Rasmus Andersson’s season should be considered a success
Photo credit:Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
7 months ago
The playoff hopes and dreams of the Calgary Flames have officially been extinguished. There are so many different things to digest from this season that created the problems down the stretch, from the coaching to the under-performance of big-name players to the goaltending issues. However, one player that should be recognized for being on the other end of that spectrum and who had an excellent season, by most accounts, was Rasmus Andersson.
With 79 games played, Andersson finished one point away from hitting the 50-point mark for the second season in a row, last year doing it in a full 82 games played. He sits sixth on the Flames in scoring, and even though he’s 13th out of 17 qualified players (minimum of 400 minutes total time on ice at 5v5) in expected goals for percentage (xGF%), he still sits above average at 53.48 percent. He also has hit far and away his career high in goals with 11 this season, his previous highs coming in 2019-20 and 2020-21 where he scored 5 goals over 70 and 56 games, respectively.
In goals above replacement (GAR) and expected goals above replacement (xGAR), Andersson sits fifth and eighth, respectively, and he’s second in total offensive GAR (Off) only behind Tyler Toffoli. He sits fourth in the expected version of the stat (xOff) as well.
Andersson’s GAR and xGAR numbers from last season were better by a fair margin. The difference isn’t extremely significant, but it’s also not something to gloss over either. The total offensive output between the two seasons is about the same, but the defence is where the problems lie. Last year he was positive in total defensive GAR (Def) and total expected defensive GAR (xDef), whereas this season, he was fairly below average.
Below is his regularized adjusted plus-minus chart from Evolving-Hockey, showcasing his big impact on the Flames’ power play and his above-average production on the offensive end.
Despite the tough season defensively, there’s plenty to be said about the kind of effect Andersson has on the top part of the Flames’ defence. His ability to move the puck through all three zones and in transition is a huge help and has contributed to the number of rush chances that the Flames have created over the course of 2022-23. He also averaged the most minutes out of any player on the Flames, with the second-highest average (Noah Hanifin) being 1:28 behind.
The graph below represents the defence time on ice, and it also shows that he (as well as two of the other members of the top four of the defence, Hanifin, and Mackenzie Weegar) has been available almost all season, which shouldn’t be overlooked as well.
Not only has Andersson been great on the ice, but he’s been excellent off the ice, too, offering up quotes and being available to media after tough losses where he’s inevitably going to have to answer tough questions about the team’s performance. He has been a leader both in the locker room and in the situations Sutter has played him in during the 2022-23 season.
The 2022-23 season for the Flames was as dysfunctional as they come. Between bad luck, bad coaching, and bad goaltending, so much went wrong for a team that was looking to compete at or near the top of the Pacific Division. However, within all of the problems, there were some bright spots that need to be highlighted, and Andersson is one of them.
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