Blake Coleman: The unsung hero of the Calgary Flames
Photo credit:© Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports
1 month ago
An unsung hero is a someone who makes a significant impact on something without being celebrated or recognized. That definition applies to Blake Coleman.
On July 28, 2021, the Calgary Flames surprised the hockey world when they signed prized free agent Blake Coleman to a six year, $29.4 million contract. Coleman has been one of the most consistent Flames since arriving in Calgary. He is someone who doesn’t get a lot of praise because of the role he plays on the team as a defensive, penalty killing, middle six forward. But I think he deserves some appreciation for what he’s brought to his team on a nightly basis.
On the ice, Coleman is one of the most consistent players on the Flames. Every night you know exactly what you’re going to get from him. He’s going to relentlessly forecheck, play physical, shut down top players on the opposition, and chip in on the offence every now and then. He is a pain to play against because his motor never stops, and he wins a lot more puck battles than he loses.
The bonus to Coleman’s game is his offence. He’d still be an effective player even if he didn’t produce like he does. In two full seasons with the Flames, Coleman has scored 34 goals and 37 assists. The vast majority of that coming at 5-on-5. Since the start of last season, Coleman has more goals (12) at 5-on-5 than Jonathan Huberdeau (11) and Elias Lindholm (11). The thing you appreciate about Coleman’s offensive game is that it all comes from his work ethic. He’s not the most skilled player, but he will outwork his opposition to create chances.
Coleman and Mikael Backlund as a duo also control the play at 5-on-5. How many times do we see those two start a shift in the defensive zone and finish in the offensive zone? Happens all the time.
Among 15 Flames forward to play 600 minutes at 5-on-5 over the last two seasons, Coleman ranks 3rd in HDCF%, 4th in CF%, and 4th in xGF%. The guy is a beast from a possession and play driving perspective.
Coleman brings just as much to the table off the ice as he does on it. It starts with his wealth of experience winning two Stanley Cups with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2020 and 2021. He and Nazem Kadri are the only Stanley Cup winners on the Flames roster. Coleman is a leader in the locker room and someone younger players can look up to in terms of what it takes to win, preparation and taking care of yourself.
Coleman is also willing to show Flames fans a behind the scenes look into his personal life. Not many players in this day and age are willing to have camera crews follow them around away from the rink. Coleman and his family are more than willing to give fans a glimpse into the everyday life of an NHLer. It allows fans to build more of a connection to their team and their favourite players. It would be nice if more Flames players did the same moving forward.
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Simply put, Coleman is the unsung hero of the of the Calgary Flames roster. His commitment to the Flames and their fan base on and off the ice should be applauded, and not go unnoticed.
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