On April 11, 1993, Theoren Fleury scored a power-play goal against the Vancouver Canucks to tie the game at three just seconds before the buzzer for the second intermission. That goal was his 34th, as well as the 100th point of the 1992-93 season. That was the last time Calgary Flames fans witnessed one of their players score 100 points in a season.
Since 1992-93 only Fleury, Robert Reichel, Jarome Iginla (x3), and Johnny Gaudreau have reached the 90 point plateau for the Flames. Gaudreau was closest of the four to best the century mark when he hit 99 points during the 2018-19 season. In 2021-22 there have been many similarities, but he is now on an even better line and scoring at a higher pace than the 2018-19 season. The newest edition of the Flames’ first line has also been one of the best in the entire league this season.
Gaudreau in 2018-19 vs 2021-22
Gaudreau was a post, a missed tap-in, or an empty-netter shy of reaching 100 points during the 2018-19 season. This season he has looked just as dangerous and is even producing at a better clip than he did three seasons ago. A look at his five-on-five numbers shows that he is pacing and playing better than he did in 2018-19.
While he’s been taking less shots at five on five, his higher shooting percentage (S%) makes up for that and he is performing better in the other three categories. A look at Gaudreau’s numbers on the man advantage show that he has actually slowed down in production rates. The Flames currently rank 21st in the NHL for power-play opportunities, which could be part of the reason he hasn’t been as productive. He also looks dangerous on most opportunities and more shots or passes are bound to go in.
One of the main stats that jumps off the page is that Gaudreau is shooting a ton more on the power play, but the puck hasn’t been going in for him. If Calgary starts to get more opportunities, then the goals should start to follow. To sum it all up, in all situations he is scoring 3.65 points/60 in 2021-22 which is just a fraction higher than his pace of 3.61 points/60 during the 2018-19 season. It’s not by much that he is out pacing his 99 career-high total, but his linemates this season will definitely help him get to within striking distance or over the century mark.
Flames’ Newest Top Line is Elite
They were dubbed the “Purple Gatorade” line in 2018-19 as Gaudreau, Elias Lindholm, and Sean Monahan were regularly caught on camera sharing a bottle of Gatorade after a goal. That year saw the Flames have a true top line for the first time in years, but this season, the line of Gaudreau, Lindholm and Matthew Tkachuk has been even better. A quick look at some key numbers shows just how much more dominant this top line has been compared to the Purple Gatorade line.
The newly formed line is by far outpacing the Purple Gatorade line and it could be a key factor to Gaudreau getting to the elusive 100 point mark. In 2018-19, Gaudreau’s line had a pace of 29.22 scoring chances for per 60 (SCF/60) and 12.31 high-danger chances for per 60 (HDCF/60). This season his line is at a pace of 38.9 SCF/60 and 14.83 HDCF/60 which is giving the Flames winger ample opportunity and a good chance to match or pass his career-high.
Can Gaudreau Eclipse 100?
Flames head coach Darryl Sutter has the Flames playing like a whole new team and Gaudreau’s line has become one of the best in the NHL. He is currently sitting in the top 10 in NHL scoring which also leads the Flames. The one knock against him reaching the mark this year is that with Sutter’s coaching style, Gaudreau is averaging nearly two minutes less ice-time than his average during the 2018-19 season.
Gaudreau needs to score 71 points in the final 55 games of the season to hit 100. At an average of 18 minutes of ice-time per game that gives him 990 total minutes to get it done. A quick calculation and he will need to average a pace of 4.30 P/60 of the remainder of the season which will be a tall order. However I am going out on a limb and saying that he gets to 100 in the team’s final game of the season.
He’s playing on the best line he’s ever been on, and the power-play shooting percentage should inflate as the season continues and the team gets more opportunities. He is currently on pace for 88 points, but it may only take a solid 5-10 game point streak in the back half of the season for the Flames’ winger to inflate his points pace and finally break a 28-year drought.
Brett is a freelance writer covering the Calgary Flames here at The Hockey Writers. He is an enthusiast of hockey stats and continues to learn every day about the sports analytics movement. Brett enjoys using both statistical analysis and the old-fashioned eye test in his writing to create the best content for readers. His work at THW has been featured on the Calgary Flames’ news feed for The Score and on Yardbarker. Brett is also part of THW’s Flames Faceoff YouTube/podcast show where he brings his opinions each week on the team’s current state of affairs.