Monday, February 20, 2012

Kyle Brodziak Resigns

Yesterday, following a stellar 2-0 win over the defending champs Boston Bruins, the Wild announced that they have resigned center Kyle Brodziak to a 3 year contract extension. Russo writes that the deal is worth $8.49 million, which accounts for a $2,833,333 cap hit for the team in each of those seasons.

As I wrote on Friday, this was something the team needed to do. Brodziak has played extremely well this year, and has seen plenty of time as a second line center (some due to injuries to Mikko Koivu and some because of his stellar play). Brodziak is currently fourth on the team with 29 (15 G, 14 A) points. He does hold a +/- rating of -11, but if you watch this team on a regular basis, that does not properly show the way Brodziak has played this season.

The move is extremely crucial for this organization. And Nate over at First Round Bust describes that pretty adequately in his post from yesterday:

"Signing Brodziak - a guy who wants to play in Minnesota - is also a good way to show free agents that the Wild organization is on the up; especially in light of two players with no-trade clauses (Marty Havlat and Zidlicky) wanting out. It's tough to convince the Zach Parises (even if he's "one of us!") or Ryan Suters to sign with an organization that hasn't made the playoffs in three years (possibly four) and is trying to embrace a youth movement while being competitive. Minnesota may have money (approximately $20 million in cap space give or take Zidlicky, albeit some of it will be taken by guys like Mikael Granlund and Guillaume Latendresse if he gets qualified) but they're not alone.

At the same time, I also like the length and money of Brodziak's contract. One of the issues the Wild have had in the past is having money tied up in long-term deals which saw guys overpaid and not produce. Some of it had to do with poor drafting but it's better having guys like Brodziak, Latendresse and Devin Setoguchi (all who can score 20+ goals) for under $3 million while letting the Granlunds, Coyles, Zuckers and Phillips slowly develop. Kyle has proven he can produce with a plethora of players (this season has shown he didn't benefit from Havlat), is durable (he's only missed two games in three years) and play two-way hockey.

If all goes right, Brodziak can help develop the next generation of Wild players - by the time his contract is up the prospect pool should be ready - and the deal is far from being an albatross if the time comes to trade."

Perhaps this deal, at this point, shows that the team still wants to make a playoff push. Or, it could merely just be a coincidence that it was signed with one week to go until the February 27th deadline. I do think they will sell (Zidlicky, Zanon, Lundin, and possibly Harding) more than they buy. But this is a definite sign that things are starting to look up for this team.

We may not see things get better until next year (Granlund, possibly Parise, and hopefully a solid blueliner is brought in), but we will all be glad Kyle Brodziak will be in a Minnesota sweater for the next three as well.

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