Flames Sign Deryk Engelland

After a couple of solid signings in Raymond and Hiller, the Flames add their first eyebrow raiser in Dereyk Engelland for 3 years at $2.9M per year. 

Engelland plays both defense and forward, though he mostly acts as a d-man. He’s big, he’s mean, can drop the gloves…and he’s not very good at much else. He averaged a team low 13 minutes of ice for the Pittsburgh Penguins last year, faced lower tier opposition and had some of the worst underlying possession numbers amongst Pens defensemen. Clearly, like Bollig, this is another step in the new regime’s quest to “get bigger and protect the kids”.

Engelland is a 32 year old tough guy and third pairing defender. At best, he’s a way to get the Flames over the cap floor finish line for the next few seasons and a skating harm deterrence. At worst, he’s their next Shane O’Brien.

  • Brownblazer

    Flames are better this year. I think we’ve overlooked the fact that johnny g. is coming to town this year and will make our team better instantly. He’s that good – I’m predicting he makes it on the calder ballot this year.

  • v4ance

    I understand people want to rationalize this signing as just a way to get to the cap floor but they’re wrong.

    If they needed to get to the cap floor, why sign Engelland for 3 years? Why not just sign for one? If they needed to get to the floor next year, sign some other schlub for 1 year at whatever amount you need to get to the floor.

    Otherwise, if you follow the logic the other way, you’ve basically admitted planning to suck very badly for 3 years and that you NEED to buy a placeholder of $3 million each year just to make the minimum cap floor. Even the Oilers didn’t plan on a 4 year trough before getting competitive (even though that’s how it ended up happening). Either that or you don’t need him to make the floor in years 2 and 3 and just wanna burn some cash, some cap room and a roster spot.

    Unfortunately, any other rationalization for the contract will be just as bad. The Flames didn’t actually know how horrible at hockey Engelland was and gave him 3 years because they thought he MIGHT have some positive influence on team success.

    So either you’re rationalizing a bad plan from the start (via mgmt) or you’re rationalizing the ineptitude of the player evaluation department (scouts & mgmt).

  • Burnward

    I don’t mind this. Pittsburgh had to have kept him around for so long for reasons other than his skill on the ice.

    He fits the role and mindset of the team they are trying to mold.

    If the kids coming in can see the work ethic and drive guys like Engelland and Bollig have, that could prove invaluable.

    He also gives Wotherspoon another year in the AHL maybe too, which I like.

    Rebuilding the right way might look a little like this.

  • jeremywilhelm

    It’s funny to me people are assessing Treliving, when it seems to me that the bulk of these moves (UFA and Draft) come straight outta Burke’s office.

  • Michael

    I remember the days when teams hated to come to Alberta, both Edmonton and Calgary played really tough hockey on home ice. The last few years not so much… The addition of a third pair d man like Engelland helps address the ‘hard to play against at home’ issue so I think he fills a hole on the depth chart. The term is fine, an overpay salary wise, but better value say than the Orpik / Pouliot contracts.

  • TheoForever

    Engelland was so brutal in his own zone that Pens used him as a forward. If he was a deterrent against abuse of his teammates he kind of failed.

    He will take a spot from a kid for 3 years.

    When lacking experience on forward ranks it is important to have dmen that can dig the pack out of the zone, we know he cannot.

    Apparently a nice guy. Good for him to finally make it big and save for retirement.

    New whipping boy in place of Butler.

      • TheoForever

        Thanks, exactly my point the amount of abuse that Sid received was incredible. I blamed the management and coach for not providing physical players or not giving them green light to police.

        Perhaps, Engelland just didn’t have the tools to protect anyone. 🙂

  • TheoForever

    Terrible player, terrible signing. How many face-punchers does this team need, anyways? Are a half-dozen enough now?

    Meanwhile, a guy like Del Zotto is still out there. Of course, maybe he doesn’t want to sign here, but there have to be better options.

    I’d rather steal Anton Belov from the Oilers. At least as a 6/7 D he’s useful.

    Burke and Treliving need to get into the 21st century.

  • playastation

    The comments about the draft and free agency have pretty much turned into youtube comments. You can’t take them seriously.



