Flames Sign Chris Breen

 

 

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.

  • jeremywilhelm

    i think it’s SUPER that the flames have increased the number of available young defensemen in the system. it’s an area they should probably start really concentrating on.

    ~

  • Graham

    Wow, look out next year, Cup is coming back to Calgary for sure . . . haha. Ya signings are necessary, who knows, maybe make him into a good shut down d-man and its good.

  • Graham

    it looks to me like the org is trying to stock the abbotsford HEAT with some real players, in order to sell them as a product which might actually win on occasion.

    ie: the opposite of what they’re doing in calgary.

    • Graham

      The real key for Sutter is to time things properly so that the good young players are allowed to walk or traded away just before they are ready to step up for the NHL team. A solid equilibrium between bad NHL-level choices and good AHL-level choices must be maintained.

  • Graham

    Predicting Sutter can be tricky, but if the cards play out like most people think, and the Flames resign White and trade Regehr / Sarich to free up cap space, we have one spot open for a D man.
    Based on Sutters comments last year, you have to think that he is planing on either Pelech or Negrin joining the Flames next year.
    If you add TJ Brodie to the farm, and don’t resign Palin / Delmore, taking a flyer on a big D man like Breen makes some sense.

  • I asked Brock Otten about Breen. He said the guy is big but not overly physical. Has problems at ES because of mobility, but can be an asset on the PK. Has a big shot from the point, but is limited offensively because he’s not very mobile.

    Doesn’t think he has NHL upside.

  • My initial response to this signing is that Darryl is trying to fill the Keith Aulie spot in the depth chart. Big stay at home defenseman. However, doesn’t sound very promising. There is absolutely no way a 6 foot 7 d-man slips through the draft if he has even slight nhl upside. On that note, we shouldn’t be having to replace Aulie to begin with. I am not sure how he will pan out, but a prospect with his size and potential should never have been thrown into the lopsided Phaneuf deal to begin with.

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