FlamesNation Player Evaluations: Deryk Engelland

Deryk Engelland does not have an amazing contract. When he signed his deal, initial Twitter reports were “three years, $2.9 million.” A $967,000 cap hit for a veteran, right-shot defenseman? Good deal. Three times that much? Not as much.

But two seasons into his contract, you can kind of see why the Flames wanted to grab Engelland off the free agent market. On a team full of defensemen still trying to realize their full potential, Engelland seems to be a bedrock player that knows what he is, knows what he can do, and doesn’t get over-extended too often. It’s probably not a skill-set you want to shell out $2.917 million per year for, but perhaps Engelland just has a really persuasive agent.

Let’s dig into his 2015-16 season!


There are two big things to note about Engelland’s 2015-16 campaign: he stayed healthy all season and because of that he was used with basically every other defenseman who cracked the NHL roster.

He began the season with Brett Kulak (during T.J. Brodie’s injury). Then he played quite a bit on Dennis Wideman’s left side and Ladislav Smid’s right side. When Dougie Hamilton struggled a bit, Engelland was put on his left side to settle him down. When Wideman was suspended, Engelland played a bit with both Brodie and Mark Giordano. He even wore an alternate captain’s A for the last couple months of the season, primarily due to Wideman’s absence due to injury.

Offensively? Engelland was fine. He had three goals and 12 points, which is about what you’d expect given his track record. Defensively, he was also fine. He plays a more physical game than his teammates and that heavy game likely comes at the expense of some foot-speed, so occasionally he gets caught flat-footed when he’s out against faster and more-skilled forwards than he’s used to.

He’s a 47% Corsi player at home (with three goals) and a 43% Corsi player on the road (with no goals). He requires some sheltering at this point in his career, but he has been useful for the Flames. Should he have been getting ice time ahead of somebody like Hamilton? Nope. But is he a useful companion in sheltered minutes for the team’s younger and emerging defenders? Sure.


Engelland played a bit with everybody, more or less. His versatility has positive value. His performance, in terms of relative puck possession? It’s less positive.

Engelland played primarily (but not exclusively) on the third pairing and on the secondary penalty killing unit. He was among the team’s more sheltered blueliners in terms of opposition quality – though Smid, Jokipakka, Nakladal and Wotherspoon (all of whom played less than Engelland) faced weaker competition – but he was just slightly more buried in terms of defensive zone starts than Giordano and Brodie. That’s probably a product of him being shuffled around the lineup in terms of linemates; he largely was used as a third pairing player in terms of quality of competition, but depending on who he was paired with his zone starts varied quite a bit.


While Engelland’s versatility was useful, the underlying numbers seem to indicate that he was a bit over his head. Here’s a WOWY chart of his most frequent teammates on the ice.



Notice how the blue dot (together) is frequently below both the red (teammate apart) and green (Engelland apart) dots? That means that for half of Engelland’s most frequent line-mates (Wideman, Colborne, Gaudreau, Stajan and Monahan), they had underlying numbers better when apart from each other. That’s not great.

Jooris and Bennett were better with Engelland on the ice than without him (and so was Engelland), but the tale of the tape of Engelland is that for the most part, teammates either carry Engelland but aren’t helped by his presence (Giordano, Frolik), or are slightly worse (Backlund), or are dragged down into the muck (everybody else).

His versatility is great, but his performance in terms of puck possession impact seems to indicate that there’s a reason he’s a third pairing, sheltered minutes player. He can play a lot, but if he does, he’s likely to drag down his team’s underlying numbers by a decent chunk.


Engelland’s likely to continue on for one more season in his current role – a #6/#7 defender forced up the depth chart by circumstance and necessity – as his cap hit is probably too rich to bury in the AHL, and his performance is not quite poor enough relative to his compensation to warrant changes. (Compare his performance and cap hit with those of Ladislav Smid and Dennis Wideman and ask yourself which of the three you’d most like to have.) But with the Flames having some younger, cheaper options available in the pipeline, it’s quite likely that the 2016-17 campaign will be Engelland’s last wearing the Flaming C.

  • brodiegio4life

    one of the biggest reasons people hate on engallend is his atrocious contract. As a #6 dman he isn’t that bad and he’s proven he can play steady minutes when needed. For under 1mil as a third pairing guy he’s actually solid. Unfortunately he’s getting incredibly overpaid

    • SmellOfVictory

      Although I would argue there are better options for a 6th dman, I agree. He’s not going to sink your bottom pair if someone else is anchoring it. But his contract is bruuuuuutal.

  • freethe flames

    As long as he is the 6/7 and not taking time from the prospects I’m fine with him; his contract is what it is and hampers the Flames from acquiring any other help. Hopefully he has a good season and someone wants him for a depth defender for a playoff run.

  • calgaryfan

    Engelland is over paid but I like what he brings to the team. He shows up to play every night and gives the team some toughness they really lack. The Flames could use some more players with his grit and will to play hard. The Flames depth players need to take some pointers from Engelland and show more determination.

  • freethe flames

    Looking more than likely we will have 1 first rounder and 3 2nd round picks. I wonder how likely it will be that the Flames can either move up or add another 1st rounder. I listened to an interview with Logan Brown’s coach today; it was quite enlightening. I wonder if the Flames will take him; he seems to have really risen in the rankings. Would you trade down to get 2 first rounders? Props for a yes, trash for a no.