    We had a GM that traded for Alex Kotalik, Re-signed Olli Jokinen, resigned Cory Sarich, chose Steffan Kronwall over Anton Stralman, Give Tanguay a massive contract in his 30’s, almost lost a bunch of draft picks for ROR, draft Jankowski in the first round.

    All in the last 4 years.

    And you guys think what’s happening here is bad? The core group of young players is the same except now we have Bennett, another goalie, and some bigger guys in really late rounds. We then signed overpaid a defenseman that won’t be here when he gets replaced by a younger guy.

    Seriously please post actual discussion and not hyperbolic knee-jerk reaction to things that clearly aren’t true, you haven’t seen the team play yet, you’ve never seen the draft picks play either. I cringe every time I read these comments now.

    It’s actually really embarrassing.

      • DoubleDIon

        Wanting Letang traded doesn’t make them idiots. I’d trade Letang well before I let Niskanen walk. Letang is one of the most overrated players in the league. He’s absolutely brutal in his own end. Fleury was 2nd in the league in wins and put up decent stats in both the regular season and playoffs despite his team not playing a decent defensive structure. He’s not a bad goalie other than the 2012 and 2013 playoff stretches. He had better numbers this year than Quick or Crawford.

  • Derzie

    What’s all this ‘protect the kids’ garbage. Look at the champs of the last few years. Skill and tenacity are front and center. Size is a factor but as a supplement to skill. That is, no big players with zero skill but many skilled players who happen to be big. No enforcers. No goons. Low fight stats. Pluggers sit except when they play bottom feeders (us for example). In today’s NHL nobody is protecting anyone. Instigator rules have seen to that. Goons fight goons not troublemakers who target their stars. The trend now is for the stars to hold their own OR be slippery and stay out of trouble. Signing players like Bollig (who recent champs feel is expendable)and Engelland is not about the players themselves but the flawed thinking of Flames management. Both are cast offs from top tier teams. We want to be a top tier team. Why are we collecting cast offs? I know we are rebuilding and are nowhere close to winning but the direction frustrates me as it wont get us to the promised land. I don’t want to tank for picks. I want to acquire solid assets and draft smart (oh and Bennett is a home run but he was a consensus pick and nothing to do with our managements savvy (For past examples of this see Oilers, Edmonton). I’ve been kidding myself that Burke is a changed man. I still hold out foolish hope but each one of these moves chips away at that hope. I’ll focus on the talent that Feaster drafted plus Sam and hope Burke does more of these moves (is there a place lower than 30th?) or magically balances it with some sober moves.

    • TheoForever

      Here we go again……
      Yeah, kids are intimidated by older guys who like to go out of their way to welcome them to NHL. Kids get intimidated by big burly men.
      Our skilled guys are small, got to protect them. Yeah, players are still protected in todays NHL.

      Come on Johnny Hockey protect yourself against all the cheap shot artists.

  • RedMan

    I am typically a glass-half-full guy, and yet i am really trying to understand this signing.

    Would he not have been available at 750k, maybe a million per?

    the Herald has quoted BT and aven the coach, giving some insight into this deal, but the most interesting i found was Engellend’s comments:

    from the herald: …

    He was courted by as many as eight teams in the days leading up to July 1.

    “I would definitely say that the interest in me was more than I thought it was going to be, especially from Calgary,” he said from his off-season home in Las Vegas. “I was really interested in hearing what they had to say and what they expected.”

    Which was?

    “Them telling me they think I can grow as a player in Calgary,” replied Engelland. “That was probably my biggest worry, talking to teams — I didn’t want to be a sixth, seventh defenceman, and in and out of the lineup. I wanted to grow, play more minutes, be looked upon for different situations. And be a leader on the team.”

    That’s not to say that Engelland plans to superglue the gloves on to his hands — in 243 games, after all, he’s scrapped 36 times — but he’s looking forward to enhancing his job description. The Flames used Brian McGrattan as an example.

    “Grants, he’s probably, definitely, the toughest guy in the league,” said Engelland. “What (coach) Bob Hartley had to say about working with him — and that Grats had a career year (offensively) — was a real refreshing thing to hear. And that’s exactly what I wanted to hear, to come in to a team and grow as a player the same way.”

    So – in Calgary, he gets his chance to be a real hockey player, JUST LIKE MCGRATTON!!!!

