Some trades work out fine, while others blowout up in your face. Some of them, well, you can tell right off the bat it probably won’t work out. That was the case in June of 2009, when then-GM Steve Tambellini sent Kyle Brodziak and a sixth-round pick to Minnesota for picks 99 and 133 in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.
The Wild came away with goalie Darcy Kuemper with the pick they acquired. Edmonton? Goalie Olivier Roy and defender Kyle Bigos. Bigos never got a professional contract with the Oilers, while Roy’s claim to fame was being involved in the deal that sent Ladislav Smid to Calgary for Roman Horak and Laurent Brossoit.
Brodziak, a pending RFA at the time, would go on to have a strong run with the Wild before heading to St. Louis. After another successful stint the St. Paul, Alberta native elected to move again, this time coming back to the team that drafted him nine years after that trade.
So…..Just Who Is Kyle Brodziak?:
Brodziak has cemented himself as an extremely reliable NHL veteran center. He’s a perfect fit for any team’s bottom-six, and fits like a glove on Edmonton’s depth chart. In a perfect world, Brodziak is a fourth line center that plays a major role on the PK. In Edmonton, that is exactly what he is going to do.
The best part about Brodziak is that while he is a defensive forward, he does have the ability to post offense and has been consistent during his career. Last year, he exploded for 33 points (10-23-33) but prior to that he had been a consistent 15-20 point player per season. In terms of offense from the fourth line, that’s a fine total.
Brodziak posted just a 47.7% Corsi For a season ago, but started just 31.1% of his shifts in the offensive zone. It’s clear that he handled a very defensive heavy role with the Blues, and that makes his possession number much more impressive that it looks on its own.
He averaged 13:28 time-on-ice per game a season ago, indicating that he was handling a fourth line role. It is worth noting that his role did expand late in the season, when he had to move up to the third line due to injury elsewhere. In terms of faceoffs, Brodziak won 52.1% of his draws a season ago.
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 National Hockey League level. Does not always use his size effectively enough, too.
Career Potential: Solid, veteran checker.
What Can We Expect?:
Last season, Edmonton’s bottom-six forward group was a mess to start the season. As the year went along, Ryan Strome settled in as the third line center and Jujhar Khaira cemented himself as a legit bottom-six winger. Other than that? There were some holes in this part of the roster.
Thanks to the signing of Brodziak, we can pretty confidently say that Edmonton has filled one of those holes. Brodziak is a proven player and can anchor a solid defensive fourth line while taking on a massive penalty killing role.
I’d expect Brodziak to anchor that fourth line and to be one of Edmonton’s key PK’ers this coming season. His line should be expected to handle a heavy dose of defensive zone starts and situations, while being leaned on heavily while defending the lead late in games.
Brdoziak isn’t a “sexy” addition, but he’s a real NHL player and fills an area of need for the club. The Oilers fourth line and PK should be better this season thanks to this signing.
One final thought: Don’t expect 30 points from Brdoziak. He’s a solid player, but produced over his normal rates a season ago. I’d suggest between 20-25 points is where he likely falls, depending on usage in the coming year.