A few days ago we asked our readers to fill out report card grades for the Flames based on the first quarter of 2018-19 season. We got a super strong voter turnout and are quite happy with everything ended up. “The Flames MVP thus far” vote was also very close, with 1 and 2 separated by less than 1%. It’s worth emphasizing again that these grades and MVP votes are 100% fan voted, and not influenced by us.
1⁄4 Report Card Grades
#10 - C Derek Ryan 20 GP, 2G, 3A, 5 Pts, 8 PIM, +/- 0
Ryan has struggled out of the gate this year. He provides a decent depth option and is strong in the faceoff circle, but fans were hoping for a bit more spark from him thus far.
#11 - C Mikael Backlund 21 GP, 3G, 5A, 8 Pts, 16 PIM, +5
While Backlund’s offensive game may be a slight step behind what we’ve seen in past years, his defensive game has been absolutely stellar for the Flames.
#13 - LW Johnny Gaudreau 21 GP, 7G, 17A, 24 Pts, 0 PIM, +1
What more can be said about Johnny Hockey other than he’s simply killing it again this year. He’s coming off a four point game against Vegas and has been a huge contributor all year, but is finally facing some competition in the scoring race.
#18 - RW James Neal 21 GP, 3G, 1A, 4 Pts, 10 PIM, -4
There is still plenty of reason to hold out hope that Neal will finally start to heat up, but his performance thus far has given plenty of cause for concern. He was given top six minutes and didn’t look any better than he did in the bottom six.
#19 - LW Matthew Tkachuk 21 GP, 11G, 14A, 25 Pts, 18 PIM, +1
Matthew Tkachuk has an A on his jersey this year and has been leading by example while also leading the team in scoring. What can’t this guy do?
#21 - RW Garnet Hathaway 16 GP, 2G, 0A, 2 Pts, 4 PIM, +2
I haven’t been a Hathaway fan in the past, but he’s fit into a fourth line role beautifully this year and has been a really good energy guy for the Flames. He’s good at what he does, and that’s all the Flames need of him.
#23 - C Sean Monahan 21 GP, 12G, 12A, 24 Pts, 2 PIM, +1
While Monahan may not have the flair for the dramatics like Tkachuk, or the crazy dangles like Gaudreau, he has consistently done his job as a premiere finisher this year and done it very well. Having him back at 100% health has been huge for the Flames.
#27 - RW Austin Czarnik 12 GP, 1G, 3A, 4 Pts, 0 PIM, -1
He showed a ton of upside in the pre-season but has struggled to really get anything going during the regular season. Czarnik now finds himself stuck in the press box with the rest of the forward core playing well.
#28 - RW Elias Lindholm 21 GP, 11 G, 11 A, 22 Pts, 4 PIM, +2
Remember when Elias Lindholm was “that other guy” the Flames acquired in last summer’s blockbuster. Well he’s currently destroying it on the Flames top line and well on the way to multiple career highs. Hats off to Bill Peters and the Flames for doing their homework on the guy.
#29 - C/LW Dillon Dube 16 GP 0G, 2A, 2 Pts, 0 PIM, +2
Dube’s fantastic training camp and pre-season earned him a job with the Flames. While he has received regular playing time and had his flashes, he still hasn’t been able to pot his first NHL goal. He may be looking at a demotion to Stockton to get him some more playing time.
#67 - RW Michael Frolik 20 GP, 7G, 0A, 7 Pts, 14 PIM, +3
Frolik has found himself with his role significantly reduced this year after Bill Peters dropped him from the top six. He still has seven goals on the season, and is still a PK dynamo, but he may be considered redundant on the roster now with its current depth.
#77 - C Mark Jankowski 18 GP, 1G, 3A, 4 Pts, 6 PIM, -1
As was expected coming into the season, Jankowski has found himself bouncing around in the bottom six, including a few trips to the press box as well. He’s struggled to make an impact in some games, and will be looking for production as the season continues.
