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Exit Interviews: Jonas Brodin

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The offseason means the end of Wild games, but for the players, the work is never done. With Exit Interviews, Hockey Wilderness takes each player and reviews their season, highlighting what we liked seeing from them over the year, and pointing out what can be improved to take the next step next year.

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Welcome Jonas!  Come in and make yourself comfortable.  We'd like to discuss your performance last season and what comes next for you.  The season was a success, as you shook off the rust from a bit of a sophomore slump in 2013-14, and continued your development as one of the smoothest skating defensemen in the NHL.  You have continued to grow in your role as a top-2 D, and form one of the most formidable defense pairings in the NHL with Ryan Suter.  We've shown our commitment to you by signing you through 2021 and we will continue to build this team around you.  Sometimes people forget how young you are and at just 21 years old, you have the potential and time to develop into one of the great defensemen of this generation.  There is some room for improvement in your game, particularly on the offensive side, but we know that you can focus on that part of your game as your defensive game has re-emerged.

You started to show an offensive flourish at the beginning of the 2013-14, but unfortunately that seemed to regress the past season as your defensive game came back around.  Your P/60 held strong at 0.60.  This was strange because you were able to add 20 SOG over the previous season in roughly 200 less minutes.  Unfortunately, your SH% regressed from 10.8% in 13-14 to just 3.2% in 14-15.  You've got the right idea, you are taking more shots and trying to contribute on offense.  You were among the league leaders in plus-minus at +21 with a healthy 24 min average TOI.  You have one of the best sticks in the NHL, and break up so many plays smoothly with your ability to be in position, use your incredible speed in combination with your deft stick skills.  The future is bright for you for many years to come as your frame will continue to get stronger and you have the mental capacity to extend your game into activating on offense.

Expectations for next year

Jonas, you have established yourself as a top defender playing primarily alongside Suter, who is one of the top stay-at-home defensemen in the league.  Playing with him should afford you more freedom to activate on offense and take a few more risks.  You also have elite speed which will help you recover when you do, so we want you to really focus on your offensive abilities.  The table is set for you to have a breakout offensive year, and we believe next year is the time for you to take that step.  Also, there are potential lineup and deployment changes coming so we want you to be prepared to see more minutes with defensemen not named Suter.  You may be young but you are a veteran now, and guys like Matt Dumba, Christian Folin and Gustav Olofsson will be looking to you for inspiration next year.  The PP also needs a shot in the arm, so we will be looking for more out of you in your PP minutes from the point.

Offseason Homework

We love your game, so we are digging deep to give you these assignments:

1)      Playing the left side - you are an incredible player playing your off-side, but with lineup and deployment fluctuation, it would be great if you could get more comfortable on the left side.  We'd rather have you playing your natural side than someone like Nate Prosser playing his off-side.  And we expect you will see time with righties Dumba and Folin.  This will also give us more flexibility to decrease Suter's minutes.

2)      Shooting - you don't have a devastating shot like other members of the D corps, but you have shown flashes of good shooting from the point.  You were able to net a couple of goals early on in your sophomore season, mostly coming on snipes from far out.  Don't be afraid to pull the trigger.  We need it both at full-strength and on the PP.

3)       Hitting - We know that you are never going to play heavy and that positioning defines your game, but as you fill out, we would like to see you hitting guys behind the net a bit more often.