CALGARY, AB -- It’s not the start TJ Brodie
hoped to have.
The Calgary Flames defenceman will be sidelined on a week-to-week basis after sustaining a broken bone in his right hand in his first pre-season game of the season Monday.
Brodie, who is expected to miss anywhere between three and six weeks, sustained the injury when he was hit with a shot midway through the third period against the Edmonton Oilers.
“It’s definitely not the way I wanted to start, but there’s nothing I can do about it now,” said Brodie, who noted it’s the first broken bone of his career. “I’m just trying to stay in shape and heal up as quick as possible and be ready for when I can come back.”
Flames general manager Brad Treliving announced the news on Brodie’s injury, a non-displaced fracture of the fifth metacarpal, Wednesday morning.
"The good news, if you can take any, is that he won't need any surgery," Treliving said. "It's not displaced. It will be one that won't require surgery and we'll get him on the mend as soon as possible.”
Brodie set career-highs with 11 goals and 41 points in 81 games last season, a breakout performance for the 25-year-old. He finished 18th in voting for the Norris Trophy as the National Hockey League’s top defenceman, and further established himself when captain Mark Giordano was lost for the season due to an upper body injury sustained in late February.
He was expected to continue his development alongside Giordano, veterans Dennis Wideman and Kris Russell, newly acquired Dougie Hamilton, and Deryk Engelland to form one of the League’s deepest blue lines.
“He’s he’s one of our best players,” Giordano said. “It’s going to be tough. We’ve been through this before, but again you’re not going to replace a player like that with one player. You have to do it by committee. You’ve heard a lot about the depth of our blue line and I think for situations like this it’s key that we all step up.
“When a top player goes down, there’s an opportunity for other guys to step up. You’re right, there are a bunch of guys fighting for jobs here and they’re all great players. It’s been a storyline and a battle in our camp. With that spot opening up for a little bit, we’ll see what happens. They’ve all been impressive in there own way throughout camp.”
The candidates to fill a role in Brodie’s absence are plenty.
The Flames have three veteran defencemen -- Douglas Murray, Aaron Johnson and Ryan Wilson -- in camp on a try-out basis, as well as Jakub Nakladal and Kenney Morrison under contract.
Brodie’s misfortune could be a gain for someone in that grouping.
"The good news is I think we've got some people battling,” Treliving said. “We've got some people who've come in here on a tryout basis, and we've got some young kids pushing too. We know how important TJ is for us and you never want to see this happen, but he'll be back soon and who is going to step up and take a hold of this.
“No disrespect to TJ, but now it opens up another opportunity. The good news is I think we’ve got some people battling. We’ve got some people who’ve come in here on a try-out basis, on veteran basis, and we’ve got some young kids pushing too. We know how important TJ is for us and you never want to see this happen, but he’ll be back soon and who is going to step up and take ahold of this.”