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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Flames officially buy out Troy Brouwer, potentially opening spot for prospect

Troy Brouwer, we hardly knew ye.

Well, that’s not quite true: Brouwer played two seasons for the Flames, scoring 19 goals and 47 points over 150 games. Initially pegged to be the Flames’ saviour on the right wing, he tumbled down the lineup, going from top six forward to bottom six. In his first year as a Flame he averaged 16:13 a game; in his second, 13:56.

On Thursday, the Flames placed him on unconditional waivers for the purposes of buying him out. He has cleared them. And now, two years into his four-year contract, Brouwer is no longer a Calgary Flame as the club has announced he has officially been bought out.

The most obvious implication of this move is the cap: by buying Brouwer out, the Flames will save $3 million in cap space for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons, while taking on a $1.5 million penalty for 2020-21 and 2021-22. The Flames need that cap space for this season: Noah Hanifin needs to be signed, and following that, just having that little extra wiggle room to the tune of at least a couple million throughout the regular season can only help.

(It’s probably worth noting that this is the third player Brad Treliving has signed he has subsequently bought out. First was Mason Raymond, then Lance Bouma, and now, Brouwer. Treliving has been the Flames’ general manager for a full four seasons, so he’s almost at a player per season [he’s over if you count Ryan Murphy and Shane O’Brien, but seeing as how they were traded for, we’ll give him a pass].)

More interesting than $3 million in cap space, however, is the roster spot that becomes available. If the Flames were to buy anyone out, it had to be Brouwer: not only was he the most obvious example of a player not living up to his cap hit, but as a forward, he plays a position the Flames just spent the past few months going hard upgrading and adding depth. While the Flames’ most intriguing prospects are defencemen, they aren’t going to suddenly flood the NHL with all of Rasmus Andersson, Oliver Kylington, and Juuso Valimaki; Michael Stone may also be overpaid for his role, but the veteran depth he provides on the blueline is more valuable than what Brouwer can bring.

No, what buying out Brouwer does is signals to the forward prospects knocking on the door that there’s a chance for them. The defence already had that slot open, but the forward group did not.

The fourth line centre will likely be one of Derek Ryan or Mark Jankowski. The Flames are high on free agent signing Austin Czarnik; he will likely be given every possible chance to become a regular forward on this team. But suddenly, the fourth line has a spot open. Maybe the underperforming Curtis Lazar or Garnet Hathaway will claim it, two forwards fighting to ensure they retain their status as regular NHLers.

Or maybe, instead, Andrew Mangiapane – a prospect with a breakout AHL season and 10-game NHL audition – will take it for his own. Maybe Spencer Foo, who took a bit to get going in his first professional year but shone playing out the final meaningless games of the NHL season, will declare himself ready for prime time. Maybe Dillon Dube, who impressed in training camp one year ago before returning to junior, will force the Flames to play him in the NHL sooner rather than later. Maybe Morgan Klimchuk or Hunter Shinkaruk will finally be able to grab hold of that elusive NHL spot; maybe Glenn Gawdin will explode onto the professional scene.

It isn’t just that the Flames saved cap space and gave themselves leeway in buying out Brouwer: it’s that an already upgraded forward group has the chance to promote one of its worthy prospects to a full-time role.

Brouwer wasn’t the worst NHL player ever. He was fine as a fourth liner. But he wasn’t just overpaid: he was an obstacle younger players with more potential had to leapfrog, and suddenly, they don’t have to anymore. A path may have just been cleared for one of them.

  • seamax

    This is all very exciting, but I think I will temper my enthusiasm until I see which vets we decide to tender PTOs to. It’s all fun and games until Tanner Glass (or someone like him) shows up…

  • The Doctor

    I largely agree with the article. But if Hathaway actually makes the team as a starter, then the needed upgrade to our forward depth will have failed. If we are going to compete with the likes of Vegas, we cannot afford to have offensive non-entities like Hathaway in our lineup.

    • C-of-Dread

      Maybe the 4th line should be
      Mangiapane – Jankowski – Hathaway
      They seemed to have pretty good chemistry for the short time they played together at the start of last year. They were the best line in the AHL (all-be-it for 6 games). I guess the question is, would the best line in the AHL be a good 4th line in the NHL?

      I seriously doubt the 4th line will play out this way, but with Huska behind the bench in Calgary now, would it be a shock to see it in camp?

  • Pizzaman

    With Troy gone the opening will be for a young skilled and speedy winger. So bye-bye Lazar – speed no skill and bye-bye Hathaway no speed debatable skill.

  • SgtRoadBlock

    Flames Camp look, but let’s hope for no over 30 PTOplzzz

    Side note: man oh man Ott Roster is stack with ufa next year…would not be shock by Draft time Ott will have 3 1st round picks.

  • Thunder1

    Tre just said Hanifin news in the next little while on 960. He admitted Troy’s situation changed ‘cuz of the trade and Neal’s signing. Neither the team nor Troy were happy to have ‘em back to play fourth line minutes. That tells us Hanny’s Gonna’ get 5 plus for many, many years!

  • Bucky 1989

    Brouwer is EXACTLY what the league is no longer! This is a black mark in my view on Treliving as he has to have a better handle on where the league is going and not what it was. I hope we see more youth, speed and passion then many of the veterans that in my view are too entrenched. Frolic should be given 20 games to show he can turn it around or sit him permanently. He is another example of a guy that could have seen the game pass him by in my view given his last season. Teams cannot afford a year or two to make adjustments on older players.

