Johnny Gaudreau's brilliant play this season, and how his impact extends beyond just the point totals
There's no hotter team in the NHL right now than the Calgary Flames (pun fully intended). They've won 10 straight games, and have done so in emphatic fashion without leaving the outcomes to chance. They've finished nine of those contests off in regulation time, comfortably outscoring their opponents by a 42-15 margin along the way.
For the year, they're now up to eighth in point percentage, behind just the Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild amongst Western Conference teams. They've got a back-to-back set lined up against the latter, leaving the door open for potentially leapfrogging them as well. More importantly for the time being, they've also created a bit of breathing room between themselves and the Vegas Golden Knights in the Pacific, currently sitting four points up on them with two games still in hand.
There's no shortage of individual reasons for their team success. Jacob Markström is building a legitimate case to be high up on Vezina Trophy ballots at season's end. The same goes for Elias Lindholm with the Selke, and head coach Darryl Sutter for the Jack Adams. They just made a big splash by acquiring Tyler Toffoli, which only bolsters their already impressive group.
But none have been as uniquely impactful as Johnny Gaudreau, who has been operating in an entirely different stratosphere through the first 50 games of the season. He not only leads the Flames in a number of key offensive categories, but sits atop the entire league in them as well.
I decided to go back and watch every shift he's taken so far to get a better sense of how he has generated that production, and why he's been so effective. I came away from the viewings even more impressed, because the degree to which he's influenced these games all over the ice really popped off the screen. The point totals he's been racking up are great and will understandably receive most of the attention, but it's clear that his contributions to the way Calgary has been playing go well beyond just that.
Let's use some of the video work to show the manner in which he's been creating for both himself and his teammates, and mix in some other hand-tracked stats to better quantify the tremendous year he's having.
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