2021 Flames player quarterly scoring paces: after 28 games
Photo credit:Sergei Belski/USA Today Sports
By Craig Petter1 year ago
Saturday’s victory against the Montreal Canadiens signalled the mid-season mark of the abbreviated pandemic season for the Calgary Flames, so it’s time to revisit individual player production paces!
Each player has established scoring patterns so far hinting at trajectories that we can situate as chapters within their broader career stories. Naturally, extrapolating from basic offensive stats is pretty crude mathematics—so we will be reviewing these trajectories every fourteen games as the season unravels to see whose initial numbers were bloated or bludgeoned by luck and limitations.
Below lie the projected goal, assistant and point totals this season for every Flames skater who has dressed 15 games or more. The projections operate under the assumption that anyone who has missed games within the first 28 plays out the rest undisrupted—so, for example, we foreshadow Dillon Dube’s pace over 53 games and not a full 56 to account for the three he missed while injured. We also translated the current rates for each player to equivalent totals for a hypothetical standard-NHL-season-length parallel universe, which clarifies how their 2021 paces fit alongside what they accomplished in those sunny years before the apocalypse.
Finally, we classify every player’s projected totals by the type of season the first half suggests they mount this year compared with their own unique previous outings. Whether their numbers portend a particularly ‘Rollicking’ season, a fairly ‘Routine’ season or an admittedly ‘Rougher’ season than previous years totally depends on reasonable, rational expectations for individual players pulled exclusively from their own tangible, quantifiable past outputs. Like golfers and bowlers and single-player MarioKart racers, players are competing against their own scores for this exercise.
Alright—caveats concluded. Pedal, metal.
Elias Lindholm – 12 G, 36 A, 48 P (82-game equivalent: 17 G, 53 A, 70 P)
Surpassing Johnny Gaudreau last night for the tentative team lead in points, Lindholm has sustained an elite scoring clip this year despite dropping below the point-per-game rate he posted at the season’s outset. In fact, his playmaking pace through the first half of the season would have him poised to hurdle his career-best single-season assist total in a full year. Alas, the Swede will have to settle for what will likely prove the second-highest assist output because of the compressed schedule.
Andrew Mangiapane – 16 G, 12 A, 28 P (82-game equivalent: 23 G, 18 A, 41 P)
Remarkably, Mangiapane has maintained the exact half a point per game pace he produced throughout the first slate of 14 games during the second slate, too. His single-season career-high of 17 goals from last year quakes and quivers in its boots even despite the shortened schedule. Witnessing the fresh-faced calf morph into a forechecking bull these past couple years has been a treat.
Johnny Gaudreau – 22 G, 24 A, 46 P (82-game equivalent: 32 G, 35 A, 67 P)
A tamer game in his last fourteen has torpedoed Gaudreau from his early bids in the cutthroat Hart trophy race, but a pace akin to a 32-goal season in a normal year—which would mark the second-highest total of his career—is nothing to chirp. If he restores his scoring rate to January levels under some rejuvenated instruction, too, he’ll leap right back into point-per-game territory.
Dillon Dube – 13 G, 13 A, 26 P (79-game equivalent: 19 G, 19 A, 38 P)
Hat-tricks certainly hurl no harm at an individual stat-line, so Dube can thank his hot stick from Mar. 4 for staying the course towards a half a point per game sophomore season. He has already matched last year’s total in goals, and so long as he nabs four more assists in the second half of the season he will mirror his rookie assist totals, too. Foregone conclusion that he crushes them.
Rasmus Andersson – 6 G, 22 A, 28 P (82-game equivalent: 9 G, 32 A, 41 P)
Andersson has also preserved the same precise half a point per game pace he presented at our first quarterly update on offensive player projections. A routinized role on the power play has given him the opportunities to etch his name on the scoresheet, and he has been executing, exploiting them at the best pace of his young career so far. Even within the smushed pandemic season, his pace will demolish all his previous personal single-season records.
Juuso Valimaki – 2 G, 12 A, 14 P (82-game equivalent: 3 G, 18 A, 21P)
Again, duh, a rookie has no prior seasons with which once can objectively compare this one and so obviously these numbers top his career totals because they literally are his career totals and one cannot assign a relative value judgment to numbers without any counterparts to which one can actually relate them and Valimaki’s inclusion in this post altogether is redundant and useless and jeopardizes the very integrity of the exercise and everything sucks and nothing is real. Whew. But, sincerely, an ultimate output of 14 points in a shortened season would not at all be a shabby debut.
Sean Monahan – 15 G, 27 A, 42 P (80-game equivalent: 22 G, 40 A, 62 P)
Well, Monahan finally remembered how to score his quintessential tap-in and rebound goals! He began this season as the gas can filling Gaudreau’s scoring tank, but in recent games Monahan has shown glimpses of reclaiming his garbage goal crown. Coupled with his respectable playmaking so far this season, his scoring pace equivalent to a 62-point full season nestles neatly into the broader story of his career.
