On Wednesday, Brodin was examined by team doctors and the determination was made that he’ll be out at least a month.
“He’s a good player, so it’s a big loss if he’s out any time,” said head coach Bruce Boudreau. “But good teams persevere in this. We don’t fold like an accordion. Somebody else gets into the lineup and he’s got to do just as good.”
Of course, finding someone to do just as good as Brodin isn’t going to be easy.
The 23-year-old defenceman has 16 points in 43 games this season and averages 19:46 of ice time a game. He’s also putting up dazzling possession numbers, giving the whole team a boost in most advanced statistical categories.
The basic thrust is simple: the Wild are a better hockey team when Brodin is on the ice.
Minnesota currently sits with a 28-10-5 record, good for first place in the Central Division. They’ve scored 141 goals and have allowed just 96 goals against, giving them a differential of plus-45 that puts them just behind the plus-49 Columbus Blue Jackets and in the neighbourhood of the Washington Capitals.
The Wild will turn to veteran blueliner Nate Prosser in Brodin’s absence.
“Pross is a hard-working guy that’s been doing the same job for two or three years now,” Boudreau said. “Brods is a power-play guy, a penalty-killing guy and everything else. He’s a special guy, but Pross is going to get in there, whether it’s left side, right side or center ice, he’s going to do a good job.”
The 30-year-old from Elk River has two points, both assists, in 17 games this season and played last against the San Jose Sharks at the beginning of the month.