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Lines and Pairings for 2018/19 Season

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40 minutes ago, MAC331 said:

You don't seem to have any kind of handle on what all goes into having players play at their optimum best. This is the highest professional level not Little League. The Coach or at least to be a successful Coach you need to put players in a position to perform and succeed. I see BP having a few problems getting this part right.

 

Yeah it's the NHL you can't play a player on the top line just because he is pouting, that's little league behavior. 

 

I agree you need to put players in positions to succeed, but taking the team's leading goal scorer off the top line to get a guy who doesn't show up to play most nights going just doesn't make any sense.

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28 minutes ago, MAC331 said:

This would be up to Neal to get his head around. I put myself in Neal's shoes expecting to play with Gaudreau and Monahan on the way in and the Coach has other ideas. We don't know what was said to get Neal here and believe me he had other options. BP also appears to be riding this thought that Backlund is going to turn into some huge scoring machine by staying with Tkachuk (isn't happening) all it is doing is holding back Tkachuk. Anyways they need to talk this out and start getting things right, it isn't good when one of your top guns rides the pine for a full period in a tight game.

 

Tkachuk is a point per game player for the first time in his career and is leading the team in scoring but yet Peters is holding him back by playing him with Backlund the team's 2nd best center? You might want to double check your logic because it doesn't add up.

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7 minutes ago, JTech780 said:

 

Tkachuk is a point per game player for the first time in his career and is leading the team in scoring but yet Peters is holding him back by playing him with Backlund the team's 2nd best center? You might want to double check your logic because it doesn't add up.

 

I realize you are talking to MAC, but I will add my two cents worth.

6 points scored on the PP.  I don't think his results are Backlund propping him up as much as he is a dynamic player.

The last two games Tkachuk was held off the scoresheet and 3 games for Backlund.

 

Backlund is the best defensive center we have.  No doubt.  But he's also doing less for Tkachuk than Tkachuk is doing for himself.  Tkachuk is scoring from other players assists, as well as Backlund's.  Games where Backlund has zeros, Matty still puts up points.

 

No, I don't think Tkachuk is being held back by Backlund so much.  Is there a better fit with other players and leaving the defensive assignments to Backlund and Frolik?  No real evidence except on the PP.

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33 minutes ago, JTech780 said:

 

Yeah it's the NHL you can't play a player on the top line just because he is pouting, that's little league behavior. 

 

I agree you need to put players in positions to succeed, but taking the team's leading goal scorer off the top line to get a guy who doesn't show up to play most nights going just doesn't make any sense.

Is that what you think Neal is doing, pouting and not trying ? I highly doubt it which is why it is more important that THE Coach recognize where he needs to be placed for the benefit of the team success. We are the sum of all the parts and I don't think BP has these forward lines sorted out yet for maximum performance. I think he is the one that needs to get it right.

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35 minutes ago, JTech780 said:

 

Tkachuk is a point per game player for the first time in his career and is leading the team in scoring but yet Peters is holding him back by playing him with Backlund the team's 2nd best center? You might want to double check your logic because it doesn't add up.

I don't need to check my logic and maybe you could check whether those points are 5 on 5 or PP for Tkachuk. Tkachuk could be more a catalyst for others as well as himself. If you think he belongs on our primary checking line well we will just have to disagree with what's best for this team.

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8 minutes ago, MAC331 said:

I don't need to check my logic and maybe you could check whether those points are 5 on 5 or PP for Tkachuk. Tkachuk could be more a catalyst for others as well as himself. If you think he belongs on our primary checking line well we will just have to disagree with what's best for this team.

 

Tkachuk is leading the team with 13 5on5 points. He is also getting the 2nd highest offense zone percentage, at just over 58%, of any forward on the team, so the idea that he is being burried defensively is flat out wrong.

 

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6 minutes ago, JTech780 said:

 

Tkachuk is leading the team with 13 5on5 points. He is also getting the 2nd highest offense zone percentage, at just over 58%, of any forward on the team, so the idea that he is being burried defensively is flat out wrong.

 

I didn't say that now did I ? What I said is e could be put to even better use than being on that line. I realize what Tkachuk is and could be for this team, just not sure BP does.

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3 minutes ago, JTech780 said:

 

Tkachuk is leading the team with 13 5on5 points. He is also getting the 2nd highest offense zone percentage, at just over 58%, of any forward on the team, so the idea that he is being burried defensively is flat out wrong.

