133TJ Brodie
Photo Credit: Candice Ward/USA Today Sports

If the goal is cap relief, the Flames should trade TJ Brodie

The Calgary Flames are in a fairly enviable place in their recent drafting and development. Their 2018-19 roster featured graduated prospects from nine different draft classes – including a long-shot fourth round pick that had 99 points. But the challenge of cap management is figuring out how to keep your team competitive while freeing up cap space to pay your prospects when they become high-performing core pieces.

That’s why if the goal of the off-season is opening up space to re-sign Matthew Tkachuk, the best player to move for cap relief is TJ Brodie.

The cap crunch

The projected 2018-19 salary cap is $83 million – the exact number will be confirmed in a couple of weeks by the NHL’s Board of Governors. Barring moves or buyouts, the Flames already have 15 players under contract for 2018-19 season with some hefty cap hits:

  • Forwards Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, James Neal, Mikael Backlund, Elias Lindholm, Michael Frolik, Derek Ryan, Mark Jankowski and Austin Czarnik
  • Defensemen Mark Giordano, Noah Hanifin, TJ Brodie, Travis Hamonic, Michael Stone and Rasmus Andersson

(Oliver Kylington, Juuso Valimaki and Dillon Dube are all waiver-exempt, so we’ll ignore them for right now.)

Via PuckPedia – and our sweet math skills – the contracts for these gentlemen is $63.888 million, which leaves the Flames with $19.112 million of cap space to fill eight roster spots. They would need two goaltenders, a defensemen and five forwards to fill out a complete roster.

This all seems alright until you start considering the deals that they likely need to ink with their key restricted free agents. If we use the forecasts from Evolving Wild: $7.98 million for Matthew Tkachuk, $2.85 million for Sam Bennett, $926,000 for Andrew Mangiapane, and since Evolving Wild doesn’t project wacky goaltender contracts let’s just throw out an even $3 million for David Rittich. Those new deals would leave the Flames with $4.356m for three more forwards, another defender and another goalie.

That leaves them with zero wiggle room whatsoever for in-season trades, injuries, waiver action or basically anything that comes up during the season. Thus, some cap relief is needed.

The argument for trading TJ Brodie

Over the weekend, TSN’s Bob McKenzie mentioned on his podcast (the Bobcast) that the Flames are reportedly looking to move either Brodie or Hamonic. Both are right side defenders. Both play in the top two pairings. With Rasmus Andersson emerging as a player that can play reliably with both Giordano and Hanifin – or with another youngster on the third pairing – suddenly there’s an opportunity to save some cap space without making the team worse. Andersson makes just $756,000 next season.

If the choice is between moving Brodie or Hamonic, there are a few reasons to prefer to move Brodie.

First, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman contrasted the duo’s playing styles last season in 31 Thoughts: “Hamonic is structure, Brodie is a jazz virtuoso.” Guess which one coaches tend to prefer, and which one tends to lead to high-danger scoring chances going in the wrong direction?

Similarly, moving Hamonic means that to have Andersson playing with Giordano, the other top defensive pairing would be Hanifin and Brodie. Both of those players have some rough spots in their defensive games and are prone to similarly skating themselves into (and out of) trouble. It would be unwise to be in a situation where they need to play together.

Beyond the logistical reasons, if the entire purpose is cap relief then Brodie ($4.65 million) saves more space than Hamonic ($3.857 million). From an asset management perspective, Brodie has six consecutive seasons of 30-plus points (Hamonic cracked 30 points once in that span), has quarterbacked the Flames second power play unit and played with Giordano on the top pairing against the league’s top players. Brodie has rough spots in his game – he’s full of peaks and valleys – but his peaks could potentially net the Flames a bigger haul than Hamonic’s more consistent play.

No better options to open up cap space

Let’s look at this situation from a different perspective. If you assume that the Flames need cap space – and they do – who else can the Flames move out to open up space without (a) making the team worse on-ice or (b) needing to take back a bad asset to make the trade happen. Heck, the oft-reported Frolik for Jason Zucker trade saw the Flames get a little bit better (and younger) but add over $1 million in cap hit. Buying out Stone would give the Flames a bit more wiggle room, but would also eliminate some potentially helpful veteran depth (albeit expensive depth). Moving out Neal probably isn’t in the cards this off-season due to the amount of time (and money) left on his deal.

