Calgary Flames reason for season of mishap: Sam Bennett’s beard

CALGARY, AB - OCTOBER 7: Sam Bennett
CALGARY, AB - OCTOBER 7: Sam Bennett /

In a season that should have been, the Calgary Flames fell short. Could a reason for this be because of Sam Bennett’s gross beard?

While the Calgary Flames season was somewhat of a bust, it was also quite helpful in other ways. For one, we learned that nobody appreciates and respects Dougie Hamilton to the extent that he deserves. We also learned that Sam Bennett can grow a beard. Albeit it’s kind of gross, but it’s rather impressive nonetheless.

But is Sam Bennett’s beard the reason the Flames season didn’t go as planned? Let’s take a look at the facts.

Win/lose record

The date ranges for Bennett having his beard was between October 4th, the season opener, until October 14th, when he decided to shave it after that game. He then began the growing process again, and it became another gross beard around January 20th, when the Calgary Flames returned from their bye-week, until March 29th, when he again shaved it after that game.

Related Story: What's going on with Sam Bennett?

The time frame which Bennett had his beard was 39 games (meaning 43 without it). In those 39 games, the Flames went 14-19-6. In the time when he didn’t have his beard, the Flames went 23-16-4. Wow, we’re already noticing something here. Let’s keep it going.

Team stats

While Bennett had a beard, the Flames had 92 goals-for, which averages to 2.36 GF/GP. Without a beard, the Flames had 124 goals-for, which averages to 2.88 GF/GP. It’s not a huge difference but .5 goals per game average adds up in the end. If a team averages 2.36 GF/GP all season, that adds up to around 193 goals. But if a team averages 2.88 GF/GP, 236 GF.GP.

Calgary Flames
Calgary Flames /

Calgary Flames

A 43-goal difference is quite notable, seeing how the Calgary Flames had 17 losses in one-goal games, including OT. I guess we’ve figured out the reason for the lack of offence.

But what the bigger difference was is the goals-against. With Bennett’s beard, the Flames allowed 129 goals, which averages to 3.31 GA/GP. Without his beard the Flames allowed 114 goals, which averages to 2.65 GA/GP. That’s quite a substantial difference if you think about it. In 82 games, if you allowed 2.65 GA/GP, you would have allowed around 217 goals at the end of the season. But if you allow 3.31 GA/GP, that adds up to around 271 goals.

Looks like we don’t have Mike Smith to blame anymore for the late-season collapse.

While the teams stats that show up on the scoresheet were way better, behind the numbers, it tells a different story. The Flames were known this season for having one of the best CF% and put up a lot of shot attempts. However, they actually did better in terms of puck-possession when Bennett had his beard.

With his beard, the Flames had 2045 shot attempts (at 5v5) which averaged to 52.4 a game. They allowed 1719 shot attempts which averaged to 44.1 a game. Without his beard, they had 2176 shot attempts which averaged to 50.6 per game and they allowed 1957 which averaged to 45.5 per game. I guess it’s true that possession metrics don’t tell you everything, hey?

Personal stats

Sam Bennett also did better with his personal numbers without his beard. He had five goals and nine points in 39 games (0.23 points/GP) with a beard and six goals and 17 points in 43 games without a beard (0.40 points/GP). However, again, his possession metrics were better when he had a beard than without, but the team in general did better, so that’s understandable.

Next: How the Flames can earn confidence back from their fans

After all this, you cannot deny the numbers. And it seems rather evident what went wrong this season for the Calgary Flames: Sam Bennett had a beard.