Adding a fourth line center, or at the very least fixing the bottom-six, is on Peter Chiarelli’s to-do list this summer according to the man himself. A replacement for the departed Mark Letestu is likely, with numerous veteran options appearing to be good fits.
Kyle Brodziak never should have been been traded by the Edmonton Oilers. He was part of one of many talent-bleeding trades that former GM Steve Tambellini made, sending the Oilers further into the ‘decade of darkness’.
Now, at 34-years old, Brodziak hits the market as a free agent. He’d be a very solid fit for the team that drafted him, and it would only be fitting to return to his home Province, where it all began.
Why Is He Out There?:
After missing the playoffs this past spring, changes are coming for the Blues. The franchise traded second line center Paul Stastny at the deadline, and is expected to make a play for a top-six pivot to replace him. With Brayden Schenn and Vlad Sobotka already in place, there are limited roster spots with the Blues.
The team is also making an effort to get younger, and Ivan Barbashev has already begun pushing for playing time at the big league level. It’s quite possible that the Blues decide to give their depth spots to their younger options, getting their feet wet at the NHL-level.
What Does He Do Well?:
I’ve always thought that Brodziak is an underappreciated player who does a lot of things right. He’s a solid defensive presence in any given lineup and has the ability to produce decent offensive numbers for a depth player. He’s solid in the faceoff circle, and can play on the PK as well. He’s a cheap, well-rounded player that brings a little leadership to the table as well.
He enjoyed one of his best seasons in 2017-18, posting 10-23-33 in 81 games while also posting a +13 rating for the Blues. It was his first 30 point season since 2010-11, when he posted 37 points for the Minnesota Wild.
Brodziak also fits in with Edmonton because he’s a right-shot option. The Oilers are lacking, especially at the center position, players with a righty shot. From a logistics standpoint, Brodziak would be a nice fit.
He averaged 13:28 TOI-per-night this past season, while posting a 47.7% Corsi For. He also started 31.1% of his shifts in the offensive zone, indicating he had a steady diet of defensive zone time. That makes his possession numbers look better and his boxcars look more impressive. (Via Hockey-Reference)
Here’s a look at Brodziak’s scouting report via The Hockey News.
Assets: Is a sound defensive player with some offensive production. Can play either center or wing and gives an honest effort every shift. Sets a very good example in terms of work ethic.
Flaws: Is a little lacking in the skating department, which limits his ability to play a scoring role at the highest level. Doesn’t always use his size effectively enough, too.
Career Potential: Versatile veteran forward.
Where Should He Play/Where Will He Play?:
Brodziak was used as St. Louis’s second line center late in the season, but he’s a fourth line option on a good NHL team. In Edmonton, that’s exactly the role he would play.
Brodziak will be eligible for a Seattle expansion draft, but likely won’t impact a team’s plans. With the expansion draft rumored to be on target for June of 2020, the contract Brodziak signs this summer is likely to be expired by that point.
What Will He Cost?:
Brodziak is coming off of a two-year deal that paid him $950,000 per season on the cap. He made $900,000 in real money this year after collecting $1,000,000 in year one of his deal.
I could see Brodziak snagging another two-year deal with an AAV of around $1,250,000. The slight bump due to the increased offense he posted this past season.
Depth is important in the NHL, and Kyle Brodziak is a very good depth piece. He can fill a hole on Edmonton’s fourth line, and checks off a lot of boxes for a team in need of help on the PK and with their defensive awareness.
He’s not likely to cost much, which makes him an even more appealing target. Should he reach the legal tampering period, Peter Chiarelli would be wise to put in a call here and see what it would take to get this player back to Alberta’s capital.