Welcome back one and all to Beyond the Boxscore: Season 2 – a place to find out which Flames players had statistically great nights combined with some insight into what was working or not by myself (Shane Stevenson – @Flash_33 on Twitter). We’ll have charts, video breakdowns, colour commentary, and plenty of in-depth analysis.
For today though we’re just going to get back into the feel of things, because it’s only the pre-season. The time of year where the games are made up and the points don’t matter. No literally tell me how many pre-season points Jagr had in his career without looking it up. (Exactly.) Last year I vividly recall being snarkily critical of @Erik Gudbranson after one pre-season game and he sure turned out just fine as the year went on. It’s all about seeing who is constantly in the right defensive position, and who can be consistent enough to stand out.
CF% – 55.41%, SCF% – 54.48%, HDCF% – 38.62%, xGF% – N/A (tracking error)
(CF = CorsiFenwick, SCF = Scoring Chance For, HDCF = High Danger Chance For, xGF = Expected Goals For)
It’s a Team Game – It seems for the game in Calgary the Natural Stat Trick website has an error in uploading the xG numbers, but we do have a chart lower in the “under pressure” section which will show how much more Calgary ended up ahead. The Canucks did win the overall high danger chance battle, but it was spearheaded by a one-sided first period where Calgary failed to get a high danger chance. Throughout the second and the third periods the total number of high danger opportunities were equal. Pretty much the entire damage in this one occurred in the middle frame, kickstarted by a 5-on-3 power play goal.
Corsi King – Rasmus Andersson (78.88 CF%) gets the top spot in this one – second overall in 5v5 attempts for (9.83 at 5v5 SVA). Jeremie Poirier (52.02%) had the most attempts (10.21), but also saw a heavy amount come back his way (9.42 against). Veterans Blake Coleman (75.88%), Mikael Backlund (75.88%), Noah Hanifin (73.53%) all finished against the Canucks road squad with great numbers.
Corsi Clown – Okay folks pre-season disclaimer once again – it is the first game. So when I say Jonathan Huberdeau (29.34 CF%) finished the lowest don’t overreact… please. Tyler Toffoli (36.61%), MacKenzie Weegar (39.24%), and Elias Lindholm (40.68%) were the vets that finished below the 50% threshold. For those readers that are unsure of how to understand these percentages – if a player were to finish right at 50% that would mean he created the exact same amount of shot attempts for as he saw go against him. The higher over 50% – in any ratio – the better the player did. All these numbers we discuss are at 5v5 SVA (Score Venue Adjusted). All non-5v5 stuff can be found in “Today’s Specials” regularly.
Under Pressure –
Taken By Chance – Mikael Backlund (82.98 SCF% // 100 HDCF%) and Blake Coleman (82.98% // 100%) led the way – not seeing any high danger chances against. Unsurprising to say the least. Blake Coleman sat out the early part of the last pre-season because he had just played in some extended playoff runs – the same thing that’s currently happening with Nazem Kadri. The one thing from either split squad games that jumped out in a negative way was Colton Poolman (37.12% // 0%) who let over 7 high danger chances against. Against the roster the Canucks sent to Calgary – not a good way to get noticed.
xGF% – Brett Sutter really had himself a good game. He killed penalties all night and got a garbage time PP with less than 30 seconds to go. According to HockeyViz.com Sutter gathered 0.98 xG for in all situations. Second for Calgary was Cody Eakin at 0.64. Eakin had the most consistent chances at 5v5 of all the Flames skaters. Normally we provide percentages from NaturalStatTrick.com but there’s a communication error in the reporting for them – it’s the pre-season for everyone, folks, we don’t judge.
Game Score – With two apples on the night Mikael Backlund (2.20) ended up the top player – from either split squad match. Cody Eakin (1.73), Blake Coleman (1.69), and Rasmus Andersson (1.59) all had strong showings to start camp. Darryl made a comment in one of his earlier scrums he’s giving his PTO guys ample opportunity to show what they have – Eakin stepped up in this one and was reliable. It’s what I would expect of a Vet trying to stay in the NHL.
Shot Heatmap –
Similar to the first game from Vancouver both teams really prioritized getting to the crease for attempts. The Canucks were all over Dan Vladar to start this game and then the Flames defenders kicked in and limited chances fairly well. Early season things to work on, but that’s why they play the games folks. More 5v5 time going forward would be more helpful for everyday evaluation – we’ll see what happens this week.
In The Crease – No even strength goals against for either Dan Vladar or Oscar Dansk. Each goalie faced 3 high danger chances to combine for the team shutout. Dansk really never got to see many shots at all – but of the ones he did see were top quality. The crease is pretty set in its ways with how the contracts are structured. Dustin Wolf and Dan Vladar might be the only potential battle, and even then, there is no reason to rush Wolf along.
Today’s Specials – 3 power play goals on the night was a helping factor in the win – for sure. First and foremost, right now I just want to see well executed puck movement from the players we know are going to be on that unit. Noah Hanifin – a player I like to advocate to be on the top PP unit because of his great offensive vision – made a great pass to Huberdeau in Tkachuk’s old spot in the corner. Huberdeau may be a playmaker, but he can still use his large frame to crash the net better than the players that used to be here. I won’t completely judge critically until I’ve seen the top unit for an extended period of time – with the whole unit intact (That means Kadri playing).
Player Spotlight – Connor Zary – A player that stood out at rookie camp had a decent showing here. The Flames are a team that requires their centres to be really strong two-way players to make the NHL team. Zary definitely still has more to learn on the defensive side but when he’s been on the attack lately he’s been noticeable. Zary is going to get plenty of opportunity to be the Wranglers number 1C this year, a role where we can hopefully see his game grow to the next level. He’s got the potential to do so.
The Goals –
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Mikael Backlund
2) Cody Eakin
3) Blake Coleman
The Flames next pre-season game is Tuesday from Seattle – it’s an 8 p.m. MT puck drop and streamed on the Flames website.
(Stats compiled from Naturalstattrick.com // Game Score from Hockeystatcards.com // Some charts from HockeyViz.com)