2021 Flames player scoring pace update: three quarters done
Photo credit:John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
By Craig Petter1 year ago
As this current road trip has seen the Calgary Flames cross both provincial borders and the season’s three-quarter mark, the final 2021 quarterly player point projections update is upon us!
Below lie the projected goal, assistant and point totals this season for every Flames skater who dressed 32 or more of the first 42 games. The projections operate under the assumption that anyone who has missed games within the first 42 plays out the rest un-disrupted—so, for example, we foreshadow Mikael Backlund’s pace over 54 games and not a full 56 to account for the two he missed. 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 they’re posting this year compared with their own unique previous outings. Whether their numbers exhibit 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 past outputs. Like golfers and bowlers and single-player Mario Kart racers, players are competing against their own scores for this exercise.
Alright—caveats concluded. Pedal, metal.
Elias Lindholm – 15 G, 33 A, 48 P (82-game equivalent: 21 G, 49 A, 70 P)
In the fourteen games that have elapsed since the mid-season mark, Elias Lindholm has cemented himself as the Flames’ singular leading offensive producer. If everyone maintains their present paces, Lindholm will have dethroned Matthew Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreau from their recent season leader perches by the year’s end, largely thanks to the incorruptible consistency that has bagged him the second highest scoring clip of his career so far this season.
Andrew Mangiapane – 16 G, 13 A, 29 P (82-game equivalent: 23 G, 20 A, 43 P)
Speaking of consistency, Andrew Mangiapane has stunningly straddled the half a point per game mark at every quarter mark so far this season. He notched 7 points in his first 14 games, 7 again in the next 14 games, and 8 in the following 14 games—reliability incarnate. Factor in his status as the Flames’ projected silver medalist on the goal-scoring podium this season, and it is just absurd to even argue that Mangiapane has yet to blossom into one of this roster’s most impactful players.
Rasmus Andersson – 4 G, 17 A, 21 P (82-game equivalent: 6 G, 25 A, 31 P)
Though Andersson failed to sustain the half a point pace that prevailed in the first half of his season amid all these shuffled pairings and power play experiments executed under Sutter’s direction so far, this year still promises to reign as the best of Anderson’s young career. Poised to parallel his totals from last season even in the cramped pandemic campaign, Andersson has contributed offence this year at a pace worth printing out and pinning to his fridge as a respectable benchmark to hurdle in future seasons as he and his game matures.
Juuso Valimaki – 3 G, 10 A, 13 P (78-game equivalent: 4 G, 14 A, 28 P)
Again, obvious logic dictates that Valimaki is playing the best hockey of his NHL career simply because this season constitutes the rookie’s entire NHL career thus far. His classification in this uppermost tier of current production as compared with prior production is a given. Still, a pace that translates to nearly 30 points from a rookie defenceman hitched to the third pairing warrants praise on its own.
Mikael Backlund – 11 G, 22 A, 33 P (80-game equivalent: 16 G, 34 A, 50 P)
The only Flames player to claw his way into the ‘Rollicking’ section of our projection ranks from a lower position earlier in the year, Mikael Backlund has hoisted himself into 50-point-pace territory once adjusted for a full season—and the guy has been playing with Milan Lucic all year. Backlund has actually only cracked the 50-point mark once in his career, and so a season that has witnessed him wrangle this personally historic rate from a third line role deserves applause. Period.
Dillon Dube – 10 G, 12 A, 22 P (77-game equivalent: 15 G, 19 A, 33 P)
Though the road has been laden with pebbles and bumps as opposed to the smoothly paved freeway on which Dube likely pictured himself cruising this season, Dube has already eclipsed and equaled the goal and point totals from his debut campaign. This season has thus been one of offensive growth for the sophomore—and once he refines the rest of his game over the next few years, expect the already-climbing numbers to surge skyward.
Johnny Gaudreau – 20 G, 21 A, 41 P (82-game equivalent: 29 G, 31 A, 60 P)
Alas, how dry spells squander the story of a season. After producing at a scorching 88-point full-season adjusted pace after the first fourteen games, recurring scoreless droughts in the next sets grounded Gaudreau on less impressive terrain. In fact, that meager 60-point pace marks the lowest scoring rate of Johnny Hockey’s entire career. Though Gaudreau still leads the team in goals, his established standards from previous seasons bar us from deeming this year particularly spectacular at all.
