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T.J. Brodie suffers broken hand, out 3-6 weeks

The Flames' crowded defence just got a little less crowded, at least for the time being.

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Mark Giordano and T.J. Brodie have, in recent years, been one of the NHL's top defence pairings. They've consistently started in some of the most difficult circumstances hockey has to offer, and yet all the while, been leaders: both in terms of shot suppression, and with Brodie's recent offensive breakout, in scoring. With Giordano healthy once again, reuniting the pairing was something to look forward to for when the Calgary Flames' season started.

That reunion is going to have to be delayed, because Brodie suffered a broken hand in the first preseason game against the Oilers. He is expected to be out for three to six weeks, which could see him miss anywhere from three to 13 games. He will not need surgery.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Brodie injury Happened midway through the 3rd, one timer from the point and he took it on the right hand... he didn&#39;t see it coming <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Flames?src=hash">#Flames</a></p>&mdash; Jermain Franklin (@TSNJFranklin) <a href="https://twitter.com/TSNJFranklin/status/646713501453422593">September 23, 2015</a></blockquote>

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Brodie’s injury is to the fifth metacarpal.&#10;<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Flames?src=hash">#Flames</a>.</p>&mdash; Randy Sportak (@SUNRandySportak) <a href="https://twitter.com/SUNRandySportak/status/646714407393718273">September 23, 2015</a></blockquote>

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It's a pretty big blow to the Flames, who had Brodie play 92 games last season, including 11 playoff games. It does, however, open up a chance to one of the Flames hopefuls in camp to make the roster, and maybe even give him extra time to prove himself worthy of a regular spot in the lineup.

Before, we were likely looking at defence combinations along the lines of:

Giordano - Brodie
Russell - Hamilton
(Engelland, Nakladal, Wilson) - Wideman

Now, though, the bottom pairing is in total question. Giordano will likely be paired with Dougie Hamilton going forward, Kris Russell and Dennis Wideman reunited, and the final two spots up for grabs.

Jakub Nakladal has the chance to prove himself a full time NHLer. Ryan Wilson may get an NHL contract with the Flames.

The team still has options going forward, but all of the available options are significantly less preferable to having a healthy Brodie in the lineup. It's especially unfortunate to lose him in the midst of training camp. When Brodie is finally ready to take to NHL ice again in either mid-October or early November, he'll be weeks to a month behind everyone else on the ice. He'll be starting from a place of disadvantage.

And when you're in the midst of a rebuild and trying to prove the past season wasn't a fluke, you don't want to lose your second best defenceman - even with another guy capable of stepping up for the time being.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">&quot;I&#39;m able to stay on the ice, skate, and keep the conditioning up.&quot; - Brodie on the recovery process.</p>&mdash; Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) <a href="https://twitter.com/NHLFlames/status/646713912306479108">September 23, 2015</a></blockquote>

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">&quot;That&#39;s definitely a positive. For what it is, it&#39;s the best outcome.&quot; - Brodie, who won&#39;t require surgery.</p>&mdash; Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) <a href="https://twitter.com/NHLFlames/status/646714026689368064">September 23, 2015</a></blockquote>

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It also means pairings may have to be shuffled when Brodie does return. Giordano and Hamilton could prove themselves deserving of staying together, but Russell and Wideman would likely have to be broken up, unless a Nakladal, Wilson, or somebody else proves himself worthy of being a top four guy - and then Russell and Wideman would be the bottom pairing, while Brodie would anchor the top four with somebody completely new.

None of this is desired, and hopefully, Brodie only misses the first week of the season - but the Flames should be prepared in case he misses the first month.

In other injury news:

  • Paul Byron, Joe Colborne, and Josh Jooris are cleared for contact. Byron has been in non-contact sessions.
  • Ladislav Smid continues to get healthier. He is only cleared for light contact, however, and probably shouldn't be expected for the start of the season - especially because the last time he played an NHL game was January 2015.
  • Jon Gillies, who is undergoing concussion protocol, may return to the ice.