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Halfway to Halfway: Reviewing the Flames and the North Division in the categories that count.

7-6-1 is not the start most Flames fans were hoping for. While Vancouver got worse, Montreal and Winnipeg got a lot better this offseason. While Flames fans looked at the boys in Red as one of the deepest and defensively sound teams in the division before the year, their record doesn't depict that.

Today we will be looking at how the Flames rank in star power, depth scoring, defensive success, special teams, and goaltending at the quarter mark of the season.


Star Power

To determine this category I'm going to look at the top 4 skaters from each club based on even-strength time on ice (With some exceptions, e.g Nylander + Tavares instead of Hyman). Factoring in total points, as well as individual xGF. 4, seemed like the right amount considering the top-end talent of teams like Toronto, Calgary, and Winnipeg.


What you can take from the list below is that Toronto's star talent has been much better than the rest of the division. Perhaps Edmonton could challenge for the top spot if this was looking at the top 2 or top 3 per team but it's not. Calgary's xGF is pretty close to their actual firm statistics, and despite Brady Tkachuk being an absolute monster Ottawa does not have much star talent upfront. Connor and Wheeler are having tough starts to the year at even strength, however, if this list took in 5 players and Andrew Copp (more on him below) was included they would be much higher. While Vancouver's top guys have 31 points, they have also played the most games and have not been great analytically.


1st:

Toronto 15 Games;

Players: Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews, John Tavares, William Nylander

Total Points: 13, 12, 5, 7 = 37

IxGF: 2.90, 4.20, 2.40, 3.01 = 12.51


2nd:

Edmonton 16 Games:

Players: Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Kailer Yamamoto

Total Points: 12, 12, 4, 7 = 35

IxGF: 4.09, 1.16, 2.98, 2.81 = 11.04

3rd:

Montreal 15 Games:

Players: Nick Suzuki, Brendan Gallagher, Josh Anderson, Jonathan Drouin

Total Points: 7, 8, 10, 9 = 34

IxGF: 2.83, 4.22, 2.94, 1.31 = 11.3


4th:

Winnipeg 14 Games:

Players: Mark Schiefele, Kyle Connor, Blake Wheeler, Nikolaj Ehlers

Total Points: 9, 7, 2, 12 = 30

IxGF: 2.6, 1.77, 1.45, 2.87 = 8.69


5th:

Calgary 14 Games:

Players: Matthew Tkachuk, Elias Lindholm, Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan

Total Points: 5, 6, 9, 7 = 27

IxGF: 2.75, 2.09, 2.08, 2.49 = 9.41


6th:

Vancouver 18 Games:

Players: Bo Horvat, Brock Boeser, Elias Pettersson, JT Miller

Total Points: 8, 9, 8, 6 = 31

IxGF: 2.07, 2.07, 2.67, 2.1 = 8.81

7th:

Ottawa 16 Games:

Players: Brady Tkachuk, Nick Paul, Connor Brown, Chris Tierney

Total Points: 6, 6, 6, 3 = 21

IxGF: 4.63, 2.77, 1.74, 1.21 =10.35


Depth Scoring


Depth scoring here is taking the total even-strength goals from forwards ranked by ice time outside the team's aforementioned top 4. I'll highlight one player in particular who has been a force for each team, looking at his points iXGF and .iHDCF (High danger Corsi for, basically the number of significant scoring opportunities they created)


Vancouver has basically been held afloat thanks to the offensive contributions from guys like Pearson, Hoglander, and Motte. Toronto has probably the best top 6 fill-in winger in Zach Hyman and Calgary has seen solid third line contributions from Mangiapane, Backlund, and Lucic. Montreal is rock solid throughout their lineup. There isn't much separation between their top players and guys on their third line. Andrew Copp's production has made the gaping hole left by Laine a lot smaller, and this may be one of the only categories where Ottawa doesn't finish last due to Edmonton's reliance on their top guns.

