Now that the season is over for the Calgary Flames, it’s time to honour some of the top performers from the 2014-15 campaign.
There’s not much debate that Calgary’s top rookie during 2014-15 was Johnny Gaudreau. The 21 year old from Salem, New Jersey is a finalist, along with Florida Panthers defenceman Aaron Ekblad and Ottawa Senators right winger Mark Stone, for the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie.
Gaudreau followed up a Hobey Baker-winning season as the NCAA’s MVP with Boston College by posting 24 goals and 64 points over 80 games while defying anyone who said his 5-foot-9, 150-pound frame wasn’t big enough to cut it at the highest level.
After a whirl of a regular season, Gaudreau showed he can also bring it in the playoffs. The rookie left winger led the Flames with four goals and nine points over 11 postseason outings. The Gaudreau – Sean Monahan – Jiri Hudler combined for 23 points in the playoffs, so the entire line could really be considered for the award.
But an honourable mention goes to Micheal Ferland, as the 23-year-old left winger had three goals and five points in nine games. This all came while the native of Swan River, Manitoba caused a ruckus by dishing out 50 hits over the course of those nine games. His pinnacle was a two-goal, three-point performance in Calgary’s 7-4 series-clinching win in Game 6 against the Vancouver Canucks in the first round.
“A” in Adirondack
Calgary acquired St. Louis’ 22nd overall pick in 2013 in the Jay Bouwmeester trade, and used it to select Emile Poirier from the Gatineau Olympiques of the QMJHL. In Poirier’s first full season of professional hockey, he gave Adirondack a great showing with 19 goals and 42 points in 55 games. Poirier definitely deserves an “A” for his job in Adirondack.
Defenceman Mark Giordano led the Flames in Corsi-for percentage relative to the team with a 5.8. Although fellow blueliner David Schlemko finished first in Corsi-for percentage (he was 49.9, while Giordano was in second with 48.3), he had 1.2% more offensive zone starts than Giordano, and 9.1% less defensive zone starts. From a puck-possession standpoint, Giordano was Calgary’s man this past season.
Game 82 of the regular season and the eleven ensuing playoff contests gave Flames fans a look at franchise pivot Sam Bennett. He had an assist in his NHL debut, and tallied three goals and four points over the playoffs. Selected fourth overall in 2014, Bennett missed most of 2014 due to shoulder surgery.
There were talks that he might make the Flames roster out of training camp, but his surgery shelved him until February where he returned to the Kingston Frontenacs and compiled 11 goals and 24 points in 11 regular season games, and added three assists as the Frontenacs were swept in four games by the North Bay Battalion.
Bennett figures to be in the top six next season for the Flames, and it will be interesting to see what he can do in a full season (hopefully) not marred by injury.