Matthew Tkachuk – 13 G, 25 A, 38 P (82-game equivalent: 20 G, 37 A, 57 P)
If one were to chart Matthew Tkachuk’s yearly production over his five NHL seasons to date, the resulting graph would resemble a neat little mountain silhouette. His offence rose through the first two campaigns, peaked in 2018-2019 and steeply declined ever since. One hopes a second summit sprouts on the range next season, but Tkachuk’s current pace seems to have sealed this year’s fate to posting the second-lowest goal scoring rate of his career. Yikes.
Milan Lucic – 9 G, 13 A, 22 P (82-game equivalent: 14 G, 20 A, 34 P)
Surprisingly enough, Milan Lucic has also been one of the steadier producers on the Flames roster this season. The ol’ burly bull’s projections have hovered in the same range at every milestone, proving that this revival of a Lucic who packs not insignificant offensive contributions alongside his punches has been genuine. A pace that translates to 34 points in a normal season, after all, represents his best production pattern in the last three years.
Mark Giordano – 9 G, 17 A, 26 P (82-game equivalent: 14 G, 25 A, 39 P)
While everyone with functioning thumbs and an Internet connection leaps to lampoon Giordano whenever his age unveils itself on the ice, he deserves credit for all the juice left in his shot—the man has been sniping this season. Especially as of late, Giordano has been launching missiles with pinpoint precision. Though his slightly-below half a point per game pace mirrors the broader regression in his game following the legendary Norris Trophy season, he has actually already outscored his 2019-2020 self in goals, supplying them at a clip that rivals his Norris-calibre output of 17 goals, too.
Noah Hanifin – 4 G, 13 A, 17 P (82-game equivalent: 6 G, 20 A, 26 P)
Shockingly enough, Noah Hanifin has enjoyed the brightest, most fiery spark of offence in the last fourteen games among all Flames skaters compared with their earlier scoring rates. Nabbing 8 points in that span—and for anyone counting, that matches the totals posted in the same interval by one John M. Gaudreau—Hanifin has proven himself beyond competent within the opposing team’s blueline in a role bolstered by Sutter’s confidence in his untapped offensive potential. This burst has restored Hanifin to a pace within the same modest realms as previous seasons, but more importantly, they forecast some especially sunny skies to come in the future.
Chris Tanev – 3 G, 5 A, 8 P (82-game equivalent: 4 G, 8 A, 12 P)
Fourteen games since the last offensive projections update, Chris Tanev’s scoring pace remains the same: one point for every missing tooth. Flames fans wouldn’t take their top shutdown defender any other way, but it is also worth noting that one more goal from Tanev in the final quarter of the season would snap a running streak of four consecutive two-goal seasons. Imagine!
Sean Monahan – 11 G, 22 A, 33 P (80-game equivalent: 16 G, 32 A, 48 P)
The projections have finally dipped towards the unspeakable: Sean Monahan is scoring goals at the lowest clip of this career. Even the pimpled and pubescent rookie Monahan potted 22 goals over 82 games, but this year’s output translated to a full season comes nowhere close. Though his playmaking pace remains solid—Monahan’s current assist pace is the fourth-best of his entire NHL tenure—Sean Monahan’s days of ruling the crease with a magnetized blade seem to be finished.
Josh Leivo – 6 G, 3 A, 9 P (73-game equivalent: 9 G, 4 A, 13 P)
Though his underlying numbers consistently suggest that he generates far more opportunities than his conversions reflect, Leivo has struggled to infuse the bottom-six with the offensive boosts some fans first envisioned when he lined up alongside Monahan and Gaudreau on opening night. Regardless of whether his challenges stem from epidemically atrocious puck luck or not, Leivo has performed this year at half the capacity—which flirted with half a point a game—showcased in his seasons with Vancouver.
Joakim Nordstrom – 1 G, 1 A, 2 P (71-game equivalent: 2 G, 2 A, 4 P)
Well, I suppose it’s better than nothing.
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