Chat with Calgary Flames rising-star blueliner TJ Brodie, and you get the sense he’s the biggest critic of his own play.

Chat with his head coach, Bob Hartley, and he’ll tell you the 23-year-old defenceman might not be asking enough from himself.

Might not even realize how sky-high his expectations could and should be.

“What he has to learn is that he’s going to get better. He doesn’t know how good he is,” Hartley said prior to Sunday’s fan fest at the Saddledome. “I think that he has to create higher expectations for himself and, at the same time, to believe that he can be a real good defenceman in this league. He can be a top defenceman in this league, and it’s our job to get this out of him.”

That’s certainly not a bad problem to have.

“I’ve coached many players that, with maturity, they grow into a role and suddenly their career takes off,” Hartley said. “With TJ, with our situation over here with a bunch of young players, I think that the quicker that he’ll realize this, the quicker he’s going to be a star player in this league. This guy can be a player who can make a difference.”

Brodie was the Flames’ biggest surprise in the lockout-shortened season and, through 11 games of the new campaign, hasn’t shown any signs of a step backward.

In fact, after Saturday’s 5-2 victory over the Washington Capitals, Hartley raved to reporters that it was Brodie’s best performance during his tenure as the head coach at the Saddledome.

Brodie wasn’t so sure, pointing out that although he and defence partner Chris Butler managed to shut down Washington’s top trio of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Marcus Johansson, they also didn’t generate any offence at the other end of the rink.

That’s a bit like a National League pitcher tossing a no-hitter and then complaining he didn’t do enough with his own at-bats.

“(Hartley) told me that, and it’s definitely nice to hear that,” Brodie said. “I was a little surprised. I thought, defensively, we played well. Against some of those lines, it’s tough to create offensive chances. Sometimes, that’s how the play is based on — the offensive numbers and stuff — but any night you keep them off the scoreboard, it’s a good night.”