    I have nothing but respect for both MCGratton and Engellend – the fact that they are getting the most they can, and playing as much as possible, is expected, and they have been successful in getting the opportunity and money.

    Burke on the other hand – you have to wonder what the heck he is thinking. All teams have roles, but do we really have so much room for this many of these particular role players?

    we now have a huge surplus even if you spread these guys out over the NHL, AHL and ECHL.

  • Parallex

    Looking at the salary charts on Capgeek I’ve come to the conclusion that this offseason is basically almost entirely an exercise in cap management.

    With the three free agent signings and the qualified RFA’s still to come Calgary is basically at the floor. So that’s that for this year. Next year we’re looking at the salary for Glencross, McGrattan and Ramo (if they don’t resign him) coming off the books along with cap inflation but I would imagine that longterm extensions for Backlund & Brodie eat that up. The year after 20M is scheduled to come off the books but I would imagine one of the current goalies is extended past that as will Giordano (probably with a raise) that would still be an awful lot but Monahan and Gaudreau will be hitting their 2nd contracts and if they’re as good as we hope they are that will eat a bunch of money out of that.

    Basically I see these guys as cap space filler until the top prospects/young players start to age into some money.

  • RedMan

    Don’t get me wrong – I think this management team coul have taken an even worse approach to this free agent frenzy if they had tried to land a couple 2 or 3 of big names like vanek or spezza or riberro, and tried to “go for it” and skip the rebuild.

    these signing essentially signal the fact that our management team is clearly thinking full on rebuild, which in my opinion is the right course to be on.

    it is this truth, and this one alone, that makes any sense out of this move, and frankly, while I do not think this team needs to have twice as many face punchers as any other team in the league, I am comforted in the fact that they are committed to rebuilding.

    Yes, we will lose games, but we will have the chance to skate our young, small guys and rotate them in and out of the lineup like we did last year.

  • BitGeek

    I don’t really care one way or the other about signing Deryk, as long as he doesn’t hinder the development of our prospects and future stars – whether that’s from the amount of time on ice he’s given or through whatever good intentions he has about being a mentor.

  • TheoForever

    Thoughts on some “interesting” comments:

    1. Can the politial BS about pensions. We’re not here to talk about your pension or how hard you have worked to “secure your retirement.” Reality is 99 per cent of people don’t have the luxury of a pension and likely work a lot harder than you do for their salary.

    2. I’m thinking there must be a trade in the works and my guess is McCarthy. Even Burke can’t keep this many tough guys around especially those who are NHLers (borderline no doubt) and won’t be sent to the minors. Not enough room in the press box for all of them so someone’s leaving.

    3. Surprised Reimer didn’t go in a trade. Still likely to happen but I thought he would have been gone in the flurry of trades and I surprised he isn’t in Calgary.

    4 Letang is overrated and brutal in the defensive end. Ditto Karlsson. But all people look at is a d-man who puts up points.

    5. Chill out folks – the rebuild is a 5 year project and won’t happen overnight.

  • Derzie

    Pittsburgh needs a top 6 winger who can not only score but play physically. Even after adding Downie, they still would like toughness on their 4rth line. Is there a trade possibility with the Flames? We have Glencross and one of McGratten or Bollig.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    I think (for me anyway) there is a lot of angst with the philosophical leanings of this mgmt regime.

    At least, when Burke was hired and he started talking about his black and blue hockey, coupled with how familiar this tune was to us with most of Sutter’s picks, we were fearing the worst.

    I know that when Sven was drafted I was elated. Finally we are going to value skill above anything else. I felt this way from watching years of unwatchable Flames hockey. Straight up and down the walls, crash the net.

    Picks like Armstrong, Pelech, Chucko who were big heavy guys, leaders, character guys… All of which is fine but they couldn’t play very well. How many of these types of players found employment anywhere? Cracknell?

    Offensive ability is the rarest, hardest commodity in the NHL. So when you have the chance to pick it up for free (draft picks) you use your picks there because the hit rate is so low. Fish where the fish are.

    With Feaster, he did that. So even though it is still to be determined with some guys, Gaudreaus, Granlunds, Wotherspoons, Jankowskis were drafted. The early returns (so many picks, even 4th, 5th rounders) were racking up points.

