CALGARY, AB -- While TJ Brodie had no doubts he and the Calgary Flames would come to terms on a contract this summer, the 23 year-old rearguard was thrilled to put the negotiation process behind him this week.
"It's nice to be done," he told CalgaryFlames.com. "(With it finished), I can really focus on my summer training and the upcoming season, trying to help the team win this year. It's nice to know where I stand and and have this done."
The two sides came to an agreement on Wednesday, inking the Chatham, ON native to a two-year deal with a $2.125 million average annual value ($1.75 million in the first year, $2.50 million in the second year).
Deemed a bridge contract, similar to that of Mikael Backlund's last summer, the meaning of the deal isn't lost on Brodie; we like what you have done and we think you're going to get even better. Now, you have to show us that you can play at that next level.
"It's a contract I can grow into," he stated. "Hopefully I can play well the next couple of years and prove that I can play and be a good defenceman for the team."
Given the responsibility placed upon the young blueliner escalated over the course of the 2012-13 season, it feels as though Brodie has been with the team a lot longer than the 104 games on his resume.
He had a three-game cup of coffee with the Flames at the start of the 2010-11 season, averaging over 15:00 a game, before being assigned to the Abbotsford Heat for the remainder of the campaign.
He dressed for 54 games in 2011-12, scoring 2 goals - both of which were game-winners - and 12 points while amassing a plus-3 rating. He played 12 games with the Heat that year but it became clear Brodie had evolved into an everyday NHLer.
After spending the first half of the year with the Abbotsford Heat due to the NHL work stoppage, Brodie stepped into a top-four role in the truncated 2012-13 season and turned heads with his impressive, steady play night-in and night-out.
"I want to build off of that, continue to get better. I don't set specific goals (like how many points I want to get) - I just want to continue to be a good defenceman for this team and help them win."
While he's pleased with his performance last year, Brodie doesn't expect he will just be handed a top-four role with the club this fall. There are a lot of defencemen looking to solidify themselves in the league and he is expecting the battle for spots on the blueline to be intense and very competitive.
"Everyone has to prove themselves again. It's a new year," he said. "There are always guys looking to take other guys spots and anyone can do that.
"You always have to be ready."
DID YOU KNOW: On Feb. 10, 2007, the Flames acquired Brad Stuart, Wayne Primeau and a conditional pick in the 2008 NHL Draft from the Boston Bruins in exchange for Andrew Ference and Chuck Kobasew. The pick, which was originally the Washington Capitals fourth round selection that they sent to Boston in exchange for Milan Jurcina, was conditional upon Stuart re-signing with the Flames. He opted to head into free agency that summer and the Flames were awarded the selection.
That pick turned out to be TJ Brodie.