The Minnesota Wild report cards are in full swing and the captain Jared Spurgeon just received his, so it’s only fitting to follow him with Jonas Brodin. He’s been considered one of the most underrated defensemen in the league and constantly surprises people with his defensive talents. Like his teammate Spurgeon, Brodin set a new career-high in points this season.
Brodin wasn’t immune to the injury bug either, as he missed games two separate times throughout the season and a third time due to COVID. The first injury he suffered was to his upper body but he only missed two games, however just 10 days after he returned, he ended up back on the injured list due to a positive COVID test, and sadly the game he had to miss was the Winter Classic. Finally, his second injury was also to his upper body and he missed six games bringing his total to nine games missed throughout the entire season.
Brodin is Key to Defense
When it comes to the Wild’s defensive core the first name that comes to mind is Spurgeon, but sometimes Brodin is at the top of the list too as he should be. He focuses on being the defensive-minded defenseman and doesn’t force any offense. When he’s able to be aggressive in the offensive zone he takes the chance but makes sure he’s not giving up his original post at the blue line. Thankfully, the Wild made sure to have someone back to cover his spot each time.
Brodin played in 73 games and scored five goals with 25 assists for 30 points. His goals and assists were nothing new but getting that high in points was. His last career-high was in 2019-20 when he tallied 28 points. Back to this season, while he did okay in other categories, his shots on the net were the highest he’s ever reached with 126 and that’s something the Wild really needed from their defensemen, more shots from the point.
Getting to the most important part of Brodin’s game, his defense. One of the most crucial stats for defensemen, if not the most crucial, is their blocked shots. He was at the top of the Wild’s charts with his 126 blocked shots but he also was in the top-50 of the entire NHL amongst forwards and defensemen. His hits and giveaways weren’t really impressive at 42 hits and 28 giveaways, but he did have 24 takeaways that were second only to his blocked shots.
Brodin’s Decent Playoffs
In the postseason, Brodin followed the same path as Spurgeon, just without the near suspension. His offense was okay but while that went up, his defense went slightly down at least from what most would expect. He scored a goal and two assists for three points throughout the six games of the Wild’s short playoff stint. One of his strongest aspects carried over from the regular season and that was his shots on goal. He had 11 shots, which tied for sixth on the team.
The stat that Brodin was first in all season and was expected to continue in the postseason, didn’t happen. His eight blocked shots during the playoffs went from first to fourth and he had just one hit and giveaway. However, the most shocking stat that was drastically higher than the others was his six takeaways.
Overall, Brodin’s postseason performance was decent, as he had points and contributed defensively but of course, as with most of the team, he could’ve been better. Having said that, he did do more than some of the forwards on the team and while his defense dropped slightly, he was still present and did what he could to help the Wild win.
Brodin’s Overall Grade
The Wild’s defense wouldn’t be the same without Brodin as he is one of its three core members, the other two being Spurgeon and Matt Dumba. He’s so strong defensively and when he brings offense it’s an added bonus. If it was just the regular season alone he’d have an A+, as he was great defensively with some minor mistakes and he brought some offense that most don’t typically see from a player of his style.
However, in the postseason Brodin was just average. Yes, he had some points, but his defense could’ve been better and the Wild really needed that from one of their top two-way defensemen. While there’s room to improve, he earned an A-. The fact that he sacrificed his body so often to block shots all season and still scored points is pretty impressive. Of course, he’s not at the top of the NHL just yet, but he’s working his way there.
As stated earlier, Brodin is probably one of the most underrated defensemen out there. He does so much and gets very little credit for it outside of Wild fans. He did start to get noticed a bit more this season with the Winter Classic attention the entire team received, but he was quickly forgotten about when it was all over.
With everything he did and the slight slip-up in the playoffs, he earned that A- as he kept a cool head on his shoulders. Like Spurgeon, thankfully the Wild inked Brodin to a seven-year deal in September 2020, so he’ll be around for quite some time to help them get back to the playoffs in 2022-23 and beyond.
Mariah Holland is a contributing Minnesota Wild writer for THW. She’s been covering the Wild at THW since October of 2020 and specializes in game takeaways and weekly check-ins. She is always looking for different angles to cover the Wild and dig deeper into the stories surrounding the team to help fans connect on a more personal level and to keep an eye on the latest follow her on Twitter @MariahEStark.