T.J Brodie was acquired by the Toronto Maple Leafs in free-agency three years ago.
Brodie has one more year left on his contract with a $5 million cap-hit, and it’s safe to say he has been worth every penny so far.
Playing mostly on the top pairing with Morgan Rielly, the Toronto Maple Leafs have pretty much destroyed the opposition whenever he’s played.
In his three years in Toronto, the Leafs have won Brodie’s 5v5 minutes by 65%, 55% and 54%. These results are not just lucky either, his expected goals rating in each of the last three seasons is 54%, 53%, and 56%.
Even though he was criticized for having a “bad playoffs” he posted a 54% Expected Goals rating while losing his minutes 8-6 in a very short sample size. His partner, McCabe, wasn’t too hot, but Brodie was more or less just in stuck with a guy who wasn’t playing well.
Given that he’s always been slow and rarely hits, and doesn’t win games with his skill so much as his intelligence, it seems doubtful he’ll decline too much even though he’s now 33.
It was always fun to make fun of the idea he was going to get bought out (which had to be the silliest narrative of the summer, except maybe besides “Max Domi is worth $3 million dollars”) but his salary does make him a potential trade candidate.
That said, I don’t see how the Leafs could lose him and improve their team.
Brodie may not be an ideal top pairing defenseman, but he’s been a low-key star the entire time he’s been with the Leafs and he is underrated, and perhaps makes the Leafs blue-line slightly underrated.
The Toronto Maple Leafs need more physical players on their blue-line and they definitely need more high-end players and players with potential, but TJ Brodie is the furthest thing from a problem.
The only issue with Brodie is that he might suddenly fall off a cliff, performance-wise, since he’s at the age where that tends to happen.
The strength of the Leafs blue-line depends heavily on how much gas he’s got left in the tank.