2014-15 By The Numbers: #7 T.J. Brodie

T.J. Brodie had two seasons.

The first was 61 games playing almost exclusively with Mark Giordano, Norris trophy front-runner. The second was 21 games, playing primarily in tandem with either Deryk Engelland or David Schlemko. He was downright fantastic with Giordano. He was pretty darn good otherwise, but he was less impressive with non-Giordano partners.

In other news: water is wet. And Brodie is a really good, rapidly improving defenseman.

As usual, 100 even-strength minutes together qualifies for WOWY analysis. As the player who logged the most even-strength minutes on the entire team, Brodie spent time with basically every regular on the club.

Player Together Apart Diff.
Giordano 48.9% 43.2% +5.7%
Monahan 46.1% 45.2% +0.9%
Jones 44.8% 43.0% +1.8%
Bouma 42.7% 40.7% +2.0%
Hudler 46.6% 46.3% +0.3%
Gaudreau 48.1% 45.8% +2.3%
Glencross 47.5% 44.7% +2.8%
Backlund 45.8% 45.4% +0.4%
Engelland 36.4% 42.5% -6.1%
Colborne 41.6% 43.1% -1.5%
Jooris 46.3% 47.8% -1.5%
Raymond 46.5% 41.7% +4.8%
Byron 47.6% 46.1% +1.5%
Stajan 41.8% 46.4% -4.6%
Granlund 46.2% 39.1% +7.1%
Bollig 39.5% 42.2% -2.7%

For the curious? Brodie without Engelland had a 47.7% Corsi For rating, while together he drops LIKE A STONE to 36.4%. (We’ll discuss this in more detail when we look into Engelland’s numbers.)

In terms of counting statistics, Brodie had a career year with 41 points in 81 regular season games – an improvement of 10 points over last season, his previous best. And he added 5 points in 11 playoff games. An impressive 29 points came at even-strength.

Long story short: T.J. Brodie, good defenseman, makes the vast majority of the 16 regular Flames players he played alongside better in terms of their possession stats. Those that had worse numbers with Brodie? Deryk Engelland, Joe Colborne, Josh Jooris, Matt Stajan, and Brandon Bollig. In other words: the fourth line, his substitute defense partner, and Joe Colborne.

defense

Brodie’s deployments were a teeny, tiny bit softer than Giordano’s, but not appreciably so. His performance in terms of his possession stats were a teeny, tiny bit worse than Giordano’s, but not appreciably so. He’s still quite young, and he’s improving.

Here’s the same graphic, but with Brodie versus Brodie over his career.

brodie

He’s gotten tougher and tougher assignments, and more and more ice-time, and he’s remaining strong at his position. Now imagine how good he could be if the Flames could figure out a way to (a) keep Mark Giordano healthy for a full season and (b) strengthen their depth pairings so the team can balance out their attack a bit.

Long story short: T.J. Brodie had a good year. He’s a good hockey player. He may become even better than he is, considering he’ll be only 25 years old when next season begins.

2014-15 BY THE NUMBERS

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    Brodie is a stud. By coincidence, my son is named Brody (not after TJ) but my wife got after me the other day because in a text message I spelled his name BRODIE. ‘how could you spell our kids name wrong’. She knew the answer and that was why she was mad! I read too much Flames related material and it is infiltrating all aspects of my life.

    Friedman this morning was talking about Franson being a good fit for the Flames. I would tend to agree given our up-tempo, activate the D style of play. I would also argue that because of that style and given Calgary’s cap space, the Flames would be an attractive destination for Franson also.

    There could be a fit as long as the overpay isn’t egregious. We could use his size come playoff time and Franson could use our system to inflate his point totals and use his skill set to the best of their capabilities. Hartley could get a lot out of him.

    Gio/Brodie

    Russell/Franson

    Shlemko/Wideman

    Wideman and Franson could run 2nd PP unit behind Gio & Brodie. It would be lethal. Engelland becomes the 7th defenseman/injury fill in.

    • redhot1

      If Treliving is able to make one surgical deal to improve the back-end I would agree of the UFAs available Franson seems the best fit.

      However it wouldn’t be cheap…I would expect Franson will come in around $5M x 5 yrs on the open market. Plus re-upping Gio for a net bump of $3-4M more also bumps the D salary group much higher. Getting Franson also assumes Smid goes on LTD.

      • beloch

        Just like beer from San Francisco, hockey players who have played any time at all with the Leafs are usually overrated. Franson’s possession numbers suggest to me that he wouldn’t be the guy to bring Wideman or Russel up to the level that’s needed.

        I kind of like Andrej Sekera actually. He doesn’t have the same fame as Franson, but he’s got solid possession numbers. As a UFA he’s going to wind up overpaid for sure, but his contract probably won’t be as ridiculously bad as Franson’s will inevitably be.

        The Flames shouldn’t be looking only at UFA defencemen though. They’ve got the assets to make a trade if needed, although it might be best for them to pick up a UFA for next season and target developing defencemen who might be ready in a few years. This would allow them to fill in the rather gaping age gaps in their prospect system.

        If cap space becomes a concern sooner rather than later, Wideman is the guy to move. His value is never going to be higher than it is now.

  • to put those Engelland/Brodie possession results in perspective, the Buffalo Sabres had a team possession rate around 39% this year and they’re the worst team by this measure since we started tracking the stat.

    Of course, they also played really difficult minutes, but it shows you the degree a difference in defense partners can make for a guy.

    • beloch

      Brodie is a left-handed D, but when paired with Giordano or Russell plays the right side.

      Since Engelland is a right-handed D and generally terrible at NHL-calibre hockey, Brodie was on the left side of that pairing.

