The Flames defensive corps as presently composed has caused many sleepless nights for opposing coaches, as they scramble to figure out how to get their forwards past the newly constructed wall sitting on Calgary's blueline.
Yet despite possessing arguably the deepest and most talented defence in the NHL, General Manager Darryl Sutter continues to shore up the back end. His latest addition is prospect defenseman T.J. Brodie, who along with Greg Nemisz and Keith Seabrook, was signed to a contract Tuesday.
Brodie, who was drafted in the fourth round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, was elated to agree on his first professional contract, but his excitement was stifled slightly from the exhaustion that can only come from the first day back on the ice.
"Today felt a lot better than yesterday did. I've been through (camp) once before so it's a little bit easier. but yesterday we were still pretty tired, even though we all get ready for the camp," said Brodie, who is also enjoying the developing camaraderie among possible future teammates.
"Everyone gets along. Obviously there are guys who play in the (Ontario Hockey League) that you know before camp, but everyone gets along and its fun times."
Brodie is considered one of the premiere offensive defenseman in junior hockey, last season he tallied 12 goals and 50 points for the Saginaw Spirit of the OHL, a full 20 point improvement from his rookie season. Increased confidence and comfort with the level of play are what Brodie attributes to his development.
"Last year was my second full season in the (OHL). Getting bigger, getting more comfortable with the league and with the guys on the team," said Brodie.
Following the Flames playoff defeat last season, Sutter made it clear that he intended to return the teams' focus to the backend. With the Flames renewed commitment to defence, Brodie knows he needs to continue to develop that aspect of his game to cement a role for himself on the team down the road.
"Ever since I was in junior I've been trying to work on my defence. I've still got a long ways to go defensively but hopefully, eventually I'll do it."
When prospect camp ends, Brodie will spend a couple of weeks training in his hometown of Chatham, Ontario, before heading off to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan for the World Junior Camp in August. Next season he wants to continue to progress and develop, hoping that his improvement aligns with an improved season for his team.
"Hopefully I can score a couple more points next season, and have a better plus/minus. Hopefully our team can do a bit better too."
With the Flames current defensive corps not even in their prime yet, a roster spot may be hard to come by for Brodie in the near future. But with talented blueliners like him in the system, the Flames defensive cupboard appears to be stocked for generations to come.