Before the season even began, there was expectations that Jakob Pelletier would get a spot on the Calgary Flames’ opening night roster. After a disappointing training camp and preseason, Pelletier wouldn’t make the roster and found himself back in the AHL playing for the Calgary Wranglers.
Pelletier received a spot on the Wranglers’ first line and started off playing with Connor Zary and Matthew Phillips. He continued his strong AHL play from the prior season and had 36 points in 33 games before receiving a call up to the NHL in January. The Flames’ fourth line was Pelletier’s home for two games before being moved up into the top-six and onto the second line. On the second line, Pelletier would make an immediate impact.
Pelletier’s impact hasn’t been because of crazy production. It would take until his seventh NHL game to find the scoresheet as he scored his first NHL goal against the Buffalo Sabres. He would then go on a hot streak, scoring six points in six games. Ever since, he has gone pointless in his last five games. This leaves Pelletier to currently sit with three goals and four assists for seven points in 20 games.
I’d like to take a look at some 5v5, score- and venue-adjusted metrics from NaturalStatTrick.com and see how Pelletier ranks amongst his fellow Flames forwards to get an idea of how much of an impact he’s making off the scoresheet.
After filtering out any forward who has played under 200 minutes, these are Pelletier’s results and where he ranks:
|62.46 (1st)||58.50 (3rd)||63.29 (1st)||58.86 (3rd)||3.52 (2nd)|
Pelletier ranks in the top three for all of these metrics. Although this is in a smaller sample size of 20 games, I would still considerate it impressive. I’d also like to take a look at his PDO. This is stat that tries to simulate how lucky a player is. The average is 1.000 so anything below is unlucky and anything above is lucky. Pelletier ranks third last on the Flames for PDO with 0.969, so this makes him the supposed third unluckiest player. His low PDO isn’t because he’s not getting saves because his on-ice save percentage is 91.80 which looks to be around league average. However, his on-ice shooting percentage ranks last on the Flames with 5.06 which is also very low compared to the rest of the league. This low percentage could also play a factor into Pelletier’s somewhat low production.
Helping improve his line
Using NaturalStatTrick’s line tool, we’ll be taking a look at 5v5 metrics when Pelletier, Huberdeau, and Kadri have been on the ice together and when Huberdeau and Kadri have been on without Pelletier since those two have so far been his most common linemates.
|Kadri-Huberdeau without Pelletier||55.08||51.16||51.80||46.72||2.77|
Once again the sample size is small, this time only 130 minutes, but Pelletier-Kadri-Huberdeau has better results than Kadri and Huberdeau without Pelletier. It’s not a significant difference, but the difference is still noticeable. This isn’t to say this is all because of Pelletier (even though I’d love to) as many different factors such as strength of opponents come into play, but it’s still a way to show the impact that Pelletier is making.
Deeper dive into Pelletier’s performance
Going over to HockeyViz.com, we’ll be looking at the Flames’ 5v5 offence, 5v5 defence, and power play with and without Pelletier. For all three zones, with Pelletier is found on the top and without him is found on the bottom. With Pelletier, the Flames offence supposedly performs way better. The percent goes from +4% without to +26% with, a difference of +22%. More shots and offence are generated in areas such as the middle of the zone, the slot, and most importantly, around the net.
Now onto the defence, the difference is also seems to be substantial. The difference in percentage this time is -11%, as it goes from -8% to -19% and because it’s defence, negative numbers are good. With him, the opposition struggles to generate shots and offence in pretty much every area of the zone except for in front of the net.
The power play results are the most diverting as it seems that the charts are close to the same, but with Pelletier, the positive and negative areas are just at a greater extent. Pelletier does end up supposedly making a strong impact as the percent goes from -3% to +10%, a difference of +13%.
Although these results are highly impressive, I would take them with a grain of salt. It’s likely Pelletier makes a strong, positive impact in all three of these areas of the game, just not to the extent that these charts are showing.
Impact away from results
Yes, Pelletier has had some admirable performances leading to some great results, but he also makes an impact emotionally. Pelletier has the tendency to pump up his teammates after a goal, try to spark his team and overall be a fantastic teammate.
Pelletier claims that his upbeat personality is just who he is and that scoring goals and the celebrations that come after them are a morale booster and the main point of hockey. Many of his teammates have said that Pelletier’s emotion is huge for the Flames. His energy, enthusiasm, excitement, and humour all bring much needed life to this Calgary Flames team. Apparently his life-bringing energy has become one of his responsibilities along side playing hockey.
Positively affecting the Flames in many ways
When Jakob Pelletier was called up in January, many fans were hoping that he would stay on the team and help make a painful Flames season less painful—which he has definitely accomplished. He has put up a decent amount of points and some great underlying numbers.
Pelletier has impacted his line and the whole team overall. He has brought vital youth, speed, and a strong transition game to the Flames. Even beyond results, Pelletier is making an impact with his enthusiastic traits such as his energy to bring life to his team.
Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire