The Minnesota Wild department at The Hockey Writers is starting a series that will look at the franchise’s top 10 players all-time in honour of their 20th anniversary last season. THW’s Wild team consisting of myself, Aaron Heckmann, Mariah Holland, and Devon Platana voted on this list, and it will begin with the 10th spot as we work our way down to the best player in franchise history.
For the ninth spot on the list, we have current Wild defenceman, Jonas Brodin. Despite not even being 30 years old yet, Brodin has earned a place on this lucrative list.
Journey to The NHL
Brodin was born in Sweden in 1993 and would stay in Sweden during his minor hockey years. In his draft season, 2010-11, Brodin played 42 games for Färjestad BK of the Swedish Hockey League (SHL), registering four assists.
He was known for being a reliable, mistake-free defenceman that has a high hockey IQ. His offensive numbers weren’t impressive, but he could move the puck well and defend at a high level, a perfect two-way defender.
In the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, the Wild, who owned the 10th overall pick, selected Brodin. He spent one more full season in the SHL before transitioning to North America for the 2012-13 season.
When the NHL was in a lockout, Brodin began playing for their AHL affiliate Houston Aero’s, where he ended up breaking his clavicle. After missing several weeks due to injury, he eventually battled his way back, and once the NHL returned, he made his way to Minnesota.
Career With the Wild
In Brodin’s first NHL season, he played in 45 games, registering two goals and nine assists for 11 points. He was averaging over 20 minutes a night and had some strong possession numbers. It was clear from his very first NHL season that Brodin was going to be a staple in the Wild’s top four on defence for years to come. He came in fourth for Calder voting that season.
In his sophomore season, Brodin was able to find a bit of his offensive game, scoring eight goals in 79 games that season. He’s only gotten eight goals in a single season once since, in 2020-21 when he had nine in 53 games.
Overall, in the nine seasons Brodin has played with the Wild, he has 39 goals and 130 assists in 608 career games. He has become a permanent fixture on the Wild’s top four for the past number of seasons alongside Ryan Suter, Jared Spurgeon, and his often partner on defence in Matt Dumba.
He might not be the flashiest player; he likely won’t be leading the league in points by a defenceman anytime soon. However, he has become one of the league’s most underrated defenders at both ends of the ice.
He is the type of player who isn’t afraid to shoot the puck from the point on net (minimum 150 shot attempts a year for the past five seasons) but will also put his body on the line for the team. He is 11 blocked shots away from 1000 in his career.
Future With the Wild
One of the insane things about Brodin with the Wild is that so much of his story is still unwritten. Beginning this upcoming season, he will be entering year one of a seven-year, $42 million contract extension he signed prior to the 2020-21 season.
He’s already fifth in all-time games played for the franchise with 608 and fifth all-time in points by a Wild defenceman with 169. By playing another seven seasons in the state of hockey, Brodin will continue to climb that list even higher.
A player’s plus/minus stat has often gotten some interesting looks from sports experts. Sometimes, a good player on a bad team won’t look very good according to plus/minus, as it doesn’t tell the whole story. Still, Brodin being a career +49 does showcase his incredible defensive ability as well as being able to be effective in the offensive zone.
With the departure of Ryan Suter, it now looks like it will be Brodin, along with Spurgeon and Dumba, who will be the core of the defence moving forward for the Wild. At 28 years old, there are still some great years of hockey left for Brodin. The Wild are an exciting team on the upswing, and for this team to have success moving forward, Brodin will have to be a significant part of it.
His career through 608 games already speaks volumes, and some of the best years might still be ahead of him. It feels like Brodin is the type of player who could begin and end his career with the same team. He is easily deserving of being on this list and one day may even have his jersey raised to the rafters of Xcel Energy Center.
Sports writer covering the Minnesota Wild. Graduated with a degree in sport media, also working with the Oshawa Generals of the OHL.