Sep 21, 2013; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota Wild defensemanJonas Brodin
(25) looks on during the second period against the Winnipeg Jets at Xcel Energy Center. The Wild defeated the Jets 4-3 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
#1: Jonas Brodin
With only one season in the NHL under his belt, Jonas Brodin has already fit in nicely in the Minnesota Wild’s lineup, and has found himself a team in which he can develop and move up the food chain in. Brodin played in all but three games in 2013, and recorded 11 points in that time. His defensive game was far more mature than his 21 years. Playing alongside Ryan Suter was a huge boost for the rookie, and his play consistently improved over the course of those 45 games. Brodin is never left out of a play, and can make up for the odd bad pinch with a quick stride on the back-check. Even though he was a huge contributor to the Wild’s blue-line, he was left out of Calder Trophy conversation, something most hockey analysts found appalling. Not being one of the finalists for the coveted award was a huge reason Brodin tops our list, and is also not a common name brought up when talking about young defenders. Brodin and the Wild will try to keep improving, and with more playoff experience under his belt, will soon become a premier NHL defenseman.
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