1st:

Vancouver 18 Games:

Best Depth Forward: Tanner Pearson, 3g 4a, 3.02 xGF, 14 HDCF

Total Goals: 20 goals

2nd:

Toronto 15 Games;

Best Depth Forward: Zach Hyman - 1g 6a, 2.84 xGF, 18 iHDCF

Total Goals: 16 goals


3rd:

Calgary 14 Games:

Best Depth Forward: Andrew Mangiapane - 4g 2a, 2.77 xGF, 17 iHDCF

Total Goals: 14 goals


4th:

Montreal 15 Games:

Best Depth Forward: Tyler Toffoli - 6g 2a, 3.26 xGF, 18 iHDCF

Total Goals: 13 goals


5th:

Winnipeg 14 Games:

Best Depth Forward: Andrew Copp, 2g 6a, 3.98 xGF, 17 iHDCF

Total Goals: 13 goals


6th:

Ottawa 16 Games:

Best Depth Forward: Evgenii Dadonov, 4g 1a, 2.15 xGF, 13 iHDCF

Total Goals: 13 goals


7th:

Edmonton 16 Games:

Best Depth Forward: Jesse Puljujarvi - 3g 1a, 3.69 xGF, 20 iHDCF

Total Goals: 12 goals


Defensive Success

First of all, I am taking the pairings for each team as of today. Some teams have had significant injuries so it gets pretty confusing. However, the team's total CF% will be calculated by incorporating every pairing that has seen more than 60 minutes of ice time together. Defensive success is going to be measured by two categories. Goal differential is from each teams top 3 pairings, while CF% comes from each team's total between all their defensive lineups so far.


Montreal's D-core has been miles better than the rest of the division. While Calgary's pairing of Andersson and Giordano hasn't been great, Tanev and Hanifin are emerging as one of the league's best duos, playing the second most minutes ES of any pairing in the division, and only surrendering 4 goals against. Ottawas' defense has surprisingly been pretty good, they have just been shelled by awful goaltending. Vancouver and Winnipeg's overall output has been relatively weak, but the pairings they have been rolling out in recent games have seen much better success than past setups their teams have tried. While Muzzin and Holl have been really good, the other two pairings for the Leafs haven't had great results. The good news here is they haven't really had to be. Edmonton's defense is as bad in real life as it is on paper, Nurse is good, Bouchard is good, but besides that, the team's defensive "success" comes from their work on the powerplay.


1st:

Montreal 15 Games:

Pair 1: Weber - Chiarot = 7GF 6GA, 52.23 CF%

Pair 2: Petry - Edmundson = 13GF 4GA, 53.20 CF%

Pair 3: Kulak - Romanov = 5GF 4GA, 56.16 CF%

Total CF% of all pairings with over 60 minutes TOI:

53.64% Goal Differential +11

2nd:

Calgary 14 Games:

Pair 1: Tanev - Hanifin = 9GF 4GA, 54.99 CF%

Pair 2: Giordano - Andersson = 7GF 4GA, 47.02 CF%

Pair 3: Valimaki - Nesterov = 7GF 9 GA, 51.82 CF%

Total CF% of all pairings with over 60 minutes TOI:

51.30% Goal Differential +8


3rd:

Ottawa 16 Games:

Pair 1: Chabot - Zaitsev = 7GF 7GA, 50.90 CF%

Pair 2: Reilly - Zub = 2GF 1GA, 62.73 CF%

Pair 3: Wolanin - Gudbrandon = 1GF 3GA, 57.89 CF%

Total CF% of all pairings with over 60 minutes TOI:

52.36% Goal Differential -1


4th: (TIED)

Vancouver 18 Games:

Pair 1: Edler - Schmidt = 6GF 5GA, 56.10 CF%

Pair 2: Hughes - Benn = 8 GF 8GA, 51.18 CF%

Pair 3: Myers - Juolevi = 4GF 2GA, 53.16

Total CF% of all pairings with over 60 minutes TOI:

