Every successful NHL team has good players up and down the lineup. At the top, you have big names and top scorers like Elias Lindholm, Nazem Kadri, and Jonathan Huberdeau. As you work your way down the lineup, you’re met with support and role players on the third and fourth line and great teams usually have players that fit their roles well.
Blake Coleman is a perfect example of one of those players.
Coleman is typically on the Flames third line and performs well with the ice time he’s given. He isn’t a flashy player by any means and isn’t the most offensive player as he has only six goals and eight assists for 14 points in 39 games which puts him on pace for just shy of 30 points but he brings value in other aspects of the game. Coleman is really strong defensively and on the penalty kill and that’s where most of his value comes from. He also forechecks, battles hard, and plays a style that would be considered by some as “playing hockey the right way.”
Deeper dive into Coleman’s game with numbers and models
Natural Stat Trick
All following numbers are via NaturalStatTrick.com and at 5v5, score- and venue-adjusted.
Let’s take a look at where Coleman ranks in some metrics amongst the Flames regulars forwards.
As we can see Blake Coleman ranks inside the top five for every single metric. The only three players that ever rank ahead of him are Adam Ruzicka, Tyler Toffoli, and Selke candidate Mikael Backlund. Based on these numbers alone, Coleman is having a way better season than one might think as he is creating many quality chances and allowing little.
Switching over to HockeyViz.com, let’s take at Blake Coleman’s isolated impact. For those unfamiliar with HockeyViz’s charts, a simple way to put it is, for offence, the darker and more red the better and the darker and more blue the worse. Defence is the exact opposite.
Coleman has +6% on offence and +0.15 xGF/60 which is solid. Most of Coleman’s offence derives from directly in front of the net and that’s really the only area his offensive production sticks out. Moving to the other end of the ice and looking at his defence, he has a -6% and -0.16 xGA/60, almost identical to his offence. Coleman’s defensive impact isn’t eye catching at any area of the ice, but is really solid all around.
Looking at the penalty kill, it’s very obvious that Coleman has continued his success from previous years. -5% and -0.41 xGA/60 shows that he is once again great on the penalty kill and a key player to it.
The trend of Coleman struggling to finish his chances since coming to Calgary has continued as he has a -4% in that category.
As for penalties drawn and taken, Coleman draws more than around just above the average of the league and for the penalties he has taken, he is just around the average.
Staying on HockeyViz.com, we’ll be moving over to the Flames offence and defence with and without Coleman.
In terms of offence, the Flames offence with Coleman looks similar to what we on Coleman’s isolated impact chart. With him the Flames have a +6% and xGF/60 of 2.79 and without they have a +4 and xGF/60 of 2.73. So, Coleman does make an impact on the Flames offence, just a very minimal one. Taking a peak at defence, Coleman has had some astounding results. Unlike offence, the Flames defence with Coleman does not look similar to his chart from above. The Flames defence with him is extremely good with a -17% and a xGA/60 of only 2.19. Without Coleman, the Flames defence is still good, but not to the extent it is with him as they have only a -3% and 2.55 xGA/60.
Appreciate the value that Coleman brings
Blake Coleman is a great third liner for the Flames and is a big part of their defensive game up front. He brings physicality and workhorse mentality to the team as well. Lots of chances are produced when he’s on the ice, but it’s an odd occurrence when he or someone finishes those chances. His lack of production can be frustrating, but he’s never scored more than 31 points and hasn’t been on pace for more than 41 in his career. A cap hit of $4.9M is steep for a third line player that doesn’t produce as much as you’d want and in a perfect world the Flames are paying him $1.5M to $2M less, but I would say it is great that Blake Coleman is a Calgary Flame.
Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire