What an end to an incredible and unexpected regular season for the Calgary Flames. The team closed out their second best regular season in franchise history on Friday in a meaningless loss to the Winnipeg Jets. Overall the Flames quietly finished the quarter with a very solid 13–5–5 record. Their 13 wins were the second most in a quarter this season, trailing the 15 they posted in the third quarter.
The quarter saw the team claim their second Pacific Division title in four years, and settle into second overall in the Western Conference as the team returns to the playoffs after missing out last season. Our fourth quarter grades will take into consideration the 21 games the Flames played between March 19th and April 29th.
As usual, the Flames posted very strong underlying numbers over the 21 games although their ranks slipped a bit compared to last quarter. They finished the quarter sitting third for CF%, sixth for xGF%, and 10th for HDCF%.
How do these rankings work?
A reminder that these rankings are based on a model that evaluates 5v5 play. In order to grade players, we will be using the TWC Player Offensive Evaluation Tool (POET).
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% at various danger levels, xGF%; individual statistics including goals, assists, offensive contributions, and penalty differentials; and includes an adjustment for time on ice, PDO, and offensive zone starts.
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. If their TWC score is above 0 on their player cards then they are above average compared to all other players of the same position (forwards or defencemen).
It is important to note that the model is based on player performance at 5v5. 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. Only players with over 100 minutes at 5v5 were given grades. All numbers are courtesy of naturalstattrick.com. Let’s see who ranks where on the Flames squad.
Q1: A+, Q2: A+, Q3: A+
If there’s one player getting snubbed more for the Hart than Johnny Gaudreau, it’s Matthew Tkachuk who finished his season on fire for the Flames. His elite defensive play along with his point production has made him one of the best two-way players in the game.
Tkachuk’s underlying numbers were sparkling this quarter—as they have been all season long. He ranked seventh for CF% and first for both xGF% and HDCF% among Flames forwards. His xGF/60 also ranked first.
Offensively, Tkachuk was equally as impressive as his 19 5v5 points were second on the team behind only Gaudreau. His nine 5v5 goals ranked first. His 19 points at 5v5 ranked tied for 4th in the NHL this quarter. Tkachuk also eclipsed 100 points on the season this quarter to top it all off.
Q1: A+, Q2: A+, Q3: A+
If Johnny Gaudreau doesn’t finish top three in Hart voting at this point it would be a travesty. The Flames’ offensive dynamo continued his incredible offensive play this quarter en route to posting the second highest single season point total in Flames history.
His underlying numbers remained very strong as he finished 10th for CF% among Flames forwards, and second for xGF% and HDCF% this quarter. Along with Tkachuk the two were the only Flames forwards to finish above 60% in both xGF% and HDCF%.
To no one’s surprise Gaudreau led the team in 5v5 points, posting eight goals and 21 points in 21 games. That total ranked second in the entire NHL this quarter. He also produced a team-leading 42 shots at 5v5. His only downfall was that categorically, his high-danger shot rates were lower. However, he scored at will and more than made up for it. As he was all season, Gaudreau was unstoppable in the fourth quarter.
Q1: A-, Q2: A-, Q3: A+
The Flames unquestioned top line centre and critical piece to their top line, Elias Lindholm once again had a strong quarter offensively even if his underlying numbers lagged behind his linemates.
Lindholm finished second last on the team among forwards for CF%, although his total of 54.18% is still impressive when compared to the rest of the NHL. His xGF% ranked fourth while his HDCF% sat third this quarter behind only his two wingers.
On offence, Lindholm posted eight goals and 13 points at even strength this quarter, which ranked third among Flames forwards behind—you guessed it—his two wingers. His 31 iHDCF ranked first on the team. He may not be the driving force behind the top line, but he’s absolutely an integral part of the Flames success.
Q1: A+, Q2: B, Q3: A+
Andrew Mangiapane’s offence slowed considerably this quarter, but his underlying numbers remained pretty strong. Overall it was a very average quarter given what we’ve come to expect from him—which is not a bad thing if we have come to expecting more.
Mangiapane ranked first for CF%, fifth for xGF%, and seventh for HDCF% among Flames forwards. He did however rank first on the team with a ridiculous 75.41 CF/60.
Offensively Mangiapane put up just three goals and eight points at 5v5, with his eight points ranking sixth on the team among forwards. His three goals were tied for fifth among Flames forwards. It was a quarter to forget for Mangiapane in terms of scoring.
Q1: B, Q2: B, Q3: A-
Mikael Backlund took a bit of a step back this quarter, after his third quarter was the best of his season. In particular, his underlying numbers were uncharacteristically poor.
Backlund ranked eighth for CF%, and tenth for both xGF% and HDCF%. A stark difference from when he ranked second for each metric last quarter. As well his defensive game fell off, as he ranked second last for xGA/60 and and HDCA/60 after ranking first in both last quarter.
