Flames have a Norris trophy winner and a near-perennial Hart candidate. Johnny Gaudreau and Mark Giordano unsurprisingly ran away with the results, both earning scores of 96 and 95, respectively. These two players came up on top as either of them could be the MVP by season’s end.
Sean Monahan ekes into the MVP category, getting a score of exactly 90. As the team’s most consistent goal scorer, a strong offensive season could easily merit honours of being MVP for Monahan.
Three players followed closely, with each of Matthew Tkachuk, Elias Lindholm, and David Rittich all earning scores of 89. Considering how dangerous the Flames’ offence was last season, it goes without saying that repeated success comes with Tkachuk and Lindholm being potent scorers. Rittich of course, expects to take the reins as the starting goaltender, so there’s little argument against his value.
Rounding out the core players are another four. Mikael Backlund and Rasmus Andersson earned scores of 84 and 83, while Travis Hamonic and Sam Bennett both got 80. Backlund, the team’s perennial best two-way forward is a crucial player, while Andersson’s ascent up the Flames’ defence corps could see an added boost if he plays alongside Giordano.
Hamonic’s had a great season after a rocky start as a Flame the previous year, but is now seen as one of the more reliable defenders on the team. Bennett continues to look for an offensive outburst, but if he achieves it, he could be a key player down the stretch.
The group of complementary players is a little smaller, with Noah Hanifin scoring 79. TJ Brodie follows at a 74. Given the discussion of how he had the potential to be on the trading block this offseason, it’s not surprising to see his value has dropped this low.
Derek Ryan and Cam Talbot complete this section, both scoring 72. Ryan had a solid season and could build off on his success as an effective bottom-six player. With Talbot attempting to rebound as a backup goaltender, he looks to have a strong season as well and earning a few extra wins for the Flames could go a long way,
Dillon Dube and Andrew Mangiapane lead this group with scores of 68 and 67. Both players bring a lot of excitement and are both fan favourites. Their on-ice contributions are generally positive and if they start finding the back of the net, then the Flames suddenly look exceptionally dangerous.
Mark Jankowski, Michael Frolik, Oliver Kylington, and Milan Lucic round out the depth players, scoring 66, 65, 64, and 64, respectively.
The biggest surprise is seeing Frolik drop this low, seeing as he’s been a staple of the second line as a part of 3M. Perhaps it’s the looming Tkachuk contract and the uncertainty that follows with it that bumps Frolik down.
Austin Czarnik, Juuso Valimaki, and Michael Stone are deemed as replaceable this season, the first two both with scores of 55, and Stone clocking in at 51.
Czarnik provides depth when called upon, but so can a lot of other players. Valimaki won’t be rushed to return from his knee injury and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him miss a lengthy portion of the season and start his game conditioning in the AHL. Stone doesn’t provide much offence, but the Flames brought him back on as a cheaper safety net after buying him out earlier in the offseason.
These players may or may not play significant games for the Flames. It could all depend on how the season pans out. They’re waiting at the helms but aren’t likely to be called upon to play big minutes or big games. They probably aren’t on the roster unless there are problems with other players.
Matthew Phillips, Glenn Gawdin, and Alan Quine lead the way, among others. At best, they might expect a mid-season call up for a short stint in the big leagues depending on their performance.
Who are you?
Finally, we arrive at players that aren’t expected to make much of an impact for the Flames this season at all. They’re in the system, but probably locked into their role as an AHLer.
Most notably on this list is Jon Gillies. His development as a goalie went from being a strong candidate to a shaky AHL goaltender, and his future with the Flames is uncertain. Despite being on a one-way contract this season, there’s little reason to expect Gillies to have much NHL time at all.
Play it out
Only time can tell who will have the best season this year for the Flames, but it’d be a long shot to expect the team’s MVP to be anyone other than one of Gaudreau or Giordano. Check out the complete results of the poll here.