Given all of their options, moving Brodie or Hamonic is the best bet for opening up cap space. Brodie is the best option because the Flames could get more value back for Brodie, they open up more cap space by moving Brodie, and stylistically he’s the easiest player to remove from their blueline group without weakening it.

Brodie’s been a very useful player for the Flames for eight seasons, but it’s probably time to send him on his way.

  • Oil Spilly

    Can this team win with a almost 40 yr old
    Captain and soft as butter forward core in Monyman and Johnny hockey? Going to need to move more than TJ if playoff success is the goal.

    • The Iggy complex

      Maybe just worry about the Oilers. They have the best player in the world and are still trash. Also look at Boston. There captain is 42 and they are in cup final.

      • Oil Spilly

        Yes but the bruins have Marchand, Pastranak, Debrousk and Bergeron just to make a few. I feel like the flames would trade mony or Johnny straight up just to have one of those guys. Wait…… did you just compare the flames to the mighty bruins????? 😂

        • Beer League Coach

          The Iggy did not compare Flames to Bruins. You mentioned Gio, our Norris trophy candidate, and Zdeno Chara who has never been mentioned as a Norris trophy candidate. You seem obsessed with Flames not winning in the playoffs. Where has your team been since early April, even with all of your great superstars? Fore!!

          • Rudy27

            No he didn’t compare the Flames to the Bruins, but we did beat the Bruins in the overall NHL standings this year. So who knows, maybe without the first round exit the Flames may still be playing (against Tampa Bay). You never know in sports. Every year at least one really good team goes out in the first round.

          • Slick77

            I don’t understand your comment. Beer League Coach said “Zdeno Chara who has never been mentioned as a Norris trophy candidate.” So I replied to correct his mistake saying that Chara in fact was not only a Norris Trophy candidate, but also won it.
            What does McDavid and his awards have to do with anything that has been mentioned here?

          • Oil Spilly

            Where has your team been the last 31 years? Oh yeah….Fore!!!! Seen the Second round twice in 31 years!!! That has to be a record.
            Also funny fact. Oilers have had more playoff success than the flamers in the last 10,20,30 years lol

          • Oil Spilly

            @kevin R. Digest these stats. In the last two seasons the flames have “1” more playoff victory than the oilers lmao you don’t want to go past 2 yrs tho….. you won’t like what you see…..cause the oilers have more playoff wins than the flame outs.

          • Kevin R

            Lol! Youre special. You missed the point of those numbers. The irony of clowns like you trashing on a Flames thread & trashing Flames players that finished 28 points higher than your special Oilers. By the time you plunge through the sludge on your team Mchighness contract will be half way done. Its the karma of fans like you that keep the black cloud shrouded over that wandering team of yours.

          • Oil Spilly

            Kevin you missed the real point lol it doesn’t matter if you win the division 10 years in a row if you get smashed in the first round every time. Lol the flames either get swept or only win one game every playoffs. Wheuuuuu!!!

        • Alfonso

          That’s hilarious … coming from the fan of a team that had seven top seven picks in seven recent seasons, lolo … yet still managed to finish 25th last season … are you expecting the hapless Oil to finish 28 points back of your Flames again this year … ? 🙂

      • 🐃💩

        With arguably the best 2 way center in the league..a true sniper..best agitator with skill, a goaltender, a true second line center..comparing Calgary to Boston is laughable.

        • Oil Spilly

          If my team is terrible what does that make your team? Lol remember my team has had more success in the last 10,20,30 years am I right or am I right??? It’s painful to lookup up “Calgary flames post season stats” 😂

  • Trevy

    Completely logical that Brodie gets traded and disagree with the ramifications of buying out Stone. To keep him for “veteran depth” at his salary is foolish. I’m sure there will be more than enough veteran dmen that would be available on the cheap, not to mention our own prospects. I’m also pretty sure BT won’t just stop at Brodie when it comes to trades in the next few weeks. Should be fun to watch!

  • Gus Fring

    Stone should have some sort of value ??? No? Frolik and Brodie we can move that should ease the cap crunch once we dont have crazy contracts coming back the other way.

  • deantheraven

    The other good reason for “sending Brodie on his way”- the photo says it all. He’s good with his stick at breaking up plays but can’t contain a beast like MacKinnon in playoff mode.

  • withachance

    The goal is to improve the team. There’s no point in just dumping cap for the sake of it. As long as the cap vacated from any of Brodie, Frolik and Stone (upward of 9M) is used effectively to upgrade the top 6 with an impactful player then yes, make those moves.

    This draft is going to be huge for the progression of this team. Good thing this is where BT does his best work.

  • meat1

    I see a lot more teams facing a cap crunch than those needing help to get to the cap floor. So we probably need to act sooner than later on moving out some contracts…ie Brodie and Frolik. (Stone and Neal are only leaving via the buyout route if the Flames want to rid themselves of them). The longer we wait the more liable we are to have to take salary back in a deal, which defeats the true purpose of getting cap relief.

    • withachance

      The thing is Brodie and Frolik are not cap dumps. They are not a Zaitsev or a Marleau. They have legitimate value at a reasonable cap hit.

      Brodie is a top 4 mobile dman that is capable of playing top pair minutes, and Frolik is a cup winning middle 6 winger that is a PK1 level player. All available for less than 4.5M cap hit – Flames can even take on some salary too. Point is they are not paying anything for teams to take these players.

  • meat1

    Taking back salary is just fine if it were in the form of a true top six forward or true number one goalie, BUT Brodie and Frolik etc are not going to net you that in a trade. Let’s build from within.

  • Slick77

    Brodie really surprised me, because I thought Brodie would have a better career than Giordano back after the 2013/14 season. Then Brodie was put to the second pairing and Hamilton was put up with Giordano and Brodie struggled. Brodie also brought Harmonic’s numbers down his first year with the Flames.
    As an Oiler fan I would take Hamonic any day if the price is right, but I would stay away from Brodie.

      • Oil Spilly

        Which is it. Is Brodie awesome or is he trash? Cause on one thread he’s worth nothing more than a bag of pucks. The next thread he’s worth 2 first rounders and Marner.

        • withachance

          Literally no threads in the past week have been people saying he’s worth more than a 1st, or saying he is absolute hot garbage.

          The entire bottom 9 on that Oilers team though…. Yikes

          • Slick77

            Your entire bottom 9 comment is quite the over reaction. Kassian, Khaira, and Brodziak are quite serviceable bottom 6 forwards. Benson who should make the Oilers coming out of Bakersfield will strengthen it, plus the addition of Nygard. Nuge is also a great 2nd line centre. Yes there is work to do there, and we don’t deny it, but there are good pieces there to work with.

          • withachance

            Sorry should have been clearer. Very few, or none of EDM’s bottom 9 players other than Nuge would be able to play meaningful minutes on contending teams. Sorry but its the truth. Brodziak could barely get on a team 2 seasons ago, Kassian is an enforcer if he didnt get a point boost from one of the 3 stud centers on the Oilers, and Khaira is a serviceable 4th liner, maybe, on a team like Boston, Capitals, Preds, SJS etc.

      • Slick77

        Funny that you added Manning. You could’ve added Keegan Lowe to that list and Manning still would have been the worst of the bunch. Manning will probably be the first player cut and sent down to Bakersfield during training camp and then put back where he ended last season, in the Bakersfield pressbox. LOL
        Brodie is probably a better offensive d-man than those that you mentioned, but the Oilers d-men are probably better than Brodie in the defencive zone. Also other than Sekera, Brodie is also more expensive than Larsson, Russell, Benning, and Persson. Noticed you didn’t add Nurse and Klefbom. Good call. They are also cheaper than Brodie.

        • withachance

          Brodie is more expensive because he is better…. Brodie is only more expensive by like 250K to 500K compared to all those guys. Brodie would walk into the top 4 of EDM d corps

          • withachance

            I think you’re also overrating Larsson and Russell. Not even gonna include Benning Manning. Larsson had an absolutely brutal year and is a 2nd pair at best. Russell is Russell. He’s a great 3rd pair dman, but out of depth in top 2 pair

        • The Red Knight

          It’s funny that FLAMES are able to trade 2 top 4 defenceman and replace them with future Stud D , and that Brodie and Hamonic would be in the Oilers top 3 , can’t wait to see the return Flames get in there upcoming trades , draft and next season could be a repeat ,Flames could be even better as this core is still just scratching the surface, add a couple bigger bodies and it will be a different playoffs next season,which I’m looking forward too , and looking forward to watching Soilers (the next dynasty NOT !!! ) play in the sandbox for the next decade lol again !!

          • Slick77

            Oilers RH d-men. Larsson, Russell (plays the right side, but is left handed, just like Brodie), Benning, and Persson. Persson is an unknown as we don’t know how he will adapt to the NA style or ice size.
            Larsson and Hamonic are close in skill so yeah I can see Hamonic playing with Nurse or Klefbom.
            Brodie would be better than either Larsson or Russell in the offensive zone, but would cause more problems in the defensive zone. So no, considering the defensive zone is were the Oilers defence needs to improve.
            Now one question, where in Monahans hockey career has he shown that he can lift his play to a playoff level?
            FYI, big strong top 6 forwards are not easy to find and those who have them rarely trade them away.

          • Kevin R

            @ Slick Trying to understand your Monahan comments. Playoff stats 20 games-13 points.
            Nugent Hopkins playoff stats 13 games- 4 points.
            If we follow your critique on Monahan, why oh why would Oilers keep Nugent-Hopkins?

          • Slick77

            RNH has only been in one playoff series in the NHL, unlike Monahan. So he has a very small sample size to go by.
            Monahan OHL playoffs – 22gp and 19 points 0.864 ppa. compared to his regular season totals of a total of 185 gp and 203 points 1.10 ppa.
            NHL playoffs 20 gp – 13 points 0.650 ppg. (If it wasn’t for the 5 points in 4 games in 2016/17 this would be a lot worse.)
            regular season 471 pg – 363 points 0.771.
            The top line players from other teams who were over a regular season point per game in junior are also over a point per game in the playoffs. This has been a pattern for Monahan.

          • Oil Spilly

            How many oiler playoff victories in the last decade??? How many flame victories in the last decade??? Lmao I rest my case. The flames are so awesome that they can’t even beat the oilers or there playoff record in the so called “decade of darkness” 🙂

  • The Walter Sobchak

    Trade Gio while his value is at an all time high. Will get a fantastic return and we won’t make the same mistake that we did with Iggy. His drop off is coming.

  • freethe flames

    Another story on the need to trade Brodie to get cap space. Another story where the author does not really discuss the return and a possible good trading partner. There are few here at FN would disagree that both TJ and Frolik should be traded and if they are traded need to result in some additional cap space, hopefully a top 6 forward, some additional draft picks or at least some prospects, What that mix might look like is anyone’s guess. I believe that both TJ and Frolik have some sort of limited trade clauses and the rumour is that TJ would like to be closer to home; so Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Detroit, Buffalo might all be on his list. Frolik might be easier to move as it seems he wants out or at the very least he wants a role which would allow him to earn another contract in the NHL. Again I think Brodie should be able to net the Flames a late first rounder or an early second rounder (possibly a swap of 1st rounders) and a second solid piece depending on the destination. Frolik should get us a 2nd rounder or a third rounder and a legit prospect. Anything less and I see it as selling low when the easy answer for cap space is buyout Stone and Neal.

    • freethe flames

      One other though to add; if TJ and Frolik were traded to a non playoff team the value that said team might get could be higher than what the Flames get. Now that would suck especially if they got traded back west.

      • withachance

        I think Brodie is a good fit at MTL (they need a LHD for Weber and have some decent wingers)

        Frolik is a good fit for FLA (Coach Q, need forward depth, decent cap space)

        • freethe flames

          I agree with you about TJ and Montreal; it seems like the perfect fit. The Habs have 23 players signed already and a couple of minor guys left to sign and over 11m in cap space. He would fit into their style, compliment Webber and they could afford to acquire him for draft picks. The question is would he go to Montreal?

          The idea of Frolik to FLA makes sense but if the rumours are true that they are going big after Bobs and Panarin their current cap space will disappear in a hurry. If they gets Bobs the rumour is that they need to move Reimer to make it work. So I am doubtful we ship Frolik to FLA.

