With the Calgary Flames officially hiring of Bill Peters on Monday, I decided it would make sense to reach out to our sister site Canes Country to find out a little more about Bill Peters and their thoughts on him.
Here’s six questions with Andy House from Canes Country:
Q1: The Flames are a team with a lot of youth getting ready to make the jump to the NHL. How does Peters handle the usage of young players in the lineup?
While the Hurricanes roster as a whole was pretty young for Peters entire tenure, the questioning of his usage revolved mostly around who someone was partnered with on a line or in a pairing. While on the one hand he immediately saw that Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce were good partners for one another on the blueline, the younger forwards have not performed at a consistent enough level to allow Peters to grow true confidence in them. The thinking in Carolina has been that the surge of young players about to come from the AHL was held down too long by former General Manager Ron Francis, and therefore was not something Peters received any blame for.
Q2. How willing was Peters to juggle lines/try different combinations if things weren’t going well?
Peters was well known for mixing and matching lines often, especially in the midst of the game to try to spark offense. As an offensively challenged team for most of his years, he was constantly looking for a spark. He was a bit more rigid with his D-pairings, but he showed a willingness to play off-handed defensemen when needed.
Q3. Many of the advanced stats (PDO, CF%, Shot Share) seem to show that the Hurricanes were a good team that just got unlucky this year. Do you think they were just unlucky or were there bigger issues underlying it?
I think if you look at most of Peters seasons, the stats may show a good possession team that didn’t produce the offense you would expect with their possession numbers. I don’t think it was an unlucky team so much as a team that was unable or unwilling to consistently get to the difficult spots on the ice to score goals, and also a team that lacked the goal-scoring ability needed to take the next step in the NHL.
Q4. The Hurricanes didn’t have good goaltending during Peters time in Carolina. Do you think it was indicative of his systems, or just the goaltending itself?
While the goaltending was certainly the black cloud hanging over the Hurricanes during Peters tenure, part of that blame could be placed on Peters as he simply continued to ride Cam Ward into oblivion in many of his years behind the bench. While the likes of Eddie Lack and Scott Darling certainly didn’t inspire much confidence, Peters was all too quick to ride his veteran through thick and thin. In terms of the system, it will be interesting to see it play out with a different group in Calgary, but what we saw all too often in Carolina was a team that certainly did limit to amount of opportunities, but when they gave them up, the shot were often grade A looks that definitely made life difficult on the goalies. Pay attention to the high-end scoring chances, as they were definitely the downfall of the Canes quite often.
Q5. The Flames struggled mightily on the powerplay this season, how did Peters usually structure his powerplay to create chances?
While the Hurricanes powerplay was also not excellent, they did perform at a decent clip in the second half of the season. Rod Brind’amour was assigned that task on Peters staff, but Peters typically worked with Justin Faulk as a shooter at the point with Teuvo Teravainen loaded up on the right circle with his lefty shot. One complaint that many fans had was his unwillingness to change up the personnel on the PP. Veteran journeyman Derek Ryan saw a boatload of time as a playmaker on the PP, but his results certainly didn’t justify his place there.
Q6. The Hurricanes not spending to the cap didn’t help, but do you think Peters was ultimately able to get the most possible out of the lineup he was given?
I think the argument could be made that in his initial seasons in Raleigh, Peters was able to maximize the talent he was given. He inherited a team that was at the bottom of the league and expected to be in a full rebuild, then thrust them back into the fringes of playoff contention. His issue was ultimately being unable to take the next step with a team that was seemingly improved and given greater depth in this past season. The frustration ultimately consumed the roster and Peters himself, and that is why we sit here today with Bill Peters now the new head coach of the Calgary Flames.
Major thanks again to Andy House and Canes Country for answering our questions. Did his responses inspire more confidence in Peters for you? Let us know in the comments.