T.J. Brodie has to be one of the NHL’s most under-appreciated players. This past season, he was 11th in ice time per game out of all defenders with 25:15. His 45 points in 70 games saw him place 18th out of all defencemen; change that to points per game, and he jumps up to 13th.
He could very easily be considered a number one guy, were it not for the fact his defence partner is Mark Giordano. Even then, though, the two put up such formidable numbers together, one could easily make a case for them being one of the very best defence pairings in the league.
And yet, Brodie’s name doesn’t carry the weight Giordano’s does. His cap hit of just $4.65 million doesn’t carry it, either.
In the upcoming 2016-17 season, Brodie will be 51st in cap hits out of all defencemen.
Who makes more?
Gather around, everyone, for the list of 50 defencemen general managers throughout the NHL have decided should cost more than Brodie. Three of them – Giordano, Dougie Hamilton, and Dennis Wideman – are on his own team.
|Player||Team||Age (2016-17 Season)||2016-17 Cap Hit||Career Points per Game|
|P.K. Subban||Nashville Predators||27||$9 million||.64|
|Shea Weber||Montreal Canadiens||31||$7.86 million||.58|
|Dustin Byfuglien||Winnipeg Jets||31||$7.6 million||.59|
|Ryan Suter||Minnesota Wild||31||$7.54 million||.64|
|Kris Letang||Pittsburgh Penguins||29||$7.25 million||.63|
|Dion Phaneuf||Ottawa Senators||31||$7 million||.53|
|Drew Doughty||Los Angeles Kings||26||$7 million||.52|
|Zdeno Chara||Boston Bruins||39||$6.92 million||.45|
|Brent Seabrook||Chicago Blackhawks||31||$6.88 million||.43|
|Mark Giordano||Calgary Flames||33||$6.75 million||.51|
|Alex Pietrangelo||St. Louis Blues||26||$6.5 million||.56|
|Erik Karlsson||Ottawa Senators||26||$6.5 million||.80|
|Keith Yandle||Florida Panthers||30||$6.35 million||.56|
|Johnny Boychuk||New York Islanders||32||$6 million||.29|
|Mike Green||Detroit Red Wings||31||$6 million||.61|
|Erik Johnson||Colorado Avalanche||28||$6 million||.42|
|Brent Burns||San Jose Sharks||31||$5.76 million||.53|
|Andrei Markov||Montreal Canadiens||37||$5.75 million||.58|
|Tobias Enstrom||Winnipeg Jets||31||$5.75 million||.47|
|Matt Niskanen||Washington Capitals||29||$5.75 million||.35|
|Dougie Hamilton||Calgary Flames||23||$5.75 million||.48|
|Marc Staal||New York Rangers||29||$5.7 million||.24|
|Duncan Keith||Chicago Blackhawks||33||$5.54 million||.55|
|Brooks Orpik||Washington Capitals||36||$5.5 million||.20|
|Dan Girardi||New York Rangers||32||$5.5 million||.30|
|Andrej Sekera||Edmonton Oilers||30||$5.5 million||.33|
|Jeff Petry||Montreal Canadiens||28||$5.5 million||.27|
|Tyler Myers||Winnipeg Jets||26||$5.5 million||.42|
|Nick Leddy||New York Islanders||25||$5.5 million||.41|
|Oliver Ekman-Larsson||Arizona Coyotes||25||$5.5 million||.50|
|Alex Goligoski||Arizona Coyotes||31||$5.48 million||.49|
|Jay Bouwmeester||St. Louis Blues||33||$5.4 million||.38|
|Seth Jones||Columbus Blue Jackets||22||$5.4 million||.35|
|Mark Streit||Philadelphia Flyers||38||$5.25 million||.57|
|Dennis Wideman||Calgary Flames||33||$5.25 million||.49|
|Torey Krug||Boston Bruins||25||$5.25 million||.52|
|Jared Spurgeon||Minnesota Wild||26||$5.19 million||.35|
|Zach Bogosian||Buffalo Sabres||26||$5.14 million||.33|
|Andy Greene||New Jersey Devils||33||$5 million||.29|
|Alexander Edler||Vancouver Canucks||30||$5 million||.45|
|Andrew MacDonald||Philadelphia Flyers||30||$5 million||.28|
|Danny DeKeyser||Detroit Red Wings||26||$5 million||.32|
|Morgan Rielly||Toronto Maple Leafs||22||$5 million||.39|
|Chris Pronger||Arizona Coyotes||42||$4.94 million||.60|
|Marc Methot||Ottawa Senators||31||$4.9 million||.21|
|Sami Vatanen||Anaheim Ducks||25||$4.88 million||.51|
|Paul Martin||San Jose Sharks||35||$4.85 million||.38|
|Justin Faulk||Carolina Hurricanes||24||$4.83 million||.48|
|Niklas Kronwall||Detroit Red Wings||35||$4.75 million||.49|
|Ryan McDonagh||New York Rangers||27||$4.7 million||.44|
|T.J. Brodie||Calgary Flames||26||$4.65 million||.43|
It should be noted that typically, as the cap has gone up, so have player salaries. Then again, Brodie was re-signed early on n the 2014-15 season, which wasn’t that long ago.
Older defencemen tend to get the higher cap hits; by this point in their careers, many teams are paying for what they have done, rather than what they will do. At age 26, Brodie is the ninth youngest player on this list, tied with seven other players, who range from DeKeyser ($5 million cap hit) up to Doughty ($7 million).
And while points aren’t necessarily the be-all and end-all with defencemen, if you’re paying that much for a player, he’d better be contributing on the scoreboard.
Among this group, Brodie is 31st, at .432 points per game. Seabrook just edges him out at .435 points per game. Seabrook is also five years older and roughly $2.23 million more expensive.
That still leaves 20 defencemen who cost more than Brodie who don’t score as much as he does, 16 of whom are older than him, ranging from a couple of months to 10 years. And if Brodie ever does commit to shooting the puck much more often, he’s likely to start scoring much more, too. And again, remember: his cap hit is much less than all of them.
Now, here’s a look at how all 51 defencemen have been utilized throughout their careers, extending from 2007-16, via Corsica. The x-axis is relative zone start ratio; players further to the left started more often in the defensive zone relative to their teams. The y-axis is quality of competition; players higher up on the list have played against tougher opponents. The colour of each player’s bubble corresponds to their relative corsi; the bluer it is, the greater his corsi was relative to his team; the redder it is, the worse. The size of each bubble corresponds to how much ice time he has received.
Click on the image for a full-sized version.
Brodie is actually pretty easy to spot: he’s one of the defensive zone standouts with one of the higher positive corsi rels. (Look for an isolated deep-ish blue circle on the left side.) Only eight defencemen have had rougher zone starts than he has, and he has a higher CF%rel than all of them.
Hell, I’ll do you one better than that. He has the highest CF%rel out of everyone. He clocks in at +4.48%. The next best guy is Karlsson at +4.33%, and he gets significantly more offensive zone starts. To be fair, this does take into account the fact that a lot of Brodie’s teammates have been less-than-awesome, which helps boost his relative ranking – but what is hockey if not a team game? Brodie has been more valuable to his team than most.
This is a plot of 50 defencemen – all of whom have higher cap hits than Brodie – and Brodie himself.
Brodie blows just about everyone else out of the water in regards to possession stats. He’s one of the youngest defencemen in this group. He isn’t in the top 50% when it comes to offence, but he’s far from being the bottom of the barrel.
Brodie will stay at a cap hit of just $4.65 million for the next four seasons. He is, very possibly, the best value contract in the league, bar none.