The Calgary Flames are, to phrase it nicely, a little bit rough right now. They’re in the midst of a losing skid, haven’t scored in six and a half periods and have crash-landed back at the .500 mark. Let’s fix the team.
Will we ever score another goal?
— Travis Dubyuhhh. Roth (@TravisRoth17) November 18, 2019
The short answer is “yes.”
The long answer is “yes, but…”
The challenge for the club right now is they’re (a) not generating enough dangerous chances and (b) not burying the dangerous chances they’ve been generating. Eventually if they get enough good chances, the dam will break. The team’s PDO since Nov. 1 is 0.950, dead-last in the NHL. They’re scoring on just 3.6% of their shots (also dead-last in that span).
If they keep generating high danger chances, the dam will burst. But the challenge will be not cheating the defensive side of the game while waiting for the dam to overflow – we’ve seen a lot of goals go the other way lately because of that tendency to over-commit to offensive chances and then give up goals on odd-man rushes going the other way.
Hey Ryan what are your thoughts on Matthew Phillips? What are the odds he makes it to the NHL?
— Khalid Keshavjee (@KMKeshavjee) November 18, 2019
I’m a big Matthew Phillips guy. He’s fast, smart, talented and can throw his body around surprisingly well for a player of his size. The challenge for him will be continuing to develop his play in all three zones, but he’s been given a lot of responsibilities on both sides of the puck with Stockton and keeps producing. I would be shocked if he didn’t get NHL games in this season.
What have your overall thoughts been on Noah Hanifin's early season play? Seems to have taken another step forward no?
— Daniel Tiller (@DanielJTiller) November 16, 2019
Sometimes I forget how young Hanifin is given how much hockey he’s played. Sunday night was his 342nd NHL regular season game and the kid hasn’t hit his 23rd birthday yet. I would say that Hanifin is much more confident with jumping into the rush and creating offense, which is a nice sign. He’s not quite where he needs to be defensively, but his judgement in terms of how and when to jump into play (and when to play it safe) is much better than it was a year ago.
If you’re looking for comparables, he lacks TJ Brodie’s mobility overall but his game is definitely more well-rounded than Brodie’s was at the same age.
What's the best course of action for the Flames to take with Brodie and Hamonic for the remainder of the year and leading up to Free Agency?
— Daniel Tiller (@DanielJTiller) November 17, 2019
It all depends on where the Flames are at during the run-up to the trade deadline.
If the Flames think they can make a deep playoff run, it makes sense for them to hold onto everybody and try to make something interesting happen.
But if they’re continuing to paddle around in the shallow end of the pool and don’t seem like they can make a run into the deep waters, it makes sense from an asset management perspective to punt on Hamonic and Brodie (and Michael Frolik, for that matter) and try to get some futures. The Flames sent a lot of future assets out the door in recent year to load up the team and attempting to recoup some of their investments would be the smart play.