#93 - LW Sam Bennett 21 GP, 3G, 3A, 6 Pts, 32 PIM, +1
In a roll he started to form last season, Bennett has continued to be an energy guy for the Flames who can still pot a few goals here and there. While some fans may want him to be the 60+ point scorer expected of a 4th overall pick, it may be time to accept what Bennett is, and that’s okay. When looking at the current roster, he may actually be a perfect fit for this team right now.
#4 - RD Rasmus Andersson 18 GP, 0G, 1A, 1 Pt, 2 PIM, +1
It’s safe to say that Rasmus Andersson is a full-time NHLer, having successfully supplanted Mike Stone as the 3RD on the Flames. He’s been a steady defender on the third pairing, and you can see both sides of his game growing in almost every game.
#5 - LD Mark Giordano 21 GP, 2G, 18A, 20 Pts, 16 PIM, +9
To be a good team, you require a good leader, and Giordano has been exactly that on both ends of the ice for the Flames this year. His point totals have taken off, and has been a big part of Brodie’s bounceback season. Giordano certainly doesn’t look 35 but I’ll tell you what he looks like, a Norris candidate.
#6 - LD Juuso Valimaki 20 GP, 1G, 1A, 2 Pts, 8 PIM, -4
I don’t think it can be overstated enough just how strong Valimaki has looked while making the jump straight from the WHL to the NHL. Not to mention the fact that he’s been paired with a fellow rookie in Andersson, but both have looked so calm and collected.
#7 - RD T.J. Brodie 21 GP, 1G, 5A, 6 Pts, 4 PIM, +10
Being back on the right side and back with his old pal Mark Giordano has done wonders for Brodie this year. While his offensive numbers may be down (which affects his grade), his defensive game has really improved, save for a few missteps early in the year. I know +/- isn’t a great stat, but Brodie going from -16 the last two years to +10 this year should really be worth noting.
#24 - RD Travis Hamonic 13 GP, 2G, 3A, 5 Pts, 9 PIM, +1
Despite missing eight games with any injury right at the start of the year, Hamonic has been playing his best hockey ever in a Flames uniform. Hamonic has engaged much more in offensive rushes this year, while also being very steady in the defensive zone. He has been arguably the Flames second best defenceman.
#26 - RD Michael Stone 11 GP, 0G, 4A, 4 Pts, 8 PIM, -1
With two rookies coming up and removing him from the lineup, you can easily get the sense that Mike Stone’s days with the Flames may be numbered. I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Flames shopping him, but I guess he also isn’t a bad option as a 7D in case of injury.
#55 - LD Noah Hanifin 21 GP, 0G, 8A, 8 Pts, 4 PIM, +1
While the offensive numbers haven’t shown up yet, Hanifin has still been a great addition to this defence core. His addition can be pointed to as a significant part of Hamonic’s strong year, and the pairing seems to be really gelling well as the season continues. The offense will come as he’s getting chances, but his defence has been reliable.
#33 - David Rittich 7-1-0, 0.931 SV%, 1.93 GAA
It’s safe to say that the Flames wouldn’t be anywhere without the fantastic performance of Big Save Dave. He’s been fantastic in many of his starts and has all but officially taken the starting net away from Smith. Also he has the best personality ever. A raise of the glass of Coke to you Dave.
#41 - Mike Smith 5-7-1, 0.876 SV%, 3.48 GAA
On the other end of the goaltending spectrum, we have Mike Smith. He’s been simply bad this year, save for a few really good games (which kind of makes him even more frustrating). He’s given really weak goals at inopportune time that has ultimately cost the Flames points.
FLAMES 1⁄4 MVP VOTE
We’ll put the top six players in votes from 6 to 1.
#6 Sean Monahan - 2.32% of Votes
#5 Johnny Gaudreau - 3.68% of Votes
#4 David Rittich - 11.8% of Votes
#3 Mark Giordano - 16.1% of Votes
#2 Elias Lindholm - 31.7% of Votes
#1 Matthew Tkachuk - 32.1% of Votes
We had over 700 votes in this round of report cards and Tkachuk and Lindholm were separated by 3 votes, that’s nuts.
Thanks for everyone who took the time to submit their grades and read this article. Go Flames Go!