#2. T.J. Brodie
Stats with the Leafs:
Games Played: 58
Games Played: 11
Signed through 2023-24 at $5M AAV.
It’s tough to point a finger at one player and blame them for the shortcomings of an entire team, yet it might not be out of the question when it comes to Brodie. He is paid handsomely to be a top pairing, minutes eating defenseman on one of the best offensive teams in the NHL.
Brodie is not counted on to score goals. He’s supposed to stay-at-home and be an anchor, but he has become a turnover machine. In addition, he was second last amongst his peers in hits (47) with only Jake McCabe (41) trailing. But in actuality, Brodie played 37 more games in the blue and white than his playoff defense partner. Brodie did go on the injured reserve twice with separate injuries, but it’s painfully obvious that he avoids physicality more than a Thailand monk.
Oh, and by-the-way, the Brodie/McCabe pairing versus the Panthers was atrocious. Brodie was consistently stripped of the puck while being only a few feet away from the front of the Leafs net. He was bested by Sam Reinhart in game three on the wraparound overtime winner to give the Panthers a stranglehold 3-0 series lead. Then, he took a delay of game penalty in OT of game five.
This offseason, Brodie has been the subject of many trade and buyout rumors. He has one-year left on the deal that former general manager Kyle Dubas gave him when Brodie left the Calgary Flames four years ago.
Perhaps current Leafs GM Brad Treliving, who let Brodie walk away from the Flames for nothing, can become a defense whisperer. Until that happens, Brodie gets a borderline failing grade.