The Toronto Maple Leafs have taken a step towards re-shaping their blue line on Friday. After the early rush of free agency had come and gone, the Maple Leafs signed defenseman T.J. Brodie to a contract. Reports are the contract is for four years, and a total of $20.0 million ($5.0M AAV).
This likely takes Toronto out of the running for Alex Pietrangelo.
He’s not the biggest defenseman in the world and at one point, he was almost traded by the Flames to the Toronto Maple Leafs. He wasn’t the most coveted on most 2020 NHL free agency period lists and he was open to a return with the Calgary Flames, but T.J. Brodie is a steady and smooth-skating defenceman who became a free agent on Friday and found a home on Day 1.
At 30 years old, his 19 points last season weren’t great. But, his downturn in production last season wasn’t entirely his fault. He got very little power play time and he’s more useful there than the Flames gave him credit for. He’s often good for 30 points and has produced at that clip or better since the 2013-14 season.
There was no doubt he would have his share of interested teams and with the right fit, Brodie is going to be strong second-pairing blueliner for the Leafs.
Brodie ranked 14th on TSN’s Free Agent Frenzy Top 100 list and the Flames weren’t wanting to lose him. Speculation was they had contract talks all the way up to the eve of the free agency period opening and even as the first day of free agency progressed.
What the Maple Leafs Are Getting
Though left-handed, Brodie often played the right side and was a big help in the defensive success of Flames captain Mark Giordano. As such, teams were going to be interested in finding Brodie a good partner to play with, one that could use a little bit of his magical underlying-numbers dust.
In Toronto, that could be Morgan Rielly.
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