The Toronto Maple Leafs Need to Recognize That T.J Brodie Is Done

T.J Brodie is a formerly great player but age has caught up to him and it's a major problem for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Mar. 2, 2024; Toronto, Ontario, CAN;  Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman TJ Brodie (78) shoots the puck
Mar. 2, 2024; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman TJ Brodie (78) shoots the puck / Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
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The Toronto Maple Leafs will enter the NHL Playoffs with the worst blue-line out of any team that makes it.

That shouldn't shock anyone, as the Toronto Maple Leafs have an extremely immobile blue-line that is absolutely brutal at moving the puck and lacks a true number-one, elite superstar player to anchor it.

I think way too much is made about the Leafs having too many lefties (it really doesn't matter) while, ironically, there is hardly any talk about their real weakness, which is puck moving.

Not only are the Leafs defenseman (except Rielly, Liljegren and Timmins, who doesn't play) bad at moving the puck, but they are completely incompatible with the group of forwards they have, not to mention a coach whose main strategy is built around puck possession, something you can't have if you can't pass.

But even that isn't the Leafs biggest problem. Their biggest problem is TJ Brodie.

The Toronto Maple Leafs Need to Recognize T.J Brodie's Limitations

During the Leafs most recent practice, the coach had TJ Brodie with Morgan Rielly on the top pairing. This is misleading, because they will be somewhat sheltered, but it's still a major problem.

Brodie is the Leafs fourth best defenseman, at best (after Rielly, Liljegren and McCabe). He might be their worst if not for some extremely questionable trade deadline acquisitions.

On Saturday, he had the 4th most 5v5 minutes, and Carolina feasted when he was on the ice. Carolina had the puck 75% of the time (brutal) outshot the Leafs 9-5, while scoring chances were 8-2, and dangerous chances were 5-0. (stats naturalstattrick.com).

The Leafs lost Brodie's minutes 1-0 and Brodie had an expected goals rating of 9% was 25% worse than the team's average for the night.

Adding in Brodie's PK Minutes made him the 2nd most used player Saturday night, after Rielly, and he was the most used penalty killer. You might recall that the penalty killing was brutal on Saturday and cost the Leafs the game.

All in all, Brodie was on the ice for 1 5v5 goal and 2 x PK goals.

Of the six Leafs blue-liners who've played 500 minutes of more this season, Brodie is the worst by practically every measure. He has the lowest goals-for percentage on the team (though it is a positive number, as he plays a ton with Mattews and Marner, his expected-goals numbers say it shouldn't be).

He has the lowest expected goals rating on the blue-line. He has allowed the most scoring chances, and in fact he's the only one out of the six defenseman who is under 50% when it comes to regular or dangerous scoring chances.

He's slow, he can't defender, he has no offense to his game. But the biggest problem? Up until last year he was pretty much a star player, and the coach still relies on him as if he hasn't decline.

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TJ Brodie should probably be a healthy scratch. If he plays at all in the playoffs it should be on the third pairing. The fact he's on the top pairing, and apperently their #1 PK option is a joke.