It’s Time to Extend TJ Brodie

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.

The Comparables

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
                 
TJ Brodie 182 0.38 8.1 29.5 42.3 ? ? NA

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.

Discussion

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.

Conclusion

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.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    I can’t wait until TJ learns to use his shot more effectively. He misses the net way too often.

    He reminds me so much of Duncan Keith. I hope he is signed long term, I love watching him play.

    • RexLibris

      If he has another similar season to last year, 6.0 mill per will be pretty darn close to what they’ll be asking for. Right now 5.0 is bang on but if unless you make it a 7 or 8 year deal, Brodie & his agent are probably going to play the season out. I’d rather slightly overpay this kid, make him happy & get him on at least 7 year deal. If you can get him for 7 under 40 mill, that will be a good work.

  • Here’s a thought: There’s nothing worse than working and feeling like you’re not getting paid what you’re worth. This could work in our favor now that he will end up with a “fairer” salary. Motivational factors and all that.

    • SmellOfVictory

      Maybe, maybe not. I’ve done a few competitive things in my life, and was always driven to play as best I could simply because I wanted to be the best/win. Granted, that might change if you’re getting paid to do something, but it’s still much different from your average job. I sure as hell wouldn’t be doing IT work 8 hours a day as a hobby, but there are lots of people who would dedicate that much time on a daily basis to sports if they could.

      • piscera.infada

        Completely agree, but it is without a doubt a very human trait to want to feel compensated at a comparably “fair” rate. Many of these players know this is their job and it’s a pretty sweet gig, but they also know that they’re a spilt-second of bad luck from having it all ripped away. Granted, you can say that in any profession, but in any profession you want to feel
        “wanted” and compensated thusly. Personally, I’m not going to shed tears for an athlete making 4 million a year instead of 6 million (and no one should). I’m also not going to be happy if the organization I support consistently low-balls players (in general, not what’s going on here). Both parties know what they signed up for, and they know what the market supplies better than any of us typing on a blog.

  • Skuehler

    Not sure what there is to negotiate. Pay him fair market value for a couple seasons at very little risk. Or assume more risk in a longer term deal in exchange for a little less money per. Depends also what TJ wants.

    • MWflames

      Thanks for that link. Fun to watch, and I’ll be watching tomorrow.

      I’ve been assuming that Bennett could be the #1C at the WJC – but Groulx barely played him today, and it made me realize he might be in tough to even make the team…

      Could this be true?

      • cunning_linguist

        As far as centers go, I’d wager that Horvat, Lazar, Reinhart and McDavid are all ahead of Bennett on the depth chart (maybe even Gauthier too). If Bennett is gonna make the team, I’m guessing it’s as a winger, not a C and defs not a #1C (maybe next year)

  • RexLibris

    On another note, this has been making the rounds all day in Edmonton.

    http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=458779

    First Dubas then Dellow. A banner year for advanced analytics. The tide may yet be turning.

    When PJ Stock uses the term “possession” in relation to hockey and without a hint of sarcasm or vitriol then we’ll know our victory is complete.

  • RexLibris

    Agreed, Brodie should be given a long term deal. The cap is going to go up so if they sign him now they can avoid paying him more or having a higher cap hit down the road. Though it appears BT has been doling out no more than 2-3 year deals, those guys are not core pieces. He’s got to pony up the dough for the most talented players on the roster in their position. Brodie likes it here and he shouldn’t be undercut. He’s not at the level of a Doughty, Keith or Weber and may never be that high of ceiling player, but still plays the toughest minutes and can give you some offense. I would be okay with 5-6 million for him but no more than 6.

  • Bob Cobb

    I can’t believe the numbers people are throwing out, 5 to 6.5 million, seriously, for a guy that has played 182 games. The new deal that Justin Schultz gets will impact Brodie and vice versa. I would go no higher than 4 years at a max of 4.5 for either of them, they still have to prove their worth, but that’s just me.

    • piscera.infada

      The new deal that Justin Schultz gets will impact Brodie and vice versa.

