The Minnesota Wild got off to a pretty slow start this season. They didn’t look at all like the playoff team that many had expected them to be coming into 2013. But as we begin to head into the home stretch, they’re beginning to look like a very real contender to take home the top spot in the Northwest Division and lock down the no. 3 seed in the postseason.
Part of the reason for that has been the play of Jonas Brodin on the blue line. The rookie hasn’t gotten the publicity that many of his rookie counterparts, but he’s been one of the better first year guys in the entire league. Perhaps even Calder Trophy worthy, if defensemen got any sort of consideration for the award.
Positionally, Brodin is sound. He knows where he needs to be on the ice and rarely gets caught out of position. He’s also a very good, and intelligent, puck mover.
Brodin has thrived playing on the top pairing with Ryan Suter. Though Suter is making the big bucks on that monster contract, which makes Brodin’s deal look like a few pennies, the two are not unalike. Both are solid at both ends of the ice, have good vision, and know what to do with the puck.
On the season, Brodin has five points and is a plus-1. That’s hardly indicative of how we he’s actually played for the Wild this season. He’s averaging over 22 minutes a game for the Wild, which is the most among rookies anywhere in the league. He still has some growing to do, physically, but right now it’s pretty clear that this kid is the real deal.