Last year’s Calgary Flames were a powerhouse that finished second in the NHL. They won the Pacific Division and put themselves back on the map as a force to be reckoned with. They are the team fans have fresh in their minds. With just over a month of play in the books, here’s a look at how the Flames’ 2019-20 season compares to last so far.
Standings Current and Past
As of Nov. 13, the Flames have played 20 games for a 10-7-3 record. They are fourth in the Pacific, three points behind the Edmonton Oilers. Six of their wins were on home ice.
Last season on Nov. 13, the Flames had a 10-7-1 record. While the playoff run didn’t go as expected, last season was the Flames’ best in quite some time. The 2018-19 storyline was tied to recreating their 1989 Stanley Cup win. Even Sam Bennett got in on the Lanny McDonald moustache for old times’ sake.
There are only five Flames with double-digit points in 2019-20: the top line of Johnny Gaudreau, Elias Lindholm, Sean Monahan, as well as Mark Giordano and Matthew Tkachuk.
Before Tuesday’s game against the Arizona Coyotes, Gaudreau was pretty quiet on the production end of things. He picked up assists but went 12 games without a goal. Near misses drew more of a reaction from the 26-year-old forward as he struggled to find the back of the net.
Players have their ups and downs. Is Johnny Hockey’s performance concerning? The answer is no. He is a five-time All-Star for a reason. Last season at this time, he had 6 goals and 13 assists. This season he has 5 goals and 12 assists, which ties him with Lindholm for second in points.
Tkachuk is already in the conversation for goal of the year after his impressive through the legs shot to win the game against the Nashville Predators with less than one second left in overtime. He also leads the team in scoring with 10 goals and 9 assists and is credited with the team’s two overtime-winning goals. He is earning his ice time and is proving that his time away from the team this summer did not affect his start to the season.
The Bottom Half
There cannot be a top tier without a bottom tier, and there are some players who fall into this category. Milan Lucic has been under the microscope since James Neal started making headlines for his production in Edmonton. He has yet to score a goal this season with only three assists.
Lucic has no points in the last five games and as the THW’s Jeff Seide noted, “While still an imposing force, ready to drop the gloves and pound the snot out of opponents, Lucic is a fraction of what he used to be on the score sheet.”
The only other players on the team without a goal are TJ Brodie, Mark Jankowski, Tobias Reider and Oliver Kylington. Keep in mind, Reider and Kylington have been shuffled in and out of the lineup.
Where is Mark Jankowski?
The most shocking name in the bottom tier is Jankowski. In seasons past, he has shown his potential to be a high-calibre forward who could crack the top-six forward group. Unfortunately, he is fighting for playing time this season and has failed to put up a single point.
He is playing on the fourth line so his ice time may be to blame for his low production but, at the same time, results earn playing time. He has played in 17 games this season and risks being replaced by an up-and-coming forward from the Flames’ American Hockey League affiliate if this trend continues.
There Is Plenty of Hockey to Be Played
A lot can happen during the course of the season. Fortunately, it’s only November and there are still plenty of players, games and highlight-reel plays to come. Any doubt that may be placed on the Flames right now, is best to be revisited when the playoffs are closer in the sights.
Played four years of collegiate softball in the United States where I had the opportunity to write about the Kansas City Mavericks for two seasons. Born in Calgary and life long Flames fan. Passionate about writing and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Digital Communications in 2019.