This and That – We can finally talk hockey

 

 

Just some things rolling around my head as we transition from interpreting legalese and negotiating strategy to discussing roster depth and line combinations. Of course, FlamesNation is going to re-do some of our previous season previews as well as cover Calgary’s truncated training camp as thoroughly as possible. But for now, some bullets –

Brodie, Street and Some Housekeeping

– With all the excited prospect talk centering around guys like Sven Baertschi and Johnny Gaudreau in Calgary these days, it like some fans have forgotten about the club’s best youngster on the blueline: 22-year old TJ Brodie.

Make no mistake, the kid is very good. Although he’s not very big and is never going to piledrive anyone through the boards, Brodie has developed into a top-pairing 25-30 minute per night guy in Abbotsford, despite the fact he’s the team’s youngest rearguard. He is also third on he club in scoring with 20 points in 34 games.

Brodie is a fast, fluid skater who can make smart, incisive head man passes at full speed through traffic. On the defensive side of things, Brodie has improved by leaps and bounds since his first foray at the NHL level as a 20-year old and is now a steady, dependable rock south of the redline.

Because he carries and handles the puck so much there are rare times where a pass or deke goes astray. The good news is, Brodie is usually quick and savvy enough to recover.

Get excited about Brodie folks. When viewing the Heat this year, no single player on the team (excpet maybe Baertschi) was so obviously an NHLer playing amongst minor leaguers. He should not only make the Flames out of camp, but challenge some of the incumbents in the top-4 rotation.

– Speaking of prospects, I may have to revive the young guns photoshop contest that was shelved a few months ago. We may have a new sponsor or two who can offer swag to win very soon as well, so stay tuned. 

– I have had a few people ask me recently if we will do another round of Gaudreau shirt orders. It’s possible depending on demand, although I’d probably have to limit orders to people in the Calgary area (unless I can find another a cheaper way to ship them around the country). Let me know if you’re interested or not.

Also, if you have a shirt and want to share a photo or two, send them over and we’ll publish them both here and on the facebook page.

– FN will conduct a roundtable this week involving our writers about the upcoming season. If you want any particular topic covered by everyone, let us know in the comments.

– Thinking out loud: if Calgary is looking for a trade partner in the near future, Im not sure they can find a better match than St. Louis. The Blues are bursting at the seams with young, forward talent – David Perron, Patrik Berglund (who played with Backlund in Swden during the lock-out), TJ Oshie, Evgeny Grachev, Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko. They were also the club who drafted Sven Baertschi’s teammate Ty Rattie in 2011.

The Blues are one of the best overall clubs in the league and looking to compete immediately after years of rebuilding. If they want an established player or two to round out their roster down the stretch, the Flames may be able to offer up one of their many vets and grab one of those impressive youngsters in return.

– Ben Street is an interesting darkhorse to make the Flames out of camp. The 25-year old center/winger is leading the team in scoring and the AHL in shots. He has established himself as one of the best players on the Heat this year with consistency of effort and output. Although he’s not big at 6′, 200 pounds (and therefore not your typical 4th line plugger), Street is quick, makes good decisions down low in the offensive end and has decent hands. He’s the type of guy who could make the 4th line a functional unit, rather than 4 minutes of panic time.

If he indeed cracks the parent roster, Street will have traveled a pretty interesting road to get there. An undrafted college player out of the University of Wisconsin, Street began his pro career in the ECHL with 51 points in 38 games. He was a full time AHLer for the Penguins farm club the next season and managed a team leading 57 points in 71 games for them before being signed by Calgary this past summer.

  • seve927

    With a lot of viewings of prospect defencemen over the past few months, I’d say we’re actually in very good shape. Brodie, Wotherspoon, Kulak and Sieloff have all looked very, very good. And if Griffin Reinhart is considered NHL ready, some of our guys have to be not that far off either. (For the record, I don’t think Griffin Reinhart is NHL ready).

    Haven’t seen Culkin except for very briefly in the Super Series where I didn’t see much of note, good or bad. Ramage is supposed to be having his best season yet, which doesn’t say a whole lot, but is still better than not showing any improvement.

    I’ve been thinking that our greatest need is on the blueline, but after watching some of these guys, I think we’re going to have a very good blueline in two or three years.

  • RKD

    The Blues are interested in Jay-Bo, they want a guy with a left handed shot to play with Pieterangelo. Carlo Colaicovo signed with another team in the off season.

    It would be awesome to have Ty Rattie play with Baertschi but I can’t see the Blues parting with him. Berglund is 24 years old, is a center and is from the same place Backlund is from.

    Perron is better offensively, but he’s had some major concussion problems. He could be a hit or two away from a career ending injury.

    It would be a big hole in the Flames d, but I think Jay-Bo might fill a need more in St. Louis than in a place like Detroit or Philly.

    • Seems to me they’re more interested in continuing the Cammalleri at center experiment, which I think is the right move. I think having those three on the same line is Calgary’s best bet at maximizing offense out of those guys.

      Although Darren Pang said it the best on TSN yesterday. Offensively they should be fine, but their play without the puck would have to improve drastically for them to be successful.

      • seve927

        I believe that’s possible with an injection of energy. Those guys looked positively bored last year. I’m not saying it’s probable, but I’m interested to see the effect Hartley has.

        • Shorter season should help that too.

          But bottom line, they have to try one of those guys at center, because if not that, who do you go to? There’s a very good chance we don’t see Roman Cervenka this year, so who else would you give a shot to? Would you give it to Backlund right now?

          I don’t think so. Not yet.