The Calgary Flames third quarter of the season mercifully came to a close with a trade deadline eve loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs last week. After a second quarter that saw the Flames pull themselves into a playoff spot, their third quarter saw their playoff chances drop significantly.
Each quarter mark of the season we will assign a letter grade from A to F to each Flames player who logged over 100 minutes TOI in the quarter. These grades will take into consideration the 21 games between January 9, 2023, and March 3, 2023. This bookends the quarter as finishing off with the trade dead line. The Flames finished the quarter with a 8–8–5 record, a slight downgrade on their 10–6–5 record form the second quarter.
As usual, the Flames’ underlying numbers were strong despite their mixed results. They finished the quarter second for CF%, third for xGF%, and fifth for HDCF%. They did however have the 30th ranked save percentage at 5v5 which explains their record in the quarter.
How do TWC’s POET 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. Let’s see who ranks where on the Flames squad.
All numbers are 5v5 score- and venue- adjusted (SVA) courtesy of NaturalStatTrick.com.
Mikael Backlund thrived on the Flames elite third line. The veteran continued his incredible season in the third quarter and has been the Flames most consistent forward all season. The Flames would be in an even worse spot if it weren’t for him.
Backlund finished third for CF%, and second for both xGF% and HDCF%. He was one of only three forwards above 65% in all three metrics. Backlund also led the team in scoring at 5v5 in the quarter, with 14 points. His 10 assists and seven primary assists were both first, as were his 55 shots and 92 iCF.
There isn’t much left to say about Backlund, as he continues to defy his age this season and was once again one of the Flames’ best forwards this quarter.
It’s been an up and down first season in Calgary for Nazem Kadri, but his third quarter was certainly much better than his second one.
Kadri posted the sixth best CF% among forwards, as well as the fifth best xGF% and HDCF%. In terms of production, he put up 11 points at 5v5 in the quarter which ranked sixth best among forwards. His six primary assists were second most on the team which really helped his grade.
Kadri’s third quarter wasn’t perfect, but overall it was a strong showing for him across the board after a rough second quarter.
Ever since reuniting with Backlund and Coleman, Andrew Mangiapane has turned his season around. His underlying numbers are once again incredibly strong, while his offensive game has rebounded.
Mangiapane finished the quarter first among Flames forwards for CF%, xGF%, and HDCF% as he finished above 65% in all three metrics. Offensively Mangiapane tied for second on the team with 12 points at 5v5. His six goals were tied for the team lead. He also finished second for ixG at 5.65.
It’s fair to say the Flames’ third line was their lone bright spot this quarter and Mangiapane was a big part of that.
The third part to the Flames third line, Blake Coleman also had a very strong quarter. His underlying’s were strong as always, and he was also one of the team’s top contributors on offence.
Coleman finished the quarter second for CF%, and third for both xGF% and HDCF%. Only Mangiapane or Backlund ranked ahead of him. He also finished above 65% in every metric. Offensively he posted 12 points at 5v5 which was tied for second on the team. His 6.19 ixG was tops on the team. His 91 iCF ranked second behind only Backlund.
Coleman continues to be one of the teams lone bright spots as he’s posting elite underlying numbers while also chipping in on offence.
Tyler Toffoli continued to have a strong season in the third quarter as he’s been one of the Flames’ top offensive producers all year when it comes to individual production.
Toffoli finished the quarter fifth for CF%, eighth for xGF%, and 10th for HDCF%. What floats his grade is his offensive production. Toffoli posted six goals and 11 points at 5v5. His six goals were tied for tops on the team. He also registered the second most 5v5 shots on the team with 53.
Toffoli continues to rack up the points this season and the third quarter was no different.
This grade may surprise, but Jonathan Huberdeau had perhaps his strongest quarter of the season in the third quarter. He showed flashes of what made him an elite player, although the consistency still wasn’t there.
Huberdeau finished the quarter eighth for CF%, seventh for xGF%, and sixth for HDCF%. Offensively he posted nine points at even strength, which was seventh on the team among forwards. He continues to struggle to generate shots, as he ranked eighth for 5v5 shots and iCF.
Huberdeau still needs to be much better, but his third quarter was a step in the right direction.
Dillon Dube continues to have the best season of his career points-wise. Even if his underlying numbers aren’t the strongest, his point production was among the best on the team this quarter.
Dube finished the quarter ninth for CF%, 10th for xGF%, and last for HDCF%. Individual production is where Dube shone, as he posted 12 points which was tied for second among forwards. His six 5v5 goals were tied for first on the team.
Dube had a very strong quarter when it comes to production, however his underlying numbers were far from ideal.
Walker Duehr became a full-timer with the Flames this quarter, and did just fine in his role on the fourth line. He finally injected some much needed speed into the Flames fourth line.
Duehr only played 12 games in the quarter, but ranked seventh for CF%, sixth for xGF%, and seventh for HDCF%. In terms of offensive production Duehr put up four points in his 12 games, including three goals.
All said, Duehr had an impressive quarter for the Flames and should remain as a regular on the team.
We are officially in the Jakob Pelletier era. After lighting up the AHL for two years, the dynamic rookie was finally given a shot in the top-six this quarter and he hasn’t looked back since.
