It would seem odd that the Flames would want to detract from the strength of their team, which is their blue line. However, with $14M in cap space, and a now very expensive Garbage Son Tkachuk to re-sign, the Flames might be looking to jettison either Travis Hamonic or TJ Brodie to make room. Especially with Oliver Kylington and Rasmus Andersson both up next year and big parts of the future, if everything works out. There have been rumors the Flames are kicking the tires on what they can get for each. And because they’re looking only to get rid of money, they’re probably a little more open to just getting picks and/or prospects back and not too worried about something that can go straight on the roster.
We’ll start with TJ Brodie. Seemingly he is more of what the Hawks need than say Ryan Murray or Jacob Trouba. He has feet, can push the play, and is left-handed. Generally though he has preferred to play the right side, as he did all of last year being paired with likely Norris winner Mark Giordano.
And that’s the rub with Brodie. It’s kind of hard to know what he is because generally, he’s sucked when away from Mark Giordano and been really good with him. So yeah, his metrics from this year are pretty glittering, when he was paired with #5 all season. The season previous, when it was Dougie Hamilton with Giordano and Brodie with Hamonic, very much less glittering. In fact, you have to go all the way back to 2015-2016 to find the last season Brodie had where he was above the team-rate in possession and expected goals, and wouldn’t you know it that was the last season previous to this one where he was paired with Giordano for most of it.
I hate to break this to you, but there’s no Mark Giordano here. The Hawks might think there is, they might even think that Duncan Keith is still Mark Giordano, but he’s not. Now, perhaps Keith can claw back some of his faded glory with a mobile partner who can clean up the greater amount of messes he leaves around these days, and Brodie is certainly mobile. But Brodie hasn’t responded well to doing most of the puck-carrying in the past, when paired with Hamonic or Big Money Wides, as he was in the past. Keith doesn’t really handle the puck up the ice, or at least shouldn’t, preferring to try and make plays happen at the line still (which he can’t do nearly as well but we’ve had that talk). So Brodie is an odd fit.
Hamonic is clearly a different player. Much more stationary, much more the road grater, and even more of what the Hawks probably don’t need. He had a much improved season last year in Calgary, but he still was behind the team-rate in the metrics we look at. He was paired with Noah Hanifin, who everyone agreed has a very rough season in Alberta, but Hanifin’s numbers improve away from Hamonic, so you deal with that. Hamonic’s metrics are always going to suffer because he’s been used in the defensive zone the most of any team he’s been on for the most part, and he’s not a puck-mover. Neither is Hanifin, but Brodie was supposed to be in ’17-’18 and that didn’t go well for anybody. Then again, the Flames were coached by a moron then in Glengarry Glenn Galutzan, but Hamonic has been around now for a while and we know what he is.
If you could put a left-sided puck-mover with Hamonic, it’s just crazy enough to work. Again, the Hawks might think that’s Keith, and Hamonic would be an improvement on Seabrook in that area, but that’s also a pairing asking for a ton of trouble. He’d be the perfect partner for Gusatfsson if Gus actually had feet, which he does not. He’s basically slower Connor Murphy, which the Hawks don’t need.
Still, there are appeals. One, both are on the last year of their deals and neither are very expensive. Brodie clocks in at $4.6M and Hamonic at $3.8M. Given their contact status, and age, they really wouldn’t be that expensive in a trade. Maybe a lower round pick and a non-Boqvist prospect is enough to get it done. Then you get a year to see what it looks like, if you’re not really planning on doing much this year anyway (which the Hawks still might be), and if it doesn’t work you send them on their way with the cap space in tow.
But again, these are middle of the road moves that don’t address the top of the roster which needs addressing. The Hawks don’t have the pieces that would help Brodie or Hamonic maximize their usefulness, which is now why I totally expect this to happen.