      Oh, in that case, give Brodie 12 million per; at least he’s able to locate his own zone.

      Moreover, there’s all this action. Schultz had two more points (I expected him to have quite a few more, actually). Brodie’s the better player, face it.

      • piscera.infada

        Considering the amount of pp time Shultz gets and the razor thin advantage in points he has over Brodie, Edmonton should hope we sign Brodie first to help them manage Shultz’s expectations.

  • The Last Big Bear

    Just because pretty much every day I see somebody say “That’s totally what I said before they signed him!!”, I decided to go back and look at what I posted at the time:

    “Give him $2.5m until he’s 26, and then renew him long term again before he hits UFA.”

    My rationale was that this keeps Brodie on a relatively-cheaper RFA contract for the longest possible time.

  • The Last Big Bear

    Had they offered a kid fresh off his ELC a $15-20m deal over 5 or 6-ish years, he would have bit.

    Everybody knew he was probably going to be worth more than that after a bridge deal, including Brodie and his agent. But that’s just too much scratch to turn down. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, and 15 million birds in the hand is an awful lot for a young guy and his agent to gamble with when that offer is on the table.

    But that boat has sailed.

    Now, all he has to do is play adequately for another couple of months on the 2nd year of his “show me” contract, and he will have successfully “shown them”. He’ll be in line for a $5m-ish deal, for as much term as he wants.

    There’s no reason for Brodie’s camp to sign for cheap now, when he only needs to deliver for a few more months to fully cash in.

  • TheRealPoc

    Like others have said, it doesn’t make sense for Brodie (or Backlund) to sign an extension right now. They both will probably take advantage of next season to increase their stock. This will likely be a spring signing and may even extend to the arb deadline.

  • TheRealPoc

    Given the way the Josi and Voynov deals seemingly set the market, last summer feels like such a wasted opportunity.

    Is there anyone here who wouldn’t immediately snapcall a 7-year, $28M deal for Brodie now in retrospect? That’s an automatic yes. Sigh.

    • TheRealPoc

      I’d offer him 7mil x 6 years. Lock him up until he’s 30. That way he gets great money, security and the chance for one more big deal before his play starts to decline due to age. The Flames get one of the best young, but already established D for all of his prime years, still under contract when the team should be competitive and while the salary cap continues to rise.

      • piscera.infada

        If that’s what they’re going to do, could you not (in all likelihood) come right down in the middle? 6 million for 6 years – hell, escalate the ‘real’ dollars towards the end of the contract, just keep the cap-hit low-ish. As you say, six million in 2-3 years, with salary inflation the way it is, would be a hell of a steal for a top pairing defenseman in his prime.

        • RexLibris

          I’m looking at it from the point of view of trying to avoid another shorter term deal and then having to pay thought the teeth at an inopportune time. I think that sort of money is the only way to salvage Kent’s original case. Besides, Brodie, IMO, is truly a ‘cornerstone’ player and barring a huge economic collapse the cap will keep rising. Why not secure your best D for all of his prime years now, I stead of having to negotiate again, at a time when players like Bennett, Monahan, etc will all be looking for raises. Plus, if you ensure Brodie is a Flame until he’s 30, he’ll be more likely to re-sign with them again. Brodie is also the type who’s going to earn those dollars, not rest on his laurels. In addition, he’s 24 and will continue to get even better as he enters his prime years of 26-29. I just don’t see it as an overpay, not after missing the chance to do the same thing last year at a cheaper rate.

          • piscera.infada

            Hindsight is so wonderful. There are no guarantees in stuff like cap going up or Brodie’s numbers were going to progress so well. Had the numbers flat lined or even digressed some, the masses would have been screaming for Managements head had they of given him a long term deal for Josi money at the time. I was totally for the Bridge contract, that’s what they’re for, protection for both player & team. Who says Brodie’s agent would have taken a 5 year 3.5mill deal last year. Brodie worked his butt off, has performed & now we pay him. No big deal. Now unless Brodie gets a Norris nomination or wins the Norris like Subban did after his bridge deal, his numbers will be somewhere between Myers & OEL & Josi & Fowler. That is some pretty impressive company. So Wolf, I like you feel we nail Brodie down to a 7 or 8 year deal at 35-40 mill in guaranteed money.

