The Flames had an up and down week, going 1-2-1 over the past 7 days. One of the definite highlights of the week was Mark Jankowski making his 2017-18 NHL debut and he played very well. The top line of Johnny Gaudreau-Sean Monahan-Micheal Ferland started to really assert itself, as well as the 3M Line. Those points aside, we have 3 Things to talk about from this past week, so let’s get to it!
Offence: Or Lack There Of
Not sure if you’ve heard, but the Flames are having trouble putting the puck in the net. In the 4 games they played this past week, Calgary scored 7 goals total, with the high water mark being the 3 goals they scored in a 3-2 shootout win in Nashville. This troubling trend isn’t just contained to this week either. Calgary has only scored 3 or more goals in the prior three weeks a mere three times as well (that’s a lot of 3’s). On the season the Flames have only scored 27 times, which puts them 27th in the NHL in GF ahead of only Boston, Arizona, Edmonton and Montreal. To put it in perspective, the NHL leader in GF is Toronto with 45. Calgary is back to 500, but if they want to climb out of the Western Conference basement they’ll need to score......and score more than they currently are.
Johnny Gaudreau: As Much As YOU Want To Say He’s Struggling, He’s Not
With what was said above, Johnny Gaudreau isn’t part of the problem. There appears to be over 6 million reasons why people feel Johnny Gaudreau isn’t pulling his weight on this team. That’s asinine. Gaudreau leads the Flames in points with 15 and he’s 3rd on the team in goals with 3. Sure, the goals are down, but he’s the one helping the Flames get the puck in the net when they do. Recall the above paragraph: Calgary has 27 total goals, he’s got 15 assists on those 27. This past week Gaudreau had points (1G 3A) in Calgary’s 4 games, the only bad game being a donut he put up against Dallas, but to be fair the Flames weren’t good in that game as a whole. He’s “so bad” that he sits in 5th place in the NHL in points. Gaudreau is “so bad” he currently is tied with or has more points than Auston Matthews, Taylor Hall, Evgeni Malkin, Jack Eichel, Patrick Kane, Vladimir Tarasenko and the great Connor McDavid. Johnny Gaudreau currently is 5th in the league in assists. Where he is struggling a bit is shooting the puck. He has 29 SOG, 93rd in the NHL. But if you think Johnny Gaudreau is part of the Flames problem this season, we aren’t sure what to tell you. 12 games, 15 points and remember who he’s ahead of in the league. He’s not the problem.
That Bottom Six: It’s Brutal
Where the Flames do have problems is in their bottom six. That combo of players (Tanner Glass, Sam Bennett, Matt Stajan, Troy Brouwer, Curtis Lazar) has been absolutely brutal on the score sheet. We left Mark Jankowski out of there because he hasn’t had the service time this season to qualify as bad and he isn’t (that’s a story for another time). Troy Brouwer is the “best” player in that grouping, he has 2 points. Lazar has 1. The rest are donuts. Sam Bennett, that top 4 pick with a new contract is a goose egg as well. Bennett has showed some spunk on the ice this season, but when you’re the #4 pick in an NHL Draft, you’re expected to provide a little more energy. Micheal Ferland is an “energy” guy and he’s on the top line and has 3 goals and an assist. Brouwer was troubling with his play last year and it’s still the same. Lazar has shown some flashes out there, but makes some boneheaded plays at times. And while Matt Stajan is a great guy and a great team mate, his play this season has been nothing to write home about. The bottom six have generated 48 SOG so far this season and that needs to change. In only 4 games this season Mark Jankowski has 3 SOG. In 12 games, Bennett has 13 and he’s now in his 3rd year in the league. You don’t need your 3rd and 4th to be gangbusters, but you do need more than what this crew has delivered so far this season.