2012 Minnesota Wild Prospects: #2 - Jonas Brodin
Posted by bozak911 on Thursday, October 11, 2012
Defense, 6' 1", 172lbs, Shoots Left
Swedish Elite League: Färjestads BK
0 Goals, 14 Assists in 94 Regular Games
4 Goals, 0 Assists in 25 Playoff Games
Selected 10th over all by the Minnesota Wild in the 2011 Draft held in downtown St. Paul, Jonas Brodin was a bit of a shocking pick to most of the Wild fanbase. Yet, before the draft, TSN's Bob McKenzie stated that if Adam Larsson was gone by #4, New Jersey was going to pick Brodin. His stock was rising as more and more scouts were looking into Larsson's shadow to see what was behind him.
Simply put, Jonas Brodin is an elite skater, which is his second best attribute. On the ice, his skating is effortless going forward and even as effortless going backwards. He can change directions easily without losing any speed or momentum. In watching him first hand during the prospects and Aeros scrimmages as well as the televised World Junior Championships (where Sweden won Gold), it is a rare occurence to see him get beat by another player on the ice. Even speedy Jason Zucker was surprised by Brodin during the Aeros scrimmage.
When I say that his elite skating is his second best attribute? That says a lot about his best attribute as a player can have elite skating without the IQ or Hockey Sense, and be a bust. See Also: Benoit Pouliot.
Brodin's best attribute is just that, his hockey sense. As a defenseman, it seems as if he reads the plays coming at him and going away from him in slow motion. His breakout passes are clear, crisp and predictive. What little bit of NHL Combine results that are released had Brodin ranked as the best performer on the Neuro-cognitive test which occurs immediately after the Wingate and VO2max tests. What does that really mean? It means that even after the exhaustive nature of the Wingate and VO2max tests, the subject has the mental capacity to make good decisions.
Even being completely gassed, Wild (*coughs*Aeros*coughs*) fans will not have to worry about Jonas Brodin's decision making.
As a 19 year old, Brodin participated in the World Cup tournament as part of Sweden's National team. During this event, several of his Swedish teammates had nothing but glowing praise to heap upon his shoulders. Niklas Kronwall stated; "He plays incredibly mature". As a 19 year old, playing against seasoned veterans, that is glowing praise. (Note: There were several interviews which purportedly had Swedes comparing Brodin to Lidstrom, but I cannot find printed or published versions in English. That is not to say they didn't occur, but if I cannot source the reference...)
The only weakness perceived in Brodin's game is his offensive ability. It should be noted that Lidstrom had 41 points in 97 SEL games. From the scouting report released by the Carolina Hurricanes Jason Karmanos: “He certainly has good ability and a good talent level in all the areas you would need to produce offensively, but I’m not sure of his ultimate offensive upside”.
From the eyes on perspective, I would agree that his offensive game needs some work, but he has all of the tools necessary to vastly improve that aspect. For a 19 year old kid to have as crisp of passes as he has but shanks on shots (or shootout attempts)? That is something that will easily expand and improve in time.
Brodin's physical play (or lack thereof) had me worried coming out of the prospects scrimmages. In comparison to Mat Dumba's bone jarring hits, Brodin seemed to lack that aspect almost entirely. Granted, his sense and positioning never really called for the "big" hit, but nevertheless, that appears to be something he worked on between the prospects scrimmages and the Aeros scrimmages. Several times during both Aeros scrimmages, Jonas Brodin played the body hard and smartly, taking the opponent out of the play entirely.
Brodin may have ended up being assigned to Houston even if there had been no lockout, however, his solid and smart play has plenty of bottom pairing D-men with the Wild worried. His skating is elite. His hockey sense and IQ are elite. When you compare this kid's ability to players like Clayton Stoner, Justin Falk, Nate Prosser or even Jared Spurgeon, it is not a hard leap to assume...
This kid is NHL ready now.
PS: It is without shame that I will personally admit that I am a huge Brodin fanboi. Why? As an adult, I recently went through a "Learn to Skate" program where I not only studied the footwork necessary to skate, but also the anatomical analysis of what the body does in order to skate and skate well. Jonas Brodin is "bendy" in unfathomable ways.
Also, when I was running to the restroom before the draft at the X? I nearly ran the kid and his entire family over as I rounded a corner. That amused me in a memorable way.
Also, thanks to FutureConsiderations for the image.
Previous 2012 Minnesota Wild Top 20 Articles:
#3 - Charlie Coyle
#4 - Mathew Dumba
#5 - Johan Larsson
#6 - Matt Hackett
#7 - Brett Bulmer
#8 - Jason Zucker
#9 - Zack Phillips
#10 - Mario Lucia
#11 - Johan Gustafsson
#12 - Darcy Kuemper
#13 - Erik Haula
#14 - Daniel Gunnarsson
#15 - Raphael Bussieres
#16 - Kris Foucault
#17 - Nick Seeler
#18 - Tyler Cuma
#19 - Chay Genoway
#20 - Tyler Graovac