He did at least have a solid quarter offensively. His nine points at 5v5 ranked tied for fourth among Flames forwards, while his 42 shots at 5v5 were tied for first. Overall, the Flames would probably like some stronger play from their second line centre.
Q1: A-, Q2: C+, Q3: B-
Dillon Dube’s game is rounding into form at the perfect time for the Flames. His fourth quarter of the season was certainly his best of the year.
Dube finished the quarter sitting third for CF%, eighth for xGF%, and sixth for HDCF% among Flames forwards. Nothing incredible, but a big improvement over his lacklustre second and third quarters.
On offence, he posted nine points including seven goals at 5v5. His nine points ranked tied for fourth on the team among forwards while his seven goals was fourth. If fourth quarter Dube can show up in the playoffs, the Flames are in great shape.
Q1: B+, Q2: A, Q3: A
Blake Coleman’s offensive game took a step back from the previous two quarters, however his two-way play was still great.
Coleman finished third for CF%, fifth for xGF%, and sixth for HDCF% among Flames forwards. He also finished second for xGA/60 showcasing his strong defensive play.
Offensively, Coleman struggled at 5v5. He posted three goals and five points which ranked eighth among Flames forwards. His iCF of 68 did tie for second however. Coleman isn’t seeing a ton of offensive production, but his two-way game was as strong as ever this quarter.
Q1: N/A, Q2: D+, Q3: N/A
Brett Ritchie just barely met the requirements for a grade this quarter, ultimately logging 106 minutes in 11 games. For that reason his numbers should be taken with a grain of salt.
Ritchie finished second among Flames forwards for CF%, seventh for xGF%, and fifth for HDCF%. Some solid ranks, but again it’s worth noting he played about half as much as the rest of the Flames’ forward lineup this quarter.
Ritchie posted three points, two of them being goals. The total ranked ninth among Flames forwards. He also managed a measly 10 shots at 5v5 in 11 games which is impressively poor.
Q1: N/A, Q2: N/A, Q3: C
Tyler Toffoli spent his first full quarter with the Flames to finish off the season, and it wasn’t anything to write home about. Between his offence and underlying numbers, Toffoli didn’t contribute a ton.
Toffoli ranked last for CF%, xGF%, and HDCF%. Both his xGF% and HDCF% were below 50%. Along with Milan Lucic they were the only forwards on the team to finish below 50% in both.
On offence Toffoli was just okay. His six points at 5v5 ranked seventh among Flames forwards, while his one goal ranked second last. It was quite the disappointing finish to the season for the Flames big trade deadline acquisition.
He’s the type of player whose value increases when looking at his complete game that includes special teams and the on-ice decisions that reflects his high hockey IQ, but the isolated numbers at 5v5 leave much to be desired.
Q1: N/A, Q2: N/A, Q3: N/A
The first quarter of Calle Jarnkrok’s season as a Flame didn’t go great to say the least.
Jarnkrok ranked fifth among Flames forwards for CF%, tenth for xGF%, and then 11th for HDCF%. Some very middling numbers.
Offensively, it’s gone less than ideal for Jarnkrok so far with the Flames. He’s yet to post a single goal for the team and registered just two assists at 5v5 in the quarter. His two points ranked tied for last among Flames forwards. His play certainly isn’t what the Flames expected when they paid multiple draft picks for him.
Q1: F, Q2: D, Q3: D
Trevor Lewis probably just had his best quarter of the season for the Flames, which isn’t saying much considering his performance in the first three quarters.
Lewis finished the quarter sitting fourth for CF%, sixth for xGF%, and fourth for HDCF%. He also led the team in CA/60 and xGA/60 this quarter. He was brought in to be an eraser type player, and it looks like he finally may be living up to that description.
Lewis didn’t contribute much offensively, getting just one goal and one assist at 5v5 this quarter which tanked his grade. That said, if he’s playing strong defensive hockey, he’s an asset to the Flames and that’s exactly what happened in the fourth quarter.
Q1: B, Q2: C+, Q3: D-
Milan Lucic threw a huge hit against Nashville this quarter, and didn’t do much else. His offence was non-existent and his underlying numbers were average at best as his grade continued to get worse each quarter.
Lucic ranked eighth for CF%, 10th for xGF%, and seventh for HDCF% among Flames forwards. He did at least rank fourth for CA/60 and fifth for xGA/60 so his defence wasn’t an issue.
Lucic registered just two assists—both secondary—and zero goals at 5v5 this quarter. Both totals ranked tied for last on the team among forwards. His 23 shots at 5v5 were third last, ahead of only Jarnkrok who played five fewer games and Ritchie who played 10 fewer. At this point Lucic is around for veteran leadership and not much else.
Q1: B+, Q2: A, Q3: B+
Noah Hanifin is experiencing the best season of his career in 2021–22. His fourth quarter further drove home that point as he was lights out.
