The Calgary Flames will be without one of their key cogs for a while as
T.J. Brodie will be sidelined three-to-six weeks thanks to a broken bone in his hand that occurred in Monday’s pre-season tilt with the Oilers. It’s rough that the injury occurred during meaningless pre-season action, but it does give Brodie two extra weeks to recover which means that he likely only misses 3-13 games. The question is just how big of a loss that is to the Flames. That’s where a stat like WAR is especially helpful. We’ve been rolling out projections based on WAR with
our daily season previews using this method and we can apply the same concept to Brodie’s injury.
Based on the past three seasons, Brodie is likely worth about half a win above an average replacement player and should play around 23 minutes a night this season. To get a true sense of Calgary’s situation, though, Brodie needs to be replaced with somebody already on Calgary’s roster and every defensemen’s minutes need to be redistributed because it’s unlikely the seventh d-man plays 23 minutes per night. On the Flames that means the new sixth man is likely
Ladislav Smid with more ice time going to
Kris Russell who moves up to the top four. That also likely means small gains for
Mark Giordano and
Dougie Hamilton. With Brodie in the lineup, the Flames defense is worth 0.6 WAR and the team’s true-talent win percentage is 0.478. Without him, it crashes to -1.2 WAR with a true-talent win percentage of 0.457. Even though Brodie is worth just half a win, his presence combined with his likely replacement and a new allocation of icetime equates to a loss of almost two wins. That’s a big loss, but it’s also over a full season. At most, Brodie misses 13 games of action and the effect shrinks because of that.
The Flames may be much weaker, but they only lose about two win percentage points per game. That’s a relatively small amount, but it adds up. Thankfully, it’s not a longterm injury so his absence only amounts to 0.3 wins lost. Brodie wasn’t the only significant loss announced today. The Bruins’
Dennis Seidenberg will have surgery on a herniated disk in his back and will miss approximately eight weeks recovering. The difference between the two injuries is their effect on the ice. Brodie’s injury is costly, while Seidenberg’s may be a blessing in disguise. Seidenberg is declining and his projected WAR is below replacement level. His injury also gives the Bruins a chance to see what they have in young blueliners
Zach Trotman and
Colin Miller. Trotman’s projected WAR is especially sparkling, but it comes with the caveat that he’s played less than 500 minutes at the NHL level. There’s a level of uncertainty in whether he can keep it up. Still he’s been better than Seidenberg in those minutes while having similar quality of competition and teammate numbers. It’s the opposite impact that Brodie has on the Flames, but it’s not as large meaning the injury won’t have a discernible effect over the Bruins during the 16 games Seidenberg likely misses. Hockey is a team sport and the loss of one player – no matter how good or bad – doesn’t have a huge effect towards single game win probabilities, especially considering the randomness of the sport. As all cliched hockey players will say, it’s about taking it one game at a time.