TJ Brodie took a leap forward this season, becoming one of the Flames’ most influential players. Seizing the role he was thrust into with the departure of Jay Bouwmeester, Brodie became the most reliable defender on the ice most nights.
I don’t think anyone actually thought Brodie would turn out to be a top-pairing defender, and the results show he isn’t there yet – but the arrows are all pointing in the right direction for the mobile youngster.
First, here are Brodie’s basic possession stats and their concurrent ranks amongst regular skaters on the Flames:
Corsi: +.97/60 (2nd)
Relative Corsi: +10.5 (1st)
Zone Start: 47.9% (5th easiest)
Primer (skip if you are familiar with Corsi analysis)
Corsi is the differential between shots at the net for and against while a player is on the ice (at even strength). It is a proxy measure for offensive zone puck possession and indicative of a players overall performance/effect on the ice. Selke winners and dominating players tend to rate highly in Corsi, including Datsyuk, Crosby, Kesler, Karlsson, Lidstrom, Bergeron, Toews, etc. Corsi also consistently correlates with scoring chance differential, which we’ve discovered from counting chances for years.
The zone start stat is a ratio of offensive zone to defensive zone face-offs at even strength for the player in question. A low ratio indicates more starts in the defensive zone and therefore a more difficult assignment.
TJ’s Corsi and Relative Corsi rates are among the best on the team, but the buttery soft minutes he got at the start of the year likely had something to do with that. It’s worthwhile to note, however, that I don’t think those numbers were reduced dramatically from pre-Bouwmeester times, which suggests he held his own when he moved into the two slot.
Brodie also played easy competition relative to the rest of the team, which again likely helped bump his numbers a little. That’s all to be taken in context, though, as the amount of defensemen who can play tough minutes and put up positive Corsi rates at the age of 22 can be counted on one hand.
With or Without you is exactly what it sounds like – a look at how each players results change with or without another given player on the ice. In this case, we’ll investigate Brodie’s effects on his main linemates this season. Numbers are Corsi% (stats via Hockeyanalysis.com).
|Player||With B||Without B||% diff|
This chart might not be as clear-cut as Mikael Backlund’s was, as we can see a pretty distinct shift towards the negatives when playing with linemates who faced top-tier comp. With Wideman, Cammalleri, Hudler, Stempniak and Tanguay, Brodie saw easier comp and a higher ZS% overall when compared to the time he spent with Stajan, Bouwmeester and Glencross (3 of the toughest minute eaters on the team this year). When Brodie was put into tougher situations, he struggled a bit comparatively.
The chart is composed of Brodie’s top-8 linemates.
The split in the chart should not be worrisome for Flames fans, full stop. Brodie’s development curve is barely off the ground, and with his skating ability I doubt he’ll have trouble against the toughs long-term.
The reality is these results are very encouraging and seem to be pointing towards Darryl Sutter having drafted a potential top-2 defenseman in the 4th round of the 2008 draft.
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