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Calgary Flames

Flames Zone Starts Thus Far



There's no getting around it. Jokinen and Iginla have been awful thus far. And part of it is their performance – lots of miscues, poor decisions and general ineffectiveness. Their corsi rates tell the story: they're the worst on the team.

Of course, they’ve also played in less than cheery circumstances. According to Behind the net, Jokinen and Jarome have taken the highest percentage of defensive zone draws amongst Flames forwards. That, on top of consistently facing top competition, hasn’t helped things much.

You’ll notice Giordano and Bouwmeester are the defenders at the bottom of that list as well. In fact, if you map corsi rates on top of offensive zone face-off percentage, you get a lot of congruence (aside from Craig Conroy who is tops in the former and bottom in the latter). Now, of course this doesn’t excuse the big gun’s results – for $12M+, Jokinen and Iginla should be putting up better than average numbers whatever their circumstances, but it does give us some context in which to place their struggles. In addition, this explains the lousy corsi rates of Gio and Bouwmeester, who have actually played pretty well by my eye – they’ve faced the toughest comp, started in their own zone a lot more and played behind a forward group that can’t keep it’s head above water.

If you'll remember, Iginla put up his relatively mediocre stats last year while being gifted some pretty favorable circumstances by Keenan – he didn't play the big guns every night and he started in the offensive zone more than any other forward. Of course, the team also moved the puck forward a lot more efficiently than they have this year thus far, so Keenan had that luxury.

That said, it may be the case that Iginla isn't the player that Brent thinks he is…not anymore. Given his performance last year and all of this one, Iginla probably isn't the kind of forward that can drive results against top level competition in any situation. If so, Sutter will have to find another trio to feed to the wolves (like, say, Barry Trotz routinely does in Nashville) in order to free up his scorers. Having a third unit like the Glencross-Conroy-Moss to drive the puck forward every shift sure would help things right now I think…

by Kent Wilson