Sheldon Brookbank expressed some hope in returning to the Chicago Blackhawks next season, but it appears he’ll settle for a training camp tryout with the Calgary Flames, according to the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc.
“The Hawks said that they liked me and they’d like to have me back if it worked but obviously they’re a little strapped under the cap,” Brookbank said on Friday. “It didn’t quite pan out as I’d hoped. It’s not to say that it’s totally over and done with. You never know what could happen from now until the start of the season. As for now, I’m moving on and I’m going to Calgary and I’m going to try to make their team.
The best way to describe Brookbank is as a depth defenseman. The tougher question comes down to whether or not he’s a useful sixth or seventh blueliner.
On one hand, he seemed to draw a pretty positive reaction from Blackhawks onlookers. Second City Hockey gave him a “B-” for his work in 2013-14:
The Blackhawks got about as much as they could have asked for from Sheldon Brookbank this past season. He is exactly what you want in your 7th defenseman. He is a veteran presence, who is responsible in his own end and will provide some physical play when needed. It was the physical part of his game that had him dressed for all five regular season matchups versus the St. Louis Blues.
Of course, you could say that Brookbank was graded “on a curve,” as Habs Eyes on the Prize found that he was one of the most sheltered defenseman in the league last season, receiving favorable zone starts and arguably being propped up by teammates.
That said, grabbing meaningful minutes with the Blackhawks is likely quite a bit tougher than doing the same with the Flames, so it’s easy to see why the 33-year-old may get some consideration.
He put up respectable possession stats for a bottom pairing defenseman and could provide useful veteran insurance for the Flames next season (at least if he impresses during his tryout).