    The beef? We signed Van Brabant as a college FA. The point is you can find that stuff on the cheap. Rob Klinkhammer.

    If one truly understands that offensive ability is the most valued and rarest asset, then you use your draft picks to try and find the 17-18 yos that show this potential.

    I think reasonable people can understand this argument.

    With BT, his first two massive events (draft and FA) showed a prediliction for drafting and obtaining players with ability you can get elsewhere and cheaply. Guys don’t come off the street and score points. You truly have to draft those guys.

    So his moves have signaled a valuation of things like character, size, compete over skating, shooting and passing.

    It was the worst fears about Burke coupled with the recent nightmare of Sutter era draft busts coming to fruition just when we were all getting excited about the skilled players we drafted (again, those later round bets on skill).

    Why does this regime only look for skill at the top of the draft and draft pluggers or guys with questionable skating ability (Armstrong and Pelech redux)?

    I could give a rat’s… about the money Engellend got.

    I just want to know that high hockey IQ, skating is the quality the Calgary Flames value the highest.

    When you look at the draft results and FA targets what conclusions can be drawn?

    None I suppose, but it was like PTSD because the evidence we have to judge so far looks like they discounted offensive ability for other qualities that are just so replacable. So why draft it? Why not draft talent and sign truculence? Why not get some puck moving dmen instead of a guy (Engellend) who has physical limitations (speed, skill) that will prevent him from contributing on the ice in a meaningful way. I think it’s equally important for Johnny and Sven to feel comfortable on the ice as it is to get pass on the tape that springs them to be able to do what they do best – and therefore grow their confidence. Sign more Westgarths don’t draft them then. We need good players to develop the young talent too.

    It’s hard not to jump to the conclusion that this org has moved backwards into pre 2005 mentality. And I grant that it is jumping to a conclusion but look at what BT’s moves signal.

    In future drafts I want to see guys like Granlund and Gaudreau drafted or valued highly. I don’t agree with putting size ahead of hockey IQ/skill.

    It’s just a bad long term bet that we’ve already endured.

  • Parallex

    I hate the signing. I think it’s ridiculous when you look down the roster and already see 4/5 other guys who all play the same style of game (i.e.:dancing bear, face puncher). 2.9mil x 3 years for a guy who will likely play 4-5min/night if he even plays is a stupid contract. I’ll take Treliving at his word when he says he thinks Engelland has more to give as a player. I disagree with him but that’s my opinion vs his, i suppose.

    All this being said, Flames fans need to seriously take a step back from the ledge on this one. It’s a bad contract but with the cap going up and from the point of view of the lowest payroll in the NHL it is and I don’t see how it will become prohibitive in the future.

    This move and the moves like it to add size and face punchers are presumably to insulate and protect the young and somewhat diminutive forwards (see: Gaudreau, Johnny) we have on the team already. I personally think that thinking is a little misguided but I’m not really about to quibble over the 3rd/4th lines of a team that will likely finish in the bottom 3 in the league (if not dead last) whether Engelland is patrolling the blue line or not.

    I think Burke’s and Treliving’s thinking is simply we know we’re gonna our asses kicked most of the year on scoreboards all over the league the least we could do is let people know if you’re coming to play in calgary you’re gonna leave here knowing you’ve been in a fight. I think that’s a little archaic but it is what it is…

    This is year 2 of the rebuild. We have loads of cap space and a lot of blue chip prospects on the way up. We will also, most likely, end up in the very thick of the McDavid, Eichel sweepstakes and still have loads of cash to throw at pending RFAs, UFAs etc.

    It’s year 2 everybody. Deep breaths all around. We’re not out of the woods yet and we all knew this was gonna hurt.

    • I agree with you completely.

      I think it speaks to the culture the team is trying to build. When you can’t win, at least work hard and give it everything you’ve got. Heart and soul.

      What other options do we have right now? As evidenced by our friends up North, throwing your young skilled players out there to take on the toughs every night isn’t exactly a philosophy that works.

      I doubt that in 3 years we will be making these same types of signings. Gradually, we’ll have developed a group of highly skilled, well rounded, hard working hockey players to move in and take over the vets (plugs) spots.