If he’s injured, who could replace Troy Brouwer?


The Calgary Flames have a little over $8,000 in cap space. Unless they place somebody on LTIR, there’s no room to call anybody up from the Stockton Heat.

If Troy Brouwer can’t go for just a game or two, then Freddie Hamilton likely slots in the lineup. If, however, he’s unavailable for longer than that, then the Flames will likely have to bring somebody up.

Short term

The good news is, based on Glen Gulutzan’s comments, it sounds as though Brouwer won’t be out long enough to necessitate a recall, if he even has to miss time at all.

Losing him for any games would still be a blow, though, as he’s currently the Flames’ leading scorer, and plays in all situations. It’s not as though Hamilton is a useless plug – far from it – but he’s not the caliber of player Brouwer is. It’s a downgrade, no matter what.

Still, what could the lineup look like if Brouwer has to slot out, even if only for a game? Assuming Monahan and Backlund’s lines wouldn’t be touched, someone from the fourth line would have to be bumped up.

Kris Versteeg is a right winger currently playing on the left side, so handedness isn’t a problem. Micheal Ferland would probably be the best guy to be bumped up, considering his style of play and growing scoring presence, creating a Ferland – Bennett – Versteeg line which, while not as ideal, doesn’t sound horrible. That would leave the fourth line as Bouma – Stajan – Hamilton, which looks fine as well.

Brouwer is third in forward special teams time, so Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau would need a new forward companion on the man advantage. Mikael Backlund and Sam Bennett have played the most after those three, so one of them (probably Bennett) would make the most sense, or Matthew Tkachuk. After them, a Versteeg, Ferland, or maybe even Michael Frolik could likely easily slot in on the second unit.

Brouwer is fifth in forward ice time on the penalty kill, so his possible lack of presence shorthanded is a little less dire. Monahan or Bennett would probably be the ones to fill in on that role.

The Flames aren’t short of decent replacement options in the short term. They aren’t as ideal as actually having Brouwer in the lineup, but with the way this team is built, it isn’t doom or gloom, either.

Long term

Short of carrying no extra forwards or deciding to go with seven defencemen in the lineup – Brett Kulak is probably available for this – if Brouwer (or any Flames player, for that matter) is out for the longer term, it’s a problem.

The Flames would have to use LTIR to recall a player. And while this season is young yet, there are a few options down on the farm who could probably be looked to as replacements.

Six players on the Stockton Heat are currently point-per-game or point-per-game-plus players, all with at least four points. Morgan Klimchuk, in an offensive explosion that saw him have a four-point game, is currently the team’s scoring leader with six. Andrew Mangiapane and Mark Jankowski have five points each, while Hunter Shinkaruk, Daniel Pribyl, and Colby Robak have four.

Robak is a defenceman, so he’s disqualified from the get-go.

All four of Pribyl’s points have come in just one game so far, and it’s only his fourth game coming off of ACL surgery, not to mention his fourth game on North American ice. For him, it might be a little too early for a recall.

The same could be said, albeit to a lesser extent, of Klimchuk, Mangiapane, and Jankowski. The former is coming off of a not-ideal rookie professional season, and giving him the chance to keep his game going without distraction is probably the better move for him. The latter two, meanwhile, are just a couple of games into their professional careers. A recall only happens if this is a long-term injury, and being thrust into the NHL this early may not be the best move.

Shinkaruk is playing well in the minors, and has the most professional North American experience – and NHL experience, for that matter – of the group. If a forward on the Flames gets injured badly enough to force a recall, then at least this early in the season, he’s probably the go-to guy.

It doesn’t seem as though Brouwer’s injury will force that to be the case, though; and hopefully, the Flames just don’t experience any long-term injuries for as long as possible. But it is nice to know that in case they do get into trouble, a lot of kids on the farm are off to great starts.

  • Greatsave

    Short-term, as you said, Ari, Freddie slots in.

    If Brouwer’s out for more than a couple games, call up Bollig to sit in the press box. Don’t disrupt whatever the Heat’s got going.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    Was thinking about this the other day… Flames have 8 defencemen up right now. Engelland has played RW before in his career. Although not ideal, if they didn’t want to put Smid on LTIR yet (assuming a bit longer term injury to Brouwer), Engelland COULD play 4th line RW forward.

    Or they could go with 7 D for a game or two if they had to.

  • Greatsave

    I’m hardly suggesting that Flames’ interests are secondary to the Heat’s. But the Heat’s players are Flames assets, and Flames management make decisions they deem in the best interests of the Flames’ short-term as well as long-term success. If the Heat are sucessful, that breeds confidence in the players who are part of that success.

