Calgary Flames Quarterly Report Cards: Defence

Earlier this week we gave report cards out to the Calgary Flames forwards and now we will turn our attention to the defensive corps.

Before we get into the ratings, it is important to remember that we are all privileged to watch, write, and read about hockey, not to mention play it. TJ Brodie suffered a serious medical scare in practice yesterday, and it is a good reminder that there is much much more to life than hockey. These report cards and analytics are a great place for fans to share their thoughts about the game, but they mean nothing when truly important stuff comes up. Best wishes to TJ and his family, Flames fans want to see you back soon!

For these rankings, we will use the same model we used for the Forwards. The model operates similarly to the power rankings model we update on a weekly basis. The player model takes specific on ice statistics including CF%, SCF%, HDCF%, and GF%; individual statistics including goals, assists, individual contributions to team CF, SCF, and HDCF; and an adjustment for time on ice and PDO.

Each player’s statistics are put through the model and combined to produce an overall TWCScore. These scores are then compared to the rest of the league to determine what letter grade they fall into.

To adjust the thresholds to match defensemen, a multiplication factor was applied to the thresholds used for forwards. This was based on averages league wide.

GradeThreshold
A+103
A97
A-91
B+86
B80
B-74
C+69
C63
C-57
D+46
D34
D-23
F0

Class is back in session!

A+

Mark Giordano

Total Score Time on IceES GoalsES Assists
120.2342:2125

It is true that Giordano has not played up to the same crazy standard that he played at last season, especially in terms of producing points offensively, but the Flames captain has still been excellent to begin the season. His seven even strength points are tied for fifth on the Flames roster, and while we have written extensively about the struggles of the Flames depth on offence this year, Giordano has been his normal productive self. It will be interesting to see what coach Bill Peters does with the defensive pairs going forward with Brodie out, and to see who gets paired with the captain going forward. His possession stats have not been as good as normal, so keep an eye out for a possible uptick if the Flames shake things up.

A

Noah Hanifin

Total Score Time on IceES GoalsES Assists
102.5357:5522

Flames fans might be surprised to find out that it is actually Hanifin and not Giordano who leads the team in even strength ice time through the first 21 games. In those games Hanifin has really taken the next step this season. The young defensemen has been really active in the offence, jumping into the rush several times, and contributing on the second power play as well (although the model only takes into account the statistics from five on five play). His shots per 60 minutes are up this season, and his giveaways per 60 are down, which is a really positive sign for the Flames, and shows that Hanifin has been using his unique skating ability to have success.

B

Rasmus Andersson

Total ScoreTime on IceES GoalsES Assists
85.3323:3420

The young Swedish defensemen has had another impressive start to the season, and has probably deserved more ice time than he has had. Most exciting is that his personal shots per 60 minutes are at a career high this season. Andersson is somewhat of a rarity in todays NHL, given that one off his best skills is his elite slap shot, a skill that doesn’t have the importance it did in a previous era. I have long thought that Andersson needed to utilize his shot far more, and this season that has finally happened. He hasn’t had the best luck in terms of points, but he has looked poised in his own zone, and has led the breakout effectively all season. If he can continue to do that, and continues to unleash his howitzer of a shot, Andersson will continue his effective play. The upcoming stretch will be very important for number four, as he will look to show he belongs in the top four.

Travis Hamonic

Total ScoreTime on IceES GoalsES Assists
80.6350.4902

Hamonic will always be a divisive player for Flames fans. While his puck decisions can be frustrating, fans have to appreciate his toughness, hard work, and willingness to protect his younger teammates. That pretty much describes his year so far. He turns the puck over a lot (by just shooting it up the boards) but he has been reasonably solid defensively and tough as nails. Unfortunately he has shown a propensity for making big mistakes this season, as evidenced partly by the 10 High Danger Goals Against the Flames have surrendered on the ice. If he can avoid the big mistakes a little better, and play his usual tough minutes, then Hamonic will improve on his decent yet unremarkable start.

B-

TJ Brodie

Total ScoreTime on IceES GoalsES Assists
77.0309:5406

Thoughts and prayers again to TJ and his family during what I can only imagine is a tough time. On the ice, Brodie has struggled at times, and looked ok at others. He has six assists at even strength, but five of those were second assists, and Brodie probably has not contributed quite as much as his numbers suggest. With that being said, he has the second highest CF% among Flames defensemen, and the highest GF%, although his scoring chance numbers have been among the worst among Flames defenceman. Essentially its been a mixed bag for number 7 this year, with some good and some bad. Hopefully he is back on the ice soon.

C

Oliver Kylington

Total ScoreTime on IceES GoalsES Assists
65.8181:5401

Kylington’s recent demotion paints a pretty negative picture of his play with the big club, but in limited minutes he was solid for the Flames. His possession and shot metrics were actually pretty strong (again in sheltered minutes). Like a few of the Flames defensemen, he had issues giving up high danger chances, and was kept afloat in part by the highest on ice save % among the Flames D corps. What Kylington can do is obvious, the guy can really skate. He moves the puck well at times, and is solid in the middle of the ice. One thing I would like to see from him is more effective play in the offensive zone. He spends a lot of time with the puck, but he lacks an elite (or even pretty good) shot from the point, which makes it hard to create offence. The biggest reason for Kylington being in the C range is his complete inability to put up points so far. Hopefully they’ll start to come, but that’s a huge weak spot in his game right now. Given what happened to Brodie this week, expect Kylington to be back up soon.

Incomplete

Michael Stone

Total ScoreTime on IceES GoalsES Assists
56.580:4811

I am giving Stone an incomplete grade because our model weights players in relation to their ice time, and Stone has not played enough this year. When he has been in there, Stone has really struggled, with the worst CF% and shot metrics among the defence. With Brodie likely out for a while, Calgary is going to need Stone to improve his play quickly. If not, recent call-up Brandon Davidson could be in the lineup sooner rather than later.


What are your thoughts on the Flames defenseman corps this season? Let us know in the comments

Related First Quarter Report Cards: Forwards

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