Toronto Maple Leafs Sign Big Name Free Agent Defenseman

The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed unrestricted free agent TJ Brodie: What does this mean for the defense?

The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed Chatham, Ontario native TJ Brodie to a 4 year contract with a cap hit of 5 million dollars per year. The signing should put to bed any speculation that the Leafs would sign Alex Pietrangelo.

Brodie, 30, is a 6’1 left-shot defensemen who plays on the right side. He can put up points, hit, penalty kill and protect a lead late in games. His combination of skill, grit, leadership and experience will be an upgrade to the right side of the Leafs blue line.

This is an excellent signing as Brodie is exactly what the Leafs needed on the blue line. Last summer when the Leafs traded for Tyson Barrie, apparently, the original deal was Nazem Kadri to be sent to Calgary for Brodie, but Kadri nixed the deal as he has a modified no trade clause in his contract.

Toronto Maple Leafs and T.J Brodie

I am almost 100% sure that Brodie will start the season on the first defensive pair with Morgan Rielly. Brodie’s defensive partner in Calgary was Mark Giordano, who won the Norris Trophy for being the league’s best defensemen in 2018-19.

Mark Girodano and Morgan Rielly play a very similar style of hockey. They are both offensive defensemen who are pretty good in the defensive zone. This bodes well for the pair as Brodie is used to playing with an offensive defensemen like Rielly.  Morgan Rielly has never played with a defensemen of Brodie’s caliber and I can’t wait to see how the two play together, hopefully on opening night.

TJ Brodie is a terrific penalty killer who can help the Toronto Maple Leafs penalty kill in a huge way. With him and Jake Muzzin as the two top penalty killers on the blue line, it will be very hard for opposing power plays to score and get close to the front of the net.

While he can be effective on the power play, I don’t believe he will play much because of Rielly’s offensive capabilities on the first unit, and either Mikko Lehtonen or Rasmus Sandin will be quarterbacking the second unit.

What will the defensive pairings look like?

While there is still a lot of time left in the offseason and more moves can/will be made, these would be my pairings as of right now.

Rielly-Brodie

Muzzin-Holl

Sandin/Lehtonen/Dermott (RFA)

This was a signing that I wanted the Toronto Maple Leafs to make as soon as our 2019-20 season ended. Great job Kyle Dubas and welcome home, TJ Brodie!