Calgary Flames by the numbers: Jacob Markstrom and Dan Vladar both need to be better

Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Munnich
1 year ago
One of the great resources for NHL fans is Natural Stat Trick, a free site that provides a clear breakdown of all things analytics for every team and player.
On this wintry Sunday in February, I thought it would be a fun idea to do a deep dive into the Calgary Flames’ statistics on NST to see if there is anything new and interesting we can all learn together.
Here’s a look at what I was able to find.

1. Corsi kings

Darryl Sutter-coached teams typically do a great job of generating shot attempts against opposing goaltenders. We all know that. But it might surprise fans to learn the Flames have a few players that rank in the top-15 leaguewide in that stat, particularly considering the inconsistent nature of this team.
The Carolina Hurricanes have eight of the top nine players in the NHL in Corsi for percentage at 5-on-5. The only non-Carolina player in that group is Mikael Backlund, who ranks fourth in the NHL at 61.43%.
Backlund has been a dominant shot-generating player at 5-on-5 this season. He doesn’t put up a ton of counting stats, but he makes up for that by being a possession monster.
The Flames have three players in the top-15 in Corsi for percentage: Backlund, Blake Coleman, and MacKenzie Weegar. Not bad for a team that has struggled at times this season.
At 5-on-5, the Flames rank second in the NHL with 64.29 shot attempts for per 60 minutes. They shoot the puck a lot, but not enough of those shots have come from high-danger areas. Through 50 games this season, the Flames rank 18th in the NHL in high-danger chances per 60.
It’s great that the Flames are generating shots at an elite rate, but maybe they should focus more on quality rather than quantity in the final 32 games of 2022–23.

2. The Breadman’s 5-on-5 production

A lot of people have been hard on Andrew Mangiapane this season — for good reason, for the most part. He is on pace to score 16 goals, good for 19 off his total from last season.
But did you know Mangiapane is tied for first on the Flames with 10 goals at 5-on-5? He and Kadri lead the Flames in that category. Where Mangiapane is missing out on some goals is on the power play, as he has yet to score once at 5-on-4 this season.
It’s only a matter of time before Mangiapane breaks out and goes on a heater. He is first on the team in individual expected goals (10.94), second in individual high-danger scoring chances (54), and second in total scoring chances (111). He is creating a lot of offence. He just needs to start burying it when he gets his looks.

3. Huberdeau’s struggles

Who would have thought at this point of the season that Jonathan Huberdeau would be fourth on the team in scoring and eighth in 5-on-5 points?
In his first 47 games last season, Huberdeau led the Panthers in 5-on-5 scoring with 34 points (and 64 in all situations). Through 47 games this season, he has 18 points at 5-on-5 and 33 in total.
The numbers look worse when you break them down into 60-minute chunks. Among the 379 NHL forwards who have played at least 300 minutes this season, Huberdeau ranks 110th in assists, 152nd in points, and 223rd in goals per 60.
None of these are numbers you want to see from your soon-to-be $10.5 million player.

4. Underwhelming goaltending

One of the biggest issues for the Flames this season has been the performances of both Jacob Markstrom and Dan Vladar. The Flames are 24th in the NHL in team save percentage in all situations.
Individually, both goalies’ numbers aren’t great. Here is where Markstrom and Vladar rank among the 64 NHL goalies to play at least 700 minutes this season in four key metrics: save percentage, goals-against average, goals saved above expected, and high-danger save percentage.
Markstrom0.893% (54th)2.86 (30th)-10.46 (55th)0.823% (33rd)
Vladar0.904% (37th)2.76 (28th)-0.67 (36th)0.846% (19th)
The Flames are going to need better performances from both goaltenders in the last 32 games if they want to make the playoffs — especially from Markstrom, who has gone from being a top-three goaltender in the NHL last season to one of the worst this year.

Quick hitters

  • Nikita Zadorov has eight 5-on-5 goals this season, more than Elias Lindholm, Jonathan Huberdeau, and Mikael Backlund. Zadorov ranks fifth on the Flames in that category.
  • Among 71 defense pairs to play at least 300 minutes together at 5 on 5, MacKenzie Weegar and Chris Tanev rank fifth in the NHL in Corsi percentage at 58.14%, but they rank 57th in actual goals percentage at 43.24%. As a pair, they’ve been outscored 21-16.
  • Michael Stone and Nikita Zadorov lead all Flames defense pairings in GF%. The Flames have outscored their opposition 19-13 when those two have been on the ice together at 5-on-5.
  • Adam Ruzicka remains second on the Flames in points per 60 at 5-on-5 despite being relegated to the fourth line for over a month.
  • Brett Ritchie leads the Flames in 5-on-5 goals per 60 by a wide margin with 1.34. The next closest Flame is Andrew Mangiapane with 0.93.
  • Milan Lucic ranks second on the Flames in takeaways per 60 at 5-on-5 with 2.38. Only Mikael Backlund is ahead of him.
  • MacKenzie Weegar leads the Flames in giveaways by a wide margin. Weegar has 2.98 giveaways per 60; the next-closest Flame is Lucic, at 2.38 giveaways per 60.
  • Flames fans want Huberdeau to shoot more, and for good reason. Huberdeau ranks 16th on the Flames in shots per 60 at 5-on-5. But he’s also shooting 12% at 5-on-5, the third-best mark on the team. Shoot the puck, Huby!

Check out these posts...