Friday, November 29, 2013

O Brodziak, Where Art Thou

It has not been a good start for Brodziak. Photo: Lance Thornson/Getty Images
Yesterday was for giving thanks, counting your blessings, and all that good stuff. Today, not so much. In fact, we are going to a near opposite of giving thanks.

For the 2013-14 Wild, there are two distinct players who have stood out among the rest when it comes to being our favorite scapegoat. One of them is Kyle Brodziak.

So far this year, the only usefulness we have seen from Brodziak has come in the faceoff circle, where he is 52.4%. That is an improvement from last year where he carried a 49.4 percentage in the circle. Other than that, it has been rough watching Brodziak take the ice for Minnesota.

Numbers are listed as: GP, G, A, P

As you can see above, Brodziak had a nice increase in production through 2011-12 when he peaked at 44 points. He has been durable in his time here, only missing two games, but has seen his play decrease dramatically since he earned that three year contract extension in 2012.

Everything about Brodziak's game seemingly has gone down hill. He has developed the Antti Miettinen approach to shooting (misses the net), and his hands at this point rival Heatley for worst on the team. Zenon Konopka is a better threat offensively right now than Brodziak. 

In 5 on 5 close situations, Brodziak has the worst Corsi For (44.8%) and Fenwick For (45.1%) percentages on the team (counting players who have played more than five games this year). For those who are new to advance stats, basically what you need to know is that's not good. Not good at all.

His 17 missed shots are second on the team among forwards (Mikko Koivu has 40), he carries the second to worst shooting (5.7%) and Corsi shooting percentage (2.8%) among forwards. And to further how bad this is, his average shooting distance is third best on the team at 29.3 feet (only trailing net crashers Parise and Niederreiter). So basically, Brodziak is getting great looks at the net, but either misses or fires it right into the goalie.

Early on this year, we got to read about how Brodziak was going to make a comeback this year, following a terrible performance in last year's lockout shortened season. He spent the offseason working, trying to build his game back up to the level it was on during the 2011-12 season.

And yet, here we are, 26 games into the season, and still waiting for that comeback season to start.

For those wondering, Brodziak carries a contract with a cap hit of $2,833,333 per year, through next season. So if you are thinking, "He can't get it together, lets trade him" you are wrong. No team will take on a near $3M cap hit for someone who would mainly service as a fourth line center to them. Torrey Mitchell is a regular fourth liner for the Wild and he is barely worth the $1.9M cap hit. 

So for now, all we get to do is keep playing Brodziak and hope the problem fixes itself. At this point, its not logical to expect much of a turn around this year, so you best hope for a comeback in 2014-15. Otherwise, we have a dead weight third line center eating up $3M of our cap space. 

The truth hurts, especially if you are Kyle Brodziak right now.

(All stats in this post courtesy of Extra Skater)

Follow Giles on Twitter @gilesferrell


  1. Two things you didn't mention are his deployment and his quality of competition. Without citing specific numbers (I'm working on a Brodziak post currently, they will be in there) I can tell you he's being asked to take on the toughest assignments of any player on the team. He is starting most of his shifts in the defensive zone, and being asked to shut down the top opposition.

    Also, why shouldn't we expect a turnaround this year...when it's not even Christmas yet? I'm fairly confident we could see some positive regression in his on-ice shooting numbers. I have a soft spot in my heart for Brodzy but I do know how bad his numbers are. I'm just not as pessimistic as you.

  2. also he plays a huge role on the PK, which you don't mention

  3. In general I agree that Brodziak has been a disappointment and isn't living up to his contract. He has no hands at all and tends to completely disrupt the offense.

    But the big thing to remember about 2011-12 was that Koivu was out and Brodziak was on the first line. So he was getting lots of minutes both at ES and on the PP. And the disturbing part of that was that Brodziak's P/60 was higher than Koivu both at ES and on the PP. Which really makes me doubt the effectiveness of Mikko...a third line center when given his ice time and linemates actually outproduced him.

    The only other thing I can see with Brodz is that the Ozone starts are 37% while the Ozone finish is 50%. Koivu is at 61.5% and 47.6% respectively. So Brodziak is doing his job in terms of pushing the play down the ice, in theory.

    I'd really like to see Mikko get an extended look at #3 center with Cooke and Brodziak on his wings, but that would require Granlund to be healthy to play at #1 center (Haula #2).