Calgary Flames

Sunday Census: Which recent offensive spark will truly light the Flames?

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 haven’t been consistent at all this season, but they’ve at least enjoyed a nice consistent stretch offensively. Since getting shut out by the Montréal Canadiens on January 13th (12 games ago) they’ve scored 43 goals, which is a bit above a 3.5 goals/game rate. They might not be winning, but they sure are scoring.

Does this coincide with everyone stepping up with the losses of Travis Hamonic and especially Mark Giordano on the back end to just overpower opponents to victory? Perhaps, although in an ideal world that’s not the case because then you’d just expect the Flames can play like that when they want to.

Perhaps the most notable thing about this recent offensive surge is that it’s coming from the unlikely suspects. Offence is coming in waves from players like Sam Bennett, Milan Lucic, Tobias Rieder. Hell, even Zack Rinaldo scored on one hell of a shot.

We asked you which of the recent hot streaks means the most to the Flames, and the results gave us a great case of art mirroring life.

Elias Lindholm started strong in the polls, before eventually conceding to the eventual poll king, Mikael Backlund. It’s not a total surprise to see Backlund catch fire late in the poll, as he recently himself admitted that “[his] whole career, [he’s] been a second-half player.” Why would that be any different for our Sunday Census poll?

Backlund makes sense as he’s been trusted once again in that 2C role, despite the lack of belief from Flames fans that he’s the right man for that job. His recent move back to centre, a move that he welcomed and has said feels more comfortable, shows his fire to be the guy for Calgary.

He’s a career 0.5 points/game player, who had a slow start to the year and is now back on track to reach half a point per game this season. Additionally, the second power play unit has looked awful good as of late, and he deserves credit for that. Not all the credit, but he plays a big part of that.

It’s good to see Lindholm get recognition from the Calgary faithful, but it is surprising to see his name get so many votes. He’s been the most consistent forward for the Flames this season, so why would this recent hot streak spark the Flames so much? Of all the career years last season, Lindholm has had the least regression, doing his best to salvage the very lopsided Dougie Hamilton trade.

Perhaps it’s because he’s back at right wing, and fans feel some relief for a true right winger in Calgary. Moving Lindholm to centre was an all right move by head coach Geoff Ward, but it’s not the position where the Flames are feeling thin. Even the next prospect up is a centre, so there’s lots of options. Less so for right-handed right wingers. Somewhere, Austin Czarnik lets out a sigh, and Matt Phillips’ rehab continues.

To those who responded with Mark Jankowski……sure. Perhaps the vote was because he is increasing his trade value ahead of the deadline, which will cause a team to overvalue him in a trade and result in a wonderful boon for Calgary!

However, it doesn’t make sense to label him as any sort of catalyst. Look at his goals. He scored in garbage time in the dreadful loss to the Ottawa Senators. He scored two goals in garbage time in the delightful win over Anaheim. He had Lucic’s shot go in off of him against the San Jose Sharks to put them up 4-2 before the Flames would add two more.

Only the goal against the St. Louis Blues felt impactful, as Jankowski gave the Flames a lead they would ultimately relinquish and then lose in a shootout. Sorry folks, Jankowski shouldn’t be getting the votes here.

Very curious to know who voted for other and who they meant, but they didn’t reply to the poll so we shall never know.

There was another poll put out yesterday, before the game against the Chicago Blackhawks. If you’re looking for great conversation on it, sorry to disappoint. At the time when this article was being written, the runaway leader to the question of how important the Boston Bruins game is to Calgary was “Good test for the Flames” with a whopping 64.7%. The next closest was “It’s just another game” at 13.2%.

If the Bruins are meant to be a test, what were the Blackhawks supposed to be? Yikes.

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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