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  • Will the Minnesota Wild Miss Kyle Brodziak?


    With training camp starting today, fans throughout the state of Minnesota are excited to get a glimpse of the new-look Wild.

    Or, not so much.

    But is Brodziak really going to be that hard to replace?


    For starters, Brodziak had a pretty good track record of treading water against top threats in the NHL. Not every one, granted, but enough to suggest that he was still a skilled defender. He took a decided step back in 2014-15, getting destroyed when elite players matched up against him*.

    What the Wild's decision came down to was choosing between Brodziak and Carter, and the Wild opted to save a couple hundred thousand by selecting Carter. That decision may have come down to more than just money, though. Carter isn't a spectacular player, but unlike Brodziak, Carter seems to have an elite skill: He's a master penalty killer. Over the last four years, no one has been better than Carter** at putting the clamps on opponent's power plays, a skill that showed no signs of slowing down last season***. Brodziak isn't a slouch, either, but he's much more closer to average when it comes to suppressing shots on the kill.

    It's natural (and OK!) to value Brodziak based on him being a fine player and "good soldier" for the Wild for so long. In fact, I haven't said that I didn't want him on the Wild. In a perfect world (one where GMs didn't give ironclad contracts to ancient goalies), Brodziak would be great to have as center depth. But that's not the case, and given the in-house options to fill both the Wild's bottom-6 and penalty killing roles, moving on from Brodziak was the right move.



    *If you've the stomach to take a look at Brodziak's possession stats against individual opponents, you can find them on the second table on this page. It ain't got no alibi, it's ugly.

    **This table sorts players by the rate at which they allow shots on the penalty kill (SA60). Carter's been extremely good over the last four years. There's more to killing penalties than just stopping shots from happening, but it's a pretty important part of it.

    ***Same as the last chart, but just for this past season. Again, "Clamps" Carter owns, finishing second among penalty killers with 50+ minutes of shorthanded time.

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