Our current saviour on the backend has finally re-signed with the Flames. TJ Brodie's new, one-way contract with the Flames will see him carry an average annual value of $2,125,000 over the next two years. The 23-year-old blueliner started last season in the AHL due to the lockout, where he recorded one goal and 20 points in 35 games. In the NHL he recored two goals and 14 points in 47 games. He also played for Team Canada at this year's World Championships, suiting up for every round robin game and recording one assist in seven games in a bottom pairing role.
Brodie was inexplicably scratched for the first game of the NHL season, for reasons probably nobody comprehends. He quickly made his way into the top four and never looked back, even finding himself playing beside Jay Bouwmeester before the eater of ice time was traded to St. Louis. Following the trade, Brodie's role increased even more as he became a leader on the backend. He averaged about 17.12 in ice time per game throughout the year, but was regularly playing over 20 minutes as the year wrapped up, including a career high 27:59 in a 4-1 win against Minnesota in which he played in all situations and racked up two assists.
Furthermore, Brodie's advanced numbers have looked great. Last season, he had the second best Corsi on rate out of the entire team at +0.97, second only to Mikael Backlund. While he did have the third highest offensive zone start rate out of all Flames defencemen at 47.9% (the two players above him were noted defensive stalwarts Brett Carson and Derek Smith), last season was a huge growing year for Brodie, and he will likely be one of the Flames' three top defenders this season. As a former fourth round draft pick, he's made huge strides, and it's reasonable to expect him to continue to get even better.
Brodie's contract is yet another of the "prove you're worth more" variety, but with greater faith placed in him as his deal is for two years and at greater money than any other Flames RFA has signed for this year. An excellent comparable to him is Nashville Predators defenceman Roman Josi. Josi and Brodie are the same age, have played about the same number of NHL games, and have put up similar numbers (Josi has scored more, but has also had more ice time). Josi recently signed a seven year, $4M per contract with the Predators, a move Nashville made that shows great faith in their young defenceman. While Josi is not currently a $4M defenceman, he may be greater than that down the road; hence, Nashville paying now in hopes that they will save money later. The Flames chose not to take a similar approach with Brodie, instead giving him this more traditional bridge contract. If Brodie pans out, then they may end up paying more in the future; if he does not, then they will have avoided a potentially damaging deal. These next two years are all up to Brodie to determine whether he's worth a long term, big money deal or not.