It’s been just over 2 years since the Toronto Maple Leafs inked defenceman T.J Brodie to a 4-year deal, carrying an average annual value of $5M. Fast forward to 2022, and the 32-year-old has been rock solid on the Toronto blue line. For many years, the Maple Leafs were desperately searching for that perfect defenceman to play alongside Morgan Rielly. They tried it with offensive defenceman Tyson Barrie, but that eventually fell flat. Pairing the Vancouver native with Cody Ceci was attempted, but we all know how that went. Heading into the 2020 offseason, Kyle Dubas and co had one main goal in mind: find a consistent and defensively responsible partner for Morgan Rielly. Rumours flew around, linking the Maple Leafs to D Alex Pietrangelo. Many fans were also interested in Radko Gudas and Mackenzie Weegar, but ultimately, T.J Brodie was acquired.
Now in the 3rd year of his deal, I still can’t remember the last time when I heard a Leafs fan complain about T.J Brodie. He’s been that good and consistent. Easily the best defensive defenceman on the team, it’s hard to say anything negative about the Chatham product. Last season, Brodie had the 3rd best xDEF among all skaters, with 10.1. That’s tied for the 11th best since the 2007-2008 season. Who is tied to him, you may ask? T.J Brodie in 13-14. Those numbers are phenomenal, especially after taking into account his defensive partner, who isn’t much of a defensive presence, albeit his offensive prowess is elite.
At the end of the day, T.J Brodie has been arguably the most consistent player on the Leafs in the last 2 years. While $5M isn’t cheap, the confidence Sheldon Keefe and fans have in his defensive game is worth every penny, if you ask me.
All stats used are from EvolvingHockey