Calgary Flames Third Quarter Report Cards: Defensemen

Earlier this week, we unveiled the Forward Report Cards for the third quarter of the season so today we turn my attention to the blue line.

This quarter started with the Flames’ 5-2 loss at the hands of the Vancouver Canucks on December 29th 2019, and ended with a 6-4 victory over the Anaheim Ducks February 17th, 2020. The Flames went 11-9-1 in the period but statistically actually played well. If a single stat is worth highlighting, they posted the league’s seventh best xGF% of 53.3%.

It was a rough period for the defense corps. Mark Giordano and Travis Hamonic were both hurt for significant stretches of time, and everyone in this part of the roster was forced to play a bigger role. All things considered, the players that did play did a decent job of holding down the fort until the injured crew could return, and their survival of that part of the schedule leaves them in a decent position heading into the final stretch.

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.

Class is back in session!

A+

Travis Hamonic

TWC Score TOIES GoalsES AssistsPrevious Ranking
106.9286:3714B+

This grade comes from Hamonic’s individual numbers during the period. Despite only playing 16 games, he was second among defensemen in points and second in points per sixty minutes. He was also tied for second among the D corps with 1.67 takeaways per hour. His on ice numbers were not quite as good, but in a period where a lot of Flames defensemen struggled, Hamonic was steady and contributing offensively.

Noah Hanifin

TWC ScoreTOIES GoalsES AssistsPrevious ranking
106.3355:3124A

Although Hanifin was in a rut, his underlying numbers were still quite good. He led the defensive corps in scoring with six points and was second in shots, so he was still producing offence. Combine that with his possession stats which were almost all positive, and it was a good quarter for Hanifin, especially considering the injuries on the team’s blue line.

B+

Mark Giordano

TWC ScoreTOIES GoalsES AssistsPrevious Ranking
85.8224:5203A+

One of the most interesting stats in this quarter was that Giordano led the defense in shots by a wide margin despite only playing fourteen games. That probably tells you that the other guys need to start producing a little more offence, but it is a sign nonetheless that Giordano is still active and playing aggressive attacking hockey. At 54.46%, Gio also had the highest CF% for a regular Flames defensemen. His injury hurt, but he is back in the lineup just in time for the real playoff chase. The Flames and their fans should be relieved.

B

Rasmus Andersson

TWC Score TOIES GoalsES AssistsPrevious Ranking
84.5338:5413B+

Andersson has been a good story this year for the Flames, playing up and down their blue line and looking good doing it. I do wish he used his booming shot more though, and while he scored four points at five on five in the quarter, that number could be higher for a player with his talent. Twenty five shots in twenty one games just does not seem like enough for a player with his skillet. His other numbers are fine, but I am still waiting to see the offensive pop from Andersson.

T.J. Brodie

TWC ScoreTOIES GoalsES AssistsPrevious Ranking
80.9361:4304B

Statistically speaking, Brodie had a very odd quarter. He ranked just behind his partner Giordano with a 54.26% CF%, but then was below average in GF% (47.47%), but right near the top of the d-men in xGF%. What results is that Brodie was hurt by mediocre luck and percentages, and his average individual numbers probably played a role in that. So while it was far from his best quarter, number seven deserved better.

B-

Oliver Kylington

TWC ScoreTOIES GoalsES AssistsPrevious Ranking
74.5246:3712C

At this point I think it is fair to say that Kylington has had a disappointing season. For me, the disappointment has been his inability to push offence and move the puck effectively. He is a magnificent skater, but it just seems like the decision making and skill level to make plays with the puck is lacking. In this quarter, Kylington was worst among regulars with a 43.79% CF%, and posted just a 40.37% GF%. That is just not good enough.

C+

Michael Stone

TWC ScoreTOIES GoalsES AssistsPrevious Ranking
68.8160:1612C

Here is a fun fact for the water cooler, who led Flames blue liners in scoring rate this quarter (points/60)? It was in fact Michael Stone. Unfortunately he was bad at pretty much everything else. There is not much more to say about Stone anymore, he has been forced to play way too much this season, resulting in the Flames making a move for some help at the deadline, He has a good snapshot, but Stone does not seem like an NHL defensemen anymore.

N/A

Alexander Yelesin and Brandon Davidson both played in this quarter, but neither had enough minutes to be included in this ranking.


Photo: Getty Images

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