TJ Brodie suddenly very important on Calgary’s blueline

A trade involving TJ Brodie seemed a formality when the Flames kicked off their offseason. But, almost four full months into Calgary’s summer, Brodie remains a member of the team and the likelihood of dealing him seems much less as August begins. In fact, with training camp just over a month away, Brodie’s role feels a whole lot more important now than it did when things wrapped up in April.

The right side

With Michael Stone’s buyout made official late last week, the Flames are left with just two natural right shot defenders with NHL experience: Travis Hamonic and Rasmus Andersson. Even though he actually shoots left, we’ll lump Brodie into the right side conversation, too; as we know, he’s somewhat of an anomaly preferring to play on the off side. That leaves Calgary with a blueline depth chart looking something like below.

Left D Right D
Mark Giordano Travis Hamonic
Noah Hanifin TJ Brodie
Juuso Valimaki Rasmus Andersson
Oliver Kylington
Brandon Davidson
Rinat Valiev

Head coach Bill Peters is on the record with his preference for a left and right shot on each pair, which technically won’t be possible with the current roster. However, Peters is also fine playing Brodie on the right, which gives him three pairings that fit the bill. But what if someone gets injured?

Brodie’s role

With Stone no longer in the fold, the Flames have a little less of a cushion on the right side. Say what you want about Stone’s contract, but he was still an NHL defender and gave the team nice flexibility. The buyout had to happen, but it definitely puts more pressure on the remaining players on that side. All of a sudden, Brodie’s ability to eat big minutes and play up and down the depth chart becomes far more important.

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Mark Giordano-Rasmus Andersson
Noah Hanifin-Travis Hamonic
Juuso Valimaki-TJ Brodie

The alignment above is how most believe Calgary will start the season on the back, injuries not withstanding. Considering Hamonic has never played more than 74 games in a season, though, there’s a solid chance Brodie will have to play an elevated role if indeed he starts on the third pair.

Furthermore, as high as I am on Andersson, he has very limited experience playing top pairing minutes. As much as I think that’s where he’ll be for the bulk of his career, a few growing pains this year wouldn’t be unheard of. If that’s the case, Peters always has the ability to move Brodie back up with Giordano.

Brodie has had his struggles over the last three seasons, but as frustrated as he might make you, he still belongs in the NHL. At this stage, I don’t think Brodie is best used on the top pair, but he provides the Flames with versatility. Brodie can still log big minutes and can play up and down the lineup; if he’s in Calgary to start the season, he’ll present the team with options.

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Is a trade still possible?

TJ Brodie

Of course it is. With Matthew Tkachuk unsigned, the Flames are still actively trying to move out money. We already know Brodie was close to being part of a Nazem Kadri deal earlier this summer, so if Calgary were to move him between now and October, it won’t be a stunner. From a competitive standpoint, though, it’s no longer as attractive a proposition.

Right now, the best case if they were to trade Brodie would see the Flames get a cheaper right shot in return. I question how realistic that is, but if Calgary could bring in a d-man with NHL experience to play the right while still saving money, I think they’d jump at the chance.

A more realistic scenario could see the Flames move Brodie for a more nominal return (a mid-round draft pick, perhaps) while eating part of his salary. Of course, this would leave Calgary in a spot where they’d have to use two left shots on a third pair, which isn’t ideal. As a colleague of mine passed along, though, it’s better than not signing Tkachuk.

At this stage, I believe the chances the Flames move Brodie are significantly lower than they were in April, May, or June. As such, there’s a good chance he’s on the roster to start the season on an expiring contract. If that’s the case, his role on Calgary’s blueline looks to be far more crucial than we might have thought a few months ago.

  • drogon

    It’s been a difficult summer for BT so far in terms of trade and making the team a little bit better. It’s concerning due to our playoff results in the previous years. We did have a successful draft and a new arena is coming in 2024. The next big date on the calendar is the 2021 Seattle expansion draft. Planning and managing/moving assets ahead would be key, the closer we get, the higher the supply, the lesser the value.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      Successful draft based on what? Way too early to say what will become of any of the draftees.

      Couldn’t care less about the new building if the team is crap. I’d rather have well stocked old cupboards than high-end, brand-spanking new cupboards devoid of vittles.

      No, the next big date is not the expansion draft. It’s the start of the new season in October.

      • FlamesFanOtherCity

        Welcome to a fan site for meaningful hockey. We complain about having a player as good as Brodie blocking a young player here. Strange how Oiler fans think Nurse is such a stud, yet can’t even play defense properly. Minus 5 player to Brodie’s +29.

        In the seedy arena distict, the Oilers can’t even manage to ice 4 capable defenders. Klefbom is a capable player if he ever plays a full season. Larsson is useless. Nurse has offense and little else. Benning is a 6/7 on most teams. Russell is a shot blocking, own goal scoring machine that can’t execute a breakout pass.