      • freethe flames

        I wonder what the cost is for moving up? I think for the 2nd probably very expensive but I wonder about #3 with Columbus. Personally I’m torn about the number 6, one it depends who is there at 6, I’m not sold on either Thacuck or Nylander although both sound like good prospects. I like the top 3 defenders as they are are bigger than our current group of top prospects.

    • Baalzamon

      The only two teams with multiple first round picks are Phoenix (who won’t give up a first rounder to move up one slot) and Boston (is it worth it to trade down from sixth to 14th?).

      I’d rather just stay at sixth, honestly. I mean, if Phoenix is that desperate to move up one spot, I wouldn’t mind it, but that seems unlikely to me.

      • freethe flames

        Carolina as well. One never knows how another team might see things. If the Flames are not in love with 6 and likes some other guys as much who knows. Again I’m not sure what I would do but I really wanted to talk about something other than Eng’s and his contract which we have complained about since it was signed.

  • McRib

    Boudreau to Wild*, couldn’t care less!!!! Because it sounds like these whispers of Darryl Sutter returning back home are legit!! Yahoo, please let it be!!! Martin Gélinas staying on as an assistant make sense for the Sutter return rumours. Best coach in franchise history no questioned asked. He took us to within a game of winning the Stanley Cup Finals with a roster (outside of Iginla, Kipper) that didn’t have another even above average player at that stage of their careers (Gélinas, Leopold, Conroy were at periods in career) with no one else outside of Iginla breaking 50 points (only two broke 40). In comparison the Flames had seven players break 40 points this season (Hudler would have been eight). Darryl let’s just stick to coaching this time around, although thanks for Mikael, TJ, etc (wasn’t all bad apparently)

      • McRib

        There are a couple of legit rumours from what I am hearing that he wants to come back to Alberta. He isn’t signed on for next season, LA has extended him an offer (obviously he is a Top. 5 coach in the league), but he has played coy in a couple very recent interviews about possibly returning to Calgary. Please oh please oh please make it true.

          • McRib

            Ohhhhhhh I made a minor mistake that everyone would have recognized on their own and you made a big deal of it…… Congratulations!!! Sorry the Wild, who are essentially the same team as the Ducks (a team filled with over paid aging past prime veterans whose window has closed and won’t listen to a modern coach like Boudreau anyway (I actually think the Ducks are better off to be honest). Just go back to complaining about Ryan Huska, drafting Mason MacDonald already like a broken record.

          • The GREAT Walter White

            Just busting your chops McRib (that Oiler troll didn’t recognize it, he’s not so good with details it appears).

            I hope you are right about Sutter.


    • McRib

      So lets make a bet…. If I am wrong that Sutter isn’t coming to the Flames (not usually wrong about these things, as I have a couple legit NHL sources, as I’ve shown in the past and I only speak out when I am 90%+ certain they are true) then I’ll never comment on Oilers Nation ever again…. Oh wait, I never comment on Oilers Nation because I am not an insecure fan of the worst run professional sports franchise in the world the last 10+ years.

      Anyway if I am right (usually I am, like when I said Andrej Sekera was being carried by Justin Faulk and will be a complete bust of a signing, or Griffen Reinhart had a hard time even playing in the AHL down in Bridgeport and you should have used that pick to draft Barzal, etc) then please oh please stop posting here!!!!

      The Oilers traded two Top. 32 Picks for Griffen Reinhart and then admitted the day of the trade that they DIDN’T even watch him play a game as a professional the season previous (new regime, not old), which will tell you everything you need to know about your franchise. Peter Chiarelli was interviewed recently during the U18s on TSN, when Canada was playing Sweden. He couldn’t name a player on team Canada. All he said was “my scouts tell me 7 is good (Jost)”…. Then the junior TSN reporter waited awkwardly for him to say another name and he couldn’t… Not even Jakob Chychrun someone you may draft… We are are talking about the same guy who traded Tyler Seguin for so little that three years later none of those assets will even be on the team. I guess I understand why you must be here daily being a regular pain for Flames fans. Sorry you are an Oilers fan, at least you have Cam Talbot (AHL caliber Defense doesn’t hold you back or anything). Small positives.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    Darryl Sutter back as coach. If Tre wants to keep folks talking Flames hockey throughout the summer and right into the new season, this will do it.

    The problem with Sutter as coach is that as much as you tell him that he can coach but he can’t general manage, he will want to general manage. I’m not sure that Tre’s limited experience as a GM would allow him to stand up to the prickly and ambitious Sutter.

    I also wonder who many of his brothers he would try to add to his coaching staff.

    I doubt Sutter will be hired because as Tre’s first hire as a GM, I think he wants a coach who will be a lot less controversial than Sutter. Put another way, Sutter is too high risk/ high reward.

  • BigRig91

    The best part about everyone hating on Huska , is a question if you have every watched a Heat game. He did a better job with Hartley system than Hartley did. The Heat were one of the youngest teams in the AHL. They almost always out shoot and out played there opponents. If they had a couple more finishers and didn’t have too play Kent Simpson in net for 15 -20 games this season is a total different story. The guy is a good coach lIke it or not. They all so play in a division that has a lot of AHL teams not so much development teams. So ya I would be fine if they gave Huska a strong look.