      • withachance

        The point is to improve the team. What’s the point for the leafs or any other teams to simply resign their expiring contracts and not be able to improve on areas of need? If Leafs signs Marner Johnsson Kapanen, they come back with the same team that cant beat Boston. Same thing for Calgary. Both teams have complementary of areas of strength, it makes sense to do a deal if the cap is relatively the same

        • Slick77

          So by adding Brodie and subtracting Kadri, Marner, Kapanen, Johnsson, Hainsey, and Gardiner is going to improve the Leafs?
          I see how that improves the Flames, assuming that they can also trade Frolic and get their 2 goalies and Tkachuk signed.

          • withachance

            What. I never said dont sign the forwards. I said the plan should be sign the players and make improvements.

            Hainsey and Gardiner are already gone. They’re keeping Marner and one of Johnsson and Kapanen at least.

          • Kevin R

            It’s simple. Brodie is a bandaid solution to Leafs losing Gardiner. I see Brodie being exactly what they had in Gardiner in type of Dman. Moving Brodie for Kadri basically shuffles $$$ for the Leafs from forward to blueline where they have to address if they lose Gardiner, Hainsey, Zaitsev.

            However, I do believe Flames may have to throw in Jankowski in the deal & possibly take Brown back if Leafs arent able to move Marleau for cap relief.

          • Slick77

            Right now the Leafs have just under $8.8million in cap space. Brodie makes $150,000.00 more than Kadri, so that will bring their cap down to around $8.6 million. So buy adding Brodie you are subtracting Kadri plus the rest of their unsigned forwards with maybe one exception of Johnsson or Kapanen. Because they still won’t have enough cap space to sign Marner, or improve their defence from last season. Brodie will not be able to replace both Gardner AND Hainsey.
            If by chance the Leafs can trade Zaitsev, who has a 10 team no trade list, will not free up cap space. Any deal for him the Leafs are also going to taking back salary as he isn’t worth this cap hit. So the Leafs will have to use Kadri to get cap relief. The type of d-man that they will be looking at to get is LIKE a Juuso Välimäki (not say it will be!). One that can improve their defence and yet will be cheap.

      • Jobu

        Add there, subtract elsewhere.

        The article mentions the other areas where the Flames can dip. They don’t mention the possibility of dealing Jankowski or Bennett on top of a deal.

        Also, Leads will deal Zaitsev. Along with Gardiner leaving it leaves a big hole on defense that needs to be filled.

      • Rockmorton65

        If they can transfer Brodie’s cap hit from the D to, say, the top 6 forward group, it’s close enough. They won’t be adding to the cap to replace him.

  • freethe flames

    I’m starting to think that Ottawa might be the destination for TJ. Here is my thinking; it would likely work for TJ and his family again the rumour is he would like to be close to home. The Sens need some veteran D and need to add some salary to get to the floor. The Sens own seconder round is 32 overall almost a first rounder and they have 4 picks in the first 3 rounds this year and 7 next year. Also at the TDL they probably could move him for a good package if he is not going to sign him to an extension. The Flames get Ottawa’s own 2nd rounder this year and a second rounder next year based on some conditions; TJ signs with Ottawa or they flip him we get their highest 2nd rounder; he walks we get their lowest second rounder.

  • everton fc

    I bet they try to move Brodie and Frolik, and maybe Czarnik. Moving Czarnik means we can re-sign Hathaway – becomes a wash. Perhaps Dube can replace Frolik somehow.

  • redwhiteblack

    Changes will come. Brodie will be gone and a few others. Bottom line is the core this team has to show success all year and build towards late season wins and find a will and a way to win games in the post season. If not the core pieces will have to be moved for bodies with a higher compete level.

    • freethe flames

      Adding more talent and depth upfront would make a big difference. The question is who and how do you get it done? Everyone out here will have their own ideas. I wonder who BT will add.

      • Getpucksdeep

        I posted these guys earlier. None are “top 6” but all 4 are with teams with lots of cap space. All 4 play a physical, good skating game even if none will set the world on fire. IMHO we need to swap some Cap like a Brodie or a Frolik and some smaller forwards for say a 2nd and someone off this list, or a couple of similar type forwards to beef up the bottom 6. Ryans great and Dube’s coming. Czarnik? Mangiapane? To add size they have to subtract somewhere else.

