GDHQNHL15_2pg-Calgary Flames 2

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NHL. Giordano was fantastic on offense, scoring 14 goals and 33 assists in just 64 games from the blue line. He was terrific on defense as well, pairing with T.J. Brodie to be Calgary’s most reliable penalty killing and lock-down unit. Giordano earned a +12 rating despite Calgary’s struggles and earned Norris Trophy consideration for the first time in his career. Brodie was also very good as a defender, playing 81 of his team’s 82 games and playing an average of 24 minutes per game. Brodie is a very fast skater and that helps him quickly close him on opposing puck handlers. While Brodie has never been known for being a prolific scorer, he is a decent passer and is placing a focus on shooting the puck more in the upcoming season. A midseason trade for Ladislav Smid also bolstered the team’s defense although Smid is an offensive liability. Dennis Wideman is a good two-way defenseman at his best, but slumped last year on both ends of the ice; injuries limited Wideman to just 46 games played. Kris Russell was solid both ways for Calgary, scoring 29 points and playing capable, if not dominating, defense. The group will be joined by Deryk Engelland, formerly of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Engelland struggled on defense for Pittsburgh but likely won’t be asked to do too much as part of the third pairing for the Flames. Overall, this is a good group of defensemen led by Giordano. The captain probably shouldn’t be expected to repeat his spectacular season from last year, but on a team struggling to rebuild, this group is probably the best thing the Flames have going. Goaltending Without a proven veteran to turn to, the Flames held a preseason competition to win the job featuring Karri Ramo, Joey MacDonald, and Reto Berra. Ramo ended up winning the job with Berra starting the season as his backup. For his part, Ramo played well enough that the Flames didn’t have to get desperate in search of a goalie, but not so well that Calgary was ready to commit to him long term. Ramo ended up with a 17-15-4 record and a 2.65 goals against average. Berra struggled in his time in net, posting a 2.95 GAA before being traded to Colorado. Wanting some stability for the position, Calgary opted to sign former Anaheim Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller. Once again, the Flames starting goaltender job figures to be a competition, this time between Hiller and Ramo. With Hiller having a history of consistently good play in net, he should be considered the favorite to win the job. Power Play While Mark Giordano gave the Flames a genuine scoring threat from the blue line, the Calgary power play still struggled due to a lack of playmakers at the forward position. The Flames converted on just 15.7 percent of their power play opportunities, ranking 24th in the NHL. This number is also significantly down from the 20 percent mark Calgary posted in the previous year. No player on the Flames scored more than Giordano’s seven goals in power play situations. To make matters worse, Michael Cammalleri was second with six goals and he’s no longer on the team. Besides Cammalleri, Mikael Backlund, Kris Russell, Sean Monahan, and Curtis Glencross were the top contributors on the power play, but the team as a whole could never figure out how to put enough pressure on the opposing net during 5 on 4 situations. With an expected regression from Giordano, it seems likely that Calgary will have one of the league’s worst power play units in the 2014-15 season. Penalty Kill There were opposing forces on Calgary that were simultaneously helping and hurting their penalty killing unit. Helping the team was the pair of Mark Giordano and T.J. Brodie. Brodie was the defenseman who would go after the puck while Giordano would protect the net. Their efforts helped make Calgary’s penalty killing respectable. At the same time, uneven goaltending and a lack of skilled forwards hurt Calgary’s efforts. Without forwards who could take the puck away, Calgary was often stuck in their own zone for long periods of time. Goaltenders Karri Ramo, Reto Berra, and Joey MacDonald couldn’t be relied on to consistently keep pucks out of the net. Overall, Calgary ended up ranked 18th on the penalty kill in the NHL, but if it wasn’t for Giordano and Brodie, that mark would have likely been much worse. Prediction A lack of talent at the forward position, along with regression from Mark Giordano, is going to hold this team back. Despite the acquisition of Jonas Hiller, the Flames are likely to conclude the season in last place in the Pacific Division. Mark Giordano Scoreboard 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 PLAYOFF FINISH DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ REGULAR SEASON RECORD 35-40-7 19-25-4 37-29-16 41-29-12 40-32-10 POINT TOTAL 77 42 90 94 90 SHOOTOUT RECORD 7-3 0-3 3-9 9-7 3-7 GOALS SCORED 209 128 202 250 204 GOALS ALLOWED 241 160 226 237 210 POWER PLAY % 15.7 20.0 17.7 19.5 16.0 PENALTY KILL % 81.7 81.5 84.3 81.2 82.3 PHOTO/NHL/Getty Images


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