by PuckStopsHere on 07/08/12 at 02:29 PM ET
When we look at the worst 20 players by Corsi rating in 2011/12 we see prominent Calgary Flame players did very poorly in terms of puck possession. Their top forward Jarome Iginla was seventh worst in the league and their top defenceman Jay Bouwmeester was tenth worst. Defenceman Scott Hannan was fourth. This puts Calgary in a bad place. Their top forward and their top defenceman in terms of ice time and in terms of points struggled on the ice. When they were on the ice the opposing team had the puck and had Calgary on their heels.
This shows us a fundamental problem with the Calgary Flames. Their frontline players were unable to keep possession of the puck on a significantly worse level than any other team in the league. Calgary may have finished in ninth place in the West Conference only five points from a playoff berth but that doesn’t make them a team with a solid shot at the playoffs this season.
Calgary can no longer rely on their top players to dominate when they are on the ice. They should expect that their opposition dominates when these players are on the ice, as that is what they saw last year. In an ideal situation the Flames would have some depth to take some pressure off of their struggling frontline. It looks like Iginla needs to have some of the pressure on him to produce reduced and their top forward in the line-up next year is Alex Tanguay who scored 49 points. There isn’t any obvious player to take over from him.
On defence their top two players in total ice time in Bouwmeester and Hannan struggled in their roles. It is hard to imagine players like Chris Butler and Mark Giordano doing much better in their place.
Calgary is in a tough situation. They are not good enough to make the playoffs. Their best players are being significantly overplayed. In Iginla’s case this is a sign that he is in decline. Things are likely to get much worse in the not too distant future. Calgary is likely to finish well back of a playoff berth next season if they follow the same path next year.
Jay Feaster has been criticized as their GM for not rebuilding the team. That is a tough path when most people interpret rebuild as getting really young and bad and waiting until several of your top draft picks become stars. That is a poor solution as well. However there is middle ground. Jarome Iginla has significant trade value. Calgary could probably get back something more useful than Iginla’s future in a deal. Bouwmeester is harder to deal because his contract is bigger than it should be. Feaster is in a bad place in Calgary. The team is going down. Feaster has largely decided to stand pat with a non-playoff team that was significantly outplayed when their best players were on the ice. That is a sign that things are about to get even worse in the future.
Calgary has a Corsi problem. Their top three players by ice time in 2011/12 were among the worst puck possession players in the league. That is not a recipe for a winning team. It is a sign of a team that is on their way down in the standings. There are big changes needed in Calgary and I don’t think they are being made.
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