Leafs prospect David Broll knows all about the stresses and joys of the NHL Entry Draft. He was drafted fairly recently – 152nd overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft – and he has already gone from a late round draft pick, to a regular American League player with a few NHL games under his belt.
I spoke to “The Brolldozer” on the eve of this year’s edition of the NHL Entry Draft to ask about his experience, what has happened since, and what advice he has for this year’s crop.
What do you remember about your draft experience?
It’s an exciting and nerve-wracking time, especially when you’re like middle of the draft rankings or later. You don’t know what’s going to happen. Obviously if you’re a top-end guy you kind of know where you’re going to be slotted, right? It’s an anxious wait, but once you’re name gets picked it’s jaw-dropping, man. It’s unbelievable.
What were you thinking leading up to the draft, the flight down there…
I went down with my parents and my brother and we missed our flight to go to Minnesota at like 7:30 in the morning. We had to take the next one at like 7:00 at night Thursday or whatever. Like it was the day before the first round was so I was kind of really anxious to go down there, then that happened. Kind of sucked to get postponed for pretty much the whole day in Buffalo. After that it was good.
Like you said – you’re sitting there… Round 4 goes by, Round 5 goes by… What did you think?
Just kind of hoping something was going to come up. I was, I don’t know if you can say “mad” but I was disappointed, I’d say. Obviously there were only two rounds left so I was getting really on the edge of my seat. Started to sweat a lot more when Round 5 closed down.
I know a lot of guys try to play the humble card and say “Oh you know just to be drafted at all…” but it sounds to me that you thought you’d be going higher than that, right?
Yeah well I thought I’d be going a bit higher than where I landed, but at the same time, a lot of people say “it’s not where you go in the draft, it’s what you do after the draft.” That was a good thing for me to hear. It doesn’t really matter where you go in the draft. If you play well, you’ll get your chance to shine.
What happened when the Leafs finally called your name?
Oh, I just couldn’t believe it, man. I just gave my dad a hug right away, my agent was there, as well. My whole family was ecstatic. It was probably the best feeling of my life so far.
You got to put on a Leafs jersey in an actual NHL game this year – a few of them, actually. Not a whole lot of sixth-round picks get to make their NHL debut. What was that whole experience like?
“Childhood Dream” would pretty much sum it up. Obviously when you’re growing up as a Toronto boy you want to play for the Leafs, right? That’s the blood you get from a family of Leafs fans. It’s just unbelievable when you throw your Leafs jersey over your shoulder pads. You can’t believe what’s going on right now but at the same time you’ve got to stay engaged for the game and stuff like that. It’s definitely a great opportunity to take in and I’m thankful for it.
What advice would you give to a player who’s at the draft over the next couple days?
I’d say that whether you get taken or not, there’s a lot of teams out there that are looking for free agents, as well. A lot of guys think “Oh, this guy went second round so I can’t beat him out for a spot” and the one thing I’d say is just worry about yourself. Don’t worry about anybody else and what they’re doing. Just worry about taking care of your own business and everything should work out from there.