Going into free agency in the off season of 2014 we weren't sure which direction the flames were gonna go. They were obviously into a rebuild, but nobody could really sense which way they would go on July 1st.
The New Jersey Devils swiped up on again, off again Flame Mike Cammalleri and you kind of got that feeling that they weren't gonna make any waves. Then that very same day they signed Mason Raymond, Jonas Hiller and Deryk Engelland. With exception to Hiller, who was a recognizable name in the NHL, Raymond and Engelland weren't the flashy names fans hoped the Flames would sign, but they all were key parts in the Flames surprising everyone and making the playoffs that year.
His first year in Calgary wasn't all that great statistically with a dismal -16 rating in the first year of a 3 year $2.9 mil per year contract. If you're ever plugged into Flames fans on Twitter there was a lot hatred spilled into Engelland's direction, but let's break down some Engelland stats from the 2014-2015 season.
He didn't put up a lot of points, only 2 goals and 9 assists in 76 games but did you really expect him to have Giordano or Brodie type numbers? Nah, I didn't think so. Also to me, goals and assist numbers for a defenceman aren't important to me. Give me plus/minus and then we'll talk.
After Giordano went out for the season with an injury in New Jersey, Engelland went from playing 3rd d pairing ice time to have a more important role. Before the Gio injury he averaged 138:40/month of ice time in the first 5 months of the season with a -14 rating. After Gio went down to injury he stepped up in a more important role, mostly with Brodie as his D partner, and in the month of March played a total of 295:41 of ice time registering a -2 rating. To me that's incredible for a guy in a somewhat limited role to step up in a playoff push and succeed.
This year with the acquisition of Dougie Hamilton, Calgary has what some would call the best defence in the league. He may not have anywhere near flashy numbers like Brodie, Giordano or Hamiton, but Engelland is having a quietly solid year. He's only averaging 12:42 of ice time and is second in Calgary defencemen with a +2 rating, Brodie is leading with a +8.
Ever since Smid has come back from injury, he and Engelland have pretty much flip flopped games, but I would like to see Engelland in the lineup on an everyday basis. No disrespect to Smid, he's played well for Calgary as well this year since returning.