50.00% Goal Differential +3


4th: (TIED)

Winnipeg 14 Games:

Pair 1: Forbort - Pionk = 9GF 8GA, 52.89 CF%

Pair 2: Beaulieu - Stanley = 5GF 2GA, 52.66 CF%

Pair 3: DeMelo - Morrissey = 3GF 5GA 52.73 CF%

Total CF% of all pairings with over 60 minutes TOI:

50.70% Goal Differential +2


6th:

Toronto 15 Games;

Pair 1: Brodie - Rielly = 6GF 6GA, 47.30 CF%

Pair 2: Muzzin - Holl = 9GF 7 GA, 53.08 CF%

Pair 3: Bogosian - Dermott = 2GF 1 GA, 54.61 CF%

Total CF% of all pairings with over 60 minutes TOI:

50.09% Goal Differential +3


7th:

Edmonton 16 Games:

Pair 1: Nurse - Barrie 10GF 8GA, 48.05 CF%

Pair 2: Lagesson - Larsson 4GF 1GA, 46.67 CF%

Pair 3: Koekkoek - Bouchard 1GF 1GA 32.14 CF%

Total CF% of all pairings with over 60 minutes TOI:

47.57% Goal Differential +5


Special Teams

This ones quick, here are the North divisions teams powerplays and penalty kills ranked:


Powerplay:

  1. Leafs = 34.1%

  2. Oilers = 24.6%

  3. Jets = 22.2%

  4. Flames = 21.8%

  5. Habs = 20.8%

  6. Canucks = 15.9 %

  7. Senators = 13.1%

Penalty Kill:

  1. Canucks = 82.2%

  2. Jets = 81.1%

  3. Flames = 80.9%

  4. Habs = 80%

  5. Leafs = 76.9%

  6. Oilers = 75.5%

  7. Senators = 74.6%

Goaltending

Goaltending stats are derived from all strengths (PP included), looking at SV% and HDSV (save percentage, high danger save percentage)

Calgary's saving grace this season has been Markstrom. He has been absolutely phenomenal between the pipes this year. Montreal could possibly be put ahead of them due to the two-headed monster of Price/Allen. While Price isn't having a fantastic year by SV%, he is still a brick wall in high danger chances. Helleybuck has also been great, CGY-MTL-WIN is really a "tier one" when it comes to goaltending in this division. Freddy hasn't been bad, and the Leafs are certainly excited to have Jack Campbell coming back as he looked good before his injury. After that, the bottom three teams goaltending has truly been their undoing so far this season. Mike Smith has started the year off strong but just missed the cut for TOI (200 Min) to be considered.


I do think that teams need an effective tandem, but you can't possibly judge a player of a sample size of only one or two games.

1st:

Calgary

Markstrom - .925% / .860%

2nd:

Montreal

Price - .901% / .893%

Allen - .933% / .841%


3rd:

Winnipeg

Hellebuyck - .918% / .820%

4th:

Toronto

Anderson - .909% / .792%


5th:

Edmonton

Koskinen - .895% / .792%


6th:

Vancouver

Demko - .899% / .790%

Holtby - .885% / .701%


7th:

Ottawa

Murray - .882% / .723%

Hogberg - .859% / .784%


Anyways thanks everyone for reading! The Flames are ranked all over the place on these lists, and while we may not be able to climb too far in a category like star power, we all know goaltending, defense, and depth wins Stanley cups!

If you were to assign points to each category (e.g 6 to first, 0 to last) the overall ranking would be....

  1. Leafs

  2. Flames

  3. Habs

  4. Jets

  5. Canucks

  6. Oilers

  7. Senators

While that looks gooooooood, it doesn't reflect the league standings. Let's hope that the Flames can start that grind into the top 3 tonight against the Canucks! Go Flames Go!


All Stats via Natural Stat Trick

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