 

 

Factored in is the 5v4 starts, so that number would be less at 5v5.

The game dictates his O-zone starts.

For instance, against CHI, he was 16.7%.

Against SJS, he was 75%, but nobody was below 50%.

Against LA, he was 60%, but nobody was below 5-% again.

Against COL, he was 50%.

 

Point is that it's worth as much to experiment as it is to stick him only ever with Backlund.  If Backlund struggles, Tkachuk will be held back.

 

 

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1 hour ago, travel_dude said:

 

Factored in is the 5v4 starts, so that number would be less at 5v5.

The game dictates his O-zone starts.

For instance, against CHI, he was 16.7%.

Against SJS, he was 75%, but nobody was below 50%.

Against LA, he was 60%, but nobody was below 5-% again.

Against COL, he was 50%.

 

Point is that it's worth as much to experiment as it is to stick him only ever with Backlund.  If Backlund struggles, Tkachuk will be held back.

 

 

 My bad Tkachuk and Backlund are tied for 2nd on the team with 9 points each at 5v5. 

 

I think people are really under rating how much having Backlund on Tkachuk's line allows him to play in the offensive zone. As much as people think that Backlund has struggled this year he is still our forward at getting the puck going in the right direction.

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46 minutes ago, JTech780 said:

 My bad Tkachuk and Backlund are tied for 2nd on the team with 9 points each at 5v5. 

 

I think people are really under rating how much having Backlund on Tkachuk's line allows him to play in the offensive zone. As much as people think that Backlund has struggled this year he is still our forward at getting the puck going in the right direction.

 

I think that it is Backlund’s lack of finish. He’s getting chances but not showing for them. It makes the rest of his game invisible. You no longer see the good things, and to them not scoring therefore anchors Tkachuk. 

 

It’s not like they’re getting severely hemmed in trying to stop the other team’s best. It would be one thing if they spend the whole time in their own zone.

 

now if Backlund finishes on a few of his should’ve been goals, their numbers would be better.

 

i also see how they feel it could make the flames deeper to separate them. But my idea isn’t because Backlund is holding him back as much as I think Tkachuk can help create a new pair to even out the disparity in scoring. Gaudreau’s line getting 60% of the goals.

 

Pairs:

 

Gaudreau & Monahan 

Tkachuk & Lindholm 

Bennett or Frolik & Backlund 

Dube & Jankowski 

 

we we know Gaudreau and Monahan will do their thing.

 

we need a line that is close to as dangerous. Putting Tkachuk with Lindholm could possibly do that.

If you want Lindholm as a winger then put a C in between him and Tkachuk.

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45 minutes ago, JTech780 said:

 My bad Tkachuk and Backlund are tied for 2nd on the team with 9 points each at 5v5. 

 

I think people are really under rating how much having Backlund on Tkachuk's line allows him to play in the offensive zone. As much as people think that Backlund has struggled this year he is still our forward at getting the puck going in the right direction.

 

Did I actually say struggled all year?

I think I said struggled the last number of games.

Backlund was noticeably bad in the Cali trip.

Tkachuk's only point on the trip was playing on the PP with JH, Lindy and Monahan.

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I had problems with Neal for the first 4/5 games but after that I don't really have a problem with his effort. I think it's been good and he's been getting plenty of chances, it's just not going in. 

 

When you pay someone over 25 million I think you have a responsibility to put that player in a position to succeed and maximize your return. Neal isn't complex nor is he multi dimensional. He isn't a great skater, he isn't great in his own zone and he is an avg passer/play maker. What he's good at, and what they signed him for, is leadership, grit and scoring goals and specifically in relations to scoring goals it's finding opening ice and scoring off his shot, not always stuff he creates for himself. I don't think the way to get him comfortable is to bounce him up and down the lineup every game, and within every game. Neal isn't a kid, he's been around the block and been to 2 Stanley Cup finals and the Flames made him the their top priority Free agent. Can't treat him like he's brand new in the league. 

 

I think Peters has to do more to get Neal involved. I don't really care about the whole "he's on the 3rd line thing" but I don't think sitting him for long stretches, bouncing him up and down or restricting PP time is maximizing the return. It's early, but I think its a coaching responsibility to try and get all his guys comfortable and I don't think peters is doing a good job when it comes to Neal. 

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15 minutes ago, travel_dude said:

 

Did I actually say struggled all year?