        Player Pos Age Ht Wt GP hits Scoring Ability Contract
        Girgensens LW 25 6 2 207 72 144 5 goals RFA
        B Jenner C 25 6 2 206 77 158 15-18 goals 3.75 3 years
        Ritchie RW 25 6 3 207 53 126 4 goals RFA
        Lemeiux LW 23 6 1 210 63 129 10 goals? RFA

        As far as big deals go we all know Trelivings notorious for not tipping his hand and them for surprises. Is a trade for say a bigger top 6 fish in the works? It would cost an asset plus a role player and maybe the pick. Could you get a Couterier? a Krieder? We could use a little talented brawn on the top 6 as well but that costs. Zuckers smaller but apparantly “they” think he’s a fit. No one wanted Ferland out and it was a surprise piece to close the deal. Who knows who the next Ferland will be.

  • Garry T

    Trade Brodie to Montreal for their first round number 10 pick plus their earliest 2nd this year. This trade gets you a very solid draft pick like Raphael Lavoie and early options in the Second round. I would keep Frolik and trade Johnny to New Jersey or the Rangers. NJ gets a great player and we get the first overall which we Flip that pick to the Avalanche for their first two picks in the first round plus their first 2nd rounder this year and their 1st. 2nd rounder next year. I would then choose Poulin who is a gifted scorer with one of those picks. Johnny is frustrated and his contract is coming up after the 2021 season and we will not have the money to spend on him. I do hope we do not go all in with Tkachuk. From a business point of view I would give him a 3 year deal at $5 mil per. Then you have tones of cap space to improve the club and you can go all in then. Just explain your reasoning to he and his Dad. We have to start using good common sense or we are going to be heading for the ditch.

  • Albertabeef

    Any number cruncher could tell you it makes more sense to trade Gio and Hamonic instead of Brodie. Hamonic played 11 less games than Brodie but had a higher “on ice goals against”. Brodie was not the issue

  • Beer League Coach

    Hey Oil Spilly. My mistake. Chara did win the Norris about 10 years ago. Forgot about that. Also had a bad day today. Brother in law passed away in Michigan in May. Memorial service is this Saturday. Step son was just diagnosed with throat cancer and we are getting ready to go to Reno for grandson’s H.S. graduation on June 12. Just had too much on my mind today. On the good side, I bottled a batch of Chardonnay today and all turned out well. Got 30 bottles. It should be ready to drink when we get back home. Tell me again where the Coilers have been for the last 14 years. I expect to see a few of them claiming a single digit handicap on the golf course. After all, practice makes perfect. No?

  • freethe flames

    As FA approaches I have taken a look at the UFA’s available and the Flames needs and I have come to the conclusion that there is not much out there. The contracts for the RFA market guys will be interesting and I wonder where Tkachuk fits in that class. Objectively his hockey iQ and his edge he is near the top of the class but his skating is near the bottom of the class. The one thing we don’t know about him is how he plays with higher end players around him; the other guys have been able to play with some higher end guys.

  • freethe flames

    The Matthews contract has changed everything for this group of young FA’s. $11.6m x 5 years for 68 games played and 73 points; over a point a game and a game changing center. So how do the following guys fit in:
    Name Age Points
    Marner 22 94
    Point 23 92
    Rantanten 22 87
    Aho 22 83
    Tkachuk 21 77
    Connor 22 66
    Mier 22 66
    Karlsson 26 56
    Boesser 22 56
    Kapenen 23 44
    Johnsson 24 43

    Looking at this list by points is interesting and understanding that Marner wants a similar contract to Matthews makes one wonder what the contracts should be and where Tkachuk sits; in many ways he fits just about where he sits. Centers tend to get paid more.

  • drogon

    Our #1 priority remains to get a 1C, other teams don’t trade these, so you need to draft it. This is a deep draft, many 1C available and the BlackHawks #3 is in play. Lindholm should move to C next year, more complete than Monahan, but he is no 1C. Our bait: Johnny Gaudreau. Only 3 years left on a cap friendly deal, just finished his best season at 99 points, market value is high and he wants to finish his career in the Eastern Conference, never had the intention to extend the deal.