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What Ryan Carpenter brings to the Calgary Flames

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Photo credit:Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
8 months ago
As the minutes till the trade deadline ticked away the Calgary Flames were able to acquire Ryan Carpenter from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for a 2024 5th-round pick. A move made possible due to the Vancouver Canucks claiming Brad Richardson off waivers earlier in the day.
Let’s take a look like we did with Toffoli and Jarnkrok at what sort of impact we can expect from Ryan Carpenter.

Offensive impact

I’m not going to sugarcoat that Carpenter ($1 million cap hit) projects as a fourth line guy, but he does have the versatility to play up on the third line as well. We’ll show his career impact chart here:
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The recognition of Carpenters skill set was first noticed by the Vegas Golden Knights in 2017-18 after acquiring him from the Sharks. He was able to find ample offence at the AHL level but hasn’t really been a scoring player during his time in the NHL. The impact isn’t as bad as one might initially think – being at -2.5 to -3% on offence doesn’t translate into a person being an offensive blackhole.
To be blunt – Carpenter won’t be expected to score goals. Any offence he provides will be considered a bonus but the prime benefit Carpenter can bring to this club is on the defensive side of the game.

Defensive impact

Carpenter can play either center or right wing so it’s no surprise that he understands the necessary positioning other defensive centers also show in their impact maps. He tracks as a player that backchecks hard every shift and knows the importance of not turning the puck over at the bluelines. Pucks in deep – always back for support. It’s been a very common theme for the Flames to acquire players like this.
In fact in this off-season Calgary acquired Pitlick and Richardson for their defensive prowess and now have Jarnkrok and Carpenter to replace them – so lets compare and see what kind of numerical value Brad Treliving has brought to his team.
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Now again Carpenter is not one to score tons of goals or points, but of the 4 his pure defensive impact is the most value. His CA bar being as high as it is while spending all 3 of those seasons in Chicago – where defence was optional sometimes – is remarkable. Hardly any shot attempts get off from the other team when Carpenter patrols the ice. Add in the offensive improvement Jarnkrok provides over Richardson and the Flames were able to gain two players that have track records of being more proficient on-ice players.
No disrespect to Brad Richardson either – I was personally okay with him staying as a fill-in center for the playoffs and feel it was quite rude of Vancouver to snatch a 36 year old from a possible Cup contender. Unfortunately that’s the business though.

Final thoughts

Carpenter gives the Flames an even more defensive option to pair with Backlund-Coleman if they want to instead of Lewis. That’s still something I’m not a major fan of, but with his defensive abilities being that much more quantified it could allow 11 and 20 to be more offensive too. It’s more efficient to add him to the 4th line – oddly the player he could effectively replace to improve results could be Sean Monahan. Sean’s still got some proper defence in his game, but Carpenters more used to this role – and more effective in it. It’s more depth for Calgary and they now have the bodies to be able to weather a possible injury without resorting to calling up someone from the farm.
It was another shrewd move by Brad Treliving as his team pushes towards the Stanley Cup playoffs.

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