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.

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.

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.

  • super6646

    Aren’t you (pat) one people who suggested Brodie was worth a mid round pick before the off-season and got flatly got proven wrong with the kadri (almost) trade?

    Keep moaning about how bad he is (despite playing #2 minutes and #1 minutes at ES), but he’s a very important safety net with our lack of organizational depth on the right side. Trading him for a mid rounder or 3rd pairing dman makes 0 sense as it makes the team considerably worse with 0 gain.

      • Garry T

        Re $30,000,000.00 Johnny Effect for a trade to New Jersey. You asked.
        I assumed the benefit to Jersey to be $30 million. I was wrong.
        Research provided information for the following.
        1. Jersey sears 17,500 per game. Last year’s attendance averaged 14,800
        Per game. Signing in Jersey, assume term is 5 years.

        The Johnny Effect
        2700 seats x41 seasonal games x 5 years x median seat average of $120.00 equals $66,400,000.00 and he will sell them out.
        Jerseys ….40,000 x $140.00 equals $5,600,000.00. Calculation based on Calgary sales means averaged to 17,500 patrons.
        Hats 40,000x$20.00 equals $800,000.00
        Team jackets 10,000 x $195 equals$2,000,000.00.
        Radio TV to be considered for income growth.
        So, the Johnny effect is at near $75,000,000.00.
        Taking that into consideration , we should get a lot for Johnny

  • TheBigChef

    This is a well-written and well-reasoned article. I don’t think I agree, though.

    First of all, Stone was an NHL-defenseman, but he was also barely above replacement level. That flexibility can be had by going out and finding a cheaper replacement level player to be a #7, much like we had with Fantenburg, although someone who can play the right side.

    Second, I think the main reason Brodie is so much more expendable than someone like Frolik is the need to promote the development of Andersson, Valimaki and even Kyllington. It’s not solely about playing the right side, it’s about where those minutes come from. If Brodie is going to be a third pairing guy, we may as well move him now for some sort of assets because he is too expensive for a 3rd pairing guy and will be gone in free agency next summer anyways. Moving Brodie does not mean Andersson has to be forced into top pairing minutes if he’s not ready–Hamonic can take some minutes with Gio on the top pair as well. But Andersson deserves at least second pair minutes and Valimaki deserves a solid look too. Those minutes have to come from somewhere. Moving Brodie not only provides those minutes, but is also our best chance at simultaneously both clearing cap space and getting some assets back in return. That doesn’t mean it has to be now, but I still think it should happen, and his role is worth less on Calgary that it could be elsewhere.

    • cjc

      The same arguments could be made about Frolik – he’s blocking younger guys from the chance to play wing (Dube, Mangiapane, or Bennett could play higher up). Frolik could walk in free agency as well. Moving Frolik doesn’t force a young wing to take on responsibility they aren’t ready for (Bennett has 312 games of NHL experience).

      In an ideal world you don’t need to part with either Frolik or Brodie. The only reason a move is being contemplated, and the reason these two are considered is cap space, not because they are blocking younger players. I think Jankowski is a dark-horse trade possibility too, though it may not be enough. You can’t have too many good players on your team, and if Brodie ends up your 3-RD, so be it.

      • TheBigChef

        The difference is Andersson has a full season under his belt and has earned the minutes. Even Valimaki to an extent showed he is worthy of a full-time gig. When we are talking about covering the right side, Anderson and Hamonic can (and should) cover the top 4 minutes. Brodie then becomes a $4.6mm 3rd pairing guy, which is too much. If that’s where he is going to play, I think there should be more value in a trade (assets plus cap space) than in playing him there.

        Mangiapane showed he can be a full-time NHLer, but hasn’t played much of a role at RW in the NHL yet and so we are less certain he can take Frolik’s minutes on the RW. Dube had a great year in the AHL but hasn’t earned those minutes yet in the NHL yet. It’s on him to come in this year and do the same thing Andersson did last year. I think it’s harder (and riskier) to pencil those guys in for Frolik’s minutes than it is to pencil in some combination Hamonic, Andersson, or Valimaki for Brodie’s minutes.

