May 30 2010 10:56AM
Some minor Flames news to pass along. Calgary recently signed 21 year old free agent defenseman Chris Breen to an entry level deal. The former Peterborough Pete spent 5 seasons in the OHL, compiling nominal offensive stats as a stay-at-home defender. He appeared in one game for the Abbotsford Heat on a try-out basis near the end of the AHL season.
Breen is a big player, standing 6'7" and weighing 225 pounds. He's described as a quiet leader by his coach and an intimidating presence. Interestingly, Breen didn't spend his junior days piling up PIMs (his biggest single season total was 67) so he's not simply an enforcer.
This move likely signals that the team is going to wave good-bye to one or more of it's minor league UFA's this summer. Brett Palin and Andy Delmore are set to hit the free market and it wouldn't surprise me to see both allowed to walk. On top of Breen, the Heat will likely add 20 year old TJ Brodie this season, meaning roster spots for defenders will be at a premium.
As for Breen, the Flames have been good at identifying free agents coming out of junior under Sutter's reign (Giordano, Wideman, Richie Regehr, Ryan Wilson), but it would surprise me he had NHL upside. Any guy who stands 6'7" and doesn't get drafted in junior must have some pretty significant holes in his game. That said, I've never seen him nor read any scouting reports, so it's possible there's more to him than just merely being huge.