Follow me on Twitter @ToddCordell
Welcome to another edition of the Hockeybuzz hotstove.
In this one we'll be discussing whether or not the Calgary Flames will make the playoffs.
Todd Cordell: No
Mark Giordano, T.J. Brodie and Jonas Hiller may keep them afloat for a while, but I can't see them getting in. Their shooting percentage is unsustainably high, and they're getting outshot and out possessed by a significant margin almost every night. That's hardly a recipe for success, and we'll start to see that over time.
Factor in the likes of San Jose and Minnesota are currently on the outside of the playoffs looking in, and I think it's only a matter of time before Calgary finds themselves on the outside of the playoff picture.
Ryan Wilson: No
The Flames are off to an incredibly nice start. Around 20 games into the season and they are sitting in 2nd place in the division. It's a nice story but I don't think this will last the entire season. Right now Calgary is riding high on the PDO train. This is masking their very bad possession game. When their league best shooting percentage dries up they'll need their possession to pick up the slack. I just don't see it happening.
Matt Henderson: No
Well I certainly hope not! Look, it's bad enough following and writing about a team like the Oilers without the Flames making the playoffs and out-performing all expectations. The Flames are a team that is getting hammered in possession metrics. I mean absolutely hammered. As a team they are 43.7% in Corsi For this season. For comparison’s sake, the Oilers were 44.3% a year ago and were laughed out of most NHL buildings. PDO, or combined shooting and save percentage, is 3rd highest in the NHL. They are both shooting the lights out and stopping more pucks than “normal” and with 60+ games to go you have to think the odds of them falling back to Earth are pretty high. If it weren’t for the fact that Giordano is playing Norris trophy caliber hockey and Jonas Hiller is sporting a .920 sv% this team would be dead in the water already. Lucky for them, they do have those things which makes winning games they have no right to be in a distinct possibility every night. The rug will be pulled out from under them eventually. At least I hope so for my sake.
Ed Stein: Yes
24 hours earlier, I would have said the Flames were on the fence and I was leaning toward no. That was before they came from two goals down to beat the Ducks. I, like many others thought they were off to a good start, but would eventually fold. That was until I saw them play for a full 65 minutes.
I was impressed with the way they carried themselves during the game. Calgary is fast, very fast and if their conditioning holds up, they are a hard matchup for almost anyone. I'm not sure how that style holds in the playoffs, but that isn't the question. Johnny Gaudreau will win the Calder, Mark Giordano and TJ Brodie are an outstanding first pair defense combo. The linchpin for Calgary is goalie Jonas Hiller. He is battle tested and has proven throughout his career that he can carry a team when necessary.
James Tanner: No
Not a chance.
The Flames are playing way above their head and it is not sustainable. Without getting into all the statistical arguments, as I'm sure others are doing so, there record is way better than it should be and so it won't last.
The other thing is that Giordano is playing out of his mind and would win the Norris if it was awarded a month and a half into the season. The thing is, while he's a great player, he isn't actually the best defensemen in the NHL and as his play goes back to his normal level, the so will the Flames.
Not to completely discount what Giordano is doing, because it's impressive, but what is more likely a) 31 year old very good defenseman suddenly becomes NHL's best or b) veteran star defenseman goes on hot streak where he's the best for a while.
Bottom line, Calgary will finish closer to the basement than the playoffs when its all over.
Tim Chiasson: No
No, they won't.
The offense that Calgary is producing right now isn't sustainable with their roster. They have two defenders on pace for 20+ goals and another with over 15. It's just not realistic to assume that they can continue to play at the same level for much longer.
When I look at what the Calgary players have done so far I see too many overachievers to believe this team can hold onto a playoff position in the Western Conference for the next five months. Despite Jonas Hiller's stellar play between the pipes, once the offensive output levels off for Calgary they'll begin to fall out of favor in the West.
Adam French: No
While I sang their praises in the previous Hotstove, I just can't see it. Maybe they end up being this years "Avalanche," but there are a few chinks in the armour (get over it, it's an expression) that have been masked by their determination. In the end I think the scoring will begin to dry up a little, so much is being driven by the defense and a class of rookies/sophomores, I don't think it's sustainable. Even though Giordano is amazing and is the favourite to win the Norris right now...I just can't see him scoring 86 points...just can't. Nor Wideman scoring 30 goals. Both of which they are on pace for. I'll let my advanced stats friends on the Stove go at it their way. The madness has to end right? Right? Rebuild my butt Burkie...
NHL power rankings: Penguins unanimously on top
Will the Blue Jackets make the playoffs?
Best line in the NHL this year?
Best defense pairing in hockey?
First team to make a panic move?
Will the Avs make the playoffs?