Pelletier finished the quarter fourth for CF%, xGF%, and HDCF%. Only the dynamic third line finished ahead of him. Despite the strong underlying numbers he was only able to post four points and one goal at 5v5 which lowered his grade quite a bit.
All things considered, Pelletier had a pretty strong debut quarter for the Flames and should only continue to get better.
It certainly wasn’t the best quarter for Elias Lindholm, as his offensive production fell off and his underlying numbers were average across the board.
Lindholm finished the quarter 10th for CF%, and 11th for both xGF%, and HDCF%. He was one of only two Flames forwards to finish with an xGF% below 50% in the quarter. He posted an underwhelming eight points at 5v5, but just one single goal. He also somehow registered a team worst 17 shots at 5v5.
If the Flames want to go anywhere this season, they need Lindholm to be much better in the final quarter of the season.
Milan Lucic continued to do Milan Lucic things in the third quarter. His underlying numbers were weak and there was almost no offence to speak of.
Lucic finished last among Flames forwards for CF% and xGF%, and ninth for HDCF%. He was one of only two forwards to finish with an xGF% below 50% in the quarter. Offensively he posted two goals and no assists in the quarter. His two points were tied for worst on the team.
Lucic is barely an NHLer at this point, yet still managed the ninth most 5v5 minutes among Flames forwards in the quarter. Make it make sense.
Like his running buddy Lucic, Trevor Lewis didn’t do much of anything in the third quarter as his underlying numbers and production were both subpar.
Lewis finished the quarter 11th for CF%, ninth for xGF%, and eighth for HDCF% among Flames forwards. Points wise he posted two secondary assists and no goals. He was the only Flames forward to not register a single goal at 5v5 this quarter.
Like Lucic, Lewis is a fringe NHLer at best despite being used as a premier shutdown forward by Darryl Sutter.
No offence to Dennis Gilbert, but if he’s you’re highest graded defender of the quarter, that’s not a great sign. His small sample size played a role, but overall Gilbert did have a strong quarter after being called up.
Gilbert ranked sixth for CF%, third for xGF%, and second for HDCF% among Flames defencemen. Offensively he managed three points including one goal in just nine games. Unfortunately his seven 5v5 shots were last on the team.
Gilbert has performed just about as well as anyone could’ve hoped in the third quarter.
Rasmus Andersson continued his strong season in the third quarter as he continued to post solid production.
Andersson finished the quarter fifth for CF%, and sixth for both xGF% and HDCF%. Offensively he registered five points including three primary assists in the quarter. His three primary assists and two goals were both tied for tops on the team among blueliners.
Andersson didn’t post great underlying numbers in the third quarter, but he was once again the team’s best defenceman when it came to primary points.
Noah Hanifin had solid production and underlying numbers this quarter as he was one of the team’s most dependable defencemen.
Hanifin ranked third for CF%, fourth for xGF%, and third for HDCF% this quarter. He posted seven points which tied for first among Flames defencemen. That said, three of the seven were secondary assists. His 33 5v5 shots were tops on the blueline as was his 1.79 ixG.
Hanifin typically flies under the radar most nights but he’s had a solid season for the Flames and the third quarter was no different.
Nikita Zadorov is quietly having a very strong season for the Flames, and he continued that strong play in the third quarter as he was asked to pick up the slack due to some injuries.
Zadorov ranked fourth for CF%, and fifth for both xGF% and HDCF%. Offensively he posted four points in the quarter, with all four coming as primary points. His two goals were tied with Andersson for tops among Flames blueliners.
Zadorov was called upon to take on a bigger role this quarter and he held his own for the most part and posted some solid results.
MacKenzie Weegar has been a juggernaut defensively this season, however in the third quarter he also showed some offensive flash as well which earns him a solid grade.
Weegar ranked second for both CF% and xGF%, as well as fourth for HDCF%. On offence his seven points were tied for the team lead, although he didn’t score a single goal. His seven assists were tops on the team and his three primary assists were tied for first. He also ranked first for iCF with 82.
Weegar has been one of the Flames’ lone offseason additions to thrive this season and his third quarter continued to show that.
Chris Tanev always gets dinged in these ratings because he’s primarily a defensive defender, but his strong possession numbers ensured his grade remained okay in the third quarter.
Tanev ranked first for CF%, xGF% and HDCF% in the quarter as the Flames dominated play whenever he was on the ice. In terms of point production, he put up an impressive six points in the quarter, although four of them were secondary points. He also registered just 18 shots at 5v5 in 18 games.
Tanev was an elite possession defender as always in the third quarter, but he’ll never jump off the page offensively.
The Michael Stone magic continued to dissipate this quarter, as he was bumped out of the Flames lineup by the end of the quarter.
Stone ranked last for CF%, xGF%, and HDCF% on the team. He was also the only Flames defender to register a xGF% below 50%. He added just one goal and one assist in the quarter in his 15 games which ranked last on the team.
Stone didn’t look like an NHL defender this quarter and his time in Calgary may finally be coming to a close.
Time is running out
After a lacklustre third quarter, time is running out on the Flames season. Despite some strong individual performances, the Flames failed to create much success as a team. They’ve got one more quarter to right the ship before it’s too late and the team misses the playoffs.
Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire
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