Last Thursday, I put out a tweet showing the 82 game point pace the majority of the Calgary Flames’ players are on this season. Adam Ruzicka currently leads the Flames in points per game and has an 82 game point pace of 70.
The player that got the most attention and faced the most scrutiny was Elias Lindholm. He has been a high-end point producer during his first four seasons in Calgary.
Season
82 Game Point Pace
2018-19
79
2019-20
63
2020-21
69
2021-22
82
This season he is currently on pace to put up 68 points. At the time of the tweet, he was on pace for 65 points. That is right on track on where he should be, or even exceeding expectations.
I got a lot of push back from fans about that. There are a lot of people on #FlamesTwitter who think Lindholm should be a point per game player. The expectations need to be lowered in terms of point production, even though he was a point per game player in 2021-22 and close to it in 2018-19.
The reason he was a point per game player in those seasons is because he was playing with Johnny Gaudreau. Lindholm and Gaudreau had a special chemistry on the ice. They had an elite ability to read off one another and for Lindholm to get open and Johnny find him in great shooting positions. That type of chemistry is rare to find. Take a look at Lindholm’s goals from last season and how many were set up by Gaudreau. Their chemistry was unbelievable.
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CF%
GF%
HDCF%
xGF%
13 & 28
54.76%
62.32%
55.94%
56.02%
28 without 13
52.05%
49.50%
50.14%
50.14%
(Stats courtesy of natural Stat Trick)
Lindholm doesn’t nearly put up the same numbers that he did when on the same line as Gaudreau.
Gaudreau is one of the rare players in the NHL who makes his teammates significantly more productive when playing with him. He did it for Sean Monahan. And he did it for Lindholm.
A realistic point production for Lindholm over an 82-game schedule is in the 55–65-point range. Point per game is not realistic away from Gaudreau. We had hoped that Lindholm and Jonathan Huberdeau would have picked off where Lindholm and Gaudreau did last season. But unfortunately, that has not happened.
Lindholm is still a very good player in the NHL. This article is not meant to trash Lindholm in any way. He a very effective two-way centerman that is first over the boards in all situations. That is an incredibly valuable piece to have on your team. What Lindholm is not, is a point per game player game or an elite offensive play driving centre. He relies on linemates to get him pucks in spots where he can score.
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