          • piscera.infada

            Sure, hindsight is involved and a team won’t mind having to at later if a player breaks out, but Kent’s original article was written ahead of time with sound reasoning for predictors. Besides, a team that wants to contend can’t afford to pay everyone what they’re worth. A contender needs to win a few contracts in order to keep around a high level of talent.

          • RexLibris

            I think everyone knew TJ was trending into being a top 4 dman at the NHL level last year. His progression was all due to TJ rising to the challenge of the Bridge contract. Again, that is what they are for, protection for the player & the team. Not saying Kent wasn’t right about Flames trying to get Brodie signed to a cheaper longer term contract. How many on this site including Kent were actually involved in the negotiations? How does anyone on here actually know if Brodie’s agent wasn’t the one that took a long term deal off the table & wanted to keep it to the highest paying bridge deal they can get?

            Then, let’s look at this thing a little further.

            Brodie had 3 more years of RFA left, a 5 year deal at let’s sat Josi money of $4.0mill per would mean we only get 2 years of a great bargain contract. Broidie would be 28, in his prime & demanding PK money @ 9.0mill per if he keeps trending this way. Which he may get being a UFA. At that time, we are going to have several other “Core” players coming up for big paycheques or having just signed big contracts & we would be in a helluva pickle.
            Do the math, last year & this we get a bargain while reaffirming he is truly one of our core players moving forward & then we lock him down at 6.0mill for the next 8 years, of which 6 of those years are when he would be UFA. Even at the tail end of that deal, he is still at backside of his prime. Pay him the friggin 5.5-6.0Mill & lock him down & that will be one big piece sorted out. So I see this Bridge contract as the perfect textbook tool for both the player & the team.

          • piscera.infada

            Agreed. Which is why my proposition was at the same term (6 years). I just don’t think you have to give him 7 million per. 5.5 to 6 is more likely what it would take to get that 6 year deal done now. I also think the important distinction is between the cap-hit and the real-dollars. Give him his dollars, just don’t make the cap-hit prohibitively high in 5 years. Something like 4, 5, 5, 6, 7, 7. Annual cap-hit at 5.66 million per season, he gets pretty big money in the last three years (with fair money at the beginning). Just a thought.

      • RexLibris

        I don’t think you’d have to go that high.

        Use Ekman-Larsson as a comparable and then throw in a little more money to account for inflation (Ekman-Larsson has been on his current a couple of years now).

        Maybe 6 years at $6.25 would get it done.

  • RexLibris

    Kent, did the Subban signing prompt this argument?

    j/k

    Worst case scenario is that the Flames sign him to a short-term deal that leaves him a UFA at the end.

    I agree with you that a long-term deal is best, but I don’t see any agent with a client like Brodie agreeing to a deal in the Josi range.

    If he does sign an extension this year for more than four years at a reasonable cap hit then the Flames will have won the day.

  • Lordmork

    Obviously the Flames have an interest in getting this deal done. What would Brodie’s interest be in signing this early? If he thinks he can do better, then wouldn’t he want to wait until closer to the end of the season?

    • Players often trade security for dollars, which is why you see many of the comparables in the list with long-term 4M or so deals. A few of them signed before their contract came due.

      That said, your point is well taken. Brodie and his agent have more leverage now and that will probably grow after another season. It’s entirely possible they’ll choose to wait rather than negotiate.

      The better time to make this gamble was last summer, unfortunately.

    • SmellOfVictory

      I don’t think most people enjoy contract negotiations. While it’s true that he might want to hold out in hopes of more money, it’s also a benefit to him to sign a long term contract for good dollars now, since he’d be guaranteed the 30+ million that he could be signed for, regardless of injury or other extenuating circumstances. Stability is a big draw for a lot of people.