Tha Sports Junkies 101

Smith Shines, Calgary Offense Inconsistent

Calgary Flames Dinur/Flickr


Calgary Flames 

In this past NHL off-season we saw many players move teams and sign massive contracts. Possibly the most underrated trade was Mike Smith, who moved from the Arizona Coyotes to the Calgary Flames. In return, the Coyotes agreed to retain 25% of Smith’s salary. Along with this financial incentive, the Coyotes received:

  • Chad Johnson (G)
  •  Brandon Hickey (D)
  •  Conditional 3rd round pick (2nd round pick if Flames make playoffs).


Mike Smith is under a 6 year/ $34,000,000 contract with only two remaining years including this season. That cap hit isn’t as severe for the Flames, due to the retained salary of $1,416,667 per year by the Coyotes. With $4,250,000 left to pay annually, GM Brad Triveling brought in the experienced netminder this offseason. Smith has made the most of his new start and has taken the reigns of the crease.


Smith’s Early Performance

The Flames’ early season play is average in a highly competitive division (9-7-0, 18pts). They are in possession of the first wild-card spot with four teams in hot pursuit. San Jose and Colorado were the two teams in possession of the Western Conference wild-card spots yesterday. With their 6-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings, the Flames catapulted themselves into the lead wild card spot. They can thank their starting goaltender for their ability to keep up with potential playoff teams.


Since joining the Flames in the offseason there has been speculation as to how the new member would adjust to his team. Would he be able to make a new name for himself away from the stagnant Coyotes? Smith has proved he is making the most of his new opportunity–as he has posted a .923 Save Percentage along with a 2.52 Goals Against Average and 834:24 minutes in the crease, good for third in the league among all goalies–coming into Thursday’s game against the Red Wings

The most encouraging part of this season, Smith has shown his ability to rebound from a few bad starts. The Flames’ November 7 game against divisional rival Vancouver was not great. The Calgary goaltender allowed a poor five goals while only facing 21 shots against (.762 Sv. %). His start before that pitted him against the New Jersey Devils in which he gave up four goals on 30 shots in an overtime win. Last night against the Detroit Red Wings, Smith rebounded from these two forgettable starts, finishing the game with 39 saves on 42 shots (.929 Sv. %). His solid play this season has kept his team in the playoff hunt. 


Offensive Struggles.

Coming into Thursday, the Flames sat 28th in the league with a shoddy 38 goals for in their 15 games played. Their star players and veterans can’t find a solution to the team’s general inability to score consistently, and their power play has been lacking as well. Generally, they have been lackluster as a group of players when it comes to putting forth offensive production.


A statistical look at the production that the Flames have had shows that their output is truly lacking in many areas. They rank dead last in the league with a dismal 2.25 Goals For/ Game Played. Especially relevant–their power play ranks 20th in the NHL, an uninspiring 17.0% over the course of the season so far. These statistics are current and updated after Thursday night’s game.


The team’s mixture could definitely be evaluated before the upcoming trade deadline. Calgary hasn’t seemed to define themselves as a rebuilding team or as a contender which has lead to only one playoff series win in the past 10 years. The need for offensive consistency is apparent. This group of players could use a star addition or lower-scale moves to push them from a fringe team to a legitimate contender. In the divisional preview for the Pacific, Calgary seemed to be near the top of the list for the expected finish (Pacific Preview). The next few weeks will be crucial for them as a team to get their offense together.