Beyond the Boxscore Weekly: Calgary Flames show two faces in first week of season

Photo credit:Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
6 months ago
The first week of the season is in the books and as such we now have a small sample size of data to work with. Up until now Beyond the Boxscore has only focused on single game outcomes while leaving the summarization of multiple games for the reader to find themselves – not any more. Included will be a comprehensive weekly summary of the games that occurred, who ran hot, who was not, etc.
We’ve got all that – and more – at Beyond the Boxscore.
G1 vs. WPG34.72%22.36%23.57%18.02%
G2 @ PIT66.51%66.90%62.75%54.73%
G3 @ WSH61.68%56.13%75.27%68.57%
An awesome example early about how one game can skew a small sample size so the average appears different from the rest of the sample. The game Calgary played against Winnipeg may very well go down as their worst game the team will play all year – and yet it stands as their only win so far. After adjusting the lines late in Game 1 – and sticking with the changes afterwards – the Flames saw an immaculate boost in their ability to control a hockey game. The overall process is taking steps in the right direction and the Flames are getting better at controlling a matches quality share. This are not last years perimeter shooters either – the Flames are making an active effort to get more high danger opportunities instead of settling for easy pad shots from bad angles/distance. The result should dip their CF% and SCF% numbers, but vastly improve in HDCF% and xGF% in comparison to last year.

This week’s risers

  • Walker Duehr – CF%: 70.60%, SCF%: 70.53%, HDCF%: 67.31%, xGF%: 72.54%
Duehr has been the most consistent Flame over the first three games, albeit in a minor role. I understand 4th liners aren’t the biggest difference in the long run, providing marginal additions to the win pool at best. Duehr though, he looks like he belongs every single shift – works his but off to get into quality areas and does what he needs to every time he’s out there. Head coach Ryan Huska has been keeping him and Greer from any offensive or defensive zone starts (see charts below for reference) making them a bit sheltered – but they are thriving in that role. Not bad for the first ever NHL player out of South Dakota.
  • Mikael Backlund – CF%: 55.83%, SCF%: 52.23%, HDCF%: 55.54%, xGF%: 59.28%
The epitome of consistency on the Calgary Flames for over a decade nobody ever has to worry if Backlund is going to thrive. He is one of the best defensive centres in the NHL, constantly drives play, and is all around everything you could ever want in a middle-6 centre. Captain is a fitting title for a player of his ilk – I’m very glad he’s a Flame.

 This week’s fallers

  • Nazem Kadri – CF%: 46.11%, SCF%: 38.89%, HDCF%: 23.08%, xGF%: 28.11%
It has been a disaster start to the season for Kadri. Simply put – he needs to better. I agree with what the boys on Barn Burner were talking about, the guy getting paid that money needs to be the guy that elevates others and not need specific players to play with. Playing him with Dubé has been a terrible fit that has seen them try and dig themselves out of their own zone more than creating offence. What makes this even worse is looking at his zone deployment – he’s getting fed offensive zone starts and still getting pushed back into his own zone. I believe in Kadri, he can come around, but this past week contributed more to the Flames problems than aided in their solutions.  

Team Charts via HockeyViz.com

Disclaimer: the charts in this area will change as the year goes on, if you see anything you like in here be sure to leave a comment so I can continue to share with you. Sample sizes are limited (way too small) so the charts posted are subjective to massive changes as the weeks progress.

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