Are the Calgary Flames on track after the first 10 games of the 2020-21 season?

Andrew Mangiapane #88 of the Calgary Flames. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
Andrew Mangiapane #88 of the Calgary Flames. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images) /

Let’s stage a little State of the Union for the Calgary Flames 10 games into the 2020-21 season.

Ten games in and the first Battle of Alberta of 2021 on the horizon and the Calgary Flames are sitting just below the .500 mark with a 4-5-1 record. Some players have been more noticeable than others but, at this point, are they in good standing? Every game matters more than ever before with the modified and shortened 56-game schedule. Let’s take a look at the individual and team efforts, and how they compare to last season.

Overall Team Effort – Slightly Below Average

Surprisingly enough, this section of the season in the 2019-20 campaign had the Flames in a very similar spot. Ten games into the previous season had them sitting at a 5-4-1 record. The Canadian Division makes this harder to evaluate as they had only played a Canadian team once in their first 10 games last season with a 3-0 win against the Vancouver Canucks. The Flames are not typically known for having hot starts and often end up pulling together a winning streak in the middle of the season that better solidifies a Playoff berth.

Scoring – Exactly the Same

Are they letting more goals in? Getting more scoring chances? Getting less possibly? They’re actually not. The Flames have an identical Goals For and Goals Against tally for this point in the season with 26 Goals For and 27 Goals Against. The goals obviously being placed at different points in different games to dictate the game outcome and overall outcome. What it is coming down to is the skaters who are scoring.

Elias Lindholm (28)
Elias Lindholm #28 of the Calgary Flames. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /

Individual Scoring – On Par

This year the top five producers consist of Johnny Gaudreau, Elias Lindholm, Matthew Tkachuk, Sean Monahan and Rasmus Andersson, in that order. Gaudreau leads the team in goals with six and Lindholm leads the team in assists with nine. All five skaters are ranging between 19-21 minutes of ice time a night. Overall points are spread out between 16 skaters in both seasons.

Last season had Elias Lindholm leading the way in goals with five and Matthew Tkachuk leading the assist category with six. The largest noticeable shift in production for the top skaters is with Lindholm. His shift to center has turned him into more of a set up role, practically swapping his scoring stats going from five goals and one assist to two goals and nine assists this season. Not necessarily a bad thing, just different.

Some fans worry the Captain is off to a slow start as well. At this point, Mark Giordano sits at half the production he had at this point in the season last year with three points (1 G, 2 A). However, it is too early to say if this is something to truly be concerned about as there has been shifting on the blue line and the young talents of Rasmus Andersson and Juuso Valimaki are expected to emerge.

Jakob Markstrom (25)
Jacob Markstrom #25 of the Calgary Flames. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images) /

Goaltending – Uncharted Territory

With the amount of time that Jacob Markstrom is getting between the pipes, it would not be overly fair to compare him to last season’s goaltending. However, just a glance at the stats or viewing any of David Rittich’s games this season is showing an area of concern. Goals Against are the same, but they are starting to lean in a less than satisfactory direction. In the 26 goals against the Flames this year, seven of them are with Rittich in net. He has only played three games.

This might be one of those situations that is not a problem until it becomes one, but how much time do they have to work with? Markstrom was expected to be the go-to guy and has the salary to back it up. Rittich appears to have lost his way since the season cut off due to COVID-19 and hasn’t had the opportunity to bounce back into division superstar status.

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At this present moment, the Flames sit in a very similar spot to the previous season, Just below .500 but not out of the race by any means. Even so, the season is already almost 20% complete so there is very little wiggle room when it comes to stretches of tough games. The Calgary Flames’ next challenge will take place on Saturday, February 6th where they host the Edmonton Oilers for the first time this season at 8:00 pm (MT).