If Minnesota Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher had a pre-trade deadline priority list, you have to think he's taken a Sharpie and crossed out "To-Do Number 1."
Following the Minnesota Wild's 2-0 shutout over the Boston Bruins on Sunday afternoon, the Wild announced it has signed center Kyle Brodziak
to a three-year contract extension.
Obviously I'm really happy and happy that it's done with. I can concentrate on playing hockey," said Brodziak before leaving the rink on Sunday evening. "There's a definite belief in this organization and I want to be part of turning this into a winning team."
Brodziak is in the third year of his current three year deal that has encompassed a time frame in which he's developed into one of the Wild's most reliable two-way players.
“I’m happy to be a part of the organization for a few more years," he said.
Prior to his arrival in Minnesota after being traded from his hometown Edmonton Oilers, Brodziak had a reputation as a hard-working grinder that was good in the faceoff circle. He's proven that to be true, but he's also become one of the team's symbols for toughness (he's missed two games in three years) and most adaptable players.
He's been able to succeed on checking lines, or he's been able to center top-scoring wingers and get them rolling as he did for such players as Martin Havlat, Guillaume Latendresse
and this season, Dany Heatley
And he's gotten better each year in Minnesota. After establishing a career-high 32 points (9-23=32) in his first season in Minnesota, he improved on that last year with 16 goals and 21 assists. This year, he's on pace to better those numbers again, having scored 15 goals and added 14 assists for 29 points.
"My goal as a player is to keep getting better every year," said Brodziak. "I need to play a strong game, I don’t expect to score every night or contribute offensively every night, but if I’m playing strong defensively, strong on faceoffs, strong on the penalty kill, good aggressive on the forecheck and being strong on the puck, that’s when good things happen for me."
As we head toward the trade deadline which is a week from tomorrow, Brodziak avoids having to deal with uncertainty as the day approaches. He was among a group of Wild UFA's, which still includes Erik Christensen
, Josh Harding
, Mike Lundin
, Clayton Stoner
and Greg Zanon.