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Reasonable Expectations: The Secondary Offense

There's a lot of reasons to be excited about the Calgary Flames this year and there's a lot of reasons to not be excited about this. This series will aim to reconcile the two viewpoints into some reasonable expectations: neither optimistic nor pessimistic. Of note: when I refer to a point or goal total, consider that to mean a point pace or goal pace, since I'm obviously not accounting for injuries that would keep players out of the line-up.

The secondary scoring on the Flames is probably the team's biggest strength: Curtis Glencross, David Moss, Mikael Backlund, Lee Stempniak, Rene Bourque, Olli Jokinen, Jay Bouwmeester, and theoretically Matt Stajan and Niklas Hagman all belong to this category (though I won't address them here).

I'm not going to get too in-depth in any one player here, but I'll briefly touch on all of them:

Curtis Glencross (sometimes GlenX, never "Scoreface" which has so much potential (as a Scarface reference) that is unfulfilled because the nickname apparently comes from FUNNY FACES THAT HE MAKES WHEN HE SCORES) is in line for a dip in points; his scoring last year was largely attributed to a career high shooting percentage, or as us nerds call it, luck. That's not to say he won't score a decent amount- he's always been a good player in his own right; expect 18-23 goals and 40-50 points depending on his line's shooting percentage.

David Moss is great. He's a MOSSNSTER. He's also impossible to quantify this year. If he sticks with Tanguay and Iggy for a full season, he could easily be the 3rd highest scoring player on the team. If he doesn't, I'd expect a Glencross type output weighted more towards goal scoring than assists. Jokinen's in basically the complete opposite situation: the more time he spends with Iginla the worse his offense will be. I'd expect a pretty decent 50 points from Jokinen: solid, not great.

Stempniak is basically Curtis Glencross in terms of output (though I'd argue a lesser player in terms of all-around play). Expect 17-23 goals and 40-50 points as well.

Rene Bourque is, for the moment, an enigma. He visibly struggled last year, and it showed in his year end totals. A lot of people argued this was due to the absence of Langkow, and regardless of whether that's true or not, he'll likely be without his favorite center the rest of his career. The other half of the mystery of Bourque is his injury status. There's a lot of curiosity as to whether or not he was injured last season, which would have impacted his play significantly. His range is probably between 50-62 total points and goals in the high 20's.

Jay Bouwmeester (the only defenseman on this particular list) is an interesting case, since he's probably the best player on the team this season, but so much of what makes him good is quiet and unseen. While in the right situation he could put up similar offensive numbers to Mark Giordano, most likely we'll see him used more defensively while Gio will play a little farther into the offensive zone and grab the points. Thirty-ish points is a pretty median estimate, but his deployment will affect a lot of that- more so than most players on the Flames.

The big one who's development we're already breathlessly awaiting for though is Mikael Backlund. He was used in pretty generous offensive situations last season, going out in the offensive zone a lot against really weak competition- but he also knocked the ball out of the park against them. This season will be a more thorough test of his capabilities- he could either remain as depth like he was last season, playing with Jackman most of the time (not a knock on Jackman by any means) or he could end up on the second line with...someone. Still, I'd expect a much larger offensive contribution from him: possibly 40-50 total points, and likely 15 or so goals. Still, development is always a mystery.