How many defencemen cost more than TJ Brodie?

Updated: January 10, 2018 at 4:53 pm by Ari Yanover

T.J. Brodie has to be one of the NHL’s most under-appreciated players. This past season, he was 11th in ice time per game out of all defenders with 25:15. His 45 points in 70 games saw him place 18th out of all defencemen; change that to points per game, and he jumps up to 13th.

He could very easily be considered a number one guy, were it not for the fact his defence partner is Mark Giordano. Even then, though, the two put up such formidable numbers together, one could easily make a case for them being one of the very best defence pairings in the league.

And yet, Brodie’s name doesn’t carry the weight Giordano’s does. His cap hit of just $4.65 million doesn’t carry it, either.

In the upcoming 2016-17 season, Brodie will be 51st in cap hits out of all defencemen.

Who makes more?

Gather around, everyone, for the list of 50 defencemen general managers throughout the NHL have decided should cost more than Brodie. Three of them – Giordano, Dougie Hamilton, and Dennis Wideman – are on his own team.

Player Team Age (2016-17 Season) 2016-17 Cap Hit Career Points per Game
P.K. Subban Nashville Predators 27 $9 million .64
Shea Weber Montreal Canadiens 31 $7.86 million .58
Dustin Byfuglien Winnipeg Jets 31 $7.6 million .59
Ryan Suter Minnesota Wild 31 $7.54 million .64
Kris Letang Pittsburgh Penguins 29 $7.25 million .63
Dion Phaneuf Ottawa Senators 31 $7 million .53
Drew Doughty Los Angeles Kings 26 $7 million .52
Zdeno Chara Boston Bruins 39 $6.92 million .45
Brent Seabrook Chicago Blackhawks 31 $6.88 million .43
Mark Giordano Calgary Flames 33 $6.75 million .51
Alex Pietrangelo St. Louis Blues 26 $6.5 million .56
Erik Karlsson Ottawa Senators 26 $6.5 million .80
Keith Yandle Florida Panthers 30 $6.35 million .56
Johnny Boychuk New York Islanders 32 $6 million .29
Mike Green Detroit Red Wings 31 $6 million .61
Erik Johnson Colorado Avalanche 28 $6 million .42
Brent Burns San Jose Sharks 31 $5.76 million .53
Andrei Markov Montreal Canadiens 37 $5.75 million .58
Tobias Enstrom Winnipeg Jets 31 $5.75 million .47
Matt Niskanen Washington Capitals 29 $5.75 million .35
Dougie Hamilton Calgary Flames 23 $5.75 million .48
Marc Staal New York Rangers 29 $5.7 million .24
Duncan Keith Chicago Blackhawks 33 $5.54 million .55
Brooks Orpik Washington Capitals 36 $5.5 million .20
Dan Girardi New York Rangers 32 $5.5 million .30
Andrej Sekera Edmonton Oilers 30 $5.5 million .33
Jeff Petry Montreal Canadiens 28 $5.5 million .27
Tyler Myers Winnipeg Jets 26 $5.5 million .42
Nick Leddy New York Islanders 25 $5.5 million .41
Oliver Ekman-Larsson Arizona Coyotes 25 $5.5 million .50
Alex Goligoski Arizona Coyotes 31 $5.48 million .49
Jay Bouwmeester St. Louis Blues 33 $5.4 million .38
Seth Jones Columbus Blue Jackets 22 $5.4 million .35
Mark Streit Philadelphia Flyers 38 $5.25 million .57
Dennis Wideman Calgary Flames 33 $5.25 million .49
Torey Krug Boston Bruins 25 $5.25 million .52
Jared Spurgeon Minnesota Wild 26 $5.19 million .35
Zach Bogosian Buffalo Sabres 26 $5.14 million .33
Andy Greene New Jersey Devils 33 $5 million .29
Alexander Edler Vancouver Canucks 30 $5 million .45
Andrew MacDonald Philadelphia Flyers 30 $5 million .28
Danny DeKeyser Detroit Red Wings 26 $5 million .32
Morgan Rielly Toronto Maple Leafs 22 $5 million .39
Chris Pronger Arizona Coyotes 42 $4.94 million .60
Marc Methot Ottawa Senators 31 $4.9 million .21
Sami Vatanen Anaheim Ducks 25 $4.88 million .51
Paul Martin San Jose Sharks 35 $4.85 million .38
Justin Faulk Carolina Hurricanes 24 $4.83 million .48
Niklas Kronwall Detroit Red Wings 35 $4.75 million .49
Ryan McDonagh New York Rangers 27 $4.7 million .44
T.J. Brodie Calgary Flames 26 $4.65 million .43

It should be noted that typically, as the cap has gone up, so have player salaries. Then again, Brodie was re-signed early on n the 2014-15 season, which wasn’t that long ago.

Older defencemen tend to get the higher cap hits; by this point in their careers, many teams are paying for what they have done, rather than what they will do. At age 26, Brodie is the ninth youngest player on this list, tied with seven other players, who range from DeKeyser ($5 million cap hit) up to Doughty ($7 million).

And while points aren’t necessarily the be-all and end-all with defencemen, if you’re paying that much for a player, he’d better be contributing on the scoreboard. 

Among this group, Brodie is 31st, at .432 points per game. Seabrook just edges him out at .435 points per game. Seabrook is also five years older and roughly $2.23 million more expensive.

That still leaves 20 defencemen who cost more than Brodie who don’t score as much as he does, 16 of whom are older than him, ranging from a couple of months to 10 years. And if Brodie ever does commit to shooting the puck much more often, he’s likely to start scoring much more, too. And again, remember: his cap hit is much less than all of them.


Now, here’s a look at how all 51 defencemen have been utilized throughout their careers, extending from 2007-16, via Corsica. The x-axis is relative zone start ratio; players further to the left started more often in the defensive zone relative to their teams. The y-axis is quality of competition; players higher up on the list have played against tougher opponents. The colour of each player’s bubble corresponds to their relative corsi; the bluer it is, the greater his corsi was relative to his team; the redder it is, the worse. The size of each bubble corresponds to how much ice time he has received.

Click on the image for a full-sized version.

Brodie is actually pretty easy to spot: he’s one of the defensive zone standouts with one of the higher positive corsi rels. (Look for an isolated deep-ish blue circle on the left side.) Only eight defencemen have had rougher zone starts than he has, and he has a higher CF%rel than all of them.

Hell, I’ll do you one better than that. He has the highest CF%rel out of everyone. He clocks in at +4.48%. The next best guy is Karlsson at +4.33%, and he gets significantly more offensive zone starts. To be fair, this does take into account the fact that a lot of Brodie’s teammates have been less-than-awesome, which helps boost his relative ranking – but what is hockey if not a team game? Brodie has been more valuable to his team than most.

This is a plot of 50 defencemen – all of whom have higher cap hits than Brodie – and Brodie himself.

Brodie blows just about everyone else out of the water in regards to possession stats. He’s one of the youngest defencemen in this group. He isn’t in the top 50% when it comes to offence, but he’s far from being the bottom of the barrel.

Brodie will stay at a cap hit of just $4.65 million for the next four seasons. He is, very possibly, the best value contract in the league, bar none.