Toronto Maple Leafs: TJ Brodie signing fills glaring need on defence

TJ Brodie #7 of the Calgary Flames tries to tie up Mitchell Marner #16 of the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
TJ Brodie #7 of the Calgary Flames tries to tie up Mitchell Marner #16 of the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

Kyle Dubas finally struck a deal to bring in TJ Brodie who brings a much-needed upgrade on the right side at a reasonable but not cheap deal.

It didn’t come right as free agency opened but Toronto Maple Leafs made some noise signing T.J. Brodie to a four-year, $20 million contract.

This is certainly a significant investment to the right side of the blue line even more so that the trade for Tyson Barrie because of the term Brodie is getting. The 30-year-old was arguably the second-best defenceman on the market who can play on the right side behind Alex Pietrangelo who will certainly command a bigger ticket.

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Those who haven’t seen Brodie were probably confused about the Leafs adding a left-handed shooting defenceman but unlike someone like Jake Muzzin, the former Calgary Flames defenceman prefers to play on the right side. It certainly helps that it gave him a better opportunity to play on a pairing with Mark Giordano.

Going into free agency, we discussed why Brodie would be a likely target given the team’s salary constraints and the past interest the team has shown the Chatham, Ont., native.

At first glance, the $5 million cap hit is reasonable for Brodie but the four-year term isn’t ideal but that’s the price you have to pay in free agency. However, this is the type of player the Leafs needed to get because it’s proven to be a tough road to find a reliable top-four defenceman.

While some will be disappointed that this might take the team out of the running for Pietrangelo, this addition doesn’t come with nearly as much of a  cap headache. Also to compare the two players would also be unfair considering Pietrangelo was a fourth overall pick in the 2008 NHL Draft while Brodie was taken in the fourth round of the same draft.

Brodie is capable of playing tough minutes since that’s what he was asked to do with the Flames and he is capable of putting up close to 30 to 40 points. On top of that, he said he wants the opportunity to play with Morgan Rielly and make him a better player.

If Brodie and Rielly do end up playing together, this is arguably the best defensive partner he’s played with during his Leafs career.  Honestly, for $500,000 more on the cap, you will take Brodie to play with Rielly over Cody Ceci if you are Kyle Dubas.

The Leafs general manager said that this is likely the final move the team will make in free agency and it wouldn’t be surprising considering the team would have to move out salary to make other additions. There are a lot of reasons to appreciate the move to add Brodie but like any move, we can’t properly judge what this does for the team until we see Brodie on the ice.

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What are your thoughts on the Leafs adding Brodie? Should the team be considering other moves? Let us know in the comments below.