NHL.com is providing in-depth analysis for each of its 31 teams throughout August. Today, three key statistics for the Calgary Flames.
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1. Rittich's save percentage against power play
David Rittich had an NHL career-high 27 wins and a .911 save percentage last season. He started 42 games, two more than backup Mike Smith, who signed a one-year contract with the Edmonton Oilers on July 1. Rittich fared well at even strength, with a .923 save percentage (tied for 13th in NHL; minimum of 40 games), but he struggled against the power play, with an .846 save percentage (26th). In order to garner more starts than Cam Talbot, who signed a one-year contract July 1, Rittich needs to improve his play against the power play.
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2. Shot attempts
To re-create their regular-season success of last season, when they finished first in the Western Conference, the Flames will look to duplicate their shot attempts differential at 5-on-5 (plus-560; tied for fifth in NHL). The Flames were even better in SAT when trailing, their plus-395 ranking second in the NHL behind the Carolina Hurricanes (plus-483). This shows that Calgary was able to apply pressure when behind, resulting in the second-most wins in the NHL (eight) when trailing entering the third period (Tampa Bay Lightning, nine). Forward Matthew Tkachuk was a big reason the Flames generated more shot attempts than their opponents, ranking first among their forwards with a plus-290 SAT. Elias Lindholm, acquired in a trade from Carolina prior to last season, was second among Calgary forwards at plus-226. It's worth noting Tkachuk and Lindholm skated on separate lines for the majority of the season, indicating the Flames controlled possession whether their first or second line was on the ice.
3. Giordano, Brodie SAT
Mark Giordano, who won the Norris Trophy voted as the best defenseman in the NHL last season, finished sixth in the NHL in SAT at plus-371, meaning he was on the ice for 371 more shot attempts at 5-on-5 by the Flames than by their opponents. He helped his primary defense partner, TJ Brodie, improve drastically from 2017-18, when he was plus-41, to last season, when he was plus-292 (14th in NHL). Brodie has been the subject of trade rumors throughout the offseason, but the Flames would be wise to keep him paired with Giordano this season.
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