Goal scoring continues to be an issue for the Calgary Flames

Photo credit:© Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Munnich
5 months ago
We are three games into the 2023-24 season, and we are already starting to see some similarities between lasts year’s Calgary Flames team and this year’s team. Both are playing well and carrying the play for the most part at 5-on-5 but are lacking results.
The last two games in particular, the Calgary Flames have played some good hockey.
@ PIT65-3235-1811-72.12-1.84
There is no denying that the Flames are working hard. The effort level is there for the most part. They’ve been doing a good job of creating high danger opportunities, more so compared to last year. But once again they are running into the issue of not being able to bury those chances.
This is something that is going to linger for the rest of the season. It’s what happens when you’re a team with no elite, game breaking talent.
Since the start of last season, the Flames don’t have a single forward ranked in the top 120 in goals per 60 at all strengths.
PlayerGoals/60League Rank
Nazem Kadri0.98T-123
Elias Lindholm0.89T-153
Dillon Dube0.89T-153
Blake Coleman0.84T-173
Andrew Mangiapane0.80T-191
Not only is this team missing natural goal scorers, but they’re also missing high end play makers. In today’s NHL you need to have high end passers in your lineup to score on NHL goalies. Teams can’t just rely on their players sniping all the time. You need to be able to move the puck to get goalies moving side to side to open up space in the net. The Flames don’t have those players either.
PlayerFirst Assists/60League Rank
Elias Lindholm1.04T-56
Jonathan Huberdeau1.04T-56
Mikael Backlund0.89T-92
Andrew Mangiapane0.80T-129
Nazem Kadri0.70T-165
The Flames don’t have a single forward in the top 50 in either goals per 60 or first assists per 60.
Jonathan Huberdeau and Nazem Kadri are being paid, and In Elias Lindholm’s case potentially going to be paid, to be difference makers in the Flames lineup. The types of players who you can out on the ice when you need something to happen. Score a big goal, gain momentum, make some big-time plays. We aren’t seeing that with these three.
With no dynamic offensive talent, the Flames are going to have to work incredibly hard to score enough goals to win enough games to get them to the postseason. There will not be many easy nights for this club. Which means more one goal, tight checking, and overtime games.
It feels like everything is going to need to go right this season for the Flames if they are going to make the playoffs and have the chance to do some damage. They’re going to need to stay healthy, get great goaltending, play a tight checking style of defence and score by committee. It can be done. We’ve seen teams like the 18-19 St Louis Blues, 19-20 Stars and 20-21 Canadiens who made deep runs in the playoffs by winning as a team.
Let’s hope things start to click for this team soon. If not they could be in for a long, grinding season of hockey.

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