The Flames Fifteen: #2 - T.J. Brodie

Vintage Flame
June 24 2012 11:48AM

 

There is a common catch-phrase that states, “You’ve come a long way baby”, that couldn’t be more fitting for a prospect like TJ Brodie. Drafted by Calgary in the fourth round (114th overall) in 2008, he was seen as having the potential to be an offensive defenseman with upside. After an impressive showing in his first training camp with the Flames, the young D-Man only lasted three games before being returned to the Abbotsford Heat. Not allowing the demotion to discourage him, Brodie registered 5 goals and 34 points in 68 games; and was the Heat’s lone representative in the AHL All Star game.

The 2011-12 season would be a much different story. He would begin the season in Abbotsford once again, but would only last there for twelve games. Once called up to the parent club, there would be no looking back.

Brodie wasn’t exactly thrown to the wolves last season, but he earned his stripes along the way. Playing with the elder statesman Cory Sarich, he was given slightly sheltered minutes, starting in the offensive zone 51.9% of the time. However it is also noteworthy that Brodie boasted the best Corsi/60 rate (+3.34) of all the Flames defensive skaters; simply put, when he did start in his own zone, for the most part he was doing it the right way.

Back in April, Robert Vollman took a look back to review defensive projections. Brodie, over 71 games was projected to score 17 pts. He tallied 14 pts in 54 games, giving him a 0.26 ppg value; which surpassed his projected 0.24. Surpassing expectations is something many fans have come to admire about the young rear-guard.

Player   Kent   Justin   WI   Scott   VF   Arik [NC]
TJ Brodie   2   2   2   3   3   2

*Reminder - The evaluators were asked to rank players, and we sorted the rankings via a simple point scale-number 15 on each list got one point, while number 1 on each list got 15. The criteria for who was included was pretty simple: players the Flames control who are 23 and under (excluding Mikael Backlund, since he's already a bona fide NHLer).

Brodie’s biggest asset is his skating and puck handling. He is smooth, fast and agile, all attributes he uses to gain the advantage against his opponents and move the puck out of the Flames end and across the neutral zone. He demonstrates poise and patience with the puck, but has the presence of mind to move it out to the forwards with opportunity. With a decent shot that is pretty accurate there is little doubt that he is a player that is going to see ample opportunity to boost his offensive numbers on the Flames power-play.

Brodie’s absence from a power-play that was lackluster at best always puzzled me. If the saying is, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, then what do you do for a system that is disorganized and flat out embarrassing; because to me, that’s broke. One way of answering that might to look at Brodie’s flaws in the NHL. At the time being, TJ isn’t as physically dominating as his defensive partner. At just 6-1 and 182 lbs, he’s not knocking guys around the boards to win battles for the puck. It’s going to take more effort which takes more of a toll on his stamina.

Even though Brodie never appeared to be over his head in game situations (for the most part), the Flames might have just erred on the side of caution with over-loading his ice time. He was already averaging 14+ minutes per night; tacking on the added power-play minutes may have been seen as mismanaging his time-on-ice.

One area that TJ definitely showed signs of improvement over the course of his season was in his focus. As the season went on, Brodie seemed to refine his concentration in the game, making him more effective and useful. When players and specifically other defensemen starting dropping like flies with injuries, Brodie was a versatile option that the Flames had confidence in to move around to fill in the gaps.

I see Brodie increasing his role and his responsibilities in the next season. If the Flames do indeed shed themselves of the likes of Scott Hannan, Cory Sarich (and Jay Bouwmeester if the rumours hold true), it won’t be long before a player like Brodie is seen to share a leadership role in the near future. It seems a little absurd right now, but not out of the question over the next few years.

