While we all wait with bated breath to see TJ Brodie's new contract, the Flames have other young defencemen that require new contracts. Well, they have them now, as both Chris Breen and Mark Cundari have been signed to one year, two way deals.
Breen initially entered the organization as an undrafted free agent out of the OHL. The most notable thing about him is his height and weight: his 6'7" frame carries 230 lbs. He had three goals and seven points in 60 games for the Heat last season, along with 55 PIM, so if he makes it to the show, it will likely be as a big, imposing stay at home defenceman. His contract is worth $557,500 in the NHL.
Cundari came to the Flames via the Jay Bouwmeester trade. The stocky defenceman (5'10", 200 lbs) was also an undrafted OHLer (and former teammate of the much-revered Greg Nemisz) who got his first NHL action late last season, including scoring his first goal on his first shot. He had one goal and three points in four games, while last year in the AHL he put up seven goals and 28 points in 58 games (only two of which were in Abbotsford). His NHL salary is $600,000.
Breen and Cundari are 24 and 23 respectively, so both defencemen have the potential to continue growing and contribute to the Flames for a while yet. They should help make for a more competitive training camp; however, with Mark Giordano, Dennis Wideman, Shane O`Brien, Chris Butler, Derek Smith, Kris Russell, and, of course, TJ Brodie all vying for spots on the blueline, they may be in tough to make the team out of camp.
Give the edge to Cundari with his previous, albeit limited, NHL experience. However, for a team desperately (perhaps a little too desperately) looking for size, Breen may end up getting his chance. The message behind these short deals is simple: prove you're worth more.
Meanwhile, we'll all just keep waiting for Brodie to sign his new contract.
P.S. Hi! My name is Ari. I'm a native Calgarian and former 2004 bandwagoner, and hopefully I'll be around a while yet to help Hayley out here at M&G.