        I do agree though it would be preferrable to move a lesser contract like a Jankowski or Czarnik or Ryan if the only purpose is cap space. My only point is that the article argues Brodie is more valuable than before because of our lack of RHD. I disagree and think that if he is going to end up as a third pairing guy he is more valuable as a trade chip.

        • Kevin R

          I think moving Brodie & Frolik is all part of asset management. If trading Brodie means we wont make it to the playoffs, he stays. Personally, this league has younger & younger players playing the minutes & key roles. Given the $$$ amounts they want after their ELC’s, I say play the pi$$ out of Andersson & on the top pairing while he’s cheap. See if he’s worth investing big $$$ soon enough. RH 3rd pairing D that are reliable are out there & can be acquired, for way less than than $4.625 mill. Saw that Anaheim lost out on the Shattenkirk bidding, maybe they are a trade partner for Brodie as well, they seem to be in need & have the cap space.

          • Kevin R

            Would love those trade proposals as well Garry but no way no how do the Jets make that trade. Other teams would definitely give up way more than a 32 year old vet on a final year of a contract to save what? 1.3 mill per in cap? Not gonna happen, but I would be stoked if Chevy decided he didnt like his job in the Peg & was going to do some Chiarelli style damage to the Jets. lol

    • wot96

      I agree. How is this a surprise in any way? Given the cap crunch they were always going to have to trade Brodie or Frolik and trade or buyout Stone excepting only in the unlikely situation that they could trade both Brodie and Stone – look, there’s a flying pig.

      As such, Stone was always gone so Brodie remains a mainstay unless the Flames get an offer they just can’t refuse. Which won’t happen before the TDL.

      • Garry T

        Wot96. Boeser would be paid out of Backlund and Jankowski’s money.
        I have said this 50 times if I have said it once. This a team game. Yes there are stars. But I have not seen that Tkachuk is worth the $7-10 mil being bandied about on this and other sites. Tkachuk needs to verify / prove he is worth the big bucks. I have been a proponent for 4.5 mil. But
        In the interests of moving forward and his acknowledging this is a team game, he accepts $5.5 mil per year. For four to five years. I could get behind that as a fan. Boeser is looking for $7 mil and he is superior to Tkachuk in many ways. We have had Brouwer, Hamilton, Neal and others tell us that they deserves to be paid. Where does it stop? Give it 3 more years and a recession and teams will really regret these huge contracts.
        Remember they get paid for the minutes played and your mean average is 19 minutes. How many of these guys have nothing 90 to 120 second shifts and did zip. It happens all the time. For millions and millions of dollars per year, they should be ultra focused and at the same time be a game changer on every shift.

        • wot96

          Big contracts are shifting to the left, i.e., getting earlier in the career. Is Tkachuk worth it? Who knows? The issue is whether he has shown enough to secure a big contract from someone. I suspect he has. What I do know is that he will absolutely not sign at what you are suggesting. He could have signed an offer sheet for that already and he hasn’t, so…

          As a fan, I would like to see him back here, but not at any price. If another team signed him to an offer sheet that would see enough come back to Calgary, I would be fine with that. Let’s not confuse asset management with what we want as fans.

      • Garry T

        Frolik is 31. My bet is that he plays to 36 in the NHL and then goes to the Czechs Republic and plays to 40. Chevy knows this guy and his playing style would prove an asset to Winnipeg. Ehlers is surplus in that lineup so to me Winnipeg does the deal.

        • Abagofpucks

          lol your funny gary i enjoy your comments. So on ON your gary aren’t you the oiler season ticket holder that wrote that letter to the oilers that you were not renewing right.

  • Jobu

    Jobu isn’t a big Brodie fan, but he understands the reasoning behind keeping him on. While many have prompted that Andersson could cover Brodie easily, Jobu’s not sure why you would ever want to mess with a Norris winning combination.

    Fact is Gio performs better with Brodie as his partner. Could there be a better option out there? Sure, but why use a year of our cup window trying to prove one out?

    • cjc

      That’s interesting, as Brodie had two goals against Colorado, and has 11 points in 20 playoff games to go with a plus 1 rating. Not sure that puts him in bust territory.