THE LIST

            RANKS                
Player   Kent   Justin   WI   Scott   VF   Arik [NC]   Final Rank
TJ Brodie   2   2   2   3   3   2   2
John Gaudreau   4   3   3   4   2   3   3
Max Reinhart   3   4   4   6   5   4   4
Leland Irving   6   5   8   2   7   6   5
Roman Horak   5   8   6   8   9   7   6
Michael Ferland   8   7   7   7   6   11   7
Lance Bouma   10   9   5   14   4   12   8
Markus Granlund   7   6   0   10   13   8   9
Bill Arnold   11   11   0   11   8   5   10
Greg Nemisz   9   13   0   5   15   15   11
Paul Byron   12   10   0   12   11   9   12
John Ramage   14   12   0   0   12   10   13
Chris Breen   0   15   0   13   0   14   14
Tyler Wotherspoon   0   14   0   0   10   0   15

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Vintage Flame is a Calgary based sports junkie that prefers to call hockey a "religion" rather than an addiction. He believes there are two types of hockey fans. Those who cheer for the Flames, and those who don't understand the sport yet. Follow Vintage_Flame on Twitter
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#1 Ryan
June 24 2012, 12:10PM
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Hope for a great next season from TJ!

I wonder who #1 is... O.o

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#2 Stockley
June 24 2012, 12:18PM
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I'm still not quite sure what Brodie's ceiling might be. Hopefully he continues to develop into a stud two-way threat, you can never have enough of those in the system.

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#3 RKD
June 24 2012, 12:24PM
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If the Flames do trade Jay-Bo, then guys like Brodie, Smith, and Butler will have to do a lot more of the heavy lifting.

The good thing is that the above mentioned guys Jay-Bo notwithstanding is that they have a season more or less under their belt.

Hopefully, the can keep developing and mature into better d-men. Butler is older, but with the appropriate # of minutes he can be more effective.

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#4 Kent Wilson
June 24 2012, 12:27PM
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Brodie took that important first step last year - outshooting the bad guys in easy minutes. Seems nominal, but that's the first step a lot of prospects don't make.

Not sure he'll progress up the depth chart or not this year because it usually takes blueliners till about 24 to really figure it out (if they ever make it past the 3rd pairing that is). Hopefully we'll see some progress though, because aside from being relatively slight, dude has all the tools.

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#6 Kent Wilson
June 24 2012, 12:42PM
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The number one prospect is Jarome Iginla. When he's 40, Jarome is going to spontaneously combust and then a new, fresh-faced 20-year old Jarome will emerge from the ashes, ready to lead the Flames in scoring for another 20 years.

That's the plan, right?

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#7 RexLibris
June 24 2012, 12:57PM
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Indeed it is, Kent. Indeed it is.

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#8 Colin
June 24 2012, 01:00PM
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Can't wait to see Joey Leach at #1 for the list!

Anyways, pretty well expected who I saw going 1/2. Brodie has all the tools, all the skating and if he bulks up just a little over the next few years and we continue to develop him properly and every year give him a little more to chew off, he could be a really good defender and a nice compliment to Giordano as Flames developed defenders.

The two guys the Flames drafted in the 4th/5th round this year remind me a ton of Brodie for some reason, here's hoping both of them end up on the same path that brodie does.

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#9 schevvy
June 24 2012, 01:08PM
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I'm interested to hear Scott's explanation on why he ranked Brodie ahead of Sven.

Brodie is a solid young d-man who I think will be given the opportunity to play top 4 next year. Assuming Bouwmeester is retained, could a Giordano-Brodie pairing be a possibility?

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#10 Baalzamon
June 24 2012, 01:09PM
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@Kent Wilson

clearly. That's clearly the plan. I'm just surprised other fans/sportswriter guys don't see it.

Brodie isn't on my list because, frankly, I consider him an NHL player. Interesting to see Scott rank him #1.

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#11 JayD54
June 24 2012, 01:27PM
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With what we saw from TJ last year, he still has some development to do in his own end. He is not a physically dominant guy, but very good on controlling the puck and using his skating ability to exit the zone. His shot is still a work in progress, in my opinion, but we could see him be a Gary Suter style power play corner.

On a divergent topic, I was not totally surprised that Joey Leach was not signed. Did not see him in the list of players drafted in 2012, which would be an affirmation of the Flames decision.

