How have the new Calgary Flames defenders performed so far?

Photo credit:John Jones-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
3 months ago
Heading into Saturday night’s game in Vancouver, MacKenzie Weegar is the only Calgary Flames blueliner to have played in all of the team’s games this season. Typically, a team using a lot of defencemen is a product of injuries, performance challenges, trades or combinations of those factors.
The Flames have seen a bit of everything, which has resulted in the Flames using 15 different defencemen this season. Four of them have joined the team over the past six weeks: Brayden Pachal, Joel Hanley, Daniil Miromanov and Nikita Okhotiuk. Let’s take a look at how those four players have been used and how they’ve performed.

Brayden Pachal

Claimed off the waiver wire from Vegas back on Feb. 4, Pachal has played in 19 games since being claimed and has three assists, a plus-4 rating and 31 penalty minutes. His average game score is 0.53, his expected goals for is 56.31% and 49.59% of his face-offs occur in the offensive zone.
Pachal has been a third pairing fixture since arriving in Calgary. He played primarily with Oliver Kylington until Noah Hanifin and Chris Tanev’s departures caused some shuffling, at which point he began playing with one of Hanley or Okhotiuk.
So far, Pachal’s been rock-solid on the third pairing, with the caveat that 31 penalty minutes over 19 games is a bit high. (The breakdown is 13 minor penalties and one major overall.)

Joel Hanley

Hanley was claimed off the waiver wire from Dallas on Mar. 5. He’s played five games since arriving, sitting twice as a healthy scratch, and has one assist, a minus-2 rating and zero penalty minutes. His average game score is -0.25, his expected goals for is 52.96% and 31.11% of his face-offs occur in the offensive zone.
Hanley’s played on the third pairing, playing a bit with Miromanov and subsequently primarily with Pachal. He’s been pretty quiet offensively overall, but it’s pretty wild that somebody who starts more than two-thirds of his shifts outside of the offensive zone has the underlying numbers he has. At this point in his career, Hanley seems to know what he needs to do to be effective on the ice, and he does that stuff quite well.

Daniil Miromanov

Acquired from Vegas on Mar. 6 in the Noah Hanifin trade, Miromanov has played six games (and he missed just one as a scratch while he was in transit to join the Flames after the trade). In six games, he has two goals, a plus-1 rating and zero penalty minutes. His average game score is 0.95, his expected goals for is 60.37% and 37.88% of his face-offs occur in the offensive zone.
Miromanov has been a second pairing fixture since arriving. He briefly played with Oliver Kylington and Hanley, but has primarily been with Weegar for much of his run with the Flames. It’s hard to quibble with his results. Two goals is quite good over six games for a defenceman. An expected goals percentage north of 60% with nearly two-thirds of his shifts starting outside of the offensive zone is really impressive. Yeah, he’s been given arguably Calgary’s best all-around defender as a partner, but Miromanov has been consistently solid with flashes of brilliance.
So far, so good.

Nikita Okhotiuk

Okhotiuk was acquired from San Jose at the trade deadline on Mar. 8. Since the, he’s played three times, been scratched three times, and has zero points, an even rating and zero penalty minutes. His average game score is 0.05, his expected goals for is 56.48% and 66.67% of his face-offs occur in the offensive zone.
Okhotiuk plays on the third pairing, when he plays, primarily with Pachal. When he does play, the usage of the third pairing changes a bit to skew it towards offensive zone starts a bit more – presumably this is being used to help the coaching staff figure out what his limitations are. Through a limited sample size, Okhotiuk has been perfectly fine. He’s been the least impressive of the four newcomers, but has also been used the least, so it’s difficult to be very excited or disappointed about how he’s done.
What have you thought of these four blueliners since their arrival in Calgary? Let us know in the comments!
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