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The Calgary Flames have been one of the NHL’s feel-good stories during the first two months of the 2014-15 season. The scrappy bunch have posted a 17-14-2 record and are tied with the Los Angeles Kings for the last wild card spot in the Western Conference. Mark Giordano is again in the Norris Trophy conversation; youngsters Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan are producing; and Jonas Hiller is providing quality goaltending, something the team hasn’t seen since Miikka Kiprusoff retired.
If you’re Bob Hartley, despite a current six-game losing streak, then you’d want to parlay that early-season success into a contract extension. And that he did.
The Flames announced on Wednesday that they’ve signed Hartley to a multi-year extension after guiding the team to a 71-79-13 record over the last three seasons.
“I said a couple of years ago that I felt that this was the biggest challenge of my career, and I still believe it,” said Hartley, via the Calgary Sun. “I love the direction that this organization is taking. I'm just very grateful to be part of this great organization, great city, and I'm looking forward to many more wins to come.”
But the thing about the Flames this year is that their current fall was predictable. Their PDO, a stat that is the combined total of a team’s even-strength save percentage and shooting percentage and should average out to 100, was sky high, well above 100, a telling sign that a decline was about to come. It currently sits at 100.6, according to War on Ice.
As their PDO drops, their possession numbers remain poor under Hartley, currently hovering around a 47-percent Fenwick, which measures shots on net and missed shots. That number hasn't improved during Hartley's tenure.
It's great that Calgary owns the league's top defensive pairing and has a number of young players producing for them, but they're quickly slipping out of the playoff hunt as they come back down to Earth. Why the rush to extend Hartley's stay and not wait and see how this plays out by April?
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