Flames should add Brodie to the roster

ERIC FRANCIS, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:49 PM ET

T.J. Brodie should remain with the Calgary Flames to open the season.

After all he represents everything the Flames want to be this year.

Establishing himself the last three weeks as the most exciting prospect the team has had since Dion Phaneuf, he adds speed, he gets involved offensively, his energy is infectious and he's done exactly what the club has asked: he's stepped up.

There's no way Darryl Sutter can send the 20-year-old defenceman to the minors - not after the GM promised he'd create room for any youngster who earned his stripes in camp.

His inspired play - not to mention four goals in his first four preseason games - has the defenceman in line to start looking for an apartment here.

A source close to the team said Sutter is indeed on the verge of opening the season with the Flames' feel-good story of the fall on the roster.

How the bottom half of the seven d-men on one-way deals fit in is anyone's guess, but it's evident the junior stud is going to get a chance to stay on the roll that has seen him score three times on the man-advantage.

And while keeping him here means the team will have to either trade or send a veteran down to the minors (with risk of losing them upon re-entry) and/or expose Matt Pelech on waivers, Brodie has progressed fast enough to force Sutter's hand.

While the 180-pounder would indeed benefit from time in Abbotsford with defensive guru Jim Playfair, the kid and the fans deserve to see him here. Plus, the team needs him here.

In an organization that has been short on legitimate young prospects for more than a decade, what does it say about a club if the reward for being one of the team's best players is a trip to the AHL?

Now for more notes, quotes and anecdotes from a sports world full of diehards rushing towards their golf bag to see if their "rainwear" is Sun Mountain.

Around the horn

Few people know that Flames assistant GM Jay Feaster has a Stanley Cup ring with a Flames logo on it. No, not from Calgary's 1989 squad, but from the 2004 Tampa Bay Lightning who insisted on sporting the logo of all four teams they beat in the playoffs. Made in Calgary by Intergold, the ring has not made an appearance in Calgary since Feaster arrived, for good reason. "I still get enough of a hard time especially from (owner) Murray (Edwards) about whether The Goal was in or not in Game 6, so I certainly don't bring it out," laughed Feaster "¦ Little-known fact: Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov is one of the game's real characters. Asked in Calgary last week how he could be better than last year, the Russian Vezina finalist shrugged: "Last year was an accident." "¦ In the last 18 years, the Green Bay Packers have started just two quarterbacks. To put that in perspective, the Chicago Bears have started 18 in that time, including a kid named Henry Burris in 2002.

Parting gifts

Landing sixth on the box office charts this weekend: You Again - the story of Alex Tanguay and Olli Jokinen "¦ Gotta give Brent Sutter credit for using the pre-season to experiment with potential offensive-injecting moves like Jay Bouwmeester screening opposing goaltenders and Alex Tanguay playing defence five on five "¦ With the rash of injuries up the middle, you can bet the Flames have discussed the outside possibility of signing 35-year-old Brendan Morrison, whose tryout with Vancouver was recently cut short "¦ After decades of poor dressing room showers in rinks across Canada, congrats to the folks running Max Bell Centre for being the first to make the water TOO hot "¦ I must've missed it -- at what point did the Flames and Stamps swap expectations?

eric.francis@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/ericfrancis


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