I think I said struggled the last number of games.

Backlund was noticeably bad in the Cali trip.

Tkachuk's only point on the trip was playing on the PP with JH, Lindy and Monahan.

 

I didn't say you did.

 

I think a lot of their struggles offensively on that trip can be summed up with the fact that they only had 4 PP's on the trip and 3 of those came against Anaheim. 

 

I mean if you feel like their offense has completely dried up or you think Neal has played well, but just hasn't played with the right players you could try these lines, just for the record I don't think either criteria is true.

 

Gaudreau-Monahan-Neal

Tkachuk-Lindholm-Bennett

Frolik-Backlund-Ryan

Dube-Jankowski-Hathaway

 

IMO that looks like a step backwards to the top 6. I think Gaudreau and Monahan will get their points, but I think putting Neal on that line means they will have the puck less often. I also think Lindholm's production will go down as he has developed great chemistry with Monahan. I think you will see his production end up being similar to what Backlund is producing on that line.

 

At best I see those changes as lateral moves.

 

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5 minutes ago, cross16 said:

I had problems with Neal for the first 4/5 games but after that I don't really have a problem with his effort. I think it's been good and he's been getting plenty of chances, it's just not going in. 

 

When you pay someone over 25 million I think you have a responsibility to put that player in a position to succeed and maximize your return. Neal isn't complex nor is he multi dimensional. He isn't a great skater, he isn't great in his own zone and he is an avg passer/play maker. What he's good at, and what they signed him for, is leadership, grit and scoring goals and specifically in relations to scoring goals it's finding opening ice and scoring off his shot, not always stuff he creates for himself. I don't think the way to get him comfortable is to bounce him up and down the lineup every game, and within every game. Neal isn't a kid, he's been around the block and been to 2 Stanley Cup finals and the Flames made him the their top priority Free agent. Can't treat him like he's brand new in the league. 

 

I think Peters has to do more to get Neal involved. I don't really care about the whole "he's on the 3rd line thing" but I don't think sitting him for long stretches, bouncing him up and down or restricting PP time is maximizing the return. It's early, but I think its a coaching responsibility to try and get all his guys comfortable and I don't think peters is doing a good job when it comes to Neal. 

 

Could he not fit the system? Or is it the group of players?

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4 minutes ago, JTech780 said:

 

I didn't say you did.

 

I think a lot of their struggles offensively on that trip can be summed up with the fact that they only had 4 PP's on the trip and 3 of those came against Anaheim. 

 

I mean if you feel like their offense has completely dried up or you think Neal has played well, but just hasn't played with the right players you could try these lines, just for the record I don't think either criteria is true.

 

Gaudreau-Monahan-Neal

Tkachuk-Lindholm-Bennett

Frolik-Backlund-Ryan

Dube-Jankowski-Hathaway

 

IMO that looks like a step backwards to the top 6. I think Gaudreau and Monahan will get their points, but I think putting Neal on that line means they will have the puck less often. I also think Lindholm's production will go down as he has developed great chemistry with Monahan. I think you will see his production end up being similar to what Backlund is producing on that line.

 

At best I see those changes as lateral moves.

 

Why have 3 or 4 players playing out of positions they are best at normally. If they would use eal on the top line it better sets up the next 2 lines if BP recognizes that Bennett and Jankowski have shown the better progress to date.

Gaudreau, Monahan, Neal

Tkachuk, Jankowski, Lindholm

Bennett, Backlund, Frolik

Dube, Ryan, Czarnik or Hathaway

This is how I would line them given the need to get Neal going getting other efforts in the right places.

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1 minute ago, robrob74 said:

 

Could he not fit the system? Or is it the group of players?

 

I don't think it's the sytem. He looked fine for Vegas last year and they played with similar tempo. I also think we need to step back from the panic a bit. "next Brouwer" " is it the system/players etc is too much too soon.  He isn't the first, nor will he be the last, player to not jump right in to new surroundings. I think you give him time to have the puck go in and that's tough when he's juggled around the lineup so much. 

 

He needs a play maker and unfortunately that's not something the Flames have an abundance of, especially at center, so that is some what limiting, but let's also let him find his way. For all the doom and gloom he's on pace for 14 goals so it's not like he's falling off a cliff here. 

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4 minutes ago, robrob74 said:

 

Could he not fit the system? Or is it the group of players?

