Calgary Flames Third Quarter Report Cards: Forwards

It has been a little over a week since the Flames ended their third quarter, so thanks for the patience, but I am excited to finally dig into the report cards for the third quarter.

This quarter will take the 21 games from December 29th 2019, to February 18th, 2020. The Flames went 11-9-1 in the period but statistically actually played well. If a single stat’s worth highlighting, they posted the league’s seventh best xGF% of 53.3%.

Most notably for these forward rankings, the Flames were top ten in the league in goals for during this period. Many of the forwards on the team had some of their better offensive outputs of the season, and they have left the club at least within striking distance of the playoffs.

Lets check out the rankings and see who the difference makers were during the third quarter.

How Do these rankings work?

A reminder that these rankings are based on a computer model. In order to grade players, we will be using the player ranking model developed by TWC’s own Karim Kurji.

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.

It is important to note that the model is based on player performance at 5v5 SVA. This is not meant to diminish the efforts of the Flames work on special teams, but to be more representative of a players form against equal opposition.

We are a few days late, but at long last, class is back in session!

A+

Johnny Gaudreau

TWC Score TOIES GoalsES AssistsPrevious Ranking
195.5296:4338A

Now that’s more like it from Johnny Hockey. While still under his pace from previous years, the Flames star has finally started to find some traction. Last quarter Gaudreau managed just six points at 5v5, so doubling his production is what everyone wants to see.

What is even more exciting is to see that Gaudreau led the team in shots, and also led the team in ixG in the period. In fact, he had a shockingly low 5.9 shooting percentage during this quarter, so he probably deserved even more production than he did have. He has more to give, and the Flames will need it, but Gaudreau was back closer to his regular self during the third quarter.

Matthew Tkachuk

TWC ScoreTOIES GoalsES AssistsPrevious ranking
186.1286:0938A-

Tkachuk was tied for the team lead in points during the period with eleven and was third in ixG behind Gaudreau and Monahan. Unfortunately Tkachuk was another guy hurt by low shooting percentage (7.3%) so again his numbers were not quite as good as they could have been.

Even more promising, his CF% of 53.6% was the highest amongst forwards during this period, closely followed by his linemates Andrew Mangiapane and Mikael Backlund. He already led the team in points, and was hurt by a low individual shooting percentage. Definitely look out for when his shots start going in closer to his usual production.

A

Sean Monahan

TWC ScoreTOIES GoalsES AssistsPrevious Ranking
176.3288:2833A+

Monahan is an interesting case. He is ranked this high despite scoring only six points in the quarter. Not to beat a dead horse but Monahan is the end of the trio of Flames who suffered from low shooting percentages. Monahan shot just 8.3% in the period, and will likely score more than three goals on 26 shots in the future.

The important thing is that he is creating chances, and his iXG was the second highest on the team with 5.03. Once the percentages even out Monahan should be fine.

Andrew Mangiapane

TWC Score TOIES GoalsES AssistsPrevious Ranking
175.5263:4844A+

Mangiapane’s breakout and the (re)emergence of his line with Tkachuk and Backlund has been the most positive late season development for the Flames. The most important thing during this period was that Mangiapane was producing, scoring eight 5v5 points. As mentioned, his CF% was also excellent, falling just behind Tkachuk at 53.4%. He achieved the production with sustainable percentages too, so it was an all around great quarter for Mangiapane.

A-

Elias Lindholm

TWC ScoreTOIES GoalsES AssistsPrevious Ranking
163.1288:3483B-

Lindholm continues to score. While his points are way down, his goals are actually up from last year, and eight in the third quarter at 5v5 is nothing to sneeze at. He did shoot 19.05% which is high and probably unsustainable but it is not a miraculous number (see Jankowski, Mark). His CF% was pretty good too (51.4%) so all in all it was a great quarter for the winger.

B

Mikael Backlund

TWC ScoreTOIES GoalsES AssistsPrevious Ranking
150.0279:0626B+

Backlund really started to turn his game around in Q3 and it has made a huge difference for the club. His eight points were near the top of the team, and his line was driving play all quarter. He had the highest xGF% among the forwards on the team with 58.2%. His shooting percentages were low again but they have started to pick up significantly since the third quarter ended. He is looking like the underrated star that Flames fans have seen and have come to expect.

Sam Bennett

TWC ScoreTOIES GoalsES AssistsPrevious Ranking
146.5218:3652N/A

It was great to see Benny start to find his groove in this period. Bennett was rumoured to be unhappy with his ice-time earlier in the year, and he proved his worth in quarter three. His five goals was tied for second on the team in this period, and while his 18.5% shooting percentage was high, he was was still creating chances and playing well. His CF% was exactly 50.0%, which is far from remarkable, but a number the Flames will take for someone in their bottom six. Bennett finally has some momentum, now he needs to keep it going.

Dillon Dube

TWC ScoreTOIES GoalsES AssistsPrevious Ranking
144.6217:3425C+

Dube was a part of a relatively disappointing third line during this period. As his B rating suggests, Dube was just average in this period. He was seventh among forwards in points, seventh in shots, and eighth in ixG. He was fine, but unspectacular, although Calgary will need Dube closer to his best self heading into the stretch run.

B-

Derek Ryan

TWC ScoreTOIES GoalsES AssistsPrevious Ranking
130.9227:5235B

Basically everything said for Dube can be said for Ryan too. While he does deserve credit for continuing to score at even strength (he has been among the team leaders in this statistic all season), Ryan was not at his best in quarter three. He was ninth in shots and tenth in ixG. Most worrisome, his CF% was tenth on the team at 48.6%. The Flames need better from Ryan and his line mates.

C-

Mark Jankowski

TWC ScoreTOIES GoalsES AssistsPrevious Ranking
104.4140:5851D

Okay good news first. Jankowski “exploded” for five goals in the third quarter after not scoring at all in the first half of the season. The bad news, unfortunately, is that he only managed twelve shots on goal in the period, and shot a ridiculous 41.7%. That’s… not sustainable. Don’t get me wrong, it is great to see the puck finally bounce his way and he deserves it. But he still needs to find a way to create more offence, with some consistency, please.

D+

Milan Lucic

TWC ScoreTOIES GoalsES AssistsPrevious Ranking
98.4247:3105C+

Lucic is what he is, but you just cannot have top nine forwards going twenty plus games without scoring at 5v5. Especially when that player does not contribute significantly to the defensive efforts or special teams (aside from the odd tip in on the power play). I have thought all along that the true test of the value for Lucic will come in the playoffs when many thought the Flames looked soft last year. We will see then, but for now Lucic is really struggling.

Tobias Rieder

TWC ScoreTOIES GoalsES AssistsPrevious Ranking
96.1136:0110C+

I have not understood the hype around Rieder all year, and another quarter with a single point is starting to show the lack of value with Rieder. He consistently posts extremely low shooting percentages and in this quarter scored just one goal on 21 shots. You could tell me he is a good penalty killer, or tell me about his skating, but he just doesn’t produce. That’s been a problem in the past and is again this year.

N/A

Neither Buddy Robinson nor Zac Rinaldo played enough in this period to have a meaningful impact, and thus will not be reflected in these report cards.


Photo: Getty Images

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