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Why The Leafs Shouldn’t Even Consider Buying Out T.J. Brodie

If a buyout happens, it'll be Matt Murray long before T.J. Brodie

There has been a lot of speculation on Leafs' Twitter recently on the possibility of a buyout this summer. While Brad Treliving is certainly not opposed to making big moves, buying out one of his best defensemen would be a huge mistake.

The idea is completely nonsensical. T.J. Brodie is easily one of the most consistently solid defensemen in the Eastern Conference, and at times this year, was the Leafs' best D-man.

In his three years with the Leafs, Brodie has been a massive component in the team's top four. He’s averaged over 21 minutes per night and played primarily on the top pair with Morgan Rielly.

The advanced stats paint a similar picture. T.J. Brodie is tremendously responsible in his own end. In three seasons with the Leafs, in all of which he was playing top-pairing minutes, Brodie was on the ice for 182  goals against. The Leafs gave up a total of 623 goals over that span, meaning T.J. Brodie was on the ice for about 29% of goals scored against the Leafs.

Cale Makar was on the ice for 237 goals against over that same span. 40% of goals scored against the Avalanche.

Buying out T.J. Brodie when his defensive numbers are through the roof, and he only has a single year left on his contract at $5 million AAV would be nothing short of insanity.

And even if the Leafs did decide to go that route, who would they find to replace him? The free agent market for defensemen is scarce this offseason. The top available UFA’s are John Klingberg, Matt Dumba and Dmitry Orlov, all of whom will easily command upwards of $6 million on the open market and come nowhere near Brodie’s adept defensive ability.

Not to mention the fact that buying out T.J. Brodie would only provide $2.5 million in cap relief this season, and carry an additional $2.5 million penalty next season after Brodie’s contract would’ve expired anyways.

Although a buyout with the Leafs may still be considered with the Leafs, the most likely candidate is Matt Murray, not T.J. Brodie. It will certainly be interesting to see what tricks Brad Treliving has up his sleeve to engineer cap space around the draft. Regardless, it’s safe to say that T.J. Brodie will be on the Leafs next season.

Dave Felsbourg

Saturday, June 24, 2023

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