Calgary Flames

Flames Sunday Census: Which Flame will hit double-digit goals next?

The Calgary Flames have five double-digit goal scorers so far in 2021–22. Led by Andrew Mangiapane‘s 29 goals, the first line trio of Matthew Tkachuk, Elias Lindholm, and Johnny Gaudreau trail with 27, 27, and 22 goals apiece, respectively. Blake Coleman rounds it out with 12 goals on the season. Who might be next on the roster to reach this milestone? We asked, you answered.

Four potential players to score 10 goals

The Flames realistically have four players on the dock to be next to hit 10 goals on the season. Three players have played every game since the start of the season, and one was a new addition. Milan Lucic, Sean Monahan, Mikael Backlund, and of course, Tyler Toffoli.

Note the poll was sent prior to the game against the Colorado Avalanche. However, none of the above skaters scored.

Lucic’s surprising season

As time goes on, Lucic’s endearment to the Flames community seems to grow with no bounds. Most recently sharing his excitement in Toffoli’s arrival and also being on airport duty to pick him up, Lucic has done all the right things.

On the ice, Lucic is obviously not the player he used to be, but he’s on pace to get the most points he has since 2017–18 with the Edmonton Oilers, currently sitting at nine goals and nine assists. Most people watching Lucic this season know that 10, 11, or maybe even 12 of those nine goals came as a five-hole snipe.

Yes, it seems like Lucic is miraculously padding his goal scoring stats with an unreasonable conversion rate on five-hole shots, and he’s currently the next closest player that could hit the threshold of 10 goals. Unfortunately, he hasn’t scored since January 22 against the Oilers.

However, with his open five-hole sixth sense being dialled in, you never know when he might just score his next one. He could score in the next game, or he might never score again.

Monahan’s still effective, sometimes

Sean Monahan’s role this season took some time to fully define. After all, he was coming back from offseason hip surgery and was going to need time to get back up to speed.

However, this season has been far more disappointing than not, and no one could be more disappointed than Monahan himself. Despite being in relatively good health, he’s been slow on the ice and hasn’t been anywhere close to being a top-six player.

He’s been sheltered with his minutes and deployment, and has been his best only when on the power play. So far, he’s collected eight goals—five of them coming on the man-advantage. Now that Toffoli is in the mix, Monahan’s power play deployment has changed too.

As of late, Monahan has been playing on the third line with Lucic and Toffoli, so while there’s seemingly six concrete filled skates on that line, there’s still some scoring ability.

Monahan’s last goal was on February 21 against the Winnipeg Jets—coincidentally a power play goal. Prior to that, his last goal before that was January 24 against the St. Louis Blues—also a power play goal.

His goal scoring has been sporadic, but he still has some positive contributions to the scoresheet. It’ll be interesting to see how the former perennial 20-goal scorer ends up by season’s end, especially based on his usage.

Backlund’s second half barnburner

Few players in the league have as clearly defined first and second halves to a season as Mikael Backlund. So far in 2021–22 this checks out. While no one is expecting him to produce at the level he used to when playing alongside Matthew Tkachuk and Michael Frolik, the Flames’ two-way stalwart has been ever reliable even as the age curve is rapidly bearing down on him.

Essentially locked into the second line with Andrew Mangiapane and Blake Coleman now, Backlund is playing alongside competent wingers instead of being forced to lift up the play of Lucic, Lewis, and Pitlick as he was previously taken to do on the third line.

Since collecting his first ever four-point game against the Vegas Golden Knights, Backlund has since gone on to secure seven points over 11 games—six of them being assists with the lone goal coming as an empty-netter against the Minnesota Wild.

Much like Monahan, Backlund’s goal scoring has been wildly inconsistent. He’s basically matching the same pace as last season as well. Despite the lower output on the scoreboard, Backlund has had an excellent year as it pertains to on-ice impacts. In fact, it’s arguably his best season ever playing at even strength. You can’t really ask for more than that from him.

Backlund should easily reach the 10 goal mark by season’s end—it’s just a matter of when.

Toffoli’s rapid ascent

When the Flames announced that they had traded for Toffoli, everyone knew they’d get goal scoring prowess. It was clearly a massive win in terms of adding an exact need—something the Flames desperately needed to elevate them to true contender status.

As Toffoli laced up for the Flames for the first time, he scored on an insane one-legged goal that capped off a dominant win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. He’s since gone on to score five goals over nine games so far. A couple have been empty-netters, but he’s clearly making a huge impact on and off the scoreboard for Calgary.

While he has just five goals with the Flames so far, you can’t deny that his scoring should have him reaching 10 goals quite rapidly—he might even reach it before any of the other three players do, as many ended up voting that way on the poll.

Toffoli’s a dark horse pick to do it first, but it’s quite easy to imagine that he could pull it off.

Goals scoring galore

As the Flames have clearly separated themselves from the rest of the Pacific Division, they’ve done so by putting up plenty of goals while being one of the best teams in the league to prevent goals as well. It wouldn’t be surprising to see all four of these skaters eventually hit the 10 goal mark, and perhaps a couple more unmentioned names in the likes of Oliver Kylington and Dillon Dube too—though that’s wishful thinking.

Who do you think will reach 10 goals next? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @wincolumnCGY.

Back to top button