How should the Calgary Flames split goaltending duties on their homestand?
Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike5 months ago
The Calgary Flames begin an eight game homestand on Tuesday after a game apiece at home and on the road to start the season. So far, they’ve split starts evenly between goaltenders Jacob Markstrom and Dan Vladar.
With the Flames aiming to use Vladar about once a week this season, let’s map out some games on the homestand where it would make sense to slot him in.
Tuesday vs. Vegas: Neither goalie has had a lot of success against Vegas, with Vladar posting a .750 save percentage in relief and Markstrom posting an .892 career save percentage. Markstrom has more experience against Vegas, though, and slightly better numbers, so he probably gets the nod.
Thursday vs. Buffalo: Vladar played well and beat Buffalo last season, while Markstrom has a really good record against them career-wise. Heck, both of them have pretty close save percentages against the Sabres (.926 for Vladar and .927 for Markstrom). In the interest of keeping Vladar active, and saving Markstrom for a later game, we go Vladar here.
Saturday vs. Carolina: There’s an obvious performance gap here, with Markstrom having a .924 save percentage and several wins, while Vladar went .838 in his lone loss to the ‘Canes. Easy decision here for a marquee Saturday night match-up: Markstrom.
Oct 25 vs. Pittsburgh: Vladar has a .930 save percentage in two appearances against the Penguins, while Markstrom has more experience and slightly better numbers (.937). Let’s go with Markstrom again.
Oct. 29 vs. Edmonton: Vladar played well against Edmonton on Saturday night, especially late in the game, and he would have been idle since the Buffalo game on Thursday. Markstrom just played two in a row and doesn’t have a stellar record against the Oilers. Let’s go back to Vladar for the Battle of Alberta rematch, both to reward Vladar for his strong performance and to feed “the Flames are hiding Markstrom from Edmonton!” narratives that will inevitably resurface.
Nov. 1 vs. Seattle: Markstrom has won three games against the Kraken, while Vladar has won once (albeit in relief). The Flames probably go back to Markstrom here after he got Saturday night off.
Nov. 3 vs. Nashville: Markstrom has more experience against the Predators, and slightly better numbers than Vladar does in the form of a .909 save percentage compared to Vladar’s .880. The Flames go back to Markstrom.
Nov. 5 vs. New Jersey: Markstrom has played against the Devils a lot in his career, but he’s only won twice in 12 decisions. Vladar is perfect against the Devils – one win in one start – and this would give him his one game per week quota start. Back to Vladar they go.
Based on this breakdown, the Flames would give Vladar three starts (Buffalo, Edmonton and New Jersey), with Markstrom getting the other five.
How would you divide up the starts on the homestand? Do you think our decision-making here is sound, or would you do it differently? Let us know in the comments!
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