  • RKD

    Brodie is another stud of a d-man, he keeps progressing taking on more responsibilities. He plays a great shutdown role and can jump in offensively. Engelland is terrible, he’s not even a 5-6. More like a 7-8, he would drag down any other d-man pair with him.

  • The GREAT Walter White

    I don’t understand how people continue drag Engel through the mud. The guy showed he’s worth his weigh in gold in the playoffs. You need tough players at this time of year. I don’t think understand the value derived out of him essentially beating up two Canucks at once, or in game 5 against the Ducks when he held back both Marroon and Stoner at the same time while Stoner was trying the get at Ferly and told him ”fight me”. This value is not found in some quantitative stat. It’s sickening to read this stuff.

    • RKD

      First I will admit the Engs played better in the playoffs but I can’t overlook his play during the first 60 games and believe that he is a top 6 defender. He is an acceptable 6-8th defenceman. If you want this team to progress next year you can’t honestly believe that he Schlemko are good enough to play 15 minutes a night together. Again I think for these team to move forward we need to upgrade the middle pairing.

    • mattyc

      sickening?

      The guy showed he’s worth his weigh in gold in the playoffs

      This is also your opinion, which you are welcome to. It doesn’t, however, fit into what I saw in the playoffs. By qualitative and quantitative measures, he looked overmatched playing in the top 4. Realistically, he’s a 6-7 D that can’t skate very well and doesn’t make a good first pass. He is good at fighting two people at once though – unfortunately it doesn’t really help the team win hockey games.

    • Sobueno

      Maybe but he’s also a complete, utter disaster at anything that is quantifiable. The game is about net benefit, and any player who is that much of a drag on a player as good as Brodie is, undeniably, a net negative.

      It doesn’t matter that he battles, that he punches people, that he “plays the right way” or that he’s a great guy. Engelland’s not a good player. Period. End of story.

      • mattyc

        In my opinion, what Engel did at the end of game 2 vs Van played a very pivotal role in shifting the momentum back to our side. What he is, is a ton of character. I think character looks at other character in the dressing room and says I am willing to do my job, and other character answers by doing the exact same. I don’t think you’re going to get that kind of output from your supercomputers. The Flames need this kind of character now and specifically next season as teams gear up a notch to play them. I am in full agreement with the need for footspeed and puck moving on the back end, but toughness and intimidation will also play a role in our young core being able to execute.

        Lastly, and I know this will get little traction but in my mind should not be overlooked, is that he still can improve the areas of his game which are perceived to be quantitatively lacking. My view from 50 thousand feet of this guys says he will do everything in his power to do so.

  • The GREAT Walter White

    Wow ; McDavid looked like crap today, what was he ? Minus 5??!

    Hunter Smith looked like a superstar compared to him on the ice ….and he can barely skate !

    WW

      • The GREAT Walter White

        Did you miss the: “and he can barely skate” part?

        Hunter Smith’s skating is problematic. My guess is it’s enough of a problem to keep him out of the NHL, unless it improves greatly.
        He is not a kid anymore…

        WW

        • Burnward

          Look at Colborne though. Over the last year, he’s gotten noticeably better.

          Giraffes take time! He’s got size, some scoring ability and some meanness. This team will need that.

          Let’s give him a couple years. Skating can be improved, especially for big, young guys like him.

        • Burnward

          He’s 19, and turns 20 in september. Basically about Bo Horvat’s age. Remember how Horvat went from “questionable skater” to “damn it why can’t Jooris / Granlund keep up with this explosive monster”? In the course of a single NHL season?

  • Skuehler

    Brodie was awesome to watch this year. What a smart and highly skilled defenseman. Nice for him to apprentice under Gio. He will be a good lead-by-example mentor for TSpoon and the like. We are lucky to have him on our team.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Brodie has been an absolute gem his entire tenure in the NHL. TJ should have a metal pinned on his chest for his great play on a sprained leg while making Engelland look like a real defender, in the last half of the year.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Imagine if you will that BT is not able to get any upgrades via the FA market(he does sign our own UFA’a) and is not bale to make any fair market trades in the off season. What would the Flames look like?

    Up Front I could see the following lines:

    Johnny/Monahan/Jones

    Ferland/Bennett/Hudler

    Bouma/Backlund/Poirier

    Jooris/Stajan/Colborne

    with Bollig and Raymand as your extras.

    Gio/TJ

    Russell/Wides

    Schlemko/Engs

    Spoon/Morrison as your call ups

    Hiller/Ortio

  • Sobueno

    Quick question about the WOWY analysis on Russel and Wideman – making the general assumption that if a forward wasn’t playing with them they were likely on the ice with Brodano (since the 3rd pairing rarely got much time at all), wouldn’t the forward’s “without you” stats be somewhat inflated? Obviously Brodano are possession beasts and make basically everyone better around them. So aren’t we more or less doing a “with you vs with Brodano” comparison, which would underestimate the effectiveness of Russel and Wideman? Or is that not really a potential confounder?

  • mattyc

    I apologize for discussing Engel in this Brodie assessment article and forum. I’m a huge Brodie fan and have been blown away by his ascent ever since his first training camp, and making the big club for the first 3 games. I’ve just read so much Engel trashing over the course of the season and I needed to speak up about it.

  • Franko J

    I don’t think I have ever seen him sweat. Too bad an ankle injury slowed him down in the playoffs. Again another fourth round gem. In a few years I do believe we will be talking about Hickey out of Boston too. As for Engelland I felt like the rest of the D he was wearing down as playoffs progressed. I thought at the end of the season he stepped up his play when Giordano went down with injury. Play within his limitations.