The past is a great predictor of the future. When we examine National Hockey League shooters and goaltenders, their past performance is a good indicator – barring for miraculous collapses or improvements – of their future performance levels. Career shooting and save percentages can be used to provide high-level estimates of a skater’s production level and a goaltender’s overall performance.
Now that we have 32 games of the 2016-17 Calgary Flames to examine, let’s take a glance at their performance – both in net and putting pucks in ’em – based on expected goals and saves.
Scoring less than expected? Mark Giordano (2.1 goals), Mikael Backlund (1.9), Johnny Gaudreau (1.2), Dennis Wideman (1.1) and Deryk Engelland (1.1).
Scoring more than expected? Micheal Ferland (3.1 goals) and Kris Versteeg (1.1).
If there’s anything you need to know about Calgary’s offense thus far in 2016-17, it’s basically this. The differences do seem to cancel each other out to some extent. Ferland’s offensive explosion could simply be the establishment of a new normal for the winger considering his age and relatively low NHL experience level.
Stop me if this sounds particularly shocking or surprising: Brian Elliott is under-performing versus his historical results while Chad Johnson is slightly over-performing against his. For what it’s worth, Johnson isn’t over-performing by that much given how much he plays.
SUM IT UP
The Flames are scoring slightly less than you would expect them to given their roster’s historical shooting percentages. Their goaltenders are letting in more goals than you would expect given their historical save percentages.
That said, Ferland and Johnson have emerged as really nice success stories (so long as their results don’t correct themselves in a severe way over the remainder of the season).