This may be as simple as Neal accepted coming here on the premise he would be playing with Gaudreau and Monahan, who wouldn't want that. Since he has been here he has been getting the Bennett treatment. I'm sure he has been thinking what is going on here. It appears that Coach and player need to have a heart to heart and take a direction best for the team. Parking him on the bench wouldn't be an option if I was GM.

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This BS that Neal should be placed on the 1st line because of his struggles in mind blowing. Neal has done nothing this year, for a guy that is noted for making time and space with a great shot pfft have not seen it. Now we are jumping on BP for the opposite of what GG didn't do, hold players accountable. Neal was brought in to score goals, than score some Blockchaining goals. Really if he is that great would he not be flourishing on a line facing off against 3rd liners, he hasn't proven that either. Neal has not looked great this year at all, even in pre season he was a step behind and played on the so called top line!

 

We have played 18 games and are 2 points out of 1st in the division, and Neal should be placed on the top line cause of his pay. If BP is guilty of anything its to much faith in Ryan, Hanifin and Smith. Neal was accused of telling Smitty to make a save, if I am Mike I hit him with do what your paid to do score some Blockchaining goals. If James Neal is having issues with his ice time and play here is some advise: Look in the Blockchaining mirror if you want Satoshi Nakamoto to change.

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I think the team has been playing fairly well, could have had a better Cali trip but the execution just wasn't quite there. If I was BP I would have Czarnik in a little but more, but he hasn't been playing at the level BP wants. I would have Czarnik, Ryan and Hathaway as guys who can be interchangeable in the bottom 6.

 

Like others have noted Neal needs to be much better. He has the resume and experience where he should be able to chip in regardless of his spot in the lineup. With that being said his career has been characterized by hot streaks, if he scores 5 in the next 4 games the narrative around him will change.

 

The top line wasn't great in Cali, but no reason to panic as they have been dynamite thus far. One thing I didn't like was the over-passing. Odd man rushes need to result in  shot on net as opposed to the pass that fails to connect resulting in a missed opportunity.

 

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33 minutes ago, tmac70 said:

This BS that Neal should be placed on the 1st line because of his struggles in mind blowing. Neal has done nothing this year, for a guy that is noted for making time and space with a great shot pfft have not seen it. Now we are jumping on BP for the opposite of what GG didn't do, hold players accountable. Neal was brought in to score goals, than score some Blockchaining goals. Really if he is that great would he not be flourishing on a line facing off against 3rd liners, he hasn't proven that either. Neal has not looked great this year at all, even in pre season he was a step behind and played on the so called top line!

 

We have played 18 games and are 2 points out of 1st in the division, and Neal should be placed on the top line cause of his pay. If BP is guilty of anything its to much faith in Ryan, Hanifin and Smith. Neal was accused of telling Smitty to make a save, if I am Mike I hit him with do what your paid to do score some Blockchaining goals. If James Neal is having issues with his ice time and play here is some advise: Look in the Blockchaining mirror if you want Satoshi Nakamoto to change.

 

I can’t say I don’t agree. A few feel Ryan has done a lot. Some of us feel like he hasn’t done enough to warrant his ice time. If anything I feel like Ryan is getting the Brouwer treatment. He plays the system well and is in the spots the coach wants, but I haven’t seen much more than getting knocked off the puck. He’s a bit smaller and it shows.

 

Maybe the team is still getting the system down. I think there Is lot of clogging up happening and it happens a lot with Ryan.

 

i can see some good in Hanifin but think he can be managed when he’s not playing up to snuff. 

 

Smith better come out and be on his game or I will lose full faith in BP. 

 

I still see a lot of possession, but we get a few more passes, but often kept to the outside. I still think we need to get ugly and dirty goals. The team is too pretty. The D knows if they outwait the passing the Flames do, the Flames pass their way out of a quality scoring chance. Or they shoot it wide.

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58 minutes ago, tmac70 said:

This BS that Neal should be placed on the 1st line because of his struggles in mind blowing. Neal has done nothing this year, for a guy that is noted for making time and space with a great shot pfft have not seen it. Now we are jumping on BP for the opposite of what GG didn't do, hold players accountable. Neal was brought in to score goals, than score some Blockchaining goals. Really if he is that great would he not be flourishing on a line facing off against 3rd liners, he hasn't proven that either. Neal has not looked great this year at all, even in pre season he was a step behind and played on the so called top line!

 

We have played 18 games and are 2 points out of 1st in the division, and Neal should be placed on the top line cause of his pay. If BP is guilty of anything its to much faith in Ryan, Hanifin and Smith. Neal was accused of telling Smitty to make a save, if I am Mike I hit him with do what your paid to do score some Blockchaining goals. If James Neal is having issues with his ice time and play here is some advise: Look in the Blockchaining mirror if you want Satoshi Nakamoto to change.

 

You move a player to a different line to find the best chemistry.

Lindolm has been a great fit on the top line, but he has 10 point EV, the rest being PP points.

Our scoring is top heavy.

Other than the top line and Tkachuk, everyone else is on pace for less than 45 points.

How is Neal's most frequent linemates doing?

Bennett - 4 points

Ryan - 3 points

Janko - 4 points

Dube - 2 points

 

 

Usage on th 2nd unit is pretty telling too.  How is that unit doing?  Every sinle player has zero ponts.  Since both units are not doing that well, maybe it's time to swap a player or two.  

 

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Neal has never been a player who can drive a line. He is a great complimentary player. Put him on a line with Crosby or Malkin and he a PPG player. Put him with Perron/Haula and you get 25 goals and 44 points. Put him with a mishmash of linemates like Jankowski and Bennett, limit his PP time, and you don't get much. 

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39 minutes ago, kehatch said:

Neal has never been a player who can drive a line. He is a great complimentary player. Put him on a line with Crosby or Malkin and he a PPG player. Put him with Perron/Haula and you get 25 goals and 44 points. Put him with a mishmash of linemates like Jankowski and Bennett, limit his PP time, and you don't get much. 

 

Well first off he hasn't been a PPG in 6 seasons so I don't think that is on the table, that's not who he is anymore. Secondly who are we going to take off the top PP unit to fit Neal? I also don't think he has played better than anyone in the top 6 to displace them. He was given chances on the 2nd line and really didn't do much of anything on that line.

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2 hours ago, JTech780 said:

 

Well first off he hasn't been a PPG in 6 seasons so I don't think that is on the table, that's not who he is anymore. Secondly who are we going to take off the top PP unit to fit Neal? I also don't think he has played better than anyone in the top 6 to displace them. He was given chances on the 2nd line and really didn't do much of anything on that line.

 

Considering that the Flames have more PP opportunites than almost all (if not all) teams, they have only scored 11 PP goals.

There are only 4 players that have scored on the PP.

As much as they have connected as a unit, they also have come up empty so often.

Maybe, just maybe you need to swap players every once in awhile and compare.

Lindholm man the point and Neal down low?  Might actually get a one-timer on net in a game.

Tkachuk on the 2nd unit to get them going?  Maybe they would be able to build on the 1st unit's chances and not just be a waste of time.

 

With his time on the 2nd line, you are using the example of the SJ game?  Arguably the 2nd line's worst game and you single out Neal?

 

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4 hours ago, JTech780 said:

 

Well first off he hasn't been a PPG in 6 seasons so I don't think that is on the table, that's not who he is anymore. Secondly who are we going to take off the top PP unit to fit Neal? I also don't think he has played better than anyone in the top 6 to displace them. He was given chances on the 2nd line and really didn't do much of anything on that line.

 

I am not suggesting he is point per game player. But when he was in Pittsburg he was a point per game player the entire time. He spent most his time with Malkin. He dropped off to a 0.7 PPG player in Nashville playing with Johanson. Then he dropped off a bit more playing with Perron. 

 

The point is Neal is a finisher. He doesn't drive the play. He doesn't set up the plays. That isn't the type of player that he is. But he can put it in the net when he has quality line mates in offensive situations. That is what he has always been. Putting him on a checking line or with a bunch of low offense players is going to result in what you are seeing, poor offensive output from Neal. 

 

Worse, our power play has been terrible. Neal is 22nd in power play goals since he entered the league. He is stuck with Backlund (2 shots, 0 points) and Ryan (0 shots, 0 points) plus a revolving door of others on the PP. 

 

I think the Flames need to reevaluate Backlund's role. If he is a defensive specialist then make him that. Move Lindholm to C to anchor a solid second line, move Backlund to your third line (ensuring you have a solid third line) and fill in the pieces from there. 

 

Gaudreau-Monahan-Neal 

Tkachuk-Lindholm-Czarnik

Bennett-Backlund-Frolik

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