  • Getpucksdeep

    A while back a regular poster called “the Fall” suggested Mangiapane was a “Bulldog”. I didn’t see it, however I did see one prospect we never discuss, Lomberg, do a terrific Bulldog impression in his 2 game stint. He has little chance of ever cracking an NHL line up but if Mangiapane showed us Lonberg’s drive and grit I’d be all over it!

    • Atomic Clown

      Oh please don’t bring up Lomberg. I can’t stand him as a player. Sure it’s necessary to be bullish and create havoc, but you have to be intelligent enough to pick an opportune time for it. Each time Lomberg decided to be a pest, he completely killed any momentum the flames were gaining, and never won a fight. I’d rather have Troy Brouwer back than see Lomberg in a flames sweater

  • oddclod

    What a clown. I don’t know how he looked in the mirror. The game clearly passed him by, His give a damn was nil. Aloof until the end to boot. Good riddance. Onwards and upwards!

  • TheWheeze

    Someone mentioned our treatment in running him out of town and how it may affect free agents wanting to sign here. Don’t know, if I was a professional hockey player I’d want to come to a hockey mad market where the fans are rabid.

  • Schmenkley

    Message sent by Treliving this off season:
    “Entitlement and lack of effort are no longer acceptable”.
    Let’s hope the message is received and Peters plays everyone in line with that concept!

    • BlueMoonNigel

      But didn’t the Flames trade a guy who should have played first line PP all of last season and was more than capable of playing 25 minutes a night for Noah? One step forward and one step back.

      Considering how little Buffalo paid for Skinner reaffirms my contention that Tre badly overpaid for Hanifin and the Swede. Canes have enacted a scorched earth policy and would have been content with getting a Bic lighter, but instead Tre generously gave them a full-loaded flame thrower.

        • Baalzamon

          No, the consensus is pretty much that the Hurricanes got the better of it. Which they did. That said, it may still turn out to be really good for the Flames; that just requires some pretty significant steps forward from two players, and the hope that Fox doesn’t become something the Flames regret moving on from.

          • Kevin R

            Hamilton didnt want to be here, Fox wasnt going to come here either. Ferland was tough to let go but he wants to get paid & we dont have the cap room to accommodate Ferlands expected salary demand next year. I will take side bets that Fox doesnt sign in Carolina either.
            To get two kids who were picked 5th over all in their respective drafts & are only 21 & 23 & are just scratching the surface of what their ceiling could be is a homerun in my humble opinion. Anyone also want to do a long term side bet Hamilton doesnt resign in Carolina in 3 years either? Carolina sucked for 2 years to get these lottery picks & they traded them away. Look how bad we were when we finally got a 4th over all pick.

      • Baalzamon

        The Hurricanes were actively shopping Skinner though, which lowered his value. They said, outright, that they were trading him this summer. Everyone knew it.

        The Flames were targeting Noah and Lindholm (especially Lindholm from all the rumors). The Hurricanes were open to moving them (they were open to moving everyone but Aho) but they were not brazenly offering them to the highest bidder like they were Skinner.

  • Smithwick

    Didn’t Tre’s interview this afternoon he talked about the players that have come in so far this summer and the ones he thinks are coming. Could be talking about the kids fighting for spots or alluding to not being finished as many have said.

    • Brian McGrattan's Salute

      How tantalising. Was it just a vague comment he made or was it in a specific context? Honestly I would be more excited by prospect development than someone else coming in.

      A big push from a Janko or a Bennett or one of the Stockton lads would be a super nice break for us. Down the road, if we can keep up this new mantra of “healthy competition, team spirit, and drive to win, it would be super indicative of a positive reshuffle by Tre this off season if we could keep bringing prospects up and seeing them flourish.

  • oilcanboyd

    Mark Stone signed for 1 year at 7.35 mill; asking for 9 mill. And some posters on FN wanted to trade for him…and he will be UFA at end of season. Anyone offering 9 mill (or more if he has another great year)?

        • C-of-Dread

          No, Matt and Brady are not the Sedin’s. They’d just be 2 brothers who hate losing more than ANYTHING and drag every team-mate in the room by their nostrils into the back alley and hold them accountable!

          “Put your mouth on the curb,…” (Blammo)
          “Now get your @$$ back out on the ice and practice like it Effing matters to you!”

          That’s what 2 Tkachuk’s would bring to a dressing room. Do I believe it will happen,… no, but they wouldn’t have an entitled group who didn’t mind if they lost or not.

      • Brian Burkee

        Hey WW speaking of terrible hockey teams…. do you know how many times the flames have made it out of the 2nd round of the playoffs in the last 3 DECADES ????

        TWICE!!!

        • FL🔥MES

          ON is a somber place these days with few comments. On the bright side, when I checked in today I didn’t see a lot of the usual d-bag commentators posting their usual garbage on the site which is a good change. It’s been a miserable site for years.

          • Getpucksdeep

            There’s very few posts and many that are posting are putting on a brave face up there but you don’t stand still and improve by osmosis. Oiler fans other than the usual trolls, know it. The forwards up there beyond the 3 who can score are all 4th liners at best. Rattie has a lot to prove, Puljujarrvi isn’t a bust yet but he sure hasn’t made it yet. Lucic will hit what he catch but he can’t catch much these days. They didn’t make any real changes to a team that finished last year behind the Flames.

          • LannyMac

            I just love it when Flames fans compare there team to the oil. Why would you try and make yourself feel better by comparing yourself to a the worst s&@t bag team in the nhl. Great your the second worst s$@t bag team for the last thirty years congratulations Flames fans. Stop comparing yourself to the oil so you can come out on top 29 other teams also come out on top. Wow