The all-Canadian division is here! This week, we’ve heard many reports of the NHL returning in mid-January 2021, with a complete divisional realignment due to differing COVID-19 restrictions across Canada and the United States.
The new divisional alignment includes the long rumoured all-Canadian division, merging former Pacific Division teams the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, and Vancouver Canucks; former Central Division team the Winnipeg Jets; and former Atlantic Division teams the Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, and Montreal Canadiens.
Teams will also play solely within their division, so for the expected 56 game season, the Flames will likely face off against each other Canadian team between nine and ten times. It’s a massive change from years prior where the Flames would only see Eastern teams twice in the entire season, and face Pacific opponents twice as frequently as Central teams.
As we inch closer to the return of NHL hockey, we broke down how the Flames have done versus other Canadian teams in the past. If we’re going to be seeing each of these teams, we might as well brush up on our history!
In franchise history, the Flames’ record versus all other Canadian teams is surprisingly good. Overall, the Flames have faced Canadian teams 861 times, own a 407-337-84-33 record (Wins-Losses-Ties-Overtime), and earned 931 points. That’s good for an overall points percentage of 0.541, which translates to an 89 point season over 82 games. Not necessarily excellent, but not bad at all.
Over those 861 games, the Flames scored 2864 goals, an average of 3.33 per game, and allowed 2730 goals, an average of 3.17 per game. Their total goal differential is +134, and scored on average 0.16 more goals per game than they allowed.
We like to define the current era of Flames hockey as the past six seasons. That covers the period of time that Johnny Gaudreau has been the team’s top line LW and best offensive player, and includes staples Sean Monahan, Mikael Backlund, and Mark Giordano as the team’s core during this time.
Over the current era, the Flames have played 105 games and own a record of 56-34-15. That have 127 points in those 105 games for a points percentage of 0.605, which translates to a very impressive 99 point season. Their goal differential is also impressive, with 319 goals scored or 3.04 per game, and 285 goals allowed or 2.71 per game. The differential is +34 or +0.32 goals per game, very good totals for the current era of Flames hockey.
In short, the Flames have done well overall against Canadian opponents, and have done even better in recent years.
Let’s break it down further by team.
The Flames have faced the Canucks 281 times in franchise history, the most out of any team in the NHL. They own a record of 138-93-33-17 record, good for a 0.580 points percentage which is their second best record against a Canadian opponent all time. This points percentage translates to a 95 point season. In terms of goal scoring, the Flames have scored 949 goals and allowed 880 for a nice differential of +69.
For the current era of Flames hockey, they’ve faced the Canucks 26 times and own a 15-6-5 record, good for a 0.673 points percentage, and a +19 goal differential to boot. It’s the best record against a Canadian team for this era of the Flames; that translates to an incredible 110 point season.
If only they could face the Canucks every night.
The Flames have faced the Oilers the second most out of all other Canadian teams in franchise history. Of the 246 games they’ve laced up to play the Oilers, the Flames have a record of 124-97-19-6, a decent record with a points percentage of 0.555. That translates to a modest 91 point season. They have scored 852 goals and allowed 800 for a differential of +52. This is a very good record considering how unstoppable the 80s Oilers teams seemed to be.
In the current era of Flames hockey, it’s been very positive for the Flames. They’ve faced the Oilers 27 times, the most out of any Canadian team, and have a 15-9-3 record. Their points percentage is 0.611 which translates to a very good 100 point season. Goal scoring has been fairly even with the Flames scoring 88 to the Oilers’ 81, a differential of just +6.
The Flames definitely owned the Oilers in the decade of darkness but have performed quite well recently as well. However, with how the Battle of Alberta has intensified over the past couple seasons, the Oilers are never a team to take lightly.
The most recent Canadian opponent for the Flames, the Jets are in a bit of a different situation than the other Canadian teams. Because the current Jets franchise was originally the Atlanta Thrashers, they are the team the Flames have faced least often in franchise history at just 32 games. They suited up against the original Jets that became the Phoenix Coyotes and then the Arizona Coyotes another 54 times, for a total of 86 games.
The Flames own an all time record of 37-37-10-2, exactly 0.500 that translates to an 82 point regular season. This is the second lowest all time record for the Flames against a Canadian opponent. They are also not great in terms of goal scoring with 294 goals scored, 300 allowed, and a differential of -6.
In the current era though, the Flames have done much, much better. In the 16 games they’ve faced the Jets, the Flames have a record of 9-5-2 for a points percentage of 0.625. This translates to a 103 point season. Goal scoring is significantly favouring the Flames as well: 48 for, 32 against, +16 overall and an average of a full goal per game scored over allowed. The current era of Flames hockey has been much more dominant over the Jets compared to all time.
Toronto Maple Leafs
The Maple Leafs have been the most frequent Eastern Canadian opponent for the Flames all time, with 138 contests between the two teams in history. The Flames have a 65-59-12-2 record, good for a points percentage of 0.522 which translates to an 86 point season. Not amazing, but still above average and coming out on top against the Leafs. The Flames also have 498 goals scored and 465 goals allowed for a differential of +33.
The current era of the Flames have only faced the Leafs 12 times (twice per season which is consistent for all Eastern teams) and are just around breakeven. Their record is 6-5-1 so they do come out on top in terms of points percentage at 0.542, but they make up for that incremental advantage with an atrocious goal differential. The Flames have scored 29 goals and allowed 35, a differential of -6 and a full half goal allowed per game over what they score.
The current Leafs are very, very good. The Flames have the better points percentage but this era of Leafs hockey is no joke and can’t be taken lightly. This looks like it will be one of the toughest matchups for the Flames.
The Senators have gone through a couple iterations through the years, but all time, the Flames have faced the current version of the Senators 45 times. They own a 23-15-4-3 record or 0.589 points percentage, which is 96 points over a full season. The Flames have 138 goals scored and 117 goals allowed, a solid differential of +21.
The current era Flames have a 7-3-2 record in their 12 games against the Senators, a dominant points percentage of 0.667 that is second only to the Canucks. That’s 2/3 of the possible points available earned by the Flames, and translates to a 109 point season over 82 games. Goal scoring is basically even though, with the Flames scoring 38 goals and allowing 37, a differential of +1.
Ottawa is the consensus pick for the last spot in the Canadian division and it would be shocking for that not to be the case. The Senators will be a fun matchup with the Tkachuk brothers battling it out, but really Ottawa isn’t the team the Flames should be worried about.
The team the Flames should be worried about is actually the Canadiens. All time, the two teams have faced off 119 times, and the Flames own a dismal 40-61-15-3 record. Their points percentage is just 0.412, which translates to a terrible 68 point season. Calgary has also been outscored by the Canadiens 390 to 328 for a differential of -62 all time. Yikes.
Of course, the Flames have faced the Montreal super teams for the majority of these contests, so a losing record isn’t all that surprising. However, the current era Flames have the worst record against the Canadiens out of all the Canadian NHL teams.
In the 12 games they’ve played, the Flames have a 4-6-2 record, good for a 0.417 points percentage which translates to, once again, a 68 point season. The Flames have also been outscored 33-31 for a differential of -2. It has not been a great matchup for the Flames in recent years and with Carey Price still tending the pipes for the Habs, it’s never going to be easy to beat the Canadiens.
To sum it all up, the Flames have had great success against Canadian teams in franchise history, and in the past six years which we’re calling the current era of Flames hockey. The Flames have a winning record against all teams but the Canadiens, and have managed to score a ton of goals as well. The Canucks and Senators have been the easiest matchups, and the Maple Leafs and Canadiens have been the toughest.
History is definitely on the Flames’ side heading into the 2020-21 season with the all-Canadian division becoming a reality, but the Flames will need to start strong and remain strong to overcome the randomness of the shortened 56 game season.
Which team do you think will pose the difficult matchup for the Flames? Let us know in the comments or on social media.