It’s here! After a seven month regular season and an agonizing weekend without meaningful games, the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs begin today! We’ll have a bunch of preview content here at FlamesNation over the coming days, but first: the mailbag!
Let’s dive in, shall we?
There are a few contenders to be this year’s Martin Gelinas. One of the cool things about Gelinas’ emergence in that playoff year is he wasn’t a big offensive threat until that post-season. He just emerged that playoff year as a stellar finisher and was exactly what the Flames needed.
By looking at the difference between a player’s “Individual Expected Goals” (iXG), the number of goals the expected goals model at Natural Stat Trick suggests they should’ve scored, and their actual goals, you can estimate a few players that are “due” for more goals. The “due” players are Blake Coleman, Mikael Backlund, Rasmus Andersson, Milan Lucic, Brett Ritchie and Calle Jarnkrok.
If your qualifications for someone being a Gelinas, then it’s probably going to be Coleman or Backlund, secondary players who have arguably under-performed offensively slightly, or Dube, a secondary player who’s been on an offensive heater lately.
(If you’re thinking about a blueliner that could go ham this playoff year, Andersson is the most likely candidate. He’s smart, he’s rangy, and he picks his spots really well offensively.)
So, I keep going back and forth with this, and my conclusion likely stems from my being a longtime Chicago Cubs fan. You see, the Cubs were an utterly cursed baseball franchise from 1945 to 2016. They found insane ways to lose baseball games, and when they did sometimes make the playoffs their alumni tended to stay the heck away because of their superstitious nature.
That’s sort of why I’m saying that the Flames’ alumni who don’t currently have jobs with the team – like Craig Conroy or Martin Gelinas – probably shouldn’t hang around during the post-season. Imagine what might happen if the Flames suffer a gut-punch of a loss: it would be worse with alumni spectators. Let the current Flames handle their own business without having the weight of the past two or three decades of playoff challenges hanging around awkwardly. It’s not their fight.
Besides, if alumni want to bask in any potential glory, that’s what a parade would be for.
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