Who should play with Gaudreau and Monahan?

The revolving door on the right side of 23 and 13 has seen many faces over the past half decade or so. Unbenounced to the Flames, the organization may have a solution that's sitting on their current roster.

Who you might ask? The Flames have tried a ton of wingers in the past. Jiri Hudler, Joe Colborne, Sam Bennett, Michael Ferland, Dillon Dube, Jaromir Jagr, James Neal and Elias Lindholm to name a few. While Lindholm was certainly the best match so far, it hasn't worked in the playoffs, thus forcing the move of him to center this year.

Last night the Flames rolled out a top 9 of

Tkachuk - Lindholm - Mangiapane

Gaudreau - Monahan - Simon

Lucic - Bennett - Dube

Last night the Flames top line actually looked really good. However, this was mostly due to the play of Johnny Gaudreau (1.4xGF) and Sean Monahan (.21xGF). Simons expected goals for was a whopping 0. The Lindholm line performed well, and while the analytics may not love the third line, they left an impression every shift and looked like the dominant line that debuted in the return to play.

Wardo even had some big praise for the third line. If he likes there play that much and if the Lindholm line stays effective with Mangiapane, what do the Flames do when

Mikael Backlund makes his way back into the lineup?

My answer? Throw him on a line with 13 and 23.

The Flames first round pick in 2007 has been a consistent two way force over the last decade. He's scored at high paces and definitely has the skill and speed to keep up with Johnny.

Furthermore what's the big knock against the Flames two offensive dynamos? They aren't effective in their own end. Mikael Backlund sure is. The Flames alternate captain has been coined with the term "The Backlund Bump". While he has played with competent players in recent years, he has also put career years on a platter for players like Lance Bouma and Joe Colborne.

Putting Backs on a line with Johnny and Mony doesn't mean they have to take harder zone starts or face the other teams offensive weapons. What it will do is help keep the puck out of the Flames end, helping Calgarys stars do what they do best.

Looking at some WOWY charts from natural stat trick, since the 2018-19 season Gaudreau and Monahan have only played 173 even strength minutes with Mikael Backlund. About 58 minutes a season or 42 seconds a game. So obviously these sample sizes aren't large, but when you compare his results with 23 and 13 to the likes of Simon, Bennett and Leivo, he has looked the best. If you don't like the small sample size, why not find out? The current Flames don't look like a playoff threat, so why not try something new now?

A top 9 of

Tkachuk - Lindholm - Mangiapane

Gaudreau - Monahan - Backlund

Lucic - Bennett - Dube

Doesn't leave much to be desired. You have that "first" line play the tough two way minutes, the "second" line get favourable starts and average competition, and let the 3rd line go leave it all out on the ice every shift.

Whether you want Monahan or Backlund in the middle doesn't really matter, but even in situations where the third line is having a rough night, a quick swap of Backlund and Bennett would be pretty easy.

Let me know what you guys think about this idea in the comments!

Find us on Twitter @CofRUnfiltered

Chart from WOWY stats via Natural Stat Trick.

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