    I get the argument that you’re sending a negative message to the young players performing well with the Heat by not calling them up. But what are you gonna do with him once he’s up? Sit him in the press box? Is that more beneficial to him than leaving him to continue on a roll with the Heat? Or play him ahead of Freddie? What kind of message are you sending to Freddie then, if he’s leapfrogged by a call-up just like that?

    I recall people up in arms over Wotherspoon getting called up to sit in the press box when he could have been developing in the minors. So I assume people who want Klimchuk and co. called up first to play ahead of Freddie. I don’t think Freddie deserves that unless he proves incapable of filling a role. And if the kids were ready to play in the top-9 and bumping the likes of Versteeg, Chiasson, or Ferland to the 4th line, they would have done in training camp and Versteeg wouldn’t have been signed.

    • Parallex

      If Brouwer is out for more then a couple of games you’re not calling someone up to sit at press level… they’re playing.

      Freddie is what he is… a guy that can sit out games and occasionally fill in on the fourth line. He’s reached his potential. If you’re calling up someone it’s because in the judgement of the club the depth couldn’t step up and replace Brouwer’s scoring so you bring up talent from the farm to see if they can.

      • Greatsave

        Freddie is what he is… a guy that can sit out games and occasionally fill in on the fourth line. He’s reached his potential.

        I’ll have to disagree with that. This is a guy who has played only 318 minutes in the NHL. He’s been a 0.65PPG player in the AHL the past three seasons. He’s only turning 25 on New Year’s. Call me optimistic, but I don’t agree that “he’s reached his potential.”

        At the risk of sounding like I’m hedging, though, I want to clarify that I’m suggesting they call up Bollig to sit in the press box if Brouwer is out for more than a couple of games, not if he’s out for more than a couple of weeks. If Brouwer does miss games and it turns into a couple weeks, and Freddie isn’t producing goals and we’re losing as a result, then yeah call up Klimchuk/Shinkaruk/whomever to take Brouwer’s spot in the lineup. But not for just a couple or 3 or 4 games.

  • Jay (not J)

    How did Trelliving paint himself into an 8000 dollar corner? I thought that this guy was supposed to know what he was doing. What about Burkie? Why didn’t he ever lean over his GM’s shoulder and say, ‘hey, remember that cap, Brad’ once or twice? It’s funny. 2 seasons ago this team took what looked like a huge step forward, all they needed was a goalie for their Jack Addams winning coach. Last year they got him the goalie and improved the defence but somehow the coach became the problem. OK coach is gone, goalie went bad so he’s gone too and then Elliot comes in and somehow goaltending is the problem again? Flames never should have fired Feaster. This is the famine.

    • The Real Slim Brodie

      How is goaltending the problem? Even elite goalies or very good goalies can have a rough start when the rest of the team has a rough start. The flames started playing better and elliot looks great again.

      • Greatsave

        That rant was so bad and so factually inaccurate that it wasn’t worth responding to. Accusing Treliving of not being aware of the team’s cap situation? Hilarious.

        Brought in a goalie for Hartley? Sure, if you count the guy (Ramo) Hartley insisted on bringing back. Goaltending is problem again with Elliott and Johnson? Even the rest of the Elliott-bashers around here have gone into hiding after the back-to-back wins.

    • RealMcHockeyReturns

      What? I thought you knew how to read…other articles on here clearly show Treliving purposefully signed Grossman to get to just under the cap as when we NEED cap relief then he can go all the way to the maximum. It’s VERY smart management and not putting Smid on LTIR yet allows you to use even more cap space when you need to replace ain injured player. He’s WAY ahead of you! also Elliott was great last 2 games as the team around him woke up re: turnovers and solid D play.

  • everton fc

    Tkachuk plays both wings…

    Gaudreau-Monahan-Tkachuk

    Ferland-Bennett-Versteeg

    Stajan-Backlund-Frolik

    Bouma-Hamilton-Chiasson

    And if we demote one of the d-men… Can’t we bring up another wing?

    • cberg

      The lines looked really good last game.

      Gaudreau-Monahan-Chiasson

      Versteeg-Bennett-FHamilton

      Tkachuk-Backlund-Frolik

      Freeland-Stajan-Bouma

      No need to screw up three other lines that seem to be working.

  • The Real Slim Brodie

    Elliot looked fantastic the last couple games and Johnson alone was better than any goalie that played last year. The goaltending never was the issue.

  • Crakupov

    Who can replace Troy Brouwer?

    Easy anyone with a pulse and a heatbeat. Call back Mason Raymond or see if Semenko or Tim hunter are interested in suiting back up for a couple of bucks.

        • Arminius

          Lol. You don’t have a clue buddy. Raymond has no points in 4 games this year and 8 in his last 33 including last year. Brouwer with 6 in 8.

