Calgary Flames

Reviewing expectations for each Calgary Flames defenceman at the 2022–23 midseason mark

Welcome back to our mini series of reviewing my preseason expectations for every Calgary Flame. About a week ago we reviewed the forwards and today we’ll be going over the defencemen. The defence has statistically been one of the few good things about the Flames this season. I didn’t set too many crazy expectations for the defencemen, so let’s look them over and see how I did.

MacKenzie Weegar

Expectations: One of the best analytical defencemen, 35–45 points (used in shutdown role), 50–60 points (used offensively)

In my opinion, MacKenzie Weegar has been the Flames’ best defenceman this year. I was correct that it was likely Weegar was going to be used on a shutdown pair which would limit his offence. Weegar is has 12 points in 45 games which puts him on pace for only 21 points. Although his offence might not be the best this season, his defence has really impressed me. Weegar is still one of the best analytical defencemen and is near the top of the league in every defensive metric. Even though it’s unlikely Weegar hits the point totals I expected, I’ve still been super happy with his play.

Verdict: Expectations met

Chris Tanev

Expectations: One of the best defensive defencemen, top 15 in blocked shots, 15–20 points

Chris Tanev has continued the trend of being extremely reliable since coming to Calgary. Tanev’s defensive results may not rank in the top of the top this year, but they are still extremely good. He sits outside of the top 15 for blocked shots, but it’s not a huge deal. He currently has eight points and is one pace for 15. Tanev statistically may not be one of the best shutdown guys this year, but his play in the defensive is still highly noticeable.

Verdict: Expectations met

Noah Hanifin

Expectations: Improved two-way game, 40–50 points

Noah Hanifin was coming off a season that I consider his breakout year. Being a huge Noah Hanifin believer, I held high expectations, but he has severely disappointed me. Instead of his two-way game improving, Hanifin has reverted back to being one of the most average defencemen in the league. Currently he sits with 17 points in 45 games and is on pace to end the year with 30 points. Hanifin has been the most underwhelming defencemen so far this season, here’s to hoping he has a stronger second half.

Verdict: Expectations not met

Rasmus Andersson

Expectations: 40–50 points, build on defensive game

Rasmus Andersson is who many would consider to be the Flames’ best defencemen this season. Andersson has been tremendous offensively with great metrics and 30 points in 46 games. He is on pace for 53 points which is more points than I expected. The other side of the ice is where Rasmus still struggles. Maybe not as badly as last season, but the struggle is definitely still there. Although he hasn’t really built on his defensive game, I’m still very impressed with his offensive play and that makes up for it.

Verdict: Expectations met

Nikita Zadorov

Expectations: Offensive results to decline, flaws to be more noticeable, 15–18 points

The defencemen who has surprised me the most this year is Nikita Zadorov. Zadorov and Sutter’s system must be a match made in heaven because he is having just as good of a year as the last season, arguably even better. His offensive results have not declined and have actually improved. His defence is just as good and while his flaws and inconsistencies are still noticeable, I was expecting Chicago and Zadorov levels. As for points, he is on pace for 19, which is slightly better than expected.

Verdict: Expectations surpassed

Michael Stone

Expectations: Three slapshot goals

I didn’t have many expectations for Michael Stone because I wasn’t expecting him to be a regular, but due to Oliver Kylington being on a personal leave, he has been. Stone has played 36 games and has scored four goals which I’m pretty sure have all been his patent Stone bombs.

Verdict: Expectations met

Connor Mackey

Expectations: 10–15 games, 2–4 points, solid play

Connor Mackey is the final defencemen on the list and even though he has played only nine games, he has been disappointing. Many, including myself, were expecting Mackey to take some steps forward this year after some continuous solid play in his NHL showings. In the games Mackey has played, he has struggled a lot, especially defensively.

Verdict: Expectations not met

Expectations have mostly been met

Going into the year I was expecting the defencemen of the Calgary Flames to play very similar to the previous year. Noah Hanifin is the lone outlier of the main group that has disappointed me, but the other five have played well and have met or surpassed my expectations.

Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire

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