The first half of the Flames season has officially passed, with the team struggling to find any consistency in their game for almost the entire season so far. In particular, Calgary’s offensive game has struggled mightily, especially recently. The Flames have struggled to score at even strength and their power play has been downright awful, leading to a lack of goals across the board. The Flames currently sit 20th in the league for goals for per game.
This had led to the Flames being a rather disappointing team fantasy wise. After being arguably the most valuable team in fantasy just two years ago in 2018-19, the Flames simply haven’t produced anywhere close to as much offense since. Many were hoping for a big bounce back season this year and the return to fantasy relevance, but after a hot start, the teams top players have cooled off as we enter the second half of the season. Let’s take a look at the Flames’ fantasy performance in the first half of the year and see who impressed, who disappointed, and who surprised.
Most Valuable – Matthew Tkachuk Lw
Honorable Mention: Elias Lindholm
First off let’s take a look at the fantasy MVP for the Flames in the first half of the season. This was a tough one as it depends on what categories you value most. Elias Lindholm is currently leading the Flames in scoring, but Matthew Tkachuk offers much better category coverage as he puts up way more shots and hits than anyone else on the team. For that reason he gets the nod.
Tkachuk has had an interesting year so far, and hasn’t looked much like himself for most of the season. He’s still producing though and has a respectable 25 points in 31 games. Add on his 94 shots and 92 hits and no one else on the team can come close to his value in fantasy.
He sits 45th in the league for points, which is a bit disappointing but what he lacks in points he makes up for in other categories. Tkachuk currently sits 19th in the league for shots and ninth in the league for hits, making him an invaluable fantasy asset. He also sits 25th among forwards for power play points with 11.
The combination of point production, as well as shots and hits is very hard to find in fantasy from one player. Even when Tkachuk isn’t producing points you know he is a lock to pick up some fantasy points from shots and hits on a nightly basis.
Even in a down year Tkachuk has still offered fantasy managers a ton of value. In leagues that count shots and hits Tkachuk is easily a top 25 forward this year. If he can find his game a bit in the second half and look more like his usual self, his point totals should increase making a top 15 finish at forward in fantasy very possible. At an ADP of 31, that is some solid value.
Biggest Disappointment – Sean Monahan C
Dishonorable Mention: Jacob Markstrom
I was torn between Jacob Markstrom and Sean Monahan on this one, but due to Markstrom’s excellent start, his fantasy value has dropped down to being right on pace with preseason expectations, so his unsettling few games are still buoyed by his early season performance.
After a strong start to the season in which Sean Monahan looked to be returning to his old self when he was a goal scoring machine in fantasy, he has since cooled off considerably. Many were hoping for a return to form for the forward this year. Unfortunately it hasn’t come which has led to many fantasy managers being disappointed.
Monahan currently sits with 20 points in 29 games so far. He hasn’t been terrible, but the big problem is he has just seven goals on the year. At his current pace of 57 points in a regular season he would produce his lowest point total since his rookie year in 2013-14 when he had 34 points. His seven goals in 29 games puts him on pace for just 20 goals in a full season. That would be the lowest goal total of his entire career, as he’s produced at least 22 goals every season of his career so far.
Monahan was drafted as the 77th forward this year in fantasy, and had an ADP of 139. He currently sits 99th league wide for points and 126th for points per game. His goal total of seven ranks 144th in the league. He hasn’t fallen completely short of his projected value but I think most people were expecting much more from the former 30 goal scorer.
The issue is when Monahan he isn’t scoring a lot of his value is gone because he doesn’t provide great category coverage in any other major stat. He sits 91st in the league for shots and 315th for hits. Yes 315th. In order to provide major value, Monahan needs to be scoring goals and he just isn’t right now. After many people expected a some kind of rebound back to being an offensive force, the 26-year-old has continued his poor play from last year and has been just okay in fantasy.
Biggest Surprise – Rasmus Andersson D
Honorable Mention: Andrew Mangiapane
If you follow the Calgary Flames then you probably knew a breakout year offensively was in store for Rasmus Andersson, but for everyone else he was left off the radar during draft season. Now, he has established himself as a legitimate option in fantasy on defense, and one that should be owned in most leagues. His actual play has been subpar but in terms of fantasy value he has been a solid option this year.
Andersson currently sits just over 0.5 points per game with 16 points in 31 games this year. He is well on his way to beating his career best 22 points from last season that he put up over 70 games. At the current rate he is putting up points he is on pace for 29 points over 56 games, seven better than his career best in 14 less games. Over a regular 82 game season he would be on pace for around 42 points.
Andersson had an ADP of 171 on Yahoo, and was on average the 91st defenseman taken in drafts. Names like Mark Borowiecki and Nikita Zadorov were taken ahead of him. So far this year he is showing everyone they made a big mistake not drafting him over those names.
31 games into the season and he currently sits 25th for points by defensemen league wide. He also ranks 40th among defensemen for shots. He sits 29th among defensemen for power play points, ahead of fantasy regulars like Thomas Chabot, Erik Karlsson and Mark Giordano. He’s providing some solid value right now across the board and those who picked up him earlier in the year are reaping the benefits.
The Flames have been a weird team so far in 2021, fantasy hockey included. They have a ton of talent and produce a ton of chances at even strength but just can’t seem to score goals. This has made their fantasy value as a team rather low the last couple years. Their stars have struggled to score, they aren’t winning a ton of games right now, and when they do it’s not by many goals. Overall, their skater value and goalie value is a lot lower than expected.
With new coach Darryl Sutter in town, I doubt their scoring goes up anytime soon as he likes to play a defensive, low scoring style of hockey. Not what you want to hear if you’re a fantasy owner with a Flame on your team. The good news is there are still some players on the team like Tkachuk and Lindholm providing some solid value in fantasy.
Keep an eye on the team and see how the Flames respond to more games under Sutter, as getting added value may start showing up in unexpected players. However, a safer route with the Flames might be to practise patience. I’d stay away from adding any Flames players in fantasy until they turn things around offensively and show some more consistency in their game.