FUTURE WATCH | Laurent Brossoit
Laurent Brossoit has enjoyed the benefits of playing a lot in the ECHL and shows promise to the Oilers organization which traded for him
|Photo provided by Bakersfield Condors
“I’m more happy with the goaltending depth that we have in the organization right now,” Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish said after the trade deadline. “Laurent Brossoit is performing fine in his first year so he’s given us a piece, a legitimate 20 year-old, that has an opportunity to grow into a number one goalie.”
The trade was the spark that ignited a whirlwind of a season for Brossoit who has played for the Abbotsford Heat (AHL), Alaska Aces (ECHL), Oklahoma City Barons (AHL) and the Bakersfield Condors (ECHL) before being recalled on an emergency basis by the Oilers on Monday.
“Whirlwind is a little bit of an understatement,” Brossoit said. “Five teams in one year when ’m used to sticking with the same team for three years. It’s definitely been a hectic one but I’ve learned so much playing on so many different teams in so many different places, meeting so many different people and I don’t think I’d be here without all that drama and it just makes you stronger.”
|Photo provided by Edmonton Oil Kings.
Brossoit comes home to Edmonton after playing the bulk of games for the WHL’s Oil Kings from 2010-2013. He has an impressive resume with the Kings, leading them to two WHL finals and one title. He earned playoff MVP honours in 2012 after he posted numbers of 2.04 goals against average and .933 save percentage in the team’s postseason run.
The 6-foot-3, 200 pound goaltender was selected by the Flames in the 6th round (146th overall) in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. Since moving to the Oilers organization, Brossoit has been lights out in the ECHL with the Bakersfield Condors. His learning curve and progress continues to trend upward in his first professional season.
“In junior, he had a nice learning curve,” Oilers Goaltending Coach Frederic Chabot said. “He got better every year, he’s a very good athlete. He’s tall, he’s strong, he’s fast and this year he’s been having a great year in the East Coast League, he’s been good in the (AHL) and a learning curve for a guy like this is keep working. He’s finding his game but he’s been doing really well so we’re happy to bring him up now just to back up and support Ben (Scrivens).”
It was his time in the ECHL this season that may serve as the biggest building block for the young netminder to help him grow as a player. With Bakersfield, Brossoit had the benefit of being the go-to guy. He played 30 games for the Condors. He remains near the top of that league in nearly all goaltending statistical categories, even leading the league in shutouts with seven. He has a 2.06 goals against average and .924 save percentage in the ECHL this season (including his three games with Alaska).
“What the (ECHL) does for those young guys is give them the ice, give them a chance to play lots and you don’t learn as much sitting on the bench and just practicing,” Chabot said. “In the AHL, like any other league, the team wants to make the playoffs and they will go with the veteran guy more often than not so that’s why the (ECHL) has been so good, Laurent has been playing a lot of games and he’s been doing really good. So it’s a good learning curve and you learn to play against men, how they hold on to the puck, how patient they are and that’s why the (ECHL) is a good place for a 20 year-old.”
|Photo provided by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars.|
“When I went down to the (ECHL), I wasn’t bitter at all,” Brossoit said. “I got to play, I don’t know how many games but I only missed 2-3 games. Just being able to play consistently all of the time, it just allows you to work on your game. You can’t work on too many things in practice, well I shouldn’t say that. You can work on a lot of things in practice but it’s games that you need your experience in and just playing all year definitely helped me. Playing at a pro level, even if it’s the (ECHL), has helped me a lot.”
The consistency of play time is something that all young goalies can use as a catalyst in their development. It’s something that Brossoit has had an opportunity to experience this season.
“Like any other goalie, Brossoit, if you play lots you feel good, you feel like you’re in a groove and it’s easier to get into the game,” Chabot said. “When you don’t play a lot, sometimes it’s a little bit like flipping a quarter and even though you work hard in practice and you do all of your preparation stuff, the game feeling and the speed of the game you get by playing games.”
Brossoit’s numbers in the American Hockey League have been a little bit of a contrast to his superb ECHL production. In just eight games with the Barons, Brossoit has a 3.60 GAA and .888 goals against average. That being said, Brossoit is feeling more comfortable making the jump with the more adjustment time he has in each elevated league.
“It’s definitely been an adjustment,” he said. “The biggest thing I noticed was obviously the speed of the game but the shot quality, especially going from the (ECHL) to the (AHL). Guys can pick corners, guys shoot a little bit harder and it took me a couple of practices to kind of get my timing down, same with the jump here. Started practice, guys shoot a little harder and a little more accurate but I think I’ve settled in. I think I had a pretty good practice and I’m feeling a little bit more comfortable every day.”
Brossoit’s NHL debut is on hold as the 21 year-old is unlikely to make his first start unless Viktor Fasth’s injury is not healed enough by the Oilers next back-to-back games (April 1-2). The young netminder is aware that there is a positive outlook and certain expectations of him, but he is not focused on when he will play for the Oilers. He is biding his time and preparing for that day to come.
“I haven’t really thought that far ahead and I don’t plan on thinking that far ahead. When they’re ready to give me a shot, I’ll be ready. Having said that, when they do give me a legit shot to go in the net I want to be ready. I’m in no hurry but the sooner I’m in, I’m not going to be upset. I definitely want to be ready.”
Barons Player Stats | AHL Standings | Barons Schedule | Past Prospect Stats: 2012-13 | 2011-12
Stats Updated as of Thursday March 27, 2014 at 3:00 p.m. MDT
|d||19||68||7||14||21||-3||102||EVERETT SILVERTIPS (WHL)|
|f||19||70||35||50||85||29||83||CALGARY HITMEN (WHL)|
|DARNELL NURSE||D||19||64||13||37||50||1||91||SAULT STE. MARIE (OHL)|
|F||19||69||34||27||61||-2||72||VANCOUVER GIANTS (WHL)|
|f||19||59||16||27||43||5||59||EVERETT SILVERTIPS (WHL)|
|F||19||70||35||28||63||25||156||EDMONTON OIL KINGS (WHL)|
|F||19||39||9||8||17||-4||14||LONDON KNIGHTS (OHL)|
|27||13||6||19||-10||12||OWEN SOUND ATTACK (OHL)|
|F||24||41||5||9||14||10||142||JOKERIT HELSINKI (FINLAND)|
|F||19||49||2||2||4||2||35||NIZHNY NOVGOROD (RUSSIA)|
|26||43||21||17||4||3.03||.909||OKLAHOMA CITY (AHL)|
|LAURENT BROSSOIT||20||8||2||5||0||3.60||.888||OKLAHOMA CITY (AHL)|
|5||2||1||1||3.63||.901||OKLAHOMA CITY (AHL)|
|22||19||n/a||n/a||n/a||3.12||.894||HPK HAMEENLINNA (FINLAND)|