August 05 2014 08:30AM
It's time to start talking about a TJ Brodie extension. The longer the team waits, the more expensive he will become.
Last summer I argued that the Flames should sign then RFA TJ Brodie to a long-term deal rather than the bridge contract they settled on. The reasoning was that Brodie was trending up substantially and projected to be an important - and potentially expensive - part of the Flames future. The argument against this suggestion was that it was too risky to commit long-term dollars to a relatively untested commodity.
Brodie answered those concerns during the intervening season. He skated on a pairing with Mark Giordano and they faced, by far, the most difficult minutes on the team. They also produced the best results. In fact, Brodie's relative possession rate was amongst the very best in the entire league and he helped propel Captain Mark Giordano to his best season in the NHL to date. Giordano appeared on some Norris ballots due in no small part to skating with the former fourth rounder. Brodie also managed a career high 31 points despite only playing 1:47 per game on the PP and he led all Flames skaters in average ES ice time.
TJ Brodie's legit and he just turned 24. There's a non-trivial chance he's going improve. That said, even if he has already reached his peak he remains a tremendously important part of the Flames core.
As things sit currently, Brodie is probably a $4.5 year defender. We can guess this by looking at a handful of comparables that have signed RFA deals over the last couple of summers.
|Player||NHL Games||PPG||Corsi Rel||QOC||ZS%||contract||length||year signed|
|Travis Hamonic||252||0.26||1.4||29.1||49.1||3.88||7 years||2014|
|John Carlson||186||0.39||-1.6||29.0||45.5||3.98||6 years||2012|
|Roman Josi||100||0.38||-0.5||28.9||43.4||4.00||7 years||2013|
|Cam Fowler||158||0.35||3.5||28.8||50.7||4.00||4 years||2012|
|Jake Gardiner||167||0.39||5.7||27.9||43.0||4.05||5 years||2014|
|Kevin Shattenkirk||201||0.48||4.7||27.7||56.7||4.25||5 years||2013|
|Dmitri Kulikov||313||0.23||0.3||28.8||49.0||4.33||3 years||2014|
|Justin Faulk||114||0.42||1.9||29.3||52.6||4.83||6 years||2014|
|Oliver Ekman Larsson||178||0.50||0.1||29.5||45.6||5.50||6 years||2013|
|Tyler Myers||162||0.46||-1.0||30.0||42.9||5.50||7 years||2011|
The table shows each comparable player's amount of games played and his results form the season prior to being re-signed. Though with UFA's it usually make sense to look at their larger body of work, for almost all young RFA signings it is often the most recent season or two that is heavily weighted in contract discussions.
The stats include total games played (before the contract was signed), point-per-game pace, relative corsi/60, quality of competition rating (% of ice time), zone start ratio (offensive/defensive) and finally contract amount per year and total length.
As you can see, TJ Brodie fits comfortably in this group of players. His PPG pace is middling, but keep in mind pretty much every guy listed here aside from Hamonic spends more time on the PP.
The Flames defender blows the comparables away in terms of pushing the play. Only Tyler Myers and Oliver Ekman-Larsson played in similarly difficult circumstances and neither of them tilted the ice like Brodie did last season. Brodie's ice time crested 24 minutes per night on average last year (despite the low PP ice time), good for 25h overall in the league amongst defensemen, He was also 7th overall in terms of even strength ice time per night (20:19). Those numbers figure to go up as Brodie improves and Mark Giordano ages.
While Brodie is likely in the $4.5M range right now, he's a good bet to get more expensive as time goes by given his age (24), rate of improvement and escalation of the salary cap. If Brodie is a top-20 d-man in terms of ice time next year and if he manages anywhere close to 40 points, extension talks are going to start at $5M/year and go up form there. Brodie also has arbitration rights during his next round of negotiations, giving him a bit more leverage as well.
The conclusion seems like an obvious one: the Flames should re-sign Brodie to a long-term contract as soon as possible.