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2023-24 Calgary Flames predictions: Blake Coleman scores 20 goals and reaches 40 points

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Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Middleton
7 months ago
I’ve written about what feels like almost every player on the Calgary Flames roster for this upcoming season, and the last player that I want to make a prediction on might be one of my favourites on the roster, even though he’s not a “marquee” name. Blake Coleman had his best scoring season last year, and in Ryan Huska’s new system (along with some other statistical factors), I’m hopeful that he’ll get back to that kind of output.

Prediction: Coleman scores 20 goals and hits 40 points minimum

Coleman has hit 20 goals before in his career. Two times, actually. He did it once in a full season with the New Jersey Devils, and in 2019-20, he scored 21 goals in 57 games with the Devils before being traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The best part about these seasons and this production was that the vast majority of his goals came at 5v5. He wasn’t a player getting much power play time. In fact, he scored the same number of power-play goals as he did shorthanded goals in 2018-19. In 2019-20, he scored two more shorthanded than he did on the man advantage.
Last season was the closest Coleman has come to 20 goals since those two seasons with New Jersey (and Tampa even though he didn’t score any goals in the nine games he played with them that year), scoring 18. What is even more impressive is that he arguably should have had a better season in the box score, given what his analytics say.
Below is his regularized adjusted-plus minus from Evolving-Hockey:
And here is his isolated impact via Micah Blake McCurdy:
The main takeaway from these two graphs is that Coleman should have (in theory) scored more goals and, with that, had a higher point total. His offensive and defensive production in itself was as good as one might expect it to be. But the tangible results on the offensive end weren’t as high as they could have been. The minus-6% finishing is a major tell that things could have been better from a results perspective. That isn’t a minuscule number.
There could be plenty of reasons why these finishing numbers were so low. It’s not uncommon to see numbers like these in a system like Darryl Sutter’s. Primarily focusing on defense can stifle the offensive production of some players. We saw Jakob Pelletier’s offensive results look a bit like Coleman’s as well, and there were the obvious struggles of the big-name players like Jonathan Huberdeau. However, it could also have some luck involved as well. Hockey is a strange game in that way.
Coleman has four seasons left on his deal with the Flames, and even though he’s going to be the veteran, depth forward who specializes in penalty killing, forechecking, and being a staple of the “grit and grind” mentality. However, that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have the chance to be one of the most effective offensive forwards in the middle six and on the team in general. There’s no guarantee that he will replicate the numbers he had last season. However, with the kind of luck he had last season combined with the system he was playing in, it’s very possible that he gets over the 20-goal and 40-point plateaus in a newer, more offensive system.

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