|Jonas Is My Bro-nas|
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
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?