        Top 9 consists of a franchise level player who doesn;t take enough faceoffs, a center that should drive his own line but scores better when playing with McD, and a good player that plays better with McD. Add to that a tough guy that can score playing top line minutes, a floater that can score playing with McD and a player that we gave up for Looch because he does little well. The rest are 4th liners.

        Good luck with Smith; you will need it. He’ll either be a scrub like he was for 1/2 of the last two seasons or capable of playing behind a capable defense. In other words, god luck with that.

        Maybe in a year’s time you can focus on replacing half the players with UFA’s that are willing to go there. Good luck doing that with 24m of which you need to resign that stud Nurse and re-sign Kassian after playing another season on the top line. Happy times in the seedy Ice District.

        • Lowe enuf

          Really??? Seedy?.. that is so hurtful. So since Cowtown loves barnyard references for their arenas ( the corral, the saddle dome) perhaps the new building could pay homage to the Flames abundant playoff success as the Horse’s Ass Centre? It could be designed for early exits, soft padded corners, plenty of safe spaces and Turtle zones.

        • Abagofpucks

          The oilers were in the playoff discussion till the 1st week of march. When klef went down and russell went down and sekra still gone due to injury, thats what really screwed them for a playoff spot. You say neal is no good anymore after 1 bad year, up until he played on your team he was fine. If you look at what neal did 2 years prior to coming to the flames and his age it doesn’t really surprise me he had a down year. Say what you want about him but he is likely more than loochich to have a comeback. You think nurse is some plug but he isn’t he’s proved he can play over 30 minutes if he has to and against the leagues best. Nurse has improved every year so far and i believe he will again this year.

          Smith is old no doubt but he was a 9.17 in your playoffs and had a shutout, now you have talbot he fell off a cliff 2 years ago who knows why, but you better hope he rebounds or your gonna eat a lot of crow Mr.
          Smith has a lot to prove and i’m sure he can’t wait to shove it down the villagers throats when he plays you . Nobody is worried about who plays with mcd, But i’m glad you are. Kass will be a thorn in your sides when he plays you and he isn’t worried about your new goon. Enjoy your goon he’s going to make you wish you never heard his name book it.

          • Budgie

            Yes and you will be paying Neal till he is 36, Lucic’s contract ends when he is 34, Smith is 37, he will be done soon, I like Smith but he’s not getting any younger. You can draft a goalie with your next top pick in the draft.

          • Abagofpucks

            Hey budgie i heard your new building will be called Vallue village arena, with a real Value village store on the main floor as you walk in. And they will be selling tossed jerseys as well as new ones, oh and you have to buy a ticket to the game to shop there, so better get your tickets.

          • FlamesFanOtherCity

            And yet they managed to get 6th worst in the league. The time period you are talking about is also when most of the Pacific teams stopped winning. Vegas and SJS couldn;t decide if they wanted to play each other or drop into the wild card spot. What did the Mighty Oil end up with? 79 points? This with a 50 goal guy, a league leader and a stud named Nurse? Okay.

            If you watched Neal play last year, you would have seen a lazy version of Puljujarvi. Last one up the ice. Last man to the puck. Hitless wonder. I’m sure that he can convert 10% of his shots this year, playing 18 minutes or more without any defensive responsibilities. For some reason the Vegas playoffs hurt his training regimen more than his playoff run in Nashville. As long as all he has to do s go to the net with his stick on the ice, I’m sure he will only whiff on about 1/2 of them. If I had a choice, it would be neither Lucic nor Neal. Neither is going to bounce back.

            Kassian will call in sick every time they play the Flames, so it will be up to JarJar to lay down the law. Neal will be sucking wind at the boards if anything breaks out.

        • Mr. J

          Lol funny how you didn’t mention Brodie’s 2 seasons before last!!! Where he went a gross -16 and -17 lol

          Funny you’d didnt mention how Nurse was Canada’s beat d man at the worlds this year lol
          But yeah he sucks and Brodie’s awesome

      • Raffydog

        Really? Are you mocking special Olympians? Is that how things are done in Edmonton? Those athletes have more courage and heart then you will ever have. You should be ashamed of yourself for saying such hurtful things, and moderators should ban you for life for your hateful rhetoric. Pathetic excuse for a human.

      • Snapshot

        It’s bad enough you troll nonsense, but your immaturity to insult those in the Special Olympics as participants and volunteers truly sets you apart from the rest. Grow up.

      • Budgie

        Special Olympics-Calgary is proud to support the Special Olympics-real athletes that are truly dedicated and amateurs, not professionals. I recall the Oilers had a fan with Downs Syndrome, all the players supported their biggest fan, many times with Gretzky leading the way. That I will say was total class by the Oiler’s organization.

        The new arena Rogers Place looks awesome-how many Calgarian’s does it take to change a lightbulb?
        3, one to change the bulb and two to reminisce about the Olympics
        We can laugh and make jokes but I won’t engage Special Olympics bashing