Firing Up The "Brodin For Calder" Campaign

Jonas Is My Bro-nas
Not since Heather Galindo's famous "You Can't Spell Calder Without Cal" campaign has Minnesota Wild fans had something we can really embrace; as in, there's been such an awful drought of high-end rookies to don a Wild Sweater in, oh, ages, that generally we've been watching The Calder Trophy Race from the sidelines.

It's time to get the Jonas Brodin For Calder Campaign cracking boys and girls.


Look, we get that there is a tendency to gravitate to the flashy scoring forwards; currently Cory Conacher of Tampa Bay Tampa Bay and Jonathan Huberdeau of Florida lead all rookies in scoring, and Justin Schultz of Anaheim Edmonton is the highest scoring defenseman, fourth overall in scoring. See offense is sexy...goals, assists, plus/minus...oooooo

As we know, Brodin doesn't quite have that sex appeal yet- just three assists in 21 games. 

But there is a precedent which makes Jonas Brodin a viable Calder Candidate (besides the whole "being a rookie" thing)- Barret Jackman won the Calder Trophy in 2002-03. When injuries forced Chris Pronger onto the shelf, Jackman stepped into top pairing minutes with Al MacInnis and basically formed the backbone of The Blues defensive core that year.
His stat line? 3-16-19, 109 PIM in 82 games played. Pretty pedestrian offensive numbers, but his presence galvanized a blueline that would have ordinarily been decimated with the absence of Pronger. So its not necessarily about the production- it was how he stepped into a situation somewhat uncommon of a rookie and performed with aplomb.

Brodin was called up January 24th from Houston, after he was medically cleared to play after breaking his clavicle from a Taylor Hall check in an AHL game in the Fall. At that point, Ryan Suter had no points- NONE. Since his arrival in Minnesota, and the subsequent pairing with Brodin, Suter has 18 points in those 21 games (including a seven game scoring streak), and has found his game as a legitimate #1 defenseman Craig Leipold paid 96 million for after a slow start.

Its not like Brodin has been getting sheltered minutes- he's playing nearly 20 minutes a game at even strength (against the other teams' top players), PK, and PP. He is, at 19, an all-situations top pairing defenseman just 20 games into his career, and has stepped into the lineup seamlessly- an element that makes you think that The Brass had him penciled into the lineup on Opening Night had he not been injured. He defends, he shots the puck, he moves the puck, and his poise is just beyond ridiculous under duress. Its not that he has a high panic threshold, he may have no threshold at all!

(Hell, when I was 19 I was lugging a hockey bag full of Busch Light up my dormitory stairwell hoping not to get caught by RA's on duty, and Brodin is calmly poking pucks away from Pavel Datsyuk.)

The sky is the limit for him- if his offensive game comes along he could be a Superstar; and if not, he's still a top pairing defender. In the year Jackman won the Calder Trophy, his competition for the award were Henrik Zetterberg and Rick Nash; some high profile players who put up the points.

Whose to say Jonas Brodin isn't worthy?

3 comments:

  1. Here's what the analyst on NHL.com has to say about the Calder race: (no mention of Brodin)

    Right now, I think because of the injuries to great rookies across the League, guys like Vladimir Tarasenko, it's basically between Schultz and Tampa Bay's Cory Conacher. We've had some really great rookies this season like Tarasenko and Nail Yakupov, but we've also had a number of them getting injured. Schultz has been healthy, he's playing a ton of minutes, and even if Edmonton's record is not where the team wants it, Schultz continues to play well every night. Doing that as a rookie defenseman is not easy. While I think it's between him and Conacher, Jonathan Huberdeau has been great for the Florida Panthers, too, I always think it's a lot harder for a rookie defenseman to play well than a rookie forward, and that puts Schultz over the top. He's been solid all season long, and for a rookie defenseman, that's a real achievement.

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  2. Scott Cullen just gave him an honorable mention for Calder. . .

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  3. Calder? The kid should win the Norris.

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