For the statistically savvy hockey fan, one of last year’s big stories was Calgary’s ability to sustain it’s success — especially since the numbers said it wasn’t sustainable.
For the uninitiated, a quick recap: Calgary was a bad possession team last year in nearly every statistical category, and routinely out-shot (often times quite dramatically). Yet it relied on good goaltending, a high shooting percentage and their penchant for third-period comebacks to make the playoffs for the first time in five seasons.
Then, for good measure, they went out and won their first playoff series in 11 years.
Often times, the Flames were a debate topic between statheads and old-school hockey guys. The latter praised them for intangibles like hard work, grit and determination; the former insisted that, over time, Calgary would eventually come back to earth.
So is this the year it happens?
You can expect to hear plenty of comparisons to Colorado as the season draws closer. In ’13-14, the Avs surprised the league by racking up 112 points and winning the Central Division despite poor shot-based metrics; last year, that same team struggled to find similar success as the organization — head coach Patrick Roy included — begrudgingly admitted it needed to improve its puck possession (though GM Joe Sakic did downplay the importance of fancy stats.)
Colorado, of course, missed the playoffs last year.
Will the same thing happen to the Flames?
Vote (in the comments section — our poll function is currently, uh, not functioning).