As everyone knows, the Calgary Flames essentially went all-in at the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline. However, instead of making blockbuster moves that sold the farm, Brad Treliving opted to sell draft picks to acquire players that could reasonably fit with the roster under the tight salary cap.
While the addition of Tyler Toffoli was massive on the scoring front and bolstered the top-nine, the Flames’ two deadline additions were Calle Jarnkrok and Ryan Carpenter. These two additions were obviously meant to be bottom-six upgrades to round out the Flames’ forward depth.
Assessing Jarnkrok’s play with the Flames
Exclusive of their latest game against the San Jose Sharks in which he did not play, Jarnkrok has slotted into seven games with the Flames so far. He’s put up two primary assists—one at 5v5 and one on the power play—and has primarily skated on a lines with Blake Coleman and Andrew Mangiapane or Coleman and Dillon Dube.
Jarnkrok has been deployed in all situations as well, playing a total of 86:01 at even strength, 11:15 on the power play, and 2:34 on the penalty kill.
Often touted for his motor, he really does bring with him a relentlessness that looks great for any bottom-six player. Despite the limited sample size, here are the Flames’ shot rates with and without him on the ice courtesy of HockeyViz.com. Of course, the plot will smoothen over time, but it marks a tremendous start.
Turning to NaturalStatTrick.com, here are his on-ice metrics at 5v5, score- and venue-adjusted playing with the Seattle Kraken and the Flames in 2021–22.
Jarnkrok is completely outperforming his former self when he was playing with Seattle. The caveat here is that his usage with Flames is much more favourable—nearly three quarter of his shift starts are in the offensive zone compared to just over half with the Kraken—but he’s taken the opportunity and has turned it into offence.
Assessing Carpenter’s play with the Flames
Similarly excluding the series finale against the Sharks (that Carpenter did play in), Carpenter has played four games with Calgary since being traded. He has one primary assist at 5v5 so far, and has skated with Milan Lucic and Trevor Lewis as his most common linemates, with one game where Brett Ritchie took Lucic’s spot on the Carpenter line.
Carpenter has been limited to even strength usage, albeit he has a whopping nine seconds on the penalty kill.
If Jarnkrok’s sample size being small was a factor, then Carpenter’s even smaller sample size can not be overlooked, but that being said, Carpenter has also seen a resurgence of sorts with his line.
The fourth line’s water bottles might be mixed with jet fuel—as it clearly has a new gear that was undiscovered. Carpenter simply meshes with Lucic and Lewis, and this is good news for the bottom-six.
Like Jarnkrok, here are Carpenter’s on-ice metrics at 5v5, score- and venue-adjusted in 2021–22 with time split with the Chicago Blackhawks and Flames.
Talk about déjà vu. Carpenter struggled with Chicago, but has also seen a huge resurgence with the Flames. A much larger sample size would be more representative, but just like Jarnkrok, you can not deny that Carpenter’s been a perfect bottom-six addition.
Bigger targets ahead
The Flames clearly did their homework. They identified players that would fit with their system, and nabbed two players at the trade deadline that make their roster stronger and deeper than ever before.
A large credit goes to the team for accomplishing this from a player evaluation perspective, but also to Darryl Sutter‘s coaching system. Almost every player has been positively impacted playing under Sutter, and he’s coached this team into contradicting mentalities of being both underdogs and winners—with the commonality between the two making the Flames one of the most tenacious teams in the league.
The Flames can clinch a playoff spot as early as next week, and don’t expect much to change in terms of their lineup until then. They’re inclined to not take their foots off the pedal whatsoever, and Jarnkrok and Carpenter are pushing pedal to the metal.
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