Like his fellow linemates, Kyle Brodziak is never going to win awards or gain public accolades. That doesn’t mean he is not a very valuable piece of the team.
For some people, it is hard to get past how many goals did a guy score or how many points did they accrue. For the St. Louis Blues fourth line, you have to dig deeper than that.
When it comes to Kyle Brodziak, you have to look past the superficial stats and get into what he provides. He is an invaluable piece to a team that took too many penalties and had to rely on special teams way too much.
Stat geeks will sit there and ask how anyone who only had 15 points can be considered anything but a failure. For most guys that would be true. For a guy that is a productive player on the fourth line, it was just enough.
Really, Brodziak had a pretty good year even for a fourth line guy. Eight goals was more than in the the previous season. 15 points was more in fewer games played as well.
Brodziak’s faceoff percentage was exactly the same as his previous year with the Blues, but he upped his hit totals. That is what you’d like from an energy line.
While that faceoff percentage did not increase, the numbers did. Brodziak took more and won more. His blocks and takeaways went up by a large amount as well.
Like his winger, Scottie Upshall, Brodziak was a key piece on the Blues best line throughout the entire 2016-17 season. That statement can be taken multiple ways since you don’t want to be relying on non-scorers to be your best players. Even so, leadership and an example must be set somewhere and why not someone like Brodziak.
Even if he does not score a ton, he shows up and comers how to give your all each and every shift. That is an invaluable lesson to learn and one that took more talented teams like Edmonton years to figure out.
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Despite the fact the Blues were constantly in the box in the postseason, Brodziak did not have the playoffs he would have liked. Two assists and a minus-2 rating are not exactly what he would have had in mind going in.
In the grand scheme, the point total was not terrible though. Brodziak only had two points last year in the postseason and was a minus-2 as well. It was seen as a success since the team had success.
The main problem in the playoffs was faceoff success. Brodziak’s circle success dropped by over four points from regular season to postseason.
The drop was even more dramatic from playoff run to playoff run. The percentage (45.3) was a full ten-plus points lower than in the playoffs of 2016.
All that taken into account, Brodziak can’t get a flying A. He’s a solid piece to a championship puzzle if the Blues can ever figure out the rest of the parts.
Therein lies the challenge. Everyone would love to have 12 Vladimir Tarasenko’s, capable of scoring at will at any moment.
Reality shows you need gritty guys like Brodziak and Upshall to get you through the muck and mire that is the playoffs. They have proven to be valuable pieces despite their lack of production.
Statisticians will disagree, but Brodziak and his linemates are proof that stats don’t tell you the entire story. When they block shots, sacrifice their bodies to make plays and hits and generally mix things up, that is something every hockey team needs.
Brodziak will never be a 30-40 point producer like he was in Minnesota. St. Louis doesn’t need that. He is a huge part of the team, killing penalties and being a general nuisance for opponents.
Those things cannot be overlooked.