Next up, defensive paring number 2 for the Minnesota Wild. It now consists of Jonas Brodin and Greg Pateryn, not what we envisioned to start the season. However, circumstances have brought the Wild to this position and they must fight through it, much like a lot of other teams. We think sometimes we have good depth at a certain position and one injury can destroy your thinking quite fast. Beginning of last season, if you were to tell a majority of Wild fans (including myself) that losing Dumba would change the defensive landscape, I would have scoffed and turned the other way and roasted you behind your back, the Minnesota way of doing things. Well, I’m here to say I would have been wrong and the loss to Dumba is tough. How have the D pairing number two faired through this? I shall tell you…
Jonas Brodin was always penciled in at the second defensive paring and in reality, that’s a pretty solid guy to have there. As I discussed Ryan Suter and Jared Spurgeon earlier, I mentioned they weren’t flashy in their offensive numbers, well enter a third candidate, Brodin. Through 50 games played, his stat line reads 3-7-10. This is pretty standard for the Swedish defenseman as his highest point total in a season is 18. Don’t look for that to change anytime soon and its fine.
Brodin continues to play solid defense for the Minnesota Wild on a nightly basis. His on-ice CF% at 5v5 50.9%, the second highest in his career. Doesn’t seem like much but it’s respectable for a second paring blue liner. As I said earlier, the offensive numbers will not stand out and really shouldn’t even be a talking point with Brodin. So, forget I even put that in there. In his now, 7th season, we all know the offensive game will never be there. We’ve now accepted it, let’s stop talk about it.
Speaking of offense and Brodin… I’m kidding. Brodin is about as vanilla as they come and that’s not a knock on the guy. You can have a long and successful career in the NHL and never be a flavor (although some argue vanilla is a flavor and those people are Communists). Jonas will not make you pull your hair out with unaccusable turnovers in the defensive zone and has the ability to jump into a play when needed. He’s not risky, he’s not flashy, he’s just Swedish. If you are Swedish, don’t be offended, I have a little Swede blood in me too, so I have the right to make that lackluster joke.
Letter Grade: B. Seriously, I can’t come up with anything more for him. Keep up the good work? Maybe score some more goals and be a B+ someday? A B grade is nothing to bat an eye at, so be proud. I would have killed to be a B student.
When the Wild signed Pateryn this off-season, we all saw this as a depth building move for the blue line. He was slotted right in to the 3rd pairing the moment he signed the contract and most fans were fine with it for what he was. He doesn’t move the needle with any particular skill, just brings some good old fashion toughness that the Wild desperately needed from their blue liners.
However, things have changed and now he’s being forced to play several more minutes against much tougher competition being on the 2nd paring due to a key injury. I won’t say he’s been atrocious, he’s held his own and doesn’t kill you from the blue line. He’ll help protect the front of the net for Dubnyk and isn’t afraid to drop the gloves to stand up for a teammate, a needed asset for this team.
Unless the Wild make any more moves in the future to bring in another D-man, expect Pateryn to continue playing with Jonas Brodin. Even with the addition of Brad Hunt, that won’t change the minutes for Pateryn. He’s been serviceable and there’s really no reason the Wild need to go out and try and find a top 4 guy for this season and waste any draft picks or prospects. Pateryn’s only immediate threat to being bumped down would be the emergence of a player down in Iowa ready to burst in to the NHL and well, there isn’t any of those ready to kick down the door.
Letter Grade: Given that he’s having to play outside of what he was brought here to do, I’ll give him a C+. He’s average but since he has to bring his average play up to a 2nd pairing and has held it together (for the most part), he gets the +.