It’s nearly impossible to think that Kyle Brodziak was able to score 22 goals and amass 44 points just two years ago during the 2011-12 season. It seems like it has been nearly a 180 degree turnaround since then as Brodziak has arguably been the Wild player who has struggled the most this season. With one year remaining on his contract and his play having faltered all season, Wild GM Chuck Fletcher has an important decision to make this offseason regarding Brodziak’s future with the club.
As both a third and fourth-line center, Kyle Brodziak’s primary role with the team is to play a sound defensive game and shut down the opposing team’s top line when called upon. Unfortunately, he has rarely done either this season. He has continuously turned the puck over at inopportune times which have led to significant scoring chances and goals for the opposition.
The most recent and obvious example of this issue happened during game 1 against the Colorado Avalanche when Brodziak gift-wrapped a puck onto the stick on Ryan O’Reilly which ultimately led to a goal and a massive momentum swing in game 1, which the Wild eventually lost in overtime.
This is just one example of the atrocious hockey that Brodziak has played all year.
To solve the Brodziak problem, Chuck Fletcher should strongly consider him as a potential compliance buyout candidate this summer. According to CBA rules that were put in place after last year’s lockout, each team is allowed two compliance buyouts that do not count against the team’s overall salary cap. Last summer, the Wild used one of its compliance buyouts on Tom Gilbert when his game went south. Brodziak is set to make roughly $2.8 million next season, far more than he is worth to the team as a fourth-line center at best and a potential healthy scratch. With the Wild’s top two center positions firmly held by Mikko Koivu and Mikael Granlund and the emergence of Erik Haula as a viable option as third-line center, the Brodziak money could be better utilized. Re-signing soon-to-be free agent Cody McCormick, a natural center, for roughly $1 million would be a great bargain for the fourth-line center position. Other options include going out and grabbing a defensively sound free agent center such as Vernon Fiddler, or bringing up a player from the Iowa farm system to fill the role. Either way, it’s time for Brodziak to go. Click here for other Minnesota Wild related articles.