The amazing thing about Kyle Brodziak is his versatility. Brought in as a checker, put in the line up as a checker, used as a checker. Then someone gets hurt, and who does the call go to? Brodziak. Never the point-per-game type guy, he certainly looks like one with the players he is skating with. Even when he wasn't registering points, he was creating space, and making it easier for Bouchard and Havlat to score points, or covering the defensively.
The guy very likely deserves a raise, or at least some assurances he isn't going to be a top line center making third line money. As much as I would like to see him play for $10 and a season pass to the Vikings for cap purposes, the guy deserves a payday. He'll get it. Soon.
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|2010 - Kyle Brodziak||80||16||21||37||-4||56||2||1||1||126|
JS- GRADE: B+ The overacheiver. He was brought in to be the 3rd-4th line center and turned out to be the 2nd line center, except if we compare his situation to a certain Finnish right winger, Brodz actually deserves his spot. He's kind of like a lesser version of Koivu. Great two-way player, always plays with energy and some grit, reliable enough on faceoffs and was a good complement to Havlat and Bouchard. He's become one of my favorite players just because of his climb in the depth chart, but it's hard to imagine him actually becoming a permanent top 6 fixture on the team. Eventually, he will be out-talented, because on pretty much any other team, there's no way he's a top 6. 37 points is still quite weak for a 2nd line center, but it's very strong for Brodziak, career-high for the 7th round pick. He's come a long way.
Elise- GRADE: B+ Best point production of his career, good chemistry with new linemates, overall good season for him and nice to see him progress from a mostly checking role.
Bryan- GRADE: A+ This guy is an absolute stud. He is supposedly a checking line center, which is where he is most comfortable, but the guy always ends up with the scoring guys. On what was treated as the Wild's top line by opposition, Brodziak centered a very dangerous line of Martin Havlat and Pierre-Marc Bouchard for a good portion of the season. The line was eventually broken up, but no one really knows why. Brodziak has proven he is much more valuable than just a checker. Sorry, Kyle.
Nathan- GRADE: A. Kyle Brodziak came into this season with expectations to be the third-line center behind Mikko Koivu and Matt Cullen. However, he had to pick up the slack for an underperforming Matt Cullen and fill in when Koivu went out injured. He played with a myriad of linemates, providing a spark, playing his ass off and making people better.
37 points in 80 games played isn't exactly stellar production, but Brodziak was exactly what a team needed in a pinch. The ultimate utility player, Kyle Brodziak outplayed his contract and his expectations. Brodziak saw great chemistry with Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Martin Havlat. Give these three a full season together and the expectations would be 60+ points.
Cumulative GPA: 3.75 A
In the opinion of this humble editor, Kyle Brodziak was the best player on the Minnesota Wild this season. His numbers won't show it, which is a tragic reality of sports. Sometimes the player doing the most hard work (Sorry, Tom) gets the least amount of credit. This is not one of those situations. The work ethic and effort Brodziak puts in, his versatility, and his adaptability make him one of the most valuable members of the team.
Even if it isn't on the scoresheet.