When it comes to the Minnesota Wild blue line, we know who is going to get the publicity and pretty much all of the praise at this point. Ryan Suter has had a Norris Trophy caliber year and has earned that type of respect. But he’s not the only blue liner in Minnesota with some surprising success this season.
Not only has Suter’s success helped him to storm into the Norris Trophy conversation, it has also helped Jonas Brodin to excel in his first season as the NHL level. Brodin, who many refer to as a “Suter clone”, has made a strong first impression as a potential future top pairing defenseman for this club.
Don’t read too far into Brodin’s nine points on the season. He hasn’t had the success on the stat sheet that Suter has had, but he’s been very solid nonetheless. Playing next to Suter, the two have become one of the most reliable, if not the best, defensive pairings in the entire league.
Brodin is just 19, but has been thrust into a very large role for the Wild. Not only is he logging big minutes at even strength, but he’s been a key piece on the power play and particularly on the penalty kill. As many minutes as we give Suter credit for playing, Brodin is right there with him.
Curiously enough, Brodin’s plus/minus and Corsi are both quite a bit better than that of Ryan Suter. Brodin’s at a plus-6 on the year and is actually on the positive side of Corsi, while Suter falls on the minus. Of course, the latter has had his issues playing in the defensive zone this season.
Jonas Brodin is well on his way to becoming an elite defenseman in this league. It’s important to look at the fact that he’s playing next to Ryan Suter as a big part of how he’s managed to find success this year. Playing with a veteran, especially one playing at the level at which Suter has played, is incredibly valuable to the development of a rookie. Almost to the point where it can’t be overstated.