          Raymond cant even make the nightly lineup on a regular basis anymore. Go back to ON, you’re showing your ignorance

          • Crakupov

            Funny thing is that Mason Raymond is still being paid by the flames, just not playing here. He’s kicking butt and taking names in Anaheim.

            Troy Brouwer is getting run over night after night anyone can replace that guy.

          • Baalzamon

            Lol what? Raymond has 0 points and is getting his face kicked in at even strength (45% CF). Brouwer has six points and a 49% CF (which isn’t great, but it’s about average for the Flames. He’s over 50% at score close).

            You have a very… interesting grasp on reality, my friend.

        • BluDino

          I get that you’re excited and why wouldn’t you be. But bragging in anyway is kind of tasteless. If anyone should be first with all the gifts and a decade of poor performance it’s the Oilers. But don’t kid yourself without everyone of your elite draft pick the Oilers are nothing. Any team would be pushing first with those gifts, unlike Edmonton the Fames have to actually build the roster from prospects and trades.
          Stick with the objective opinions Train, those are a welcome addition but please leave the fan boy gushing over in ON.

  • RedMan

    I have to chuckle, the tone of this article suggests Troy is an important piece of the puzzle but just a few weeks ago in a player evaluation piece posted on Flames Nation he was reffered to as a fringe 3rd liner.

    • Arminius

      Agreed. There was a lot of complaining about that signing even though fans and players in his previous stops couldn’t say enough about him. He’s played really well. Scoring and speaking up in the players only meeting along with Gio and Stajan when the team needed to be addressed

      Brouwer has the respect of all his peers and is a great mentor. Said it before and will say it again..glad to have him aboard

        • Greatsave

          With all due respect, I’m guessing this was the article you referred to: Realistic Expectations: Troy Brouwer.

          From which I quote:

          In short: last year, in St. Louis, Brouwer was on the fringe of being a top six forward, but he was used frequently in all situations and scored enough to justify it. However, via Own The Puck, the fancier numbers aren’t kind to him at all, and suggest that with the Blues he was more of a glorified third liner than anything else.

          This was all I was able to find. If you had a different article in mind, please provide the link. Until then, I’ll proceed as though this was the article you referred to.

          I pose two objections:

          1. The context of your “quote” was that Brouwer was “on the fringe of being a top-six forward”, but more of a “glorified third liner”, last year in St. Louis. The same article later says, “Brouwer is, by default, one of the Flames’ top wingers.”

          2. You understood the “tone” of this new article on Brouwer’s injury to “suggest Troy is an important piece of the puzzle.” I won’t argue with your perception of its tone, and even if that was indeed the intended tone of the author, given the context of how Brouwer fits into the Flames–that is, as suggested in the previous article, “one of the Flames’ top wingers”–I think this tone would be justified.

          Again, with all due respect, I think it was just a case of misunderstanding what the articles were communicating about Brouwer’s status with the Flames vs. with the Blues.

          • Greatsave

            Neither of those two articles mention “fringe third-liner”–a direct quote, according to @RedMan.

            From your first link, I quote:

            Look, there’s no doubt Brouwer fills a crucial role on the Flames.

            You can argue that this “crucial role” referred to more of a veteran, leadership, intangibles role than a top-6 scoring role, but I don’t think you can doubt that he is more important to the Flames than he was to the Blues, and that comes through in the article.

            From your second link, Ari said this concerning Brouwer’s time in St. Louis:

            His linemates were better away from him. His offence was bottom six caliber. His possession was bottom six caliber. He is not getting paid bottom six money for the next four seasons.

            As Ari already mentioned, she was mainly against the deal, not the player or the role he will play on the Flames. The notion of “Brouwer as a fringe third-liner”, as far as I can tell, was always in the context of a better, deeper team than the Flames. Brouwer being ideally a middle-six player on a deeper team doesn’t contradict the point that he is (and was always projected to be) an important part of the Flames.

  • Ari Yanover

    Guys Raymond got waived. He’s not even in Anaheim anymore. He’s in San Diego.

    The problem I’ve had with Brouwer is the contract, not the player. This year he should be fine. Afterwards is what I’m concerned about regarding him. For now he’s one of the team’s best wingers; he’s probably going to close out his time with the Flames as a bloated cap hit.

    • The GREAT WW

      The Blues offered him 3X$3.5…..that’s about perfect.

      I’m not sure why we had to pay a premium in $ and term, since his family is here and he was building a house here….

      WW

  • RealMcHockeyReturns

    Speaking of options, Right-shooting D-man and 2010 10th overall pick Dylan McIlraith was waived by NYR because he needs to play more…duh…pick him up and put a D-man in the minors. and Vigneault foolishly says he wants him not picked up publicly…hope it bites them and we are the biters!