This year's Conn Smythe winner was Duncan Keith. If you look at his numbers from when he was 23 and 24 years old, you'll notice they line up somewhat similarly with another player, also described as a very smart, smooth skating two-way defenceman: TJ Brodie.
Brodie cut his teeth on the top pairing in 2013-14, and has yet to look back. He, alongside Mark Giordano, make up a formidable defence pairing that without, the Calgary Flames would be completely screwed.
This isn't to say Brodie is definitely going to be as good as Keith. Rather, it's just to point out there are already some similarities in their early careers, and hey, Keith's doing pretty well for himself. Brodie may very well follow in those footsteps.
He broke out offensively to the tune of 11 goals and 41 points over 81 games, making him that close to a half a point per game player. He averaged the highest ice times, took way more shots, and was one of the Flames most responsible for driving the play forward, even while facing off against the toughest opponents while starting most often from his own end (and, later on, being handicapped by the presence of Deryk Engelland).
Brodie had a hell of a breakout season, and this is still just the beginning. M&G had no troubles at all grading him.
The Flames have an absolute stud in TJ Brodie already, and he’s only getting better. We’re looking at an extremely good no. 2 defenceman taken in the fourth round with the potential to be the no. 1 guy sooner rather than later. While that guy is still Mark Giordano, he’s going to sadly decline with age, and we should probably see Brodie pass him. It wasn’t this season, but it’ll be coming up, and Brodie absolutely has the talent to step into the role. He’s already playing the toughest circumstances the Flames have to offer - and being the Flames, they’re pretty tough - and thriving in them.
He struggled without Giordano this past season, for two reasons that made his overall performance all the more impressive. First, he had to play top four minutes with Deryk Engelland, which is no easy task. Second, he had to do it with a sprained ankle. And through it all, he was still the Flames’ best defenceman. So imagining him, more experienced, healthy, and with a real top four ‘D’ partner - it’s really, really exciting to think about. As for this past season, he had an offensive breakout, and you really couldn’t ask for more from the guy.
Mike FAIL (A):
Thomas James Brodie is a young man who may very well have a Norris trophy or two in his future. There is significant evidence to support that he could be a legitimate number one guy, but right now he is a number two to his partner/mentor Mark Giordano. Eventually Gio is going to turn to dust, and the future workload will fall onto Brodie’s shoulders. We saw an instance of this already with the injury and subsequent usage of Engelland with Brodie. It sucked.
As if playing in the toughest situations wasn’t hard enough, along with the aforementioned ankle injury, and he still was great. His scoring isn’t there just yet but his abilities in shot suppression, driving play, and playing in all circumstances are. Imagine a world without TJ Brodie: it’s a world I don’t want to live in. Plus he is a beard role model for me. I hope that my beard becomes Brodie level.
Brodie was in the midsts another very good season. He was on the ice for all scenarios for the team and he was playing fantastically alongside Mark Giordano. Giordano looked like a surefire Norris Trophy candidate and Brodie looked like another one in the waiting. Then Giordano got injured, Engelland replaced him as Brodie’s right hand man and things start to fall apart a bit.
He’s getting a B+ due to his overall performance. It’s very easy to argue that this should be an A- considering that he was forced to play with Engelland for such a large portion of the season, but Raphael Diaz was able to carry Engelland better than Brodie so it didn’t seem warranted. Giordano will be back next season and they’ll both likely revert to their A+ standard.
First we had Gio, and now we have TJ. Brodano was quite possibly one of my favourite things about this team this season. Yes, Brodie plays with a Norris-calibre partner night in and night out, but he stands out in his own right. He can skate, he can play the puck, and carry it into the offensive zone. Without Brodie, the Flames after Giordano would have been miserable, relying on only Russell and Wideman for any sort of defence. Can you imagine a world of Russell-Wideman, Engelland-Schlemko, Diaz/Wotherspoon/Potter? Yikes. The best part about Brodie, he’s only 25 and he’s already showing signs that he’s an elite defenceman. And we have him locked up for five more years! I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up nominated for a Norris Trophy in his career.
The fact that the Flames get to enjoy his presence for the next five years at $4.65M per is an absolute blessing. The scarier fact is that he’s only just turned 25 and is somehow still a year or two away from his prime. The Flames get unbelievable luck with fourth round picks, but we’re not complaining.
TJ is my hero. A workhorse who can play, who undoubtedly would have been top of the class were it not for being stuck with the possession sieve. If he continues to improve, then the Flames can be serious players.
TJ Brodie is a smooth-skating defenseman who can move the puck. His ability to break out of his own zone with puck control consistently leads to offense, and this is a major reason he put up 41 points in 81 games this season. Brodie is young, he’s locked up for five years, and he’s being groomed by one of the best in Mark Giordano. This bodes very well for the Calgary Flames.
There are absolutely no arguments to be found here (although we could probably all take issue with and/or gang up on HGE's grade, because he ruined a perfect streak). Brodie is an outstanding defenceman who plays with another outstanding defenceman and both could (and/or should, in Giordano's case) be Norris Trophy winners. We love them both very much, and we love getting to watch Brodie for the next five years.
So yeah, we gave him an A overall. It was well-earned, and you'd be wrong to dispute it! (Feel free to dispute it in the poll, but know that we're all looking down on you... except for maybe HGE.)