Calgary Flames

The Flames’ Fantastic Five Pace the League

Enjoying one of their best offensive seasons in franchise history, the Calgary Flames are the only team to boast five 50+ point scorers on their roster. Not even the league-leading Tampa Bay Lightning can say that.

In fact, there are only 37 players in the entire NHL that have at least 50 points on the year, and the next closest teams to the Flames have just three players at this mark: Toronto, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, and Colorado. Among those teams, only Toronto has a defenceman at 50+ points. Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Elias Lindholm, Matthew Tkachuk, and Mark Giordano have already hit the 50 point mark. The first three have all hit the 60 point mark, and Gaudreau has surpassed 70.

It’s truly remarkable how the Flames have exploded offensively this season, and not just from their top line either; their scoring is coming from multiple lines and multiple positions.

This scoring hasn’t come out of nowhere, either. None of these players have gone on streaky runs where they’ve amassed most of their points. No, these five players have been on pace to break records ever since the first week of the season, and while most players that start hot end up cooling off down the stretch, the Flames’ Fantastic Five have stayed strong. Here’s a look at each of these players’ point paces since opening night. The dashed red line on all the charts below indicate an 82 game pace, or point-per-game.

Gaudreau has been at or above the point-per-game mark for the entire season so far. He only dipped to this pace in three games, opening night against Vancouver Canucks, and two games in November against the Montreal Canadiens and Edmonton Oilers. Since then, he’s been on a steady uphill climb and is currently on pace for 119 points. Up to game 20, it looked like Gaudreau’s point pace was normalizing to the point-per-game mark, similar to last season, but he has shattered expectations and become one of the most dynamic offensive talents in the game.

Monahan has never reached the point-per-game mark in his career. His career high in points was last season when he scored 64 points in 74 games. Had he not been injured late in the year, he was pacing to reach 71 points. This season, after a short dip below a point-per-game pace, he has been at or above it from game 12 onward. After posting 19 points in 19 games, he’s been better than point-per-game ever since. His pace has normalized to 90-100 points on the year, and if he continues at his current pace, he’ll reach 96 points by the end of the season. That would be a new career high for Monahan.

Lindholm is definitely the surprise of the bunch. Nobody knew how offensively capable he was after his time in Carolina, but alongside Gaudreau and Monahan on the Flames’ top line, Lindholm has more than fit in. He didn’t earn a point in the Flames’ first game of the season, but he picked up three in game two to start what has been a truly incredible run. He has also flirted with the point-per-game pace the entire season and, despite Lindholm dipping slightly below that mark on two occasions, his pace seems to have normalized around the 95 point mark. For a player who had only hit 45 points once, even hitting the 60 points he has already accumulated is a fantastic achievement. He has a very realistic chance to double his previous career high.

Coming into this season, it was expected that Tkachuk would continue to trend upwards and set new career highs. Operating at over the point-per-game mark for the entire season? That was not. Not even Gaudreau has been able to stay above point-per-game the whole season, but Tkachuk passed that mark in game two and hasn’t looked back. The most interesting part of Tkachuk’s rolling point pace is when he picked up four points in game two of the season, which spiked his pace above 200. Obviously, he wasn’t able to maintain that, but he’s had a tremendous year so far. Right now, he’s on pace to finish with 92 points. That would nearly double his previous career high of 49 points set last season.

Finally, probably the most impressive member of the Flames’ Fantastic Five, Giordano. He’s been one of the league’s best defencemen for years now, but has never scored at this rate before. Since game 15 of the season, he’s straddled the point-per-game mark, an impressive feat for a defenceman in general, but even more so when considering that Giordano is an undrafted 35 year old. He is having one of the best seasons by a 35+ year old defenceman in NHL history, and is in good position to win the Norris Trophy. Giordano has played two fewer games than the other four, having been suspended earlier in the season. Still, he’s on pace to finish at the point-per-game mark with 80 points.

The Flames are having a historic season. They’re first in the Pacific Division, first in the Western Conference, and second overall in the entire NHL. They will reach the playoffs for the first time since 2017, and look like a legitimate Stanley Cup threat. Their success is due in no small part to the Fantastic Five.

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