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#13 Colin
June 24 2012, 02:40PM
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@schevvy

I think Brodie was ranked ahead because he's already an NHLer and pretty well a garuantee to stick around, though baertschi has all world potential, he is still a WHLer and has not played more than a few NHL games.

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#14 Colin
June 24 2012, 02:42PM
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Well there goes my theory ;p

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#16 schevvy
June 24 2012, 02:56PM
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Vintage Flame wrote:

Got a message from Scott and apparently there was an error in the list. Scott has Brodie ranked 3rd.

I'll leave it to the commentors to give him the gears on changing his rankings. ;)

Article has been updated with the *cough* proper ranks...

Ahh that makes more sense. Looking back at Scott's rankings, with Irving at 2, Sven would've been 3, which would have been...well...interesting.

Enjoyed the series gents, and looking forward to #1, Sven Baertschi, in the very near future.

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#17 Skeittari
June 24 2012, 04:00PM
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I really liked the progress TJ made this year, nevertheless the slump he experienced. I couldn't care less about rankings, though. Let's face it: We lack of quality shots from the line on PP. A part-time solution didn't work, so we need an all around d-man who can really deliver it from the line. I really hope that TJ is improving his shot during the off-season. Gio's a beast with his wrister but we need some hard, low shots as well to create rebounds. The amount of garbage goals we scored last season (off rebounds) was dismal.

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#18 schevvy
June 24 2012, 06:18PM
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Sort of off topic, does anyone have any updates on which RFA's the Flames are going to give a qualifying offer? I believe the deadline to get those in is tomorrow, and Feaster and co. have been very quiet about it.

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#19 mslepp
June 24 2012, 08:55PM
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Vintage Flame wrote:

Got a message from Scott and apparently there was an error in the list. Scott has Brodie ranked 3rd.

I'll leave it to the commentors to give him the gears on changing his rankings. ;)

Article has been updated with the *cough* proper ranks...

hehe... seems people agree that I couldn't be THAT stupid. It actually wasn't the only ranking I saw that was different than the ones I submitted, but it's all good.

The only reason I didn't put Brodie at 2 was because I think if both Irving and Brodie hit their potential then Irving as a starting G would be more valuable than TJ as a 3-5 Dman. Yes, I'm still holding out for Irving.

Having said that, I'm a huge TJ Brodie fan and I'd love to see the Flames coaching staff actually allow the defense the opportunity to include a forward pass to their breakout so we could see how valuable he could be for the team. He's more capable than the 'glass-and-out' approach will tell.

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#20 Ryan Pike
June 24 2012, 09:16PM
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Three guys deserve credit for turning Brodie around last year: Troy Ward, Jim Playfair and Joe Piskula.

Ward and Playfair really pushed Brodie to give a damn in the defensive zone and really helped his two-way game, while Piskula was paired with him quite often and seemed to help fill in many of Brodie's holes.

That said, if Brodie didn't do the work himself and piece his game together the way he did last year, the Flames may have been MUCH worse-off.

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#21 Austin
June 24 2012, 09:21PM
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Looking forward to what Brodie can do next season? Slow transition to top 4???

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#22 rude
June 25 2012, 04:01AM
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Austin wrote:

Looking forward to what Brodie can do next season? Slow transition to top 4???

Looks like he will develop alot quicker than most other top 4 d-men. He found another gear towards the end of last season

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#23 FireOnIce
June 25 2012, 08:07AM
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Brodie has (multiple times) shown an intensity that I've not seen in a Flames player as of recenty. I remember one game early on in the season, Flames down by a goal, Kipper pulled, and pressing in the O-zone. Brodie lost his stick, but blocked the puck going out of the zone, played it, fell down, and pushed it forward to keep it alive. Flames ended up losing (have they EVER scored a goal with the goalie pulled?!), but Brodie put up a huge effort to give them the chance to tie it up.

If the C wasn't already earmarked for Giordano, I'd say give it to the kid (eventually).

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