The St. Louis Blues don’t deserve Kyle Brodziak.
In a disappointing season, this gingered fourth line assassin stood out for his ability to do whatever the team needed. He shut down other opponents, attacked the net, played on a higher line if it was necessary, and produced.
Yeah, the fourth line endured. When Ryan Reaves was traded last summer, some suspected the energy line wouldn’t be as effective. The grit remained intact largely due to Brodziak, who weathered different linemates when his partner in crime, Scotty Upshall, suffered a couple injuries this season, the latter of which ate up a huge portion of the March-April schedule.
If you thought Brodziak’s eight goals and seven assists in the 2016-17 season were cool, you must have been impressed when he more than doubled his output in the 2017-18 season. Brodziak’s ten goals were the most since the 2011-12 season, where he scored 22 playing on a higher line. He added 23 assists and was a +13 with only 33 penalty minutes. It’s easy for the lower line grinders to get penalties, but Brodziak didn’t find his way into that group.
Here’s the thing. He’s a smart, diligent, and valuable player who shouldn’t be taken for granted. He’s the kind of talent the Blues could have fetched some talent for at the trade deadline, but maybe they kept him due to his everyman abilities.
He’s a tough guy who will go into the dirty areas for pucks and come away with a piece of another man’s beard. Did I mention he likes to shoot? Brodziak fired 113 pucks on net, more than doubling his count of 55 the season before.
This is a guy who makes you wonder about putting him on the third line and demoting a lesser-producing yet higher paid skill player. He causes a coach to have those conversations. When everything was going to shit this winter, Brodziak was getting it done.
I wouldn’t expect that to change much. He’s turning in less than a month, but I would suspect another 8-10 goals and 30 points aren’t out of the question.
Here’s something cool: Brodziak only made $900,000 in 2017-18. Give the man a raise and throw in another year. The Blues should offer him a two year/$2.5 million deal. He’s more than worth it, serving so many roles and covering up for other candy asses who can’t produce unless it’s a certain month.
If you didn’t trade him in March, sign him now. That’s what smart bald men do, Doug Armstrong.
Next week, I offer up season reviews for Dmitrj Jaskin and Carter Hutton.
Thanks for reading and pass the Maker’s Mark.