Yegor Sharangovich hits 30 goals in wildly successful first season with Flames

Sharangovich is now the Flames’ leading goal-scorer

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It isn’t the perfect time to be asking Yegor Sharangovich about a big personal milestone.

The immediate aftermath of a loss to a rival is never really when you want to be asking hockey players about individual accomplishments. On Saturday night Sharangovich was far more focused on the Calgary Flames falling 4-2 to the Edmonton Oilers than he was on hitting the 30-goal mark.

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So the Belarussian did the smart thing and mostly shrugged his shoulders when he was asked about it.

“First I think about the game, it was a tough loss,” Sharangovich said. “We could win this game and we had a lot of opportunities to score more goals. For me, I don’t know, it’s hard to say. It’s nice, but when you score and the team lost, it’s (not great).”

Hopefully, when the Flames season is over in a couple of weeks Sharangovich will be able to take a step back and reflect on what an accomplishment it is to score 30 times in an NHL season.

And doing it in your first year with a team is no small thing, either. Nobody in a Flames uniform has done that since Michael Cammalleri potted 39 in his first year in Calgary back in 2008-09.

Joining a new team and learning a new system is hard. When Sharangovich was acquired in the trade that sent Tyler Toffoli to the New Jersey Devils last summer, everyone was aware of his potential but it was unclear exactly how he’d fit in.

And figuring that out wasn’t a straight line. The early days of the 2023-24 season saw Sharangovich get moved around a fair bit as Ryan Huska and his coaching staff tried to figure out where he was best suited.

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For a while, he was placed on the fourth line.

To have gone from there to scoring 30 goals is altogether remarkable, really.

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“We knew the type of guy we were getting when we traded for him, we knew there was speed there which is something we thought we were lacking and we need to have,” Huska said. “He’s got some size, but he’s also got the skill set. Early on, we had a hard time finding a spot that worked with him.

“We thought it would work with (Elias Lindholm and Jonathan Huberdeau) and for whatever reason it didn’t at the beginning of the season, so we moved him around and he spent some time in that fourth-line centre role before he really got going, he scored a goal on the road and it kind of kick-started him where he got one the next night again and I don’t think he’s ever really looked back from that.”

After Saturday night’s goal against the Oilers, Sharangovich is now the Flames’ leading goal-scorer and is second on the team behind Nazem Kadri for points, with 56.

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At only 25 years old, he should be just starting to enter his prime, too, so he figures to be a valuable piece for the organization as they try to build themselves back towards contention over the next couple of years.

And his versatility has been an asset as the Flames have been able to deploy him at both centre and on the left-wing this season. Without trying to relitigate who won and who lost the pre-draft trade that brought Sharangovich over from the Devils, it feels pretty safe to say the Flames would happily do it again.

“What he’s done is do a really good job playing with confidence on both sides of the puck,” Huska explained. “Now, he knows he can be a difference maker on any given night and we see that most nights, we’re really pleased with what he’s done.”

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