Is Kris Versteeg’s absence why Johnny Gaudreau’s hit a slump?

CALGARY, AB - NOVEMBER 13 2017: (Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images)
CALGARY, AB - NOVEMBER 13 2017: (Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images) /

We were all anticipating that Calgary Flames lead scorer Johnny Gaudreau could hit a slump. Is it happening right now?

After starting out the season strong, there was slight fear that Calgary Flames lead scorer Johnny Gaudreau couldn’t keep up his stellar performance all season long. But November hit and he didn’t seem to be slowing down. In fact, in the month of November, he was averaging almost two points per game for almost the entire month.

But lately, in December, it hasn’t quite been the same story. Is he in somewhat of a slump?

On the season, the 24-year-old defending Lady Byng winner has 40 points in 34 games. In the month of December, he has just six points in nine games and only six points in his last 12 games. At one point, he was projected at 120 points at the end of the season and was a legitimate contender for the Art Ross Trophy. Now, he’s projected at 96. Don’t get me wrong, that’s still incredible. But if he keeps up the way he’s playing, he won’t hit 96 points and he may not hit a point-per-game pace.

Related Story: Johnny Gaudreau could win Art Ross this season

Something that’s been a struggle lately for the Calgary Flames is their powerplay. In the month of December, they’re at just 8.8% on the PP with just three goals on 34 opportunities. With the injury to Kris Versteeg, they’ve been especially feeling that missing piece on the powerplay. But could something else be affected by the absence of Versteeg?

Could Gaudreau’s slump be from the absence of Kris Versteeg?

Right now, Kris Versteeg is on IR and is month-to-month. Without Versteeg, the Calgary Flames powerplay has been struggling. They went five games without scoring a powerplay goal and were 0/23 before finally scoring one in their fifth powerplay of that game.

Versteeg’s last game was November 24th before he was out with the injury. At that point, Johnny Gaudreau had 34 points in 22 games and over a third of those were powerplay points (13). Since then, he has just six points in 12 games and only one of those are powerplay points.

Johnny Gaudreau also does the best on the PP with Versteeg on the ice. Let’s look at his stats with Versteeg compared to his other powerplay linemates.

TOICF% withCF% withoutGF withGF withoutSCF% withSCF% withoutHDCF% withHDCF% without
Kris Versteeg69:1392.5976.9213395.1575.0093.4850.00
Sean Monahan113:1090.3810015492.3610087.32
Micheal Ferland72:0690.1291.3012392.0092.8686.6788.00
Troy Brouwer42:3992.0089.703289.0994.2976.0093.48
TJ Brodie102:3790.2792.3111491.7996.1598.1088.89

As we can see, Gaudreau basically does the best on the powerplay when he’s with Versteeg and does the worst on the PP without him. However, Versteeg isn’t coming back anytime soon, so the Flames need to find another solution to fix their powerplay.

In the last couple days, they’ve been working on different combinations.

They’re trying out combos that are completely different but potentially in the right direction. Some positives about this: TJ Brodie isn’t on that first unit, Troy Brouwer isn’t on any unit, and they’re mixing up the forwards a bit.

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Let’s hope this gives them some extra boost and get Johnny Gaudreau back in the running for the Art Ross Trophy.