As we await the beginning of the new NHL season, I’ll be previewing each of the players in the Minnesota Wild system who will be on the roster, or competing for a place this year. My subject for this edition is Jonas Brodin.
There really isn’t much more to say about Brodin that hasn’t already been said a million times. The 2011 1st round pick came over to play for the Houston Aeros in the AHL before the beginning of the 2012/2013 season. After the lockout ended he received an early call-up to the Wild, getting to play alongside Ryan Suter against Detroit at 19 years of age. From the moment he first took the ice it became clear that he would not be returning to the AHL. He was the Wild’s best defenceman all season. Ryan Suter’s performance improved considerably with Brodin beside him.
He played with amazing calmness and elite positional sense. He skated brilliantly and showed some potential to be a useful powerplay contributor in the future. Any fears that he would get dominated physically in the NHL were put to bed this year as he showed he could avoid hits very effectively with his skating ability, and had the size to endure any knocks he did take.
Here are some of his regular season numbers from last year:
|SHOOTING %/SHOTS ATTEMPTED||2.9/51|
Brodin led all NHL rookies in TOI/G. He was trusted in all situations, averaging over a minute of PP time per game, and 2 minutes of PK time. He posted a decent total of 11 points. I expect his offensive game will become more prevalent next year now that he has established himself defensively.
Here are his underlying numbers from last year:
|OFFENSIVE ZONE START %||46.9|
|OFFENSIVE ZONE FINISH %||44.5|
|QUALITY OF COMPETITION||0.397|
|SHOTS FOR/20 MINS||9.309|
|GOALS FOR/20 MINS||0.649|
|SHOTS AGAINST/20 MINS||8.491|
|GOALS AGAINST/20 MINS||0.601|
|5v5 1st ASSIST/60||0.072|
These numbers really exemplify everything great about Brodin. As a defensively sound, non-”flashy” defenceman, it’s easy for his quality to go unnoticed by the casual fan, until you look at his underlying numbers. He played extremely tough competition all year, with a lower percentage of offensive zone starts than even Ryan Suter. The amazing thing is that he thrived and posted terrific Corsi numbers in those tough minutes. Truly incredible.
Early I referred to Brodin as the Wild’s best defenceman, and this is something I believe to be true. Suter provided more offence, but I think Brodin had a better overall performance. Their WOWY numbers suggest that it was Brodin who drove the play on the top pairing, carrying Suter’s possession to a great extent:
-Brodin’s Corsi % with Suter: 48.3%
-Brodin’s Corsi % without Suter: 56.7%
-Suter’s Corsi % without Brodin: 43.6%
-Positive Corsi differential for Brodin: -8.4%
-Corsi drag on Suter: +4.7%
This is a relatively small sample size, but interesting nonetheless. I’ll be watching closely to see if this trend continues next year.
Here’s the player usage chart for all Wild d-men who played at least 20 games (Brodin’s circle stands-out fairly dramatically):
(Click To Enlarge) (Bubble Size=Corsi On Rating. Blue Bubble=Postive. Red Bubble=Negative)
I think, barring injury or disaster, Brodin will have another great season and continue to develop into an elite NHL defenceman. I expect he will be tied to Suter once again, and will continue to play a ton of minutes at 5v5, on the powerplay and on the penalty kill. Hopefully the “return” of Marco Scandella and the additions of Ballard and Blum can take some of the pressure off the top pairing. As much as I love to see Brodin on the ice all the time, the last thing the team needs is for him to get injured or burned-out from overplaying.
Brodin is certainly something very very special, and, Wild fans, you should be very excited every time he takes the ice.
His Season Is A Success If…
His Season Is A Disappointment If…
He has injury troubles or struggles to repeat his performance in tough minutes and has to be shuffled down the pecking order on defence.
Okay, that’s it for “Kidstrom”. Next, I’ll be taking a look at Mikael Granlund and previewing his 2013/2014 campaign.
Hit me up on Twitter for more hockey views/analysis and also so you can yell at me.
*Numbers in this article courtesy of: