Put Deryk Engelland’s name into a Google search bar and you will find two common themes. The positive theme is the physical presence that Engelland promises to bring the Calgary Flames lineup. The negative theme is about the pay raise Engelland received to come over to the Flames.
The way I look at it? Engelland is a step up from Kevin Westgarth. Reputation has Engelland as a more willing combatant than Westgarth. With Brian McGrattan already manning a forward position, it makes sense to have a “truculence” player playing defense.
Let’s be honest, Engelland was not brought to Calgary to crack the top five defensemen on the Flames. With Mark Giordano, TJ Brodie, Dennis Wideman, Laddy Smid and Kris Russell our Flames top 5 defensive spots are suitably manned. With Tyler Wotherspoon and Mark Cundari chomping at the bit, I’m not even sure Engelland is here to match his career high 73 games played in a season.
Am I not here to sell you the hope that now Engelland is out of the shadows of Pittsburgh Penguin star defensemen like Kris Letang and Paul Martin, that he will blossom. I am here to sell you on the fact that a very young Calgary team needs a veteran defenseman that fits the mould of “truculence” while younger players finish growing up in the AHL.
Focusing on Deryk Engelland’s contract (3 years, average cap hit $2,916,667 per season) would be like focusing on the fact Flames prospect Sam Bennett failed to do a pull-up at the Draft Combine. If you want to stay focused on the inflated contract, just remind yourself, his contract expires the same year that five (5) Calgary Flame prospect defensemen are up for renewal – - Patrick Sieloff, Ryan Culkin, Keegan Kanzig, Brett Kulak, John Ramage.
Here is how The Hockey News touts Deryk Engelland:
Assets: Has size and the physical toughness teams love. Is a willing combatant and a solid team-first player. Is also fairly steady in the defensive zone.
Flaws: Doesn’t have a lot of offensive ability, especially at the big-league level. Can be prone to mistakes when he has the puck on his stick.