He finished fourth for CF%, and first for both xGF% and HDCF% among Flames defencemen. Hanifin was dominant this quarter to put it succinctly. He also finished second for both CF/60 and xGF/60 among regular Flames defencemen.
On offence, Hanifin was dynamite this quarter. His 14 even strength points were tops on the team among defencemen and double that of the second place finisher. His four 5v5 goals were also first. He also led for 5v5 shots, ixG, iCF, and iHDCF. Simply put, Hanifin is probably the Flames best defenceman right now as we head into the playoffs.
Q1: B-, Q2: A-, Q3: C
Nikita Zadorov has had quite an up and down season, and his quarterly grades reflect that. As a defensive defencemen, his offensive report card grade can typically be unfair; however, this quarter was no doubt his best of the season.
His underlying numbers this quarter were sparkling. Zadorov finished tops among Flames defencemen for CF%, second for xGF%, and third for HDCF%. He also finished first for CA/60.
On offence, Zadorov put up a very solid seven points at 5v5. That total actually ranked second among Flames defencemen. His four primary assists were tied for first. Let’s hope Zadorov can carry his play in the fourth quarter into the playoffs.
Q1: A+, Q2: B+, Q3: B
Oliver Kylington missed six games with a nagging injury this quarter that no doubt affected his play when he was on the ice. That said overall he still had a decent quarter.
His underlying numbers weren’t pretty though. Kylington ranked last for CF%, fifth for xGF%, and sixth for HDCF% among Flames blueliners. His CF/60 and xGF/60 also both ranked last.
Similarly on offence Kylington struggled. He put up just three points at 5v5, which ranked second last among blueliners ahead of only Gudbranson. His iHDCF did tie for second among Flames defencemen at least and his 5v5 shots and iCF were solid for the amount of games he played.
Overall it wasn’t a great quarter for Kylington, but that’s no doubt due to health and a nagging injury. A healthy Kylington should expect to see improvements to his game.
Q1: B-, Q2: B, Q3: A+
Andersson finished third for CF%, first for xGF%, and second for HDCF% among Flames defencemen. His CF/60 and xGF/60 were both first among regular Flames blueliners.
Andersson posted one goal and six points, good to tie for third among Flames defencemen. That said, his 5v5 shots and ixG both ranked second behind only Hanifin. Andersson is without a doubt one of the Flames most important pieces on the back end and he showed that again in the fourth quarter.
It also included him reaching massive 50 points for the first time, and 25 of those came at 5v5.
Q1: B+, Q2: A-, Q3: A+
Chris Tanev continued to play solid dependable hockey in the fourth quarter, although his offensive totals came down after his surprising output in the third quarter which lowered his grade here as did his underlying numbers.
Tanev finished sixth for CF% and xGF%, and fifth for HDCF% among Flames defencemen. His CA/60 ranked third while his xGA/60 sat first. He continues to be an elite defensive defencemen.
As mentioned his offence dried up a bit. He posted six points at 5v5, good to tie for third on the Flames blueline. His two 5v5 goals actually ranked second. His shot generation really hurt him though. He produced just 15 5v5 shots in 21 games. It was still a solid quarter for Tanev, even if it was below the norm for him.
Q1: N/A, Q2: N/A, Q3: N/A
Michael Stone was the Ritchie of defence, as he just barely played enough minutes to qualify for a grade this quarter. He only logged 105 minutes at 5v5 across seven games so his numbers also need to be taken lightly.
Stone finished fifth for CF% and then last for both xGF% and HDCF%. He was the only defenceman to finish below 50% in both xGF% and HDCF%.
He actually fared decently on offence as he produced three points in seven games including one goal. Stone will only see action in the playoffs if someone is injured, however he’s shown he can at least fill in in the short-term if needed.
Q1: C, Q2: B, Q3: A
All season, I expected Erik Gudbranson to come crashing back down to Earth, however once again in the fourth quarter he played some decent minutes on the team’s third pairing.
Gudbranson ranked second for CF% on the blueline, behind only his partner Zadorov. His xGF% and HDCF% both ranked fourth.
On offence he posted just two points, the lowest total of any Flames defencemen which hurt his overall grade. He did however post the third highest iCF. Gudbranson is a number six defenceman, and he’s been a dependable one this season. You can’t ask for much more.
A tremendous regular season
It’s only fitting that the Flames closed off their outstanding 2021–22 regular season with a strong quarter to end it off. En route to their second most successful regular season in franchise history, the Flames never took their foot off the gas and reached milestone after milestone through the final 21 games of their season.
The most important games of the season officially start now, but there’s no reason to discount just how strong the Flames were down the stretch this season even if they had locked up first in the Pacific long before the season came to a close. Their strong fourth quarter is a great sign that the team is fully prepared and ready to head into playoff action.
Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire