Yegor Sharangovich needs to find a fit in the Calgary Flames lineup

Oct 2, 2023; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames left wing Yegor Sharangovich (17) against the Winnipeg Jets during the third period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 2, 2023; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames left wing Yegor Sharangovich (17) against the Winnipeg Jets during the third period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports /

Prior to the pre-season getting underway, Calgary Flames head coach Ryan Huska made it clear that finding chemistry among players on the forward lines was a priority for the team. While the season is still young (in its infancy stage, really) and we’re undoubtedly in the thick of the overreaction period, answering some questions about where certain forwards fit in the lineup before the current road trip is over could be a big step in the right direction. While all 12 (or 13) forwards who are currently with the Flames would profit from perfect line chemistry, that’s not something we should ever expect; with injuries, inconsistency, recalls, and the organic ebb and flow of an 82-game NHL season, there will always be moving pieces. However, there are a handful of players that would benefit from finding a consistent fit sooner than later more than others. Among them: Yegor Sharangovich.

Why finding a fit for Yegor Sharangovich is vital

Sharangovich is one of the most critical puzzle pieces for the Calgary Flames right now. He’s a talented forward with a wicked release and the ability to play a solid two-way game. In 2021-22 with the New Jersey Devils, Sharangovich played in 76 games, putting up 46 points (24 goals) for a 0.61 point/game played pace. In the season prior – his rookie season in the NHL – Sharangovich had 30 points with the Devils for 0.56 P/GP. After being moved down the New Jersey lineup and seeing his average ice time diminished by over two minutes before being dealt by the team that drafted him, Sharangovich could very well be in a fragile place as a player. He needs to find his confidence, he needs to score goals, and he needs to make sure his name is a staple in the Flames’ lineup during his first season in Calgary.

Including the pre-season, Sharangovich has played all three forward positions and has taken reps all the way up and down the lineup. Initially getting a look alongside Elias Lindholm and Jonathan Huberdeau on the top line’s right wing, the Belarusian forward has most recently centred the Flames’ fourth line. He also had an opportunity on the Flames’ top power play unit but is no longer getting reps on either of the two PP units, taking a back seat to rookie Matt Coronato (now on PP1) and Adam Ruzicka, Mikael Backlund, Dillon Dubé, and Andrew Mangiapane on PP2.

Sharangovich – the key piece in the return for the Flames’ top scorer from last season (Tyler Toffoli) – could make that trade look real ugly if Huska, assistant coach Marc Savard, and Sharangovich are unable to find a fit that best utilizes the 25-year-old forward. He should be in the peak of his career and contributing to an offence in desperate need of revitalization, not being buried on the fourth line.

Whether Sharangovich is part of the answer for another player in need of chemistry, like Nazem Kadri, or looks on the second PP unit will help build his confidence remains to be seen, but if I’m Sharangovich and/or part of the Flames’ coaching staff, finding a fit for 17 is vital. We’re two games in, so I’m not ringing the alarm bells yet, but ideally Sharangovich is trending upward in the minds of Flames fans by the end of this road trip.

Potential solutions for Yegor Sharangovich

Sharangovich should be a top-six player for the Flames. His ceiling is likely higher than those of Dillon Dubé and Adam Ruzicka. Of course, the first option – and one that was tried in the pre-season – was slotting Sharngovich on the right wing (his off-wing) alongside Elias Lindholm and Jonathan Huberdeau on what, in theory, should be the Flames’ most productive forward line. When Matthew Wilson wrote about his ideal Calgary Flames forward lines, that’s where he had Sharangovich.

If Andrew Mangiapane is able to take the responsibility of top line minutes, which would be phenomenal and so fun for fans, Sharangovich’s best fit might be on the second line with Nazem Kadri and another winger on either side (here’s where 17’s ability to play on both the left and right wings comes in to play). Before opening night, I suggested some forward line combinations that could be options for the Flames early in the season. Here three that slot Sharangovich in a second line role with Kadri:

  1. Sharangovich/Dubé – Kadri – Sharangovich/Dubé
  2. Sharangovich/Ruzicka – Kadri – Sharangovich/Ruzicka
  3. Mangiapane – Kadri (Lindholm in the original article) – Sharangovich*
    *This line was part of a lineup suggestion with Coronato on the top line.

Another second line option I’ll throw in now is:

  • Sharangovich – Kadri – Coronato

Something to consider is that moving Sharangovich up has side effects on other components of the Flames’ lineup. For example, if Sharangovich is on the second line with Ruzicka or Dubé and Mangiapane is on the top line, two of Ruzicka, Dubé, and Coronato are bumped down to the third or fourth lines.

Perhaps the best option for the Flames right now, strictly from an “unlock Sharangovich” point of view would be a lineup like this:

Huberdeau – Lindholm – Mangiapane
Sharangovich – Kadri – Coronato
Dubé – Backlund – Coleman
Greer – Ruzicka – Duehr

Please note that at the time of publishing, no morning skate lines for Monday, October 16th were available, as the session was optional. 

Next. Four things to watch on the Calgary Flames’ five-game road trip. dark