Matthew Tkachuk – 14 G, 30 A, 44 P (82-game equivalent: 20 G, 44 A, 64 P)
Cobbling together enough assists and deflection goals for a decent output during a surprisingly quiet—in all facets—season so far, Tkachuk deserves some credit for his steady offensive contributions despite the rarity of any real riots since The Muzzin Incident. His current playmaking pace would eclipse his career-best single-season assist total in a full schedule, and though his hints of elite goal-scoring prowess have dwindled since 2019, he still pots his power play markers when he’s not trying to terrorize opponents.
Milan Lucic – 12 G, 8 A, 20 P (82-game equivalent: 17 G, 12 A, 29 P)
“Milan Lucic is playing well,” some lanky silhouette in a trenchcoat whispers from an alley before melting back into the shadows as not to invite any undue gloating from Flames fans nor jeering from Edmonton natives. “Not 6-million-dollars-per-year-well, but best-scoring-pace-in-four-years well. Third-line-guy-pushing-20-goals-in-a-normal-season well. Not-bad-at-all well.”
Mark Giordano – 6 G, 20 A, 26 P (82-game equivalent: 9 G, 29 A, 38 P)
Closer to 38 years old than 37 as of roughly a week and a half ago, Giordano has retained his top-four production levels despite the fact that the grey hairs dotting his chin only multiply. Numbers from the notorious Norris season are untouchable at this point, but hovering around half a point per game as a veteran, complete defenceman is still an admirable feat.
Chris Tanev – 2 G, 6 A, 8 P (82-game equivalent: 3 G, 9 A, 12 P)
Halfway through the season, Chris Tanev has notched one goal—and it was hilarious. For the sake of Calgary fans’ diaphragms, hopefully he continues the pace and scores one more in a similar wheeze-inducing manner. Another two-goal season would extend his streak to a cool fifth year, a half decade of rolling snake eyes on the scoresheet. Tanev the shutdown specialist has delivered exactly what the team asked of him when he inked that off-season contract, and kudos to him.
Mikael Backlund – 10 G, 16 A, 26 P (82-game equivalent: 15 G, 24 A, 39 P)
Surprisingly, Backlund is actually producing at his slowest pace in nearly a decade. Now, once one factors in his difficult matchups and redesigned role as the third-line centre after Lindholm transitioned to the middle, it follows that his scoring could dip a smidgeon. But, funnily enough, at the midway mark last season Backlund was only on pace for 37 points—and he exploded in the latter half to encroach upon 50 before the (happy anniversary!) season shutdown. So, write not the veteran Swede off just yet.
Josh Leivo – 7 G, 5 A, 12 P (76-game equivalent: 10 G, 7 A, 17 P)
First he proved he could actually score in a Flames uniform, then he proved he could single-handedly—you know what we mean—win a game in a Flames uniform. Goalless through his first 18 games in Calgary, Leivo has netted three goals in his last four outings. This boost has propelled his projected points from abysmal to intriguing levels, though a 12-point season still pales in comparison even to his earlier injury-plagued years.
Noah Hanifin – 4 G, 6 A, 10 P (82-game equivalent: 6 G, 9 A, 15 P)
Through the first 14 games, Hanifin scored zero goals. Suddenly, one sunny March week, he became a sharpshooter and notched two successive goals that totally diverted attention from his complete lack of assists in the last 14 games, too. As detailed last time, though, Hanifin has shouldered more of a shutdown role and polished his defensive game alongside Tanev. But a pace that barely cracks double-digits in the points column after 56 games would mean a career-low for the 24-year-old nonetheless.
Derek Ryan – 3 G, 11 A, 14 P (69-game equivalent: 5 G, 18 A, 22 P)
Though his production has been marred by his fourth-line minutes and barred by some weeks in the bleachers with a broken finger, the endlessly likeable Derek Ryan has managed to score at a full-season pace only roughly one tier below what he accomplished last season. With any luck in the usage, injury, and pure puck departments, Ryan may be able to salvage what has been an offensively limited season in a limited role.
Sam Bennett – 6 G, 6 A, 12 P (79-game equivalent: 9 G, 9 A, 18 P)
The “Regular-Season Sam Bennett Post-Rookie Campaign Regression” soap opera continues. Despite suiting up alongside Monahan and Gaudreau for a handful of games, Bennett simply has failed to capture the spark he emitted this past summer and convert it to any consistent offensive carnage. On pace for the same number of points in 53 games this year as he posted in 52 last year—thereby tying his worst career season—only a major surge in the latter half of the season can even come close to dignifying his image among Flames fans at this point.
Nikita Nesterov – 0 G, 2 A, 2 P (75-game equivalent: 0 G, 4 A, 4 P)
Scoring is not the sixth defenceman’s job. Nesterov has snatched a singular second assist in his stint with Calgary so far this season, but his deployment and disposition direct him away from the twine. And since it is doubtful whether he even dresses on a nightly basis, he might just not get the opportunity to dabble in any offensive fields conducive to scoring that elusive first goal of the year.
Joakim Nordstrom – 0 G, 0 A, 0 P (77-game equivalent: same)
Legendary postmodern author Kurt Vonnegut once said, “there is nothing intelligent to say about a massacre.” So, keeping in mind that the hockey gods have been committing a massacre on Joakim Nordstrom’s stat-line through his 25 dressed games this year, let’s leave it there.
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