After roster changes, how do the Flames’ special teams look?

The Calgary Flames have made some changes to their roster. Several players from the 2020-21 vintage have departed, most notably captain Mark Giordano, and a quartet of new regular skaters have joined the club.

Nowhere will Giordano’s departure be more stark than on the two sides of special teams. How will the units likely look now that the Flames have added their new faces?

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Power play

For both sides of special teams, here’s how Darryl Sutter used players during his 30 games to close out the season. We’ve included both total time and per-game time. (Stats via Natural Stat Trick.)

Gaudreau 78:34 2:37
Tkachuk 76:37 2:33
Giordano 76:19 2:32
Lindholm 72:52 2:25
Monahan 59:43 2:17
Andersson 60:03 2:00
Mangiapane 49:52 1:39
Backlund 47:31 1:38
Hanifin 32:22 1:32
Lucic 38:43 1:17

Departing is Giordano, the team’s top blueliner in terms of power play usage. How the club will replace his minutes is probably going to be more time for Noah Hanifin, and perhaps Juuso Valimaki joining Rasmus Andersson on the second group. That is assuming that new associate coach Kirk Muller keeps the same general approach as last season – four forwards and a defender on first unit, three forwards and two defenders on second unit.

Newcomer Tyler Pitlick was on Arizona’s second unit last season and becomes an option for the team. Blake Coleman didn’t play very much power play with Tampa Bay – he averaged fewer than 30 seconds per game – but it’s easy to imagine Sutter using him on the second unit for continuity’s sake, especially if his regular five-on-five linemates are PP players.

Penalty kill

Tanev 85:49 2:51
Giordano 83:55 2:47
Lindholm 61:10 2:02
Backlund 50:01 1:43
Nordstrom 34:28 1:38
Ryan 48:52 1:37
Stone 32:10 1:31
Bennett 17:06 1:08
Mangiapane 30:43 1:01
Nesterov 18:19 1:01

The penalty kill performed pretty well last season and assistant coach Ryan Huska, who runs the PK, is back for 2021-22. But departing are the first unit’s left defenseman, both forwards from the second unit, and some of their depth options.

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The good news is that basically everyone Brad Treliving acquired can be used on the PK.

  • Pitlick played 2:06 per game with Arizona, the most of their forwards.
  • Nikita Zadorov played 1:46 per game with Chicago, fourth among their defensemen.
  • Coleman played 2:12 per game with Tampa Bay, second among their forwards.
  • Trevor Lewis played 1:45 per game with Winnipeg, third among their forwards.

With so many new faces, it’ll be very interesting to see how Huska shuffles the deck on the penalty kill side.

How do you think the Flames’ specials teams units look after all the departures and arrivals? What changes do you think the coaching staff should make when the season begins? Sound off in the comments!