      • Albertabeef

        Yep and Brodie was only on the ice for 4 goals against in 5 games. Gio and Hamonic were on the ice for 10 goals against in 5 games(really 4 games cause first one was a shutout for Smith). But everybody hates Brodie lol. I just don’t understand the hate. Sure he gives the puck away, Johnny gives it away more. Brodie and Engelland also lead this team in that series against Van when Gio awas injured. He also paired Gio to two Norris nominations with one win. I just can’t hate that smooth skating SOB!

        • BringtheFire 2.0

          For anyone interested, in 2018-19 Brodie had 100 giveaways, Gio had 65, Hanifin had 87, and Johnny had 124 (but he’s a forward, so I’m not sure he should be in this comparison of d-men), and Hamonic had 62. In the playoffs those numbers were, respectively, 8, 2, 1, 5 and 4.

          • Albertabeef

            Okay yes he gives it away lots, 8th highest in the league among Dmen. Would you prefer Brent Burns giving it away 118 times? But I still like Team Goals Against, and considering how many giveaways Brodie has he sits tied with Hanifin(and Jordie Benn) at 65th and 66th in the league in that stat. Team goals against tells you how many goals the player was on the ice for, I think for Dmen it one of the most telling of stats. Again compare Brodie’s 79 team goals against to Burn’s 106. I like Brodie, and nobody is perfect.

          • cjc

            Giveaways are a pretty misleading stat. If you look at the leaderboard, it’s always star players, talented players in the lead. That’s because they have the puck more often

      • Raffydog

        Sounds like you should try being into school a little bit more. Btw, it’s ridiculous, not rediculous. Good grief, my phone wont even let me type that wrong on purpose.

        • SeanCharles

          Yea I agree and I’ve heard rumors of the Flames being interested in a guy like Petrovic who is a RHed depth dman.

          We also signed Yelesin out of the KHL who is RHed.



          It would be foolish to lose Brodie for nothing next offseason IMO given how many assets we have sent out to improve the team, we should look at the bigger picture and move Brodie now.

          • Beer League Coach

            Yelesin is an interesting prospect. KHL all star last season. I expect he will start in Stockton to acclimatize to the North American game. If all goes well he could be in Calgary by Christmas. This could open up lots of possibilities for BT to trade from strength to improve forwards and/or pick up some draft picks for the future. Just hope that BT and Pascall can bring in enough quality D-men to give the Heat a quality defense core in the AHL. They deserve a much better D than we gave them last season.

          • WoodrowWilson

            Pretty sure the Petrovic rumours were started by Jim Matheson who claims he saw him at a golf tournament in Edmonton. I wouldn’t put any stock in with Jim has to say other than for its comedic value (Hilarious twitter follow, for anyone who could use a little comedic relief).

            Not sure Petrovic would my first choice for RHD depth. Guy could barely crack the Oilers lineup last year.

          • Beer League Coach

            I assumed you would trade Brodie for a top 6 RW. Also, Hanifin played on R side in Carolina occasionally, not full time RD. He and Kylington could flip back and forth as well.

    • Arthur-Leigh Adekunle Tig Junior Elvis

      Travis Hamonic had a Corsi For of 38.46% in the playoffs to go along with 0 Points in 5 GP. TJ Brodie had a 44.13% and had 2 Goals in 5 GP.

      I really don’t understand why TJ Brodie takes so much heat here when Hamonic literally gets exposed horribly by faster teams every game because he has an awful pivot and zero startup speed. Teams just blow past Hamonic all game and he gets applauded because he never has a gleaming error, which is fairly easy when you never have the puck and teams just walk around you all game.

      • super6646

        Ding ding ding ding ding!

        Look, I love hammer and his character, but the flames need to be careful straying that road again. Made he same mistakes with Brouwer and Neal going for character players who were meh skaters and were showing decline in play. I don’t think it should be a given that hammer stays over Brodie, regardless of the price tre paid.

      • CowboyBob

        Hamonic – body on body guy, looks to separate you from the puck using his body. TJ – stick on stick guy, looks to knock the puck off your stick and rarely make body contact. Hamonic played mostly against Avs top line, Brodie played against Avs third and fourth lines.

        • super6646

          Yes, he spent 4/5 games on the top pairing yet played crappy competition.

          Look at the game 5 logs when Hanifin and hamonic got demoted to third pairing minutes and still sucked wind. Peters saw the problem, even if it was too little too late.