Follow me on Twitter @ToddCordell
When the Calgary Flames acquired Travis Hamonic to pair with T.J. Brodie on the 2nd unit, many assumed they'd be one of the league's best duos. And it was easy to see why.
Brodie had averaged 43 points per 82 games in the three seasons prior to last and was widely considered one of the more underrated two-way blue liners in the NHL.
Hamonic averaged 29 points per 82 over the same span while chewing up big minutes for New York.
They both were regarded as quality players. They both had experience, and enjoyed success, playing on the top pairing. And they were going to have the luxury of taking on secondary assignments almost nightly.
What could go wrong? Apparently a lot.
Their gap control was non-existent – they allowed easy entries all season long. They struggled breaking out of the zone. There were glaring defensive breakdowns and simple assignments missed routinely. By the eye, they were a mess.
The picture the numbers painted wasn't any prettier.
As you can see, the Flames were worse across the board with Brodie and Hamonic out there. Noticeably so.
If that graph didn't do it justice, hopefully this will.
In 2017-18, 54 pairings logged at least 500 minutes together. Among them, Brodie and Hamonic ranked 47th in Relative Corsi For%, 48th in Relative Goals For%, and 50th(!) in Relative Expected Goals For%.
The Flames' dip in performance when they hit the ice was as large as almost any frequent pairing in the NHL. And they were supposed to be one of the best.
Maybe a year of experience together, and a new system under Bill Peters, will do them well.
The Flames better hope that's the case – assuming both players are back – because they weren't close to good enough.
They may not have been the only reason the Flames underachieved, but they were certainly one of them.
Could the Flames and Rangers become trade partners?
Trading Dougie Hamilton is a truly awful idea
Three backup options for the Flames
On potentially trading Sam Bennett
Which pending free agents should the Flames re-sign?
The Flames should make a play for Ilya Kovalchuk
Notes on quotes from Bill Peters' introductory presser