Calgary Flames

Sunday Census: Jarome Iginla records, Sam Bennett goals, and a lineup upgrade

Welcome back to The Sunday Census. Throughout the week, The Win Column will be posing topical and intriguing polls on Twitter (@wincolumnblog) to gauge the fan-base’s stance on pressing issues. Want to make sure your opinion is taken into effect? Vote in the polls, start a debate, and propose alternative suggestions on the polls!

The Calgary Flames fan base released a collective sigh of relief when it was announced Thursday that the organization would be retiring Jarome Iginla‘s jersey on March 2nd. It was simply a matter of time before the announcement came, and it sent everyone into nostalgia mode. Us included; we revisited Iginla’s most memorable moments across his career.

Iginla is easily one of, if not the, all time greatest players to wear a Flames jersey. He currently holds the franchise record across the majority of categories such as games played, goals, points, power play goals, and game winning goals; just to name a few. There is no telling how long his name will remain at the top of those collective categories, but it is safe to say the longevity of his records will persist for a long time to come.

Our poll was designed to gauge the fan base in regards to which of those records would be broken first by a current player. It may seem blasphemous to suggest, but it is entirely likely that one of our three candidates will actually be able to surpass Iginla. Of course we are talking many seasons down the road, but you never know.

Receiving the lowest amount of votes was Sean Monahan‘s attempt to surpass Iginla’s goal record. Iginla scored 525 goals for the Flames over his tenure in Calgary, 161 of which were on the powerplay and 83 that were game winners. Iginla is actually 161 goals ahead of is nearest competitor, Theoren Fleury, so it’s safe to say he has a wide margin to work with. Monahan has scored 164 goals in his career so far in 443 career games, which is a 0.37 goals per game. In Iginla’s career, he posted a 0.43 goals per game. It may be a bit tougher for Monahan to reach that mark, but the 24 year old has many more games to come as a Flame.

Next highest vote getter was Mark Giordano‘s journey in breaking Iginla’s games played record. Iginla payed 1219 games as a Calgary Flame, which is 391 games more than Robyn Regehr who is currently sitting in second. Giordano currently sits at 803 games played, and when the Flames play Carolina this coming week he will be tied for third on the all time Flames games played with Al MacInnis. There is absolutely no doubt Giordano will finish at least second, which he should be in at the end of the season, but it looks less likely that he will be able to make it to Iginla’s record. In order for that to happen, Giordano will have to play five more full seasons. Not impossible, as he will be nearing 40, but he seems to be getting better with age. Here’s to hoping the Flames have a healthy and effective Giordano for the next five full seasons.

Finally, the highest vote getter for this poll is Johnny Gaudreau‘s quest to beat the all time point record. The tallest task of them all for the team’s smallest player. As we all know, Gaudreau is one of the most dynamic offensive talents this team has had since, well, Iginla. Currently sitting with 73 points on the season, Gaudreau has an excellent shot at breaking Iginla’s career high single season point total of 98. In terms of career numbers, Iginla finished with 1095 points as a Flame, while Gaudreau currently sits at 362. Gaudreau scores at a perfect 1.0PPG pace, while Iginla was at a 0.89PPG pace. If Gaudreau can keep the same rate up, and play perhaps another 700+ games then he is on pace to break the record. The majority of fans agree with this thought.

The biggest question, and reason why I actually picked Monahan for this poll, is the question of longevity. Of the three players, I get the feeling Monahan will be around the longest, even longer than Gauddreau. Giordano is obviously getting up there in age as well. I hope that all three records are broken by the three players, but time will tell. That being said, it is tough to imagine any of those three players ever surpassing the legend status that Jarome Iginla will always have.

Sam Bennett had a phenomenal Friday night against the Detroit Red Wings. With two more goals, the moustache wearing former fourth overall pick now sits at nine goals on the season. Nothing to write home about, but Bennett is halfway to his career high in goals already. There are 32 games left in the season, so it is not out of reach by any means.

We wanted to see exactly how many goals fans thought that Bennett will end up with on the season. We offered three ranged: 10-15, 15-20, and 20+.

Fans were least optimistic about Bennett reaching his first 20 goal campaign, with a small amount of people voting for that option. I’ll have to agree with this one, as he would have to score 11 goals over his final 32 games. That is at a much higher rate than he has scored his nine this season, and may be too tall a task.

However, fans aren’t pessimistic either. With just under a third of the vote going for 10-15 goals. That seems about right, as he would only need six more to hit the 15G mark, and four to surpass both his previous two seasons.

My vote, and the majority of fans votes, decided to meet in the middle and go with 15-20 goals. This seems not only the most likely scenario, but also the most achievable for Bennett. If he can go on a tear, or even another four goal outing a la 2015-16, then by all means this is on the lower end of projections. Fans are rooting for Bennett this season more than ever and perhaps Friday’s game was just what he needed to find his scoring touch again.

Another week, another poll about the trade deadline. Last week we touched on the player who could most likely be dealt come February 25th, but this week we focus on what exact area is one the Flames need to focus on an upgrade for. The four options given were second line RW, third pairing LHD, backup goaltender, and third line C.

There was almost an even split between the skater options, with all three collecting around 15% of the vote each. That is not to say there doesn’t need to be an upgrade in these areas, as a team can always improve it’s depth. With Michael Frolik, Oliver Kylington, and Mark Jankowski handling those duties for the moment, the fans appear to be comfortable riding those player moving forward. Keep in mind with the LHD spot, Juuso Valimaki

looks to be heading back to the lineup sooner rather than later.

As it was last week, the overwhelming majority of fans think the backup goaltender position is the biggest area of weakness. Does that opinion change after Smith’s performance against Detroit? Probably not a ton. If Rittich continues to play as strong as he has this season, the backup position becomes less of an issue. Of course, a good insurance policy is always smart to have. The number of options available is limited, but clearly fans want a fresh face in the backup role so that come the playoffs the team is more stable.

Want to be a part of the conversation next time around? Follow us on Twitter @wincolumnblog and be sure to keep a look out for our polls throughout the week.

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