TLN TOP TWENTY PROSPECTS: #17 – David Broll

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Many of the players featured in our Top 20 Prospects series aren’t that familiar to Leafs fans because not everyone checks out the AHL, CHL, or European games. David “the Brolldozer” Broll is one of just a few guys who made our list with actual NHL experience. 

Even though we only ranked Broll 20th to start last year, at least one our our writers explained why we should be excited about him. It’s been over a year and it’s still worth a read

You might note that another big fan of Broll is none other than Kyle Dubas.

Completely ripped off from last year’s profile, here is Kyle Dubas, then the GM of the Soo Greyhounds, talking about then Greyhound David Broll as an “elite possession player”.

“A lot of people attempt to cast David as solely someone who will make the NHL as a 4th line enforcer, when the truth he was one of our top possession players throughout this past season. David played both centre and wing for our hockey club at times and the majority of his minutes played at even strength came versus the opponents top 6 forwards. His contributions in the offensive end are not always appreciated because his driving of play does not always result in goals, but coming versus the opposition’s top players we prefer to play in the offensive zone and David proved to be very reliable in attaining this goal.”

As excited as fans are that Kyle Dubas is now on board in Toronto, with quotes like that, I’m sure Broll was doing backflips, too.

Broll is definitely one of the more unique names to follow in the organization. I remember the first time I saw him at Leafs rookie camp after he was drafted in 2011 and thinking to myself “Who put that refrigerator on the ice and why is it wearing skates?” Broll immediately stood out among Leafs prospects back then for his size alone. I’m noticing that there seems to be some confusion as to what Broll’s actual size is, actually. Last year we had him at 6’3″, 235 lbs. The Leafs’ site has him at 6’2″, 216 lbs. The Toronto Marlies’ site has him at 6’1″, 220 lbs. I’ll believe the guy shed a couple pounds but I highly doubt he shrunk. Either way – very big man.

Broll’s AHL numbers weren’t mind-blowing last season. He had three goals and 13 assists for 16 points in 2013-14, as well as 120 minutes in penalties. I noticed something when looking at Broll’s game-by-game stats:

  • First 35 Games: 3 Goals, 9 Assists, 12 Points, and 48 Penalty Minutes.
  • Last 28 Games: 0 Goals, 4 Assists, 4 Points, 72 Penalty Minutes.
That’s a pretty steep drop-off in production and a pretty sharp increase in penalty minutes. Here’s what that looks like on a per-game basis:

  • First 35 Games: 0.34 points per game and 1.37 penalty minutes per game.
  • Last 28 Games: 0.14 points per game and 2.57 penalty minutes per game.
So what happened there? One possible cause is a change in personnel. The drop-off starts after a game where he scored a goal against Rockford. That’s also right around the time the Leafs traded for Brandon Kozun. Peter Holland got sent down for chunks at a time. Broll also pinged from line to line, usually the third or fourth, and while he saw PK time, five-on-five minutes weren’t always available.

It’s very easy to jump to (often unfair) conclusions about prospects. The one you might make about Broll, and this isn’t new, is that he’s just a professional face puncher. In fairness, holy smokes is he good at that.

You might remember Jarred Tinordi as the 6’6″ yeti who turned Carter Ashton’s nose into a ketchup dispenser. Here’s the Brolldozer not only holding his own but even taking Tinordi down.

Point being, sometimes you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do with what you’re given to get noticed. Last season was just Broll’s first full professional hockey campaign. He’s got a year of experience, a year of familiarity, and now he’s got an Assistant GM who came from the same organization that helped develop him.

The Leafs’ slew of late-summer signings make it pretty doubtful that Broll will get a shot at an opening night spot on the Leafs, but I wouldn’t be shocked at all to see him given a look or two this season.

PREVIOUS PROFILES

#18 – Garret Sparks

#19 – Viktor Loov

#20 – Rinat Valiev